A Sci-Fi Story About Speech Safety, Only It’s True

Over in England, there’s this comedic television host named Jonathan Ross. Apparently, he’s a polarizing figure because he has at times made humorous quips about women and their amble frames. After being named the host of this year’s Hugo Awards which honor science-fiction writing, the sci-fi world was up in arms with concerns about…”safety.”

Novelist Charles Stross wrote:

“Worldcon should be safe space for fans, and inviting a high profile media personality who has been targeted by the tabloids is going to cause collateral damage, even if nothing happens, simply by making many fans feel less safe,” wrote Stross. “If Ross is toastmaster, I can predict that at least one major Hugo nominee/past winner [McGuire] who was planning to be there won’t be present at the ceremony, because Ross has past form for using women with weight issues as the butt [Ed. – irony anyone?] of his humour. She says she doesn’t feel safe, and I believe her: I wouldn’t want to be there in her shoes … I don’t like seeing my friends mocked, so I probably won’t be there either.”

It’s the use of this word “safe” that drew my interest. While this isn’t necessarily a new argument in the realm of free speech when we’re talking about so-called “hate speech” or speech that supposedly “incites violence,” I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the new buzzword for the progressive left as they try to, as John Dingell puts it, “control the people.” We’ll hear soon that people don’t “feel safe” when Rush Limbaugh is playing on the radio or when Glenn Beck is speaking at a rally in their town or what have you. Take it to the bank.


Blogging Is Dead

The time has come to make an admission: Blogging is dead. By that I mean, Blogging, as a means of expression, reporting, and journalism, is dead for all but a select few. It began about 10 years ago with people like Andrew Sullivan, the guys at Powerline, Roger L. Simon, and others leading the way. As the decade moved on (as the laws of evolution dictate), the strong survived, and the weak either died off or scrimped by off the scraps. Hot Air, Ace, Stacy McCain, Simon and others are the cream that rose to the top, and while we can still call them “Bloggers” if we’re so inclined, their sites have moved to a more straight-news style (with some exceptions) and Twitter has become the first line of communication…one that I have embraced in the past year, at times, to an almost obsessive extent.

Those of you that have read my blog these many years (and its many reformattings/re-brandings/neuroses) should fear not…I’m not going anywhere. Jim-Rose.com (or whatever) shall live on as long as I and/or the Internet itself lives. I’ll continue to type out my thoughts from time to time, but I won’t pretend to do so under the illusion that it’s 2004 and I’m going to change the world in this venue.

This is not to say that all is lost (despite my legendary pessimism). Like the Godfather, Glenn Reynolds, i.e. Instapundit, says, “Journalism isn’t a profession, it’s an activity…” The fight isn’t over because Blogging is dead, it just means the fight will continue in other media. While even I sometimes, like McLuhan, wish things would slow down a little bit re: technology…it’s important to embrace each new form of communication because you never know which one might just pop and become a tool for revolution and the eventual defeat of our tyrannical enemies.

So do not despair…the cause will prevail, but not here. It will prevail in a land of zeroes and ones we probably haven’t even dreamed of yet. Should be fun.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Dies

Probably the greatest actor of his generation. Hoffman did what he had to do to get paid (Mission Impossible III and the like) but he concentrated on making really great films in an age of shlock. Working with people like Director Paul Thomas Anderson (the greatest director in the game right now), he appeared in great films like The Master, Capote, Hard Eight and others. He even convinced PTA to take The Master’s focus off of his character and onto Joaquin Phoenix’s character…so devoted to the art-form, he was.

But alas, he apparently needed some sort of escape and stupidly became a heroin addict. Take the drug early in his adult life, he kicked the habit for years but fell off in the last couple…only to die with a needle in his arm. It’s a disgusting end to good life. I’ve always flirted with the idea of drug legalization and the issue has been at the forefront in the past year with marijuana legalization sprouting out all over. You can debate the finer points: While MJ can lead to trouble, it’s the baby-aspirin of recreational drugs. Heroin, on the other hand, is the be-all-end-all. Granted, it’s easy to say let it be legal and let people, like Hoffman, make their mistakes…it’s his life…he can throw it away if he wants. It’s also easy to say, ban it, prosecute users and sellers, no excuses! As I said, people take drugs for escape…and G-d knows I’ve been tempted, but I’ve never succumbed to the temptation as I have a little part of my brain that holds veto power over life-destroying decisions. Not everyone can be saved. Some people can’t be helped when they have a pain they’re trying to sedate, no matter what you may try and do.

Rough stuff.

A Bridge Over Troubled Governor

It’s early in this latest political “scandal” (let us unleash a thousand air-quotes!) involving Governor Chris Christie, but here are some basic guidelines to help you navigate.

  1. This will get a lot of play as it involves a GOP governor (almost used air-quotes on GOP there). If it were a Democrat, it would be washed away with a simple “Neither I, or anyone in the governor’s office would do such a thing.” and that would be that, but this involves a Republican, so game on.
  2. Is it a big deal? Yes, anytime government is used for petty vindictiveness, it’s a big deal, but whether it gets ink depends on point 1. Stepping out of the bubble of MSM tyranny, is the story a big deal in actual reality? Again, yes, for two reasons: 1) It appears to be an abuse of power either by Christie or a rogue staff-member; 2) If Christie is indeed running for president, this is the kind of stuff he can’t have happening. Hillary can do this 12 times before lunch and it wouldn’t make a blip on the radar, but he can’t afford these kinds of mistakes. At worst, it’s Nixonian, at best, it’s amateurish.
  3. Remember now that we have yet to hear Christie’s side of the story. However, I will admit that the fact we have yet to hear a peep out of him is telling. This is a rather long, war-room session for something many are calling trivial.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Annnndddd…scene.

Chess Finds Its Star: Magnus Carlsen New Champion

Chess doesn’t quite have the intrigue it used to when a plucky young American named Bobby Fischer added more than a footnote to the Cold War in his 1972 match with Boris Spassky…or when Garry Kasparov took on tech giant IBM and their “Deep Blue” in 1997.

But now, Chess may have found just what it needs…a fresh young face. Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen defeated longtime champion Vishy Anand and fulfills his destiny as the undisputed Chess Champion. Dubbed the Harry Potter of Chess by Kasparov, Carlsen is a handsome 23-year-old with an affable personality (unlike ol’ Bobby) and could be just the spark the game of chess needs to return to the front page of the daily fish-wrap.

Jack Welch Was Right, And Other Quick Hits

Global Dispatch: NY Post, former GE CEO Jack Welch all point to Obama administration ‘faking’ unemployment numbers

Roger L. Simon: Barack Obama, Libertarian Manufacturing Machine

Breitbart: Bush Talks Keystone XL: ‘Build the Damn Thing’

Ace: Henry Chao: 30-40% of Healthcare.gov Still Remains to be Built

Twitchy: Sarah Silverman’s VadgeRag