Libertarianism in 4 Words

The hashtag #libertarianismin4words was trending on Monday, leading to some amusing critiques of what I will charitably call the political ideology, along with some breathless efforts to decry the ignorance of the mockers and some noble attempts to find four words to describe the libertarian worldview that weren’t all either “freedom” or “liberty.”

I haven’t exactly made my thoughts on libertarianism a secret around here, so I don’t need to rehash or go into any great detail here. I will note, perhaps gratuitously, that four words is probably a fair limit for defenders of the ideology, at least since my own experience suggests that it has nothing to recommend it aside from abstract nouns.


I took the liberty (see what I did there?) of Storifying some tweets that I found amusing. This is by no means a complete set of tweets I liked, but rather just the ones that came up on a quick search of the hashtag:

Here were my thoughts for those who, as always, claimed that the critics just. don’t. get. it:

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The Art of Avoiding Breaking Bad Spoilers

Via quickmeme.com

Via quickmeme.com

(Nonspecific spoilers ahead.) In an era where almost everyone has a TV show marketed directly to them, AMC’s Breaking Bad has developed a remarkably widespread—and fanatically devoted—following. The show now only has two episodes left of its five-season run, and it has been building up to what is generally predicted to be a humdinger of a finale. Last night’s episode, “Ozymandias,” certainly hit many people in the feels. That, in and of itself, should not be much of a spoiler. A spoiler, in my opinion, would have been to say that nothing of interest happened, or that the entire episode was about Data learning to be more human. Oops, wrong show, sorry.

Via quickmeme.com

Via quickmeme.com

I’ll be honest here: I think Breaking Bad is an incredible show, perhaps one of the best in television history, but I don’t love it the way some people do. I don’t feel the same emotional investment that I felt in characters from The Wire, not by a long shot.

Getting back to last night’s episode: in the era of the DVR, not everyone watches a show at the same time, meaning that some people were not interested in discussing “Ozymandias” at the water cooler this morning. In the era of social media, the water cooler discussion has expanded far beyond the water cooler. This raises an interesting question. In social media forums like Facebook, it is relatively easy to post spoiler warnings, but not so much on Twitter. What sort of etiquette, if any, exists to guard against accidentally revealing key plot developments to people who are not ready for them. Conversely, what is the responsibility of the spoilee to avoid discussions that might lead to spoilers? It hardly seems fair to ask people who have seen the episode, in all of its [redacted], to wait to discuss it until everyone has had a chance to see it. Continue reading

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SXSW 2013 Diary, Day 2 (March 9, 2013)

[Typed on an iPad with minimal proofreading.] Since it was a Saturday, I could use my fiancee’s parking pass downtown. No bus for me!

I almost immediately regretted trying to drive downtown. I got one of the last parking spaces on the roof of the garage, which I only obtained after a lengthy process of abruptly stopping to avoid rear-ending the driversnwho seem to think that you must close every 10-foot gap between you and the car in front of you at 20 mph or more.

Te first session I attended was entitled Tweets from the DMZ: Social Media in North Korea with Jean H. Lee, AP Bureau Chief for North Korea. While there was some interesting “slice of life” information about a Seoul-based journalist’s regular trips to North Korea, it mostly consisted, quite literally, of screenshots of tweets she has sent. I learned some interesting stuff, though. She said that the regime never stops her from taking pictures, but they always know what she is doing. They try to make sure she is “respectful” to her subjects more than almost anything else. South Korea has very strict limits on access to online material from the north. It is apparently illegal in South Korea to access North Korean websites, and the government has a strict firewall in place. It is illegal even to retweet something from North Korea. People in South Korea, she said, must be careful even following people in North Korea. North Korea has a few government-run sites, including Flickr, Twitter, and Instagram. The main goals of these government-run social media sites are propaganda, getting pictures of the leader out, etc. One person, during questions, basically suggested that she was a dupe of Pyongyang, doing their bidding by presenting their side of things, but she disputed this. He even suggested that North Korean agents might be in the room keeping eyes on her. She responding by inviting any North Koreans in the room to stand up and say hello. No one did, and I decided that would be a good time to leave.

Last year, I met some interesting people in the Samsung Blogger’s Lounge, so I headed there next. Let me try to be charitable here……while I recall that they used the room last year both to give bloggers a place to work and socialize and to do webcasts of interviews with people who are “buzzing” at SXSW, this year the interviews were harder to ignore. Impossible to ignore, actually. The host of these interviews is probably a very nice person, but her style is, I dare say, not suited to any room where anyone is expected to pay attention to anyone except her. She’s bubbly, goofy, and loud, is all I’m saying. I was able to finish my Day 1 blog entry, but couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone for long.

I hesitated to attend the next panel, for pretty basic social reasons of taboo and embarrassment. I’m glad I did, because it was one of the best sessions I’ve attended at any conference, ever. Not just because the presenter, Cindy Gallop, has an awesome British accent. The session was entitled The Future of Porn, and the line to get in extended out of the ballroom quite a long way. (She noted that nearly everything she was going to say in her talk could be a double entendre, andit was good to get that out of the way.) This was not a discussion of smut per se. In fact, she maintains that the sites she created, MakeLoveNotPorn.com and MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, are not porn, but “real world sex.” I’m just going to paste some things from my notes (shout-out to Evernote here):

  • What happens when you combine easy access to porn online with societal reluctance to discuss sex at all?
  • MakeLoveNotPorn compares porn world to real world. Led to TED Talk in 2009.
  • Not anti-porn. Issue is lack of honest conversation about sex in the real world.
  • Social media platforms generally won’t deal with sex. She wants to “socialize sex.” Launched MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, where people can submit their own videos of real sex. Site is curated, so it’s not like YouPorn. $5 submission/curation fee, $5 rental fee for 3 weeks unlimited viewing, 50% of revenue shared with submitters. The “Etsy of Sexy.”
  • Not porn, not “amateur.” They are #realworldsex. Community tells them what real world sex is.
  • Real world sex is funny, while porn sex is “earnest.” Sexual equivalent of “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
  • Real world sex is messy. Porn is “clean,” i.e. hairless, and you never see lube. No sex during periods [Ed. note: no judgment here. Whatever floats your boat.].
  • Real world sex is responsible. Porn either doesn’t have condoms, or they magically appear. More condom use if it seems sexy.
  • “Lazy person sex” – after long day, really tired, but horny. Don’t want to lift a finger to get off. No representation of that in porn or other media.
  • Thumbnails & copy are all SFW, so no one has to slam down the laptop when someone walks by.
  • You can make personalized playlists, send them to people. Lets you tell people what you like w/o awkward conversations [Ed. Note: I don't get how this is less awkward than talking, necessarily, but what do I know?].
  • Could be the “Kinsey of today.” Had to design in-system scoring that is easy to use and one-handed. You hit the space bar to say “yes!”
  • Porn industry has been supportive. Gen Y in porn has reached out to her (entrepreneurial, ambitious, want to be part of the “new world order” of things.)
  • They’re not competing with porn. Most porn labeled “amateur” isn’t.
  • One viewer told her “Porn makes me want to jerk off. Your videos make me want to have sex.”
  • No bank in the U.S. will work with her because “porn” is in the name. No mainstream payment processor would work with her. Finally got PayPal challenger Douala (?) on board, had to go with a European bank and payment processor.
  • Porn is falling prey to the same dynamics as the music and publishing industries. Businesses play it safe by doing what everyone else is doing. Porn’s way of dealing with it is more controversial.
  • ***”It’s not that porn degrades women. It’s that business degrades porn” Pushing any business into the shadows enables bad things to happen. She’s trying to change the world through sex, make sex better for everybody. Business world is trying to stop her. She says the business world is driven by men who believe men are their target audience. She listed women entrepreneurs who are doing great work (Nina Hartley, etc.) “Women challenge the status quo because we are never ‘it.’”
  • She listed a few other products or sites she felt were worth mentioning:
  • Vibease – device for couples in LTRs.
    Offbeatr – website for sex projects
    They Fit – custom-made condoms, no FDA approval in the US
    Bang with Friends – launched about a month ago.

  • Average age of first seeing hardcore porn online today is 8. They don’t necessarily go looking for it.
  • Less than 5% of parents, she says, ever talk to their kids about sex. The talk has changed, as it needs to include discussion of what shows up in porn.
  • Legalities: 2 forms of ID, “no children, no poop, no animals.” Brought in adult industry lawyers to help.
  • Protecting privacy and IP: members-only site, no way to guarantee no piracy, though. They review everything submitted to the site before posting it. They remove videos on request if a couple breaks up.
  • Finance: adult industry-specific companies, payment processors, etc. She wants business partners who get their mission. AI-specific processors think they’re just porn, have extortionate rates. Even they though MLNP was too risky. Company like Manwin has $$$, has easier time with banking.
  • None of their videos have an “extraneous” cameraman. Spouse might record other spouse, or person might use webcam.
  • Difference between porn and sex ed. Teachers have asked to use MLNP dot com in their sex ed classes. So few people are willing to stand up for these issues, that everyone wants Cindy to do all of it.

A couple of questions stood out. Someone eventually asked if Cindy appears in any of the videos on her site. Less predictably, the questioner was a woman, and the question was asked very earnestly (as opposed to a pervy manner). A mother of teenagers got up and described how her kids have used the family computer to access adult content. She is worried about the false impressions they will get about sex, and so asked about how to use the MNLP video site to give her kids access to more realistic, perhaps even “educational” material. Mom of the Year? Quite possibly.

I could write for weeks about everything I think is wrong in the way we deal with the issue of sex. It’s prety screwed up in most of the world, but I’ll focus on the U.S. Her opening statement summed it up very well, though: we have unprecedented access to “adult” material, and not just through porn, but through an overall sexualization in our culture. At the same time, we still lack almost any ability to discuss it like rational adults, and we still attach ridiculous forms of stigma to people regarding sex. This applies to people who have sex a lot (cf. Sasha Grey), people who don’t have it at all (cf. Lolo Jones), and everything in between. And that’s only covering the conventionally-attractive young white woman demographic. Don’t get me started.

I went to a 15-minute session on copyright law after that. Blah blah fair use and so on. Then I went home to assemble more IKEA furniture.

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Lawyer Live-Tweets Delaware Courthouse Shooting, Draws Ire by Daring to Speak Ill of Guns

(WARNING: I’m going to say some not-nice things about guns in this post. If this bothers you, please click this link.)

A gunman entered a courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware at about 8:00 a.m. local time this morning and shot at least four people, killing two, before police killed him. One of the deceased, according to CNN, might be his “estranged wife,” but nothing is certain, since this occurred less than two hours ago as I am typing this. I wish that I could add surprise to my disgust, but someone deciding to resolve things with their estranged spouse via bullets is not an original solution. My main impetus for buying a handgun in 2008, in my lawyering days, was out of a sense of discomfort around certain opposing parties in a few lawsuits.

What is still relatively novel is the phenomenon of live-tweeted tragedies. Anyone who has lived through a traumatic event knows that thoughts come in random and unpredictable ways. Anyone who makes frequent use of Twitter knows that people can now share those thoughts in as long as it takes to type 140 characters or less into a handy smartphone. They also know that a quick thought sent into the Twitterverse may be subject to extensive deconstruction by people who have the luxury of not being in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, and who will presume to know better than that person how they should have responded.

That brings me to my point. I have never met Jennifer S. Lubinski, nor have I ever been to Wilmington, Delaware. We are privy to her thoughts on the experience, though, thanks to social media.

 

I guess mentioning the NRA was her big mistake. As we all know, guns don’t kill people. That guy could have just as easily walked into that courthouse with a knife, baseball bat, or extremely taut rubber band and killed the same number of people, because shutuplibertySecondAmendmentFREEDOM. One might be tempted to call that hyperbole, but minor challenges to the sanctity of guns tend to bring out the sputtering and syntactically challenged among us. I really see no point in blocking out the names on these gems, especially since I am mostly going off of the tweets that Ms. Lubinski herself retweeted, or that were made in direct reply to her. Continue reading

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My Live-Facebooking of the Presidential Debate, October 3, 2012

For the heck of it, I went back and copied my stream-of-consciousness rants from Wednesday night’s debacle. I mean debate. The now-mythical evening will probably puzzle political scientists for a few minutes, but it at least gave us some memes. (Edited for typos and whatnot):

7:59 p.m. I’m live tweeting this bee-yotch! (I give my ADD 10 minutes before I start seriously thinking about boobs) #debate

8:02 p.m. The last time we had a Presidential #debate, I didn’t even have a Twitter account. How did I share my thoughts? How did we do anything???

8:04 p.m. I’m sure Jim Lehrer is a great #debate moderator, but you know who we need? Mills Lane, that’s who.

8:06 p.m. Obama may have the best excuse in history for skipping out on an anniversary dinner. #debate

8:07 p.m. Since the candidates always answer the first question with a “glad to be here” soliloquy, shouldn’t the first question just be “‘Sup?”

8:08 p.m. Is someone writing down Romney’s 5 points? Because I’m sure he’ll change them tomorrow.

8:12 p.m. Just for the record, Lehrer asked Romney if he had a question for Obama, and he’s making a speech. #debate

8:13 p.m. Okay, seriously, Jim, cut Romney off if he won’t ask a question!!! #debate

8:17 p.m. It’s hard to make accurate statements about Romney’s tax plan when he stays so coy about it. #debate

8:19 p.m. “Now he’s saying that his big bold idea is ‘never mind.’” #debate

8:22 p.m. Romney keeps referencing conversations he’s had with ordinary people. We’ve seen how that tends to go for him, though… #debate

8:23 p.m. Did Romney really just say his first priority is jobs? #debate

8:27 p.m. “Going forward with the status quo won’t work” says Romney. You mean like Republicans blocking everything Obama tries to do? #debate Continue reading

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The saddest meme in Republican history

The other day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed that an unnamed Bain investor told him that Mitt Romney won’t release any more tax returns because that would demonstrate that he did not pay taxes for ten years. We don’t know who actually said that, so it is possible that Senator Reid is making it up. Politicians certainly lie through their teeth all the time–well, Mitt Romney does. I’m sure others do as well.

In response to this, people on the right could have just pointed out that Reid has not provided any evidence for his assertion besides his say-so, which would have gotten the point across that he made an unsupported (albeit plausible) accusation. But that would have been sensible, and this is the American right wing we’re talking about here.

First, they point out that Harry Reid will not release his own tax returns, which is irrelevant because Harry Reid is not running for president.

Not content to leave it at that, someone creates a Twitter hashtag suggesting (facetiously, one hopes) that Harry Reid is a pederast. I assume the intention was to demonstrate the impact of unfounded accusations, not to look like a group of schoolchildren who just learned a big word. The meme yielded gems such as this:

 

 


It’s always just hilarious when a person using “pederasty” as a cheap device for a lame attempt at satire uses words like “disgusting” to describe the other person. It is difficult to fully explain how an allegation made as part of an ongoing controversy over an unprecedentedly tight-lipped presidential candidate’s financial history is different from completely made-up accusations of pederasty by a bunch of Tweeters. Honestly, before yesterday it never would have occurred to me that such a distinction would be necessary. If you haven’t already figured out the distinction, there is no hope for your intellectual development beyond its current state, or you are currently under the age of six.

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My nominee for tweet of the year

Via Oliver Griswold:

griswoldtweet

Sooo, the conservative heroes of Spring 2012 are the guy who killed an unarmed black kid and the guy who cut off a gay kid’s hair?

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Today in the Whiniverse

'SMirC-cry' by chris 論 (own design) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsPeople are mean on Twitter. That’s pretty much a fact of life at this point. It goes all ways (I’m not so daft as to think there are really only two sides to any given issue, however much we are meant to think that.) It is usually quite amusing to watch the parade of tu quoque responses whenever someone tries to call someone else out on hateful or violent rhetoric on Twitter. Sometimes, though, it gets downright hilarious. Like when a Breitbartian gets dinged on Twitter regulations and whines about it.

From Rick Moran at the inaptly-named American Thinker:

There’s a budding war in the Twitterverse as liberals are evidently carrying out organized attacks on conservative Twitter users by reporting their tweets as “spam,” thus triggering an automated block on their accounts.

Apparently, a threshold has to be crossed as far as the number of tweets for the system to kick in, as well as the number of spam reports in order to ban the user so not all conservative Twitter activists are vulnerable. But several high profile conservatives have had their accounts blocked and trying to get them reinstated is proving to be a difficult matter.

***

A tidal wave of Tweets from conservative activists are trying to keep pace with the organized attack on free speech from the left

[Emphasis added]. I bolded “evidently” because he didn’t cite any evidence. I bolded the bit about “free speech” because once again that term is being abused. Is the government trying to shut down these Tweeters? If not, shut up about free speech until you learn what that actually means. (Here’s a hint: my telling you to “shut up” does not infringe your free speech rights at all. If you don’t understand why, then I am amazed you don’t injure yourself with your spoon every morning at breakfast.)

Golly, an organized campaign of liberals to prevent people from Tweeting? I’m surprised he didn’t link it directly to the White House, since our incompetent, do-nothing Executive Branch is full of evil genius masterminds. Speculate much? Continue reading

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Behold the mighty Coffthulu!!!

I got some new coffee mugs. They look like this:

New coffee mugs from Creature Cups

You, too, could have some from Creature Cups, if you think you are brave enough to stare at this in your coffee each morning…

Of course, my friend Jenn made the literary connection that I missed in my reverie of having my very own octopus cup, but at least now I know what to call it:

Coffthulu Twitter exchange

All hail the wondrous Coffthulu! We tremble in his shadow.

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An open apology to everyone who follows me on Twitter

I was trying to import a few posts from the old platform, and I ended up with more than 100 duplicate posts, all of which then automatically went to Twitter. I regret any inconvenience this may have cause, but I assure you (CK) that I did not break Twitter. All is well once again…

In honor of everything being well once again, here is a GIF of Megan Fox fixing her hair.

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