Fair Warning: Next week I have some political and social foaming at the mouth to do over current events and modern society, but that can wait. The weather recently has been too nice for my hot-collar wardrobe. The swelter is supposed to return next week; the forecast is for serious ranting with scattered raving.
For the weekend, for Science Fiction Saturday in particular, for all my disdain of movie and TV science fiction (especially TV SF, most of which does nothing for me), literary science fiction is very alive and quite well!
Recently I’ve been enjoying three authors in particular…
Come over here. Go over there. Let’s go over the bridge, over the wall, and over the plan (while we still have a roof over our heads). But let’s not get over-confident and allow our enthusiasm to spill over. (For that might over-turn the apple cart and we won’t get a do-over!)
Something can be over — that is to say finished, done. And one can be over something (finished with it, done with it). I’ve been struck, lately, by a number of things that are over as well as by the realization that I’m over some things.
The former make me a little bit sad, and a couple of the latter, especially one, took me a bit by surprise!
A long time ago (nearly four years!) I wrote a post about my high school English teacher, Mrs. McGee (see The Love Connection) and a short story I’d written in her class. I complained in my post that she’d given me a low grade on the story because she objected to its conclusion.
Turns out my memory about the objection is correct, but she give me an ‘A’ on the paper anyway. (In fact, she compared the writing to Chekhov’s The Seagull … kinda sorta.)
I wanted to share it years ago, but didn’t know where it was. I found it just last week, and here it is:
Nearly (but not quite) identical!
Yet another bit of flotsam washed ashore, this one from the mid-to-late 1980s I’m guessing. Another part of the same note has a file system diagram that, in part based on the “DOS” directory, confirms the era.
Back then I participated a lot in two online groups: Star Trek and Feminism. (Both were topics of avid interest to me!) This note seems to address a topic that sometimes arose as party line in the latter group, but which I thought missed the point.
It’s about examining versus ignoring differences…
Another note that surfaced, this one actually dated: 1/17/79. Apparently, for some reason, I was moved to jot down a personal definition of innocence (as opposed to incense, which is defined by smell rather than words).
“Innocence: Trusting first rather than mistrusting. Thinking someone is right first rather than wrong.”
Sadly, tragically, life has a way of destroying that trust and changing that thinking.
On the note’s flip side…
One retirement project of mine involves going through lots of boxes containing work stuff, hardware and software design stuff, and decades of writing stuff. It’s kind of amazing and weird how much stuff I’ve generated in well over 40 years of active stuff creation. Among all that stuff — the bulk of which turns out to be dead weight I can eject — are a few worth saving and recording here.
The writing stuff, especially, varies from short notes to, in a few cases, short stories or scripts written long ago. Here is a note that seems as relevant today as it was when I wrote it circa late 1980s.
It’s about violence…
1In the beginning was the plan. 2And then came the assumptions. 3And the assumptions were without form. 4And the plan was completely without substance. 5And darkness was upon the face of the workers.
6And they spake amongst themselves, saying “It is a crock of shit and it stinketh!” 7And the workers went to the planners and sayeth “It is a pile of dung and none may abide the odor thereof!” 8And the planners went to the supervisors and sayeth unto them “It is a container of excrement and it is very strong such that none may abide by it!” 9And the supervisors went to the managers saying “It is a vessel of fertilizer and none may abide its strength!” 10And the managers went to the directors and sayeth “It promoteth growth and it is very powerful!” 11And the Vice-President went to the President and sayeth unto him “This powerful new plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of the department!”
12And the President looked upon the plan and saw that it was good.
13And the plan became policy.
Here endeth the lesson!
The other day I saw in a New York Times article that Alvin Toffler had died last month. The article wasn’t really an obituary so much as about Future Shock, the book Toffler wrote back in 1970. If you’re around my age, you may remember him and the book; both were a bit of a big deal.
I hadn’t thought about that book since back then, but as the Times writer points out, “it seems clear that his diagnosis has largely panned out, with local and global crises arising daily from our collective inability to deal with ever-faster change.” Truer words! Even in 1970, the technological pace was starting to affect people in bad ways, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better since.
The article really struck a chord! I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately — and have written a few posts — about the growing disconnect between people and their grasp of the technological modern world.
Here’s something that caught my eye: Researchers at the University of Vermont, in the Computational Story Lab (!), did an interesting word content analysis on 1,700 stories downloaded from Gutenberg. Each story had been downloaded at least 150 times by readers.
The researchers used “sentiment analysis” that measures the positive or negative emotional impact of words. Using a sliding window they attempted to characterize the “emotional arcs” of each story. Their goal was to see if there were common patterns.
Turns out, there are!
Not that there was any doubt, but CNN proved it is nothing but a cable whore by hiring Cory Lewandowski, the guy who man-handled reporter Michelle Fields on camera and nearly got charged with assault.
I urge you to join me in boycotting CNN, especially during the November election. Remember: these are the idiots who brought you reporter holograms in 2008!
They’re also the guys (definitely guys) who put Erin “Cleavage” Burnett on an elevated platform so the cameras can get a good shot of her legs.