Beautiful sentences are harder than I thought

So there was that Buzzfeed article, 51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature. Some great ones in there, some dull ones. Some odd choices, the T.S. Eliot is lovely, the Yeats, some bits of Shakespeare that are nowhere near the best. But if we allow that, then poetry should overwhelm the entire list. (Poetry bits, that would be fun and easy, file for future use.)

I sat down and tried to come up with my own prose list, and it's surprisingly hard. My quotes file and favorite sentences are clever or deep, not pretty: I seek Truth, not Beauty. But here's a few.

"Her kimono was printed in a design of irises and violets. The skin beneath it was like a dying man's dream of skin."
-Bruce Sterling, Schismatrix Plus

"He slept curled against her back, a dark comma against her pale elegant phrase."
-A.S. Byatt, Possession

"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
-John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Requires Hate, punching up, trying to do good

So there was this blog, Requires Only That You Hate. (Trigger warning... all of them) Somewhat Internet-famous, once memorably described as "performance rage." It was kinda amazing, in a horrible way, savagely slagging sf books and authors, playing the sexist or privilege card on everything within range. Apparently some people have been tracking this anonymous troll/drama queen since back when LiveJournal was a thing.

I've been on the Internet a long while, I like to think I'm as jaded as the next guy. But this trolling was weapons-grade, it wound me up, it was infuriating and made me want to engage. I mean, I'm not white, that's worth something isn't it? Sanity prevailed and I stayed out of the fray, but I kept reading and put her blog in my RSS feed reader. It was a great vaccination, because truly, afaik Requires Hate is the ne plus ultra of trolling.

Requires Hate got doxxed, outed as Thai blogger and Campbell Award nominee Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

So what's the point, what's the lesson to be learned? Hateblogging is counterproductive. Hateblogging is stupid. Maybe not a stretch to say that hateblogging is evil. Here's Laura J. Mixon's compendious rundown on Requires Hate's attacks, one of which apparently caused a suicide attempt. Another lesson, social justice rhetoric is easily weaponized. RH bounced around for a while, but settled on social justice language as the perfect vehicle for the vitriol. Vicious righteousness, what more can you ask for?

Sriduangkaew's public apology says "I believed I was doing good and was punching up." How's that? Requires Hate is forevermore my touchstone for radfem #killallmen fuckery. Performance rage indeed. Performance and posturing, take a tough stance and shout over everyone, instead of discussion and engagement, or God forbid, compassion and empathy.

Burn rate bragging

That last 10k did it, Vibram heel worn through. Call me Merrell-killer. Bought these 4 Aug 2014. I wanna get up to 15k before xmas.

William Gibson's The Peripheral

Quarter of the way through The Peripheral, no fucken clue wtf's going on. Halfway through, starting to make sense. Seems to be a feature, not a bug. But not sure this nut's worth the effort to crack. I love all of William Gibson's books in approximately descending order from Neuromancer on down, and even given that, the last trilogy was pretty damn good. But this last one, ehhh, I might just finish reading for the sake of finishing and never come back to it again.

Life and Death

Read the rest of the 5-panel webcomic at constructionpaperandtears.tumblr

Of course I don’t agree, Death is The Enemy. But there’s some resonance in the poetic feeling that deserves unpacking. Death is not the eternal archive of remembrance; Iain M. Banks, Sagan, Feynman, Heinlein, Asimov, they don’t look down upon us from any kind of afterlife, they’re fucking gone, annihilated. Cherishing their memory, legacy, and ideals mitigates the tragedy somewhat, but the keen agony of loss is still real and every bit justified.

We who honor the dead, we are all there is that stands between history and oblivion. If humanity were wiped out, the ecosystem woudn’t care a whit for our legacy, as vines grow over our works. Socrates, Einstein, all would have been for nothing.

Pawns and queens in the game

Quora analysis of chess piece survival rates

Only 6 out of 16 pawns have lower survival rates than queens. And if you're a knight, you're screwed.

Reminds me of The Wire:
"Pawns, man, in the game, they get capped quick, they be out the game early."
"Unless they some smart-ass pawns."

Ambition the film

Ambition, a film from the European Space Agency, with Aidan Gillen being awesome as usual. Headcanon: they're transhuman benders.
Scientists Compete to Hide Bob Dylan Lyrics In Their Research Papers

I should be able to play this game. "Her profession's her religion?" Or "Here comes the (double) blind comissioner?"
Thinking of making this my avatar