February 22, 2019, 12:42:46 PM

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Messages - J.R. Darewood

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General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 21, 2019, 02:37:10 PM »
Ok I really planned to keep my mouth shut on all this religion crap, but I just can't anymore.  So here comes a 20 page essay no one asked for and probably no one is going to read but whatever.

Anarchism probably isn't what you think it is.

The way most people think about human nature today is influenced by Freud, Malthus and Hobbes: People are violent animals at the core (the id), and social control from government and religion and whatnot (the superego) is what keeps us from tearing eachother apart.  Freud psychologized it, Malthus biologized it, but this statist bullshit has been spouted since Hobbes in his "man against man" to rationalize the monopoly of violence held by the state.

Real biologists have found extensive evidence for the value of mutualism and cooperation (ideas pioneered over a century ago by the anarchist Kropotkin but independently arrived at by modern biologists like Frans de Waal) and Freud's statism was largely reversed by Marcuse, but these severely dysfunctional Freudian ideas have political agency and keep everyone acting like Sheeple so they are here to stay.

Anyway, anarchists have a lot of opinions about human nature (some think it's good, some think it's neutral), but they think evil actually comes from the state.  It's states that drive war, facilitate gross inequality (via the monarchy, it's invention the corporation, and of course colonialism and imperialism).  Anarchists are different from libertarians because they are critical of both the state and capitalism. In fact they see the two as being inseparable and call it state-capitalism.  They usually support alternative social organizations (indigenous self-governments, cooperatives, syndicalism, you name it). Some of them even like the church. Some of them have run for political office. (as did Proudhon, the first Anarchist). It's about fighting *hierarchy* and *inequality*, usually with consensus-based (as opposed to representative) democracy. The circle-A is actually an A within an O and the O stands for Order. In the late 1800s and early 1900s most social movements were anarchistic.  People saw the state AND capitalist exploitation as neo-colonial forces to fend off.  The reason you have a 40 hour work week today is because ANARCHISTS died to bring it to you.  Look up the Haymarket Affair. Go. Right now.  Google it.  And come back and publicly thank anarchists that you're not working 20 hour shift in a factory since the age of 7. (Some hack historians will tell you it was b/c businesses "found people worked more effectively" when they weren't deprived of sleep and starving but that's a load of shit. It was anarchists, and if you don't believe me sod off.)

(FYI I emailed FF about writing a post about anarchism in fantasy but, as with all my emails they never replied.)

Okay so that's settled.  What about religion? What Rostum was saying was that all institutions are inherently political and therefore corrupt. But unlike the state, which owes it's existence to authoritarianism, violence and capitalist exploitation, religion has the flexibility to be many different things. Religion is just a form of "social thickness"-- a way that people relate to form independent networks with their own sorts of norms. You've got Quakers and Unitarians (I'm sorry you sour atheists, but there is nothing bad you can say about Quakers) on one hand, then you've got Evangelicals on the other (I seriously can't think of anything good about Evangelicals no matter how hard I try).

In my opinion. Religion, when it's good, is anarchistic. It is a control on the inevitable repressive trajectory of the state.

For all its corruption, and priests banging nuns and kids and murdering people and who knows what else over the centuries.... the catholic church was the ONLY effective control on the monarchy which would have driven serfs to even more unsavory levels of exploitation. Alms for the poor isn't a solution, but without them we might not have the space for social movements today. Philanthropy might not even be valued.

In the colonial period, it was largely Jesuit priests that organized indigenous resistance to colonial powers and slave traders.

Today, the catholic church is the largest social service agency in Latin America. Liberation theology is responsible for anti-poverty and indigenous rights movements across the continent. It is the most effective way for people to organize en masse.  In El Salvador, priests and nuns died defending people from a violent, repressive state owned by a few families.

In Spain, interestingly, things played out differently. During Franco's rule, the Catholic church sided with the state, supporting fascism and essentially attempting to re-establish the monarchy.  Anarchist were Franco's biggest thorn, suicide bombers and armed resistance keeping him at bay in southern Spain.  Any way long story short, Spain is now incredibly atheist, b/c Franco lost and they never recovered.

As a dominant ideology, religion plays a much more unleasant role in the US. Religious leaders are responsible for the xenophobia, racism and fervent mobilization of much of the Republican base.  But you still have those crazy catholic nun activists that tried the shut down the School of Americas (a center training torturers in Latin America) in protests year after year, and all kinds of anti-nuke protests.  You also have the Baptist church in the African American community, both politically mobilizing people for the democrats and providing an anti-gang influence.

So which of these is doing "what it actually teaches"? Most of the bible is poorly translated, third hand accounts, invented in a congress of elites. If God is real, he didn't say any of those words and he's probably royally pissed that people would dare to pretend to speak for him for their own personal gain. So by that logic, joining a church is probably the fastest way to go downstairs.

If God isn't real, or if he's just really chill and forgiving about that whole hubris thing, then maybe "what it teaches" doesn't really matter and religion is just a social technology: the compassion or lack thereof in the hearts of those that use that social technology is that makes it good or evil.

Religious people who believe without thinking do so at the peril of their very souls, and atheists who dismiss it sourly are equally lost. In my opinion.  Obviously this is all just my most very humble opinion. Except the anarchism stuff. That's fact.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 21, 2019, 01:38:19 PM »
I think there's a difference between what corrupt people and groups within the Church have done and what it actually teaches.

Take any social or political system and show me where that is not the case. It's like an iron law time corrupts. There are also the absolutist teachings that get quietly ignored largely because they were ridiculous when written and utterly irrelevant now.

So are we supposed to destroy these systems completely and live in a state of anarchy?

Hey don't knock anarchy!!

Found a good B-movie with vampires and Alchemy on Amazon Prime. It's called Old Blood.

Checked it out. It had one review and it was 1 star

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Black Leopard Red Wolf
« on: February 20, 2019, 11:32:59 PM »

Is anyone reading this?  In the 90s I never would have imagined GQ doing a piece on a fantasy author!




Try Monstress

If you want more sci-fish : I found Gantz incredibly violent but addicting

It's not grimdark, but growing up I loved Elfquest and comicwise the Spiderman-Deadpool crossovers are hilarious

Writers' Corner / Re: Do you want to contribute to the Main Site?
« on: February 19, 2019, 05:21:30 PM »
Haha she never replied to the first one, which is making me wonder if she'll reply to this one either

I've found the umbrella academy to be wildly entertaining

@Eli_Freysson  You should check out Paul Shapera. He's got a bunch of rock Opera and other concept albums.  Steampunk,  Weird West and other crazy stuff.

I will. Thanks.

Unrelated to that... I'm in the middle of a deliberate ten-day break from sweets and pastries, and I can feel it affecting my mood...


EDIT: On the bright side I've discovered that dried mango slices make great candy.

Eli you've inspired me to try the same. Last time I tried this I wanted to kill everyone so we'll see v how long i last

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 19, 2019, 04:31:00 PM »
Bernie announced he's running and already my Facebook feed is full of people who supported Clinton in the last election vomiting vitriol. In fact the only reason I even knew he's running is from posts by angry centrists

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 17, 2019, 12:26:31 PM »

I saw this circulating elsewhere. It's incredibly scathing, but too irresistible not to post, so I put it in spoiler tags.

Spoiler for Hiden:

Someone asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?"

Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England, wrote this magnificent response:

"A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility - for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults - he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.

Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.

He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.

He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.

That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff - the Queensberry rules of basic decency - and he breaks them all. He punches downwards - which a gentleman should, would, could never do - and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority - perhaps a third - of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
* Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
* You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws - he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

'My God… what… have… I… created?

If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set."

Bradley, that sounds horrible. I would have smashed something, I think.
Did you think about setting everything on fire and start someplace else a new life?  :P

Do you have a long-term goal or plans? Because I think you can only endure so much shit if you know it a) won't be forever  and b) helps you achieving said goal.

I honestly feel like this kind of shit just follows you when in the United States (perhaps even the "developed" world in general. you just sort of hemorrhage money and get swallowed up by exploitation in the expensive countries).

I've been looking for long-term work outside of the US (preferably Latin America, but I wouldn't mind Europe or Africa) and just haven't been having any success at all. A lot of the bigger NGOs seem to be replacing their expat positions with local hires (my last interview with Oxfam was ages ago and they said I was the only Westerner they even considered interviewing, today the most interesting program positions at Oxfam and Amnesty and the like often say "must have the right to work in xyz country before applying"), and I haven't been able to break in.  And doing something remote (like writing) hasn't really panned out yet either.  I haven't figured it all out.

I've got some contacts in DC that might be able to get me a position with USAID but that's almost as awful as working for the World Bank.



* My car's speedometer is not working for the 4th time. It's been in the shop for two weeks.  I called the mechanic Fri and he said it was raining and then he got sick. His voice sounded like it was slurring so idk it could be his diabetes but probably he was drunk.  So no car.
* I pay 100$ to park in a dirt lot, which leaves my car perpetually covered in dirt.  Since I can't use my space I let my friend park there since he lets me borrow his car when I need it.  The officious old lady that hangs out in the parking lot accused him of being a gang member and said i can't have him use the key to the spot and lied about 3 people complaining to the lot owner.  (He'd parked his car there once and it was physically impossible that 3 people even saw him). So they made me take his car out.
* My kitchen is 2 burners and a sink in a tiny single unit.  The sink leaks out of the handle of the faucet every time I turn it on.  There's no space so i have to wash dishes as I cook, but when I do that water pours onto the burners, which is dangerous.  It leaks onto the floor.  it's a big leak.  I've been trying to get the landlord to fix it for like 6 months and he just won't do it
* the landlord just increased the price of laundry from 1$ to $1.50 to wash and 1.50 to dry.  There was only one dryer that actually dried and that seems to no longer be drying.  You have to run it twice to dry anything.  so that's basically 5$ in quarters to do one tiny load of laundry. It's actually really infuriating, like i basically have to go to the laundromat now.
* subway (the sandwich place) just changed their menu and everything is more expensive.
* my macbookPro has been held by these repair guys for 4 weeks.  i called them. They didn't know what was going on, then called me back to say that they can't get the hard drive working b/c the logiboard (motherboard) won't connect to any hard drive.  But they replaced the battery so i'm supposed to pay for the battery even though the damn thing won't boot up when it turns on.
* cookie ice cream sandwiches just went up from 5$ to 8$
* I  owe 800$ because I didn't have insurance last year
* I tried to get Medi-cal this year and they left a message saying I needed to call some number to provide documentation/additional "proof".  I called the number and it had a phone maze that took 20 min b4 I hung up.  I tried again and apparently if you just stay on the line after it tells you to hang up, it routes you to a person (who knew?).  After talking to a person they said they had no record of me and told me to call a different agency altogether.  i called that agency.  Another 20 min phone maze, which tells you to hang up.  i stayed on and reached someone who told me i needed to send them stuff, but our connection got bad so they hung up on me.  I called back, another 20 min phone maze and the person said no, I didn't need to send anything but I need to send stuff to the county.  I was like "that's not what the other person said" and they're like. "stop asking questions just call the county."  i called the county.  Another terrible phone maze, and when I finally reached someone they were super rude (which I suppose is to be expected as all people who work for the local govt are pretty awful, but it still pissed me off).
* I was supposed to teach a class in South America this summer. They have the kids submit an application (including passports, immunizations the whole nine yards) in one system, then they get a PIN from me to register in the college's system.  Me and the other instructor thought that we just needed 9 minimum in the first system, but I guess we needed 9 minimum in the second system.  We hadn't even approved anyone 3 days before the date that we needed our 9.  As soon as I found out, I approved everyone but my PIN wasn't working because IT problems.  It got fixed the day before our deadline.  We got 6 students.  They didn't deny us, but now I'm not even sure if we're going or not afterall it's insanely frustrating and I need the money I was going to get from the course :(

All of these things happened on Friday and I'm SO ANGRY. Plus the restitution checks I'm supposed to be getting stopped mysteriously so now i have to call the DA and i really just don't want to have to deal with anything else.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books
« on: February 15, 2019, 12:45:44 AM »
The review is so positive it sounds almost pandering... that said if I ever finish my WIP I think I'd want him to review it :)

This was interesting:


It's about how elder scrolls lore was actually community built

This. Lawrence is an awesome guy, and I thought this was a great way to say goodbye before traveling across the sea.

Well if you're looking for a LA-based loremaster... uhhh.... I can volunteer.

On another note, this article is incredibly touching!!!

Terry Prachett was penpals with this modder and they worked together to improve an NPC mod, which ultimately helped him keep playing Oblivion as he developed alzheimers, guiding him when he got lost.  She made him a goblin peace amulet so he could chill with Elders Scrolls goblins while writing his book Snuff.  THIS IS SO COOL!!!


These days we have to look for a science fiction/fantasy category to separate us out from the teenage romance and light porn.

Speak for yourself, I don't mind a little light porn in with my sci fi or fantasy. ;)

Well... in the 90s i seem to remember feeling like SF author Piers Anthony was the closest thing i had to porn available, and of course the fantasy art of Boris Vallejo.  I kind of miss the subtle ways porn was mainstreamed back then.  Now we've got Chuck Tingle and romance categories specifically defined by what animal the MC is having sex with in the title.  Subtext is dead.

1980s and 1990s:


My god, there is a lot of erotica involving actual bears. I knew it was a thing but damn that was overwhelming in quantity.  All sorts of other animals are things too, my fav title doing this, uh, research... uh, was "Wolf's Nipple."

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