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You may or may not be familiar with the Youtube fad-let for inserting new captions over a particular scene from Downfall, with Hitler and his staff in the Berlin bunker right at the end of World War II.
...and on and on.

If you do know the fad, then you have to see this one. Jim Henley says it's the end of the Internet, and I think he's right.
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During a phone call:

Mom: Can you spell that out? I'm writing this down.

Me: w-i-k-i-p-e-d-i-a.

Mom (utterly deadpan): That's evil children, isn't it?

Me: *sustained giggles*

She knew what it was, she said that it just struck her that way all of a sudden. So it's not just me, you see, it's hereditary.

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"I hate how radio stations promise to play the greatest hits of the '80s, then play a song by Winger." — a friend griping
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(This is, more or less, insider politics. If you don't know what I'm referring to, don't sweat it.)

My thought: I simply don't have the energy to follow any of this stuff properly, and the world doesn't need any more people holding forth in ignorance. So I'm tuning out for a bit as I get my act together - dropping a few journals and blogs, maybe throwing a site or two into /etc/hosts to help myself not throw my face in the blender. I have a real obligation to myself and to people who care about and support me to deal with the immediate health issues—I need to not risk dying when there's stuff I can do to reduce the risk, basically. And I have a matching obligation to be aiming myself with some good long-term planning, to avoid the kind of death-courting rut I fell into.

So. Doing my best not to read, not to get sucked into, fights that I have nothing to add to, no help to give, nothing but the risk of being ground down at a time when I need all the scraps of physical and mental energy I have.

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So it's the 4th of July, official occasion of my country's founding, and once again the legacy is mixed, to put it mildly. But there's a side of American history that goes generally unhonored at official occasions: America is a land of smartasses. We were founded by smartasses. I give you Benjamin Franklin, writing to the Times of London in 1765:
And yet all this is as certainly true as the Account, said to be from Quebec, in the Papers of last Week, that the Inhabitants of Canada are making Preparations for a Cod and Whale Fishery this Summer in the Upper Lakes. Ignorant People may object that the Upper Lakes are fresh, and that Cod and Whale are Salt-water Fish: But let them know, Sir, that Cod, like other Fish, when attacked by their Enemies, fly into any Water where they think they can be safest; that Whales, when they have a Mind to eat Cod, pursue them wherever they fly; and that the grand Leap of the Whale in that Chace up the Fall of Niagara is esteemed by all who have seen it, as one of the finest Spectacles in Nature! -- Really, Sir, the World is grown too incredulous: Pendulum-like, it is ever swinging from one Extream to another. Formerly every Thing printed was believed, because it was in Print: Now Things seem to be disbelieved for just the very same Reason. Wise Men wonder at the present Growth of Infidelity! They should have consider'd, when they taught People to doubt the Authority of News-papers, and the Truth of Predictions in Almanacs, that the next Step might be a Disbelief in the well-vouch'd Accounts of Ghosts and Witches, and Doubts even of the Truth of the A ------ n Creed.
That's my country's spirit right there. Happy holiday, fellow Americans and bystanders.
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I first had this thought while reading tributes to Robert Jordan, and I'm having it again today while looking at tributes to David Eddings. I am, and always have been, something of a style snob. I was raised to appreciate good style, and to cultivate my own, and to enjoy sophisticated play with language. That in itself is neutral when it comes to my interactions with others, but it can become a problem when it makes me inclined to make too-broad judgments based on what is partly an aesthetic and partly the result of familial and cultural advantages—which is to say, privilege.

Today I've been reading the heart-felt regrets of people who are, like me, enthusiastic readers, for whom, just as for me, fantasy and sf open up interior visions, provide escape in times of trouble and satisfaction in times of relaxation, the whole deal. We share a fandom. And right now I'm feeling less than wonderful thoughts about myself for all the things I've said about people just like them because of their particular manner of expression.

It seems to me that this connects to the clash of cultures over sensitivity to and ways of dealing with racism, sexism, and other bias, but I'm still teasing out my thoughts about that.
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It just struck me: the way Dreamwidth's circles thing is set up, I really am saying, "I am interested in your product or service and wish to subscribe to your newsletter." I never actually subscribed to any newsletters as such from Usenet posts (mailing lists, yes), so I feel like I've fulfilled a long-neglected destiny.


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Ceri B.

April 2010

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