The Boy Blog Network

Thursday, 25 December, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

More Orwelli :

And in social outlook there is hardly any advance. The snobbishness is somewhat less open than in the GEM and MAGNET–that is the most one can possibly say.ii To begin with, the school story, always partly dependent on snob-appeal, is by no means eliminated. Every number of a boys' paper includes at least one school story, these stories slightly outnumbering the Wild Westerns. The very elaborate fantasy-life of the GEM and MAGNET is not imitated and there is more emphasis on extraneous adventure, but the social atmosphere (old grey stones) is much the same. When a new school is introduced at the beginning of a story we are often told in just those words that 'it was a very posh school'.iii From time to time a story appears which is ostensibly directed AGAINST snobbery. The scholarship-boy (cf. Tom Redwing in the MAGNET) makes fairly frequent appearances, and what is essentially the same theme is sometimes presented in this form: there is great rivalry between two schools, one of which considers itself more 'posh' than the other, and there are fights, practical jokes, football matches, etc., always ending in the discomfiture of the snobs. If one glances very superficially at some of these stories it is possible to imagine that a democratic spirit has crept into the boys' weeklies, but when one looks more closely one sees that they merely reflect the bitter jealousies that exist within the white-collar class. Their real function is to allow the boy who goes to a cheap private school (NOT a Council school) to feel that his school is just as 'posh' in the sight of God as Winchester or Eton. The sentiment of school loyalty ('We're better than the fellows down the road'), a thing almost unknown to the real working classiv, is still kept up. As these stories are written by many different hands, they do, of course, vary a good deal in tone. Some are reasonably free from snobbishness, in others money and pedigree are exploited even more shamelessly than in the GEM and MAGNET. In one that I came across an actual MAJORITY of the boys mentioned were titled.

Where working-class characters appear, it is usually either as comics (jokes about tramps, convicts, etc.), or as prize-fighters, acrobats, cowboys, professional footballers and Foreign Legionaries–in other words, as adventurers. There is no facing of the facts about working-class life, or, indeed, about WORKING life of any description. Very occasionally one may come across a realistic description of, say, work in a coal-mine, but in all probability it will only be there as the background of some lurid adventure. In any case the central character is not likely to be a coal-miner.v Nearly all the time the boy who reads these papers–in nine cases out of ten a boy who is going to spend his life working in a shop, in a factory or in some subordinate job in an office–is led to identify with people in positions of command, above all with people who are never troubled by shortage of money.vi The Lord Peter Wimsey figure, the seeming idiot who drawls and wears a monocle but is always to the fore in moments of danger, turns up over and over again. (This character is a great favourite in Secret Service stories.) And, as usual, the heroic characters all have to talk B.B.C.; they may talk Scottish or Irish or American, but no one in a star part is ever permitted to drop an aitch.vii Here it is worth comparing the social atmosphere of the boys' weeklies with that of the women's weeklies, the ORACLE, the FAMILY STAR, PEG'S PAPER, etc.

The women's papers are aimed at an older public and are read for the most part by girls who are working for a living.viii Consequently they are on the surface much more realistic. It is taken for granted, for example, that nearly everyone has to live in a big town and work at a more or less dull job. Sex, so far from being taboo, is THE subject. The short, complete stories, the special feature of these papers, are generally of the 'came the dawn' type: the heroine narrowly escapes losing her 'boy' to a designing rival, or the 'boy' loses his job and has to postpone marriage, but presently gets a better job. The changeling-fantasy (a girl brought up in a poor home is 'really' the child of rich parents) is another favourite.ix Where sensationalism comes in, usually in the serials, it arises out of the more domestic type of crime, such as bigamyx, forgery or sometimes murder; no Martians, death-rays or international anarchist gangs. These papers are at any rate aiming at credibility, and they have a link with real life in their correspondence columns, where genuine problems are being discussed. Ruby M. Ayres's column of advice in the ORACLE, for instance, is extremely sensible and well written. And yet the world of the ORACLE and PEG'S PAPER is a pure fantasy-world. It is the same fantasy all the time; pretending to be richer than you are.xi The chief impression that one carries away from almost every story in these papers is of a frightful, overwhelming 'refinement'. Ostensibly the characters are working-class people, but their habits, the interiors of their houses, their clothes, their outlook and, above all, their speech are entirely middle class. They are all living at several pounds a week above their income. And needless to say, that is just the impression that is intended. The idea is to give the bored factory-girl or worn-out mother of five a dream-life in which she pictures herself–not actually as a duchess (that convention has gone out) but as, say, the wife of a bank-manager. Not only is a five-to-six-pound-a-week standard of life set up as the ideal, but it is tacitly assumed that that is how working-class people really DO live. The major facts are simply not faced. It is admitted, for instance, that people sometimes lose their jobs; but then the dark clouds roll away and they get better jobs instead. No mention of un-employment as something permanent and inevitable, no mention of the dole, no mention of trade unionism. No suggestion anywhere that there can be anything wrong with the system AS A SYSTEM; there are only individual misfortunes, which are generally due to somebody's wickedness and can in any case be put right in the last chapter. Always the dark clouds roll away, the kind employer raises Alfred's wages, and there are jobs for everybody except the drunks. It is still the world of the WIZARD and the GEM, except that there are orange-blossoms instead of machine-guns.xii

The outlook inculcated by all these papers is that of a rather exceptionally stupid member of the Navy League in the year 1910. Yes, it may be said, but what does it matter? And in any case, what else do you expect?

Of course no one in his senses would want to turn the so-called penny dreadful into a realistic novel or a Socialist tract. An adventure story must of its nature be more or less remote from real life. But, as I have tried to make clear, the unreality of the WIZARD and the GEM is not so artless as it looks. These papers exist because of a specialized demand, because boys at certain ages find it necessary to read about Martians, death-rays, grizzly bears and gangsters. They get what they are looking for, but they get it wrapped up in the illusions which their future employers think suitable for them. To what extent people draw their ideas from fiction is disputable. Personally I believe that most people are influenced far more than they would care to admit by novels, serial stories, films and so forth, and that from this point of view the worst books are often the most important, because they are usually the ones that are read earliest in life.xiii It is probable that many people who would consider themselves extremely sophisticated and 'advanced' are actually carrying through life an imaginative background which they acquired in childhood from (for instance) Sapper and Ian Hay. If that is so, the boys' twopenny weeklies are of the deepest importance.xiv Here is the stuff that is read somewhere between the ages of twelve and eighteen by a very large proportion, perhaps an actual majority, of English boys, including many who will never read anything else except newspapers; and along with it they are absorbing a set of beliefs which would be regarded as hopelessly out of date in the Central Office of the Conservative Party. All the better because it is done indirectly, there is being pumped into them the conviction that the major problems of our time do not exist, that there is nothing wrong with LAISSEZ-FAIRE capitalismxv, that foreigners are un-important comics and that the British Empire is a sort of charity-concern which will last for ever. Considering who owns these papers, it is difficult to believe that this is un-intentional. Of the twelve papers I have been discussing (i.e. twelve including the THRILLER and DETECTIVE WEEKLY) seven are the property of the Amalgamated Press, which is one of the biggest press-combines in the world and controls more than a hundred different papers. The GEM and MAGNET, therefore, are closely linked up with the DAILY TELEGRAPH and the FINANCIAL TIMES. This in itself would be enough to rouse certain suspicions, even if it were not obvious that the stories in the boys' weeklies are politically vetted. So it appears that if you feel the need of a fantasy-life in which you travel to Mars and fight lions bare-handed (and what boy doesn't?), you can only have it by delivering yourself over, mentally, to people like Lord Camrose.xvi For there is no competition. Throughout the whole of this run of papers the differences are negligible, and on this level no others exist. This raises the question, why is there no such thing as a left-wing boys' paper?

At first glance such an idea merely makes one slightly sick. It is so horribly easy to imagine what a left-wing boys' paper would be like, if it existed. I remember in 1920 or 1921 some optimistic person handing round Communist tracts among a crowd of public-school boys. The tract I received was of the question-and-answer kind:

    Q. 'Can a Boy Communist be a Boy Scout, Comrade?'
    A. 'No, Comrade.'
    Q. 'Why, Comrade?'
    A. 'Because, Comrade, a Boy Scout must salute the Union Jack, which is the symbol of tyranny and oppression,' etc., etc.

Now suppose that at this moment somebody started a left-wing paper deliberately aimed at boys of twelve or fourteen. I do not suggest that the whole of its contents would be exactly like the tract I have quoted above, but does anyone doubt that they would be SOMETHING like it? Inevitably such a paper would either consist of dreary up-lift or it would be under Communist influence and given over to adulation of Soviet Russia; in either case no normal boy would ever look at it. Highbrow literature apart, the whole of the existing left-wing Press, in so far as it is at all vigorously 'left', is one long tract. The one Socialist paper in England which could live a week on its merits AS A PAPER is the DAILY HERALD: and how much Socialism is there in the DAILY HERALD? At this moment, therefore, a paper with a 'left' slant and at the same time likely to have an appeal to ordinary boys in their teens is something almost beyond hoping for.

But it does not follow that it is impossible. There is no clear reason why every adventure story should necessarily be mixed up with snobbishness and gutter patriotism. For, after all, the stories in the HOTSPUR and the MODERN BOY are not Conservative tracts; they are merely adventure stories with a Conservative bias. It is fairly easy to imagine the process being reversed. It is possible, for instance, to imagine a paper as thrilling and lively as the HOTSPUR, but with subject-matter and 'ideology' a little more up to date. It is even possible (though this raises other difficulties) to imagine a women's paper at the same literary level as the ORACLE, dealing in approximately the same kind of story, but taking rather more account of the realities of working-class life. Such things have been done before, though not in England. In the last years of the Spanish monarchy there was a large output in Spain of left-wing novelettes, some of them evidently of anarchist origin. Unfortunately at the time when they were appearing I did not see their social significance, and I lost the collection of them that I had, but no doubt copies would still be procurable. In get-up and style of story they were very similar to the English fourpenny novelette, except that their inspiration was 'left'. If, for instance, a story described police pursuing anarchists through the mountains, it would be from the point of view of the anarchist and not of the police. An example nearer to hand is the Soviet film CHAPAIEV, which has been shown a number of times in London. Technically, by the standards of the time when it was made, CHAPAIEV is a first-rate film, but mentally, in spite of the unfamiliar Russian background, it is not so very remote from Hollywood. The one thing that lifts it out of the ordinary is the remarkable performance by the actor who takes the part of the White officer (the fat one)–a performance which looks very like an inspired piece of gagging. Otherwise the atmosphere is familiar. All the usual paraphernalia is there–heroic fight against odds, escape at the last moment, shots of galloping horses, love interest, comic relief. The film is in fact a fairly ordinary one, except that its tendency is 'left'. In a Hollywood film of the Russian Civil War the Whites would probably be angels and the Reds demons. In the Russian version the Reds are angels and the Whites demons. That is also a lie, but, taking the long view, it is a less pernicious lie than the other.

Here several difficult problems present themselves. Their general nature is obvious enough, and I do not want to discuss them. I am merely pointing to the fact that, in England, popular imaginative literature is a field that left-wing thought has never begun to enter. ALL fiction from the novels in the mushroom libraries downwards is censored in the interests of the ruling class. And boys' fiction above all, the blood-and-thunder stuff which nearly every boy devours at some time or other, is sodden in the worst illusions of 1910. The fact is only unimportant if one believes that what is read in childhood leaves no impression behind. Lord Camrose and his colleagues evidently believe nothing of the kind, and, after all, Lord Camrose ought to know.

We went through all this merely for me to point out that meanwhile, through the dullarding of everyone and the replacement of everything with a cheaper plastic version, Orwell's dream has come true. Reddit, as well as all the other outlets for fourteen year old boys are nothing but tedious socialist tracts, with exactly the broad results you'd expect.

So I wonder, should we follow the success of Qntra with a network of blogs intended for a youthful audience, publishing basically fiction ? Not the soggy, sopy nonsense replete with socialist bias that's Harry Potter and the rest of the crud, but quite the opposite : adventure with a conservative (in the pre-Worms sense of this term) bias ? Obviously when one thinks of attempts in this direction what readily comes to mind is Ayn Rand nonsense, which is a) written by a socialist and b) written by someone with all the literary ability and storytelling talent of a whittled block of pinewood. Nevertheless, on one hand as bad as that was, it created a significant following, perhaps indicating that the world is quite thirsty for some sense after a century of Orwellian idiocy ; on the other hand, the exact problem in reverse was being described in the 1930s, and apparently it was surmountable.

Is anyone interested ? Drop me a line, see where this goes.

———
  1. A very interesting "Boys' Weeklies And Frank Richards's Reply" [cached], dealing with the matter of 1930s blogs for general public consumption. Obviously blogs of the time were printed on paper, but technological details aside. []
  2. Snobbishness is, to the socialist mind, any manifestation of the wholly natural and actually correct principle that superiority of individuals is manifest and readily apparent.

    The plain proposition that rich people are, by and large, generally, as a class, better than poor people makes your average socialist, by and large, also as a class recoil in horror. The obvious point that people who can name their fathers are in fact better than the ambiguous, amorphous, amoebic products of ghetto rookeries offends their bastard sensibilities.

    Nevertheless, as psychologically inconvenient to the poor and the stupid, the fact remains that yes, better is better and worse is worse. So they call this "snobbishness" - since they can't actually make it go away anymore than they could make sunsets go away, at least they'll pretend its gone (and now and again pen faux-indignant redundancies about how "omaigawd we still have to do this ?!?!?!"). Myeah. []

  3. This is a legitimate point, and it goes quite deep. Consider the context : there were however many dozens of papers for which worked however many dozens of dozens of writers, trying to make ends meet, that pound a week or whatever was their livelihood (clearly no inflation since the war btw!). Copywriters, through and through, day in and day out trying to think up a story, to squeeze enough scribbles on paper so as to make it through another "rent is due" rush. If you've read the Miller-Nin biographies or knew anyone in the Village pre 1980 you have an exact notion of what this is like.

    None of these. NONE OF THESE!!!!! came up with the idea that... well... how about a fucking poor school for once ?

    No dude. Every time they write a story about a school, it must be "a posh school". Why ?

    Wouldn't you get bored ? Suppose posh schools were the most interesting thing under the Sun by a wide margin - something they are most definitely not, I've never fucked women as bored as the teenagers stuck in those dreadful rat traps. Suppose they're the Black Forrest of desserts. So you get really excited around a fresh top of paper and two pots full of ink, and vomit fifty posh school stories. Then you sit down to write one more, and it shall be... yet another posh school story ? You wouldn't try a little bit of dry salted herring just for the counterbalancing virtues of it ? Not once, not ever, not at all ? Nothing but cake cake cake, what are you Marie Antoinette ?

    What the fuck is wrong with you people! And it is you people, because should anyone try to read one of those websites holding pornographic stories today, you'll be drowing in buxom this and gorgeous ass that. Allow me to quote!

    Mrs. Sami's Classroom

    It was a typical day at Lincoln Preparatory School. The Tigers Football team had a match away today, so all the football players were gone. Denny Kruger was the first person to walk into Mrs. Sami's class, so he waited for class to begin. Mrs. Sami was sitting at her desk, with her shapely calves visible underneath her chair. She was wearing 3 inch heels that complemented her neatly painted toes. Then in walked Delilah Campbell, and Denny quickly moved his eyes away from Mrs. Sami and to the beatiful creature in front of him. Delilah was a girl straight out of Denny's dreams. Her face was absolutely stunning and her lips were to die for. For the first time ever, she had her nails painted, they were a smooth black. She sat in front of him and got her stuff out of her bag.

    Then in walked Jennifer Lewis, with her sexy hair and amazing ass, visible through her jet black leggings. Next came Ash Tyler and Maddy O'Hare. Ash Tyler had an angel's face, and also had leggings which outlined her pretty ass. Maddy was wearing short shorts that let the bottom part of her ass hang loose as she walked. Jenny Li walked in next, with her sexy skirt that held her perfect, tanned ass, but not to forget her sexy asian face. The bell rang just as Maddy Samuels walked in, with her short shorts, wielding her magnificent ass, and her sexy legs and mocassins, which held her amazing feet.

    Really ? It's so engrossing this shit I feel a sudden urge to go watch slugs fuck instead.

    What exactly is this mental problem that forces one to be banal ? Push things around, consider alternatives, turn crap on its head and see what happens, yo!

    You see that I have a wide audience, and you imagine that this is because I write for an audience, because all the idiots who do not have an audience, but aspire to build it out of pretending to advise people how to build audiences claim that's how it goes. Because they'd know. And you imagine in your head how this audience'd be. "Market research" and "niches" and stuffed nonsense, right ? Ok, so how would the audience be ? Mean male chauvinist pigs, racists with no empathy, right ? Hobgoblins that only exist in your head, and only exist even there because of how otherwise empty and neglected the damned thing is. Then I write a story about a white kid finding happiness as a sex toy of some black kid. Because yeah, totally, that's how you'd cater to that audience, right ?

    The google paradigm of curating information, "give people more of the same" is not even wrong, dear banal idiots. Google does it because it has to do something and can't do anything else, it's already using the 2nd most computers any human task uses. They're stuck by the limits of computer artificial stupidity.

    You however... you're just being intellectually lazy, like some people making a quid a week a century ago were intellectually lazy. And yes you pretend "this is the only way" much like the socialist pretends things he doesn't want to confront don't exist. You would - you have as much in common with socialism as any stupidity has with any other. Nevertheless : the more of the same paradigm is not even wrong. It could be wrong if it had some sort of point of contact with reality, which it doesn't. It has nothing to do with this world, you might as well worship the 1300 version of God, pray for levelness of the Earthly platform, and for the Sun not be eaten by dragons, like that one time in the Summer of '39. 1239.

    Give people what they don't expect to get, crafted in such a manner that they may nevertheless understand what it is on the basis of what they already know, that's how you build an audience. Yes it will be a diverse audience, necessarily. If you're any good at it maybe it'll also be large. No, it won't be very adequate for advertising, but that's a misstatement : advertising is not very adequate for any world worth living in. Advertising is for bowlfish.

    In any case : consider the other angle! Think about fucking your coworkers. Think about stuffing your children in a pot of hot water and boiling them to an aspic. Propriety is not what you think it is, sin is not what you imagine it to be. I know it'd be pretty sad if the only reason some random kid didn't end up aspic at the hands of his own parents is merely the flimsy circumstance that the thougt never occured to them. You genuinely believe that you live among savages to the degree that the only reason they've not raped you with broken chair legs yet is that no computer game came out to show them how to do it ? Fucking move, then. Don't petition anyone about what "limits" should there be applied to thinking so you may stroke your delusions of safety. That's not how safety is born, that's how stupidity is born, the only enduring enemy of safety through the ages.

    To sum up : there's no good excuse for convenience and conventionality. No, they don't pay. They appear to, but that appearance is false. No, they're not safe. They seem safe, but they're by far the unsafest alternatives for very good, fundamental reasons. It may be true that convenient, conventional behaviour beats random activity, but that's just another way of saying you're too stupid to count among the living. Adults are supposed to be able to use the noggin, and children are supposed to strive to adulthood. Whichever applies, pick it up and run with it. []

  4. Perhaps what's being discussed here is The Real Working Class of True Scotchmen. Otherwise, notwithstanding the impolitical inexpediency this presents to the socialist, human beings have always and will always distinguish the better from the worse, and create hierarchies. []
  5. Perhaps because the narrative form, as well as art altogether exist only to serve authority, and to construct the proper, hierarchical structure of society. Stories are about heroes, and heroes are quite a very specific, unsocialist thing. The "socialist hero" is a construct roughly equivalent to "the wave I love" : by definition a plurality of other waves offer good enough substitution that no one of them can actually constitute the object of infatuation. []
  6. It is a dubious proposition that he is actually going to identify. Perhaps he is on the contrary, going to differentiate. "This is how they are, my betters, and now I understand why it is that I shall never be like them".

    The sitcoms produced in overabundance by the US these last years all follow this general recipe, "here's a set of n friends who supposedly work for a living, but they live a degree of magnitude above their means and they never seem to have to actually do any of that work". The pretense that X or Y is employed at a lowly job that replaced the affectation of titles and fortunes prevalent a century ago merely caters to a change of fashion, very much in line with Orwell's complaints. Nevertheless, the substance remains the same, and has remained the same for quite a while - Nasredin also doesn't seem terribly troubled by the bars and chains of lower class everyday life.

    For that matter, in between the fourteenth century of the sufi and the nineteenth century of the Victorians Orwell discusses there lay five centuries filled with a very brisk trade in numerous and quite varied hagiographies. Am I to imagine that the 1672 buyer of Carpaccio's Life of Ursula or any of the numerous Lives of Francisc of Asisi intended to identify with the saints in question ? The proposition that the reader actually sees himself as the hero, or that he should, or that the hero should be in any way similar (not relatable, that's a different matter) to the reader seems about as sensible as the usual nonsense coming out of the socialists. Memetic magic of the lower order, if you wave a green stick over the vaults of the central bank all will have bread and if you make the heroes working class then the working class will be happy. I can scarcely apprehend the psychoactive cocktails one must be guzzling to produce this sort of disjointed paralogies. []

  7. The proposition that written language should make room for ebonics just because the mass is stupid strikes me as exactly what socialism has at its worst.

    What next, should the heroes wash less because well, the nineteen year old shop girl reading them carries a good serving of cheese between her labia ? Where does the quest towards the stupidity of the bottom end ? []

  8. This to me is kind-of interesting. Why would the girl papers be intended for older and working readers, whereas the boy papers be intended for younger and unemployed readers ? The obvious reason is that females were not sent to school at the time, but instead sent to either the maternity ward or the shop.

    Yet, mind the wondrous results of this. The uneducated are actually altogether saner people. Ya think ?! []

  9. It is a story with a lengthy history, about two thirds of all lay literary productions of Renaissance Italy were essentially changeling fantasies, so much so that half of Shakespeare, from the Merchant of Venice to what you will, deploys the trope.

    More importantly, this is fundamentally the social mode of the female, at least in civilised society : she changes her family during her lifetime. []

  10. What exactly bigamy was at the time is probably hermetic to the modern reader. Back when marriage was trade in flesh, an instrument through which the woman contracted herself (directly or through those representing her) away as a thing, the general arrangement was that the gentleman caller may have the woman's body (she didn't count as having a spirit, at the time) in exchange for his future productive work. This creates a rather uneven situation, because while the man can readily verify whether he has or has not received the woman's body, the woman can never verify if she has received the man's future productive work. He could easily split his up among any number of women ; she could not in fact split her body among a number of men, and it is indeed telling that in the Japanese imaginary, the afterlife punishment for adultery is exactly such a splitting. (That you think otherwise merely reflects your naive, postsocialist biases - at issue was not some sort of carnal enjoyment, which formed no part of the institution of marriage, but merely her offspring. Inasmuch as the children were going to belong to their father, to be sold or given away as he saw fit, it made really very little practical difference who "fathered" them.)

    So, for the Victorian mind, bigamy is somewhat worse than stock fraud, that sort of affair where Bugsy sells various investors a total 500% interest in the Flamingo. Consider that at the time debtors went to prison indefinitely and people declaring bankruptcy were commonly put in a pillory to be assaulted by the public for weeks, and suddenly you understand bigamy as the rather serious offense it was. Rape, by comparison, a mere misdemeanor, readily resolved through marriage - should the man be so willing. []

  11. How well this nonsense has fared! []
  12. Fundamentally, this is exactly the world as it has always been, and so it continues today.

    The only reason someone would be inclined to conjure up a "system" to be at fault is obviously the direct : they do not wish to consider how they're personally, themselves at fault. The entire "if you built a business you didn't build that business" Obamaism has a much deeper root : "if you did something stupid, you didn't do something stupid". That's the concentrated Cola syrup all these people mix with various proportions of water, pour in differently colored bottles and sell the mob. So yes, the reason one's fat has nothing to do with thermodynamics and everything to do with whatever imaginary boogaboos on the outside. People aren't poor because they're stupid and lazy, people are poor because racism. In a word, fatlogic.

    Otherwise, everyone can get a job except the drunks. In fact, the only reason anyone anywhere doesn't have a job right now is simply the fact that he didn't want it. He could at any point offer to do a shitty job nobody wants - but he doesn't want to. He could at any point work for less money than someone currently employed, which would reduce wages for both but also make room for both, in a process exactly inverse to the mechanism through which minimum wages generate unemployment among the poor, while protecting the interests of the slightly richer. (That's what the minimum wage is : a way for the poor that are still rich enough to vote to oppress the poor who are even poorer than that, and therefore don't vote.) But he doesn't want to. So yes, everyone is always employed except the drunks, and the people who think dancing naked for ten dollars a day is "beneath them", and for the people who think they're not crabs, and for so on and so forth. Nobody was born with an ironclad guarantee in his hand that he won't have to eat the dead skins off others' feet to survive. Sure, everyone's welcome to pretend the contrary until they turn blue, but how does that change anything ? []

  13. This is a twin naivite very central to socialism paralogism. On one hand, the delusion of arbitrary stoppage. The socialist thinks that there being no difference between in vivo and in vitro, that life being exactly a cinema reel, one can always cut in between two scenes. They think they can print money without inflation : these two are linked, it's true, but the socialist imagines that he nevertheless can do just one without the other. They think that the child's natural inclination to read about death rays, martians and grizzly bears may be separated from that same child's natural inclination to form a hierarchy, to figure out things for what they are, and to not thus end up stupid and therefore socialist. How well this works in practice entirely depends on how stupid the examiner is. By and large, it doesn't work at all, but the more excitable stupidists claim the jury's still out on some minor points, and the more zealotish stupidists simply claim the opposite of directly perceptible reality.

    On the other hand, the delusion of the primacy of virtuality. This is to a great degree a forced mistake : since they've accepted an utopia (ie, something that does not, and can not, exist) as factual, they are now necessarily stuck in the dilemma of either considering the virtual more effectual than the real, or else confronting the nonsense of their socialist convictions. As they're not willing to resolve the entirely self-created crisis, they are stuck believing that one's ideas are formed by reading fiction, and for that matter than people shoot people and white knights rape beached whales because Grand Theft Auto. It's so laughable I won't really bother with it past a chuckle. []

  14. Somehow the comedy of this statement is lost on the shockingly stolid and unimaginative Orwell. []
  15. The chief thing that's wrong with "laissez-faire" capitalism is that it doesn't exist.

    The supposed authority that presumes itself in a position to "laissez" is the proverbial plowing fly. Capitalism is capitalism. Sometimes laissez-faire government, where the capitalists shrug on political matters and concentrate on commercial matters festers into the sort of welfarist nonsense we have today. Some other times, when government isn't nearly as laissez-faire, capitalists keep much closer the reins of politics, leading to the system Bitcoin is currently implementing. In any case, capitalism is the superior notion, and government, the state, society and all the rest its vassals, to be let alone or not, depending. []

  16. This is not mere appearance, it is actually and factually true. If you wish to matter, you give yourself over to people like Lord Camrose. If you do not do that, you will not matter. That's it. []
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3 Responses

  1. That's what the minimum wage is : a way for the poor that are still rich enough to vote to oppress the poor who are even poorer than that, and therefore don't vote.

    That explains it then. Emancipated convicts are poor, but still slightly richer than aborigines.

  2. It was Roald Dahl (My Uncle Oswald) that came to mind rather than Ayn Rand. How does Rand fit better than Dahl the notion of "adventure with a conservative (in the pre-Worms sense of this term) bias"?

  3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    3
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 7 March 2015

    I guess that's a point.

    Then again "what comes to mind" is a very vague process. Could be Cukor's Travels with My Aunt for that money.

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