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Jon Cogburn
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One of the rules of novel writing is that the main character has to change by the end of the book (with the exception of some kinds of genre fiction.) To me, this is one of the hardest things about writing a story that's realistic for the simple reason that,... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
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There has been a lot of talk on the various internets lately about introverts, as though we're some kind of exotic species or something. But people are complicated in all sorts of ways and it's really not any weirder than being an extrovert. Most introverts don't want to sit in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
Not sure I need to say this, but I should probably make this much clearer. My personal experience is a pretty strong rebuttal to the on-line vitriol about feminist philosophers and daily nous as pushing a kind of intolerance towards people who disagree with them about stuff. The people at Feminist Philosophers and Daily Nous have never treated me with anything other than respect (even when others haven't), when I've disagreed with them about something that people feel strongly about, when friends of theirs have been pretty furious with me, when I publicized the real feminist philosophers blog here, and when I kept commenting at PMMB long after I should have. In *all* of my dealings with them, I've found them to be model interlocutors who embody the traits that the study of philosophy is supposed to foster. I think that some reasonable people with unpopular views are frustrated because they feel excluded from the public conversation of philosophy. I also think that to the extent that they have been excluded, this is a very bad thing. But it's not a conspiracy of people who are feminists or agree with the norms articulated in Weinberg's new consensus post. As far as I can tell, it's just the result of overactive master spam algorithms. Hopefully this is as fixable for everyone else as it was for R. Scott Bakker. Moderators need the right to reject comments that detract from the conversation, but the result of this banning that person from commenting across a wide swath of blogs pretty radically diminishes the public conversation and also ends up being a driving force of philosophymetametablogism, which, even at it's worst, was getting around 3,000 hits a day.
I think that people caught up in the Akismet master spam list are such that their comments are not even going into individual blog's spam lists. I'm not 100% certain about this though, it's not clear form the wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akismet). Unfortunately, there are also other companies that do the same thing, so getting cleared by Akisment might not do the job for everyone. I'm now seeing if I'm caught up in the Akisment algorithm. If I am I'm going to get my name removed and then do test comments again at dailynous and feministphilosophers. I'll contact you and Jennifer Saul as soon as I do that. If it works I'll do a top level post about how to get one's name removed from the master spam list. If this is what's going on it explains a lot. In addition to explaining why my (ever since one of my comments was not approved at newapps; note that it was not marked spam) comments to wordpress blogs have not shown up and do not even go in their spam folders, and my comments to typepad blogs always go into spam folders if I'm not signed into typepad at the time. Very, very many people think that the most popular moderated blogs have much heavier moderation policies than they in fact do. And I also think that the effect of overzealous master spam lists have been pretty damaging to on-line philosophical speech as well. I'm cautiously optimistic that this is fixable, because what happened to me periodically happens to novelist and R. Scott Bakker and each time he's been able to get it fixed with Akismet.
Great issue. I'm going to do a top level post with respect to it either tomorrow or the next day. In addition to issues of optimal moderation. There are some technical issues concerning "master spam lists" shared across blogs that I think are working to significantly hindering conversation. I'm trying to work through it with respect to my own inability to get comments to show up at feminist philosophers, daily nous, leiter reports, etc. Until that's fixed up, any even minor moderation of anonymous comments ends up banning people for good. This ends up restricting speech a lot, because one comment that someone at a wordpress account doesn't want to accept ends up getting you banned from all sorts of accounts.
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Tonight I will cover another city council meeting. I've been privileged to have the opportunity to write a lot of different kinds of articles in my freelance writing career--from the Angola prison rodeo to pieces about interior design to a comparison between the Miss America and Miss USA contests. But,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
I'm sorry, but in the context of what's happened in France (and all over the world to journalists and other accused blasphemers such as in Pakistan) what you write just seems like pointing out that a victim of sexual violence was wearing skimpy clothes. If all the left can offer is Milquetoast multiculturalism and calling critics of religious intolerance racists, then more and more people are going to vote for parties of the far right. This is in fact what's happening in Europe, and it's sickening.
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2015 on Je suis Christopher Hitchens at Jon Cogburn's Blog
No, I haven't read those. Thanks, I'll check them out.
Fantastic! Thanks so much for the recommendations, I'll check them both out. In the OP I should have mentioned the canonical example of a series going south, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles books. At some point, the vampire narrators become absolutely ludicrous, writing in this condescending way that infects some people when they read too much Nietzsche. But the stuff they intone about clearly reflect Rice's own pedestrian (nothing wrong with that) tastes. I forget which book it is where the centuries old vampire has a monologue about the superiority of Gary Oldman in the Beethoven flick Immortal Beloved. You just got a lot of this stuff in lieu of an interesting plot, which was really sad, because the first few books in the series had great plots and a pretty interesting exploration of the Vampire's psychology. And the contrast between the Vampire novels and her late period non-Vampire novels is pretty extreme. I remember one about a Violin, one about a castrati, and one about a family of witches (maybe that was a series) that were as good as anything she's written. I agree with you that the early Anita Blake are pretty fabulous. The character development over the first few books is just paced perfectly. You really want to find out what's going to happen next, and the way the various conflicts are resolved is always interesting. The treatment of sexism and polyamory would have been overly didactic in any lesser writer. I hate that I no longer care what is going to happen to Anita Blake or Meredith Nicessus. I wish HBO would pick them up and be willing to let their writers remake the material when necessary as they have with Martin's books. In 2009 the Anita Blake series was optioned by IFC, but it never went anywhere. I don't know if it's still stuck in option purgatory, or if someone else can pick it up. Anyhow, thanks again for sharing two series I haven't read yet.
This is very plausible, but if true I think it only explains why the books are still selling after the change. As far as marketing, at the time the rot began to set in with Laurel K. Hamilton and now Robin Hobb, each author had already penned over a dozen bestsellers, and I don't think the new ones are selling any better than their titles during the mainstay. Second, I'm not sure that the changes are close enough to what's really going on with Austen or Dostoevsky (or Sartre, for that matter). In all of these cases the content of the narration is in some sense part of the point the novel is getting at. With current Hamilton, this isn't happening. Third, Carey and Harrison are still doing a passable job at writing entertaining plots, it's just that the vast upswing in irritating tics betrays very strong evidence of lack of appropriate editing. In Steven King's recent Rolling Stone interview, he recounted a meeting with J.K. Rowling at some social event organized by their presses and she told him that these people had absolutely no idea what was involved with being a writer, and he concurred. I haven't found this to be the case with the people my wife deals with (at the literary agency and press), so I'm guessing that when you reach a certain level of success it gets worse. Maybe it's just knowing that a lot of people's jobs depend on you getting out at least a book a year that will reliably sell, which means sequels that didn't have enough time to germinate as far as plot goes or get edited properly, or that continue long past the point where good narrative norms dictate that things should have been wrapped up. Nonetheless, I think the issue you raise is really interesting. I'd love to look at sell numbers aggregated by gender and see what kind of generalizations hold.
The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. might be ahead of the Roman Catholic church in this. I honestly don't know if the Pope has the institutional power to bring that about at this point. His Christmas speech railing against the Vatican bureaucracy seemed very frustrated. There have been problems with the Vatican bank for a long time, and I don't know how much political capital he can expand fighting them. We all have to pick our battles. The PCUSA is a representative democracy with each presbytery getting one pastor and one laypers to represent them and vote in the General Assembly. The bureaucracy has to follow suit. But the Episcopal and Catholic churches don't have anything like this, so it's sometimes hard to see where the power is actually coming from. And the Roman Catholic church's sheer size creates other institutional barriers, even when you have a reform minded pope. I think that can be for good and bad the same way that formal checks and balances in our government ends up being pretty equivocal.
Wow. I'd totally forgotten about the Slade song. I'm going over to youtube to listen to it and also check out Minchin now.
I think Johnson blew out his voice by singing above his range in the original Back in Black recordings. Everything after that is kind of in drunken sailor territory. Weirdly, with the last tour they finally gave him a break and started detuning their instruments one half step and he's got more power than he has had in decades. It's kind of weird to hear songs like Thunderstruck flattened a half step though. I think Bon is by far the better singer, but that Back in Black is nonetheless the best album.
Excellent. I'll check out the Pogues', the Waitresses', and the Dar Williams' songs. Sad that AC/DC were defeated by Christmas. Weird how unsuccessfully it recycles some of their great songs. Spinal Tap's Christmas With the Devil is pretty bad, albeit by design.
Sorry about that, I had been reading the wikipedia on Canadian libel law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation#Criminal_defamation_2) and equivocated. So Canada might be uniquely bad, with Commonwealth standards of evidence and burdens of proof combined with having it be a criminal matter. This being said, I'm pretty sure any lawsuit Leiter might or might not bring would not fall under "blasphemous libel" and so be civil rather than criminal.
The only all party consent states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In all of the other states only one party has to consent to have the conversation recorded. I still don't know if this covers class lectures though, because you could argue that the overwhelming majority of a lecture is not a conversation between the recording student and the professor. If some other kid asks a question and I answer it and neither of us have consented to being recorded, then it should be illegal for the rightwing dude in question to record. I don't know how this would actually pan out legally though.
Shoot. I hope you can make it. You can get our room and we'll get the pull out couch in the little room off the kitchen.
I think it is different in analytical philosophy. We tend to attract people who feel like they already know the answers and that the point of philosophy is just to do apologetics for that. This is most obvious with kids who went to Christian schools and (rightfully) found Plantinga to be a huge balm to all of the other anti-intellectual strains, discovered that they were pretty good at playing the game, and decided to be "Christian philosophers" in the fideistic sense Plantinga prescribes. It's second most obvious with the kids who discovered Rand in highschool and never let go of the view that she had all the answers. The promise (if not always the practice) of phenomenology is actively hostile to "philosophy as apologetics." We're supposed to be open to the things revealing themselves to us in ways that might cause us to radically reconfigure our conceptual schemes. How this happens is actually a going research project, the Badiouian (as opposed to the more radical, though constitutively related, Derridean) "problem of the event." I should be clear about two things though. I don't mean to be impugning all or even most philosophers of religion or people who continue to work on Rand after graduate school. I don't think most of them are just doing apologetics, though apologetics might have been the gateway to philosophy proper, which I think does require constant openness to the idea that one is mistaken about one's deepest beliefs.
Yeah, I wasn't clear enough about the solos bit. I meant when all the other musicians take a break and the drummer/guitarist/keyboardist noodles for ten or so minutes. Somewhere Nick Hornby has a wonderful description of how liberating it was when he realized he could leave the arena and get a beer instead of sitting through John Bonham's drum solo and bass player's long thing on the keyboard. Grateful Dead/Fish/jam band etc. are I think the opposite of the above, where I sometimes dislike something for bad reasons. Not liking the Idea I associate with it leads me to be blind to virtues of instances of that Idea. Punks not being supposed to like hippies is a really stupid reason to reorganize your affective responses to art. I'm really conflicted about jazz. Part of the problem is that in part because of aesthetic norms that the musicians accept it's just really, really, hard to do well, and really easy to do badly. . . The Ken Burns "American Classical Music" jazz type hagiography leaves me cold, but even run of the mill pre-Bop jazz where catchiness of the melody was widely recognized as a good-making feature is transcendent as are thousands of post-bop sui generis artists who don't fit nicely into the Burns story. Again, this ties into not liking something because of the disconnect between what one takes to be the proper Idea and the particulars falling under that Idea. I bought into the Burnsy thing just to rebel against the red of my own neck. It had very little to do with the particulars deemed to be canonical by that Idea, such as Wynton Marsalis noodling with the Boston Pops or all those people who take Coltraine to be the apex of the art form. One interesting thing that falls from this is that universals really do play the Platonic role of grading canonical from non-canonical particulars. Two distinct universals (Ken-Burns-Jazz versus Django-Reinhardt-Jazz) can pick out all of the same particulars, but contradict one another about what are the better or worse instances of those particulars.
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2014 on // Falls the shadow at Jon Cogburn's Blog
That's actually a really interesting point. I'm going to do a top level post in reaction, because I think that this relates to issues of autonomy in important ways.
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2014 on // Falls the shadow at Jon Cogburn's Blog
The google spider likes me, and I didn't feel right about people continuing to go to those posts from searches. I was initially going to put links in to another stand-alone post, but I found two articles that did a much better job saying anything I might want to say about the article, so I just linked to them in a post today.
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It can be tricky for an author to write from the perspective of a character of the other gender. How do you get inside the head of your opposite? But of course, men and women aren't complete opposites. Some men are interested in fashion or cooking and some women like... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Emily's Pretty Cool Blog
Actually these guys are kind of jerks. Silcox and I originally pitched Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy to Blackwell. The series editor was excited about it but the marketing people made us write another marketing report and then rejected it because there was no "marketable moment" like a Dungeons and Dragons movie. So Silcox and I sent the proposal to Open Court, which accepted it (the book has been out for a couple of years now - http://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Philosophy-Raiding-Popular-ebook/dp/B0095XK5CG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417045736&sr=8-2&keywords=mark+silcox ). As far as I've been able to piece this together, Blackwell gave the book to Robichaud (a book with the same name as the book Silcox and I pitched) after Open Court put our book as forthcoming on the Open Court web site. Robichaud is not a philosopher but who has done a number of these titles for Blackwell. After that it got very weird. Robichaud didn't contact his own authors for a long time, so when Open Court came out with our book, his own authors wrote angry e-mails to Mark and I assuming that it was the same book (naturally, it has the same title) and that we didn't like their papers but hadn't bothered to tell them they were rejected. It was just surreal. Then, other Open Court editors wrote us saying that the Blackwell series editor had done the same thing to them. You can't copywrite titles and "X and Philosophy" is too broad to constitute intellectual property, even if you are the one who actually pitched the thing to the press. A lawyer friend of mine looked at the proposal and marketing reports that Silcox and I did and said the last bit gave maybe a 50/50 chance of winning a court case, but at no point were Mark and I interested in doing that. For about two weeks our book was in Barnes and Nobles type stores, but then Open Court got bought out by e-books and all of their physical titles were taken off of the floors (I assume that the remaindering tax write off was part of how they made money on the acquisition). But the Blackwell popular culture volumes are still in physical bookstores. So this non-philosopher who edited a book that we pitched (and which has the same title) is getting shelf space in premier book stores. I realize that this is a first-world problem, but it's still a little bit irritating.