Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All Your Hitch Are Belong to Us

Christopher Hitchens is six days gone, and his corpse has decayed just enough for the ghouls to find irresistible. As they devour him, they compare him to C.S. Lewis and G.K. Bloody Chesterton, those eloquent old godders, to whom, it should be noted, no one compared Hitch when he was alive. As the hungry foragers dig their fingers into Hitchens’s desiccating body they chirp that perhaps the man who wrote God is Not Great changed his mind about the whole Jesus thing at the very last minute, and if not before death, he certainly did when he turned up in Hell, what what? God is LURVE.

Please piss on his grave. Hitchens was a notorious grave pisser. This was my favorite of his qualities. The world needs talented grave pissers to continue that tradition. Talk about how 9/11 brought out his inner warmongering douchebag. Arch your eyebrow and try to replace him*.

Please do not pretend he came around to Jesus in the very end. The only deathbed conversion having to do with Hitchens was his conversion from a living person into a cadaver. Hitch predicted the vultures would feast, not because he was clairvoyant but because the scavengers for the Holy Ghost are so fucking predictable.

Stop lying for your meat, hyenas. Hitchens was a godless Horseman, not a Christian soldier. He was neither a secret nor an honorary Christian just because his name had the word Christ in it or because militant Islam seriously freaked him out. About the resurrection of Jesus, Hitchens said the following:

“Having no reliable or consistent witnesses, in anything like the time period needed to certify such an extraordinary claim, we are finally entitled to say that we have a right, if not an obligation, to respect ourselves enough to disbelieve the whole thing.” (God is Not Great, p. 143)

Hitch was a war pig, but he was our war pig. You don’t get to claim him, Ross Douthat, now that he’s too deceased to tell you to fuck yourself. A lie about a dead infidel is still a lie.

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

*Try hard, won’t you? My heart aches for a Hitchens obit of Kim Jong Il.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


SPOILERS throughout for shows featuring incest tropes.

The budding incest subplot on Dexter is making this TV addict a little grumpy. I thought about leaving the show if they follow this through, but you know I won’t because we’ve been together so long, baby. Maybe you think my visceral reaction is attributable to cultural taboos and my own squicks and hang-ups, as at first I thought it was. But then I examined it a little deeper and realized that this irritation is not about incest. After all, I did not mind Octavia and Octavian in Rome or Cersei and Jaime in Game of Thrones. Jimmy and Gillian in Boardwalk Empire freaked me out for a minute but that was just because I didn’t think the show would go there until a bit later.

So, what is the problem? The problem is two things. The first thing is that the incest trope has been done on each of those HBO programs I just mentioned. On True Blood as well, when Vampire Beel banged the bejeezus out of his great-great granddaughter. Did the big men at Showtime notice a correlation between HBO’s incest subplots and its Emmy nominations and issue an order to Scott Buck? 100 percent more sister-fucking than that damn vampire show, or it’s curtains for you, Buckaroo! The decision seems tacked on, a conclusion to an emotional arc that never existed before twenty seconds ago.

Which brings us to thing number two: this development is not a logical progression for these characters. Octavian was always into Octavia, and her seduction of him made sense in the context of their story. Cersei and Jaime were fucking from day one; their sexual relationship is an important part of their characters, and it ties into the larger narrative. The implication that Jimmy and Gillian had such a relationship came early in their series, so when the setup got knocked down, it was inevitable and meaningful to Jimmy’s character and to the story.

When, in Dexter’s five previous seasons, has Debra’s behavior ever indicated sexy feelings for her brother? Debra justifies the delusion that she has always been into him with the men in her life, whom she says are either just like Dexter or nothing like him at all. So, either your boyfriends have stuff in common with your brother, or they don’t, and that’s your case for brother-fucking? Let’s see if this adds up.

Biney the Mad Prosthetist is Dexter’s biological brother, and the two of them lived through the same trauma, the chainsaw murder of their mother. They have a lot in common, and I’m positive that this will be the writers’ primary piece of evidence in their defense. There was that dude she met at the gym, who IIRC was just a nice guy. Deb sabotaged that relationship because she was still fucked up from the Biney thing, and who could blame her?

Lundy, I think, is the great love of Deb’s life, and it is he who disproves the case for brother-love. Sure, Lundy had things in common with Dexter—an eye for detail, intense curiosity, passionate drive—but the old man was his own man, a lion for justice. Debra, Lundy, and Dexter had one thing in common: they hunted murderers obsessively. Deb likes men who have the job in common with her because it is convenient to get the nookie this way; this does not make a case for brotherly love. If anything, Lundy is a better example for daddy issues (another post altogether).

Then there was Anton, who was another nice rebound dude. I guess the writers will say that Anton has nothing in common with Dexter and that’s why she dated him, because brother-fucking! But seriously, you can’t have it both ways. Deb likes to rebound with the teddy bears, who salve her wounds until she is well enough to fuck up the relationship. After Lundy died, Deb ended up with Quinn, who satisfied part of the teddy bear thing and part of the convenient partner nookie thing. Quinn and Deb were good for each other; they brought out the best in one another. That the show runners decided to break them up so Deb could feel sexy feelings at Dexter is a betrayal of her character.

It seems to me that, for five years, the writers were very careful to not imply incestuous emotions between the siblings. Even when Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall were a real-life couple, there was zero sexual chemistry between them onscreen as these characters. Their relationship was something I really loved, because it illustrated how an adoptive relationship can be the same as a blood relationship. Now the show runners seek to undermine that idea, and for what? Isn’t the revelation that her brother is a murderer enough to propel Debra’s character through the next couple seasons?

You made a bad decision here, Buck. I hope you realize that before next season, and Brother Chuck the psychiatrist and her subplot posthaste.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It Gets Worse

Last month, professional atheist JT Eberhard gave a much-touted talk at Skepticon IV about mental illness, and called for people with mental disorders to share their stories. This is one of mine.

Since I was a little kid I have wanted to die, but I first understood I could kill myself when I was twelve. That year, an acquaintance of my dad’s shot himself in the head. I realized I did not need to beg imaginary beings to get me out of this life when there was a way out right there in the medicine cabinet (we didn’t have a gun). It seemed so obvious, to do it my damn self. Right in my face the whole time, and I never saw it until Dad’s friend blew his own brains out. I thought it was genius.

22 years later, I still think that guy had the right idea. College is going well enough, and I love my husband and family, but none of it matters to my brain. At least once a day, I seriously consider suicide as an alternative to spending one more conscious minute on this ridiculous piece of shit planet.

Sometimes crazy people neglect hygiene and various ailments. My upper teeth have rotted away so that when I smile, I look like a zombie. This is a little bit cool on Halloween or on a movie set, but not so fantastic at a job interview. The bleeding and pain are never even a little bit cool. I have trouble leaving the house a lot of the time, because I cannot bear people looking at me. It will cost over $4000 to extract the teeth and over $1700 to get dentures put in. I am 34 years old and I have to get dentures because I am batshit.

Two weeks ago, I had a five-day-long panic attack. I could not sleep, I barely ate, and what I did eat I vomited soon after. My husband tried to help by dragging me out of the house, but there was no shutting up the noise in my head. I did not know what to do, and so I considered eating my husband’s entire bottle of Xanax to make it stop. Instead, I took three pills and passed out.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I felt much calmer after I got some sleep.

Living with mental illness sucks, but skepticism saves the day almost every day. I can’t reason myself out of a panic attack, but I can determine that, indeed, the Wendy’s has not disappeared or ceased to exist, that my brain is being a douchebag once again, and that I should pull over until it quits doing that. There is comfort in having a framework to better distinguish reality from delusion. Skepticism does not always alleviate the guilt I feel for being crazy, but it helps me to understand that the guilt is irrational, unhelpful, and perfectly understandable given society’s views on the mentally unstable.

The ability to question my own assumptions has kept me ticking. Maybe on dark days that disappoints me, but what do I know? I’m crazy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fundies Piss Me Off

In a nation with as diverse a population as the United States, where all races, creeds, religious beliefs, genders, etc. come together in the public space, how the fuck is it that I ended up the only atheist among a horde of Christian fundamentalists in my philosophy class?

First, there is the fellow who answered a discussion question about ethical relativism with an incoherent screed about the immorality of men who lie with men, quoted the bit in Leviticus about such men being "put to death," and something about how the government says "God bless America" all the time. This was all in one post. He backed off a bit when I asked him what he was trying to say; should the U.S. government put men who lie with men to death? But that is what happens when you confront fundies with the implications of what they believe. They back off so they don't appear to be the monsters that their words imply them to be.

Being gay, BTW, is totally more abominable than eating shellfish because Jesus said so.

Then there is the young lady who claimed she was "very upset" because other people did not believe the same things that she believed, that she did not even realize it was possible. Really, lady? You never met a Jew? Hell, you never met a Christian of a different denomination than yours? She never spoke to me, but I know my disproof of the stupid stupid STUPID ontological argument the week before was probably one source of her discomfort.

Anyway, it is almost over, and soon I will enter Intro to Film. This is a class where maybe, for once, the Godders will talk about something other than how awesome their god is. Like movies, for instance. Hopefully not the Left Behind movies, but fuck it. Kirk Cameron at least is good for a laugh.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Internet Shitstorm Highlights Fact That "Nature" Publishes Fiction

So. Womanspace. A lot of folks are pretty pissed about it, for various reasons. The short story, published recently in the science journal Nature's fiction section, is a lighthearted look at the differences between men and women, using hackneyed old stereotypes that were not especially funny back in the '50's when they were slightly fresher. Menz be shopping like this, but wimminz, y'all, they be shopping like this.

But I am not here to rip on Mr. Rybicki. Much. The Internet, cruel creature that it is, has not been kind to the author, and anyway, most of us who write have written some really dumb shit. Rybicki got luckier than most of us, though. He got paid for it. And that is what I want to talk about today.

Some of the commentariat wonders why a science journal would contain a fiction section in the first place, and calls for its elimination. By all means, Internet, use your power to get the editor fired, and to bring in someone who knows what they're doing. That second bit is the key, though. You see, back in the days of Bradbury and Ellison, there existed a good number of outlets for short fiction. A writer could, if properly motivated, earn much of a living wage writing speculative fiction and tales of the weird for periodicals.

No longer. The decline of the magazine has been well-documented. Writers must fight each other for a spot in one of the few publications left that pay for fiction. Another outlet for short science fiction, particularly in a well-respected journal, is good for the genre, its creators, and its fans. While it is unfortunate that Nature's editorial staff chose to publish a sub-par bit of controversy generation instead of high-quality speculative art, the upside is that readers and writers alike are all now aware that this journal publishes short fiction. This opens up the possibility for Nature to nurture the next Bradbury or Ellison.

So, let us not be so hasty, dear Internet, to throw out a good idea because it was executed poorly. Fresh eyes and ideas can turn this thing around.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dead Island Goes On Forever

Seriously. I'm still playing it. The game becomes tiresome because I keep dying and then re-spawning in the middle of a horde of flesh-hungry walkers. Ever since I lost my shock-modded machete--accidentally throwing it at a punk on a roof, and then dying before I retrieved it from his body--it has been difficult to maintain a decent weapon. I do have a super sweet sickle that I've fully upgraded, but it never lasts very long out on the streets. My Death Penalty is only reduced by fifteen percent, so I don't always have money for repairs.

Moresby City is a real shithole. I miss the Resort. Maybe I'll go back there and see if I overlooked any side missions.


No, you're not crazy. I did remove the previous post. I am going to work on it and re-post it in a few days. The blog format makes it tempting just to put things out there without thinking them through. The post needs tweaking, and I should not have published it as it was.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Have No Fandom, But I Must Squee

Since LOST and Heroes went off the air, I have been without a TV boyfriend. Sure, there are plenty of good-looking gentlemen populating Television Land, but it takes more than nice abs and a pretty face for a character to win my heart. Sawyer had sarcastic quips to go along with his adorable dimples, and Sylar could flip trucks with his mind while raising a gorgeous eyebrow. In addition to being ridiculously beautiful, Sayid and Mohinder were rational thinkers with deep inner conflicts and a yearning to be accepted and loved. These characters had depth and soul, so that even when they did terrible things (looking at you, Sy), I could not help but love them.

With the premiere of American Horror Story, I had hoped that a new TV boyfriend would present himself in Dylan McDermott's character Ben Harmon. The problem is that Ben is such an insufferable enema bag that I just can't muster up any sympathy for him, his shapely derriere notwithstanding. Allow me to illustrate how fiercely this character turns me off. In the pilot, there is a scene in which Ben furiously masturbates while weeping. If Sylar were doing this in a fanfic, it would feel like home to me. However, at this scene, rather than a quickening of the breath and a tingle in the nethers, I felt something very different bubbling up inside me: laughter. Peals and peals of side-splitting laughter. "What the fuck?" I giggled. "That was awesome!"

Awesome, indeed, in its hilarity. Rapey Gimp Ghost is orders of magnitude sexier than Weepy Wanky Ben.

So, it has been lovely to enjoy the glorious presence of one Mr. Zachary Quinto (Code name: Sugarplum) on AHS these last two weeks. His character Chad, being an angry gay ghost, is not really an ideal TV boyfriend for me, but that doesn't matter. We could be really great friends, Chad and I. We could sledgehammer Jack-O-Lanterns together, and then later, over a bottle of wine, commiserate about our respective relationship troubles. Then we could chase interlopers out of the Murder House and go bobbing for Granny Smiths. No, that is not a euphemism.

Please, Ryan Murphy, in the interest of keeping your show the craziest, campiest thing on TV, give my Sugarplum plenty more to do. You will not regret this.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

No Nanowrimo This Year

As you may have noticed, this blog started out several years ago as a Nanowrimo blog. However, I have managed to fail every attempt I have made at this event, and have determined that I am no good at it. So, no Nano this year. My self-esteem just can't take another failure.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lying for Xenu

Earlier this week, former Scientology bigwig Marty Rathbun leaked documents on his blog describing the church's efforts to plant a mole inside South Park Studios. Everybody saw "Trapped in the Closet," and everyone with half a brain looked that shit up after the episode aired to confirm the truth of its claims.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone exposed Scientology's wacky intergalactic secrets to millions of viewers around the world at a time when the church's membership (and thereby its revenue) was ever-expanding. These secrets were supposed to be kept behind a pay wall. Who thought the COS was just going to let this go? Fact is, you fuck with Miscavige's bottom line, the best you can hope for is a mole in your workplace. I can't wait to see more documents, to find out exactly how far they got in this ill-advised Super Adventure.

Until then, I'd like to discuss something about the documents that disturbs me intensely. Apparently, the church used Lloyd Kaufman's old "Yale buddy" Eric Sherman to pump Kaufman for information about Parker and Stone. Kaufman, of course, is the founder of Troma Studios, and one of my favorite human beings on the planet. Top ten, for real. I love this man. Here I am with him a few years ago at a convention (I'm next to Sgt. Kabukiman).

I show you this for full disclosure. When Lloyd Kaufman says that he had no idea Eric Sherman was a Scientologist, I believe him. When he says he would never intentionally do anything to harm Parker and Stone, I know this to be true. It angers me to my core that someone purporting to be his friend would lie to him just to get information that could hurt other people. In what universe is this moral?

It is moral in the universe where society affords privilege to the religious liar--in other words, the universe we currently occupy. We have no way of determining whether or not there was a moment when Sherman said to himself, "Gee, it's kind of shitty to use my friends this way." Regardless, it's clear that Sherman determined any reservations he had were less important than doing as his religious leaders told him to do.

And Sherman's religious leaders declared that Parker and Stone needed to go down for having the temerity not only to mock Scientology's ridiculous ideas, but also to point out what those ideas actually are (which circumvents the revenue stream). Sherman decided that this crime--the crime of producing a cartoon that his religion did not like--was a worse offense than betraying the trust of his old college friend to get gossip, and presenting a mole for formal introduction, that said mole might sabotage people's lives.

In a culture that encouraged people to question religious authority, would Sherman still have made this decision? Possibly. The authoritarians will be with us always. But in such a culture, a mendacious organization like the Church of Scientology (amongst many others) would be less likely to flourish.

More thoughts on this later.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lady Popular's Biggest Crime...

...Is that it is frightfully boring. After reading John Walker's review of Lady Popular, I had to give it a try myself. The game is exactly as Walker described it, down to my sexy new boyfriend Car washer. He's kind of a hottie. Got that greasy blue-collar wage slave thing going for him. But he only gives me $50 per week, and that is not nearly enough money to pay for this cute little $4900 shirt I found at The Mall.

I love playing Avatar Dress-Up. If items of clothing have useful or magical properties in a game, I like to put together special outfits for specific missions. My XBox avatar changes clothes every few months. I dress my Rock Band avatar for every city my band Piss Bat plays. It's just fun, and I think a lot of that fun is having the freedom to make the avatar look any way one chooses. Because my head is lumpy, I probably shouldn't wear a Toxie-green Mohawk, but my Fallout character looks great in a 'hawk.

Lady Popular does not give the player that kind of freedom. The game dictates what kind of hairstyle the player should get in order to level up. So, even though the Hair Stylist has a huge selection of styles from which to choose, to get ahead the player has to conform to the game's idea of how one's avatar should look. Boring, boring, boring.

Now, a case could be made that the game teaches young girls about color and style, much like a more straightforward educational game might tell the player to pick a square or a triangle from a list of shapes. But the game dictates other things that should be the player's choice, like my boyfriend Car washer. Nothing against the guy; like I said, he's adorable, but wouldn't it be more fun to flirt with different people at The Club? (And if the game actually is for girls young enough to need to be taught color, why does the character have to go to a meat market to find a date for the party? I am pretty liberal most of the time, but five-year-old kids just should not be dating.)

Wouldn't it be more interesting to make seducing a date for the party part of the game? All I did was click a button, and BAM! Car washer and I were an item. That's no fun. I don't know anything about him, except for his occupation, and he knows nothing about me, except that I look totally smokin' in these new jeans I got at The Mall.

Which brings me to another reason this game is so boring. Lady Popular is supposed to be a social game--the Lady goes to school to train for a job, she dances and flirts at The Club, etc.--but nowhere is there a character sheet with XP to allocate. A Lady with high Endurance, for example, could dance longer at The Club, and a Lady with high Barter could get better deals on items at The Mall. Instead, every Lady is exactly the same as every other Lady. Dullsville for sure.

So, I played as far as Level 2 and then went back to Dead Island, where there are no wardrobe changes for Xian Mei, but where I can live out my zombie apocalypse fantasies in a safe environment.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Proper Fallacies: What Is Not Ad Hom

Everybody loves to commit logical fallacies, but it is important to get them just right. At this very moment, someone on the Internet is accusing someone else on the Internet of an ad hominem attack. Is it so? Here's how you can tell.

You and I are debating X. You claim that X is true, while I claim that X is false.

1. You say: X is true because Y.

I say: No, fuckburglar, X is false because Not-Y.

This is not an ad hominem fallacy. It is a valid argument containing an insult. To truly commit to the fallacy, avoid valid arguments.

2. You say: X is true because Y.

I say: No, fuckburglar, X is false because you burgle fucks.

This is the ad hominem fallacy in its proper form. The truth or falsity of claim X has nothing to do with whether or not you actually burgle fucks. A mere insult is lazy; it lacks the fallacious flavor of the juicy ad hom.

I hope this has been helpful. We really must elevate the dialogue, you know?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Off to a fantastic start

Remember what I said about flaking right out as soon as I make a commitment to something? Yeah. It turns out that Mondays are terrible for doing anything except finishing up my schoolwork for the week. Wednesdays are a little bit better, except that initial discussion posts are due on Thursdays, so I have to make sure to do all my reading before then. Fridays are fine. Probably I should have been writing on Fridays up until now, but then I just felt embarrassed because I hadn't posted anything on Monday or Wednesday.

Anyway, that's the deal. I am going to come up with a better plan, and try to implement it next week.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Plan

It's October (Hooray!), and that means this blog is revived as of today. So, welcome to the new doubleplusunruly! I will try to post once a week at least. I'm actually hoping for three times a week, but am making no guarantees since I am prone to flaking right out the moment I make a commitment to anything. If everything works as planned, the average week should go something like this:

Monday: TV round-up. Dexter returns this weekend, and The Walking Dead will be returning later in the month. American Horror Story looks promising, although I see now that it will air on Wednesdays and not Sundays. So maybe I will just devote a post here and there to squee mercilessly over Dylan McDermott and Zachary Quinto being on the same show.

Wednesday: Science! I thought it would be fun/interesting to profile a woman in science every week. I may still do this, but I did not want to limit my Wednesdays. So, for now, expect sciency-type stuff on Wednesdays; possibly profiles of women, possibly a science of the week round-up kind of thing. I'm still working out the details.

Friday: Freestyle. Could be fashion, could be movies or games, could be philosophy, could be zombies, or a rant about something I noticed in a commercial, or political commentary or some other geeky sort of thing. Could be squeeing mercilessly over Dylan McDermott and Zachary Quinto being on the same show (ZOMG SKUH-WEEEEEEE). You'll never know what's coming on Fridays! If anything comes at all. Take it as part of the surprise.

We will try this format for the month of October, and see how it works, tweaking bits as needed. Please enjoy, and thanks for reading.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I forgot this was here. Maybe it's time to apply the paddles to this thing.