Progress (or lack thereof)

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 02:19 -- BlueWinds

I have not been productive this past week and a half. Just sort of feeling... lazy. Not depressed, just tired and mopy.

I did write one really long scene involving tentacle monsters making a harem out of your entire staff (including you), but it doesn't have images yet. Backer who requested this, you get ~1000 words rather than 150. I was feeling inspired. :P

Instead of being edifying and informative, I'll be lazy and leave you with a link to David Brin talking about storytelling. Go read that before continuing.


Done? Good. He's mostly right, but I do want to point out the middle-class bias inherent in his viewpoint.

Now imagine that your typical film director ever found herself in real trouble, or the novelist fell afoul of deadly peril. What would they do? They would dial 9-1-1! They'd call for help and expect — demand — swift-competent intervention by skilled professionals who are tax-paid, to deal with urgent matters skilfully and well. In other words there is a stark disconnect between the world that film-makers live in, and the worlds that they portray. An absolute opposite of expectation.

That's a fine sentiment... if you're middle class and white and male. Minorities know that the police are as likely to harass and arrest them as they are to help. The poor know that the police protect property, not people.


raion (not verified) on

While I completely agree with what you're saying, I don't think there's a conflict with what he's saying there...

"...your typical film director.."

He's specifically referring to the middle (or upper) class white male, if a brief review of hollywood is any indicator. Novelists likewise, though there's more obvious diversity there.

There are examples in both film and writing of the failure of institutions as a very real problem.. and they don't stand out. Mostly due to the dramatic examples. If you're very lucky, someone will believe you when you say "this is a true story" or call it a documentary.


BlueWinds on

It's a subtle form of classism, rather than a blatant one - making everyone else invisible by simply not mentioning them. If I were to say "macho culture isn't a problem for high school jocks," you'de be perfectly right in calling me out to say "but what about the nerds they bully?"

The problem isn't that he's saying that the system works for upper class white males - it does - the problem is that he's ignoring the other 80% of the population, for whom "the system doesn't support you" is the norm.

Eaun (not verified) on

Well, sorry for being late for the party~

While I agree with most of what mr David wrote, I still feel like he could have threaded through the issue with a more focalized apporach (yes, even more) and probably (GASP!) even made a couple of mistakes, or mis-considerations.

We get mr David's idea of evil, mean, and greedy writers/authors making up a civilization made up of a bunch of idiots. While at first one could enrage about the thought of a "Civilization.... of IDIOTS?" we should probably look at our own history. First, on or very own, who hasn´t look back at our past decisions and said "my goodness, I was such an idiot!". Jokes aside, Lets recall on the overall history of mankind. If we look either roughly, or with a mid-level of attention, we can see mankind's own story, is of a large herd of individuals, following blindingly, often stupidly* a mindless leader. There are, of course, certain sparks of supreme brilliance, large enough to "evolve" mankind as a whole, before declining itself back to a "mindless sheep" status. from mesopotamians, babylonians, egyptians,classic greeks, romans, aztecs, the renaisance, the illustration, the avent of the industrial age, the progression towards the information age.

They all provided a few, key, meaningful changes that made us evolve. A few changes, in a couple tens of thousands of years!. yay for mankind!... not. 105% of these changes were actually FOUGHT back by the "societies" of their own time. "look, mesopotamians devised farming! lets raid them!" or "Oh our greek leaders are trying to invent democracy. Oh i know! lets figh amongs all of us, so we can see who will be the king of this new democracy!" and so on and so forth.

The concept of a society of idiots, isn´t that off the mark. Then again, cant generalize of course. i guess it would be safe enough to assume that the "Society is ON AVERAGE full of idiots" most people will just yell and whine their disgrunt at the state of things, safely, comfortably from their couches, while hoping it will magically change. Those FEW who do wish to make a change, often fight, toil, and run risks in order get to a position where they can make that change. For good or worse.


Sorry for the TL:DR, My only appology is "IT WAS GOING TO BE ALMOST TWICE THIS LONG!" I still didnt get into the sociologic and anthropologic reasons behind all of this rambling. Cheers, and good night.

BlueWinds on

I'm not going to argue with your position here (I agree somewhat, but disagree more), only point out that what you're talking about isn't relevant to the article.

He's talking about civil servants, not abstract "progress," and about 21st century United States / Western Europe rather than some larger view of history or humanity.