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Subject:And he that humbleth himself shall be exalted
Time:07:11 pm
“I am, in all modesty, a skilled author, one of the finest writing today.” — John C Wright, 23 Aug 2015

“So, all modesty aside, I understand materialism, and the arguments for and against it, far better than anyone who had arisen to argue with me here.” — John C Wright, 18 Oct 2012

In all modesty, my science fiction writing is first rate. If I were not a Christian, I should most probably win awards for my writing.” — John C Wright, 2 Feb 2011

“I know there are honest atheists in the world, great souls armed and armored to fight for the truth for truths sake, and no personal benefit to themselves — because (in all modesty) I used to be one.” — John C Wright, 28 Feb 2010

“I was at first reluctant to read this book, because it covers much the same genre — far future utopianism — as my own THE GOLDEN AGE, and, in all modesty, I did not want my imagination to be contaminated with ideas better than mine, but not original to me, which it would then be a struggle not to use in my own work.” — John C Wright, 3 Apr 2009

“This is my favorite book by my favorite author, and, in all modesty, I am the only writer alive today with the skill and inclination to write a Vanvogtian tale of superscientific wonder, give it the mood and flavor of the 1940’s, and introduce a new plot twist every 800 words, just as van Vogt would have done.” — John C Wright, 5 Dec 2008

“And, putting all modesty aside, I was perfectly suited to write this book.” — John C Wright, 20 Nov 2008

In all modesty, if I were to leave science to experts, I could not be a science fiction writer, nor could anyone, except, perhaps, Fred Hoyle.” — John C Wright, 25 Feb 2007
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Subject:The Wright order
Time:04:51 am

I see that, in the comments under Tom Doherty’s recent message on Tor.com, there is one from John C Wright, in which he makes the following claim:

I am not unrepentantly homophobic. I am nothing of the kind. It is a lie.

I follow the Catholic teaching on same sex attraction and how one deals with it. In public, I have heaped scorn on those who use a children’s cartoon, one I loved, to insinuate their pro-perversion propaganda in a cowardly and craven way.

I have no hate, no fear, nothing but respect for homosexuals.

In response to this, I remind everyone of his recent hastily-deleted comment (archived for posterity at the Obsidian Wings blog):

Men abhor homosexuals on a visceral level. […] I have never heard of a group of women descended on a lesbian couple and beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons, but that is the instinctive reaction of men towards fags.

While Wright implies that his opinions about homosexuals derive from his beliefs as a Catholic (and leaving aside that most of the Catholics I know do not share those particular beliefs), I note that his conversion experience appears to have happened towards the end of 2003, while his ugly beliefs about homosexuality pre-date that conversion by at least a year:

I remember the day and hour when I, a perfectly tolerant libertarian, rejected (with revulsion) the notion of gay marriage, and, in so doing, was logically required to reject toleration for homosexuality. It was March 05, 2002, at 10:00 in the evening. I was watching a television show where two lesbians were helping a bride get ready for her wedding. The bride spoke in the most glowing and romantic terms about the nature of true love: the two lesbians started making bedroom eyes at each other and smiling, for it was the intent of the writer to put across the idea that two lesbians having “sex” (i.e. masturbating with each other) was morally and logically the same as a bride and bridegroom having “sex” (i.e. consummating their wedding, and generating progeny and creating a family).

While I was (hitherto) willing to accept the libertarian argument that perverts should be left alone to practice their perversions, so long as they harm none but themselves, the liberal argument that true love is perversion and perversion is true love was so shocking to me that I was thunderstruck to the core of my being.

Furthermore, I notice that in Wright’s account of his spiritual journey, it was his “philosophical inquiries” that led him to Christianity, as early as two years before the heart attack that resulted in his vision. It seems to me more likely that it was antipathy towards homosexuality that turned Wright towards his faith, than the other way around.

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Time:05:00 am

I haven’t done one of these in ages. Still been going to MoCCA every year, but I’ve been forgetting to record my hauls.

This year the festival was held at Center 548, way over (way, way, way the fuck over) on West 22nd St, near 11th Ave. The festival was held on the second through 4th floors of the building, with a tiny elevator and treacherously narrow and steep stairs. My least favorite MoCCA venue so far.

Programming was held at the nearby High Line Hotel. I got to see Scott McCloud’s presentation on his new book, The Sculptor, thanks to his tweeting about how people should show up anyway, even though the room was “sold out.” As it happened, this was a good idea; there were empty seats, and I had no problem getting in.

I later got Scott McCloud to sign my copy of The Sculptor (not purchased at the show, so not listed below). When I told him my name, he said “The only Avram I’ve ever run into had the last name Grumer…” and I reminded him of the previous time we’d had the conversation.

Books

  • Towerkind by Kat Verhoeven. Conundrum Press.
  • Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? by Liz Prince. Top Shelf Productions.
  • AltCom 2012 and 2014, anthologies published by a Swedish comics festival. I paid $5 for the two of them, but now I see, on the back, they’re supposed to be free. I guess they’re free at the festival, but someone had to pay to get them here from Sweden. Anyway, I also got to try a piece of that salty Swedish licorice, so maybe that makes it all OK. Here’s a link to their Facebook page, since their website is down.
  • Terrestrial, an anthology, edited by Amanda Scurti.
  • Horizon Anthology, Volume One, edited and designed by Jeremy Lawson.

Floppies & Minis

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Subject:Ello
Time:02:48 pm
For those trying out Ello, I’m there as avram.
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Subject:Israel/Gaza, as seen by four social networks
Time:05:37 pm

How four social networks inform me about the current Israel/Gaza conflict, in order of where I first started seeing things:

  • Facebook: Shares of pro-Israel/anti-Gaza graphics, some of them direct Israeli Defense Force propaganda with the identifying logo at the bottom. All of the sharers are personally known to me, and all are Jewish. Most (maybe all?) of the shares are made without comment, as if the graphic itself says everything the person posting it feels necessary to say.
  • Twitter: Tweets from a number of users, all left-leaning, who link or retweet longer, thoughtful articles examining various aspects of the conflict. Many of the articles are meta-commentary about media coverage of the conflict.
  • LiveJournal: A single user (osewalrus), well-informed, who personally favors Israel, but offers up commentary and advice that takes the motives and goals of both sides seriously. And one other guy who made a passing reference while talking about something else.
  • Google+: Nothing yet. Right now, the only post I see on my G+ stream that mentions Israel does so in the context of criticizing American airport security.

This confirms reinforces for me a number of beliefs I already held about the services (no doubt shaped by my particular use of those networks, and thus possibly not truly representative):

  • Facebook is for shallow, unreflective contact. (Also: Most of my relatives and some of my friends are reflexive and thoughtless in their support of Israel.)
  • Twitter is mostly tech-savvy and intellectual.
  • LiveJournal is pretty much dying off, unless you speak Russian. Also, osewalrus is a pretty smart guy.
  • Google+ is great for talking about role-playing games, not for much of anything else.
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Subject:I voted
Time:05:23 pm

If I were living in Ohio or Florida, I’d have held my nose and voted for the war criminal. But I’m not! I’m living in New York, a state which is going to deliver its electoral votes to the Democratic Party candidate this year, no matter what I did at the voting booth. So I was free to vote my conscience, and did:

President/Vice-President:
Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala, Green Party
US Senate:
Colia Clark, Green Party
US House of Representatives:
Yvette Clarke, who’s a Democrat, but I voted for her on the Working Families line, because NY supports fusion balloting.
Justices of the Supreme Court:
Cheryl Chambers, Barry Kamins, William Miller, all on the Democratic Party line. The only two alternatives, both on the Working Families line, were not approved by the NY Bar Association.
Judge of the Civil Court:
Craig Walker, Robin Garson, on the Democratic Party line.
State Senator:
Eric Adams, a Democrat, on the Working Families line. (I think. I might have messed this one up and voted him as a Democrat.)
Member of the Assembly:
Walter Mosley III, Democratic Party.

The polling place was pretty crowded. It took five or ten minutes for me to get my ballot, and then twenty minutes on line to submit my ballot once I’d filled it out.

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Subject:We're fine
Time:03:36 pm

We’re in a second-floor apartment, over a hundred feet above sea level, so it wasn’t likely we’d see any flooding. There was some chance that we’d suffer the failure of some bit of urban infrastructure (power, water, etc) due to problems in the rest of the city, but things went pretty well. Lights flickered occasionally, but we never actually lost power. We lost our Internet connectivity for a minute or two, but it came right back. (That seems to have been neighborhood-wide. I saw a bunch of nearby people on Twitter making the same complaint around the same time.) Some (but not all) of the cable channels went out around 11:40 PM, but they’re back now.

The subways are still out, so I have no idea whether tomorrow’s NYRSF meeting will happen. The MTA says bus service will be partially restored later today, so Chris may be able to get to work tomorrow.

We are, however, out of bagels.

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Subject:Talk about infinite canvas!
Time:04:17 am

I haven’t explored every bit of the most recent xkcd, but I think I may have found its outer edges:

Given those URLs, it ought to be possible to write scripts that’ll download all the tiles (some spots seem to be procedurally filled with white or black space instead of having tiles) and stitch ’em together into the full image. Maybe tomorrow.

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Subject:Alone, unmourned, and unloved
Time:11:33 pm

On the same day that BoingBoing announces that it’s publishing the newest Elquest story online, I read that Dave Sim seems to be quitting comics.

This is great news for the Pinis, but it’s unfortunate that the creator of the other big indie comic of that same generation can’t seem to figure out how keep his career afloat.

Granted, many of Sim’s problems are of his own making. Not only did his wife divorce him, but I’ve recently learned that Gerhard no longer associates with Sim either professionally or personally, and that Sim is estranged from his family. I don’t know the stories behind those latter two things (and only a bit about the first), but someone who wrecks all of his close relationships probably isn’t doing a great job with business relationships either.

(Also, if you’re building your career on a single massive comic-book project, you might want to think twice about inserting into it a crazy rant describing half the human race as parasitic leeches.)

Still, Sim’s failure makes me melancholy.

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Subject:Walling keeps creeping
Time:02:03 am

You’d think René Walling would have taken his banning from Readercon as a warning, and cleaned his act up. That’s what a sane person would do, right? Take extra-special care not to be a sleazy jerk, just to be on the safe side? Just out of a sense of self-preservation, even if not out of an honest desire to be considerate of women’s feelings? You’d think.

I had hoped so, if for no other reason than that he and I have at least a couple of friends in common, and his bad behavior hurts those friends (in addition to the women he behaves badly towards). But here’s some news from the just-ended Worldcon in Chicago:

From: copperwise
2012-09-05 12:26 am (local)

I was disgusted to find him tending bar at the Commonwealth party. Then he made repulsively suggestive comments to the girl I was hanging out with. She was disgusted by his smarmy, smirking leer, but she didn’t feel he was worth making an issue of. She was unaware of the Readercon issue at the time, though.

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[icon] Avram's journal
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