May 312021
 

Yeah, we all know the written work is almost always better than the adaptation. But today, I’m hear to say why this is the case for the Love, Death, And Robots called “PopSquad”

Paolo Bacigalupi wrote the original short story, it was first published in 2006, and can also be found in his anthology “Pump Six and Other Stories.” I strongly recommend it if you’re into grimdark SF. Every story there is fantastic, and he’s one of the best SF writers of the initial post-9/11 era.

But back to Pop Squad. The adaptation has a number of problems that read to me as a failure to grasp the themes of the short story.

Before we continue, just in case it needs to be said, this post will contain FULL SPOILERS for both the short story and the LD+R episode. Go read it and/or watch it first, though if you’re only going to do one, of course I suggest reading it

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First, you know how I absolutely adore Altered Carbon the book, but hated the Altered Carbon series? This is mainly because the series is extremely Deathist in the standard, brain-dead Hollywood manner.  The Pop Squad adaptation has a similar problem. Sure, the core story of PopSquad is actually the same. There aren’t enough resources to make new humans when immortality is unlocked, so breeding is made illegal and new humans are killed when found. But the LD+R version is so… simplistic. Bacigalupi is, above all else, a scracity-of-resources author. His focus is extreme climate change and the economic effects it can have, and how this will lead to a drastic reduction in quality of life for most people, and how many of those people are liable to react. His work focuses on genocides, starvation, war over fresh water sources, etc. The focus on Pop Squad is, as with most of his works, the problem of scarce resources. It’s made pretty clear in the story that the primary driver of this scarcity is drastic climate change, and the killing of new humans is just one more stop-gap measure to address that. The story doesn’t have a pro-Deathist message. Yes, one of the breeders within it speaks with strong Deathist attitudes, but of course she does, that’s what someone in her position would do. It’s a realistic portrayal of such a person.

The LD+R episode misses all this, and goes for the standard “Immortality is bad, and you can tell because immortal people are baby-killers!” It’s not particularly interesting or nuanced.

In service of this, the immortals are made to be as unlikable as possible. In particular, the protag’s SO is portrayed as shallow and vapid. She has to be, since she’s happy being immortal. In the written  story she was a talented, driven woman making something beautiful. LD+R mirrors the surface level narrative, but loses all the substance

Second, LD+R completely loses the emotional engine driving the story. The written work is following a man as he descends into madness. We watch him self-destructing from the inside as he’s trying to keep up outer appearances, and Bacigalupi executes this fantastically. LD+R doesn’t seem to know how to portray any of this. We see the protag look at blood spatters on his hand during the opera, but it doesn’t mean anything, and comes off as a cheap “blood on my hands” literalism. They show the dinosaur several times and try to imply it means something important, but none of the obsessive focus that the protag had in the story comes through. Crucially, when protag + SO have the joking interaction about her being impregnated, they flip who delivers the “impregnate the woman” line. I suspect this was to not make the protag look like a creep (which, c’mon, he’s a literal baby-murderer, I think that ship has sailed), but the scene loses all of its impact and most of its character-defining qualities this way. Not that I think those would have landed well even if they kept it as written, because the episode is poorly executed overall. But it’s a glaring symptom of the problem.

Third, they made a PG13 version of an R-rated horror story, which just doesn’t work. They cut out our protag blasting three children’s heads off in the openning scene. This is crucial to the story. It’s shocking to the audience, and puts us in the same headspace as the narrator. You cannot cut that out. It is the inciting incident that puts him in the nose-dive to complete mental breakdown, and it never happens in the show!

Third-and-a-half, because it’s closely related to #3, they completely miss the importance of the handgun. The police force was recently issued new guns designed to take down robot assassins and gangsters on some crazy PCP-style drug. It is MASSIVELY overpowered for the purposes of executing children. The fact that it is so grotesque, so gruesome, is why our protag is having his breakdown NOW, rather than however many years ago he started this job. He is forced to watch these tiny bodies blown apart in fountains of gore. He obsesses about how ridiculous this gun is on almost every single page of the story. He obsesses about it more than the stuffed dinosaur. Maybe it’s a metaphor for the unstoppable and indiscriminate power of the state. Maybe it’s just a metaphor for his own monstrosity that he can no longer hide from. Whatever the case, it is the gun & the gore that push him over, and neither of these are touched on in the episode.

Finally, the ending is all wrong. In the written story, at the end our protag saves himself by the skin of his teeth. He rejects the law, and the judgement of the state, in favor of his own. From what we know of the story, this isn’t sustainable, the scarcity of resources is a Hard Problem. Moreover, its stated she’ll likely be caught/killed soon enough anyway — the institutional knowledge and infrastructure needed to raise children literally doesn’t exist anymore, they are thoroughly fucked from the get-go. But he retains his sanity by rejecting the social order, and maybe he’ll be able to start changing things now, rather than accepting the fate of the world mindlessly enforcing executions. In the LD+R episode he, instead, gives his life to let her go free. It is, again, boring Hollywood simplicity. “I redeem myself through my death.” We don’t feel he’s really earned a redemption, and the whole thing is very pat and tidy. Sigh.

So, in summary, the short story is a fucked up dystopian setting, but you truely feel how beautiful and complex and valuable the lives of normal immortal people are. And how overwhelming the challenges are that brought them to this horrific policy. And how insane and gross the breeders are. But it also makes it clear that’s not entirely the breeder’s fault either, and we’re all at the mercy of society and biology, and when those two are in direct conflict, bad shit happens (hi catholic church). Maybe don’t pit the overwhelming and brutal force of the social order vs the irresistable biological needs instilled by millions of years of evolution! And it even makes the squalor of the breeders, of being enslaved to your biology, kinda glamorous, in its own way, for just a bit.

It’s really good, cuz Paolo is an amazing author. I’m sad the LD+R version failed to get any of that, and instead just went for the mass-market appeal of Deathist applause lights. It deserved better.

Also, while writing this I noticed that LD+R is a cheeky anagram of TLDR. Clever.

May 212021
 
This link is the first one at this month’s ACX link post. Making Prophecy Great Again
Due to a flood of failed prophesy about Trump’s re-election and COVID, some big names in Pentecostalism are proposing prophesy reform, and in particular
“WE BELIEVE it is essential that all spiritual leaders, including prophetic leaders, have a presbytery of peers and seasoned spiritual leaders who can hold them accountable regarding their life and ministry.”
Pentecostals are like the Libertarians of Christianity in terms of hierarchy and organization — there is (almost) none. The majority of churches are independent small businesses (with, yes, some franchises now), that thrive or die based on how well they serve their customers. It was a great demonstration in the power of markets, seeing as it went from one guy in early 1900s to half a billion+ now, while going up against institutions with centuries of market dominance and sometimes literal state-granted monopolies.
Anyway, I find this to be huge news, because it’s proposing an oversight committee to push reforms on the broader community, and it has support from major players. This means bureaucracy and hierarchy. If this push succeeds, we could be first-hand witnesses to the formation of a new orthodoxy. I imagine this is how people felt when they first heard that the Council of Nicaea was gonna be a thing.
Apr 042021
 
A lot of regulations in the labor market nowadays are pushed by established giant companies that are trying to restrict competition. By making it very expensive for new business to start and compete with them, they can charge much higher prices. It’s like a government-imposed Monopoly Lite. It’s why things like Hair Braiding Licences exist.
I think Amazon has pulled this sort of genius-evil move with their $15 min wage.
First, they raised their own minimum wage for all employees to $15/hour. Among some people, this got them a lot of good will. Amazon is profitable enough that they can afford to pay $15 to everyone. In their industry, it also meant they could lure away much of the most productive workers from other employers.
Now they are lobbying Washington to raise the minimum wage for the entire nation to $15/hour. I think they’re betting that there are a lot of Amazon competitors who cannot afford to match that wage. Amazon has incredible efficiencies that smaller businesses can’t leverage. This would put those competitors out of business, leaving Amazon to reap their customers. Furthermore, the other business in their industry have lost some of their most-productive workers to Amazon, the ones who could be profitbly employed at $15/hour. If they’re mostly left with lower-productivity workers who they can no longer pay lower wages to offset this, they will have an even harder time staying solvent.
This likely won’t change much for city-dwellers, as many urban areas already have wages higher than $15/hour. But rural towns where a significant portion of the population is working at Walmart, and making less than $15 was fine beceause cost of living is low out there? They’re going to have a bad time. If those Walmarts are forced to shut down, the people who previously shopped at Walmart are going to have to turn to Amazon for their goods. Which is exactly what Amazon wants.
Apr 022021
 

This thread about falling in love with the spouse you’re in a marriage-of-convience with and trying to figure out how to come out to them is the most wonderful thing I saw in March. I’m sorry you have to have an FB account to see it, I couldn’t find any other format that preserved this thread in all its glory.

 

Here’s the exact opposite, an entire thread that’s just :(

“15 years ago, I co-led a team trying to give 100% free Internet access to all of San Francisco starting with the poorest neighborhoods first. The network would be anonymous, with no ads, no cookies, etc. Approximately a $20-25 million gift. The result? We were chased out of town.”

 

“We can now show that if you count all government transfers (minus administrative costs) as income to the recipient household, reduce household income by taxes paid, […]Not only is income inequality in America not growing, it is lower today than it was 50 years ago.
While the disparity in earned income has become more pronounced in the past 50 years, the actual inflation-adjusted income received by the bottom quintile, counting the value of all transfer payments received net of taxes paid, has risen by 300%. The top quintile has seen its after-tax income rise by only 213%.”
(a note from a friend: “the real wealth inequality is between the top 1% and the bottom 99%, so this hides that by using quintiles.” Maybe so. At least this functions as a proof of concept.)
“Bugs Bunny accidentally transformed the word nimrod into a synonym for idiot because nobody got a joke where he sarcastically compared Elmer Fudd to the Biblical figure Nimrod, a mighty hunter.”
Dippin’ Dots saves us all from COVID — “This is it. This is the future that it’s the ice cream of.”

 

 

16 months ago, I logged into World of Warcraft Classic the day it launched, created a level 1 mage, and created a raiding guild called <The Tail End>. Yesterday, 40 of us marched into the final dungeon in the game and finaly beat the final boss. There were several times over the ~1.5 years where the guild almost came apart, and I wondered if it was worth the stress to keep this thing going. But here we are. I know it’s just a game, but it was a heckin’ cool experience. :)

 

Al Jazeera to launch rightwing media platform targeting US conservatives. If this can restore sanity to the Right Wing of America, I’m sooooo for it.

 

An interesting post about the diversity of political opinion. Includes exerpts from “Black Voices for Trump 2024”

 

Another FB-only photo thread. This one of house of questionable taste. Personally, love this. These people knew what they wanted, and they pursued it all the way to the end, and damn the haters. :)

 

New Industries Come From Crazy People

“Men like Young are necessary for any industrial society. As stewards of the major businesses and institutions, they keep the lights on and drive incremental progress. It is fortunate, then, that nearly every society encourages or tolerates the ambitions of such men. […]

However, if we wish to achieve industrial breakthroughs and large-scale economic innovations, then we must also tolerate men like Boulton and Edison. Most societies will not do this. The natural reaction is to shut them down as dangerous threats to social order and economic life, and this is not completely wrong.”

Mar 202021
 

A quick note about two new things I’m doing, for the few people who follow the blog that may not follow me other places.



1. My novel, “What Lies Dreaming,” is now available as an audio book! Most of the audio for this was recorded by fans of my podcast, for which I am immensely grateful! Thank you all so much. <3 You can listen to the whole thing free a chapter at a time at WhatLiesDreaming.com, or you can get the full thing as one book at Audible/Amazon.

 


 

2. I’m now one half of the podcast “Not Everything Is A Clue.” This is an analysis podcast of Alexander Wales’ “Worth The Candle” webfic, which we read a few chapters of and then discuss every week. It’s a fantastic story, and I hope we do it justice.

 

Mar 012021
 

Back in 2016 I had a heckuva Chuck Tingle kick. In admiration of his style, I tried my hand at writing my own Tingler — Amazing Man 2: Love Conquors All. It was great fun to write, I tossed it up online, and I thought that would be the end of it.

In the intervening years it seems to have accrued a few fans, which is flattering and awesome. A few of them even got together and made an audio version of the story! It’s really good, and I loved it, and I’m sharing it with all y’all now. I’m really honored and grateful that this was done. Many many thanks to Johnny, GSV, and Hobodemon! :D

For those unfamiliary with Tinglers, this is extremely NSFW. Unless your boss has a very raunchy sense of humor, I suppose. :)

[download]

Feb 172021
 

There’ve already been a dozen+ well-written and thought-out pieces about the complete moral deprativity of the NYT’s Scott Alexander piece, and I can’t add anything of value to those. However I can pass on an observation of just how low the NYT has sunk.

Scott Alexander has haters that congregate online. Some of them hate him personally, some of them merely hate the community he belongs to and the way he speaks eloquently for and about them. Regardless, for multiple years there have been groups of people that spend a lot of time online discussing their shared hatred of Scott Alexander and posting about how terrible he is (Sneerclub and RationalWiki come to mind immediately).

And yet, even these internet trolls, basically dyed-in-the-wool internet shitlords, had the decency to use his psyduonym of Scott Alexander and not doxx him. It took the paragons of social responsibility at the New York Times to doxx one of the most socially generous and intellectually charitable writers of the modern day. It wasn’t until several days after NYT shit themselves that RationalWiki finally updated their entry on Scott Alexander to include his full name.

Good work, NYT. You’re literally worse than the internet.

Feb 112021
 

Gina Carano has been disavowed by Disney, and fired by her agent.

On the surface level, this really bums me out, because she’s the only actor filling a niche I love. She is one of the very few believable female action heroes. ScarJo is great, but you have to suspend a bit of disbelief in any action scene she’s in. Gina is strong and badass and looks like someone who can kick real ass in a physical confrontation. Plus I love her charecters. She can act very well and is super charismatic.

On a deeper level, it bums me out because Disney owns like half of the entertainment industry, and they are going for Deep-Blue branding. Which means people who are Red Tribe and out about it can’t work there.

 

I.

Let’s first address the lie that Gina Carano is being turned out due to anti-semitism.

As pre-emptive throat-clearing: Anti-Semitism is not acceptable. Racist, bigotted, and mysognistic people don’t need to be indulged.

But not only is Red Tribe not typically anti-semitic, Carano specifically is not anti-semitic. Every allegation I’ve seen points back to this tweet:

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. :(
Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

 

Now, this is super cringy. Republicans have no idea how to do the “is this oppresion?” thing, and it’s cringe as hell whenever they try. But I’ve had people say to me personally that this isn’t just cringe, it’s “inherently anti-semitic” and “holocaust denialism” on par with neo nazis! Literally said that to me! So….

Calling Corana’s post holocaust denial is a worse take than Corana’s post! It trivializes actual neo-nazis that actually deny the holocaust. She at least demonstrated a knowledge of how the holocaust was made possible, that it was a bad thing, *and that it happened.*

And let’s take a second to acknowledge the root of where this is coming from. It’s a form of the “First they came for the Socialists” quote of (checks internet) Martin Niemöller.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

If one is sufficiently misinformed, one can feel they are at the beginning of this process.

Obviously no one is rounding up conservatives. But there are a lot of Red Tribe people who honestly believe that they are being cast out of broader society. That they’re being portrayed as sub-humans that no good American would associate with, and that even being friendly with them (or patronizing businesses owned by them) is enough to get those good American’s a lot of side-eye from their friends.

Of note – they aren’t completely wrong. People who don’t hide their Red Tribe-ish opinions often can be kicked out of their friend groups, or fired from their jobs. Gina Corana, for example, as will be shown below. Furthermore, for even saying that I think she’s being smeared and defamed, I also worry that certain people will think *I* am Red Tribe-ish and I should be avoided. So there is some truth to this.

Some Red Tribers see this process of outcasting to be similar to the dehumanization of minorities that often happens in the build-up to an ethinic cleansing campaign. They are really wrong about the situation on the ground, and what sort of “danger” they are in. But their news sources are things like Fox and InfoWars and other crazy shit that feeds into this paranoia. So yeah, I aboslutely believe someone could be very conserative and… pro-semitic(? Is that word?) and compare the treatment of conservatives to 30s Jews. They’d be wrong, but not holocaust denialists. Certainly not anti-semitic.

II.

So no, she’s not anti-semetic. What she is, is strongly Red Tribe, and not afraid to be public about it. Every single tweet that has been linked in every article I can find about this has been Red Tribe flag-waving. None of them are Bad or Racist or whatever. I’ve had people tell me personally that she’s a “racists, sexist, bigoted, conspiracy theory spewing, science denying […] terf.” More than once, and using those words.

I dug for a while, and these are the tweets I could find. I admit, I haven’t put hours into this. This is just what was readily available. I assume that it’s about the worst anyone can find though, otherwise the even-worse stuff would be what’s being amplified, rather than this.

This is Right Wing. It hints at cheating in the voting system. It’s not remotely evil. It is true that 40% of the country was left feeling cheated by the recent election, and that’s a bad thing. I disagree as to what the cause of that feeling is (*cough* lies and propaganda from the Liar In Chief and Right Wing media *cough*), but I agree that this is a shitty feeling and a shitty result which endangers our system of government. It certainly needs to be addressed. Sweeping it under the rug by saying 40% of the country are conspiracy-theory-believing lunatics and should be ignored or shunned is NOT FIXING the problem. It will only get worse unless it’s addressed.

First of all, this ISN’T EVEN A CARANO TWEET! It’s someone else, and she “Liked” it. You know how often I Like stuff? All the time. I don’t always agree with it. Often I do. Sometimes it’s just to show support for someone saying something that was hard for them to say. Sometimes it’s even stuff I disagree with, but I want to acknowledge that I read their comment and it was civilly-phrased. Or that I disagree in broad strokes, but there was a good point made. But let’s assume that she does agree with what’s said here.

This is Right Wing. It’s not evil. It speaks to a lived experience of feeling physically threatened and powerless. The left would understand this if it was phrased using their words. We can disagree on the truth of the statements in question, but they are obviously someone’s real experience, and quite a lot of Someones if we’re being honest.

 

This is Red Tribe. It’s also just plain true? Except for maybe the “working is a right” part, that’s just silly optimism. Sometimes things are true and also unfortunate, and we have to find some way to balance interests and trade off costs. But where is the lie?

LOL. OK, this is just funny. :) Funny Red-Tribe signalling.

LOL again. :) This is also just funny. This is apparently the height of her “TERF” phase. After months of pressure for pronouns, she added joke pronouns to her profile. Not only was this a fun way to handle the hate she was getting, it was pretty witty too. I don’t even think it’s Red Tribe to think pronouns are gauche, it’s just not DEEP BLUE, and I guess that’s a sin too.

 

Common Red Tribe complaint. Not evil, just waving the flag of “Hey you guys, I’m Red.” Oh noes, her political party isn’t our own, whatever shall we do?

 

And…. that’s it. That’s all the worst stuff I could find.

Maybe she’s like, really really racist IRL, and people have been covering for her because Disney was telling them to keep quiet about it? Dunno. Kinda doubt it though.

III.

You Can’t Be Red (and out) In Disney

So, she’s not a “racists, sexist, bigoted, conspiracy theory spewing, science denying […] terf.” Unless, of course, one uses the definition of “anyone who is Republican is a racists, sexist, bigoted, conspiracy theory spewing, science denying […] terf.” In which case, OK, but also, Fuck You. People using that definition are the reason our politics are in the state they’re in now. That’s the voice of the hate-filled-but-in-denail populace that needs an Outgroup to loath.

Assuming that whoever reading this isn’t one of those people, we now see that Carano wasn’t fired for any sort of extreme bigotry, but for being Red in a Blue Company. Disney is obviously going for deep-Blue branding, so there’s no way this wouldn’t happen eventually. Maybe they didn’t vet her politics before they hired her? More likely, they didn’t expect her character to become so popular. (why would a strong female badass be popular, after all. lul.)

Disney is allowed to fire people if it hurts their business to keep them employed. This is a well-enshrined principle of the entertainment industry, and has been since its inception. Firing an entertainer due to audience demands is pretty common. Moreover, she signed a contract saying she would keep Disney’s best interests, including but not limited to keeping her opinion to herself. So, in legal and business terms, Disney is in the clear.

Her public firing is probably better for Disney, at least in their leadership’s opinion. But I’m more concerned about society than Disney. I don’t like that courting a Deep Blue audience is a thing. I don’t like that we have Blue Businesses and Red Businesses. I don’t like that a company that owns like half of all the entertainment in the world is dedicated to holding a Blue image and a Blue audience and actors have to stay silent or be blacklisted from a huge swath of work opportunities.

Most of all, I really dislike that someone like Gina Carano can be exposed to the toxic underbelly of the internet, and decides to push back against it rather than ignoring it, and is punished by her employer for it. Craven-ass corporations folding to the whim of the worst recesses of the internet makes all of society worse, in a horrible spiral. People standing up against it, even when they are wrong on individual policy matters, are at least fighting the good fight. I admire that sort of strength of character. I hope she finds another good role soon. Preferably one in a show I’ll enjoy watching. :)

Feb 032021
 

This post has WandaVision spoilers through Episode 4. So don’t read it if you aren’t that far and don’t want spoilers. Also, it’s a damned fun show, you should watch it. It has lighthearted humor mixed with creepy horror and that’s *totally* my jam.

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I.

In Rationalist circles there’s a bit of a theoretical/fictional divide between people who want their ultimate endstate to be living in a utopic simulated reality cut off from the rest of the universe, and those who find this horrifying. I’ve always been on the side of those who find it horrifying, in large part because I don’t want my continued existence to be at the mercy of unknown powers that I will never fully trust. One of the arguments on the other side is “but you just don’t realize HOW GOOD a utopia can be!” Now WandaVision has presented me with a truely tempting offer.

A lot of utopias are presented basically like what I think of as a Forever Burning Man. Life is great, everyone is happy, there’s fun things to see and do, and basically there’s no strife or problems. It’s a wonderful experience, and I could do it for months, I think. Maybe even years? But I wouldn’t want to cut myself off from reality for it.

WandaVision, OTOH, takes place in sitcoms. And sitcoms aren’t constrained by things like “having to actually exist” like Burning Man is, so they can really dial up the idealism. Nothing too terrible can happen, and you have a wonderful life full of friendship and love. But there’s still enough conflict to make things seem meaningful, enough aspiring one can do to have a purpose, and sometimes plot twists! You get the fun of “having a job you’re good enough at to be promoted, as long as you can get through a high-stakes dinner with your boss” without the drudgery of doing the job. You never have to poop, unless it’s for a bathroom joke! Life is only the good parts, which doesn’t mean just the pleasant stuff, but also the conflict and suffering parts. Except those “bad” parts never lead to death or permanent crippling, and come with things like character growth and ultimate triumph.

If I were forced to be in a cut-off simulation, I would want it to be a sitcom style life. It seems the most fun and fullfilling without being too repetative.

II.

I do kinda wish that the Episode 4 reveal had been closer to the end of the season/series. I was having a lot of fun with trying to piece together what was happening. WandaVision is basically everything Lost promised to be, except it ACTUALLY DELIVERS. It was creepy weird shit with an answer. The writers knew what was causing it and how it would resolve from the very beginning. Suck it, JJ Abrams. This is how you make actual good art!

But now that we’ve been given all the answers, I’m kinda sad. The rest of the show seems fairly predictible. I think it’ll still be a fun ride, but unless Marvel REALLY surprises me and springs something innovative on us, we’re gonna get the tearful reconciliation with reality at the end.

III.

Speaking of which, is yanking Wanda out of her utopia immoral?

Let’s ignore for a moment that she’s imprisoned other people within it to act as her cast members. *IF* she hadn’t done that, *AND* she had left a note to the outside world that this was her choice (so they wouldn’t get the mistaken impression they were rescuing her from some dread curse), would forcing her out of her utopia and forcing her to engage with the rest of the world be a bad act? Adults should be allowed to do what they want, including hiding from their emotions and cutting off contact with everyone else, if that’s what they choose. I can see maybe if they were driven to do it because they need her help for some existential threat, at least they have the self-preservation excuse. But otherwise?

One could make the arguement that creating her own world like this is similar to going full wirehead. A person that’s just in constant pure bliss can’t really be called a person anymore, IMHO. Going full wirehead is akin to suicide. I think people should be allowed to commit suicide if they want to, but I wouldn’t call someone evil for trying to convince them not to. Trying to reach Wanda in her utopia could be seen as the equivalent of trying to talk someone out of suicide?

But that’s assuming that her world can reasonably called equivalent to full wireheading, and I’m not sure it can. She’s still a person in there, right? With experiences and hopes and dissapointments and a variety of mental processes. Maybe her personhood will slowly get sanded down to nothing, as living unceasing centuries in a sitcom fantasy atrophies away the parts of a human that make them real people. It’s an interesting question. Probably one we could only really answer with actual experimentation.

Actually, damn, that would make a really interesting season 2. 1000 years from now, the creepy horror of WandaVision is now “how much of Wanda is left?” and we get to try to figure that out.

I’m all in for that.

Feb 012021
 
Say you lived in a small community centered around a church that provided most social services. Gross, I know, but you can’t help where you’re raised. If you became very successful and covered half the annual costs of the church, well, that’s good for everyone I guess. But if the church villifies you and people like you (gay, or black, or whatever) and every sunday preaches about how bad you and people like you are… I would kinda expect you to want to move away from that place. And if that leaves the church with a big hole in their budget… well, too bad?
The wealthiest 1% of Californians account for 46% of California’s tax revenue. And seeing how much California despises its wealthy tech industry, they’ve started moving away. I’m starting to think the combinationg of “Tax the wealthy to pay for everything” and “Villify the wealthy as monsters” may not be sustainable.