Friday, February 5, 2016

State of the Blog: February 2016

I've been stupidly busy, is the short version.

You may have noticed that the A Brief Theology of Time series is still updating. That's because all of the posts were finished and scheduled back when the series first began. I haven't had much time to seriously write since around then.

This is 90% work-related and 10% life related. I'm thinking of going for a PhD (general distaste for academia notwithstanding, credentials are important for a translator) and have been trying to catch up on the literature in my free time.

I am working on a few projects though.

1). Archetypes vs. Tropes will probably be the next series, It unpacks the "sexist tropes" argument by looking at it from a Jungian Archetype lens. The short version is that the recurring popularity of the Damsel in Distress trope comes from the psychological principle of the Anima, not from lazy sexism. We'll also be looking some ways to handle female-driven stories that rise above the usual "man with tits" and "bad-ass action grrrl."

2). Along with the StudyOke! series, I'm working on some material on the convergence between traditional enka tropes and Azuma's moe database. This will be drawing heavily on Tears of Longing. This one will be further in the future.

3). I've been dabbling in some pen-and-paper game design and still hope to post on it. The hardest part has been figuring out the format for posts!

4). As the 2016 Hugos race heats up, I may be revisiting the Killing Vox Day series. I argued that Vox's 4GW strategy is theoretically sound and observably effective. I also argued that the only way to kill the Puppy momentum was to treat them with basic human dignity. Despite token olive branches from GRRM and a few others, the Puppies and the Hugonauts seem no closer to civility than in 2015.

After posting the series, I was eventually swayed to the basic Sad Puppy position - vote for the work, not for the author's politics (or the politics of the author's fans). This has not changed the essential point of Killing Vox Day - turning the Hugos into a political referendum will ultimately feed the Rabids, lose the high ground, and potentially destroy the Hugos.

Vox said the gloves are coming off in 2016, and that makes 2016 the critical year for the Rabid Puppies. Claims of eternal enmity and willingness to fight until the Sun explodes aside, if they can't score some undebatable wins this year, the organized movement will likely peter out and turn into your usual right-wing sewing circle. I've publicly argued that their strategy can work. I don't want to be proven right, but hey, everyone likes a nice ego-wank.

4). And of course, I'll continue looking at HBD topics, although that will stay limited to the HBD Comment Thread for the foreseeable future. There won't be a full series until I think I have something  substantial to contribute to the argument. I love a good argument, but genetics and biology are outside my usual wheelhouse.

That's all for now.


  1. Looking forward to it. I wonder if the hugonauts will learn from last year. Though, their boasting makes that unlikely.

    1. The opening shot was fired before the Hugonauts had a chance to implement anything they may have learned:

      I've been accused of being a Vox Day cheerleader, and this is not going to help my reputation. But it's a great move, and it needs to be acknowledged.

      In one stroke, Vox has completely changed the narrative of the 2016 Hugos. There's no longer a completely united Hugonaut position ("destroy everything on a slate"), but a wedge driven between the harliners and the moderates.

      After all, if you can vote for File770 despite the fact that it's on a Puppy slate, why not other works on a Puppy slate?

      So if File770 wins, Vox can claim a Puppy victory. If File770 gets No Awarded, he makes the hardline Hugonauts look like massive assholes. If File770 places somewhere in the middle, Vox has still reached across the aisle and looks more open-minded than the competition.

      It moves the conversation more towards "vote for those who deserve it," which of course is an acceptable outcome for the Puppies.

      So not only is it no-lose, it illustrates something critical: the Rabid Puppies have more tactical mobility than the hardline Hugonauts. File770 not refusing the nomination splits the Hugonaut camps, but more importantly, it illustrates that the hardliners (the SJWs, if you will) are closed to judging works on their merit.

      It's a brilliant left-field play and it forces the Hugonauts to play on Vox's terms. They're going to have a hard time redefining what this battle is about in 2016.

    2. They have read their Sun Tzu that's for sure. And they are in fact adhering to the most basic tenet :

      “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

      You pretty much did the hugonauts' work for them Rev. You gave them one of the most accurate insights into their enemies' mind(Vox and the puppies) as well as their tactics and what to do in response. If they choose to ignore it, that's on them.

    3. It was always a long shot that anyone would listen. The only surprise was that all the hugonauts assumed I was a secret Vox shill. Maybe next time I'll include more accusations of Hitlertude.