"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Necrodroids

In a dystopian medieval Europe, a young schlub named Danny O'Dare with mild OCD stumbles across a talking fish which spurs him into conflict with computer viruses made real, with the help of a girl who's always loved him and her discomfort in formal wear, culminating in eternal love professed without irony.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Cosmoblades

In a metaphorical Outer Rim world, a young author named Danny O'Dare stumbles across a time-travelling soldier which spurs him into conflict with computer viruses made real, with the help of a cherubic girl with pigtails and spunk and her facility with magic, culminating in a fistfight atop a tower.
EXTRACT: "Clearly, Jon Venables is a screwed-up individual - his fixation with child pornography amply confirms that. But, of course, he has long been screwed-up, hence his involvement in the hideous killing of James Bulger. Yet we should never forget that Venables himself is a victim of child abuse - first in the form of his violently dysfunctional family and then from the state itself, which treated this boy as a permanent threat rather than someone who desperately needed help, before effectively abandoning him to his own devices upon his release from prison (whatever the lurid and paranoid fantasies served up by the Daily Mail about how “the British state has gone out of its way to support Venables”). Communists, however, argue that society has a obligation to help and rehabilitate someone like Venables, both a victimiser and a victim - like so many people, to one degree or another. After all, this is the person who when visited in his secure unit by a psychologist before the Bulger trial, found a boy lining up his bed with furry animals in order to “keep the bad things away”. Yet, tragically, Venables was never given a serious chance at rehabilitation.
So, with almost dreadful inevitability, he was pulled into a cycle of decline upon his release ..."
READ MORE

Friday, July 23, 2010

Institutionalised Child Abuse


EXTRACT: After a five-year struggle led by the Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA), a manual published five years ago by the prison service has finally seen the light of day under the Freedom of Information Act. Upon its original publication in 2005, the 119-page Physical control in care - purportedly drawn up to deal with “unruly children” in custody - was immediately classified as a “restricted” government document and up until a few weeks ago the government was fighting tooth and nail against allowing its publication, even though the information commissioner had ruled that the public interest in this matter was so “grave” that the manual should be quickly released. In the end though, the ministry of justice - or more exactly, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) - backed down and last week the details appeared in The Observer.
What emerges is an absolutely horrific picture of the life endured by young offenders incarcerated in secure training centres (STCs) - “purpose-built” facilities for young offenders between the ages of 12 and 17 run by private firms under government contracts. In other words, what you and me call prisons - even if that word is never mentioned in the official literature."
READ HERE

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Brief History of PC Gaming

The Internet is Real Life Too

10 reasons to stop apologizing for your online life:

1. When you commit to being your real self online, you discover parts of yourself you never dared to share offline.
2. When you visualize the real person you're about to e-mail or tweet, you bring human qualities of attention and empathy to your online communications.
3. When you take the idea of online presence literally, you can experience your online disembodiment as a journey into your mind rather than out of your body.
4. When you treat your Facebook connections as real friends instead of "friends", you stop worrying about how many you have and focus on how well you treat them.
5. When you take your Flickr photos, YouTube videos and blog posts seriously as real art, you reclaim creative expression as your birthright.
6. When you focus on creating real meaning with your time online, your online footprint makes a deeper impression.
7. When you treat your online attention as a real resource, you invest your attention in the sites that reflect your values, helping those sites grow.
8. When you spend your online time on what really matters to you, you experience your time online as an authentic reflection of your values.
9. When you embrace online conversations as real, you imbue them with the power to change how you and others think and feel.
10. When you talk honestly about the real joys and frustrations of the Internet, you can stop apologizing for your life online.

Banish the guilt - read more here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Internet Critic?

Samuel Beckett - Waiting for Godot (Act II):

ESTRAGON:
That's the idea, let's abuse each other.

They turn, move apart, turn again and face each other.

VLADIMIR:
Moron!

ESTRAGON:
Vermin!

VLADIMIR:
Abortion!

ESTRAGON:
Morpion!

VLADIMIR:
Sewer rat!

ESTRAGON:
Curate!

VLADIMIR:
Cretin!

ESTRAGON:
(with finality). Crritic!

VLADIMIR:
Oh!

He wilts, vanquished, and turns away.

Friday, July 16, 2010

In Pasta We Trust

Raoul Moat's Paranoia and the Community of Women

EXTRACT: ""Essentially, yes, Moat’s basic attitude to women can be found over a whole number of different societies - viewing women as private property, goods to be haggled and fought over. But it was not always like that, though you could be forgiven for thinking so, in view of the sheer weight of cultural prejudice. This takes as a given that men have always wielded the club and held the upper hand and sees the macho ‘stone age man’ carting enormous Mastodon cutlets back home to the cave, with the womenfolk acting as passive, if not unseen, participants in the drama.
But this is all ahistorical nonsense, a complete reactionary fantasy. The anthropology of fools. Instead, the oppression of women is due to the historic defeat of the female sex with the Neolithic counterrevolution or the so-called ‘farming revolution’ - which saw women dispossessed by increasingly wealthy cattle-owning men; who as a logical political-economic correlation began to view women as a mere extension of their cattle."
READ MORE
Also see, for another angle, 'Raoul Moat and Class Pride' by A Very Public Sociologist

Friday, July 09, 2010

Just a Normal Day's Reading

Prison's Don't Work

EXTRACT: Living as we are in the new age of austerity - of cuts, cuts, cuts - chucking billions down the black hole of prisons now looks like a monstrously inefficient use of money, which indeed it is by any objective or moral yardstick. In his 1991 white paper, the former Tory home secretary, Douglas Hurd - another ‘one nation’ social liberal like Clarke - described prison as an “expensive way of making bad people worse”, and that in the days when the prison population stood at ‘only’ 42,000. But, of course, for communists the overwhelming majority of prisoners are not “bad people” at all: they are much more the victims of a dog-eats-dog capitalist society. Thus, for example. two out of five prisoners lack basic literacy skills - around half of all prisoners have a reading age less than an 11-year-old - and four in five do not have basic numeracy. One in 10 male prisoners and one in three female prisoners are being treated for psychiatric disorders. The number of women in prison has risen disproportionately - from 1,800 in 1994 to 4,500 in 2004. Some 40% of women going to prison have previously attempted suicide. Almost 13% are inside for various drug-related offences. And on it goes, a catalogue of despair.
Therefore communists could not agree more that we need a “rehabilitation revolution” - that is, we should stop the obscene waste of human and financial resources that the UK prison system represents: a disgraceful monument to an almost medieval desire to inflict vindictive punishment upon the ‘wretched of the earth’.
READ MORE

Friday, July 02, 2010

Endlessly Plundering the Earth

EXTRACT: "The earth is not a bottomless goodie-bag to be plundered merrily for the rest of time. Unless managed rationally and carefully, the sweeties will eventually run out some time down the line - leaving us deep in the shit, as there is no planet B to escape to if things get too sticky back home. Clearly, capitalism’s blind desire for profit threatens to devour the planet. But so does ‘red’ utopianism - or dystopianism, to be more accurate - which does not aim to do much more than emulate capitalism’s inner productivist logic: accumulate, accumulate, accumulate, comrades, for the good of the ‘plan’. So, yes, Marxism is environmentalist to its very core. Karl Marx fought to overcome the “metabolic rift” between humanity and nature, between town and country, which itself was a reflection - and product - of capitalist class rule over the workers, of dead labour over living labour. Indeed, any Marxist who is not an environmentalist - who is not fighting for a genuinely sustainable planet - is not a Marxist at all."
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