Tip of the Triangle

I can’t believe I never saw how Glenn Beck fits into the Illumniti Conspiracy* before. It seems obvious, once you think about it.  but I must admit, I’m baffled about the whole “Rappers are part of the Illuminatti” thing. How did I miss this?

[Glenn] Beck and Jones have thousands of followers who believe as they do. They include Tea Party types, the right-of-center Rand Pauls of the world, militiamen who feel this nation’s sovereignty is under attack from some very serious and credible forces. They’re primarily Republican (though more conservative), white, male, married and over 45, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

Unearthed in that same poll: Tea partiers are better educated and wealthier than the average American. More than half say the policies of the Obama administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites—compared with 11 percent of the general public. They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

And then there’s Nikki, a 20-something woman drinking with friends at El Toro, a bar on Belmont Avenue, just off Lancaster Avenue in West Philly. She also believes that shadowy forces—the real power behind the power—are at play to overthrow the American government. The Illuminati: a conspiratorial organization of cultural elites with unspeakable wealth who control world affairs through governments and corporations.

Nikki says that President Obama was “selected, not elected” president by the Illuminati, and that he’s now carrying out its homosexual agenda by “appointing more gays to his Cabinet than all the other presidents combined.”

But unlike Beck, Jones and their followers, Nikki happens to be young, black and a huge fan of hip-hop. Oh, and she believes rapper Jay-Z is a part of the Illuminati too.

Apparently goat heads/skulls, pyramids, and coded references to other illuminati symbolism have been popping up in Jay Z’s videos and other pop/rap artist’s work for years. And I say bully for them. White people may have invented conspiracy mongering, but they don’t own it. And as we all know, multi-culturalism is one of the hallmarks of the Illuminati so it was only a matter of time before the likes of Obama, Beyonce and Jay Z took their rightful place in the longest running and most popular conspiracy of all time.

Sure, it may be just a way to sneak coded racism into the debate over who caused the Second Great Depression, but that’s just what they want you think. Clearly, it’s time for me to get back in the game as I have missed out on a lot of conspiracy related material in the last few years. The Birthers, Truthers and the Tea Party didn’t just pop up from nowhere. They have an intellectual lineage going back decades, if not centuries. And clearly, I have been remiss in my studies of these phenomenon.

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* I have no idea if this sight, FML, is legitimately connected to the American Freemasons or if it’s a fan site or what. Poe’s Law is in full force here.

Victory in Incriments

the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has found Proposition 8 unconstitutional:

Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

This is great news. Every judge whose heard this case has made the same call. The Prop 8 bigots can appeal, but the next court up the line is the Supreme Court, and they are very unlikely to overturn a previous ruling, even if the SC is chock full of hypocrites and cretins.

What’s more, this ruling sets up a precedent that could overturn all the other state bans on gay marriage. The US might finally be able to show it’s head in polite society.

Link Via Mayor Sam Adams on Twitter.

A Microscope is also a Telescope, When Used Properly

Over at Charlie Stross’ blog, Cat Valente is writing up storm. This particular tempest is a great swirling discussion about the genre definitions of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but not in the old perennial argument about which authors used which tropes, and why this makes your favorite book really X instead of Y. No. None of that. This is the soup of philosophy, examination of the meat of the craft:

And to me, it’s all one. Not in a flippant way, but deep, primal, unifying. The herd-dog is an uplifted mind. The SuperLab has old, old bones. I do genuinely believe that stories save us. Over and over, narrative tells us how to get through and get beyond, how to be human and how to be inhuman, too, when it comes time to grow. We are, at our cores, narrative beings. And most especially, science fiction and fantasy save us. They tell us who we are, who we can be, who we want to be and who we don’t, what we could be and what we can reject if we are strong enough. It says all these things more boldly and yet more secretly than mimetic fiction, which does not often try to speak to the dreams and terrors of a species on the verge.

I like that. Mainly because it sums up neatly my own operational definitions:

Science Fiction is about the exterior world: culture, technology, society and what it means to be human and what those boundaries are and how they change us.

Fantasy is about the interior world: how individuals define themselves within the context of their culture and experiences and what it means to be human, the things we believe (true, false or otherwise) that shape how we define that state of being.

Both are valid for looking at the concerns of humanity across time and space (however you wish to define those two terms). I’m less concerned with defining the genres by the outer trappings, the tropes that have built up over the last century and a half. Those are incidental and interchangeable.

The purpose of literature — of art in general — is to explore what it means to be human. As such, and given my operational definitions, it’s possible for a novel, movie, short story or Video game (i.e. a narrative work) to be both science fiction and fantasy. It’s also possible to write a space opera that is a fantasy and a medieval sword and sorcery novel that is science fiction, as it is the method by which we seek to ask and answer these questions about our place in the universe that defines the work, not the stage decorations, the symbols and ephemera.