Morning Ed: Society {2016.01.28.Th}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    The concept of a cover song would make no sense before the late 1950s. In pre-rock pop music there was a stricter division between songwriter and singer than there is now. Songs weren’t associated with any particular artist and when you went into a record store to buy a particular song, it was generally assumed that any of the myriad versions would do. Its one reason why the pop hits of old are sometimes referred to as standards. They were supposed be part of the standard repertoire of musicians. Songs they would be expected to know so they could play them at parties, dances, and concerts. Rock music and the rise that bands should provide their own material is what led to the existence of the cover song.

    Morse’s article was unconvincing. It covers a particular type of rightist thought but not the entire rightist spectrum, particularly the type that is aghast at video games.Report

  2. Avatar Damon
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    Twitter & Milo: I’m going to side with Marc Randazza on this:
    https://popehat.com/2016/01/11/twitter-takes-a-side-in-the-culture-wars-lies-about-it/

    Video games: Not so sure about the right wing, but a lot of them tend to emphasize individual freedom over collective action.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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      Damon,
      That’s a product of “what’s easy to code” just as much as anything else. MOOs and anything else multiplayer tends to be a lot more cooperative, simply because you don’t have to write ais that don’t step on each other’s toes.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Damon
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      says:

      I’ve heard similar complaints from liberals that narratives tend to emphasize the individual over the collective.
      But of course they do. Even the Soviet and Maoist fictions of the heroic worker were about, well, a single hero.
      It’s just not easy to make a story of collective action interesting, since the reader wants to place himself in it.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to notme
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      says:

      Yes, asking students if they’ve been arrested (as opposed to convicted) is wrong. Being arrested is no proof of wrongdoing–“innocent until proven guilty” means something–and there’s a great deal of evidence that shows that African Americans get hassled by cops a lot more than white people.

      Did you have an actual argument here, or was your incredulous tone supposed to be enough?Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to pillsy
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        An arrest or arrests even without a conviction can demonstrate a pattern of behavior and/or poor judgment or immaturity. Colleges have a responsibility to ensure that their campuses are free of violence. Note that VA Tech started asking the question after the shooting there. Frankly it just seems like some liberal feel good issue.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to notme
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          Can, but given the known pattern of racism in police stops, it is not a race neutral way of doing so. It’s already bad enough that being stopped for DWB is a thing at all; it’s worse to aggravate it by making it a bar to college admissions.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to pillsy
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            You seem to be assuming that all police stops are racist and that all stops lead to an arrest, neither of which are true. Furthermore, the article plainly states that the schools in question say that an arrest isn’t an automatic disqualification. Sadly, you read as poorly as dragonfrog.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to notme
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              says:

              You seem to be assuming that all police stops are racist and that all stops lead to an arrest, neither of which are true.

              No, I assume that enough police stops are racist that members of racial minorities are disproportionately likely to be stopped, and that a stop is at least as likely to result in arrest when a member of a racial minority is the person stopped.

              Furthermore, the article plainly states that the schools in question say that an arrest isn’t an automatic disqualification.

              It doesn’t have to be; hell, it could just be a tie-breaker and it would have a negative disparate impact on minorities.

              Sadly, you read as poorly as dragonfrog.

              One of us sure has a reading comprehension problem.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                You said,

                It’s already bad enough that being stopped for DWB is a thing at all; it’s worse to aggravate it by making it a bar to college admissions.

                I said,

                Furthermore, the article plainly states that the schools in question say that an arrest isn’t an automatic disqualification.

                Now you say,

                It doesn’t have to be; hell, it could just be a tie-breaker and it would have a negative disparate impact on minorities.

                I proved that your first statement is wrong. Colleges don’t view an arrest as a “bar” to admission but you changed your wording and talk about it being “tie breaker” which is something completely different.

                As for all of you assumptions about police stops and arrests, you can pile them one on top of another but all you have is an assumption but no proof of anything.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to notme
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                says:

                Since this software doesn’t seem to have any sort of ignore list functionality, I guess I’ll have to ignore your nitpicky, mindless partisanism the old fashioned way. I’m not planning on responding to you again; feel free to claim victory and tell everybody who will listen how your towering insight was too much for me to deal with.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                Nitpicky? You made those statements and I refuted them with facts and then you change what you claim you said. I don’t think I won, I just think you are a typical sore loser. Maybe like others here you should be amore precise in what you write.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                @pillsy

                You’re learning…Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Yes, learning to be a sore loser like you. I remember your upset at your own poor word choice when discussing the officer in FL that was being investigated for porn.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to notme
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      How the heck is a prior arrest relevant to admission to college? Are undergrads given signing authority over the college’s funds nowadays?

      Also, are we openly dismissing the very idea of rehabilitation now? Once you’ve committed a single crime, you’re an outlaw who must forever carefully be excluded from any prospect of non-criminal employment?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to dragonfrog
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        says:

        It appears to go (slightly) beyond “arrested”, and into “charged or convicted”:

        “Have you ever been charged with or convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a crime other than a minor traffic offense, or are there any criminal charges now pending against you?”

        This is a dumb question, but it is possible to be “arrested”, but not “charged”, correct? “Charged” implies one step past “arrested” (and one step before “convicted”).

        If I had to guess (this is all my speculation), the origin of this question has to do with the liabilities colleges are now facing as far as sexual assault and the like.

        Say a freshman is accused of raping another in the dorms, and it comes out that the accused student already had a prior charge against them for sexual assault or other violent crime.

        A savvy lawyer might be able to make hay of the fact that the college admitted and housed the accused student; saying the college didn’t do their due diligence in maintaining a safe campus.

        EDITED: I’m not taking a position on whether it’s a good idea or not, just speculating on how/why it’s happening.Report

        • Avatar notme in reply to Glyph
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          says:

          A savvy lawyer might be able to make hay of the fact that the college admitted and housed the accused student; saying the college didn’t do their due diligence in maintaining a safe campus.

          No, you don’t need to be “savvy” to make think of argument. You only have to be competent.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Glyph
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          That’s a very different question than “have you ever been arrested?” My impression is that’s very close to the permitted form of such questions for employers in Canada (here there’s also a mandatory qualifier “for which a pardon has not been issued”)

          At protests, police routinely arrest hundreds of people when they know full well that there is no charge that will stick, often because they know they’re not committing any crime. They get the people off the streets, and get to administer an unofficial punishment (dare to protest – get hauled away in cuffs and spend the night in remand before we release you without charge).Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to dragonfrog
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            FTA, it looks like the Virginia Tech application asks about “arrested” (the blockquote I gave above is from Auburn’s). But as notme notes, they implemented that question after the 2007 massacre there.

            There’s perhaps a better way to word the question or another way to handle it, but I can’t exactly blame schools for trying to protect their students (and their coffers) from known or suspected safety risks.

            What if they didn’t ask the question at all, but all applicants had to pay for a background check on themselves?Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to dragonfrog
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        If you even bothered to read the article you would have seen the part where the schools said that an arrest doesn’t automatically disqualify someone from attending. Did you get that far?Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to notme
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          If you had read the article before posting, you might not have misrepresented its content, but hey, wattayagonnado?Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to dragonfrog
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            says:

            How an I misrepresenting the article? Take this quote,

            “Auburn, in Auburn, Ala., is one of 17 universities in the South that include broad questions on their admissions applications about any contact with the legal system or the police that applicants might have had — even an arrest, with no conviction — according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group. The universities are now the focus of an inquiry by the organization, which says such questions unfairly penalize minorities, who tend to face arrest more frequently and, as a result, could face higher admissions hurdles.”

            It’s perfectly clear that this group considers the question to be racist.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Except for all those liberals who play video games and manage to stay liberal. Articles like the Federalist one always strike me as trying too hard.Report

  4. Avatar Kim
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    DS9 had some decent science fiction writers, and purloined one script straight out of Analog… (in fairness, it wasn’t going to work for Analog that month, and it was too good to not use somewhere).

    Not the “stars”, but note that the stars of science fiction were … a little less desperate? I’m not sure how to say it, but they were less about writing small works, and more about writing novels. (Plus, imagining Gibson writing for Star Trek makes me shudder in terror).Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kim
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      Babylon 5 had a Neil Gaiman scripted episode[1], and he’s also written for Doctor Who. And speaking of William Gibson, he wrote an episode for The X-Files[2].

      I actually can imagine Gibson writing a DS9 episode. John Shirley wrote one, and I thought it was pretty decent.

      [1] Very weird, but IMO, weird in a good way.

      [2] Which was pretty lousy, TBH.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to pillsy
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        [2a] Gaiman batted .500 with his Nu-Who episodes, imo. The Doctor’s Wife fit everyone’s personality and the tone the show was taking at the time. Nightmare in Silver, well, tried too hard. Though thinking about it now, it may have worked better this past season with Capaldi instead of Smith and a Coleman that had found finally found her footing in her character.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to pillsy
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        Gaiman’s not the only science fiction writer who’s been on Dr. Who’s staff (the fun part is figuring out which writer was on the security detail).
        Remember Douglas Adams?
        I’ll just like to note that Dr. Who has a famous history of pennames for writers who aren’t getting credited.Report

  5. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
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    says:

    The reason for the renumbering is simple – it works. Marvel basically does a new #1 for every new writer/artist team and they’ve been largely winning the sales race for years.

    However, it’s all kind of moot, as the comics side of these companies are basically just IP farms that they keep around even though they sell a few hundred thousand copies at most.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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      The difference is marvel manages to keep its material exciting and fresh. If the new DC #1s didn’t feel like bad 90’s rehashes, they’d be a lot more successful. That said, some of their post new52 titles are okay: Gotham Academy is pretty wonderful, Batgirl is fun, and I didn’t hate the post-convergence superman retool. Plus I’ve heard good things about Grayson and We Are Robin, but haven’t been reading either.

      If these new #1s actually launch a bunch of good new comics, then I’ll be jumping back on board the DC train. I just am very, very skeptical that such a thing is going to happen.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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      However, it’s all kind of moot, as the comics side of these companies are basically just IP farms that they keep around even though they sell a few hundred thousand copies at most.

      Per issue? That sounds like a lot.Report

  6. Avatar Alan Scott
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    says:

    On Videogames:

    I was rather under the impression that Bioshock provides a rather uncharitable critique of Objectivism, rather than supporting it. Likewise, Bioshock infinite presents a rather dim view of American exceptionalism and idolization of the founding fathers.

    I think there’s clearly plenty of not-questioning-the-assumptions that happens in violent games that pushes one towards militarism–in the same way that police procedurals are, by way of their boringness, law-and-order conservative in nature. But saying that when a game phones it in it promotes conservatism is probably not as flattering as Morse would hope.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Alan Scott
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      Yes. Bioshock wasn’t very subtle about the slapping around it gave Ayn Rand. You’d have to be pretty thick, or a teenager, to miss it.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Alan Scott
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      Mr. Morse’s article about video games and conservatism says more about Mr. Morse than it does about either video games or conservatism.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko
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        It probably sounds very compelling if you haven’t played any of those games.Report

        • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Morat20
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          He jumps around strangely. Beginning the piece with Bioshock was just bizarre, since it’s very unambiguously a critique of objectivism (among other things). But he was certainly correct to describe the Call of Duty franchise as a conservative series, given that those games all exist in the universe that a less sophisticated version of Dick Cheney thinks we live in.

          I’ve played the campaigns of a couple, and they occur in a world where Russia can, with no real preparation or difficulty, invade the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, where the world is under constant threat of nuclear terrorism, where torture quickly and reliably produces effective intelligence, and where every problem is solvable through the application of lethal force by the more or less flawless protagonists, all of whom are US or British military personnel.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Alan Scott
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      The main thing I’ve noticed in video games (RPGs, anyway) is an unquestioning agreement with the Great Man Theory of History.

      That, in itself, is *HUGELY* focused on the dynamics created by the (well, a particular) individual over the Spencerian dynamics will, by it’s very nature, give a story that “feels” conservative. Why? Because of the focus on the One Man Who Changed Everything.

      Games that have more of a focus on communities interacting with each other (e.g., Warcraft, Starcraft, Total Annihilation, so on) will come across as more progressive than the RPGs where you are given the protagonist and a country, world, or universe and a checklist.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        The Sims, for instance. I find his discussion of Skylines amusing — the budget there purely as a game mechanic, and honestly the whole “Build a City” thing is an exercise in top-down management, zoning, and urban planning…

        You’re quite right that many games use the “Great Man” thing, because duh…you’re going to be the hero. 🙂Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20
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          I’m pretty sure there’s a link somewhere in the queue on the Conservatism of The Sims.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Morat20
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          There are some 4x games where you have “elective federalism” – i.e. you can appoint planetary/regional/etc. governors to make the basic decisions for you. In some like hopefully the upcoming Stellaris and unlike the lamented Master of Orion 3, the governor might not be completely incapable of the job…

          However, I can’t think of a single one where even if you’re nominally running “free enterprise” – in e.g. Civ, Alpha Centauri – the people actually are allowed to make any decisions for themselves in any disposition of labor or resources.

          It’s funny how even a wizard researching the Spell of Mastery or a race of frail gray technophiles have – with very slight limitations on their power – basically nationalized industrial production, can reassign the labor force at will, massively redistribute wealth (often to plutocrats and government flunkies), draft wide swaths of the populace into the military, enact draconian policies to increase/decrease the birth rate, and by their actions alienate the worker from the fruits of her labor.

          In a 4x, even the “good guys” look more like Enver Hoxha than Barack Obama.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to El Muneco
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            Well it makes sense. You’re either the hero (if it’s a personal story) or the dictator/king if it’s a collective one.

            I mean the vaguely closest I can recall to avoiding that was the first Civ game wouldn’t let you declare war as a Republic, as the Senate would override you. Which just meant you swapped to dictatorship for a turn, declared war, switched BACK to Republic and proceeded to kill off whatever country you felt like.Report

  7. Avatar Richard Hershberger
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    says:

    That Trek piece is better than most examples of the genre. It has some points that could even qualify as “insightful”.Report

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