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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Political Correctness, defined.

In the aftermath of the presidential election, where one of the possible explanations for Trump's victory was as a reaction to extreme political correctness, I saw a lot of posts on social media which rather obviously tried to change the meaning of political correctness.  It is not political correctness that stops people from using racial slurs, spouting racial stereotypes, or making racist jokes.  It is common decency.

Let me cite an example of a racist joke: "You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."

People who think political correctness has gone overboard are not trying to bring back jokes like this one.  In the real world, the person who made this comment (then-Senator Joe Biden) was rightfully criticized, and he apologized, although he saw no real world consequences (he was still considered a viable presidential candidate, and won election as vice president).

Before I provide my definition of political correctness, let me introduce you to a recent card from Magic: the Gathering's latest expansion.

The latest Magic world, Kaladesh, has a setting inspired by steampunk, but with an optimistic outlook.  The free flow of aether created an energy revolution that led to a time of great invention.  And this setting allowed the game to introduce a type of card they'd long desired to create, vehicles.  Vehicles are normally artifacts, but by tapping creatures with power X ("crew X"), vehicles become artifact creatures with power normally greater than X.  In the first set of the block, Kaladesh, vehicles had mana costs that roughly scaled with their power.

The second set of the block, Aether Revolt, introduced this evolution to vehicles.  Unlike previous vehicles, it's both big and cheap, but still very difficult to crew.  You can cast it early, but it won't attack for a while.  But it works with the set's new keyword, improvise, which lets you tap artifacts to help pay for spells.  And there are combos, with several other cards that can turn vehicles into creatures.  It's realistic in Draft to get this card and Siege Modification, which creates a 10/11 creature with first strike on turn 3.  That threatens to win the game by turn 4!

The card is an excellent design, appealing to the Timmy and Johnny demographics, working well in draft, and can be played in a Constructed deck that, while not top tier, can win games in a splashy manner.

So what does this card have to do with political correctness?  Look at the power and toughness when Consulate Dreadnought is animated: 7/11.  In terms of game design, 7 power is a good place, threatening to kill in three turns, and 11 toughness suggests a creature that will rarely, if ever, be beaten in combat.  The stats also are a callback to Inkwell Leviathan, a popular old card often used in Reanimator decks.

The numbers still don't strike you as offensive, do they?  Well, the other inspiration for the Kaladesh block is the Indian subcontinent.  So, to find offense, you'd have to link several things together.  You'd have to look at the card, which shows just a ship (no people, no convenience store), focus on two of the four numbers on the card (not its casting cost or crew cost), and link it to the stereotype that people like Joe Biden like to cite.

And as an example of political correctness, here is someone who found offense.  And he got an apology, though no offense was intended.

The most important thing for the designers and developers who create Magic: the Gathering is to make the best game play possible.  The numbers on the cards (casting cost, activation cost of abilities, power and toughness of creatures) have to be carefully balanced, lest they create an unfun play environment.  It is absolutely essential that the designers and developers not be constrained by someone finding offense in the numbers.

So here is how I will define political correctness.  I'll use language the far left should understand.

Political Correctness is finding offense where no offense is intended, and no offense could reasonably be inferred.
Political Correctness is the privilege of demanding others listen to your expression of offense.
Political Correctness is the power of forcing another to apologize for an offense they didn't make.

(As another example, I find the stereotypical Bond villain, a psychotic wealthy white businessman, to be offensive.  But no one believes they need to care what I think.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Snarky comment, locked and loaded

In case of President Donald Trump, break glass and post everywhere:

Democrats have little to fear of the actions Donald Trump will take.  They can find solace in the way they've opposed the increasing unitary power of the executive while they've held the Oval Office, and there's an experienced news media with a laser-like focus on monitoring the government for any excesses and wrongdoing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


In a response to an article titled "I’ve Experienced Fat Shaming And Thin Shaming And I Can Tell You Which Is Worse", written by and about a woman, a male friend responded via Facebook:

Or, what we could do, is stop ridiculing women.

I'd say we could stop ridiculing all people, but that really discounts my privilege. I may be fat, but since I'm male, it's OK.

Here is an example of what's wrong with the concept of privilege.  The political left views such things as sympathy as a zero-sum game.  Much in the way they view economics, if someone receives sympathy, that means less for someone else.  Therefore, they invoke the concept of privilege and enforce a hierarchy of needs.  In this example, women are classified as less privileged, and thus deserving of all the sympathy when the subject is bullying.

This friend is so caught up in this toxic ideology that he is unable to focus on what needs to be stopped, the objectively bad behavior of bullying.  Because there certainly is privilege involved in any instance of bullying, but it's not based on sex, race, class, or anything else.  Privilege is isolated 100% in the one doing the bullying, who does something objectively wrong with a clear conscience, with the direct support of privileged friends, and the tacit approval of others who decide to look the other way.

He is willing to let himself be bullied because the bullies of the left have convinced him that he deserves it.

If you think about it, the ultimate privilege is getting to be the one who decided who is privileged and who has the first claim to sympathy.  You'll notice the ones doing this are quick to discount their own privilege, seeking to place themselves among the worthy victims.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Time for a change

There's a hot topic in the media that even a cynical person like me never thought would be an issue, bathrooms.  What was twenty years ago a throwaway gag on Ally McBeal is now the latest life and death issue for the wealthy, overeducated, urban white liberals setting policy for the Democrats.  The current focus is on North Carolina, where the city of Charlotte passed a law allowing anyone to use any bathroom, based on their identity, and the state legislature passed a law that overruled the local law.

The response is the typical one.  Celebrities who haven't been relevant for 20, 30, or 40 or more years are cancelling events.  Elites are calling for boycotts.  And with the general degradation of political discussion thanks to social media, 90% of the debate is pictures with slogans on them.  Of course, they're full of oversimplifications.

There's one that goes like "If you're worried about assault, then don't assault."  That's not particularly relevant.  No matter whether you have the Charlotte law or the North Carolina law, assault, from groping up through rape, is still a crime.

There's one that shows (claims to show) pictures of people who were born one sex, transitioned, and now look like the other sex.  This is posted as a criticism of the North Carolina law, saying these people would be forced into the bathroom that looks wrong for them.  But no one would notice someone like that, unless they pull down their pants and show off their surgical scars.  (See the above about laws staying the same.)  Even if the transition doesn't look that good, if you've completed the process, and have a reissued birth certificate showing your legal sex is not the one that matches your chromosomes, no one is going to complain.

The problem comes with the terrible people who would abuse a law like the Charlotte law.  Take something that isn't a clear-cut crime.  A man uses a women's bathroom or locker room, and the women there find that creepy.  Maybe he (who claims to be she) seems to be looking far too long, and gazing at places when instead he should be averting his eyes.  Before this law, the management has an easy solution.  "This is the women's locker room.  Get out!"  Now, the only way to deal with this isn't so easy.  "We request that you leave because you're making the other guests uncomfortable."

In this case, the management is forced to make a call.  "Is this person an actual creep?  Or does he legitimately identify as a woman?  What should I say?  And what if he's looking to attain fame by becoming a victim, and then filing a lawsuit against me, which would lead the charge of public opinion against me?"  And if this is the owner, not just the manager, only one of these responses creates an existential risk for his business.

Sorry, women, you just have to accept the creeps.

You don't think people want to get rid of creeps?  A few years ago, I posted a link to a story about an older man who was kicked out of a Barnes & Noble because a female customer complained he was in the children's book section.  That was a situation where a person was doing nothing, but someone else became uncomfortable thanks to making multiple leaps of logic, assuming the worst of that first person.

Monday, May 11, 2015

White Knights

The only White Knights I want to see at a Magic: the Gathering tournament are the ones with first strike and protection from black.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Public assistance and optics

At notalwaysright.com or one of its related sites, I read a story that's familiar. The submitter, a woman buying foods using food stamps or another public assistance program, recounted how she was challenged by the person behind her in line because she bought an Oprah magazine at the same time. She recounted how she responded, one of those "Who are you to judge?" responses.

First of all, I think we can all agree that buying an Oprah magazine is a serious lapse of judgment.

I'm not the kind of person to debate a random person in line, but if I were, the story wouldn't end there.

Her: "Is it your job to tell me how to live my life?"
Me: "Let me ask this, are you a registered voter?"
Her: "Yes."
Me: "Do you follow the issues and vote regularly?"
Her: "Yes."
Me: "I'm glad to hear that. Now, you are absolutely correct that it isn't my job to control what you buy when you're on public assistance. However, it is the job of our elected officials to set the terms for public assistance programs, including what one can and can't buy. And it is the job of registered voters like us to elect these officials.

"Now, what you need to consider is the optics of your purchase here. Were your benefits to be cut by $20 a year, you no doubt would protest, saying that you can't afford it, that people like you are least able to afford it. But this purchase here indicates you could afford it; you'd save enough by cutting one luxury purchase like this each month. A magazine isn't a luxury, normally, but by being on a public assistance program where you state that you can't afford necessities, that makes everything else a luxury.

"And given there's a public library in this town with a reading room with dozens of magazines, with rather generous hours of operation, buying a magazine indicates you either place a high value on convenience, or are subject to impulse purchases. Neither option reflects well on you.

"For voters who not only have to pay for their own necessities, but also the necessities of others, they are understandably upset by behavior like this. Upset voters vote for candidates that will be less generous with public assistance.

"Now, is your sense of self-righteousness worth that?"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A humorous analysis of the marriage debate

Humorist Iowahawk manages to reference Gilligan's Island while bringing up the only reasonable solution to the debate over what should constitute a marriage:

The problem, I think, is that marriage uniquely represents a religious sacrament that doubles as an official secular legal status. We don't have laws, for example, that recognize someone's baptism or confirmation. Because of that duality of marriage, attempts to expand its definition naturally are seen as an attack on religion, while attempt to restrict its definition are seen as the imposition of religion on society. Everybody gets mad and yells.

The solution? Maybe it's time for government to get out of the whole marriage business altogether. Or at least to treat it as a standard civil contract between adults conferring certain privileges (wills, powers of attorney, co-ownership) and obligations (say hello to alimony and the marriage tax penalty, Bert and Ernie). Don't want to call it "marriage"? Fine, call it a civil union, domestic partnership, blancmange, whatever, leave it open to any pair of consenting adults. Leave the holy sacrament business to churches, and if First Lutheran or Immaculate Conception or Temple Beth-El don't want to bestow the title of "married" on a same sex couple, that ought to be their own business. You get married at a church, you get blancmanged at the county courthouse.