ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a thoughtful (and explicit) look at how movies and video games present torture as fun and effective.  Yes, I said "fun."  People play game and watch movies for pleasure.  If they are doing that with torture on the screen, particularly in these examples where it is shown in an approving tone, then they find torture to be entertaining rather than appalling.  If heroes are portrayed torturing people, then torture is rendered as heroic.  It's torture pr0n.

This is troublesome.  It makes torture seem okay.  It's not okay.   It is possible to get usable information out of people with torture, but that's extremely difficult.  A majority of victims will, sooner or later, say anything to make the torture stop; it's hard to sort out usable facts from that.  Most of the time, even if information is the purported goal, it's really about personal gratification for the torturers and terrorism -- those things are very easy to get once you have a helpless victim.  Torture harms the victims, of course, but that's "their problem and they deserved it."  Catch is, torture also distorts the personality of the torturers, making small personal flaws into much larger ones.  Those people don't stay in small rooms torturing "legitimate" victims.  They come home.  Maybe they have a spouse and kids.  Maybe they lose their temper, and hey, they think that manipulation and violence are acceptable problem-solving methods.  Look at the rates of domestic violence among police and military families.  Well, now it's everyone's  problem.

I don't often write about torture.  It's challenging to present realistically without squicking the audience, especially if like me you grew up reading hardcore history books, because people have done some ghastly things to each other.  When I do write about it, then it typically causes more problems than it solves.  Some of my villains are really into it -- Jasp, for example.  You will note that it is not portrayed as acceptable behavior.

If you are torturing people, you are not a hero.  Period.  You are doing something evil.  You may attain your goal.  It is still not good.  The end does not justify the means; the means determine the end.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
America currently condones torture, as revealed in a recent report. (That link is fairly graphic.)  They prefer to call it other things, and to purport that it is acceptable. However, it goes on causing all the problems that torture naturally causes, such as breaking people and inciting hatred of the torturers ... and frequently anyone associated with them, like their entire country. But let's look at a dictionary:

torture
noun [C/U] /ˈtɔr·tʃər/ US
› an injury or severe mental pain:
[C] All drivers suffer the tortures of traffic and bad weather.
› Torture is also the act of injuring someone or making someone suffer in an effort to force that person to do or say what you want to be done or said:
[U] The museum has many examples of instruments of torture.
torture
verb [T] /ˈtɔr·tʃər/ US
› to cause great physical or mental pain to someone:
She was tortured by the memory of their last argument.

Yes, the actions described in the report are torture.  Now consider that the people who ordered these heinous acts, and those who performed them, are walking around free.  Having done these things, how do you think they view their fellow human beings?  Do you think they treat others with dignity and respect?  Or are they out there verbally, physically, and sexually abusing more people because they think it is somehow okay  to do these things?  This doesn't make anyone safer.  It makes the world an uglier and more dangerous place.  Justified?  Let me tell you this:

The end does not justify the means.  The means determine the end.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is a gorgeous piece of activist animation, complete with Haida language and culture, reminding people to protect the waters so that our descendants can live.
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
This is the freebie for today's fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from LJ user My_partner_doug. It also fills the "fate" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest. This poem belongs to The Ocracies series.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Tomorrow is election day. Here are some resources ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So my partner Doug is out listening to music videos, and he called me over to listen to a performance of "Follow the Drinking Gourd."  It occurred to me that with all the voter suppression going on ... people could sing these songs  from the Underground Railroad in the two-hour-long lines.  Labor songs are another good source of ideas.  Might get you arrested, of course, but imagine how that  would look in the news.  And the people banned from voting?  Could do this across the street from the polls.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth and [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug, plus discussions with Dreamwidth user Dialecticdreamer.  It also fills the "possessions" square in my 7-30-14 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to Granny Whammy thread of the series Polychrome Heroics.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] aoifes_isle. It also fills the "anticipation" square in my 7-30-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored out of the general fund, based on an audience poll. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem is from the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] aoifes_isle, [personal profile] alexseanchai, [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah, [personal profile] rix_scaedu, LJ user the_vulture, and Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "atonement" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony Barrette. It belongs to the series Tripping into the Future, which you can find via the Serial Poetry page.

WARNING: This poem deals with war, weapons of mass destruction, isolation, and depression.  If these are touchy topics for you, please think carefully before deciding whether you want to read onward.






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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette.

WARNING: For Adolf Hitler. Because Hitler is always a warning. Nazi propaganda, nontelepathic mind control, ugly history.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette.


"Politics, Cartoon Physics, and the Elasticity Factor"


The Tea Party gets their truths
from the ACME Corporation,
wrapped in giant rubber bands.

Somehow nothing ever works
quite the way they expected,
and they're always surprised when
things snap back and hit them in the face,

but then, they don't have much grasp
of physics, cartoon or otherwise, and
this isn't really a super-genius of an organization.

* * *

Notes:

The ACME Corporation is a staple of Warner Brothers cartoons.  They sell Giant Rubber Bands in a variety of sizes.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Captain America shares his views on immigration.  You really don't want to be leaning over that guy when he goes off. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Apparently Satanists are asserting their religious right to make medical decisions based on science, and claiming that distorted anti-abortion propaganda violates their rights.  So, Satanists are treating people better than Christians are.

Why War?

Jun. 16th, 2014 03:23 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 A soldier has something to say about war in Iraq.  It is very well said and pulls no punches.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Tesla company, a leading manufacturer of electric cars, has just ditched their patents in favor of placing that information into open source access.  The goal is to encourage more people to use the designs to create more and better zero-emission cars.  

Like copyright, patents began as a way of protecting intellectual property so that people could profit from their work and would thereby be encouraged to invent more things, thus benefitting everyone.  Currently patents have become a morass of legal mayhem that stifles innovation as much as copyright does.  The current trend toward open-source work shows how sharing instead of hoarding can also result in more goodies for everyone.  

The challenge we have here is making sure that our creators -- whatever their field -- have some reliable way of making a living so that they can make the goodies we all enjoy.  Crowdfunding is great for individual projects.  Some people have done really well at it.  I'm one of them; although it's not enough for a secure living, it's a stupendous success in light of poetry's marginal position in this society.  But crowdfunding doesn't tend to produce a steady  income stream.  Some other things that have been proposed include a Basic Income and a Reverse Income Tax, both of which would ensure that everyone has enough to meet basic needs.  We need to do something, because it's clear that corporations no longer want to employ people at a living wage, so we can't rely on them to keep the economy running anymore.  Somebody else needs to step in and make sure that citizens have a way to meet their needs, so that they can do things like invent stuff, write stuff, raise the next generation, and pay bills.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Who owns science fiction?  We all do.  Everyone gets to write, buy, and read whatever they want.  You can show people your dreams, or your nightmares, or both.  This is how we think about what could destroy the Earth, or save it.  Tell ALL the stories!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Someone has proposed a learning disability for foreign languages.  

Actually, humans are born with their language window wide open.  It begins to close in early childhood.  At the onset of puberty, most people find learning a new language to be challenging.  By adulthood, almost everyone finds it difficult and it is downright impossible for many.  This is NORMAL.  Some people have a gift for languages and their window does not close.  Yay!  I'm one of them.  It makes me weird.  It doesn't make you mentally handicapped if you can't do it.  

If you want people to learn multiple languages fluently, all you have to do is raise them that way from the beginning, like civilized nations do.  America introduces foreign languages late so people will NOT be able to learn them well; that's not an accident, not a learning disability, it is linguistic imperialism.  Waiting until people are too old to learn a skill well, and then tormenting them for doing it poorly, is just sadistic.

The stupid, it burns like hydrogen. 

EDIT: People with learning disabilities may have issues which affect their native language and then make foreign languages much more difficult.  One of my readers thoughtfully linked this article about teaching foreign languages to LD students.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 I came across this favorite song today, "The Freakin' FCC."  That's basically my opinion on censorship.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 A Wisconsin judge slammed homophobic arguments while striking down marriage discrimination.  I'm amused to see her making some of the same points I have.  Thanks to my partner Doug for the link.

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