Comments, Politics, and Entertainment.

Dear Imaginary Friends,

I have an unhealthy obsession. I’m a little ashamed of myself actually. I just can’t seem to stop… reading the comments online.

I know I really shouldn’t but there’s a weird fascination to seeing the worst of humanity interacting. I’m fascinated, repulsed, and I feel a little gross after.

My particular weaknesses are looking at comments on stories relating to Doctor Who, Captain Marvel, CW’s superhero shows, and Canadian politics.

Comic Showing an archaeologist looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics and saying, “I should know better than to read the comments section.”
Comic from Rhymes With Orange

The comments are a squirming cesspool of humanity’s worst qualities and worst arguments. One that I’ve heard a lot lately is that there’s too much politics in entertainment. Make me think of the old Peanut Butter cup commercials, “You got peanut butter on my chocolate.”

Unlike chocolate and peanut butter (yummy), the idea that you can have any form of entertainment devoid of politics is laughable. Even when you think something isn’t political, it is.

The reason most people don’t notice is that the politics align with theirs. If you’re a straight, white, cis, middle to upper class person, you won’t notice any politics in something like Friends, Big Bang, or How I Met Your Mother. You might glance over the commentary on sexism or classism in those shows as just normal everyday stuff. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I can hear the “Well actually, it’s more blatant” and that’s bullshit. If you’re one of those people who thinks old shows didn’t make political comments, you weren’t listening. Star Wars, Diehard, North by North-West, all had political messages in them. It’s nearly impossible to separate politics from art because it’s impossible to separate belief from creation.

Those complaining that things have become too political aren’t complaining about politics. They’re complaining that they aren’t seeing their politics reflected back at them.

Later Days,

Éric

This Guy Sat Down to write a Deep Philosophical Post. What Happened Next was Shocking!

Hello,

I’m feeling Clickbait-y today. (Insert Evil Laugh here.) That makes me think I should record my own evil laugh for these moments…

I wanted to talk about voting, harassment, or the horrible things happening with #GamerGate. But to be completely honest I don’t think I can add anything to the discussion. Here are my basic opinions:

  • Voting Good, Vote gorram you!
  • Harassment is BAD. Stop it!
  • No seriously, STOP IT! There is never any reason to threaten someone’s life. Never

So since I’m not feeling up to being deep, here’s a basic update.

Coffee

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You may know that I love coffee. It’s something that I’ve gone from appreciating to truly enjoying.

If you follow me on Facebook,(or read my post about Can-Con) you might know that I’m trying to create my own flavoured coffee.

So far it’s worked swimmingly. I purchased a $15 hot air popcorn popper and experimented with how long and how much to roast in it. It worked amazingly. The coffee came out as a Full City+ or Medium-Well roast. It’s the perfect roast, in my mind, since it’s mellow and a little sweet.

I used Sumatra mostly and really like the flavour or the roasted beans.

Talking about flavours, I bought some flavour oils and flavoured the beans at different times in their cooling. I’ve tasted of the 5 batches. The 2 day cooled and the 1 hour cooled. Unfortunately despite smelling like the flavours, the taste didn’t penetrate the bean (sounds dirty.)

I’ve set up 3 others at ½ hour, 10 minutes, and right out of the machine. My worry is that I might need to combine the flavouring with some sort of bonding agent that will force it into the bean. Frankly I have no idea how to do that.

Oh well. I’ll let you know more once I’ve taste tested more coffee. It’s a hard life isn’t it?

Writing Editing

Just a quick word on how the writing and editing is going. Slowly.

Ok a few more words. I’ve been trying to edit Parasomnia but having issues with attention span and distractions. I’m still hoping to have it done and in the hands of my first beta reader / The Weditor by early November.

Once that’s done, I’ll start a quick re-edit of A Study in Aether and then I’ll find some fresh beta-readers for more help with the editing. I’d like to resubmit this by Christmas.

And finally when I’m done with all this editing, I’ll start writing Welcome to Everdome! The fraking story has been running through my head and it’s driving me nuts. I’m looking forward to actually writing it.

What’s your favourite type of coffee, or tea?

Would you like to be a Beta Reader for either of the books?

Let me know in the comments.

Éric

Why I LOATH Strategic Voting

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Hello Imaginary Friends,

In this post I’ll be talking a bunch about Canadian and Ontarian politics but I think it should apply to any form of democratic elections.

What am I talking about

Over the past few years I’ve noticed a big push towards movements like ABC (Anything but Conservative). At first I thought it was a cool idea and something that would get people interested in voting.

It took a few years before I realized why it bugged me. It wasn’t until someone told me not to vote for a certain party because it would be “wasting my vote”. In Canada and Ontario, each electoral district has multiple candidates from different parties. There are only four parties that run candidates in each area across the province of Ontario. If you vote for a party that doesn’t have much chance of winning people will tell you that your vote is wasted.

When that person told me not to vote for a certain party (It was the one I was going to vote for by the way) I was insulted. It wasn’t because I’m deeply partisan and was insulted for my party. I don’t belong to a party and I probably never will. I was insulted because the person was saying my opinions didn’t matter. That’s a form of strategic voting and I’ve come to loath it.

Voting in the Real World

In a perfect world, everyone who can vote reads the political agendas and plans and vote according to their belief system. We don’t live in that world. In Canada and Ontario, less than 40% of people voted in the last federal and provincial elections.

That means if you ask 10 people on the bus (And they tell you the truth) if they voted, 6 of them would not have voted. So the party that won with 30% of the vote actually won with about 13% of the population who could vote.

What’s Strategic Voting

So it makes sense that when you have a Party, who is disliked you’d try to make sure they don’t get elected right? So let’s say the Darth Party is in power and their strongest political rival is the Vulcan party. You don’t like the politics of either but you’ll vote for the Vulcan party because you really don’t want to get the Darth party elected. You really preferred the politics of the Browncoat party but were told that they would never be elected and you didn’t want to waste your vote.

Guess what happens? The Browncoats get less votes and a party you didn’t believe in was elected. Maybe the Darths don’t win and you feel validated or maybe they do and you feel you’ve at least done your duty in fighting the Empire. It’s a false sense of accomplishment. Next election, after some stupid moves on the Vulcan’s part you realize they’re all scum and decide to vote Darth to make sure the Vulcan’s don’t get elected.

Why I Loath Strategic Voting

What you did was vote negatively. You didn’t vote for what you believed in, you voted against something you didn’t like.

Let’s say out of the 40% of people who voted, 5% of the 40% voted strategically instead of voting for what they believe in, we could theoretically have a completely different election result.

With the exception of some rare elections, especially in Canada, the deciding outcome is decided by a staggeringly small number of votes. And even the elections that look like they were complete unalterably wins are decided by a less than a hundred votes.

What’s my Point

In the short term, strategic voting sounds like the best policy, get Vader out of power and deal with the rest later. But it encourages an unhealthy way of looking at politics.

If you look at what’s happened the past 3-5 Federal Elections you’ll see the true cost of Strategic Voting. The political parties have decided that it’s more effective to paint their opposition as horrible monsters, or completely incompetent, than it is to have a well thought out platform.

Strategic voting is the best way to screw up the electoral process. All we end up with is a party we hated less than another.

Is that what you want? To always get something you sort of are ok with?

Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “The government you elect is government you deserve.”

Change can only happen if we trust in ourselves and each other to do the right thing, not just the least objectionable.

Well My Imaginary Friends, I firmly believe that we deserve to vote with our hearts and that in the long run it will not only make for better politics but for a better world.

What do you think?