URLs du Jour



  • Our Pic du Jour is stolen from Power Line's The Week in Pictures: Blowout Impeachment Edition. It hurts a bit to post it, because I'm eternally grateful to Alex for the 2018 Red Sox season.

    On the other hand, 2019… not so much. I suppose if there's someone needing to be own-petard-hoisted, Alex is a pretty good candidate.

    But, for the record, I'm pretty sure that "banned for life" thing isn't exactly true. At least not yet.

    And there should be an apostrophe in 'won't'. Have an editor check your memes, Trump fans!

  • Wired covers The Disturbing Case of the Disappearing Sci-Fi Story. Intro:

    Memes continue to be a messy business. They harm as well as empower. Sometimes the harmful ones can become empowering. Sometimes that makes them even messier.

    In 2014, people began to claim that they sexually identify as attack helicopters. The meme was intended to mock modern expressions of gender identity and sexuality, including those of the transgender community. Its creator, a player of the videogame Team Fortress 2, declared in the original copypasta that anyone who refused to accept their right to kill people was a “heliphobe” who should “check their vehicle privilege.” To a certain kind of internet user, the post was riotously funny. From Team Fortress 2 chat rooms, the meme spread to Reddit and then on to 4chan. Though usage peaked in mid-2015, according to Google Trends, the meme continues to hurt and offend many people.

    [That last link, by the way goes to a Medium article headlined "You’re Not An Attack Helicopter, You’re Just An Asshole". Attempting to "hurt and offend" people is just fine in some cases.]

    Anyway, Wired tells the story as sympathetically as possible:

    At the beginning of this year, the science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld published a short story called “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” by Isabel Fall. The story, which appears to be Fall’s debut, follows the first “somatic female” to undergo “tactical-role gender reassignment” surgery. She becomes, more or less literally, an Army helicopter. “When I was a woman I wanted my skin to be as smooth and dark as the sintered stone countertop in our kitchen,” the narrator says. “Now my skin is boron-carbide and Kevlar.” The experience of the narrator seemed to reflect the real-world struggles of transitioning. “Severe gender dysphoria,” Fall writes, “can be a flight risk.” The story took the offensive meme, slapped some rotors on it, and flew away to surprising places.

    Bottom line: although it's claimed that Isabel is transgender, the yarn rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, abuse was deployed, Isabel requested the story be removed from Clarkesworld, and it was.

    For another spin on the same story…

  • … check out Robby Soave at Reason: Transgender Writer Forced to Retract Trans-Themed Science Fiction Story.

    This episode demonstrates one of the most salient and oft-overlooked facts of cancel culture: The people most vulnerable to canceling belong to the very marginalized communities that the cancel-culture enforcers are purportedly protecting. These attacks on wrongthink do not help the oppressed. Indeed, it's often weaponized against them, attack-helicopter style.

    Irony can be… pretty ironic sometimes.

  • Ann Althouse comments on the Virginia gun stuff: "A sense of crisis enveloped the capital of Virginia on Thursday, with the police on heightened alert and Richmond bracing for possible violence ahead of a gun rally next week...". But what she really wants to talk about is the use of a fine old song and dance:

    From a week ago, at NPR, "'Boogaloo' Is The New Far-Right Slang For Civil War" (audio & transcript). "Boogaloo" was originally a song and dance, then a reference to a famously bad movie ("Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo"), and then slang for "any unwanted sequel." Then it got attached to the idea of another civil war — "Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo." The NPR reporter, Hannah Allam says the word is used by "anarchists and others on the far left" as well as "right-wing militias and self-described patriot groups." We hear an audio montage of unidentified persons:

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: So many people are saying that the boogaloo is about to kick off in Virginia.

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: When the boogaloo happens, these are the people that you're going to have to watch out for.

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: Do not think for one second that there aren't people that would love to see this thing to get started, that would love to see this boogaloo start rolling. Personally, I do not want to see that. I don't want it to come to that....

    Interesting that all 3 of those persons were talking about those other people over there.

    We seem to have a weaponized meme theme going today.

    A quick grep tells me that "boogaloo" has never, ever, appeared at Pun Salad. Until now.

  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rings for column by one Lyz Lenz in the [Cedar Rapids, Iowa] Gazette: It's time to start a civil war with New Hampshire. Whoa! Why?

    The state whose motto is “Live Free or Die” is certainly good at keeping their clamming boots on our neck.

    Look, we wanted to change our caucuses. But we can’t change the caucus to a more civilized primary because New Hampshire will crap a lobster roll. It’s also the reason the new ballots at the caucuses won’t be called ballots, they will be called presidential preference cards.

    Heh, "crap a lobster roll". Those Iowa folk sure have a way with words.

    Anyway, Lyz is appalled at the situation (which she describes as "a failing system so tightly controlled by the power and influence of a few white people so desperate to cling to and justify their own relevancy that they’ll bring us all down with them", not much doubt where she's coming from), and after reviewing some history:

    That explains the passive-aggressive American standoff between a state that’s known for boiling it’s food and a state known for covering their food in cream of mushroom soup and overbaking it at 350.


    1. OK, we boil a lot of stuff, mostly crustaceans and mollusks, but what else are you going to do with them?
    2. Truth be told, we're also kind of fond of that cream of mushroom soup culinary trick.
    3. But at least we know when to use "it's" vs. "its".
    4. Just kidding, we're pretty weak on that too.
    5. Did I mention that "relevance" is generally preferred over "relevancy"?

Last Modified 2024-02-02 4:53 AM EDT


[4.5 stars] [IMDb Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

Pun Son and I trekked over to the icy wastes of Barrington to view 1917. After a good sleep, various bodily sphincters have finally unclenched. I understand there's an IMAX version; I probably wouldn't have survived that. Yes, it's intense.

IMDB raters have this as #41 on the list of best movies of all time. And (of course) it's been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and nine others.

Set in World War I's trenches, It's the story of two soldiers and their desperate mission to notify a remote regiment that their scheduled attack against a German force is doomed to failure. If they don't get through, 1600 of their countrymen will be slaughtered.

They proceed through different instantiations of hell. All impressively shot. I don't know about Best Picture, but the Oscar for Cinematography should be a lock. (And I say that without having watched the other nominees.)

Only one little quibble: would that have really been the best plan to save the regiment? Just send two random grunts to warn them in the nick of time? Especially since… well, I don't want to spoil anything.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 2:06 PM EDT