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421  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Hockey Thread! on: March 10, 2011, 02:51:24 PM
I was at the Flyers-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday watching my boys get blasted 7-0. Finally ended the losing streak but a visit from the Oilers will do that for ya.

Awful about Pacioretti.
422  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Age 2 on: March 09, 2011, 04:34:24 PM
The thing I enjoyed about John's review was that it answered the questions I had about the game after playing the demo. Based on the demo and the review I was able to make an informed decision to simply wait for a price drop or a swap (I love swap.com). But with the demo, which Bioware/EA certainly wasn't required to provide, and the review I know that this is a game I don't need to rush out and get and let my expectations be tempered accordingly.
423  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: If you're a college student, you shouldn't be allowed to vote... on: March 09, 2011, 01:27:11 PM
People tend to take the path of least resistance.

Trying to carefully consider all of the factors in play on any issue is very, very hard. It's much easier to either not vote or simply do whatever your political party, favorite pundit, or church leader tell you to do.

I believe it was Socrates who said that the man who thinks he knows a thing proves himself a fool.

Then again Socrates also thought the written word was a bad thing.

See? It's hard.
424  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: March 08, 2011, 08:24:50 AM
Playing Avadon: The Black Fortress. Loving it.

http://www.spidweb.com/avadon/index.html
425  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Poetry on: February 14, 2011, 05:35:24 PM
I go back to Praise by Robert Hass pretty much every couple of months. The Waste Land by TS Eliot remains my favorite poem ever.

I also just recently read a terrific volume of poetry called Pigafetta is My Wife by Joe Hall. I encourage everyone to check it out. http://www.blackocean.org/pigafetta-is-my-wife/

Lastly, now that I'm several years removed from college, I really get a kick out of the notion of poetry being too main stream. :-)
426  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Looking for some fun Sci-fi reading on: January 21, 2011, 12:54:23 PM
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny are some of my favorite. I don't know if they fall into the "fantasy" or "sci fi" category more because there are elements of both, but you can get all 10 books in the series for under $20. The books are more like novella length (120 pages each or so) but still a terrific value.

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Book-Amber-Complete-Chronicles/dp/0380809060
427  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The "N" Word on: January 07, 2011, 03:42:59 PM
Fair enough.

You may be correct and this new edition might not find its way into any schools like you are saying, at which point I would have to consider it a failure.

What we do know, though, is that trying to just get people to talk about this history of racism openly in some places hasn't worked. Although I personally find the removal of the word from the work distasteful, I can not bring myself to object to anybody trying to do what they can to get folks closer to a state where discussing these complex issues becomes easier.

I also can't agree with your characterization that the removal of the word is somehow a compromise towards "a history of blatant disregard for what should be fundamental human rights". I think it is a compromise toward those who would simply rather not talk about it, whether due to the memories or feelings this word dredges up, concern over litigation for using the word, or plain old fashioned cowardice.
428  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The "N" Word on: January 07, 2011, 02:58:26 PM
Your points are certainly salient ones and the idea of introducing these things at an earlier age is spot on.

I just think that sometimes compromises and baby steps are required. This is a topic nobody wants to talk about in Alabama and is actively avoided. I think you've provided persuasive points as to why that is the wrong way to go about things, but you can't just walk into a place like that and flip on change like a light switch. I definitely think you've identified the problem correctly - an unwillingness to openly discuss these issues - but that very problem is ingrained deeply in a place with so many scars like Alabama, and just demanding a discussion is more likely to turn the people with the power to make these decisions off.

Hence, baby steps. Get that dialogue going with something like Huck Finn, which still deals with these types of issues EVEN IF a word is removed, a word which stirs up controversy even here with people AGREEING on the ultimate solution.

Where we definitely AGREE is that it is silly for one word to get in the way of a healthy dialogue.

Where we definitely disagree is the notion that this is a STEP BACK in creating that dialogue. There are places in this country where the dialogue doesn't exist and is actively avoided, and that doesn't get us anywhere. If taking one word out of the equation STARTS that dialogue rolling, I still think it is an improvement.
429  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The "N" Word on: January 07, 2011, 10:56:08 AM
Edit:

As to the claim that it's only one edition of the novel that is undergoing this change, I think this doesn't make it any better.  I think the issue here is much bigger than accessibility, and, as I've said before, goes into the issue of race relations and our ability to communicate these issues, especially in places and for people who would benefit the most from such conversations.  The book itself really doesn't bother me I suppose, because at the end of the day Huck Finn isn't being widely read in schools (and guaranteed the word is not the biggest reason) but it's the statement that this action is making.

It is very easy to say that we need to fix the actual root of the problem. The question is how, PRACTICALLY, can you do that?

It's a question we've been trying to answer with mixed success for decades now, and I don't see an obvious, quick fix solution anytime soon.

Meanwhile there is a quick fix for potentially putting THIS BOOK back into some schools.

It's not a binary choice - you can do both things. You can try to keep working to make it so this type of thing is unnecessary while at the same time attempting to address the very real problem of "We won't teach this book because of this word."

EDIT: I'm also seeing a whole lot of appeals to the slippery slope in this thread. :-) One thing I definitely agree with that was mentioned earlier though - Huck Finn isn't exactly a children's story, it's pretty damn complex.
430  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The "N" Word on: January 04, 2011, 08:41:34 PM
"God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board."

- Mark Twain
431  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The "N" Word on: January 04, 2011, 06:55:05 PM
I don't think too many people are going to disagree that the fact that this is being brought up as an issue is kind of silly. It's probably overly sensitive and I think it is generally a bad idea to mess with art because a lot of times art simply is not supposed to be safe anyway.

But faced with the very real prospect that Huck Finn won't make it back into a classroom because of a word that has accumulated decades of baggage that Twain could not possibly have anticipated, I'd prefer changing it for something else and seeing kids get a chance to read it in school as opposed to not.

There are more important themes that can be explored in Huck Finn aside from just why he uses a certain word, important themes about race, humanity, and relationships that it would be a shame to lose simply because people are unwilling to compromise. It sucks, but my personal opinion is it is a very small price to pay compared to what is lost otherwise.

EDIT: Not that it matters but my guess is Twain would find the entire situation equal parts amusing and depressing, since that's kind of how he regarded most things. :-)
432  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The "N" Word on: January 04, 2011, 04:14:56 PM
Five things:

1) Often this great Twain book gets left off of the list because of the presence of this word. I personally find this silly but if the removal of the word gets the book back into more classrooms then I am all for it. Gribben's (the scholar spearheading this change) motivation here is to get more people to read the book - I highly doubt it is coincidence that he is a professor at Auburn in Alabama. To quote Gribben, who wanted to make the change after talking to a number of teachers: “They said 'we would love to teach [Tom Sawyer] and Huckleberry Finn, but we feel we can't do it anymore.' In the new classroom, it's really not acceptable," he said. "For a single word to form a barrier, it seems such an unnecessary state of affairs."

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/new-editions-of-mark-twain-novels-to-remove-racial-slurs/story-e6frf96f-1225981589323

2) The baggage associated with this word could, in the eyes of new younger readers, simply serve to distract. The counter to this argument from Thomas Wortham (in the above link) is salient - perhaps an opportunity is being lost to discuss Huck's use of the word - but the elimination of the word does not eliminate the important themes of the book.

3) Editions of the book with the word still in it will still exist. This could potentially be regarded as a "radio edit" of sorts of certain music. You can buy a music album with the naughty words removed or you can buy it in all its cussing glory. I don't think more OPTIONS is ever a bad thing. I think we'd be having a different conversation if this was an attempt to replace all existing editions of Huck Finn, but it isn't. It's a version that hopefully will put it in the hands of more kids.

4) To Kill a Mockingbird still gets taught in plenty of schools, and I figure the same thing will happen here - the original Huck Finn with all of the original language will still get taught in plenty of schools also. But in some places where it isn't currently taught because of the presence of one word littered throughout the book, this simply provides a new chance to reintroduce it.

5) Censorship is suppression of speech. Not allowing an alternative version of Huck Finn would be a form of this. However it should be clear which version of the book you are getting when you purchase it.
433  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Movie Trends that NEED to Stop on: December 20, 2010, 05:11:15 PM
Well, the Tim Burton Batman came out in 1989 and I'd say the Nolan Batmans are pretty stinkin' good.

;-)

Obviously I'm just being a jerk.
434  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Movie Trends that NEED to Stop on: December 20, 2010, 05:00:44 PM
Agree 100% on the 3D.

My least favorite trope by far is the herky jerky action camera that seems to be very popular these days. I like a nice, cleanly filmed action sequence where you can really tell where everybody is and what they are doing - to me it makes the scene much more exciting. Top Gun for example (showing my age here) where you can know at any point in a dogfight where are the players are in relation to each other. Or the car chase scenes in Ronin. These are examples of really well filmed action sequences - too many now rely on the "quick cut" and the camera zooming around and I can't figure out what is actually happening spatially (the Transformers movies come to mind).
435  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: December 20, 2010, 04:49:27 PM
I thought Tron Legacy was the best music video I've ever seen.

As a movie? The plot was pretty much a total mess but who really cares about that, I highly doubt anybody was walking in expecting Shakespeare.

The actions sequences were a mixed bag - there were a couple of really awesome actions sequences (the disc wars were amazing), but the light cycle sequence I thought was disappointing. I couldn't tell where anybody was in relation to each other spatially because there were so many quick cuts between different characters. Things just randomly appeared when it was necessary for an explosion.

However the light jets were freaking fantastic.

Finally, I was actually really disappointed by the use of the 3D - I actually expected a lot more. I went with a crew of 7 other people that all saw Avatar together and we agreed that the previews before Tron (particularly the one with the animals) used 3D more effectively than the actual feature did. That was by far the most surprising thing to me - I expected to have my mind blown by the effects like I had in Avatar (a movie that frankly I could not tell you what actually happened in, I was too busy giggling like a kid at the awesomeness of the tech) and it came up very short (with a couple of notable exceptions I won't bring up in case of spoiler potential).

But all told I'm glad I saw it in the IMAX if I was going to watch it at all. Without the incredible soundtrack I would have fallen asleep though like my wife did. :-)
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