Monthly Archives: October 2016

This is not the site it once was

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Hi folks! You may have noticed a few changes here. If you have any recommendations for improvements, please let me know. For example, if you want particular kinds of content or think categories/tabs should be changed.

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RPG Stand up comedy

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My main class is Managing Director but I have several levels in Bard. I’m so relatable!

Observational comedy from the perspective of an RPG character. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Don’t you just hate it when you must gather your party before venturing forth? Galadriel is stuck at the other end of the field behind a rock! She can be really stupid for someone with an intelligence of 19!
Have you ever noticed that most of the people you meet have problems that can only be solved by you and your party? I mean, it’s nice to be useful, but how come nobody ever needs their shoes repaired or their house extension approved? It’s always hobbes at a slightly lower combat level than you!
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No, not this Hobbes!

Why does everyone want to tell me their life story? I can walk into most people’s houses and they might tell me to leave, but then if I ask them what they’re up to they always tell me. And they tell me about their friends, and their problems and their family history! And if I ask them the exact same question again, they tell me the exact same answer in the exact same tone of voice!
Why are people so emotionally inconsistent? I can compliment someone who hates me and my faction, and they’ll smile and say “blessings of Akatosh upon you” before telling me how much they hate me again!
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This happened to me the other day.

Why do so many people have the exact same voice? And the exact same face? Some people are exactly the same in every single way, even though they live thousands of miles apart! What’s that about?
How come the big world-ending doom will always reach the next step at the exact time I engage with it, but the man who wants to try his new haircut on me will disappear when I take the boat to the next city? Surely the world-ending doom should advance on its own? And where did that hairdresser go?
Do you ever want to say something but it’s not one of the five sentences you’ve thought of at that moment? And you’re not really sure what any of those five sentences actually is, you’ve only got a vague sense? One time I thought I was going to tell someone to calm down, and I punched him in the face!
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I hate it when this happens.

HyperNormalisation

Nicheness warning: This piece lacks insight for those not familiar with the documentaries of Adam Curtis.
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We live in a strange and bewildering world. Disturbing events keep happening for reasons we do not understand. Theresa May, the migrant crisis, the new Star Trek movie, the continuing survival of The Telegraph. And the journalists seem to be powerless to explain what is going on.
This film is the story of how we got into this confused, directionless state. It explains not only the causes of these disturbing events, but why they can only be explained with slow motion stock footage and extended analogy between unconnected events.
There are two men at the heart of this story.
One of them is an obscure 20th century theorist with a background in psychology and/or computer science. The other is a 20th century icon who is now held in disrepute.
Here is the 20th century icon smiling in slow motion to the sound of a bass-heavy song from the 80s.
Both of these men began by reading War of the Worlds.
War of the Worlds is a book by Aldous Huxley. Aldous Huxley was an English novelist who believed that technology could be used to keep people happy and keep the political system stable. His book was an account of a man living in a world ruled by technology.
The obscure 20th century theorist with a background in psychology and/or computer science read that book and used it to come up with his own radically simplified vision of journalism. Instead of telling the public everything that had happened in the preceding day, which would take a prohibitive time and include irrelevant information, journalists would tell a story. Just like the story of the War of the Worlds. This story would involve heroes and villains. And at its heart would be the most heroic figure of all. The viewer.
At the same time, thousands of miles away, the 20th century icon was giving a speech to an audience that included the granddaughter of Aldous Huxley. He realised that in order to make a convincing speech he would have to tell a story. Instead of describing everything that had happened in his life, he gave a simplified account which focused on a few key details. He didn’t mention that he had lost his keys the previous week. And he didn’t mention was that he was secretly working for the CIA. Because that would undermine his story.
Journalists learned to tell simplified stories. These stories had characters and events and causality. But then people stopped watching. No matter how simple and how clear the journalists made their stories, they were too boring for the people at home.
So now we live in a strange, dreamlike world where nothing seems to make sense. The news offers no solution because we can’t be bothered to watch it. The journalists know that reality is complicated, but they also know that complicated journalism is hard to understand. So they keep making simple stories. Because if anybody tried to tell a story which involved everything that was happening it would be confused and bewildering.