Thursday, December 18, 2008

REVIEW: Distress by Greg Egan


I was so ready to condem Greg Egan, in his novel Distress, of manipulating all these intersting cosmological discussions into just another “it's all in our subjective experience” type of metaphysical doctrines.

But, he managed to create a philosophically intersting theory of cosmology. But,one thing I can feel safe in disliking is modern intellectuals' continued elevation of “information” to a metaphysical status.

Modeling our understanding on metaphors or analogies has never been more than a temporary advantage, allowing us to see phenomena in a new perspective, emphasize a new aspect, and thus give us and increasingly integrated, and dynamic view of existence.

The problem is that intellectuals confuse the metaphor for the phenomena it describes. This is what produces such ideas as The Universe is Information. In Distress, this causes the theory that humans can 'mix with information.'

Thinking of 'information' more than the actual phenomena, that is, discussing the category 'information' as a set referent, almost as a substance, encourages people to forget that they are actually describing discrete occurrences of discrete entities. Thus the category is emphasized and over emphasized, until a new model attains popularity.

The over-emphasis on the category is what causes it's overthrow. For example, Meachanism came about around the time when machines started gaining prevalence in Europe.

Then, and on through the Industrial Revolution, it became more and more interesting and useful to talk of the body as a machine, the natural world as a machine, the cosmos as a machine, with great wheels and pullies, with each part doing its part for the greater process.

But, in its way, this also led to the excesses of Behaviorism, which tried to reduce human behavior to something comparable to the simple machines our species produced in the last five hundred years or so.

But, Behaviorism, and the Vitalism-Mechanism debate, along with Bergson, our no longer much thought of.

Now, all the denial of consciousness and innate cognitive functions has created the new paradigm, which is often modeled on the new, dominant machine: the computer.

Anyways, the universe is not a huge information system. It is a bunch of different things which we can sometimes regard as single and sometimes as several.

But, aside from Egan's causing me to rant on the above topic, he made me happy with Distress.

The cool things are as follows:

-He puts the distress illness up front and then gets the reader focused on the final theory of everything being debated at a T.O.E. Conference, and the plot to attack the most prominent theorist.
There's a bunch of back story too, then, after all this theory and action, he ties in Distress with all these silly radical physics/mystical groups, and the T.O.E.

-He didn't make the anarchist utopia aspect two prominent. Once in a while, I go back and read The Disposessed to partake of that beautiful hierarchy free society, or The Cassini Division with the even better abundance-economy based on an anarcho-capitalism gotten from egoist-materialist philosophy.

But, usually I'm more concerned with new ways of seeing things, and understanding new ideas. So, for me, authors don't need to do the Bellamy trip. And I think most serious readers don't need to be pitched on the benefits of utopia. It's more comfortable to deal with the problems with one's own ideas (that is what's good about Macleods Fall Revolution series.)

Thats what Egan gets right in this one. I tried another one of his books, in audio form, but I couldn't get into it. I forgot the name, but the beginning had a glossary. It was all on .mp3 file, so I had to skip past it and when I got to the actual story, it was a bit confusing.

-This book helped me to get a better sense about what might be the significant part of modern physics. Usually, it's hard for me to get into strings and all that, and I just think: Structurally, we are no further than Democritus and Zoroaster, in as much as we still down to the ultimate substance of reality being smaller smaller composite elements (atoms, strings) or a bigger version of us (god).


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NON-FICTION: I want to be Michael Chabon, not a Phillip Roth.

I thought of a great analogy/method of overcoming my writing problems, particularly narrative and description.
Stephen King is like Shannon, Michael Chabon is like Tim/Misael/Jerry
What Stephen does that I can't is, like Shannon, he decorates better than me.
Every time I write something, there is always insufficient information, and with this novel I've been revising, now that I've added more description and plot information, it still doesn't seem very good.
It's like now I've prettied up my novel, but it's still unimpressive, something I invite all my friends over to see, and then console myself by saying “The place is still awkwardly put together, and uninspired, but it's good for Darren.” and thinking that it's because my other strengths that they still like me, inspite of the house I live in, when my friends fail to show anything but polite agreement.
It's not because I'm lazy, as the common folk might say. 'Lazy' is a concept only meaningful in coexistence with 'duty'. Otherwise, all you have is a desire not to do something, which then may conflict with a desire to do something.
But I am not 'lazy' about not wanting to go outside naked, I am 'lazy' about the things I don't think of or don't want to do. And, with decorating my house, I am just not aware enough.
I think this is because I am either dissociated due to my abuse trauma, or a natural tendency towards particular perceptual orientations, or both.
As it turns out, you can have fun coming to my house for the conversation, but it's not comfy, and not somewhere where you want to live.
I can't just let go and give the reader all the information they might need, I'm too condescending.
Like, just now, I thought “Should I indicate to the reader of this post that I am talking about my house to describe my story?” And the answer was “If they stupid enough not to get it, I might need to offer a little hint!”
So, in an attempt to overcome, to some extent, my sparse stories, I will try to figure out how I would compete with Shannon, Tim, Jerry, and Misael, if I had to have a few friends over and make them think that hanging out, and staying the weekend or longer was more fun at my place then at other people's places.
Let's look at the bowl I just took a bit out of. I made a 'soup' by butting bananas in a little boiling water and then peeling oranges and putting them in one wedge at a time.
I didn't plan it out ahead of time, I just repeated what I did yesterday. I didn't use the same amount of each fruit, nor did I consider the idea of using the same proportions.
And in my house, there are too many things, which I am not good at organizing.
So, if guys were coming over to my house, I would best to clean two days before they came, and then again, the day they came.
I would have to clean the kitchen extra well, and I would have to make the bowls, spices, vinegar, soy sauce, and every else non-essential to what they need to see in a kitchen. I would also, if I had them, put some flowers over the sink in the window.
So far, not at all creative.

One thing I would do, which I usually don't, is pay attention to my personal appearance when my friends came over. I would shave, shower, where nice, clean clothes, make sure I didn't have too many ingrown hairs, and that my hair wasn't too meessy.
Oh, I would have to think about where they were gonna be sitting, how far apart from each other, what they would be sitting on, what they would have to choose from, in turns of comfort versus utility. I would also think about what they were going to looking at while they were sitting.
I would do well to hide all but a few, nice looking, cosmetic bottles and tubes, maybe leave out the tube of light velvet lotion, or the dark red chanel perfume bottle.
If it was Jerry, Misael, or Tim, I'm sure they would like to have something fancy, like a special kind of beef for dinner, fancy silverware, a cigar, or wine.

Shannon would like to have something somewhat novel, exotic, or something very traditional and authentic.
I would like prepare something light, and with treats, like cakes, pies, or fruit. I would also give them tea rather than wine, or coffee. I might also offer them to get high, to enhance our experience.
Well, let's see what lessons I have so far:
King does traditional story types better than I do, he likes the exotic, but not too exotic, like Douglas Adams, Mieville, or Egan.
Chabon wants to dazzle his readers, and the last time I had guests over, I just made jokes, let them choose a dvd to watch, and made sarcastic comments. I was wearing my thermals and my purple Eagle Point, Oregon sweater that I've had for ten years but won't throw away because it's so comfy.




NON-FICTION: The Conservatives Linguistic turn.

I just saw the new keypoint in the Republican's anti-Gay marriage campaign: The end to future etymologies. I saw it on one of the new daily shows that Steve downloaded.

After trying to say that gay marriage would mean the redefining of the venerable old institution of marriage, which has always been about men and women, they have now decided that the meaning of marriage is not as crucial as how it's struggle relates to the greater struggle against lexiconic progression.

In the course of Daily Show, Mike Huckabee, who was advocating this position, used several words the course of the interview which have in the recent century been assaulted by the mutations of language evolution.

And just as the Republicans are promoting an ideology that denies biological evolution, so too have they acquired sufficient intellectual consistency to deny the theory that claims it 'natural' for the meaning of words to expand, or for any word, like 'matter' to randomly evolve into a different word, through altered meaning, pronunciation, or writing.

Instead, they are advocating the respect for unwavering, eternal language, and, as with Plato, they know that the only eternal language is in the mind of God.

While God may have changed his own meaning of marriage to suit the present times, this is not the work for the polluted will of humanity. Leave it to God to change the definition of marriage!

As Huckabee said, 'word's matter' and you can't just go changing words all over the place.

Now that it is uncool to say that homosexuality is a disease, perversion, or choice, it is much wiser to retreat from the standpoint of evaluating homosexuals, the individuals who want to get married, and focus your renewed attack on linguistic theory and it's evolutionary bias.

You can't be called a homophobe for holding a platonic view of concepts. And that is as it should be, philosophy, and all other voluntary behaviors that cause no harm to others should be allowed by the citizens of any nation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Movie Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno The path of comedy fails to move on, but shuffles it's feat a bit.


When I started watching this movie, I didn't know who had made it. I was happy to see that they gave Darrel from The Office more dialogue. I was suspicious right away that his opening 'nigger' joke was written by a white person, indulging in what he considered to be a bold, politically incorrect depiction of how things really are.
I didn't make the connection from this clue, nor from the fact that the story was taking place in a coffee shop where people spent more time speaking in sentences structured on the witty banter of screwball comedies, noir, and hitchcock, than cleaning the counters, stocking, or looking busy.

When it got to the first crucial plot point: Seth Rogen convinces the Miri chick to make a porno, I was impressed at the believability of Rogen's rationalization, but not at the fact that he actually convinced her.

Then, it gets interesting when they start to make the first porno, because that's something you don't see friends doing in these movies. (Of which sort 'these' refers to, I will get to in a minute.)
Then, they jack it up with more self indulgence. In addition to the Star Wars (a knight/samurai/cowboy film with a sci-fi look) obsession evident in the porno itself, they add a horrible song, apparently made by Alvin and the Chipmunks after they got out of rehab and were trying to make a comeback.

The song was offensive because of the indulgence of the song's lyrics, which were about Star Wars, but also because the music and vocals sucked shit. When I found out who the director was, this made sense, but at the time, I thought, perhaps, that this embracing of the stereotyped nerd culture was spreading.

I forgot to mention that this movie follows that same tired plot which, I understand, the director learned from the guy who made the Breakfast Club (excuse my ignorance of his name, I'm not sophisticated enough to pay attention to the fine art of semi-literates)

Some friends, who turn out to be soul mates, get into a jam and come up with a scheme, unlikely friends soon form a group of solidarity, and it all works out.

The innovation in this film was that the porno never actually got made. But, then after a spell, the male heroine finds that his estranged, true love is still there waiting for him, with her vagina unsoiled by other males.

Guy flicks have undifferentiated, hot women, whom the protagonists never really understand, although Kevin Smith tries a lot harder than other directors, and the Miri Chick wasn't without substance, while chick flicks, have hot, undifferentiated guys, who only want to do the right thing, in the end, and are always willing to tolerate those unlikeable quirks of the stereotyped woman.

Does Kevin Smith spend more time thinking up justifications for this unremarkable film, or does he spend more time idealizing things of the past instead of looking for things of the future?

The Passion of Mao: Countries are much simpler when you analyze them simplistically.

What do the Chinese think about Mao? Or to be more specific, what do a billion people think about Mao? My guess would be, a lot of different things.

But, Lee Feigon has made things easier by taking the traditional American, anti-communist, Mao Is Bad position and countering with, Mao was a great and brilliant leader (though heavily flawed.)

This is okay and I was eager to hear a defense of Mao. I got that defense and it has made me reassess my view of him, in some ways. Like, I'm open to the idea that he had a positive influence on the economy of the fifties and sixties, and that he was in favor, in word only, of democracy and opening up.

But, the unforgivable element of this documentary, is that it tries to represent the views of those billion or so people by selecting only three or four that agree with the guy's positive view of Mao and the Cultural Revolution.

Lee Feigon is a professor of Chinese History. I, on the other hand, am nothing more than a high school graduate who has lived and worked with Chinese people for the last six years. I'm also fluent in Mandarin and I read the newspapers (very slowly) and watch the T.V. here regularly.

The most common view encountered is that Mao is a hero for his liberation of China from the clutches of the KMT (GuoMinDang) 国民党and the Japanese.

People don't say “I love him because he was a Communist.” They admire him like Americans admire the founding fathers, as distant figures who preached good things that we appeal to but never follow. A couple weeks ago, I asked my mother-in-law about what it was like when she was a kid, which was around the start of the cultural revolution. Her family were dirt poor farmers.

She said they didn't have anything to eat or anything else. Some people wood go into the woods, or to the mountains, to dig up plants for medicine, but they would do it in secret or at night. If they got caught, they would be accused of being capitalists. Also, people would meet in secret at night to trade things, since this was also capitalistic.

She said the teachers sucked in those days, and when the cultural revolution started, nobody cared about school anymore.

She said a lot of people went to ChuanLian 串联, to unite and go do the work of communism.

She said a lot, but she never reflected on the ideology of any of it. She didn't like not having anything, but she didn't conclude that Communism or Maoism were failed ideologies, or that capitalist democracy was the way to go. Nor did she have much good to say about it.

A woman who works at a mandarin training center where I teach (English), said it was a 灾难 disaster. But she said she was from a wealthy family, and that she didn't like Mao at all. She said her family was destroyed by communism.

What you will be hard pressed to find here, are people who admire Mao because they are socialists or communists.

Feigon says that Chinese people have moved on, while westerners stay fixated on the communist era. He doesn't mention is that there is no free press here, and a lot of older people don't easily talk about it with their children.

He also doesn't mention the fact. That what Chinese people have moved on from, is that thing that Mao was trying to do, but never practiced in his own life: Communism.

You will find people in China who have all kinds of views on everything, much as it is with the rest of the world. I've heard people say they love Bush Jr., they love Hussein, they hate Americans, they love Jesus, they hate Japanese, they study Japanese. But what you don't hear, and what I have tried in vain to find for the last six years, are Chinese socialists/communists who admire Mao as a socialist/communist hero.

This is something easily found in most western countries. And there is no freedom of speech here, so it's fair to argue that the real problem is that people are afraid to speak up. But, if you spend long enough with people, you will here all kinds of illegal talk, like “America should attack China”, “I really want to know more about TianAnMen square, but the government won't let us.” “I think Hu Jintao is a criminal.” “The Communist Party is bullshit.”: and so forth.

I have heard many people here say “I am capitalist” and a few say “I'm a socialist”, but none say “We really have to fight these bosses and mobilize the poor people to strike and seize power” What you do hear, everywhere, from children to t.v. shows, is “I want to be a boss.” and “I want to start my own business.” In fact, I think the frequently expressed desire to have one's own business is just about as high on my Annoying Things I'm Tired of In China as all the business books I see, translated from English and featuring white guys with ties on the covers.

But, as I am tired of having to repeat, there are no socialists/communists here to be found.

The last two things.

How can you represent Mao, by using the sympathetic testimony of four Chinese people? If you don't have contrary views, than you are implying that these people represent the views of The Chinese, and that is the view that most viewers will take away. Never speak for a country, unless your damn sure you know what they think. Otherwise, you cause confusion and make yourself look dishonest.

The other thing is, this movie really made me realize that Mao was born into a upper peasant family, became a student (his tuition paid for by his father), then became a businessman and a principal, then a military leader, then an emperor. But never did he live as a classless citizen, a struggling proletarian, or a worker under the rule of the Comunist Party. He was, in the end, after power.

That is something he has in common with most of history's great leaders. And in this sense, Feigon's defense of Mao is worthy of it's attempt, for it shows that he really was not so different from any other leader, preferring hierarchy over god, country, socialism, and the rest.

BOOK REVIEW: Apologetics instead of Exploration

I don't know if the authors of The Spiritual Brain are Christians, but their methodology of advancing their ideas is close enough to Creation science. I'm on cd5 now and so far all I have heard are attacks on materialist ideas of the brain; accusations of dogmatism, the angry attacks on heretics by materialists, intolerance and persecution of pure hearted, well intended, scientific explorers of the soul.

The less than amusing feature of this method is that, so far, I have yet to hear any new ideas about the spiritual brain.

In all honesty, I recall feeling stimulated by a few points, but they are buried in my mind by the inundation of anti-materialist science rhetoric.

Actually, I do remember one bit mentioned a couple of chapters ago, Karl Popper said that there is something called 'promisory materialism' and this sounds like a very interesting critique of certain tendencies in science, especially considering Popper's reputation as a skeptic interested in epistemology.

But that's not from the authors of the book, they just employ the quote in the process of showing that atheists and people who explain god through neurological phenomena are, suprise suprise, the real practitioners of faith.

The earliest I can recall hearing this “So you believe in science! Ah hah! You have faith in science!” was from the head of the Christian club at Cerritos High School. Science is a religion! Well, there goes my denial of the Christ's, who is the same substance as god, according to experts, came back to life and ascended to heaven. In actually, my response then is still more than sufficient for me: The concept of god as I it is generally defined is self-contradictory, and it's proponents say as such, thus it has no clear meaning, or way of evaluating it's validity. Therefore, as a metaphysical proposition, it's nonsense.

I'm listening to the book now, and I just heard another tired point: that materialist explanations of god take away right and wrong, and leave only our base desires. A bit after that comes the logical conclusion of scientific explanations, who all we atheists know and love: Pol Pot.

Pol Pot dehumanized his victims, and do you know why? Not because of some analytic interpretation of the workings of his mind. Not because people, on the whole, are equally capable of helping and hurting each other. Of course, the reason is that Pol Pot didn't have a spiritual view of the soul and morality.

Religion, on the other hand, upholds the value of each life, except for when the gods kill us in their wars, or when the Judeo Christian God is offended and floods the planet or tells his star pupil Joshua to kill his disobedient neighbors.

Christianity, whose anti-science apologetics this book resembles, has many strands that claim that man is unworthy of redemption, unworthy of God's forgiveness, but only saved through the grace, the charity, the whimsical forgiveness of God. Why are we unworthy? Because, we disobeyed!

I think the God family needs counseling.

Anyways, this book is still going on about how materialism is wrong. I was really interested in hearing scientific evidence for a non-materialist view of the mind, but apparently these guys have been too busy crouching under the assault of Dennet, Dawkins, Ramachandran, and all the other unscientific adherents of the religion of materialism.

This is why the authors of the Spiritual Brain have, halfway through the book, declined to mention one single testable hypothesis.

It's the same old shit: You guys can't PROVE we are wrong, so therefore... you know, stop being mean.

Meanwhile, the scientifically rigorous advocates of the, apparently scientific content-less Spiritual Brain continue to attack scientists who take the brain as being identical with the mind.

I thought he was going to get to some evidence just now, but he's just going off again on how scientists who claim to have identified neural correlates of consciousness, at various times, have been shown to be wrong, or drawing false conclusions from their experiments.

He's talking about OCD now, and the cingulate, ganglia, and neuronal plasticity. Let's see... I'm guessing something's coming about how the scientists who thought they could fix OCD by identifying the NCC's of OCD failed, and therefore, the default implication is god!

I have recently listened to the audiobooks Unweaving the Rainbow and Ancestor's Tale.

(Now he's arguing for free will......I assume that's what his opponents are denying and what can only be located in the non-material spirit)

Anyways, in the two Dawkins books, he didn't spend his time attacking non-materialist views of biological diversity. On the contrary, he talked about the topics indicated by the title of each book. He also spent a fare amount of time criticizing certain aspects of thinking among scientists. He spends even less time attacking religion.

Of course, there is a book in which Dawkins attacks all religion. That is The God Delusion. Here again, the book is about the title. And, although he does, at times, make strong, declarative statements against religion and it's adherents, he is also reasoned and precise in his description of what he opposes and why he opposes it.

I became an atheist for philosophical, primary epistemological reasons, back when I was into Ayn Rand and Objectivism, so I was always inwardly dismissive of scientists speaking on the issue of God.

It was, for me, what it still is: an issue to be analyzed on the grounds of it's assertions, which are fundamentally and eternally non-empirical. Thus, the whole discussion of religion in conjunction with the realm of science is offensive and shameful, unless they are finally going to say. “We think God is real, this experiment will test it. If the data conclusively holds up in contradiction of our god hypothesis, we will give it up.” Theists don't think this and, insofar as they discuss or revere Science in conjunction with religion, they are nothing but frauds.

But, after hearing Dawkins, I forget where I first heard him, I was impressed by his way of talking and listened to the The God Delusion. I was even more impressed by the lovely, beautiful diction and accuracy with which he discussed everything. As far as the content, he dealt with many accusations against evolution and science by religious people in a way that I hadn't thought of.

I ve listened to hours and hours of anti-evolution, Christian lectures.

(this guy on the book just said something to the effect of In the decade of the brain, it had already been shown that the Mind can significantly influence the Brain!!!! That's fucking great. On one hand, we have an idea that what we experience is actually a phenomena of the brain. On the other hand, we have this guy saying that the brain is not the mind, and he demonstrates that by showing errors of scientists. Oh dear, while I was typing the previous few sentences, he has been showing how much medical treatment of psychological conditions are placebo effects! Mind over matter. That hasn't been working as indiscriminately as our African ancestors must have had faith it would, when they were faced with death, the neanderthals closing off the northern border of the continent, or any of the little shit that we still face every day. Insofar as it has been verified, it has been verified by quantitative measurement, and empirical observations. Once again, it reminds of me Dawkins, when he says that if a headline announcing that scientists had proof of God appeared tomorrow, you can be sure that the vast majority of theologians would be trumpeting it to their flocks, but, otherwise, they will deny the right of science to evaluate religious claims.)

Anyways, listening to all that Christian Anti-evolution, even though I was listening to it out of enjoyment of ideological apologetics of all kinds, started to grow on me, and I began to think Evolution was insignificant. But I had never thought of it as significant anyways. Now I have really begun to see the beauty and intellectual pleasure of contemplating the complexity of the natural world. But how would I have acquired this if I believed that the most important source of understanding of the world is faith, which, is not demonstrable or experienced as anything other than an emotion or feeling?

(he's still on the placebo effect!)


Alright I'm tired of this now. I want to find a text version of this book so I can scan it to see if there are any interesting conjectures about the actual spiritual nature of the brain. These assholes opened the book with a promise to tell me about the brain in conjunction with it's spiritual nature. But, now it seems to be the typical, oh so typical boasts of those who oppose science in the name of defending ideas they have no intention of giving up, and for which they declare the impossibility of reason to deny.

The fucked up thing is that I am really, sincerely interested in God, that was my first topic on this Blog. But I cannot stand to be cheated with the promise of scientific discussion of a spiritual brain when I'm all I'm getting is stale, logically embarrassing, criticisms of various scientists.

If the authors had said that's what they were going to do for half, or all of the book, then I might still be interested, since it is always useful to go over old criticisms of the things that seem correct to me. I have a bunch of new Advanced HSK books in front of me. I shall let them comfort me. There are also Greg Egan's Distress, which has finally dragged me in, and the Mandarin version of The Yellow Lighted Bookshop to fall back on if studying fails me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Next-Dimension Editorial: Bro Taylor on Anti-Christ Arrived.

Around the time when the radical leftist so called 'free media' in the US was carrying out the farcical debate of whether Hillary or Obama was going to get nominated, i told my brother (a non-believer, and stubborn enough to resist ten years of my witnessing) that if this Obama was elected, the Christians would be saying he was the Antichrist. Anyone who has studied the Scriptures and the Left Behind series like they should be, would have seen it coming a mile away.

So I made myself a google alert for 'obama antichrist' and, sure enough, there were all kinds of links everyday.

Also like I expected, now that he is going to be president, the elitists in the Christian movement have intimidated everyone to back off, lest they intimidate the new leader.

This, plus all the accusations, which are laughed at in the extremist, liberal media, of Obama being a secret this and a secret that, are setting the stage for the greatest hoodwinking the world has ever seen: The ascension of the antichrist as the man in charge of the world's greatest nation.

The problem is that nobody bothered discussing the real 'secret' Obama: The secret Satanist.

I don't want to bore my readers, so I won't go into the copious documentation and evidence of Obama's Satanic affiliation. Do the research, its all there in the public records.

The powers that be in the Satanic Illuminati are going to bring in the next phase of their 'New World Order' as predicted by former president, George Bush.

His son was the one who paved the way for Obama. But something about being around all those Christians rubbed off on Little Bush, who is a fake Christian.

Bush got just a little bit of light, even though he isn't really saved. And that little bit caused him to rebel against the globalist Agenda, by doing things like foregoing restrictions on torture, set forth by the Geneva Accords, (which only hamper moral nations like us, since the terrorists don't give a damn about any accords!.)

This is why Bush Jr. has been so thoroughly vilified in the Zionist/Socialist controlled American Media.

Recently, an even more shocking event has taken place in that same Media that vilified Bush Jr. for his disobedience.

Like it or not, we are all familiar with the Daily Show, a show that as fellow radical lefty and illegal immigration advocate, Geraldo, put it "Makes fun of old woman falling down the stairs."

Well, the boys at the Daily Show had a ball lying and scolding George W. for his occasional honesty.

Now it seems that this "liberal salon" (as Brian Williams called it,) is reaping the reward of supporting Antichrist Obama.

During the special Colbert Report/Daily Show coverage of the presidential elections, two black members of the show openly announced that they were taking control of the show. Now that there supposedly peace loving and bi-racial hero was taking power, they were being rewarded for their support of the great racist.

The two non-black hosts pretended that it was a joke. Unsurprisingly, one of them, Colbert, is a Catholic (probably Opus Dei) and the other is an atheist Jew, married to a Catholic (probably overseeing the two shows for the higher ups in the illuminati.)

Although they tried to play off the hijacking of their propaganda ridden shows, it was all to clear that the too black extremists were not at all joking.

This is all the more evident in the lack of humor in the bits performed by Colbert and Stewart. The funny bits are all being done by Jason Jones, John Oliver and Wyatt Cenak. The first two are white and have no doubt been inspired by Obama's promise to let them stay on the show after the other whites are exiled. The other Wyatt, is black and will be the new host of the Colbert Report, a show which is solely there to take unfair shots at a false conservative, Bill O'reilly. If O'reilly was as much of a conservative as he claimed, he wouldn't support the Papacy and he wouldn't cover up the obvious Illuminati conspiracy going on.

The two soon to be racially cleansed hosts, Colbert and Stewart are not so funny anymore now that their fate is so close and hovering over their godless heads.

The powers that be will be letting the accusations of Obama's well documented Satanism come up pretty soon, but they will be laughed at by the cynical press, brought and paid for by the Anti-Israel self-hating Zionists that control Hollywood and the entire country's media.

Stay tuned. Stay Saved.

Brother Taylor out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FICTION: OF ALL THEY COULD'VE LEFT US

First someone would have to find the clue. Under all that dirt in the desert, is one little piece of technology. But that little piece is far from where anyone comes. Nobody comes there, but it wasn't planned to be this way. It's just that nobody happened to set up any residence near the area in the two million years since they went away.

And now, it's far from any inhabited areas in Nevada or California. If anyone found it, and could reverse engineer it, there would surely be at least five or six reasonable scientists who debated that it was a human made object. The creation scientists would use this as an argument for intelligent design, its structure right on the line between organic and inorganic.

That's because the material used to build it closely resembles the behavior and biology of slime moulds. This was because the people who had invented it based it on slime moulds. They lived in a world, much as we do, surrounded by ingenious mechanisms proceeding through history blind to anything but eating fighting reproducing and dying. They were as blind to the world they lived as was the history that had produced them.

But those people were not blind. They saw far clearer than we have, and they saw it a lot sooner.

The reason for this was, in principle, the same reason that the slime mould achieved such novelty. They called it history, we called it evolution.

Their history is mostly the same as ours. Right up until a group of hominids, south coast of Africa, started spending more time in water than their neighbors. They were the victims of psychological warfare. Over a few millenia, their neighbors were producing an ever greater number of individuals who could contort their faces in ways that frightened the hominids living near the beach. These guys were superior swimmers.

Whenever these face contorters would spring out of the forest, screaming and making the scariest of faces, these guys would swim out far enough and wait for their attackers to leave.

Sometimes the face guys would attack at night. Many of the water guys were sleeping, and thus easily killed. But the ones who weren't sleeping and the ones who woke up fast enough fought back. And since it was dark they couldn't see the frightening faces of their enemies. The face guys, being used to their advantage, would be unprepared and were easily killed by the water guys. When morning came around and the water guys would see the dead enemy, they realized that fighting at night was the way to win.

This meant that the individuals who could stay up later, or sleep only in small naps and be ready to wake up faster had a greater chance of reproducing.

So, these two groups reached a little balance for awhile, the face guys became trickier in attacking the water guys, and the water guys became more nocturnal, better fishers, and better swimmers.

But, as the face guys became better at chasing the water guys into deeper and deeper waters, the water guys started dealing with the predators on their other side, mostly sharks and, sometimes, killer whales.

More and more they were sandwiched into shallow waters. They became fatter and fatter in comparison to their freaky faced neighbors. Their females got used to giving birth in the ocean.
They water guys also became stronger, as spending most of their time in the water required more muscle.

This process continued until they lived almost exclusively in the water. Their enemies had gotten much smarter, and much better at articulating their facial muscles. They lived farther from their water dwelling neighbors, now, moving into the grasslands and out of the forest.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

NON-FICTION: SUN IN TAURUS, A FRIEND, HITLER, JACK JOHNSON

I know astrology's bullshit, but just consider the following similarities and see if you can't, at least, see the value it offers us in regards to analyzing personality components.

This old buddy of mine has alot in common with me, though our astrology doesn't have much in common.

We both have chronic paranoia, a tendency to think in terms of deceptive strategies to guarantee our security in relationship with others. We both are highly analytical and prefer directness when dealing with problems. We both have a sense of victimization sustained in childhood which causes us at times to forget that we are now formidable and intimidating, and this in turn causes us to come off as monsters.

But this friend of mine, Jar Jar, has a sun in taurus and a moon in leo. And he always somethings in common with famous taurus's like Hitler, cromwell, saddam, hussein, tony blair, lenin, and marx.

The goals of my life revolve around encompassing the world through understanding, resolving erroneous thinking and theoretical excessiveness, and creating harmonious relationships.

Jar Jar, on the otherhand, is always struggling between creativity and the quest for power.
Like Hitler and lenin, he posesses a highly calculating and austere attitude to his role in society, he sees himself as singled out by destiny for power. He does not openly second guess himself too much, 0r admit weakness. He is personally cynical of ideology, but nonetheless feels an excitement at the sight of uniforms and crowds of humans organized under the same banner, with one mind and one leader. He admires the hegemony of communist china and the soviet union, even if he hasnt ever conscioulsy thought so.

He thinks the key to power over others is the form of the organization, and the proper influencing of the organizations methods.

Like all the aforementioned, he is unlikely to understand or dwell on whats really going on in his psyche, rather, he constantly reinterprets other peoples ideas and ideology into justifications for his own will to power.

Like cromwell and the rest, he values loyalty and therefore sees betrayal everywhere imminent, except when committed by himself.

The other day I saw Tony Blair on the daily Show, and I was reminded of Jar Jar. Particularly, in the way that Blair resisted openly disagreeing with John Stewart, trying instead to charm by being reasonable and calm, while at the same time showing no admission of error or regret, and sneaking in the implication that the invasion of Iraq was justified by the current prescence of terrorists there, which showed that the war on terror was a pan middle east epidemic which we should engage on that scale.

Jar Jar is also constantly worried about sanitation and his own health, like Hitler. Another commonality is a lack of sexuality. It's nice to have a friend who doesn't constantly make dirty comments, not that i have many friends who do. But, beyond that, Jar Jar has never exhibited a typical male obsessions with sex, never showed any interest in porn, never commented on a girls boobs or ass, and never showed any interest in men. In this regards, he reminds me of Morrissey.

Well, this is not comprehensive, but we do see paranoia, interpretation of relationships in terms of strategic plays for power, a lack of self awareness, a disinclination toward regret and expression of apology, and a single will and determination to achieve organizational power.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

NON-FICTION: COMMENTARIES ON TWO EXCERPTS ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY

Nietzsche's excerpt: The greatest weight. What, if some day or night a demon were to steal you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing more new in it, 'Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?"

This is a great case for the futility of time machines. Further, if i were to know this recurrence but have no chance to alter, thus becoming a ghost in my own conscious, that would be both trippy and frustrating.

As for an actual corollary to this eternal recurrence, I have been present to it many times. Feeling my body begin to hit someone, feeling my thoughts work themselves up into provoking an argument, feeling myself go back on my prohibition of cigarettes and food.

At this times I am a consciousness trapped in a time loop, and at times I do feel apart from myself, alienated. I don't think this is existential however, but neurological. I have endured sufficient trauma to give my consciousness an reason to distant itself from its own process and those of my body.

And to regard the eternal recurrences of history as inevitable would be just as justified as to regard the personal type as inevitable, and for all the wars and massacres that are happening even now as 'we' think of 'ourselves' as beyond our primitive past, and for all the resignation that the brilliant and the ignorant both throw up at the disgusting things that permeate our societies, I can only reply with the sort of thing I often tell myself and my wife: It's good to know our problems and complain about them when we need to alleviate pressure, but if we are to acknowledge that it is in fact a problem, we must eventually come to the question of what to do about it.

I sometimes get the feeling that Nietzsche liked the excuse provided, by the awesome tragedy he created out of his brilliant words and ideas, not to deal with the petty problems of his common tragedies, such as poor health, rejection and shame.

For these he would have had to write a self help book, without any oppurtunity to describe things as tragic, fearsome, awesome, trembling, etc. You know Nietzsche, I too live in the land of high plateaus and caves, but, at the same time, somehow, and with fearful inexplicability, i live in a little apartment which I cannot organize, and in a body that is not tall enough, and has surplus stores of fat. I also have often feared my sexual and romantic inadequacy. I also have suffered migraines and have asthma. These are problems that do not go away with the comprehension of idolatry, the dawning of psychological genealogies, or getting at the heart of rationalism. Is it left to the future man, the being free of the chains put upon him by the apollonian moralists, to solve the very last of our problems, and has the overcoming of man in the spirit not yet surpassed the utility of cardio vascular exercise and a lesbians tips on oral sex? Whoa onto me.




Hayden White's Excerpt:
In my view, a historiographical style represents a particular combination of modes of emplotment, argument, and idelogical implication. [He then goes to describe that the elements of these categories have exclusive bondings and are imcompatible with other sets Like Romantic Mode of Emplotment implies the Formist mode of argument, and the Anarchist mode of idelogical implementation.

I like this categorical, abstract mode of theorizing, because I too have employed it. But, I think his mode of exclusion leads to an embarassing mode of consequence.

Another thing that is interesting in White's chart is that he associates comic, with organicist, and conservative. The organicist and conservative we can see in conservatives of the edmund burke or hayek variety. As for the comic, we can see it's accuracy when contrasted with what he posits for liberal, that is, contextualist and satirical. The four mode of emplotments are romantic, tragic, comic and satirical.

As a test of this, lets look at shows that are only incidentally historical.

What are the best expamples of satire in America? Real Americans know that they are the daily show, the Colbert Report, the Simpsons, and South Park.

South Park is more Libertarian, but tries to be apolitical. The Daily show and colbert report are liberal, and the Simpsons.

But why no good Conservative satire? I guess its because White's conception of Historical styel holds true for t.v. Did you see the Fox news parody of the Daily show, the half hour news hour or something, it was so sad. It made me feel shame, even though I'm an anarchist.

As for historical style, lets look at some people I'm familiar with: Vidal, Zinn, and Bakunin. Zinn and Bakunin are anarchists. Zinn I can see as Romantic, as White maintains is implied by the Anarchist Mode of Ideological Impication. Bakunin, though, seems more tragic, at least in God and the State. He doesnt spend a lot of time building dreams, and he employs a dialectical or Hegelian style of reasoning. Vidal is a liberal, and, at the same time, a Conservative. But he is rather formist in his Mode of Argument, constantly referencing the inconsistency of American history with it's original principles, but he's also supposed to be socialist. His mode of emplotment, in his historical novels, is comic, if a little satirical.

Well, the more I think about these categories, the more interesting they are to me, as possibilities of actual tendencies of correlation. But as for the general necessary combination of these forms, you will find that many will use whatever mode of emplotment they can to advocate their cause. It's often called branding or marketing today. And it is not outside historical narrative.

I have to say though that, while most contemporary anarchists are overly romantic, they are less likely to be romantic about anarchist history, and there approach is definitely organic. I think we will find that as anarchists develop more stable approaches to history, they will and (and do) find the formist mode of argument less compelling.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

NON-FICTION: FOUNDING FATHERS AND BENEFIT OF "NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO PARTIES"

I was listening to a series of lectures on American party history put out by what might be becoming the largest provider of secondary education, thanks to public spirited websites like BTjunkie and mininova: The Teaching Company.

The thing that caught my attention was a discussion of the problems of factions in the plans and thinking of the founding fathers. I remembered hearing about this in reading standard us history and gore vidal. But i hadn't thought of the fact that the constant complaint of third party, non-mainstream and many other Americans is that the two parties accentuate their differences but end up advocating equivalent systems of government.

From the point of the view of some of the founding fathers, this is exactly the thing we want.

When we look at the understanding of Rome and Greece that Europeans have formed in recent centuries, we see that factions are quite dangerous to Republics. They forfeit and oppose the general interests of liberty and the good of the citizen in favor of power struggles with other cliques.

On the other hand, Obama and Mccain need to get a majority of voters to accept them, and, more importantly, they need a broad coalition of support from industry and all levels of government. Thus, they cannot alienate themselves by advocating ideas or proposals which are too extreme, or of interest to small cliques (unless those cliques make up for their lack of people with a surplus of dollars.)

So, the two party system that must use individuals with more ideologically consistent strains of political nonsense to mask their fundamental kinship as massive organizations of control, or stewardship, as Bakunin might say, is actually close to what some of our founding fathers had in mind.

Perhaps the main difference would be that some of them, like Jefferson and Clinton, presumed to dissaprove of the massive, plutocratic Empire that the United States has become.

But, then, I like the idea that Hamilton was the plebeian in fact, and Jefferson the plebeian in theory, and both men's love of their opposites led to their ideologies.

In line with this reasoning, perhaps Obama will outlaw interracial mingling and successfully reshape the middle east into secular democracies through bomb therapy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

NON-FICTION: AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE 'FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUENT' NOTION OF THE UNIVERSE


What if the universe is like a two headed cone, with disparate phenomena on the micro and macro scale and cohesion and uniformity mainly at some middle point?

Humans are up in the macro, and, perhaps the particle zoo is down in the micro.

How has the standard model, or string theory, escaped the infinite regress?

NON-FICTION: IS BIG AN ILLUSION?

Why humans see solidity

According to the contemporary scientific consensus, we see solidity because our eyes have evolved among organisms of a certain size, a range between whales and fleas.

I also think it is relevant to consider the size of the composite organisms and molecules that make up our sensory organism.

Could a complex nervous system have evolved on a sub-cellular scale?

What we 'really' see?

It's an old oddity by now that what we see as solid is 'actually' just the aggregate effect of billions of atoms whose fields are in contact with each other.

Everything you are looking at now, these words, are just aggregates of molecules that cannot be said to be physically touching.

The new age cliche about how everything is 'really just' energy is based on this idea. The difference is that the new age conception uses the outdated conception of energy, which existed contrast to solidity, which is outmoded by modern physics. So, to say that everything is energy means that the solidity we normally perceive is also energy, and therefore not so permeable and mutable as the new age wish-fulfillment conception would have it.

But the energy that comprises everything is said to be comprised of still smaller, ultimately uniform constituents. So that, according to the general idea of strings, the universe proceeds from tiny uniformity to larger and larger disparity.

So, what we perceive as objects are actually aggregations of molecules, and those molecules are composed of elements, and those elements are 'really' atoms, and those atoms are really all kinds of different sub-atomic particle, and those particles are really just strings, than we are really dealing with an ultimate, irreducible reality. Imagine having these strings, and they are somehow observable by super super imaging devices, and we can render them as solid-like objects, but we can't divide them, can't identify them as composed of different sections.

That is incomprehensible. Every thing is divisible, every thing science has ever verified as existing is divisible. Can you imagine these little rings or strings being observable but not having a top or bottom? If they had a top or bottom, or left side or right side, than we could break them up, if only analytically, and it would therefore be a composite entity.

As a composite entity, we would then have to break it down to it's constituent parts, and what would they be?

The problem seems to be with the very phenomena of 'object.'

Anytime we can perceive an object, we can then cut it up, again, even if only analytically.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

NON-FICTION: MCDONALDS ON THE ROAD TO ANARCHISM

One might tell Alexander, Patton, Sunzi, and the CIA, Mcdonald's conquers too. They conquer by enticing people, meeting their needs and shaping their needs through propaganda/marketing.

The phenomena of a fast food company achieving such global eminence is not at all extraordinary, but one might compare it to the East India trading company or the merchants of the dutch empire. Domination is still tied in with nationalism and military power, but today, everywhere, those in power are ever more in the thrall of public opinion.

Very few rulers can claim divine right or succession. Everyone, especially the dictators and butcherers claim the betterment of the people, the racial, national or social interest. (the big exception is in sharia based countries)

The present trend of the world, or one trend, is to attain power based on the will of the people. Here in Red Communist China, the government also placates the public through fear and impressing everyone with their mighty economic achievemnts and glorious spectacles, like the the three gorges dam and the olympics.

We can say that the state of freedom, in asia, europe, america and south america, is all jacked up because there is no real democracy and people are still dominated inevitably by the twin tyrannies of state and market.

Bakunin said, long ago, that though Europe was progressing to an era of republics instead of monarchies, the people would be no less enslaved, for they would now be children guided along by the enlightened supervision of our parliamentarian leaders. If we replace the 'republics' with the modern usage 'democracies' we can see the relevance.

Most people in democracies and people considering democracies see government as a sstem of management, like a company you hire to take care of your landscaping.

This is not the exclusive content of the term as it is thought of now. There is still sufficient admixture of the nasty ideas of the government as an extension of the nation, but these are preexisting notions. What is new is the idea of government as manager, without any justification superseding it's responsibility of carrying out the betterment and protection of the people.


Justification of rule through the doctrine of will of the people is not too far the good of the commonwealth. The doctrine of the kin's sovereignty being necessary for the good of the realm or commonwealth was key in undermining the kings dvine right and divine succession.

Just as the good of the people superseded the divine status of kingship, so too might the management of the nation supersede the will of the people, and the will of the people supersede the management of the nation.

Contrasting countries like America, China, Burma, the case can be made for efficient management versus explicit democracy. Most people, at the current stage of historical development, can be satisfied with an adequate income, a chance for progression of social status, a chance to better their kids, and a chance watch tv and get online

Any dictator could get a long way on this basis. The problem is that most dictators cant do this, because to make a lot of people work together, you need at least the illusion of consent.

Now that we exist in a attitude that emphasizes the role of the state as manager on behalf of the people, adn expression of the will of the people, we can perhaps see that progress has been made in many countries.

For China, the end of the Qing Dynasty could have brought about a democratic, rule of law society, or a succession of petty militaristic dictatorships. Now we have a party dictatorship that has tried to use stability and economic growth to placate the masses. And, to a great extent its working. But the point is that they base their will on deomocracy, appeal to the masses, not the landed class, no the wealthy, but the popular sentiment and the common people.

This is unprecedented in Chinese History. Instead of complaining of the fact that real freedom has not arrived here, we should not the significance of the fact that now we have entered a period where democracy is the standard.

Mcdonalds depends on placating and manipulating its masses, so do the governments of most advanced nations.

For those of us enamored of a non-authoritarian future, where we can run things without starvation, coercion, acontextual authority, and mistrust, we might see this as a potentially positive change.

In the argument for greater cooperation and consent based interaction, the will of the people is much better point from which to start to justify anarchism than the spirit of the nation or the divine right of kings as granted by Adam.

Slippery slope arguments are not logically compelling, not because they are impossible, but because they are not inevitable.

Using pot is not likely to lead to other drugs. I haven't seen it do that to many people.

But, if you wanted a slippery slope, if you were trying to get someone hooked on heroin, than you might try a lot of things, and getting them high might be a good start.

So too if you want to make a fascist state, you might scare people with terrorism and then keep things getting freakier and freakier. But, this might also make people more interested in diplomacy and protecting freedom, and it might make them dislike your anti terrorist agenda.


But, if we want to promote freedom, we can point to the effectiveness in corporations and governments that have tailored their pitch to the masses and not just to some abstract authority (god race) and argue that this shows a greater expansions of the doctrine of consent.
If we see this as an historical trend, it may be a good sign.

NON-FICTION: BECOMING NON-HUMAN AND THE END OF MAN

So often visions of heaven, or technological marvels envisioned by scifi, are just extensions of existing human properties into a larger function. Like, telepathy, peace, AI, immortality, teleportation and instant matter generators.

But what doe this really do to change who we are? It just gives us greater fulfillment of our passions and desires.

An interesting question is how do we assess the choice to do away with these values or desires from a perspective that assumes them? How do we do away with love, like altering a brain's production of neurotransmitter.

An easier decision is the decision to tinker with our minds and bodies to accentuate certain values over others, like alter our aggressive behavior so that we no longer attain such a disproportionate pleasure from joint male aggression against other males. This is an easy decision insofar as it favors values we already have and just lets some values win out against others.

What if we decided to change our brains, so that they cared not about sex, not about social interaction, not about learning, not about violence, but only about something weird like maximizing the ant population. How would we then decide from that point to alter our brains back to the original state or to alter it in still other ways.


Maybe Christians should pay more attention to neuroscience and research regarding neurotransmitter behavior. That way they can get started on making the perfect christian mind, and even better,the mind of the Christian in heaven. Th could make similar minds for animals, so a lion and lamb can lay together, and carnivores never kill.

Even better would be artificial insemination and taking the lust function of the brain, replacing it with an ecstatic sens of worship.

NON-FICTION: 2 FUTURE USES OF PLANT CELLS.

Plant cells seem better at making houses than animal cells. Especially wood.

TREE SPACESHIP
Picture a oval tree surrounded by a transparent or partially transparent outer oval. The outer oval is made of some sort of plastic polymer and maybe blocks out certain radiation, maybe has solar power cells. The inner oval of the tree encloses a living space for humans. On the outside of the tree, leaves and flowers blossom, on the inside, the root system is fed with nutrients, each root is held in a tube where the appropriate nutrients are fed to it.

This particular tree we have engineered into a spaceship is a fruit bearing tree. The sugar it produces can be synthesized into all manner of foods, through processes that imitate cow or other herbivore digestion (Hopefully in machines and not biological semi-machines, semi-organs)

Other nutrients can be obtained from photosynthetic, electron capturing processes. (the attainment of vitamins and minerals is the weak part here)

Anyways, there might be something about plant cells that make them a good self sustaining building material. There is the problem of density of cells, but i think the basic is useful as a thought experiment. In plant cells, we have an energy producing, self-healing building material.

EMBEDDING DATA IN PLANT CELLS
Tear a leaf up and the cells are still intact, eat a leaf and you expel it with the cells intact (or so I've heard) then imagine if you had all the daily shows, ttc lectures, and pron you've downloaded through bit torrent saved on a leaf.

If the if the constituents of the plant cell could be altered in some slight way so as to form a combinatorial system (binary, trinary, so on.) than we could save 'bits' into plant cells, into the cell walls.

So, get to work on that. I want to give my wife a trip to the moon. I know she'll wine at first, and say, why the hell do i care about that boring shit, but once we escape the atmosphere, she'll be in awe.

NON-FICTION: STEREOTYPICAL UIGHUR ACCENT BECOMES STEREOTYPICAL FOREIGNER ACCENT

Imagine if you were a Chinese or Asian looking person going to teach a bunch of kids that had never met an Asian looking person. And when they saw you, they said "Hey Meestah Ching Chona sayonara, why's a you no bring a the chop suey?" and then, you asked them in perfect English "What are you supposed to be imitating?" and they said "Oh this is how you guys talk. I learned it from listening to you all."

That's kind of like what I've been experiencing in the last two or three months. I'm a white American teaching English in Shanghai

Imagine again for me, if you would, that instead of being an Asian looking guy, you're a black guy teaching Hispanic and white kids who don't know any blacks or Asians. Then you say "Why are you guys mocking me in some other groups stereotypical accent? Don't you watch t.v.? Can't you say something like "Damn dawg, I ain't fonna trip on dat shit y'all."
.

And the kids answer back "This is how you talk. We learned it from listening to you." And no matter who you ask, everyone says something along the lines of "We learned it from you." It's like some creepy phrase from the Twilight Zone that the little girl doll keeps repeating as the out of work salesman goes crazy in his house. "We learned it from you. We learned it from you."

That's closer to what I'm experiencing. But it's not just mockery. Some Chinese, around here, seem to have mysteriously developed a stereotypical 'foreigner' accent based on an ethnicity which is supposed to be Chinese.

That ethnicity is Uyghur. I admit that I made fun of Uyghurs, and mimicked the stereotypical accent, like 我没有偷东西。

But, then, a couple months ago, I finished a class at the Pudong campus and i went into the little break/testing area to get my stuff. I saw a tall Han guy standing in the little path from the break/testing area to the door. He asked me where I'm from and we started into the basic meet a foreigner who speaks Chinese conversation: How long you been studying? Where you From? Chinese is hard to learn, right? Do you eat Chinese food?

But the thing that made me nervous this time was that the guy had a very strong Uyghur accent.

Now, you never see a Uyghur in a regular place in China. I mean, I assume that's true for everywhere but Xinjiang. You usually only see them in a Uyghur restaraunt, selling kababs, selling hash, or walking around in packs picking pockets. I live near a mosque, on Yuanshen road, and you also see Uyghurs around for Friday prayers.

So, I was thinking that this Han looking Uyghur had come in to our little campus to talk to me. Maybe he was breaking through the cultural barrier and trying to act like a regular person, like a Han.

Or maybe he was playing a new angle on stealing shit, maybe now Uyghur thiefs were gonna start dressing up like regular Han middle class and going into offices and training centers to steal stuff.

I was thinking I should be open and not just nervous about this guy. If he was reaching out, trying to show he was a person too and not just a member of the underclass in the Han hegemony. Or maybe he was here to tell me, a foreigner, of political injustices in Xinjiang, or human rights violations here in Shanghai.

But he did look Han. So after he left I asked the receptionists and other Chinese co-workers if a Uyghur had just come in. They said no.

I realized that the guy who had just been speaking Mandarin to me in that stereotypical Uyghur accent.

Now, there are of course, Han people in Xinjiang and the surrounding areas. The accent they have when speaking their dialects or when speaking Mandarin is not the same. The accent of the Uyghur's speaking Mandarin comes from their own also called Uyghur.

Later on, a friend of my wife, a Shanghainese girl, started speaking Mandarin to me with this accent.

My wife told me it was her friend's attempt at imitating a foreign accent.

Now, as for imitating the accent of an American or a Brit, all you gotta do is imitate like you would normally do in whatever your first language is, but speak Mandarin instead.

I can do this with my own Accent. I can hear it sometimes. And I can use a very pronounced, emphatic accent of Mandarin to sound like a student.

This Uyghur accent does not sound like an American one at all. the only thing it has in common is the absence of tone variation, a trait shared by the majority of languages with English.

But you can hear people's accent in Mandarin just like every other language. I can imitate a Shanghai accent, Bejing accent, Cantonese accent and Hanzhong accent when speaking Mandarin. There are worlds of subtle differents between different accents.

So, the mystery is how this Uyghur accent became the dominant stereotypical accent of the foreigner speaking Mandarin. Has it been like this before and I just somehow didn't notice? Is it only in Shanghai or spread throughout China? Where did it start? How flawless does one's Mandarin pronunciation have to be before one is immune from mockery? How do you get over the embarrassment of having dinner with friends who think its cool or polite to speak Mandarin to you with a Uyghur accent?

NON-FICTION: VARIANT SPELLING AND TEACHING TOWARDS A MORE ACCURATE LINGUISTIC PERSPECTIVE.

What is distasteful about 'variant spelling' as referred to in this spiked article is that it seems a lowering of standards. It seems as if teachers want to tell there students "That's okay, close enough. I wouldn't wanted to overload your delicate little brain with any of the standardized combinations of these twenty-six letters."

In reading about this sort of dumbing down kind of educational attitude, I experience a reflexive bit of contempt and disgust. I don't like the idea that certain things are just too hard for little children to learn. Everybody learns at different rates. Outside of our former education, we all experience varying degrees and methods of learning or accepting new ideas.

But, I think there is another, more progressive way of looking at 'variant spelling.' As science, history, and our experience seems to tell that any given language is merely a system developing from many different factors which are hard to isolate as either proper or improper. Rather, it seems that, in alphabetic languages where the letters have multiple readings, any particular spelling of a word where other spellings are possible is 'arbitrary' , in the exact sense that there is no necessity of arrangement implied by the logic of the thoughts represented by the letters or by the needs of use.

Insofar as all human languages are produced by the same mechanism (the brain) and there is no exclusivity as to which set of brains can produce which language, it is far more accurate to give children a language education that teaches children that they speak one version of one type of language and that it is largely symmetric with all other languages in terms of its general features.

Teaching children to think this way would erase the risks of fixed versus unfixed spelling. It would teach them to take a less fixed view of their own language and see it merely as a link in a sea of chains.

This kind of teaching, teaching towards linguistic actuality, would lead to a greater comfort and openness to learning foreign languages, a decrease in language prejudice (like that towards foreigners, occupants of other regions and classes)

It would also produce a greater linguistic awareness, which would allow for more creativeness.

Further, the absence of rote memorization of fixed standards might break down barriers of boredom and opposition to literature and foreign languages that dissuade many learners.

But, you know what, as I write this, the most appealing benefit would be the removal of the impetus to the rebellious spelling that mars so many rap and rock albums, bumper stickers, and vapid t shirts.

Can you imagine if you never again had to see some new album that had an added feature of coolness because it was called "ultamet badazz" instead of "ultimate badass'

Or, more respectably utile, imagine that your children, instead of learning the rules of language that were said to be 'proper' but actually just a snapshot of the sea of human language, seeking to impose a drop of water in it's ever diverse, fluid dynamic, learned that the way she and her parents talk is just a drop in the bucket and that all the humans speaking differently had the a similar brain to her and could speak and write just like her under the write conditions.

What if instead of learning 'proper English', they learned about the set of rules governing language and how those rules applied to the one they happen to speak?

The current view of language taught to children is far behind the modern understanding of language. Children should be taught that language is just a system of written and voiced representations amid a million other such systems, none of which are arguable better or worse than any other.

"Variant spelling" should be taught as part of a language curriculum which teaches children the realities of language at an early age, before the disgusting yet enduring opinions on language that infect all of our cultures and minds has a chance to take hold of their little heads.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

FICTION: THE SECOND, REASONABLE, COMING

The second, reasonable, coming

Last week, Jesus just got tottally fed up with everybody not believing in him, especially me. I was like the most non-believer of anybody. I had super non-belief power. I could disbelieve anything, like I could just be all, like, “Hey best friend, I do not believe you really like me.” or “I don't think I'm not myself”

So, Jesus, was all thinking, “In the war on disbelief, this guy's ground zero, numero uno!”

So he descended, arms at his side, robe/dress outfit not riding up despite the wind resistance.

When he landed in front of me, I was in the act of disbelieving my own Momma. She was trying to tell me that if I didn't get rid of the cat, the fecal matter around the catbox would endanger my health. Didn't even faze me.

But then I was all like “Aw damn, finally I'm getting the recognition I deserve!” See, I'm a pretty remarkable person, but often times I don't get my props like what I was guaranteed by my basic rights.

So Jesus looks at me and he's all “I heardeth you do not believe in me. What do you have to say for yourself.” I was taken aback by his eloquence of speech. And I was delayed in the cool answer that I momentarily later gave to him: “Well, you know what I heardeth? I heardeth that you hath not given reason to me to believeth.”

Jesus stroked his goatee and chewed over my sentiments for a moment. Then, he was like “Fair enough, I'm willing to listen to you.”

I didn't see that coming, so I just let him have it. I was all “First, even if I see you here all magical, that doesn't mean that you are the same dude from the bible. And, even if you are the dude from the bible, how do I know you are still the same dude from the bible.”

Jesus shook his head. “It ought to be perfectly clear to honest people that I made the bible books all confusing to you because I wanted to see how loyal you were gonna be. And now that you see me, all you gotta do is believe in me, don't get it all twisted up.”

Well played, and, moreover, played with utter smoothity. But, in all and complete honesty, I have seen better. “If I simply believe in you, like, that there's a dude who flew down here right now and he says he's Jesus, I can believe that, but, if you're telling me I gotta believe, based on seeing you drop in her, that you are the dude from the bible, and that you all implicated in all this tripartate god stuff and you're mom didn't bone anybody to have you and all that, then theres a lot of separate stuff I gotta believe one by one.”

As I was talking, Jesus was flapping his hands all about like he didn't want to hear anything else I had to say. He's all “I can just make you believe.” Then he waved his right hand slowly across my eyes and the I saw a brilliant, yet dazzling and luminous burst of light. It left me stunned and suddenly I believed in Jesus. But then, I was all like, hey, just a minute ago, I didn't believe in Jesus, now I do. He must have did some kind of mutant power thing on me.

I was all, totally “Brenda said she loved me, but then she said she only thought she loved me and I even picked her up from work, like seven times, and she works in freakin Compton. So, just cause you tricked me into believing you, doesn't mean that I even know what I am believing.”

I could see the look on his face as he realized he was losing the struggle for dominance. “So, I'm just gonna go ahead and not believe in my own belief that you are the Jesus from the Bible.”

Then he just totally lost and went all hardcore Job-style on me.

As I lay on the ground with pimples and open sores all up on my junk, I noticed something suspicious. Off to the side, behind Jesus, was another guy with a goatee. He was sitting on a stool, with one leg crossed over the other. It was Satan himself! This really was like the Job thing.

I told him if he was doing this all cause of the devil and he was just like “Maybe. So.”

Then, even though I sounded like a frog because my throat was stinging and dried up, I was all “There's one thing I believe, is that you're getting fooled by the Devil himself!”

He shook his head “You don't know shit, man. You don't know what it's like.”

But I was just, “No, that's where you're wrong. I had abuse issues with methamphetamines for ten years, trust me, bro, I know what it's like when all your friends are telling you to do shit and it's all you know and you just cant resist or you'll feel like a pussy.”

Suddenly, the truthiness of what I was putting down was picked up by the Jesus. With a mighty roar he then smote the Devil and put him back in Hell.

He magically healed all the Job-style wounds on my body and nether regions and then took me out for cheesecake. We said we'd stay in touch, but, you know, like, people always say that shit.

At least now, even though I still don't believe all the stuff people say about Jesus. I know he has powers. And, I know he has peer pressure, just like you. And just like me.

Amen. Peace out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

costa coffe, behind renji hospital, pudong, shanghai

so many things go through my head and i keep chaning my intended starting point. but i had to mention to you that i did receive your email and, rather it was you or the infamous 'they' that planted the idea of covert contacts through junk mail via peter straub's In the Night Room.
Glad to know your are able or willing to stay in touch with me.

Of course i know, the other layer of my thoughts know. that its all bullshit. and thats what im fighting.

the productive voice i had, back around 2000 was a voice of attack. and thats the voice now stopping from writing. the voice that before wanted to say 'look how cleverly i can undermine all the stuff you think is good' now says 'look how cleverly i can undermine that previous cleverness'

It says What a pathetic and shameful mind that gets off on makinng sharp attacks on his peers. And now pathectic now that he wants to move beyond it. As you yourself have so often thought and said lately, the mind you have acquired started in tragedy, and thats the most trustworthy thing you will ever know. Whatever task becomes a real goal in your mind, you will undermine it.

The goals you achieve aren't so significant or else you wouldn't have achieved. Your dirty weak body and your self deluding mind keep trying to make this a drama, but it is not. you just called it tragedy but that's just more drama.

You don't amount to a tragedy, just another impressive nothing, someone who hurt in little bits, but never build.

Of course you know that's a lie to. But whats the alternative? There cannot be only one alternative there are many, as many as you can think of. as many as you can live and verify.

The truth there is nothing meaty or tempting about simple happiness. there is disgust all over your mind when you write such sentences. disgust for each word.

this whole structure is no resolution, its ajust a structure you lay over your thoughts and experience. more disgust. how can you go on writing this?

weren't there true things you needed to say, all those recently occurring thoughts, like the regular people record, in these temporary fragments, in this little era of time, with these little tools. ALl so impressive and all so disturbing to me.

Ive been practicing hiragana, and bits of hindi, pali, phonecian, korean and greek characters. all those little bits, they hurt my mind. all the little pieces of time that slip by.
hahahaha good joke, darren, just as you say that, you realize its time to go.

its 437pm, i have class over at dongchang lu

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NON FICTION: Got Anything Today, fatty? AND DREAMS

Well, Mr. Taylor, do you?

To be quite honest, I may, but I seem to have lost my focus at the moment, so i can relay the stuff i was supposed to write down in detail over the weekend.

The dream bits i remember were:

Two with Michael: I met up with him again, i went home with him on the subway, after work. I mentioned my mp3, and said something about the area being dangerous, then he said that because of this, he used something else instead of an mp3, it was a pen device with which he wrote backwards on his hand and the music/text was then input into him (into his ears)

The other one with him was, again, we met up after a long time, he showed me where he was living/working. I was familiar with the map but had neglected an island area or area surrounded by water hidden in the corner of the map. Subsequently, i discovered some scandalous info about the employees of his company, i received faxes, and people from his company came to get the information back.

the other part was a family event with another side of the family that me and steve werent part of. Dad was eating really nice looking indian food, which should have been off limits, but since his death was imminent....
Me and steve were sitting on a bench at the edge of the deck. some pot pies were being served and i went to get one for steve, but a guy from the other side of the family said the pot pies were only for his side of the family, and i said "yeah, stoners make such good managers." and we laughed and my brother and i made jokes about the guy because he was a stoner.