Giggle if you want to, but France has the largest armed forces in Europe in terms of personnel.
I’ve never played Fallout. Or anything like that. I have a Wii U. I play Super Mario 3-D Word with my three-year-old. So most of this post at Monster Hunter Nation may as well be in Chinese. But a few things earn a critical nod:
Yes, PC Master Race, spare me from your recruiting drives. To me, being on a computer feels like work. Computers are for typing bestselling novels and insulting people on the internet. Consoles are dumb and easy. (hell, half the time I play while riding the exercise bike) And besides, I know enough of you in real life, and all I ever hear is you bitching about how you need to buy a new graphics card every other week.
I have a Mac, but when I had a PC, I couldn’t play Panzer Generals 3 because I didn’t have the right graphics card. It was lame then, and it’s lame now.
But the game that I’ve been playing nonstop for two years now? Good old, free to play World of Tanks. That is the one that I just keep coming back to. I don’t know what it is about WoT, but it just never gets old.
My game, that I could play all day and never get bored, that I keep coming back to, is, as my Twitter profile mentions, Crusader Kings 2. It appeals to a particular kind of history nerd, but it’s glorious. I especially like the When the World Stopped Making Sense mod, because I love the period immediately after the fall of the Roman Empire. Something about playing as the Merovingians (or even poor, doomed Syagrius) just appeals to me. Right now I’m trying to restore Rome as the Decian dynasty. Finally pushed those heathen Vandals out of Sardinia. Which reminds me, I really must play as the Vandals sometime.
And it strikes me, that playing in a postapocalyptic world isn’t terribly different from playing a dark ages dynastic RTS. I mean, other than all the ways it’s totally different.
Casting around the Internets:
A pre-med student, asked as part of a class to comment on the Emma Sulkowicz affair, goes into full attack mode. She leaves it all on the field. Relevant quote:
If we don’t give colleges the power to put the accused on trial and convict criminals for murder, why do we give them the power to do so for cases of sexual assault?
Why, indeed? One might speculate that this has less to do with stopping a violent crime that is about 20% as common as it was in 1973, and more to do with enabling bureaucrats and their ideological water-carriers to attain power. If one were so inclined.
The Pope Calls Attacks on the state of Israel anti-Semitic. Everyone who jumped up and down about Papa Francesco’s pronouncements on the climate has to pay attention to this too, right?
There may be political disagreements between governments and on political issues, but the state of Israel has every right to exist in safety and prosperity.
Catholicism is Jewish, and that’s a good thing.
Fancy-Schmancy old-school headphones from Master & Dynamic. Beautiful. WANT.
The headphones are made of steel and aluminum, and pair we tried out were gunmetal grey. The MW60s last about 15 hours on one charge, but they can still be used with an included cable if they die.
I don’t have $600 to drop on something like that, but man do I wish I did.
Can Donald Trump Destroy SNL? If you read this hand-wringing AV-Club article all the way through, you may miss it, but the message is there. Conservatives abandoned SNL long ago (I didn’t mind Tina Fey throwing daggers at Bush – she was mostly funny when she did so. But their cowardice in going after Obama, their pretense that nothing about him was risible, was pathetic). But if they lose their support among lefties, then that could mean something. Hey, if we play our cards right, they might destroy each other.
Mexico Just Got Excorcised. This is apparently a thing.
A few months ago Mexico, the second largest Catholic country, was exorcised of its demons in an unprecedented rite of exorcismo magno performed in secret in the city of San Luis Potosí.
This would seem to be at odds with the stricter rules for excorcism that Benedict enacted in 2009. But whatever works.
Within Kevin Williamson’s takedown of the mindlessness of bureacracy (And please, read the whole thing), lies this interesting nugget:
Over the years, economic success and administrative demands eventually transform bands of roving bandits into bands of stationary bandits. One popular theory of the state — one that is pretty well-supported by the historical evidence in the European context — is that this is where governments come from: protection rackets that survive for a long enough period of time that they take on a patina of legitimacy. At some point, Romulus-and-Remus stories are invented to explain that the local Mafiosi have not only historical roots but divine sanction.
This is a useful tonic against species of anarcho-libertarians. That sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. If anarchy is the natural state in man, anarchy fell to government via banditry. If the Roman Republic, for example, began as ancient mafiosi, then even if we were to achieve blessed anarchy again, there wouold be nothing stopping bandits from setting up new proto-states via violence.
But free humans would band together to resist such bandits. Indeed. And if bandits are a common problem (and why would they not be?) then regular banding together against them would lead to regular organization of force, and rules concerning same, and holy schneikes you have law and a state. For all we know, that’s how the Roman Republic really began.
If liberty requires virtue, anarchy requires sainthood.
Being a fan of Star Wars is hard. You have to recognize that for all the fun it gave you, it’s also created a mass of boredom and Gungans. So very little of the Expanded Universe is done right. So much of it is a pastiche of the magic that made the first movie such fun, and the second so deliciously dark. Even Return of the Jedi isn’t quite up to the level of its predecessors.
We all got suckered into believing that George could whip up a new story and it would do what we wanted, show us the Galaxy Far Far Away in a new light, with new heroes. And it could have been, but for the fact that George never cared about writing the damn thing so that it made sense, or about the wry moments of humor that humanized the sturm und drang. So the prequels alternate between glaring continuity errors and dull conversations interspersed with interminable lightsaber duels.
But we want to believe that Disney would do better. That J.J. Abrams, who, whatever his merits or faults as a filmmaker, grew up on this stuff like we did, could helm a Star Wars story that would be a story (with a protagonist and a plot and credible character arcs). So now, we’ve reached peak Episode VII excitement. So Kyle Smith’s take in the New York Post: “Sorry Star Wars fans, you can’t get your childhood back” is worth reading as a tonic to the hysteria.
Succeeding generations saw “Star Wars” when they were 10, or 8, or 5 years old. That you is gone. You can’t lose your virginity twice, you can’t believe in Santa Claus again and you’ll never regain a child’s sense of wonder, even dressed as a Jawa.
But that’s all it’s worth. The argument that we can’t enjoy Star Wars anymore because we’re too grown-up was nonsense back in the summer of ’99, when Episode I “Gushers” told Episode I “Bashers” that if we just turned on our “inner child”, we’d see that The Phantom Menace was perfectly fine, and it’s nonsense today. I don’t particularly want my childhood back. I do want a story that I loved to be continued in a way that does justice to it, and the reasons that I loved it.
Now it might be that Abrams can’t think of anything more useful to do than give us a warmed-over retread of A New Hope. That’s old hat for anyone who’s read the Thrawn trilogy and wondered what was the big deal about it.
Fortunately, Smith and I can find common ground:
The best we can expect from the new “Star Wars” is not that it’ll compare to seeing the first one, but that it’ll be a competent piece of craft, a diverting excursion, a successful trip to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.
That is all I want.
First, the entitlement state exists primarily to transfer wealth regressively, from the working-age population to the retired elderly who, after a lifetime of accumulation, are the wealthiest age cohort. Second, big, regulatory government inherently exacerbates inequality because it inevitably serves the strong — those sufficiently educated, affluent, articulate and confident to influence the administrative state’s myriad redistributive actions.
Third, seven years of ZIRP — zero-interest-rate policy— have not restored the economic dynamism essential for social mobility but have had the intended effect of driving liquidity into equities in search of high yields, thereby enriching the 10 percent of Americans who own approximately 80 percent of the directly owned stocks.
The state exists to serve itself. Did you watch the Benghazi hearings and not understand that?
But the best part is his attack, via Philosopher Harry Frankfurt, of the whole idea of economic equality as a moral ideal (if you have not read Harry Frankfurt’s tome On Bullshit, then hie ye to Amazon). One might make a case for economic sufficiency, but sufficiency – whether someone has enough – is irrelevant to how much someone else has. Economics is not now, and will not ever be, a zero-sum game, except when it is given to the political class, who will turn any society into Venezuela if given half the chance.
Oh, but easy for me to say, stuffed with all my privileges and comfort! Yes, it is easy indeed. I am privileged and comfortable and so, so white….
But income inequality is not going to change so long as its existence is used to give more power to the state, the oligarchs that run the state, and the clerisy that worships it. Hate me for saying it as much as you want.
Stacey McCain is nothing if not fair-minded. He will lambaste someone six ways to Sunday, but then he will offer, dispassionately, praise. And not even backhanded praise.
Damn his atheist soul, but Barrett Brown is an excellent writer.
This links to Brown’s recent prison-penned review of Jonathan Franzen’s Purity, posted on The Intercept_ (the underline space is not a typo). McCain advises everyone to read it, and I admit it has a nice full does of snark, but I found it irritating for a couple of reasons.
- It is expressed (with a certain degree of irony, but still expressed) that Franzen is the representative of White Male Hegemony, that he is “the Great King of the Honkies”. While I don’t doubt that the SJW’s sneer most sneeringly every time he jumps to the top of the bestseller list, I don’t see why we have to nod to it when reviewing the work. Jonathan Franzen does not speak for me (or Barret Brown, or McCain) just because we’re both caucasoids with Y chromosomes. No one thinks that he does. So why do we have to credit this reduction of Franzen to his DNA? I keep hearing that that’s a bad thing, so why do we keep doing it?
- No doubt related to this is the recurrent meme of Franzen’s misogyny. Now, I’ve not read Purity, so I don’t know if there is a current of misogyny running through it, but what I do know is that Brown doesn’t bother to provide evidence for the assertion. It is simply assumed as true. There’s a reference to psychotic mothers, and one or two other asides, indicating that female characters are shown with flaws and dark sides (the male characters must lack these), but I can’t find anything indicating a thoroughgoing hatred of women qua women. I know that Brown is of the left, and I guess that means he just accepts the construction that a male cannot criticise a female absent a deep-seated hostility to people-with-ovaries as such. But that doesn’t mean I have to be impressed with it.
I do share some of Brown’s antipathy for lit-fic. Franzen writes the kind of books that one admires rather than enjoys, serious books for serious people to have serious thoughts about. I read Freedom in a rare decision to accept what the chattering classes considered significant literature. I liked it fine as I was reading it, but have felt no need to revisit it. There’s too much agonistes and not much action.
So I doubt very much that I’ll be reading Purity, as I find little edification and less entertainment in novels about upper-middle-class anxiety. There’s a place where Brown and I agree with that, at least.