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Thursday, August 07, 2014

He doth protest too much

It is richly ironic that Jimmy Wales, of all people, is complaining about the EU laws suppressing the truth on the Internet:
Speaking at Wikipedia's annual Wikimania conference in London today, Wales said: "History is a human right and one of the worst things that a person can do is attempt to use force to silence another.

"I've been in the public eye for quite some time; some people say good things and some people say bad things. That's history and I would never ever use any kind of legal process like this to try to suppress the truth. I think that's deeply immoral."
I can't think of any non-state organization that suppresses the truth as much as Wikipedia.  The system that Wales has set up ruthlessly and relentlessly suppresses the truth under its false rubric of requiring a "reliable source".

Don't take my word for it. Look at the Wikipedia page about me. Does that describe my views at all? Are the totality of my views really limited to little more than a feud with John Scalzi and my expulsion from SFWA? Do I have no opinions on economics, politics, philosophy, literature, and religion despite having written books on the former and the latter? It's telling, too, to observe that if the so-called feud and the expulsion are the only significant aspects of my views, there is no mention of the connection between the former and the latter.

Now, here are my views on the various schools of economics:

The Austrian school of economics presently provides Man's best understanding of the field of economics, but the core mechanism for its business cycle is incorrect. In place of the shift between consumer goods and capital goods, it is the limits of demand for credit that is the causal factor of the boom-bust cycle.

Those are my actual views on the subject. That is the absolute truth. Post them on Wikipedia and they'll be suppressed within 24 hours even though most of my other "views" are directly taken from the "reliable source" that is my own writing.

UPDATE: Speaking of the so-called feud, I thought this Twitter exchange between one ClarkHat and John Scalzi was illuminating. McRapey clearly doesn't grasp (or more likely, being a gamma male, is unable to publicly admit), that he is a successful, but mediocre SF writer, not even when his book was picked up for a television series by the distinguished network famous for Sharknado and Werewolves vs Strippers:
CLARKHAT: Would you care to actually respond to my comments that 1) your writing is mediocre 2) your rewards >> your merit

JOHN SCALZI: Sure: 1. You're wrong, 2. You're wrong but even if you were right so what? Hope that helps.

CH: suggests a theory I hadn't considered: you really DON'T understand the delta between your work & great work

JS: Your problem is you have really no understanding of my psychology. Which is fine, but doesn't make you less wrong. I don't mind you being wrong, however, as it has no effect on what I do or how I do it. Go on being wrong!

You and I have no disagreement in you sharing your thoughts on what is great writing. Do! I think that's a fine thing.

CH: But this is again Blue Model reframing: "your thoughts". My pt is not about "my truth"; it is about objective artistic truth. I am not saying "**I** prefer Mieville over @scalzi"; I am saying "objective standards exist; try some Mieville".

JS: "Objective artistic truth." Ooooh, I have the giggles now. DO GO ON.

CH: "You think Davinci's David is better than my paper mache puppet of Donald Trump? That's just, like, your opinion, man.

JS: This objective art hypothesis of yours is ADORABLE. And explains many things, i.e., "What I like is OBJECTIVELY great, so there."
That's the amusing thing about McRapey. For all his vaunted rhetorical skills granted by virtue of BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE, he doesn't grasp that he can't assert that ClarkHat is wrong about him being a mediocre writer while simultaneously denying the concept of objective standards in art.

If all art is subjective, then Scalzi is a mediocre writer by virtue of ClarkHat subjectively declaring him to be so. And if all art is objective, then he is a mediocre writer by virtue of the comparison of his work with that of other, better writers. There is no way that Scalzi can correctly declare ClarkHat to be wrong, as he nevertheless repeatedly does.

Labels: ,

90 Comments:

Anonymous Roundtine August 07, 2014 6:20 AM  

Rabbits gonna rabbit.

Anonymous KoolMoeDee August 07, 2014 6:34 AM  

Let's see. Economic views with quote and reference from this web page posted at 6:30 AM, EST.

Anonymous Just Mark August 07, 2014 6:35 AM  

If I had the talent I think I'd write a short story about an author now an old man who anonymously takes a course on his writings at University ... and flunks.

Blogger Cataline Sergius August 07, 2014 7:22 AM  

Okay, I've looked at the Wiki. Nice picture by the way.

I don't normally troll Wikipedia entries but this offers some fun.

First, something factual. It reports Psykosonik as having two top 40 hits, you have said three, if I recall correctly. Which songs were they? I can document from there.

Second, In 2014 Beale was found disqualified for membership in the Aryan Circle due to extreme racial impurity. Being one quarter Native American. And an indeterminate amount of other

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben August 07, 2014 7:25 AM  

I don't think Austrian Business Cycle Theory is correct as to the root cause of business cycles. There have been boom and busts since the beginning of mankind. The central bank and government, though, increase the volatility and size of these bubbles with their interventions. We see this with subprime auto loans and student loans which brings me to the question: like housing, when do you think the limits of demand are going to be reached for these markets?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus August 07, 2014 7:35 AM  

Look at the Wikimedia page about me.

Done.

Does that describe my views at all?

No.

Are my views really a feud with John Scalzi and my expulsion from SFWA?

No.

Blogger Nate August 07, 2014 7:36 AM  

wikipedia is a useful tool very much the way nuclear energy is a useful tool.

Anonymous Gx1080 August 07, 2014 7:37 AM  

Wikipedia is a case of tragedy of the commons, since anybody can edit, people just fight for the version of the truth, and any "conflictive" articles just get locked on sanitized versions.

That, of course, without mentioning the bunch of paid and unpaid shills on it.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 07, 2014 7:46 AM  

wikipedia is a useful tool very much the way nuclear energy is a useful tool.

Please elaborate on that one.

Blogger Robert What? August 07, 2014 7:46 AM  

Personally, I never use Wikipedia except upon rare occasions for the most mundane, fact based, noncontroversial lookup. Such as how far the moon is from the earth and how to calculate the volume if a cylinder. Unfortunately Google - who obviously shed their "Do No Evil" MO - is in bed with Wikipedia. For most searches, the Wikipedia entry comes up first. I always ignore those results.

Anonymous VD August 07, 2014 7:52 AM  

It reports Psykosonik as having two top 40 hits, you have said three, if I recall correctly. Which songs were they? I can document from there.

Actually four, as it turns out. Silicon Jesus, Welcome to My Mind, Unlearn, and It Has Begun. I didn't realize the last had charted too. Billboard has a chart history for the band.

Anonymous Marty August 07, 2014 8:17 AM  

Just Mark - your story scenario reminds me of a scene from the Rodney Dangerfield movie
Back To School.

[after Diane gives Thornton an 'F' for his report, which was actually written by Kurt Vonnegut]

Diane: Whoever *did* write this doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut!

[cut to Thornton's dorm suite]

Thornton Melon: [on the phone] ... and *another* thing, Vonnegut! I'm gonna stop payment on the cheque!

[Kurt tells him off]

Thornton Melon: Fuck me? Hey, Kurt, can you read lips, *fuck you*! Next time I'll call Robert Ludlum!

[hangs up]

Blogger Nate August 07, 2014 8:21 AM  

"Please elaborate on that one."

Like nuclear energy... it could do great good. And managed incorrectly... it can do, and is doing, real harm.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 August 07, 2014 8:26 AM  

Wiki is very useful for a whole heap of dry facts - like how many pairs of shoes did Imelda Marcos have.
It's not so useful for anything that could place Barack in a poor light.

What you need Vox is an expert in you. An authority figure who knows you better than anyone else. Advertise and see if you can get someone on a H1-B visa.
Out source your life as a form of quality control. A committee representing you might even be considered an expert panel. Wiki would like that.

Vox explained. If only he had have known what he meant he wouldn't have these silly disagreements with authorities figures - custodians of the internet.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 07, 2014 8:31 AM  

Like nuclear energy... it could do great good. And managed incorrectly... it can do, and is doing, real harm.

Too idealistic. Realistically speaking, the risk is too damn high. Save the planet!!
~sarc~

Anonymous An Associate August 07, 2014 8:35 AM  

Shut up, Tad.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 August 07, 2014 8:48 AM  

Actually Vox if you advertize for someone with expertise in you, and must have previous experience I bet you get a lot of off shore applicants with very impressive credentials; possibly people who can even prove that they were you.. Should be a shoe in for US citizenship. You every where. The state department would love that.

Blogger Eric August 07, 2014 8:58 AM  

What you need Vox is an expert in you.

Paging the Mad Aussie...

Blogger Gunnar von Cowtown August 07, 2014 9:05 AM  

It's unfortunate that Wikipedia doesn't give a more comprehensive summary of your views, but this line is comedy gold.

"In June, Beale used the SFWAuthors Twitter feed to post a link to his blog, in which he referred to controversial African-American author N. K. Jemisin as "an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature" [28]" and an editor a "fat frog."

Lolz! "Fat frog".... it just kills me every time.

Anonymous MPC August 07, 2014 9:12 AM  

Does Jimmy Wales ever turn off his rape face?

Blogger Cataline Sergius August 07, 2014 9:14 AM  

@ Gunnar von Cowtown

(*Cataline bows*) A story succeeds or fails in the style of it's telling.

Anonymous VD August 07, 2014 9:23 AM  

Lolz! "Fat frog".... it just kills me every time.

What cracks me up is that they don't name her or link to her Wikipedia page. For obvious reasons.

Anonymous MendoScot August 07, 2014 9:24 AM  

Well, look on the bright side Vox. At least you're not being defamed after your government-sanctioned assassination.

Anonymous Alexander August 07, 2014 9:26 AM  

It seems to me, in the name of preserving truth and history, the only moral thing to do is name the Frog.

Anonymous Stilicho August 07, 2014 9:32 AM  

when do you think the limits of demand are going to be reached for these markets?

That's the 64 trillion dollar question. I think we're at or very near the limits. The Fed has (among other things) been trying to raise the limit with QE and ZIRP by using new base money and "zero cost" bank loans to replace lost credit money and spur creation of new credit money via lending, but the money multiplier theory isn't working. Households haven't been borrowing more except for student loans, financial sector debt has decreased a little, and non-financial corporates have been rolling over higher interest rate debt and borrowing a little more at historically low rates (but instead of financing expansions or capital improvements, it appears the new debt has been used for stock buybacks!), and the gov't sector has been primarily responsible for keeping the total debt level up and even increasing it a little (although less than historical norms). This is the disinflation Vox talks about. To resume the long term pattern, though, the gov't sector would have to expand its debt at a rate that would expand total credit market debt at around 3% (IIRC). In other words, at about 1.8 trillion this year and increasing at that rate every year. While this is theoretically possible, it is politically unlikely. Plus, and here's a wild card, no one knows whether such an expansion of gov't debt would actually cause a decrease the private sector debt (e.g. gov't incurs debt, spends it into circulation where private individuals and companies use part of it to reduce their own debt). I suspect that were the gov't debt be incurred at such levels and spent into the non-financial sector economy, individuals and corporations would reduce use it to reduce their debt burdens much like the financial sector has been doing with its first access to easy money.

Blogger Joshua Dyal August 07, 2014 9:36 AM  

Despite Scalzi's clumsy responses, there's a point there struggling to get out. What exactly is an objective standard of artistic quality and how is it measured? How can one "objectively" say that Mieville is a better writer than Scalzi? Which works specifically are being compared (Mieville certainly has his duds.)

That said, a little self-awareness and humility goes a long way. If I were a writer with Scalzi's accomplishments, I wouldn't go around trumpeting that I thought I was a better writer than anyone. I actually kind of like Correia's approach; "I write disposable pulp fiction, and I'm OK with that; I let my commercial success speak to the quality of my writing," to paraphrase more or less.

Getting into an argument with anyone about objective quality, or whatever you want to call it, is a losing game and a fundamentally silly endeavor anyway for all involved.

Anonymous Stilicho August 07, 2014 9:37 AM  

Follow-up: as I understand it, the total debt must constantly expand so that maturing debt can be rolled over and ersatz expansion can occur without any expanded productivity, otherwise, natural deflationary forces take hold and reduce the debt to levels sustainable by actual production.

Anonymous VD August 07, 2014 9:45 AM  

What exactly is an objective standard of artistic quality and how is it measured? How can one "objectively" say that Mieville is a better writer than Scalzi?

That's a reasonable and interesting debate. But Scalzi can't engage in it, because his priority is to declare ClarkHat wrong. Because tender Gamma feelings. Correia's approach is the right one. My reaction would be to ask what is the basis for his metric.

But then, neither Larry nor I are deluded about our writing, despite our Hugo nominations. Because we're not Gamma males.

Anonymous Alexander August 07, 2014 9:48 AM  

No - I think that's just a symptom of living at a time when things are not valued because they are beautiful and true, but because they are modern, or daring, or subversive, or ironic, or forward... If you went back and tried to convince anyone in 1700 that a crucifix in a jar of piss or an embalmed shark or a pile of bricks was 'art', they'd run you out of town.

There is objective good and truth and beauty and brilliance in the world. Pretending that it's just one of those things that can't be pegged down is nonsense, and CH hits it on the head: David trumps a paper mache puppet of Donald Trump, each and every time.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 August 07, 2014 9:54 AM  

What is more amusing about the SFWA explusion is that they don't mention how you are the only American to be expelled from the organization to date.

Then go to Samuel Delany's page and no mention of his NAMBLA connections. Just glaring praise for his LGBT themed books. They don't mention Hogg though, except in the list of his writings.

Anonymous Sigyn August 07, 2014 9:55 AM  

That's a reasonable and interesting debate.

Until some idiot shows up and starts singing.

Billy Joel, something-something...Very inspiring.

Anonymous Sigyn August 07, 2014 10:14 AM  

Comment got eaten, I think...unless it was OT, in which case nuke away. I'll try again:

If you went back and tried to convince anyone in 1700 that a crucifix in a jar of piss or an embalmed shark or a pile of bricks was 'art', they'd run you out of town.

Oddly enough, this reminds one of the Royal Nonesuch from "Huck Finn". For those who don't remember, two con artists concoct "performance art" that mostly involves one of them jumping around on stage wearing body paint and nothing else. The townsfolk are understandably upset, and consider it tar-and-feather worthy.

Nowadays, the con artists could get themselves legal protection and grant money for it.

Blogger John Wright August 07, 2014 10:29 AM  

":If I had the talent I think I'd write a short story about an author now an old man who anonymously takes a course on his writings at University ... and flunks."

Someone wrote a short story about William Shakespeare being brought into the 1950s (when the story was written) and taking a college course about his own writing, and flunking the course.

Sadly, I cannot recall the author or the title of the tale. Perhaps it was Isaac Asimov?

Anonymous Rob August 07, 2014 10:32 AM  

What exactly is an objective standard of artistic quality and how is it measured? How can one "objectively" say that Mieville is a better writer than Scalzi?

Just because something is objective (side note: I find that the terms "objective" and "subjective" almost always lead to falsehood, because they reify a false conception of reality) does not mean that it is measurable. Goodness is objective, but it's wrong to say that the Nazis were 8.6 kiloevils less good than Mother Teresa.

Blogger Zach August 07, 2014 10:32 AM  

Ew. I feel like I need to shower after reading Scalzi's self-pleasure in his own smugness.

Anonymous Philalethes August 07, 2014 10:34 AM  

Funny you should mention this. A few days ago you linked a piece from "Beyond Highbrow" (aka Robert Lindsay) at Alpha Game, interesting to me because it was the same writer some years ago who opened my eyes to the reality behind the "public face" of Wikipedia, when I read about his being banned from Wikipedia for being insufficiently Zionist. (Cf. also several recent threads here.)

Lindsay was also banned from (Google) Blogger apparently for the same offense, as well, I suppose, as being offensively outspoken on other subjects – and very difficult to categorize, since he sometimes seems to be "left-wing", sometimes "right-wing", according to conventional categories, which is very unsettling to the sheeple. Though for some mysterious reason Google hasn't actually deleted his blog, but hidden it behind an "access denied" page. Sort of like "free speech zones", I guess.

He moved to WordPress, apparently a much superior platform in many respects, technically as well as in the interest of free speech: he appears to have reposted at least the bulk of his Blogger content there, and WordPress doesn't seem to mind. (You ought to check it out; it has a much superior comment system in my [limited] experience, e.g. links appear as links.)

Here's the article I first came across about his experience with Wikipedia, and his archive of articles about Wikipedia (note that there's a second page). I also found this article on An Excerpt From the "Memoirs of Hadrian" by Marguerite Yourcenar (which I had recently read) very interesting. (It was the Hellenophile Hadrian, I believe, who banned circumcision in the Empire – which for some reason did not endear him to the Jews.)

Lindsay also (I just discovered) returned to Blogger, perhaps avoiding the subjects that got him banned before? Though this article on Wikipedia – dated from even before the one above – would seem to be in that category. Who can understand Google's logic? Apparently all you have to do to get a blog taken down is get enough people to complain about it? Apparently Vox Popoli hasn't offended enough people yet? (Edward Abbey – another uncategorizable who frustrated everybody who tried to induct him into their camp – wrote something about how if he hadn't offended you yet, he wasn't trying hard enough.)

Anonymous Felix Bellator August 07, 2014 10:42 AM  

"Nowadays, the con artists could get themselves legal protection and grant money for it."

Damian Walter

Anonymous Felix Bellator August 07, 2014 10:43 AM  

Rats, lost the "cough, cough" to HTML tags....

Blogger Worlds Edge August 07, 2014 10:46 AM  

CH: But this is again Blue Model reframing: "your thoughts". My pt is not about "my truth"; it is about objective artistic truth. I am not saying "**I** prefer Mieville over @scalzi"; I am saying "objective standards exist; try some Mieville".

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Mieville himself subscribes to any sort of idea that "objective standards exist?" Being a dyed in the wool Trotskyist, my sense is that he does not. As in, he believes some flavor of "That which is good is that which is good for the world-wide Revolution, and that which is bad is that which is in opposition to it," or some such thing. I'd be curious to be proven wrong, however.

Anonymous Philalethes August 07, 2014 10:50 AM  

What exactly is an objective standard... ?

Aye, there's the rub. The root problem with Wikipedia (and many other human endeavors) is the Myth of Objectivity. There simply is no such thing, just as there is no such thing as "equality" – and for related reasons. Unfortunately, most people do believe in both myths, which causes no end of trouble for everybody.

I do not believe it is possible to think clearly until one gets over both these myths (and other related misconceptions), for one is always going to run into counters to ones own preconceptions. That's just how the universe is constructed.

But once one can let go of these security blankets, one can begin to see clearly – and use a resource like Wikipedia for what it's worth. Which is a lot – I refer to it many times every day – so long as one can remember that on any subject of passionate controversy (such as Zionism, or – of particular interest to me - Tibet, etc.) it will inevitably present one, non-objective, point of view.

Some, at least, of Wikipedia's "editors" are well-meaning, but hampered by their unexamined belief in the Myth of Objectivity. Many of said "editors", of course – as particularly documented by Robert Lindsay (above), as well as others – are not the least bit "well-intentioned". Guess which Tribe most of the latter appear to belong to?

"There has never been an objective being. Knowing this, the rest is known." – Upanishads

Anonymous Herman Melville August 07, 2014 10:53 AM  

Someone wrote a short story about William Shakespeare being brought into the 1950s (when the story was written) and taking a college course about his own writing, and flunking the course.

Sometimes, a whale is just a whale.

Anonymous Crispy August 07, 2014 10:53 AM  

@John Wright. Winner winner, chicken dinner! It was Asimov, "The Immortal Bard." I read that decades ago, enjoyed it then, but really can appreciate it now.

Anonymous Crispy August 07, 2014 10:55 AM  

No great love for Wikipedia's editorial elites, but in their shoes, I'd use the Streisand effect to good measure.

Anonymous Anonymous August 07, 2014 11:00 AM  

> Sadly, I cannot recall the author or the title of the tale. Perhaps it was Isaac Asimov?

You're probably thinking of 'The Immortal Bard', 1954.

...

"I know. I enrolled him in your evening extension course. I never saw a man so eager to find out what posterity thought of him as poor Bill was. He worked hard at it."

"You enrolled William Shakespeare in my course?" mumbled Robertson. Even as an alcholic fantasy, the thought staggered him. And was it an alcoholic fantasy? He was beginning to recall a bald man with a queer way of talking....

"Not under his real name, of course," said Dr. Welch. "Never mind what he went under. It was a mistake, that's all. A big mistake. Poor fellow." He had the cocktail now and shook his head at it.

"Why was it a mistake? What happened?"

"I had to send him back to 1600," roared Welch indignantly. "How much humiliation do you think a man can stand?"

"What humiliation are you talking about?"

Dr. Welch tossed off the cocktail. "Why, you poor simpleton, you flunked him."

Anonymous Joseph Dooley August 07, 2014 11:29 AM  

Haha, I just read your Wikipedia page, and it cites this post.

Blogger James Dixon August 07, 2014 11:30 AM  

> ...but instead of financing expansions or capital improvements, it appears the new debt has been used for stock buybacks...

With the economy at best flat and cost cutting measures having been tapped out some time ago, that's about the only way left to actually increase earnings per share.

Anonymous VD August 07, 2014 11:32 AM  

Apparently Vox Popoli hasn't offended enough people yet?

Or I am on good terms with executives at Google. There is always that possibility too....

Anonymous Don August 07, 2014 11:45 AM  

At the request of another author to the right of Trotsky I edited his wikipage a billion years ago. I used correct citations, proper grammar, all that, and it was changed within a day. Somebody simply didn't like him.

Wiki is the encyclopedia for the SWPL crowd.

Blogger pyrrhus August 07, 2014 11:51 AM  

The objective of all cultural marxists is to deny and destroy Beauty, and to do that they need to make art subjective to bring everything down to the same low level of omega scum. Perfect for Scalzi.

Anonymous VD August 07, 2014 11:56 AM  

Haha, I just read your Wikipedia page, and it cites this post.

We'll see. 24 hours haven't passed yet.

Blogger James Dixon August 07, 2014 12:04 PM  

> What exactly is an objective standard of artistic quality and how is it measured?

Ah, there's the rub. However, the fact that an objective standard can be hard to define or measure doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Scalzi is claiming that no objective measure exists. In that, he's demonstrably wrong. Both the standards of total sales/revenues and popularity over time are objective (though popularity over time has to be carefully defined to be used as a comparative measure). And if he's unwilling to accept them as a measure of artistic quality, then he's in effect arguing that there is some other objective measure, whether he realizes it or not.

Blogger Drew August 07, 2014 12:08 PM  

We need a lot more Dread Ilk on Wikipedia. That site is run on community consensus, and if there are enough of us on the key pages, we can wrestle control of them from the leftists.

Anonymous Bz August 07, 2014 12:25 PM  

Scalzi. What a stupid man. His every comment reveals more of something loathsome in his character.

By the way, here's Public relations 101: How to be graceful and humble about such a question, and at the same time move past it: "1) I'll leave the judgement of my literary qualities, if any, to my readers and to the SF critics."

Blogger John Wright August 07, 2014 12:27 PM  

The objective standard of beauty is the degree to which the concrete art embraces, embodies or reflects the abstract ideal of beauty all men know in their souls. It cannot be 'measured' any more than justice can be measured -- unless someone wishes to argue that one injustice is twice as bad as another, or comes in units of justice like degrees of temperature.

To assert, as Mr Scalzi does, that the concept is laughable is itself laughable, since he himself takes the time and effort to accomplish ... something .. in his writing. If that something is not to make the work as close to an ideal as practical or possible, what is it? Why walk, if any place you stand can be made the destination by arbitrary decree?

The mere fact that art requires effort to accomplish proves that there is a goal being sought. Intermediate goals cannot exist without ultimate goals, so neither can mediocre art (called entertainment) exist without excellent art (called genius).

The concept that all aesthetic judgments are meaningless and arbitrary involves obvious logical impossibilities. We would not have a need for art, nor several industries of movies and books and architecture, nor a fashion industry, nor would we be human beings at all, if beauty were nothing but an arbitrary personal decree.

Anonymous Philalethes August 07, 2014 12:35 PM  

We need a lot more Dread Ilk on Wikipedia. That site is run on community consensus, and if there are enough of us on the key pages, we can wrestle control of them from the leftists.

Sorry, no. You've fallen for another variation of the Myths of Objectivity and Equality. Do you really believe Jimmy Wales would sit passively and allow his baby to be taken over by the likes of you? I see no reason why he should. It is his baby, after all; he created it.

My old teacher, the late Stephen Gaskin (may he RIP), when people would stand up at his rather unruly meetings in the Haight-Ashbury ca. 1969 and complain about how he was running everything, would simply say, "Okay, call your own meeting, and see who comes." It was his meeting, he got to say how it went. That's as "fair" as fair can be; any other idea of "fair" is delusional – and probably being proposed to cover some hidden agenda.

"Community consensus" sounds nice and all, but like most liberal/progressive buzzwords, has to be examined further, for it covers over a reality that lib/progs find discomfiting – like the reality of inequality. Ask, for instance, who is the "community" which is going to have a "consensus"? Certainly the nature of the "consensus" will be determined by who is allowed to be part of the community. That's where the real control is exercised. And no, the Ilk or anyone like them will not be welcome – though the real reasons for banning them will never be openly expressed.

That's reality, like it or not. Regardless of rhetoric, there is always a pyramidal hierarchy of power in any human organization. Some are more honest about it, that's all. And it's not so bad; once you accept it, you can heave a great sigh of relief and get on to doing things that might be effective.

Anonymous Stilicho August 07, 2014 12:44 PM  

With the economy at best flat and cost cutting measures having been tapped out some time ago, that's about the only way left to actually increase earnings per share.

Yep. Just like you can decrease the unemployment rate by eliminating people from the work force. As Charlie Sheen might say: "Winning!"

Anonymous Fred August 07, 2014 1:22 PM  

From "Back to School" movie (1986):

Thornton prefers partying to studying. He hires a team of professionals to complete his assignments, including author Kurt Vonnegut for a major literature paper supposed to be on the author himself, but to Thornton's surprise, Diane gives Thornton an F on his paper. Diane, who is very disappointed in Thornton, tells him that she will not accept work from him that was written by someone else and adds that whoever did write the paper doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut.

Blogger Cataline Sergius August 07, 2014 1:35 PM  

"Nowadays, the con artists could get themselves legal protection and grant money for it."

Damian Walter


Well there is little question that he is the Duty Expert but still...he is being rather blatant.

Anonymous Bz August 07, 2014 1:50 PM  

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

Blogger Joshua Dyal August 07, 2014 2:12 PM  

Just because something is objective (side note: I find that the terms "objective" and "subjective" almost always lead to falsehood, because they reify a false conception of reality) does not mean that it is measurable. Goodness is objective, but it's wrong to say that the Nazis were 8.6 kiloevils less good than Mother Teresa.

Correct; the wrong thing ClarkHat did was try and claim that there was an objective standard to artistic quality when there is not. The wrong thing Scalzi did was to declare that ClarkHat was wrong.

Objectivity isn't the only way to determine truth, of course. The pursuit of objectivity is the red herring.

Anonymous Jake From State Farm August 07, 2014 2:12 PM  

While there are subjective parts to art, these usually reside in higher criticism, where we talk about the efficacy of a certain piece. But there are subjective standards as well, simple craft things one can point to, prose style that all competent writers have accomplished. Scalzi fails on these regularly. An example would be dialogue tags, a skill he has never mastered, often giving the tag long after it does the reader any good. By any objective standard, Scalzi is a bad prose stylist, almost Ally Sheedy poetry bad, and he has not improved over the years because he's convinced he doesn't have to. After all, he has that big lawn.

Anonymous Jake Again August 07, 2014 2:22 PM  

I meant there are objective standards as well...

Blogger Joshua Dyal August 07, 2014 2:58 PM  

I don't disagree. There are objective style points to be made. But I don't see that ClarkHat attempted to make them.

Blogger James Dixon August 07, 2014 4:16 PM  

> There are objective style points to be made. But I don't see that ClarkHat attempted to make them.

It's a Twitter exchange, Joshua, not a dissertation. :)

Blogger Joshua Dyal August 07, 2014 4:27 PM  

Clearly not the proper venue for literary criticism. That was his first mistake. :)

Blogger James Dixon August 07, 2014 4:31 PM  

> Clearly not the proper venue for literary criticism. That was his first mistake. :)

Well, duh! :)

Anonymous Jake from State Farm August 07, 2014 4:58 PM  

If it's true of ClarkHat, it's also true of Scalzi, who calls him wrong without explaining why. But the fact remains that ClarkHat is right and Scalzi is not. It's objectively true that Scalzi is a poor writer. Anyone with the least bit of understanding of the craft of fiction knows that. His sentence structure is poor, his story structure is worse, his verb use is pathetic, his nouns are inexact, his dialogue is weak and unfunny except unintentionally, his characters one-dimensional, his settings devoid of color, the plots melodramatic and boring, and the science lacking verisimilitude. Everything he's written thus far was written by someone else and better, much better, decades ago. He talks about how he wouldn't publish his short stories in magazines like Asimov's, but that's excuse-making because the truth is if they have any self-respect they wouldn't publish him. Only Tor would, and that is because he is a mouthpiece for the editors' politics and he sells to a rabid following that is simply looking for their own stupidity regurgitated back at them and believes it whenever a large enough mob of idiots calls a writer "great."

Also, the words "giggles" and "adorable" are objectively fey.

Blogger James Dixon August 07, 2014 5:30 PM  

> Also, the words "giggles" and "adorable" are objectively fey.

Well, I would use a different word than fey, but....

Anonymous Jake from State Farm August 07, 2014 5:33 PM  

So would I. But I try to remember it's the internet and children sometimes read this stuff...

Blogger Akulkis August 07, 2014 5:35 PM  

Lolz! "Fat frog".... it just kills me every time.

What cracks me up is that they don't name her or link to her Wikipedia page. For obvious reasons.


Fixed!

Also added link to N.K. Jemisin quote where she claims to be "all savage".

Blogger Akulkis August 07, 2014 5:38 PM  

Oh, and I also put in the photo of the fat frog, with this caption:

'Tor Books editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden, whom Beale mistakenly believes to be "a fat frog."'

Gotta put the "mistakenly" in, so that it looks like the caption-writer made an (failed) attempt at criticizing you as an idiot.

False flag Fail -- for the Win!

Anonymous Sigyn August 07, 2014 5:58 PM  

Also, the words "giggles" and "adorable" are objectively fey.

I imagined him flapping his wrist and rolling his eyes dramatically at those words.

Blogger Markku August 07, 2014 7:42 PM  

As for me, I agree with the Wikipedia policy 100%. It's the only way the project COULD be pulled off, considering that there is no single entity to be held accountable for "original research" that turns out to be false, like there would be in a proper encyclopedia. That requirement brings at least some control, since whether something is original research or not, is an objective measure. And conversely, when I as a reader would encounter "original research" in an article, I wouldn't have any means of even BEGINNING to find out whether it's true.

It is merely a failing of our side that WE don't use this as a weapon against leftist factoids in articles. We should be "citation needed" -ing with a vengeance.

Anonymous map August 07, 2014 10:31 PM  

Vox,

"If all art is subjective, then Scalzi is a mediocre writer by virtue of ClarkHat subjectively declaring him to be so. And if all art is objective, then he is a mediocre writer by virtue of the comparison of his work with that of other, better writers. There is no way that Scalzi can correctly declare ClarkHat to be wrong, as he nevertheless repeatedly does."

This is a fascinating error to make because it happens to be Plato's argument against Protagoras.

Protagoras was a relativist. He wrote, "What appears to me, exists for me, and is therefore, true to me. What appears to you, exists for you and is therefore true, to you."

Plato's response was simple. He wrote, "What happens if what appears to you appears to me to be false? If I am wrong, then your relativism falls apart. If I am rigt, then there is no way for you to defend your position."

Some philosophy major.

Anonymous kh123 August 08, 2014 12:07 AM  

Less than 24 hours and both Teresa Nielsen Hayden's name and picture are gone.

Evo deniers, as someone really doesn't want the proper phylogeny/homology presented.

Anonymous Joe Author August 08, 2014 12:41 AM  

"Until some idiot shows up and starts singing. Billy Joel, something-something...Very inspiring."

Where have you been hidin' out lately, honey?


"Everything he's written thus far was written by someone else and better, much better, decades ago..."

Shut up, Jake.


Beauty for art has objective standards for a particular time period that, when individuals and groups of people attempt to compare those works between time periods, arbitrary standards based on personal preferences prevail.

Rubenesque was considered THE look for women in the 1600's.
It was fashionable for women at the time to carry extra weight. Mmmm, plump asses and a little girth around the middle, right fellas? Dare I even say, a jiggly stomach! Yummy!

Yet, today, share that sentiment to alpha males and they unequivocally tell you HELL NO, and they gleefully proceed to show you their girlfriend's or wife's picture from Facebook or Twitter, complete with washboard abs and Texas-sized bosom, as affirmation of their "status".

So, what figure IS indeed most "feminine"?


Regardless, in the end, readers are going to read, writers are going to write, and publishers are going to publish. Argue to your hearts content about "Pink SF" and "Blue SF". I will be just shaking my head...

Anonymous Jake from State Farm August 08, 2014 5:08 AM  

"Shut up, Jake."

Yeah, I guess I'll do that. Because, you know, some Joe-schmoe said so.

Outward aesthetics might change over time, but incompetence is no different in Homer's time to Chaucer's to the early pulp writers ro today. Just like words may change over time but a misspelled word is still misspelled. It doesn't become properly spelled because all of a sudden people are writing ur for you're or because rap is currently more popular than classical. Story structure in Shakespeare's time was no different than it is today. It could either be handled well or poorly. An author like Scalzi who cannot successfully employ dialogue or whose every character is an obvious reworking of himself, even the females, is as poor in 2014 as some shlub forgotten Harlequin romance that used exclamation points every other sentence or had men heaving their kisses into women mouths was poor in 1975.

If the crap you were selling were true, then Dickens wouldn't just come in and out of popularity with readers, but serious critics would regularly go back and forth that Jackie Collins is better than he was. And nobody but an imbecile would even consider making such a claim unless he wanted to get laughed out of the room.

Which is what should happen to you.

Blogger Drew August 08, 2014 5:10 AM  

Less than 24 hours and both Teresa Nielsen Hayden's name and picture are gone.

Evo deniers, as someone really doesn't want the proper phylogeny/homology presented.


I wasn't aware that you wanted that nonsense up there. But hey, I can revert my own revert.

Blogger Markku August 08, 2014 5:12 AM  

I do seem to recall that a convincing case was made at one point, either here or one of the Game sites, that there never was a "rubenesque" preference, but that it happened to be a personal fetish of Rubens. That all other artists of that time painted women just like we'd expect. Which means that Rubens just was what we call "fatty-fucker".

Anyone remember details about that?

Anonymous Jake August 08, 2014 5:34 AM  

I thought of another way of putting it. A woman with more weight or less weight is still discernibly a woman. But a woman whose head is dissevered from her body is not beautiful by anyone's standards but the insane. A novel by a writer like Scalzi is the woman with her head removed, and the fingers removed, and the hips shattered and deformed, and the arm dangling from its socket. Only a literary necrophiliac could find her lovely. Only a person who has perverse standards would love a John Scalzi book. You'd have to be really, really desperate, and a sicko to boot.

Anonymous kh123 August 08, 2014 5:38 AM  

"I wasn't aware that you wanted that nonsense up there. But hey, I can revert my own revert."

For Science.

Blogger Markku August 08, 2014 7:03 AM  

Jake, have you actually read one? Because my impression is that most people even on our side, Vox included, finds them serviceable.

I suppose it is like listening to a cover song from a marginally competent local band. You kind of think that "well, this is not horrible" but what you'd REALLY like, is just listening to the original.

Anonymous Jake August 08, 2014 9:36 AM  

Now, Markku, would I be giving my opinion on a writer I hadn't ever read? Yes, I read a couple, pieces of others. I read his blog for years, although even then I despised the smarminess and undeserved ego. Vox and I have always disagreed on this-- going back to when he and Scalzi were pals. Now he thinks Scalzi is meh. I still think he's awful. And I see Vox trending in my direction with every book. Of course, it's possible Vox just has a greater tolerance for bad than I have. But it doesn't change the fact the stuff is bad. The errors he makes go beyond mere mediocrity. They are straight-up amateurish and incompetent.

Anonymous Alexander August 08, 2014 9:53 AM  

Well, the economics section has now disappeared.

Anonymous Castaigne August 08, 2014 5:18 PM  

The whole problem I see with this Twitter exchange is that nowhere does ClarkHat refer to where these objective art standards are derived from. Who decided these objective standards? Where are they referenced? What is their authority derived from?

I can state exactly what the ISO 9001 standards are for an office, because they have been determined by ISO and are laid out. Nowhere can I find such a standard for art. Art is, and remains, a complete matter of personal preference.

-------
@Joshua Dyval: Getting into an argument with anyone about objective quality, or whatever you want to call it, is a losing game and a fundamentally silly endeavor anyway for all involved.

Agreed. It is a pointless discussion without an International Standards of Art Authority producing a regulations book.

@Alexander: No - I think that's just a symptom of living at a time when things are not valued because they are beautiful and true

There is no beauty. There is no truth. These are phantasms, philosophies, vagaries, dreams.

There is fact. There is experimentation. There is law. There is that proven to be correct, that proven to be incorrect, and that which has not yet been proven. There is logic. Analysis. Rationality.

There is your beauty. There is your "truth". The land of the objective real.

-----

@Rob: side note: I find that the terms "objective" and "subjective" almost always lead to falsehood, because they reify a false conception of reality

Objective is what can be proved in a laboratory by experimentation. Subjective is crap you dreamed up in your head. Goodness? Your good is someone else's evil. If good were objective, we could measure it in a lab as gooditrons and determine how good this or that act is by how many gooditrons it contained.

Blogger James Dixon August 08, 2014 7:28 PM  

> is that nowhere does ClarkHat refer to where these objective art standards are derived from.

As I said, it's a Twitter exchange, not a dissertation.

I gave two examples of objective standards earlier: Total sales/revenues and popularity over time Are they not acceptable, and if so, why not? Note that anyone who argues that they don't measure artistic quality is in effect arguing that there must be some other way of measuring it.

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Anonymous Castaigne August 09, 2014 5:40 PM  

@James Dixon: Total sales/revenues and popularity over time Are they not acceptable, and if so, why not?

Because sales/revenues and popularity have nothing to do with artistic quality. It's entirely disconnected. If we're going to say that the two are directly linked, then by default something like "Avatar" has far more artistic quality than the entirety to Rembrandt's output, as Avatar has much higher sales/revenue and popularity en total. It also requires the assumption that all cultures and all people conform to Lowest Common Denominator and share LCD tastes. This is demonstrably not so.

Note that anyone who argues that they don't measure artistic quality is in effect arguing that there must be some other way of measuring it.

No one is talking about not measuring artistic quality. It's just that such measurement is subjective, not objective. Determination of artistic quality is entirely reliant on the person's opinion, outlook, tastes, and other personal, non-objective magisteria.

Anonymous Jake August 11, 2014 6:30 PM  

Castaigne is simply wrong, but it would take too long and too much effort to explain why. This is why I dislike the internet and especially comments sections. It's too easy to seemingly win an argument merely by being the person with the most time or the biggest platform. Or like in this case to pose an objection that take you one paragraph and would take 20 pages to properly educate someone about why the objection is misguided.

Blogger Drew August 19, 2014 1:03 PM  

Oh look, Wikipedia is now disenfranchising its volunteers in favor of its paid employees and sponsors: http://wikipediocracy.com/2014/08/19/the-battle-for-wikipedia-how-your-donations-may-be-destroying-the-crowd-sourced-encyclopedia/

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