elftaint: FRANK. N. FURTER. (Default)
This post over at Buckeye Surgeon (who I kind of have a hard-on for in the general and in the specific case, and who is one of the only people who can write about conservative thinking and philosophy without making me run for my logical knives) was great as usual, but particularly this:

Maggie Mahar does great work analyzing the intricacies of health care policy and reform but in this particular post she has written irresponsibly. If you're going to use a wide platform like Healthbeat to write about actual medical practice, then you have a journalistic obligation to do so in a much less capricious fashion.

One of my ongoing philosophical examinations is What Is Allowed In Conversation, publishing being a form of conversation. For a long time I've been politically on the side of "you're allowed to say anything, and the burden of proof is on other people if they feel the need to object." I knew it was wrong, but it was also extremely defensible; on this sort of basis - which is the fundamental basis on which every sort of online forum works, like it or not - I was in a position to develop the idea of the Most Defensible Internet Poster.

a little funny (not too funny)
authoritative but apologetic whether
right (apologize for maybe coming on too strong) or
wrong (apologize for being wrong in any way, there is no need to change what you actually say or think though)
ready to let the argument go at all times
constantly ready to pursue your audience and speak at their level and nothing but their level
Failures of communication are your failures, nobody owes you a platform or understanding.

Notice that there's nothing in there about the ethical or informational content of what you actually say. You can say anything as long as it's acceptably pitched. BTW this is a tested profile, and on its basis I have put some amazingly inflammatory content out into forums for webcomics, video games, American politics, womens' magazines, martial arts etc. If you want to change the minds of a huge crowd online: that's how you do it.

PUT YOUR PITCHFORKS DOWN: Of course, I developed this profile because I was having trouble getting people to pay attention to very ethically sound statements - I had to learn how to do this in order to be an adept communicator of ideas that I felt passionately about, beliefs that mattered to me. I was motivated by a desire to see and share in more humanism and tolerance than less. But it doesn't matter what you say as long as you say it the right way.

The concept that there is an innate responsibility in communication is remarkable to me. I'd spent so much time developing a delivery mechanism for the content I believed in that I had no concept that there was any sort of external obligation regarding what that content might be. Yet I knew as soon as I read it that it was correct: the mass communication of ideas should and does carry an inherent charge of responsibility.

The quandry is:

What constitutes responsible communication
and who decides this, now and in the future?

Because these questions cannot be simply resolved, because there is no body that does or reasonably can sit in authority over them, and because there is no readily identifiable negative to irresponsible online communication - the charge of responsibility for communicating online still exists but cannot be assigned or policed. So, functionally, it's like it's not there. It's a haunting.

None of that is the case in the example that Buckeye was discussing, so it's quite possible for him to discuss a medical journalist's irresponsibility. But can these issues be resolved in, say, public political communication?

(And, of course, as always, to me this reduces to a logistical problem - irresponsible communication is bad because it's an undue burden on people to obligate them to constantly sort and evaluate the rightness and wrongness of statements in an environment supersaturated with statements. There's just no fucking time. An algorithm, a new delivery mechanism, anything that would reduce the obligation load would also have the net effect of reducing the responsibility of the communicator.)

elftaint: (fuck shit stack)
Uho~ found volumes 6, 7, 8, and 9 of Love Mode in 50% Off bin at bookstore today. Brought home and devoured. After discussion with brother over multiple tajines, also got Rapidshare account and immediately downloaded a dozen albums from various blogspot sites.

It's easy to find stuff on the internet. I don't have to go to record shops anymore and rifle through their stacks and racks, taken by this or that album cover or promise of bonus tracks. All albums are reduced to identical accessibility and viability (nobody posts albums that they dislike after all.)

Is it or is it not silly to be nostalgic for browsing for stuff in shops. After all, browsing is all that one does on these blogs - but there's no sense of place, no romance of context. One does not try to impress the blogholder by downloading the "right" things any more than one steels one's self, as I did today, to hand four volumes of geicomi to a Japanese cashier a foot shorter than me who got nearly as red-faced about it as I did.

The retail experience is not lovable, neither for the tasteful nor the tasteless. Palatable only to the ignorant. And yet it is an experience that one does not control, and so it informs in a way that all this ready music and website surfing does not.

The heft of real life and the intrusion of other people's rules, etiquette, aesthetics, interests.

To have to get along and to deal with that perpetual tension of social interaction.

No, it is not pleasant. But I think when it is removed, an enormous segment of culture stops making sense. Not just shop scenes in movies, but the minds and motivations of people in movies who have, inevitably, been in shops: a tissue-fine analog veil, wood-grained, draped over one's character. To make yourself more palatable to others for that purchasing instant, since money is on the line, and to have borne those decisions and stresses, to interact with those clerks, to find the thing one is looking for in a small collection of available objects.

A new anxiety rises up to take its place: being lost in superabundance, having to build a line of interests and sorting systems that enable browsing on increasingly vast scales. And every purchasing system on the internet makes recommendations to you, as if that's any sort of a favor...
elftaint: FRANK. N. FURTER. (Default)

SuperSize Seymour by ~Atsheht on deviantART

Oh, I don't know; I think he has a certain... gravitas.
elftaint: a gay honeymoon. (let me take you to a magical fantasy)
Y'all know how ... complete a wussy I am, right. I can't watch scary movies, I can barely watch suspenseful ones. Anything too graphic, especially sadistic - I can't even stand the BUILDUP. I don't like guro anything, reading the first volume of Franken Fran left me horrified for days. I can't read books where horrible things happen. Well, widescale theatrical violence is fine (this is why I love Steven Seagal movies), but blood and guts is not. Obvious pain and suffering is not. I ran from the room in a bawling hysteria when watching "Cruel Intentions"!!! I am a great big twee weenie.

...so when I am writing a guro thread, or a snuff thread, or a brutal non-con thread, where does it all come from?

It's obvious I'm not copying anything. This isn't synthesis, the way Seymour is a synthesis of a Final Fantasy character and the dark-horse heroes of cheesy romance novels. It's not constructing something out of other parts.

Also, I can't imagine being on the other side of the equation. I don't know why people want their characters to be cut up or raped. I could understand wanted to get your character killed, but if I did that it would be such a ceremony - a deification. To have it done in some low shabby way is inconceivable to me. I don't get it, but I can do it - write as the rapist or the cut-up merchant or whatever.

Where does it come from?


By the same token, here is a description of what would be The Ultimate Smut Thread For Elf:

One of my particularly unlovable characters - Seymour, or that fucking bastard Feilong, or Varaszidien - wakes up in a nice bed in a nice home in a nice town next to a someone special. It's some summer dawn in a temperate climate, with dew heavy on the vegetation outside and sleepy birds crying and the buzz of dragonflies and bees outside. Someone Special is awake and has been for some time; s/he is entertaining himself or herself with idly petting Our Hero/ine. Tender drowsy banter ensues, a little light fondling, unhurried and sleepily inexpert coitus, a shower together, and then: "go back to sleep, I'll make breakfast." Doesn't matter who says it to who. Breakfast should be presented on a tray, makeshift or otherwise, alongside a water glass that has some hurried bouquet in it - peonies from the yard, still wet with dew, for example. The lovers eat lightly as they are rapidly distracted by the necessity of rewarding each other for making and enjoying such a lovely morning repast.

I stress that this scene would not "count" in any way if undertaken with the sort of characters most likely to find themselves in it, like Cid or whatever. It absolutely must be one of the difficult jerks. Seifer is the edge case, I suppose.

What a deceptive desire: it looks simple and pleasant, but it's not anything of the kind.
elftaint: FRANK. N. FURTER. (Default)
It's a privilege getting to absorb ideas from the people involved in LJRP. It's a privilege to get into the manga and music and culture and etiquette and dreams and goals.

I was talking to a cool-ass guy earlier who was dropping Justice in the context of Cobrasnake hipster parties and I was all fucking lol Cobrasnake, but it occurred to me that I would not have any fuckin clue about Justice if Em hadn't made me listen to them in re: Aizen Sousuke theme songs. 

Or swapping recommendations about which beautiful-young-boy-who-becomes-man-under-magical-conditions with Reg and Viv and Hound across two chats and plurk. That was cool. That level of hyperconnectivity doesn't exist in the non-LJRP world - well, it couldn't have happened in the space of seven hours across half a globe's worth of timezones, at least.

It gets so that I get frustrated having regular conversations with people. YOU MEAN JUST SIT THERE AND LISTEN? HOW AM I GOING TO SHOW THEM THIS PICTURE THAT IS RELEVANT OR LOOK UP THIS THING OR tough to relax and decouple the information stream from the humans-hanging-out stream. I don't think the one replaces the other; a body needs simple human contact with faces and hands and tones of voice and body language and chill time. But to fall into sync with someone's thoughts or patterns, or to learn to express something so that a new person understands you and vice versa -

...that happens much faster online than off.
elftaint: a gay honeymoon. (let me take you to a magical fantasy)
I understand that people think there's a strong, clear, obvious difference between the quality of interactions in formal games, dressing rooms, and museboxes. But it doesn't seem to hold up under examination.

Seems like the differences are purely structural:

Game: has app, (usually fixed) setting directed by mod, plot is directed by mod, required activity
DR: no app, setting suggested but not fixed by mod, plot(s) are directed by players, no activity required
Museboxes: no app or FRIENDSHIP APP, setting suggested or fixed by player-mod, plot(s) are directed by players, pals will nag you for tags

But your chances of getting, keeping, or losing CR aren't that much different in each. People disappear less often in games, but steady day-in-day-out players don't differ much in each. The quality of CR is not that much different in each. The quality of writing doesn't vary so much between categories as it does within samples of each category. For some people I know, their very best threads ever - the most beautiful, the most fun - were done in highly structured games based on formal rules and top-down modding. For others, and in this number I include myself, their best threads were done spur-of-the-moment in dressing rooms.

The biggest difference is in who's calling the shots, that's all. And some players/writers flower more fully under one set of conditions, others under another.

I don't understand the purpose of looking down on dressing rooms, though. YEAH they can be hives of shitty players shittily posting shitty posts to each other, so feel free to sneer if that's your thing, but they are above all a place where people are doing what they want because they want to do it. For someone like me, who has been so fortunate with partners and found so many truly excellent writers and players in dressing rooms, I find it difficult to understand why anyone would believe that it's not possible to get quality interaction in a dressing room.


In a larger sense I do take issue with the app/game model of running an RP. I think it's fundamentally broken. There is an overlap between the skills it takes to write a good app and to be a good player in a game, but the two skillsets are not synonymous. There is an overlap between the skills it takes to set up an interesting game (i.e. to be the architect) and the skills it takes to run an interesting game (i.e. to be the administrator) but the two are not synonymous. Games are also very high-committment and high-risk - building out a really good, sound, overarching-plot-type game can take 15-20 hours OR MORE, and you can't even be sure anyone will show up! Advertising a game fucking sucks - what if you're a great game architect but you can't write a cool-sounding blurb for shit? All your hard work down the tubes because you can't sell it. And and and

I'll go on in this vein for a while. The upshot is that all of RP has structural issues and limitations, and I start to think that one of the main reasons people pooh-pooh this or that format of RP is because

it's so hard for anyone to find what she wants in this big muck of games and players. it's already so hard, so why muddy the waters further with these types of RP that this player does not want.

...The fundamental cause of this unhappiness is a friction created by using a setup - a journalling web service - that is not designed to do what people need it to do for RP. It was never intended to run this sort of organization. Therefore I think the solution is to re-architect the way that RP games are set up and presented for browsing entirely.

Needless to say, I have a plan for this, but I'm leaving it to[personal profile] logios to architect and implement. So people who are interested in that should go friend Logios. :3c


Jun. 9th, 2010 01:52 am
elftaint: the eye of ELF (i so fucking see you)
Momus: The Book Of Jokes
Momus: Solution 11-167: The Book of Scotlands
Hemlock: We Deserve Better
Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature

This is just my "remember to buy these" list.

Not that anyone has ever asked, but my favorite authors are:

Poetry: John Donne
Fiction (serious): Stanislaw Lem, chased hard by Alasdair Grey
Fiction (ridiculous): Jennifer Blake
Philosophy: Foucault, then Dworkin
History: Desmond Seward, with class-trash-throwing Froissart nipping rudely at his heels
Science: Norbert Wiener (STOP LAUGHING)
Drama: John Marston, Lorca.

Lem and Foucault both I came to only in the last three years. Even more so than Shakespeare, whose flush and healthy beauty is an evergreen pleasure - Lem shocked me. His Master's Voice shocked me, and Fiasco, especially, appalled me with its maddening and abstract horror. The Investigation is a good place to start with Lem, since one comes to the method of his madness in short and clear form.

Where Lem shocked me, Foucault left me with the feeling of coming across some ancient manuscript of magic in which every page bristled with energy and power. I was converted at once to his deeply humane rigor, his potent and flexible command of complexity - because he doesn't simplify the complex, nor short it, but makes it possible for the reader to share in his control of it with him. I think -

If I had had to go through life without reading Foucault's Madness And Civilization, I would have persisted forever this painful and erroneous belief: that there is no such thing as a thought which can't be expressed. To break the expectation that everything could be communicated broke with it the expectation that I owed anyone an explanation for my thoughts. I was at last able to take hold of this (thankfully expressable) idea: a person is not obligated to make sense to other people.

Discipline & Punish was the 201 to Madness' 101 - it explained why on earth I had ever gotten the idea that a person is obligated to make sense to other people. Anyway, Foucault. <3
elftaint: (they live THEY LIVE)


Birthday wishes, presents, boners, etc. may all be deposited here. I am celebrating by driving my best friend to the airport at 5 in the morning, then ignoring my mother's phone calls for the rest of the day.

As it is my birfday, I will break ranks and announce unofficially that [community profile] lovesphere_afterhours will open a week from today. Lovesphere After Hours will be the all-ages non-smutty sister community to [community profile] lovesphere, and will receive its own fussing, whining, and weekly events.

Right, so. Let's get on with the wishing me well and kissing my ass and whatnot. Come on, I haven't got all day.


elftaint: FRANK. N. FURTER. (Default)
Elf, the horrible degenerate

September 2010

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