Trump vs October

Scene:  Trump home,  90th floor of New Trump Tower

Donald Trump (DT): Melania, Where’s my Halloween costume?

Melania Trump (MT): I don’t know schmoopy, what does it look like?

DT: It’s a Dead Pool costume, schmoopy.

MT: I do not know the Ned Poole.

DT: Not Ned Poole, Dead Pool. He’s a super hero who kills bad guys and makes fun of them at the same time. He’s a lot like me only poorer and he kills bad guys. Also he’s very popular. If I dress up like him I’m sure to get the youth vote.

MT: Okay, what does it look like.

DT: Well it’s your typical lycra spandex super hero suit with a mask that completely covers the face.

MT: Schmoopy, I don’t think spandex is your look.

DT: Don’t worry there is molded body armor underneath to … ummm? … contour my physique.

MT: Will it compensate for “small hands?”

DT: I have no idea what you’re talking about… but yes it will.

MT: But doesn’t covering your face detract from your biggest advantage?

DT: My stunning good looks?

MT: Uh… yeah that too, but I was thinking about your famousness.

DT: Already have it covered. The costume will be customized to show my hair.

MT: Okay good choice but I haven’t seen this costume in the 90th floor bedroom. Maybe it’s in the 88th floor closet or maybe the 97th floor closet.

DT: What the hell is going on around here? The system is breaking down. I need that costume right away. It’s almost Halloween and I have to start practicing my walk for the Halloween Presidential Debate Red Carpet stroll.

MT: But schmoopy that’s two whole months from now.

DT: I know but there’s a lot of preparation. I have to identify the rest of my entourage. I’m going to need a side-kick. I guess that’ll be Pence (oh boy!) and a super villian, probably dress Chris Christie up as Hillary (he’ll need some extra padding now), and a super hot girlfriend in a see-through skin-tight, topless thong arrangement.

MT: Well at least you don’t have to look for her. I have just the outfit, it’s perfect.

DT: Uh schmoopy I don’t think that’s a good idea.

MT: Why? Just because I’m gonna be the First Lady I can’t show off the merchandise.

DT: Uh … yeah, that’s it. But also for this occasion I’ll need to maximize the effect. I’ll need someone between twenty two and twenty two and a third years old. It’s been researched. I’m depending on getting the young nerd vote and any one older will turn them off.

MT: Oh!!! This politics is ruining our lives. You told me I had at least three more years before I’m too old for you! This is most unfair.

DT: No, no schmoopy, it’s made things better. After I win the election you’ll have at least four years. I’ll need to sew up the second term and it wouldn’t be smart to dump you in the middle of the campaign. You see, it’s a win/win.

MT: Oh schmoopy, you’re so smart. So tell me more about this Dead Pool. Why does he wear a mask? To hide his secret identity?

DT: No, he’s horribly disfigured. Boy I’m glad I’m not really him. It would be a terrible loss to the culture to lose this beautiful face. I mean think of it. If I weren’t this handsome I would never have been able to capture you.

MT: Huh? Oh yes, yes. That’s right. A girl needs a handsome face. That’s all, that’s all. Sure, sure. Uh listen schmoopy, I’ve got to go out right now I’m trying on a few platinum and emerald ball gowns for the Inauguration and I can’t decide whether they are too traditional. I’ll see you tonight in Sydney for the Opera.

DT: No can do schmoopy. I’ve got to get this Dead Pool thing straightened out. The election and the country are depending on me to get this right. Otherwise, disaster.

MT: Suit yourself. (Heads out the door.)

DT: …Now where was I? Oh yeah, (selects a contact on his phone and it rings). Hello Christie, yeah go ahead with the Hillary costume. I don’t care if powder blue makes your ass look big. And also I’ll need you to close up traffic on the George Washington Bridge for a few hours. Oh stop complaining you’re not gonna get re-elected anyway. If it makes a difference we won’t do it during rush hour. I need to be able to jump off one of the cables and crash through the roof of a car while playing “Just Call Me Angel In the Morning.” Why? You’re asking why?  Don’t you know anything about becoming President?

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Bring On the SFFexit

I was reading through the various Puppy blogs. Did I find despondency over the crushing Hugo debacle?

Nope. What I found was a growing consensus that it’s time to start separating from the Chorfs. Previously there was the hope that after some balance was achieved in the Hugos both sides would bury the hatchet and a live and let live arrangement would prevail. Last year’s asterisks and more so this year’s no awarding of perfectly legitimate and in some cases highly qualified nominees makes that unlikely. I think anger has hardened into hate.

It’s sort of like a marriage. When bickering turns into screaming it’s time for a marriage counselor. But when knives come out it’s time for the divorce court. It’s time to award custody of the silverware and figure out who gets stuck with the dog. Luckily that’s already been decided Fido (aka Hugo) is going to be gassed by Vox. Everything else gets divided according to the laws of nature. Fans who are ebullient over books that invent new pronouns for the nine billion new gender iterations will go to the Chorfs. Those who like their prose punctuated by hot lead will follow the Puppies. Everyone in between will have to search their souls and choose. They get Tor, we get Baen. They’ll get the kudos of academia, we’ll get the reviews on Amazon. Our books will feature scantily clad women, theirs will feature pastel colored dinosaurs. Everybody gets what they want.

So separate on all fronts. It’s time to start building. Build up separate author lists, separate sales strategies, separate awards (maybe the Dragons?), separate branding. Some of this is the result of the Puppy Kicking Campaigns and has become a sort of general boycott of the Chorfs and their enablers. Many people have already jumped on the Tor Boycott and inversely many are purposefully concentrating their book spending dollars on Baen, Castalia House and Puppy authors in particular. Of course no Chorf worth her salt would buy a puppy book anyway or any other book that didn’t include at least some element of social improvement so there’s really no change needed on that front.

I think the only thing that really needs to be done is branding and labeling. How to differentiate their stuff from ours? Neither side will want to sacrifice the science fiction and fantasy labels. Too important (and too valuable). We need some qualifiers, some adjectives.

Good vs Evil?

Strong vs Weak?

Dynamic vs Static?

Active vs Passive?

I think the real dichotomy is Fun vs Boring.

They’re boring. Let it be their new brand. When a reader goes to Barnes and Noble he should go to the BSFF shelf and choose the colorful covers full of gay dinosaurs and cat loving computers. That’s where he belongs. BS, boring stuff.

But if any of my grandsons asks me where to find “the good stuff” I’ll point him to the FSFF shelf and he’ll find space pirates and heroes and things blowing up. He’ll find that adventure hasn’t needed to change that much since Odysseus invented the Trojan Horse and Penelope preserved her home and family against war and time and hostile gods and welcomed him home. It’s still brave men and good women daring fate to win the day and live happily ever after. That’s exciting, that’s fun. FS, fun stuff.

But how do you brand something boring? How do you brand something fun? Easy, separate them and let people decide for themselves. But the key is separation. It’s like a hardware drawer filled with a mixture of ball bearing and razor blades. It’s confusing and you know something is wrong.  Totally different things that don’t belong together. And trying to grab one when you need it will be painful and frustrating when you grab the wrong one. But separated they can be used for their separate purposes. So let’s dump the razor blades into a different box and get rolling and have a ball.

Goodbye Chorfs. Enjoy your BS aisle. It’ll probably be pretty quiet over there.

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Sad and Rabid Puppies in 2016, What Will the Future Hold

So last week I talked about the Hugos and Dragon Awards. And we’ll have to wait for Labor Day to see if the Dragon Award voters look more like Puppies or CHORFs. I think it’s an open question as to whether the type of readers who read the Puppy books will bother to vote for them. Sure it’s much easier to vote for something that’s free, but honestly, most normal people don’t know that sci-fi awards even exist. So, to be continued.

But what I do want to write about is the situation on the ground between the Puppies (all flavors) and the CHORFs. I won’t go back into the weeds of what it’s all about. Instead let’s talk about where it’s going. This week most of the Puppy Leaders (Larry, Brad, Sarah, Kate, Dave and of course Vox) had something and sometimes a lot to say about the 2016 awards. Here are some of the links.

Larry

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/08/22/my-thoughts-on-the-2016-hugos/#comments

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/08/23/aw-the-guardians-village-idiot-remembered-my-birthday/#comments

 

Brad

Survival Guide for the Conservative, Classically Liberal, & Libertarian Science Fiction & Fantasy Author

Addressing The Problem™

Sarah

The Good, The Bad, The Boring

Kate

A Puppy At WorldCon

Dave

A Wally for me!

Vox

https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/08/post-hugo-analysis.html#comment-form

 

https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-worldcon-audio.html#comment-form

 

https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/08/why-worldcon-changed-rules.html#comment-form

 

 

I’ve read all their posts and even all the comments. I didn’t visit the CHORF sites (although several CHORF trolls were quite active on the comments sections of these puppy posts). I think I have a pretty good idea how everyone is feeling and what they want.

I think the Sad Puppies (most of them) intend to continue their policy of widening the reading and voting circle to include people who like good stories instead of just literary message fiction. By building an awareness of this alternate SFF community they are creating the core of a better fandom.

And this is truly admirable.

I think the Rabids intend to torture the CHORFs whenever and however they can. This is not only to overthrow the tyrannical regime of the SJWs, but also because they really really like doing it.

And this is truly hilarious.

The rabids are the precise remedy for the hollow pomposity and hypocritical virtue-signaling that fandom has devolved into. Rabid malice is almost a separate entity in and of itself.

Now, for the folks in the audience that think that the Rabids are the offenders I direct them to this post about David Truesdale (directly below) to get a feel for how they treat people who don’t agree with the narrative they enforce. They’re not nice or even fair.

https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-worldcon-audio.html#comment-form
I guess if someone looked at the dichotomy of the two puppy approaches he might compare them to the New and Old Testaments respectively. Basically the Gospel on the one hand and Samson pulling down the Philistine Temple on the other.

Based on some voting numbers that Vox put up on a post, it looks like about 2,000 of the extra voters from last year didn’t vote in the finals this year. So they didn’t renew their memberships. It seems entirely possible that next year’s awards will be even more contentious than 2016 when the best short story nominees included “Space Raptor Butt Invasion.” I don’t pretend to anticipate or even understand exactly how Vox plans to prosecute his war against the SJWs of SF but I’m almost certain that he has only just begun to torture them. He does seem to take the long view.

Those among the CHORFs that think that the worst is over because the rabid nominations were defeated in the finals do not understand what those nominations mean. For every Space Raptor Butt Invasion that wins a nomination spot, some one of the ancillary writers who faithfully vote the party ticket gets denied the promised spot on the periphery of the circle jerk. Essentially, the incentive for going along with the group-think will begin to evaporate. Before you know it, people will start reading what is actually entertaining instead of “good for you.” We can’t have that. So it’s probably going to get worse for the status quo.

It is reminiscent of some kind of ancient siege. The CHORFs are like some city totally surrounded by a horde of merciless barbarians. They have fought several skirmishes and have even sent out sorties to win the day by concentrating all their resources on offense. But their numbers and resources are dwindling and the horde seems to only get stronger and more blood-thirsty after every encounter. I can only guess at what the mentality and morale of the besieged is currently.
Pass the popcorn.

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Trump vs Manning Up: ( A Hopeful Fantasy)

Location: National Guard base in Louisiana

Secret Service Agent (SSA): Mr. Trump, the motorcade is ready for the trip back to the airport.

Donald Trump (DT): Okay Joseph. I’m just sending a text home. How long should I say it will take us to get back to the airport?

SSA: Three hours sir.

DT: Three hours? That can’t be right. It only took 45 minutes to get here.

SSA: We have to detour around the area we accessed earlier. The National Guard is in there now and we might get stuck behind some major rescue operation or caught in a swamped out road. It may get kind of uncomfortable in there.

DT: Might? May? Come on Joseph, man up! If we’re lucky we’ll save more than two hours and be in New York in time for dinner.

SSA: If you insist sir.

(Fifteen minutes down the road)

DT: Joseph, what’s the delay.

SSA: There’s a convoy at the intersection bringing out some families from the low ground ahead. We’ll be moving in a minute.

DT: Good.

DT: Lotta kids and old people there.

SSA: Yes, sir.

DT: They look beat.

SSA: Yes sir. They’re scared and tired. Alright we’ll be going on now.

DT: Ahh, okay, good.

(Ten minutes later)

DT: Oh my God. Look at those houses. They’re submerged! Is there anyone inside.

SSA: No sir. This is where those people you saw used to live.

DT: Ohh.  Uncomfortable you said.

SSA:  Yes.

Five minutes later.

DT: Joseph, where are they gonna put those people.

SSA: Temporary shelters. Military bases. Actually they’re trying to figure that out now.

DT: Ohh.

Five minutes later.

DT: Joseph.

SSA: Yes, Mr Trump.

DT: Head back to the command base.

SSA: But we’ll be late sir.

DT: I guess I’m already almost too late, Joseph.

SSA: As you said sir, man up.

DT:  Yep.

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August 21st 2016 Election Status Report

The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Presidential Poll is a rolling poll that is updated daily. It’s based on a 3,000 eligible voters. Today Donald Trump is ahead of Hillary Clinton 45% to 43%. What does this mean? Well, actually who knows. What it means to me is that a non-republican polling group has Trump ahead. To me that makes it credible. It doesn’t mean he’s definitely winning. But it does mean that those ridiculous polls by every left wing pollster imaginable showing Hillary ahead by 10% or 15% or even 20 % are a bunch of crap.

And that’s important. It means the drive by media will attempt another hit piece about Trump eating baby unicorns. It also means that Louisiana and the other bad news for democrats stories have had some traction. Labor Day is getting close and it’s time for the campaigns to switch into high gear. Expect endless political commercials and endless democrat outrage at anything Trump says. Well, it’s time for him to up his game. And based on the last week’s worth of speeches (in Milwaukee and Louisiana) I think he might be ready.

Hopefully Trump’s folks are ready to start spending money on advertising. I just hope they use it to go for the throat. Playing it safe isn’t what got him this far and it isn’t what he needs to pull ahead. The appeal to black voters was smart and also innovative. It speaks to the fundamental weakness of the democrat coalition. A few more jabs like that would put a good scare into the dems and might even get some votes from unexpected quarters.

I think focusing on the Millennials would be a very smart move. They are the primary recipients of the Obama economic meltdown. The Bernie voters are still out there and ripe for the picking. Another good move might be focusing on some cultural factors. Playing up the political correctness aspects of progressive organizations and groups and how they restrict the freedom of everyday people would seem to be fertile ground for campaigning.

Finally I think pointing up the most obnoxious qualities and policies of Obama (IRS attacks, executive orders putting coal miners out of work) is a political winner. So prepare for the two-fold narrative push:

1) Hillary is already a “lock.”

2) Have you heard the latest Trump gaffe?

That’s what the Trump campaign needs to push back on. Hopefully they’ve put together a good strategy. If there are going to be debates I expect that will be Hillary’s weakest link. She’s not very good off the cuff. The only thing he has to be careful about is looking to mean to the old bag.

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Thoughts on the 2016 SF&F Awards (Hugos and Dragons)

Well another Hugo Awards has come and gone and the WorldCon convention (this edition in Kansas City called MidAmericon II) ends today after proving that the entrenched powers that be would rather eject legitimate members from their proceedings than allow any dissenting opinions.

I won’t review the whole event (see story at link https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/08/truesdale-expelled-from-worldcon.html ) but the gist of it is that a well known editor of an on-line sf review site (Dave Truesdale of Tangent Online) was expelled from the convention because during his moderation of a panel on short stories he read a statement that blamed the current impoverished state of sf/f short story sales on the unpopularity of social justice themes. Apparently Mr. Truesdale has an audio recording of the proceedings and when he makes it available it is sure to be enlightening and highly entertaining.

But I think it is painfully obvious at this point that WorldCon and the Hugos are irredeemable. I applaud the efforts of the Sad Puppies to open up the membership to a wider audience (and I celebrate the constructive destruction that allowed Space Raptor Butt Invasion to find immortality as a best short story finalist (well done Rabid Puppies)). I even see that continued efforts to influence the nominating and voting outcomes could improve the results of future Hugos above the present dismal pool.

But what I am much more interested in is whether the new Dragon Awards (associated with the Dragon Con organization) will better reflect the tastes and reading choices of the wider science fiction and fantasy public. The fact that voting is free should guarantee a larger voting pool. Of course that’s no guarantee of perfect representation but it’s sure easier to get people to vote for free than having to plunk down $40 or $50 to do the same.

Right off the bat, an award that has both Jim Butcher and Larry Correia competing for best fantasy novel has got my attention. The Dragon Con takes place during the Labor Day Weekend. It’s just a couple of weeks until we’ll know whether these awards will provide a more representative measure of the broader taste in science fiction and fantasy. If it resembles the results of this year’s Hugos then I think that tells me that the great majority of sf&f readers just don’t care about awards at all and depend on reviews and word of mouth to select their reading material. Either way it will be an interesting data point.

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Dead Pool: A Short Movie Review

So, I’m not a comic book guy. I don’t have a dog in DC vs Marvel. I despise the X-Men. It seems to be some thinly disguised stand-in for every grievance group’s revenge wet dream (OUR SPECIALNESS IS OUR SUPER POWER!!!). Iron Man and Captain America have been fun. But it’s only a matter of time until Joss Whedon consigns them to gender re-assignment surgery and makes them a lesbian couple. Now they’ve even ruined Batman and Superman. All they do is whine and brood about how tough it is to be invulnerable or a billionaire. Wow.

So it is with great joy that I announce that there is at least one super hero who is having fun. Dead Pool. I’d never heard of him before this movie (remember, not a comic book guy). I heard some good word of mouth from friends so I was hopeful. But other than the fact that it wasn’t for kids I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Being hopelessly old, I rented the DVD from what used to be called Netflix and last night I watched it.

I’ll say from the very opening scene (which includes some very amusing credits) right up to the final credits it entertains the hell out of you. It’s funny, obscene, funny, violent, funny, clever and just plain funny. All the major characters and even some pretty minor ones are excellent. The action scenes are well done and exciting. The dialog is outstanding. The plot is pretty much the usual meaningless super-hero origin story but Dead Pool hasn’t decided that his suffering will elevate him to a noble avenger. He’s just a really pissed off jerk bent on revenge. It’s perfect.

His attitude toward everyone (good, bad or just bystander) is the same, “I’m gonna do some really dangerous stuff to kill a lot of people I really don’t like. Sorry I didn’t warn everyone else but I really don’t care because I’m basically a selfish jerk.” It’s wonderful.

One of the best features of the character is his constant mockery of movie conventions. At a certain point Dead Pool (played hilariously by Ryan Reynolds) recruits two X-Men characters to help him save his girl (portrayed by the still incredibly hot Firefly alumna, Morena Baccarin). But he does it with as little grace and gratitude as humanly possible. One of the X-Men characters is named ( I kid you not) Negasonic Teen Warhead and is a rather short girl with a slightly stubbly shaved head. Sort of the epitome of the surly teen girl super hero. He mocks her incessantly sometimes pretending she’s Sinead O’Connor. Then he taunts her thus, “Look! I’m a teenage girl! I’d rather be anywhere than here! I’m all about long, sullen silences, followed by mean comments, followed by more silences. So what’s it gonna be? Long, sullen silence or mean comment? Go on.” This may be the most refreshing thing I’ve seen in a sci-fi movie in twenty years.

All in all a first rate comic book movie presentation. Long live Dead Pool. I just wonder if a sequel is possible.

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The Trump Test

Recently many of my conservative friends have expressed a feeling of extreme dread. Their fear is that Hillary’s victory is inevitable.

I tell them there is nothing to worry about. Just go about your business and be as happy as you can. Here’s why.

Some of these friends of mine are strongly anti-Trump and each one loudly proclaims that his conscience will not allow him to vote for “The Donald.” Either he’ll vote for Hillary or Johnson or not vote at all. So for this faction of fretters I can honestly feel nothing but scorn. After all, they will be getting what they are abetting.

Then there are the others. They support Trump either enthusiastically or reluctantly but fear that he is doomed to lose. Well these folks I do sympathize with. They recognize Clinton as an evil and will do what must be done to avoid it. And the media is working in overdrive to both convince everyone that Hillary has already won and also that Trump is the epitome of evil incompetence. These poor conservatives fret, “If only we had a better candidate than Trump. We’d be sure to win. This election year the demographics demand a moderate. If we had a Romney or a McCain we’d be able to capture that swing vote. Then we can build a coalition of young voters who understand the advantages of the conservative approach.”

Sounds reasonable doesn’t it. But doesn’t it also sound familiar? Since 1992 every election has been described as hanging by a thread. Every one of them has required that conservatives compromise their principles and embrace a squishy moderate who manages to drive away more people on the right than he attracts from the supposed middle. Bush Senior, Dole, Bush Junior, McCain and Romney. We haven’t united people under a conservative banner. We’ve alienated the middle class by pushing globalism and elitist priorities. We’ve lost the Reagan Democrats. They either vote democrat or don’t vote at all. Now we’ll lose the social conservatives as we compromise on the first and second amendments. So Trump may be deeply flawed as a candidate but at least he’s not squishy. Flaky? Yes. Philosophically unsophisticated? Sure. Elitist? Actually, not. Authentic? Very possibly!

I feel that Trump is a self-absorbed ego-maniac. But he’s not anti-American at all. That may be his greatest virtue. Put these things together and it hardly seems like a ringing endorsement. But actually it is. What he does have is an understanding of the underlying policies that are destroying the United States. That alone supremely qualifies him to be elected this year. This outweighs all his negatives. Because all his opponents on the left and the right failed to tell the simple truth about what needs to be done.

My short hand for this is, “He may be a crazy son of a bitch but he’s our crazy son of a bitch.”

So that’s my answer to why they should vote for Trump. But that doesn’t answer their fears that he will lose. For this the answers are even less comforting.

You’ve heard some people saying that voting for Trump is people “burning the system down.” This seems to mean that they are voting for Trump to spite the republican establishment. People may actually think this is the only significance. I think there’s much more going on there. I think what is happening is we are reaching a tipping point. When people no longer believe that the establishment (including both the democrats and the republicans) will help the common people (either because they don’t know how or don’t want to) they will change the system. Pat Buchanan ran on a populist stance back in 1992 and only got 3 million votes in the primaries and didn’t come close to winning. This year Trump garnered the most primary votes ever in a republican primary season (14 million) and beat a field of 16 rivals that outspent him by hundreds of millions of dollars. Bernie Sanders ran a populist ticket and gave the “Anointed One” a run for her money. I think we are near the end of business as usual. Pretty soon people are going to stop waiting for the parties to pick a leader. They’ll be listening for the angriest voice. And that’s a pretty dangerous time. The moment will belong to whomever can grasp it. In the past that hasn’t always been the best or the wisest. Sometimes it’s the strongest.

I think we’re almost there. I think Trump is a tv cartoon version of the strongman. He blusters and struts. But I don’t think he’s Caesar. And for that maybe we should be grateful. Under a Trump administration possibly business leaders might be willing to put the national interest ahead of their global destiny. Maybe they won’t. If Trump fails and Americans continue to see their lives and the their future (their children’s future) diminished they will turn to a strongman. And then things will change.

But either way I don’t think we need to worry about Hillary. If she gets in it will just accelerate the process. Once she and Bill have looted the Treasury and fled to New Zealand we’ll end up with a man who makes Trump seem like Mr. Rogers. So that’s the Trump challenge. Either way we’re not far away from some fairly radical change. So don’t bother worrying about the election. Our brethren will either embrace a moderate populist or wait till later to bring on a much stronger dose of medicine. Much bigger things are on the horizon. Keep your eyes open and your mind alert. We live in interesting times.

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SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police; A Review

Discussing this book is really a combination of explaining the concept of the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) to the uninitiated (or fortunate innocent) and reviewing the efficacy of the content with respect to the book’s stated purpose.

How’s that for a loaded thesis?

So, for anyone who has been in a coma for the last twenty years or living in a Burmese lamasery for the same period of time, an SJW is a person who pursues a policy of seeking out and punishing anyone who does not sufficiently submit to any aspect of the ultra-progressive narrative and agenda. This transgression can be of any kind; action, inaction, word, silence, facial expression, glance or any behavior at all. Most guilty are those who regardless of any other action belong to that most detestable group; the cis-gender, male, straight, white, christian American. They have the Mark of Cain (if I may use such a Judeo-Christian metaphor). For them any punishment is justified and insufficient. The SJW’s favorite method of attack is the internet swarm. These creatures will locate a likely target and using internet posting and e-mail complaints attempt to convince the victim’s employer that he is a terrible person and needs to be de-employed (fired). This sounds highly unlikely but reading a few of the clearly documented and easily confirmed high profile examples from the book it’s pretty clear that SJWs exist and that they do horrible damage to their victims. So in a nutshell that is the meaning of SJW. First part of mission accomplished. Hooray.

Part 2. My thoughts on the book. The author of the book, Vox Day, is an incredibly polarizing individual. For left wing individuals (especially those in the science fiction and fantasy community) he is the devil himself. Their fear and loathing of him is practically a fetish. For the political moderates he is a gadfly. He punishes them for failing to support anyone who the left labels as racist, sexist, homophobic or any other label they use to disqualify their enemies. Lately, in fact, Vox has been more of a scourge of mainstream conservatives than left-wing targets due to the Trump campaign and the reaction of mainstream republican politicians and pundits to it. Therefore he has become a lightning rod for several types of attack. He is aligned with the alt-right and nationalist groups and his popular blog site ( https://voxday.blogspot.com/ ) reflects his take no prisoners approach to the culture wars. For these reasons it would be easy to dismiss his book as a partisan screed only useful for preaching to the far right choir. But that is not the case. The book is actually an incredibly useful tool for explaining to all sorts of people and preparing them for an SJW attack. How to recognize it. How it progresses. What to do and most importantly, what not to do.

The information is laid out in a very orderly arrangement with chronological breakdown of the stages. Interspersed are examples of the high profile SJW victims from the recent past. Also Vox provides his own autobiographical account of an SJW attack.

Grabbing just one nugget from this useful guide I’d say probably the single most important rule is never apologize (although a close second is never resign).

In my estimation this book should be read by anyone who wants to protect himself from being intimidated (and potentially destroyed) by leftist culture thugs. What it also does is allow you to recognize the noxious effect that political correctness has already had on normal human interaction. Basically everyone is afraid to challenge the thought police who impose an unpopular narrative on us all. The fact that it is reinforced at almost all institutional centers (media, schools, corporations and government) shows just how serious the problem already is.

Vox Day has millions of enemies. But he has almost everyone in his debt for providing a useful tool to warn of and protect us from these totalitarian harpies.

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Sony Mirrorless: 5 Years In, A Retrospective Look

I thought it might be interesting to Sony Shooters to read about the perspective of someone who came to the brand from the Sony DSLR entrance. Prior to 2009 I was using Pentax DSLRs for my hobby photography. I had a few specialized lenses but other than a good macro lens and a decent mid-range zoom I hadn’t committed much in the way of funds to the system. In 2009 I purchased the Sony A-850. It was the budget full-frame 24 megapixel from Sony and it was a very interesting camera. 24 megapixels was the top of the line at the time for the whole industry and I liked the colors it produced. Mechanically, the shutter and mirror were quite noisy. The auto-focus wasn’t up to Canikon standards. The usable ISO range really didn’t extend beyond 400 unless you were willing to do a significant amount of post processing. But the fact that Sony had not one, but two full frame models available made all Sony users happy and excited about the future.

Then it happened! Sony pulled the rug out from under the users. They announced that there would be no more DSLRs. They introduced the DSLT (digital single lens translucent), basically a beam splitter was added to the light path and the optical viewfinder was replaced with an electronic viewfinder (EVF). In a roundabout way they had gone to the mirrorless side without admitting it. The uproar was long and heated. Many users decided to go to other manufacturers (Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc.), others stocked up on older Minolta and Sony DSLR models and hoped to wait out the changes. Some bought into the DSLT concept.

Personally I wasn’t sure what to do. I read about the ~½ stop light loss caused by the translucent mirror (beam splitter) and the possible image degradation that could entail and decided I didn’t want to go there. I looked at the full frame Canon and Nikon offerings available and felt that professional options were shockingly expensive ($5,000 – $7,000) while the semi-pro models were uninspiring. What was a hobbyist to do?

So I decided not to worry and instead enjoy my A-850 until I decided which way to go. But a funny thing happened. I was shooting some indoor occasion events for my family and was unhappy with the low light capability of the A-850. I wanted usable 3200 ISO. It wasn’t there. I rented the Nikon D3S and liked what it had. That camera produced usable 6,400 ISO. But it cost $5,000. At about this time Sony launched some true mirrorless cameras. These cameras were branded as the NEX series. They had a new mount (e-mount) that possessed a very short registration distance that would allow the NEX cameras to utilize lenses for almost any other lens mount by means of adapters. It also had a very small body size. I watched the several iterations of this camera line until I found one that caught my interest. This was the NEX 5N. It had an APSC-E sensor but it was claimed that it had usable 3200 ISO. So I bought it. Well, the ISO claims were exaggerated. I estimated that good noise performance didn’t extend above 800 ISO. On top of that the auto-focus was extremely unreliable. Using magnified view and manual focus it was possible to produce extreme sharpness but as is obvious to anyone trying to photograph moving objects or even people indoors it is impossible to get a static object as a target every (or even most of) the time. So this was a limited camera.

Fast forward to 2013. Sony introduced the A7 cameras. These were full frame mirrorless cameras. They were slightly larger than the NEX cameras (but still very small). Initially two models were introduced. A 24 mpx A7 and a 36mpx A7R (R = resolution). The cameras are very interesting. The sensors are excellent but the cameras have their quirks. Both cameras have mediocre auto-focus even though the A7 added on-sensor phase detect sensor pixels. Also the A7R suffers from a very powerful shutter mechanism that introduces vibration into a number of different shooting categories. These problems continued to irritate Sony users. Also the new full-frame mount had a very limited range of native full-frame e-mount lenses (designated FE by Sony).

In 2014 Sony launched the A7S. This was a full frame (like all the other A7 cameras) but it had a 12 mpx sensor that had ISO settings that went all the way up to 400,000! Also it was the first full frame camera to shoot 4K video (although requiring an external recorder to handle this high data storage rate setting). This camera was something of a sensation. It became the king of low light photography and video. Sony was onto something good here. The auto focus was still not great but it was improving slowly. In the case of the A7S the camera’s low light capability seemed to improve the ability of the AF to work in low light conditions.

In 2015 Sony started to roll out the Mark 2 versions of the A7, A7R and A7S. These cameras featured improvements over the original versions that showed that Sony was actually listening to complaints. The A7 II had much improved auto focus (still not great but almost good). The A7R II got rid of the crude shutter, added on-sensor phase detect auto focus and boosted the pixel count to 42 mpx. And all three cameras introduced 5 axis stabilization to the line. This was a very popular feature. And over the last year and a half, Sony (and Zeiss and several of the 3rd party lens manufacturers) have released a large number and a good range of focal length lense (many of them of a very high quality). This has been enthusiastically applauded by Sony’s customers. Finally, Sony has begun to refine auto focus to allow for motion tracking. Maybe it is starting to look like Sony might someday provide a truly capable sports camera. This better auto focus capability started out in the A6000 and A6300 crop frame (APSC-E) cameras but the phase detect on sensor auto focus is starting to approach DSLR phase detect capability. Finally! Admittedly, Canon and Nikon far exceed what Sony provides in this department. Some have speculated that Sony is holding off on releasing the true state of the art until they’re ready to unveil their A9 professional model. I hope that is true. Rumors say that may be in September at Photokina. Time will tell.

So let’s recap. Sony has been torturing their camera customers since abandoning the DSLR model in 2010. After many disappointments and false starts their A7 cameras have finally reached a point where professional photographers can use them for most (but not all) photographic styles. To me it seems that 2016/2017 should answer the question of whether Sony can solve the remaining short comings in the systems. My opinion of what those shortcomings are:
1) General auto focus capability.
2) Tracking auto focus.
3) Battery life.
4) Gear durability (for professional duty).
5) Support service for professional users.
If Sony handles just the first two items they will ensure that their market share will increase substantially. If they take care of all five Canikon will be in big trouble.

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