Fanfic: “Shot right through with a bold of blue” by mermaid . [Hockey RPS] . [N6,5]

05.04.2014

I was really interested in this AU!Johnny who develops heat vision as a teen and makes it his life mission (besides hockey but more important than hockey) to suppress his power. Only, the main question both Johnny and I had was where did the power come from… this question is referred to but left unexplored without too much angst from Johnny. It is unclear what a supernatural ability that becomes Johnny´s biggest secret and main concern achieves in the story. Having anger issues (which is what causes the heat vision) would have had the same effect of scaring him and others. I was impressed with the way a secret like this changes Johnny, who doesn´t make captain because he is no longer able to criticize others and get involved in arguments and so doesn´t try to coach everybody alive an also the way it interacts with the secret of his sexuality. Great beginning, mediocre ending.



@read in english, *fanfic that could be a book, 2014, hockey rps: patrick/Jonathan, rps fic, 2014: hockey rps fic, *fanfic-novel-2014, +superpowers

"RANDISM: A Psychological Time Bomb" by Monty Heying . [N3]

23.02.2014

I didn't mean to read this, much less review it but the sheer irony of someone writing propaganda without even ONE logical argument about a conspiracy theory by someone obsessed by logic and reason (Ayn Rand) just killed with the stupid. I was not impressed with "Atlas Shrugged", which I never finished but I liked the ideas in "The Fountainhead" (for reason is the awesomest), which is not to say I didn't find some of them highly objectionable or, to be more precise, I found some applications to be sloppy (ie women). Almost everybody who speaks about Rand seems to have completely missed what her books say. To suggest she was a plant and her ideas praising HyperCapitalism (one that is, by its extreme nature, also close to the other extreme that is Anarchism) are a way to destroy regular Capitalism is both ridiculous and true. Ridiculous to assume it is done in the name of Communism, which is as far from Rand's vision as one could possibly get (and quite probably what freaked her out so much in the first place that she developed such an unbending philosophy); but true because Rand does indeed approve of Capitalism as it was, cushioned by the principles of the common good and altruism, and desires instead a system that allows each individual to move freely and express themselves as independently as possible. She calls the individuals capable of this independence "creators" and their need, their egos, are more valuable to her than any good to the general mass of the species. She is not wrong regarding the way independent thinking has been denigrated, praised only when it confirms the status quo and how progress requires conflict, not loyalty. Of course, to use her own metaphor, to get the building finish, you do need a kind of dedication and loyalty, a belief in an architect's vision to be shared, albeit momentarily (and it can be done freely but it rarely is) by others putting into the world. It is not the unthinking loyalty of a slave, though, that achieves the greatest results, and anybody who's taken a job and been given orders without being explained their purpose knows how terrible it feels to be managed as if one is a machine, depriving one's actions of purpose and meaning. It's bad for you and it's bad for your work but it is expected and said to improve efficiency (because machines are more efficient than people, make less mistakes). Except machines (not more advanced computers), by virtue of being nonintelligent, do not improve nor problem solve, so while they keep things steady, they produce no growth. That was Rand's point, second handers will keep things going, but if you want progress, you need creators and creators do NOT do well constrained by societal expectations. Marx was saying pretty much the same thing when he talked of the worker's "alienation", the issue is not that they don't keep the cars, really, but that they don't get to infuse the cars with any part of their own personalities, they don't get to make a mark in the world but simply to be used as parts of someone else's body.

"The Wisdom of Psychopaths" by Kevin Dutton

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton

14.12.13
Page turner (although I admit I listened to the audio version!) and chokeful of interesting tidbits and examples not just about the exceptionally psychopathic but about all humanity along the spectrum (and not). If you are not at all psychopathic (raises hand) then you will definitely be surprised by the processes going on in the minds of people whose very neurology, not just actions and choices, are so profoundly different and, ultimately, outside your realm of experience (Unless, like the author, you get to try out being a psychopath for an hour!).

Collected all the quotes, as usual.


[Spoiler (click to open)]

The results couldn’t have been clearer: shoppers in the “low mood” condition remembered nearly four times as many of the knickknacks. The rain made them sad, and their sadness made them pay more attention. Moral of the story? When the weather’s nice, be sure to check your change.

When you go down the road of disorders conferring advantages, of clouds, silver linings, and psychological consolation prizes, it’s difficult to conceive of a condition that doesn’t pay off—at least in some form or another. Obsessive-compulsive? You’re never going to leave the gas on. Paranoid? You’ll never fall afoul of the small print. In fact, fear and sadness—anxiety and depression—constitute two of the five basic emotions1 that are found universally across cultures, and that, as such, virtually all of us experience at some point in our lives. But there’s one group of people who are the exception to the rule, who don’t experience either—even under the most difficult and trying of circumstances. Psychopaths. A psychopath wouldn’t worry even if he had left the gas on.2 Any silver linings there?

Put this question to a psychopath and, more often than not, he’ll look at you as if you’re the one who’s crazy. To a psychopath, you see, there are no such things as clouds. There are only silver linings. The fiendish observation that a year consists of twelve months, not eleven, might well have put one hell of a kibosh on selling those datebooks, you’d think. But not to my dad, it didn’t. Quite the reverse, in fact. He saw it as a selling point.

He’s certainly not alone. Nor, some might argue, is he too far off the mark. During the course of my research I’ve met a great many psychopaths from all walks of life—not just within my own family. Sure, behind closed doors I’ve encountered my fair share of Hannibal Lecters and Ted Bundys: remorseless, unconscionable A-listers who could dine at any psychopath table you care to mention without even picking up the phone—by just showing up. But I’ve also met psychopaths who, far from devouring society from within, serve, through nerveless poise and hard-as-nails decision making, to protect and enrich it instead: surgeons, soldiers, spies, entrepreneurs—dare I say, even lawyers. “Don’t get too cocky. No matter how good you are. Don’t let them see you coming,” counseled Al Pacino as the head attorney of a top law firm in the film The Devil’s Advocate. “That’s the gaff, my friend—make yourself small. Be the hick. The cripple. The nerd. The leper. The freak. Look at me—I’ve been underestimated from day one.” Pacino was playing the Devil. And—not surprisingly, perhaps—he hit the nail right on the head. If there’s one thing that psychopaths have in common, it’s the consummate ability to pass themselves off as normal everyday folk, while behind the facade—the brutal, brilliant disguise—beats the refrigerated heart of a ruthless, glacial predator.

As one hugely successful young attorney told me on the balcony of his penthouse apartment overlooking the Thames: “Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere. But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.”

Ever so slowly, I moved away from the edge.

This aerial encounter with the young lawyer (he later ran me back to my hotel downriver in his speedboat) goes some way toward illustrating a theory I have about psychopaths: that one of the reasons we’re so fascinated by them is because we’re fascinated by illusions, by things that appear, on the surface, to be normal, yet that on closer examination turn out to be anything but. Amyciaea lineatipes is a species of arachnid that mimics the physical appearance of the ants on which it preys. Only when it is too late are its victims finally disabused of the notion that they’re good judges of character. Many people I’ve interviewed know exactly how that feels. And they, believe me, are the lucky ones.

Take a look at the picture below. How many soccer balls can you see? Six? Take another look. Still six? Turn to the end of the preface and you’ll find the answer at the bottom.

Yet alongside the challenge to our existential comfort zones, these two accounts also conceal, deep within the lining of their tragedies, a rather odd paradox. The fact that conformity is built into our brains is about as nailed down an evolutionary certainty as you can get. When a herd animal is threatened by a predator, what does it do? It huddles closer to the group. As individual salience decreases, chances of survival increase. This is just as true in humans as it is in other species. Streaming behind our supersonic, turbocharged brains are ancient Darwinian vapor trails stretching all the way back to the brutal, blood-soaked killing fields of prehistory. In an experiment, for instance, that hitched the latest in social networking to its earliest biological origins, social psychologist Vladas Griskevicius, then at Arizona State University, and his coworkers found that when users of an Internet chat room are made to feel under threat, they show signs of “sticking together.” Their views display convergence, and they become more likely to conform to the attitudes and opinions of others in the forum.

“Prison,” elucidates Barry, “is a hostile environment. It has a different set of rules than the outside world. It’s a community within a community. If you don’t stand up and be counted, someone can move in on you any time they want. So you have to do something about it. You don’t have to keep taking people out. That ain’t the way it works. Once or twice is usually enough. You do it once or twice and word soon gets round: Don’t mess with these guys. Prevention, is what I’m saying, is better than cure. Carpe noctem.”

Barry’s point about conflict resolution is an interesting one, and is echoed, in not so many words, by the incarcerated record producer Phil Spector. “Better to have a gun and not need it,” the Magnum-toting screwball once expounded, “than to need a gun and not have it” (though whether he still believes that today is anybody’s guess). A more nuanced position is taken by the Chinese military strategist of the sixth century B.C.,

Sun Tzu. “To subdue the enemy without fighting,” wrote Sun, “is the highest skill”—a skill, as we saw just a moment or so ago with Jim and Buzz, that’s both hard to fake and unequivocally rooted in confidence. Not a false confidence based on bravado. But a real confidence based on belief.

Here’s Dean Petersen, an ex–Special Forces soldier turned martial arts instructor: “Sometimes, when you’re in a hostile situation, your best option is to match the aggressive intentions of a potentially violent individual. And then go one step beyond them. Raise them, in other words, to use a poker analogy. Only then, once you’ve gained the psychological ascendancy, shown them … hinted … who’s boss, can you begin to talk them down.”

How better to assert your authority than by convincing prospective challengers that they’re beaten before they start?

Barry’s argument has wider implications, too—for the selection, not just of ruthlessness, but of other psychopathic characteristics such as fearlessness and superficial charm. Conflict, it transpires, isn’t the only means of establishing dominance in the natural world. Back in the days of our ancestors, survival, just as in prison, didn’t come cheap. Although group membership constituted a significant chunk of the price tag, communities also placed a surprisingly high premium on risk takers.

One observes a similar dynamic in monkeys still today. Male chimpanzees (our closest living relative, with whom we share 96 percent of our DNA) will compete through “magnanimity”: through the direction of unsolicited altruism toward subordinates. Such magnanimity is usually gastronomic in nature: enduring danger to provide the troop with food, sharing out the proceeds of one’s own kills charitably, and confiscating those of others for the purposes of reallocation.

As the primatologist Frans de Waal points out, “Instead of dominants standing out because of what they take, they affirm their position by what they give.”

Of equal note are those primates who vie with one another for status through “public service” or “leadership”—by facilitating cooperation within the group, or, if you prefer, through charisma, persuasion, and charm. Dominant chimpanzees, stump-tailed monkeys, and gorillas all compete by intervening in disputes among subordinates. Yet, contrary to expectation, such intervention does not, by default, automatically favor family and friends. It is implemented, as de Waal observes, “on the basis of how best to restore peace.”

Consequently, de Waal continues, rather than decentralizing conflict resolution, “the group looks for the most effective arbitrator in its midst, then throws its weight behind this individual to give him a broad base of support for guaranteeing peace and order.”

Ruthlessness. Fearlessness. Persuasiveness. Charm. A deadly combination—yet also, at times, a lifesaving one. Have the killers of today enjoyed a sneaky evolutionary piggyback on the prowess of yesterday’s peacemakers? It may not be beyond the bounds of possibility—though violence, of course, isn’t exactly new.

Yet it is precisely this simplification, this behavioral polarization, which lends such a model its power. Pure unconditional aggression and pure unconditional capitulation are destined to fail as strategies of social exchange in a society of multiple interaction and mutual dependence. In what essentially amounts to a peripatetic seesaw effect, each strategy is vulnerable to exploitation by the other once one has gained the ascendancy: once the proponents of one strategy become enough of a mob to be parasitized by those of the competing strategy. To coin a phrase from the sociobiology lexicon: as strategies for survival, neither unqualified cooperation nor unqualified competition may be regarded as evolutionarily stable.6 Both may be trumped by invading or mutating counterstrategies.

including, in some cases, the queen, in order to a

“Most folk you come across pay no attention to what they say when they’re talking to you. Once out, the words are gone. But a grifter will zone in on everything … Like therapy, you’re trying to get inside the person. Figure out who they are from the little things. And it’s always the little things. The devil’s in the detail … You get them to open up. Usually by telling them something about yourself first—a good grifter always has a narrative. And then immediately change the subject. Randomly. Abruptly. It can be anything … some thought that just occurred to you out of the blue or whatever … anything to interrupt the flow of conversation. Nine times out of ten the person will completely forget what they’ve just said.

        “Then you can get to work—not right away, you need to be patient. But a month or two later. You modify whatever it is, whatever the hell they’ve told you—you tend to know instantly where the pressure points are—and then tell the story back as if it were your own. Bam! From that point on, you can pretty much take what you want.

        “I’ll give you an example … [One guy is] rich, successful, works like a dog … When he’s a kid, he comes home from school to find his record collection gone. His pop’s a bum and has sold it to stock up his liquor cabinet. He’s been collecting these records for years.

        “So wait, I think. You’re telling me this after, what, three or four hours in a bar? There’s something going down. Then I get it. So that’s why you work so goddamned hard, I think. It’s because of your pappy. You’re scared. You’re life’s been on hold all these years. You’re not a CEO. You’re that scared little kid. The one who’s going to come home from school one day and find your record collection is history.

        “Jesus, I think! That’s hilarious! So guess what? A couple of weeks later I tell him what happened to me. How I get home from work one night and find my wife in bed with the boss. How she files for divorce. And cleans me out.”

        Morant pauses, and pours us some more champagne.

        “Total bullshit!” he laughs. “But you know what? I did that guy a favor. Put him out of his misery. What do they say—the best way to overcome your fears is to confront them? Well, someone had to be Daddy.”

        Morant’s words are chilling. Even more so when you hear them firsthand. At close quarters. I distinctly remember our meeting in New Orleans, and how I felt at the time. Violated, but captivated. Enthralled, but creeped out—much like the clinicians and law enforcement agents that Reid Meloy interviewed, back in chapter 1. I was under precious few illusions as to the kind of man I was dealing with, despite his style and the millionaire yachtsman vibe. Here, in all his glory, was a psychopath. A predatory social chameleon. As the champagne flowed, and the slow southern twilight glinted off his Rolex, he would colonize your brain synapse by synapse without even breaking a sweat. And without your even knowing.

        And yet, as a psychologist I saw the simple, ruthless genius in what Morant was saying. His modus operandi adheres to strict scientific principles. Research shows that one of the best ways of getting people to tell you about themselves is to tell them something about yourself. Self-disclosure meets reciprocity. Research also shows that if you want to stop someone from remembering something, the key is to use distraction. And, above all, to use it fast.4 And in clinical psychology, there comes a point in virtually every therapeutic intervention where the therapist strikes gold: uncovers a time, a defining moment or incident, that either precipitates the underlying problem or encapsulates it, or both. And this doesn’t just apply to dysfunction. Core personality structures, interpersonal styles, personal values—all these things are often best revealed in the small print of people’s lives.

“There has been a long tradition of research on psychopathy that has focused on the lack of sensitivity to punishment and a lack of fear,” comments David Zald, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry, and coauthor of the study. “But those traits are not particularly good predictors of violence, or criminal behavior … These individuals appear to have such a strong draw to reward—to the carrot—that it overwhelms the sense of risk or concern about the stick … It’s not just that they don’t appreciate the potential threat, but that the anticipation or motivation for reward overwhelms those concerns.”

High PPI scorers—specifically, those who scored high on the “Coldheartedness” subscale of the questionnaire, the subscale that most directly taps into empathy—in fact showed greater attenuation of the TMS response than low scorers, suggesting that psychopaths, rather than having an impairment in recognizing the emotions of others, indeed have a talent for it. And that the problem lies not in emotional recognition per se, but in the dissociation between its sensory and affective components: in the disconnect between knowing what an emotion is and feeling what it’s like.

        Psychologist Abigail Baird has discovered something similar. In an emotion recognition task using fMRI, she found that while volunteers scoring high on the PPI showed reduced amygdala activity compared to low scorers when matching faces with similar emotional expressions (consonant with a deficit in emotional processing), they also displayed increased activity in both the visual and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices—indicative, as Baird and her team point out, of “high-scoring participants relying on regions associated with perception and cognition to do the emotion recognition task.”

        One psychopath I spoke to put it like this. “Even the color-blind,” he said, “know when to stop at a traffic light.

Moreover, the experts rated the acupuncture displays as significantly less unpleasant than the controls did—reminiscent of numerous laboratory findings showing attenuated physiological responses (e.g., heart rate, galvanic skin response [GSR], and cortisol levels) in psychopaths on presentation of fearful, disgusting, or erotic stimuli—and in the face of arduous social stress tests, such as the Trier.11 What the expert acquires through experience, psychopaths have from the start.

         Precisely why this downturn in social values should have come about is not entirely clear. A complex concatenation of environment, role models, and education is, as usual, doing the rounds. But the beginnings of an even more fundamental answer may lie in another study conducted by Jeffrey Zacks and his team at the Dynamic Cognition Laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis. With the aid of fMRI, Zacks and his coauthors peered deep inside the brains of a bunch of volunteers as they read stories. What they found provided an intriguing insight into the way our brain constructs our sense of self. Changes in characters’ locations (e.g., “went out of the house into the street”) were associated with increased activity in regions of the temporal lobes involved in spatial orientation and perception, while changes in the objects a character interacted with (e.g., “picked up a pencil”) produced a similar increase in a region of the frontal lobes known to be important for controlling grasping motions. Most important of all, however, changes in a character’s goal elicited increased activation in areas of the prefrontal cortex, damage to which results in impaired knowledge of the order and structure of planned, intentional action.

        Imagining, it would seem, really does make it so. Whenever we read a story, our level of engagement with it is such that we “mentally simulate each new situation encountered in a narrative,” according to lead researcher Nicole Speer. Our brains then interweave these newly encountered situations with knowledge and experience gleaned from our own lives, to create an organic mosaic of dynamic mental syntheses.

        Reading a book carves brand new neural pathways into the ancient cortical bedrock of our brains. It transforms the way we see the world. Makes us, as Nicholas Carr puts it in his recent essay “The Dreams of Readers,” “more alert to the inner lives of others.” We become vampires without being bitten—in other words, more empathic. Books make us see in a way that casual immersion in the Internet, and the quicksilver virtual world it offers, doesn’t.2

. Boys who are abused or neglected, and who possess a variation of the gene that codes for low levels of MAOA, are at an increased risk, as they get older, of turning into violent psychopaths. On the other hand, those coming from a similarly dysfunctional background, but who produce more of the enzyme, rarely develop such problems.

        The implications of the discovery have percolated into the courtroom, and could completely rewrite the fundamental rules of crime and punishment. Whether we’re “good” or whether we’re “bad” lies partly in our genes, and partly in our environment. But since we don’t choose either, are we free to choose at all?

         I suddenly get a flash of insight. We talk about gender. We talk about class. We talk about color. And intelligence. And creed. But the most fundamental difference between one individual and another must surely be that of the presence, or absence, of conscience. Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels good. But what if it’s as tough as old boots? What if one’s conscience has an infinite, unlimited pain threshold and doesn’t bat an eye when others are screaming in agony?

        Ahem. Even more important: will my prosthetic psychopath implants make me cooler than Andy McNab?

        Back in the chair, wired up to the counters and bleepers, I sit through the horror show again: the images modified, so as to avoid habituation. This time, however, it’s a completely different story. “I know the guy before me found these images nauseating,” I hear myself saying. “But actually, to be honest, this time round I’m finding it hard to suppress a smile.”

        The lines and squiggles corroborate my confession. Whereas previously, such was my level of arousal that it was pretty much a minor miracle that the state-of-the-art EEG printer hadn’t blown up and burst into flames, my brain activity after the psychopath makeover is significantly reduced. Perhaps not quite as genteelly undulating as Andy’s. But getting there, certainly. Not a New York skyscraper in sight.

With his immaculately coiffured blond locks and his impeccable cut-glass accent, he looks and sounds like an authority. “People are as nice as you make them,” he enunciates. “Which, of course, gives you a heck of a lot of power over them.”

        Leslie also has a good take on focus, especially when it comes to getting what you want. The master realized from a rather young age that what went on in his head obeyed a different set of operating principles compared with most—and he used that knowledge to his own inexorable advantage.

        “When I was a kid at school, I tended to avoid fisticuffs,” he tells me. “Same as I do as an adult. Rather like Jamie, I suppose.”

        Jamie smiles, with more than a hint of wry self-approbation.

        “You see, I figured out pretty early on that, actually, the reason why people don’t get their own way is because they often don’t know themselves where that way leads. They get too caught up in the heat of the moment and temporarily go off track. At that point, the dynamic changes. That’s when things become not just about getting what you want. But about being seen to get what you want. About winning.

        “Jamie was talking about boxing there a minute ago. Well, I once heard a great quote from one of the top trainers. He said that if you climb into the ring hell-bent on knocking the other chap into the middle of next week, chances are you’re going to come unstuck. But if, on the other hand, you concentrate on winning the fight, simply focus on doing your job, well, you might just knock him into the middle of next week anyway.”

        Leslie’s words make perfect sense to me, and remind me of an encounter that took place several years ago—one in which vengeance and violence might easily have come into the equation, but where charm and focus won the day instead.

         “It’s not the violence that breaks you,” he elucidates. “It’s the threat of violence. That carcinogenic thought process that something terrible is going to happen. And that it’s just around the corner.”

         “One approach,” Mark explains, “might be to take the person on a plane and seat them next to a flying buff. You know, someone who absolutely loves being up in the air. Then, midflight, you hand them a pair of brain scans. One of them depicts a happy brain. The other one depicts an anxious brain. A brain in a state of terror.

        “ ‘This pair of pictures,’ you tell them, ‘represents exactly what’s going on in each of your heads right now, at this precise moment in time. So obviously, because they’re so different, neither of them really means anything, do they? Neither of them predicts the physical state of the plane.

        “ ‘That truth is in the engines.

        “ ‘So, what do they signify?’ you ask them. ‘Well,’ you explain, ‘what, in fact, they do represent is … precisely what you’re holding in your hands. A brain state. Nothing more. Nothing less. What you’re feeling is simply just that. A feeling. A neural network, an electrical ensemble, a chemical configuration, caused by thoughts in your head that drift in and out, that come and go, like clouds.

        “ ‘Now, if you can bring yourself round to somehow accepting that fact; to dispassionately observe your inner virtual reality; to let the clouds float by, to let their shadows fall and linger where they please, and focus, instead, on what’s going on around you—each pixelated second of each ambient sound and sensation—then eventually, over time, your condition should begin to improve.’ ”

. Logically, of course, the right thing to do was to invest in every round. But as the game panned out, some of the participants began declining the opportunity to gamble, preferring instead to conserve their winnings. They began, in other words, to “live in the past”—allowing, in Don’s words, members of their brain’s emotional executive committee to knock on the door of the decision-making boardroom. Bad move.

        But other participants continued to live in the present. And, at the conclusion of the study, boasted a pretty healthy profit margin. These “functional psychopaths,” as Antoine Bechara referred to them—individuals who are either better at regulating their emotions than others or, alternatively, don’t experience them to the same degree of intensity—continued to invest and treated each new round as if it were the first.

        Oddly enough, they went from strength to strength. And, exactly as Don would have predicted (indeed, did predict when I told him about the experiment), wiped the floor with their cagier, more risk-averse rivals.

Of course, living in the past is just one side of the equation. Living in the future, getting “ahead of ourselves,” allowing our imagination to run riot—as mine had done under that pallet of reinforced concrete, or whatever the hell it was—can be equally incapacitating. Studies, for instance, of cognitive and emotional focus in the context of dysfunctional decision making have shown that whenever we evaluate common, everyday behaviors—things like diving into a swimming pool, or picking up the phone and delivering bad news—the imagined, potential reality is significantly more discomfiting than the real one.

        Which explains, of course, our unquenchable urge to procrastinate much of the time.

        But psychopaths never procrastinate.

        Just one of the reasons why, if you recall the words of Richard Blake from earlier, my host at Broadmoor and one of the clinical team in the Paddock Centre, they tend to excel at activities on the ward. Psychopaths need to do something. Nothing just isn’t an option.

        “Feeling good is an emergency for me,” Danny had commented, as he’d slammed in his fourth goal for Chelsea. “I like to ride the roller coaster of life, spin the roulette wheel of fortune, to terminal possibility.”

        He frowned, and adjusted his baseball cap.

        “Or at least I did”—he shrugged—“till I got in here.”

        Coming from a psychopath, it’s not an untypical statement—one we could all perhaps do with taking on board just that little bit more in our lives.

        “When I was a kid,” Larry tells me, “we used to go on holiday every year to Hastings. One day—I’ll never forget it—I watched my sister playing in the sea, and this big wave came in and hit her. She ran out crying, and that was that. She never went in again. When I saw what had happened—and I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight at the time—I remember thinking to myself: ‘If you stand where the waves break, you’re going to get hurt. So you’ve got two choices. You can either stay on the shore and not go in at all. Or you can go out further so the waves lift you up and then crash and break behind you.’ ”

        Jamie gets to his feet.

        “The secret, of course, is not to go out too far,” he grunts. “Otherwise you wash up in this place.”



"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

16.11.2013


I had heard bad things about TSoA, when I picked it up at the local library I could not remember what those were but after a couple of pages I decided to keep going. I am not much of a historical fiction fan but definitely enjoy M/M love stories so all in all, the plot was attractive. I did not expect, despite knowing the myth it is based on, to end up weeping and clutching my book in desperation. I also did not expect to finish the book so fast, what with work and other books I am reading simultaneously but if one thing must be said for The Song of Achilles is that it is readable, the kind of story that will not let go of you. Part of it it´s its mythic power, the fact that a retelling always feels closer and more personal to a reader aware of the original. Like a rumour finally clarified into truth, a secret spilled in its totality... but another part is Miller´s skill with language. It is true that sometimes her poetic narrator seems to go a bit far with his metaphors but, although I did not find all of them moving, focalized through his personality I found them believable.

One thing I would have liked is to have seen more of Achilles. Patroclus whole universe revolves around him and yet, Achilles rarely gets any words printed. He is what Patroclus thinks he is, not a person on his own right. In a way this reflects the way the myth creates the characters but although I believe Patroclus loves him, I can´t seem to share in the sentiment because Achilles is, simply, too far. Patroclus himself, on the other hand, as well as many other characters in considerable less depth (Tethis, Odysseus) become individuals but not so his philtatos.
BEST THING EVER

"The Haunting" by Margaret Mahy



29.09.2013



This is such a lovely novella. It's told from the perspective of young Barney, for whom his family is the center of his world. Barney adores his step-mother and is a bit in awe of both his older sisters, loud future novelist Tabitha and silent bookish Troy. Barney's real issue is that he is being haunted by a recently rediscovered grand-uncle, Cole but the way the haunting is dealt with is the way any problem a child of eight has is deal with, you tell your siblings and your parents and they help you.
[mild general spoilers]





The good stepmother, the decisive girls and the shy sensitive boy, all make for wonderful role reversals but Mahy doesn't overdo it either. The wonderful stepmother is pregnant and a stay-at-home-parent and the father is distant in a way that is no longer acceptable but was standard at the time. The family relationships are so complex you end up feeling you've read a saga when the book does not get even close to 200 pages.




[quotes]



“If people fainted from too much thinking I’d scarcely ever be conscious,” Tabitha began at once. “I think and think all the time, and I’ve never fainted – not once.” She looked over at Barney enviously. “Why do the best things always happen to other people and not to a promising writer?” 8



“Honestly, Tabitha, the sooner your novel is written and published the better,” Claire said crispl, seeing Barney was made uncomfortable by these comments. “No more talking about Barney’s faint. He’s better now – that’s the main thing.”

“Ok- let’s talk about funerals,” Tabitha replied at once.  Page 9



“You won’t forget that,” Claire assured her.

“I like things written down,” Tabitha mumbled. “Then you’ve got them for good.” Page 15



“Fattening!” said Troy, looking at Tabitha’s round face and plump arms.

“If I don’t mind being fat, I don’t see why other people should feel they’ve got to mind for me,” Tabitha replied cheerfully. “And pies have got some food value – they’ve got vitamins or something, haven’t they, Claire?” Page 17



Your Barney?” Cole’s eyebrows shot up. “Yours?”

“He’s mine all right!” Claire replied. “Everyone in this family belongs to everyone else – belongs with everyone else, rather. I’ve looked after him for a year now – ironed his shirts, made his school lunches, told him stories. I made that dressing gown he’s wearing, whereas no one knew you were alive this time last week. But what matters most is that he wants to be ours and he doesn’t want to be yours. That’s what counts.” Page 106

“…But don’t be late, Troy, or I’ll…” She hesitated and laughed, not entirely happily. “I don’t suppose I’ll ever need to worry about you again, will I? I don’t suppose I’ve ever needed to worry over a magician.”

“There are always car accidents,” Tabitha declared cheerfully. “A car could come around the corner and… wallop! You’d need a terrific magician to get out of that one…”

“Or eagles dropping tortoises,” Troy added, looking amused. “That happened in Ancient Greece, you know. An eagle dropped a tortoise on some dramatist and killed him.”

“No eagles or tortoises here,” said Tabitha, “but a bit could fall off a plane.”

Page 124-5



“I don’t want to spin the world,” Barney said. “I don’t know what I want, but I do know it’s not that.”

“Nor do i!” Claire shook her head. “Poor Troy” If you can do almost anything, it’s all the harder to choose the right thing to do. Poor Cole, too – coming in like a lion and then staying like a pet lamb. I suppose if most of us were asked, we’d think that magicians would be free of care, but somehow or other there are always rules.”

Page 134


Poem: There's No Islands, Any More by Edna St. Vincent Millay

13.07.2013





Very sad... I'm not sure if it's sadder that there are no islands or that people didn't (and don't realise) because we all need our islands so badly, to be alone, to hide, to recover somehow after facing a world that does not give a fuck.





The poem:[Spoiler (click to open)]















http://www.arlindo-correia.com/060800.html







'There Are No Islands, Any More'







By EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY















"Lines Written in Passion and in Deep Concern for England, France and My Own Country"















Dear Isolationist, you are







So very, very insular!







Surely you do not take offense?-







The word's well used in such a sense.







'Tis you, not I, sir, who insist







You are an Isolationist.















And oh, how sweet a thing to be







Safe on an island, not at sea!







(Though some one said, some months ago-







I heard him, and he seemed to know;







Was it the German Chancellor?







"There are no islands anymore.")























Dear Islander, I envy you:







I'm very fond of islands, too;







And few the pleasures I have known







Which equaled being left alone.







Yet matters from without intrude







At times upon my solitude:







A forest fire, a dog run mad,







A neighbor stripped of all he had







By swindlers, or the shrieking plea







For help, of stabbed Democracy.















Startled, I rise, run from the room,







Join the brigade of spade and broom;







Help to surround the sickened beast;







Hear the account of farmers fleeced







By dapper men, condole, and give







Something to help them hope and live;







Or, if democracy's at stake,







Give more, give more than I can make;







And notice, with a rueful grin,







What was without is now within.















(The tidal wave devours the shore:







There are no islands any more.)















With sobbing breath, with blistered hands,







Men fight the forest fire in bands;







With kitchen broom, with branch of pine,







Beat at the blackened, treacherous line;







Before the veering wind fall back,







With eyebrows burnt and faces black;







While breasts in blackened streams perspire.







Watch how the wind runs with the fire







Like a broad banner up the hill-







And can no more... yet more must still.















New life!-To hear across the field







Voices of neighbours, forms concealed







By smoke, but loud the nearing shout:







"Hold on! We're coming! Here it's out!"















(The tidal wave devours the shore:







There are no islands any more.)















This little life from here to there-







Who lives it safely anywhere?







Not you, my insulated friend:







What calm composure will defend







Your rock, when tides you've never seen







Assault the sands of What-has-been,







And from your island's tallest tree,







You watch advance What-is-to-be?















(The tidal wave devours the shore:







There are no islands any more.)















Sweet, sweet, to see the tide approach,







Assured that it cannot encroach







Upon the beach-peas, often wet







With spray, never uprooted yet.







The moon said-did she not speak true?-







"The waves will not awaken you.







At my command the waves retire.







Sleep, weary mind; dream, heart's desire."















And yet, there was a Danish king







So sure he governed everything







He bade the ocean not to rise.







It did. And great was his surprise.















No man, no nation, is made free







By stating it intends to be.







Jostled and elbowed is the clown







Who thinks to walk alone in town.















We live upon a shrinking sphere-







Like it or not, our home is here;







Brave heart, uncomprehending brain







Could make it seem like home again.















(There are no islands any more.







The tide that mounts our drowsy shore







Is boats and men-there is no place







For waves in such a crowded space.















Oh, let us give, before too late,







To those who hold our country's fate







Along with theirs-be sure of this-







In grimy hands-that will not miss







The target, if we stand beside







Loading the guns-(resentment, pride,







Debts torn across with insolent word-







All this forgotten, or deferred







At least until there's time for strife







Concerning things less dear than Life;







Than let, if must be, in the brain







Resentment rankle once again,







Quibbling and Squabbling take the floor,







Cool Judgment go to sleep once more.)















On English soil, on French terrain,







Democracy's at grips again







With forces forged to stamp it out







This time no quarter!-since no doubt.















Not France, not England's what's involved,







Not we, --there's something to be solved







Of grave concern to free men all:







Can Freedom stand? -Must Freedom fall?















(Meantime, the tide devours the shore:







There are no islands any more.)















Oh, build, assemble, transport, give,







That England, France and we may live,







Before tonight, before too late,







To those who build our country's fate







In desperate fingers, reaching out







For weapons we confer about,







All that we can, and more, and now!







Oh, God, let not the lovely brow







Of Freedom in the trampled mud







Grow cold! Have we no brains, no blood,







No enterprise-no any thing







Of which we proudly talk and sing,







Which we like men can bring to bear







For Freedom, and against Despair?















Lest French and British fighters, deep







In battle, needing guns and sleep,







For lack of aid be overthrown







And we be left to fight alone.















The New York Times is indebted to Edna St. Vincent Millay, distinguished poetess, for the poem printed above, which she has submitted to several newspapers
































“The Raven King” by Nora Sakavic . [book 2 of the All For One trilogy] . [N7,5



12.07.2013

First, this is the sequel to ‘The Foxhole Court’ and there is no point in you reading it without reading that, which is *free*, first.

I do feel The Raven King is weaker, overall, than The Foxhole Court, the introductory chapter with all the backstory infodump seriously worried me (it’s cool to write a sequel, it helps nobody to give a few reminders of who everybody is, if you really must, make a character index but don’t bog the narrative down. It’s not helpful to completely new readers and it feels super awkward to your fans) and the story is so captivating I had forgotten the writing is not 10 points, which is not to say it's bad either, of course, just not as graceful and polished as it could be. Plot wise I am mightily impressed, though, maybe because I am not a plot person and this was not simply well thought logistically but had lots of character development embedded into it. The way the relationships and the development fed each other was... awesome. For me, Andrew sometimes toed the line characterisation wise, but of course there is a coherence to madness and instability and Neil is far from understanding what makes him tick. I’m dying to see him sober.



*ALL THE SPOILERS BEHIND THE CUT*

[Spoiler (click to open)]

I am not sure about the ending, why do they let Neil leave? Is it a scheme to return him super fucked up so he can fuck up the Foxes in turn? And how does he get anywhere if he's so out of it? I got the feeling they actually sent him a return ticket in the first place, was that to fuck with him?



The Andrew-Neil relationship is getting way more interesting, too, like, Andrew is still insane but he's no longer impenetrable to Neil (Nathaniel is such a pretty name, and I hate Abraam. In any case I wonder about all the Biblical names, do they mean anything?). Of course, now that Neil's opening up I don't see how much longer he's going to be able to function at all, with everything he's been repressing and for how long... I was also totally with Kevin when they wanted to put Andrew away and I felt like the worst person ever when I really thought about it but... EZY. I care way too much about this stupid sport that doesn't even exist.



Quotes:



"Oh, you just might be the best thing to happen to the Foxes."

"I doubt that."

"I don't." Nicky beamed as he let go of Neil. "How did you do it?"

Neil neatly excised ninety percent of the truth and said, "I asked."





  

Seeing Voices: A Journey into the world of the Deaf by Oliver Sacks . [Non-fiction]









15.06.2013

Published June 1989, the year after the Gallaudet University revolution.

Interesting but pretty basic. Good for me since I haven’t read much on the topic at all and it references other material (David Wright’s autobiography, for example) and gives enough of a basic history to give a casual reader a basic understanding. I’m quite sorry to have listened to the audio version since it skips most of the footnotes, which are the most interesting part of the book for me! It’s a short-book in any case (64.000 words) and Sacks is a very readable writer.



The pathos is a bit too obvious, although undoubtedly the situation was (and sometimes is) quite dire for deaf people and it made me all teary eyed anyway. Still, it might well be that old cochlear implants were pretty much useless to make a deaf person into a hearing one, unlike current ones. See my review of Sound and Fury for more on that.



Another criticism to be made is that Sacks, like all Usian writers, is pretty USA-centric. Although there are appropriate comparisons to other countries and some history of the French tradition from which the Usian tradition originated with Clerc and Gallaudet and in the footnotes I did read interesting references to the very advanced organization of education for the deaf in countries like Venezuela and Uruguay (check the quotes) so it is possible that there is more about other countries in the ones I have not read but the bibliography is pretty much all Usian (I’m including it here, too).



I find it a bit confusing how there’s proof that every sign language is a separate language and the level of intelligibility is so high that two random signers of any language will get by with each other and be able to have conversations in a couple weeks.





[Quotes]



* More remarkable, in a sense, was the indifferent or hostile reaction of the deaf themselves, whom one might have thought would have been the first to see and welcome Stokoe’s insights. There are intriguing descriptions of this—and of later ‘conversions’—provided by former colleagues of Stokoe, and others, all of whom were themselves native signers, either deaf or born of deaf parents. Would not a signer be the first to see the structural complexity of his own language? But it was precisely signers who were most uncomprehending, or most resistant to Stokoe’s notions. Thus Gilbert Eastman (later to become an eminent Sign playwright, and a most ardent supporter of Stokoe’s) tells us, ‘My colleagues and I laughed at Dr. Stokoe and his crazy project. It was impossible to analyze our Sign Language.’

The reasons for this are complex and deep and may not have any parallel in the hearing-speaking world. For we (99.9 percent of us) take speech and spoken language for granted; we have no special interest in speech, we never give it a second thought, nor do we care whether it is analyzed or not. But it is profoundly different for the deaf and Sign. They have a special, intense feeling for their own language: they tend to extol it in tender, reverent terms (and have done so since Desloges, in 1779). The deaf feel Sign as a most intimate, indissociable part of their being, as something they depend on, and also, frighteningly, as something that may be taken from them at any time I would think the similarities to immigrants and their own languages is quite obvious here but Sacks is probably monolingual and did not think of the obvious parallel (as it was, in a way, by the Milan conference in 1880). They are, as Padden and Humphries say, suspicious of ‘the science of others,’ which they feel may overpower their own knowledge of Sign, a knowledge that is ‘impressionistic, global, and not internally analytic.’ Yet, paradoxically, with all this reverent feeling, they have often shared the hearing’s incomprehension or depreciation of Sign. (One of the things that most impressed Bellugi, when she launched on her own studies, was that the deaf themselves, while native signers, often had no idea of the grammar or inner structure of Sign and tended to see it as pantomime.)

And yet, perhaps, this is not so surprising. There is an old proverb that fish are the last to recognize water. And for signers, Sign is their medium and water, so familiar and natural to them, as to need no explanation. The users of a language, above all, will tend to a naive realism, to see their language as a reflection of reality, not as a construct. ‘The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity,’ Wittgenstein says. Thus it may take an outside view to show the native users of a language that their own utterances, which appear so simple and transparent to themselves, are, in fact, enormously complex and contain and conceal the vast apparatus of a true language. Again the foreign language perspective is obvious, also why I believe non-natives to implicitly have better skills to teach the language than natives at all but very advanced levels (What is the use of a native to teach a kid the verb ‘to be’?) This is precisely what happened with Stokoe and the deaf—and it is put clearly by Louie Fant: 158





* 158. Fant, 1980.

Like most children of deaf parents, I grew up with no conscious awareness that ASL was a language. It was not until my mid-thirties that I was relieved of this misconception. My enlightenment came from people who were not native users of ASL—who had come into the field of deafness with no preconceived notions, and bound to no points of view regarding deaf people and their language. They looked at the signed language of the deaf with fresh eyes.





* But there has not yet been in the United States any official attempt to provide deaf children with a bilingual education—there have only been small pilot experiments (like that reported by Michael Strong in Strong, 1988). And yet, in contrast, as Robert Johnson observes, there has been a widespread and successful use of bilingual education in Venezuela, where this is a national policy and increasing numbers of deaf adults are being recruited as aides and teachers (Johnson, personal communication). Venezuelan schools have daycare centers where deaf children and infants are sent as early as they are diagnosed, to be exposed to deaf signing adults until they are old enough to go to nursery and grade schools, where they are instructed bilingually. A similar system has been set up in Uruguay. Both of these South American programs have already achieved notable success and hold out great promise for the future—they are, unfortunately, as yet virtually unknown to American and European educators (but see Johnson, Liddell, and Erting, 1989). The only other countries with bilingual programs for the deaf are Sweden and Denmark—where the native sign languages are officially recognized as ‘mother tongues’ of the deaf. All of these show very clearly that one can learn to read perfectly well without speaking and that ‘total communication’ is not a necessary intermediate between oral education and bilingual education.

[Selected bibliography]SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY



HISTORY OF THE DEAF




The fullest history of deaf people, from their liberation in the 1750’s to the (deadly) Milan conference of 1880, is given in Harlan Lane's When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf.



Excerpts from autobiographies of the first literate deaf and their teachers, during this period, are to be found in Harlan Lane, ed.,



The Deaf Experience: Classics in Language and Education, translated by Franklin Philip.



A pleasant, informal history of the deaf, full of personal vignettes and fascinating illustrations, is provided by Jack R. Gannon in Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America.



Edward Gallaudet himself wrote a half-autobiographical history of Gallaudet College, History of the College for the Deaf, 1857-1907.



A remarkably informative and lengthy article, under the heading of "Deaf and Dumb," may be found in the "scholars' " (11th) edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.







ISLANDS OF THE DEAF



An extremely vivid, poignant account of the unique Martha's Vineyard community is Nora Ellen Groce's Everybody Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard.







BIOGRAPHIES AND AUTOBIOGRAPHIES



David Wright's Deafness is the most beautiful account of acquired deafness known to me.



A more recent book by Lou Ann Walker, A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family, draws a powerful picture of life as a hearing child of deaf parents.



The Quiet Ear: Deafness in Literature, compiled by Brian Grant, with a preface by Margaret Drabble, is an extremely readable and varied anthology of short pieces by or about deaf people.



A vivid account of a rich, creative life is Lessons in Laughter by the eminent deaf actor Bernard Bragg. Interestingly, this was not written (though Bragg, a Shakespearian actor, is intensely literate), but signed (for Sign, not English, is Bragg's first language) and then translated into English.



Another fascinating account of a full and creative life is What's that Pig Outdoors, by the book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times,



Henry Kisor. Kisor lost his hearing at three and a half, when he had already acquired speech and language-he does not sign, but lipreads and speaks. Kisor does not identify himself as culturally Deaf, and his life, unlike Bernard Bragg's, has been spent entirely in the hearing world.







THE COMMUNITY AND LANGUAGE OF THE DEAF



Demographic surveys are usually dull, but Jerome Schein is incapable of being dull. The Deaf Population of the United States, by Jerome D. Schein and Marcus T. Delk, Jr., provides a vivid crosssection of the deaf population in the United States fifteen years ago, at a time when major changes were just starting to occur. Also recommended are Schein's Speaking the Language of Sign and At Home Among Strangers.



It is interesting to compare and contrast the situation of the deaf and their Sign in Britain. A fine account is given by J.G. Kyle and B. WoIl, in Sign Language: The Study of Deaf People and Their Language.



A splendid overview of the deaf community is Sign Language and the Deaf Community: Essays in Honor of William C. Stokoe, edited by Charlotte Baker and Robbin Battison. There is not a single essay in this volume that is less than fascinating-and there is also an important and moving looking-back by Stokoe himself.



An extraordinary book-the more so because its authors are deaf, and can speak from within (as well as about) the deaf communityits organization, its aspirations, its images, its beliefs, its arts, its language, etc.-is Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries.



Also very accessible for the general reader and full of vivid interviews with members of the deaf community is Arden Neisser's The Other Side of Silence: Sign Language and the Deaf Community in America.



A real treasure for browsing (even if the volumes are a little too heavy to read in bed, and a little too costly to read in the bath) is the Gallaudet Encyclopedia of Deaf People and Deafness, edited by John Van Cleve. One of the delights of this encyclopedia (as of all the best encyclopedias) is that one can open it anywhere and find illumination and enjoyment.







CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION OF THE DEAF



In the works of Jerome Bruner one can trace how a revolutionary psychology can in turn revolutionize education. Particularly remarkable in this context are Bruner's Towards a Theory of Instruction and his Child's Talk: Learning to Use Language.



An important "Bruneresque" study of the development and education of deaf children is provided by David Wood, Heather Wood,



Amanda Griffiths, and Ian Howarth in Teaching and Talking with Deaf Children.



Hilde Schlesinger's recent work is only to be found in the professional literature, which is not always readily available. But her earlier book is both vivid and accessible: Hilde S. Schlesinger and Kathryn P.



Meadow, Sound and Sign: Childhood Deafness and Mental Health.



Observation and psychoanalysis are powerfully combined in Dorothy Burlingham's Psychoanalytic Studies of the Sighted and the Blind; one wishes a similar study could be made of deaf children.



Daniel Stern also conjoins direct observation and analytic construction in The Interpersonal World of the Infant. Stern is particularly interesting on the development of a "verbal self."







GRAMMAR, LINGUISTICS, AND SIGN



The linguistic genius of our time is Noam Chomsky, who has written a dozen books on language since his revolutionary (1957) Syntactic Structures. I find the most vivid and readable are his 1967



Beckman Lectures, reprinted as Language and Mind.



The central figure in Sign linguistics, since 1970, has been Ursula Bellugi. None of her work is exactly popular reading, but one can glimpse fascinating vistas and dip with much pleasure into the encyclopedic The Signs of Language by Edward S. Klima and Ursula Bellugi.



Bellugi and her colleagues have also been the foremost investigators of the neural basis of Sign; here too one may gain a sense of the fascinations of the subject in Howard Poizner, Edward S.



Klima, and Ursula Bellugi, What the Hands Reveal about the Brain.







GENERAL BOOKS ABOUT LANGUAGE



Highly readable, witty, and provocative is Roger Brown's Words and Things.



Also readable, magnificent, though sometimes too dogmatic, is Eric H. Lenneberg's Biological Foundations of Language.



The deepest and most beautiful explorations of all are to be found in L.S. Vygotsky's Thought and Language, originally published in Russian, posthumously, in 1934, and later translated by Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar. Vygotsky has been described-not unjustly-as "the Mozart of psychology."



A personal favorite of mine is Joseph Church's Language and the Discovery of Reality: A Developmental Psychology of Cognition, a book one goes back to again and again.







CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY



Though he may (or may not) be dated, there is great interest in all the works of Lucien Levy-Bruhl, and his incessant pondering on "primitive" language and thought: his first book, How Natives Think, originally published in 1910, gives the flavor of him well.



Clifford Geertz's The Interpretation of Cultures has to be by one's side the moment one thinks about "culture"—and it is a crucial corrective to primitive, romantic thoughts about pure and unadulterated, uncultivated human nature.



But, equally, one has to read Rousseau-to read him again in the light of the deaf and their language: I find his Discourse on the Origin of Inequality the richest, the most balanced, of his works.







WILD AND ISOLATED HUMAN BEINGS



Unique views of what human beings are like if deprived of their normal language and culture are provided by these rare and fearful, but crucially important human phenomena (each of which, Lord Monboddo says, is more important than the discovery of 30,000 stars). Thus, not accidentally, Harlan Lane's first book was The Wild Boy of Aveyron.



Anselm von Feuerbach's 1832 account of Kaspar Hauser is one of the most amazing psychological documents of the nineteenth century.



In English, it was published as Caspar Hauser.



It is again more than coincidental that Werner Herzog conceived and directed not only a very powerful film of Kaspar Hauser, but also a film on the deaf and the blind, Land of Darkness and Silence.



The deepest contemporary pondering on "the soul murder" of Kaspar Hauser is to be found in a brilliant psychoanalytical essay by Leonard Shengold, in Halo in the Sky: Observations on Anality and Defense.



It is well worth looking at Susan Curtiss's minutely detailed study of a "wild child" found in California in 1970, Genie: A Psycholinguistic Study of a Modern-Day "Wild Child. "



Finally, an enthralling and minutely-detailed account of a modernday Massieu, a deaf man who reached adulthood with no language of any sort, but later acquired language, and how his life and mind changed with this, has been provided by Susan Schaller in A Man without Words.

A Ruinous Gravitation by ice_hot_13 . [original slash] . [N5]

04.06.2013

21.000 words. Was this any other genre, I would be less disappointed but slash is formulaic, you don’t even need to come up with a plot! This author tried, though, by having a character who gets kissed by his drunken best friend assume that when that friend apologizes it means he of course knows the first character is in love with him. WHAT. The resolution scene didn’t even make sense, at all. I am further annoyed because the voice is not bad, the world-building is not totally a loss and somehow, despite appearances, it’s crap.

"Internet pornography: never again" - The Guardian . article

Filtering/locking extreme porn is a good idea, if you are not clever enough to find it then you probably aren't clever enough to realise it's a fantasy... Banning it is not. Not just because it violates freespeech but because fantasies do not literally translate into reality. Sure, some people fantasize about things they want to happen; some don't.



Russ explains it simply in 'Pornography with Love'



From the viewpoint of the female situation, I think we sometimes see men’s sexual freedom as greater than it is, because it is in fact greater than our own.



If you see male freedom as absolute, or close to absolute, then male fantasies of sexual violence will look, in a sense, Worse than they are. We know that women don’t want to be raped; episodes in female fantasies that look like rapes really are something else, i.e., Will somebody, something, for heaven’s sake, enable me to act?








[Spoiler (click to open)]It sounds odd to say that men’s fantasies of rape have their roots in a desire to be overwhelmed and acted on, but I think this may be at least part of the truth. Women, after all, fantasize “rape” as the solution to issues of permission and forced passivity; why shouldn't men (who must deal with the issues of forced activity) use the other side of the same fantasy?



What frightens me is not those sleazies on my desk (in one of which a woman puts needles through a man's nipples). It‘s the mainstream American habit of substituting violence for sex and presenting the result as “real life“ and, even. Heaven help us!, “decency.”







Indeed, the way women and men are characterized in "normal" situations has longer lasting and more damaging consequences than any porn, culturally speaking. (The assumption is that this is porn filmed by and with adults, not a recording of people unwilling or unable to consent, which is not porn but rape).



The revenge porn website where victims are asked to pay to get their pictures taken OFF the website that has posted them with identifying information such as addresses is simply incitation to violence (against him, at the very least) and the guy who runs it needs to be soaked in oil and set on fire ASAP. Stealing something and then reselling it to its owner is just the summum of pathetic and it's clearly illegal.