We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef and cockwomble, has decided to introduce a soda tax in his restaurants “to send a powerful and strong message to government”. He claims that he will give money raised to the state-funded sock-puppet charity Sustain, who are agitating for a soft drinks tax that will cost taxpayers £1 billion a year. If Oliver feels so strongly about fizzy drinks he could simply stop selling them, but that would hit his bottom line so he’d rather gouge his customers to fund a campaign for a state-sanctioned ‘level playing field’ that will rip off his competitors’ customers too.

Christopher Snowdon

Samizdata quote of the day

Nonetheless, environmentalists’ newfound enthusiasm for papal encyclicals is a little strange. After all, the Catholic Church isn’t too keen on abortion or contraception, which seems at odds with the green movement’s Malthusian concerns about overpopulation. The Church’s old-school attitude to homosexuality, and particularly gay marriage, flies directly in the face of the liberal leanings of many greens. Yet environmentalists have been happy to talk up the importance of the pope’s intervention, hoping that a bit of religious pressure will twist the arms of the world’s leaders into overcoming their silly worries about the effect that limits on carbon emissions might have on economic growth.

Rob Lyons

Samizdata quote of the day

If gender is merely a matter of self-identification, should not race be also? I have always thought that, given the affirmative action-laden higher education admissions process, applicants should self-identify as “black” or “Native American” whenever they so desire. I mean, why not? If they feel black or Native American, should not they be able to claim such an identity, as Rachel Dolezal has done? Doing so would quickly cause affirmative action to collapse of its own ridiculous weight.

Indeed, all of this race balkanization–with such extreme emphasis as belonging to this or that race–only further divides us, as race baiters like Al Sharpton well know. So why not accept the progressives’ terms of the debate–that our gender and race is all simply a matter of self-identity–and identify as a member of races that are favored/more protected by law? After all, no one can ever really know what lies in another’s heart. Does Bruce Jenner sincerely believe he is a female, or does he simply like to dress up in women’s clothes? Does Rachel Dolezal sincerely believe she is black? No one can possibly know the answer, perhaps not even Mr./Ms. Jenner and Ms. Dolezal.

What would a university do if an applicant self-identified as “black” on an application but showed up looking “white”? And if the university made such a judgment, what on earth would that mean? How would the university defend its belief that a student didn’t “look” black? What sort of bizarre racial stereotypes would it rely upon in making such an appearance-based judgment? And if the university actually decided to take action against the student for racial misrepresentation, what on earth would that mean? How would the university judge whether the student was really “black”? What percentage of blood would suffice for such a progressive institution? Fifty percent? Ten percent? One percent?

Elizabeth Price Foley

Beware of unintended consequences

One of the things I love about this law as proposed (and I love this law as proposed), is how this law can’t do what its designed to do. Rather, this law as written ends up putting members of SocJus at risk while theoretically protecting the rights of ordinary citizens to assemble freely on the Internet.

[…] Unless I’m reading the law wrong, all Rice would have to do is claim “substantial emotional distress” to trigger the new federal law enforcement and prosecutorial assets POTEA demands into action in order to protect Anne Rice from online abuse. I assume POTEA applies here, and Harper will be the first person arrested, tried, convicted, and incarcerated under POTEA when it is signed into law.

What about Brad Wardell, who had reporters and editors of SocJus propaganda websites and their respective online armies fall upon him, only for the allegations made against him to be dismissed with prejudice. Does he get to use POTEA against the people irresponsibly reporting untruth as fact, as well as the editors who allowed untruth to be published as fact? He certainly suffered substantial emotional distress at the hands of SocJus’s Ministry of Truth.

Todd Wohling writing ‘Why I love the POTEA Anti-Harassment Law’ ;-)

The Witcher 3, racism, misogyny

The Witcher 3, a much anticipated computer game from a Polish studio based on a series of Polish fantasy novels, is released next Tuesday. Reviews of it are already being published and I have been reading a lot about it, including one review on Polygon by Arthur Gies that spent a lot of words complaining about the lack of black people and the treatment of female characters in the game.

Another Polish developer, Adrian Chmielarz, whose studio made the acclaimed adventure game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, has responded. On the complaint that there are only white people in the game:

the fact that a post-modernist remix of fantasy and the Polish folklore made by Slavs does not feature non-white characters, is a non-issue.

Note that I am not sure that adding “strangers from the strange lands” to the game would solve anything for the chronically offended. Based on everything I learned about them in the last year, and I learned a lot, if you put a person or a few from any non-white race, they would be called “token characters”.

The Polygon review goes on to complain about the women in the game:

the world CD Projekt has created is oppressively misogynist. In some ways, the game deals directly with this — characters acknowledge again and again that it’s hard to be a woman there, that it’s a place of violence and terror and that women must work harder to be recognized and respected.

Then it kills them, over and over.

[…]

I get that the setting of The Witcher 3 is meant to be a dark, dirty fantasy. But in a world that so explicitly goes out of its way to build a believable, distinctive take on the genre, the inclusion of so much violence explicitly directed against women feels like a clear, disconcerting choice. It’s not just present, it’s frequently a focus.

When they’re not being murdered, women in The Witcher 3 are comically sexualized. Nudity is everywhere…

Chmielarz responds:

As we can see, The Witcher 3 apparently simply mirrors the real world (as according to Feminist Frequency).

This is a group whom the reviewer admires, and who argue that “violence against women is a serious, global epidemic”.

I have to assume that Gies understands that when compared to the actual real world, the violence is exaggerated in The Witcher 3. That it’s basically an often grim, often cruel fantasy world.

But …why is such a world a problem? Is the reviewer confusing portrayal with endorsement? Should art be propaganda for a peaceful life? Should art avoid disturbing universes?

There is a lot more; this is just a flavour of the debate. It is good to see people like Chmielarz standing up to this kind of criticism, because for a while it looked as if everything was going the way of those who would be offended by everything.

Also encouraging is that, if you read the comments on a news story about this debate at Gamezone, it appears that nobody really cares. They just want to enjoy games.

Samizdata quote of the day

John Price ended his life as a free man because he was willing to defy laws that said he was nothing but the property of other people, to be disposed of as they wished. He got a nice helping hand in maintaining his freedom from other people who were willing to not only defy laws that would compel them to collaborate in Price’s bondage, but to beat the hell out of government agents charged with enforcing those laws.

J.D. Tuccille

Samizdata quote of the day

Must admit, it’s really rather satisfying to see the Left and their rich luvvie acolytes squabbling and squealing over the outcome of the election like a bunch of failed vampires arguing over a used tampon. I think the word “Schadenfreude” is the one I’m looking for.

– Samizdata commenter Tanuki

Because things are far too serious at the moment…

Here I am, sitting in Arkham, eating pungent octopus salad left overs and looking at the wife as she gets uglier and more fish-like by the day, pining for her home town of Innsmouth. Meanwhile, across the ocean, all my limey chums seem to be sharing a collective freak-out over dodging an Ed Miliband shaped bullet. It is all depressingly… serious.

So I was going to write something really interesting about Japan, just to change the subject…

… and when I remember what I was going to write, I will let you know.

Keep this in mind Tories…

I think it is worth bearing in mind that this is no great vindication of Cameron. Against rubbish opposition he has a majority in single figures. In 1983, also against rubbish opposition Maggie got a majority of 144 (IIRC).

– Patrick Crozier

Samizdata quote of the day

“The last thing we need is to wake up in 50 years and find that a bunch of #gamergate nobheads are running Mars.”

That is exactly what is going to happen, because us gamergate nobheads (actually the technical term is neckbeards) are smarter and more creative than you, whereas you intolerant SJW thugs create nothing but faux outrage, grievance and a sense of undeserved entitlement to things created by better people than you.

– Guardian commenter ‘evilhippo’, who often gets his pithy remarks deleted on the Guardian. Dunno know he is but clearly a wise and witty seeker of truth, no doubt a devilishly handsome fellow to boot ;-)

Samizdata quote of the day

Crony capitalism is alive and well. Big business and big government go hand in hand.

Carly Fiorina

Server grumbles

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