Sigma-6 http://sett.com/sigmasix Bring on a brand new renaissance. en-us Wed, 16 Oct 2019 02:02:58 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Just Like in Bentley http://sett.com/sigmasix/just-like-in-bentley I sincerely believe that if Warren Kinsella had written Web of Hate today, a significant percentage of Canadians would have pointed their fingers at him and said, 'no, you're the nazi.'

Almost each and every white supremacist profiled in the book is careful to point out that they don't hate anybody, they just want a nation for themselves like people who aren't like them seem (to them) to be allowed to do and everyone else, for whatever reason--usually that they're brainwashed by whichever conspiracy--either doesn't have all the facts they have, or is wilfully refusing to look at them. They all have subtly different ideas of who 'their people' are, but the narrative is the same, often to an almost eerie degree--their people are really the victims here. Just as today we have people stumbling upon far right ideology and not quite realizing what it is (to find you're espousing white replacement or railing against cultural bolshevism can, I imagine, be shocking to somebody who doesn't realize what kind of history those ideas have), it's almost like each one of these people was somehow blind to the fact that they were just a small, unwitting part of a long, broad continuum of hateful historical revisionism that has piled misinformation on misinformation for generations, building a semi-mythical alternate history that's as fictional as David Icke's weird brand of panspermia, or Joseph Smith's epic con job.

To be told you're wrong, that you don't have any idea what you're talking about, that the history is different, more complex, older, stranger, can be frustrating. It can feel like you're being silenced. It can be mortifying, if you've invested a lot in your paradigm and you've become proud of your apprehension. It can feel like the globalists, or whoever, have a grip on the person telling you that. It can be easier or more comfortable to denounce everyone as having been brainwashed by whichever jigsaw piece you've slotted into the omnipotent global conspiracy position.

The fact is, nobody is actually being silenced, least of all the people getting loud about it. Dr. Peterson has made a big deal about free speech recently, but he's still got all his soapboxes, and he's making more money than any of his predecessors ever did by a long shot, including the ones who literally robbed banks and Brinks trucks. He's not explicitly a racist, you see, and neither is Gavin McInnes. Gavin McInnes and Rebel Media erased 10 Things I Hate About Jews, you see (the optics were not good) and Mr. McInnes would never be so gauche as to call for genocide. In public.

George Burdi was usually like this, for example. He wouldn't publically, in Canada, say anything stupid. He was usually careful to keep the narrative clean. This was over 20 years ago. Nowadays I doubt he'd even say 'white people.' He'd probably say 'old stock Canadians':

"This society is ripe for a change. White people are very discouraged in Canadian society. They're very disillusioned with mainstream politics. They're looking for answers following the race riots in Toronto and what happened last summer in Los Angeles. Things like that are only necessary illustrations of what we've been trying to say all along. There is an unprecedented wave of violence against whites by non-whites. Non-whites are more prone to violence, they bring drugs wherever they go. When you talk about modern day problems, when you talk about the rise in crime, when you talk about problems in the economy, so much of that is connected to the tremendous percentage of non-whites."

Like the President, he doesn't say 'n****r' or 'k**e. Why not? He explains, in an interview with Kinsella:

"When questioned about the marked difference between what he says when he is in the States and what he says when in his home town of Toronto, Burdi shrugs, as if the answer is obvious. 'The main difference is that we are a US-based group and therefore the US constitution protects us and lets us say what we want,' he says, perhaps unwittingly demonstrating why Canada's hate laws are a good idea. 'We can write our version of the truth in the United States. This has enabled racial ideologies in the States to be a lot more radical than they are in Canada. You would see a lot more radical ideologies coming out of Canada if it weren't for the hate laws that prevent it.'"

It makes perfect sense why today's leaders of the right avoid falling afoul of those laws. You can call for the defence of the West and its values against the encroaching hordes if you don't name the hordes, if you try to talk in vague terms of postmodernists and warn of anti-western forces in the universities, if your bogeyman is nebulous culture and marxism, and not anything more specific than that. You can tell your critics that they're suppressing you unfairly if you talk about percentages and accuse them of being emotional rather than reasonable instead of doing what your ideological forbears did and burn a cross and pull out the N word.

But the fact remains that they aren't being suppressed. They'd enjoy that too much. In the nineties Jim Keegstra and Wolfgang Droege and Terry Long kept getting called on the carpet because they kept calling for genocide and talking about engaging in an actual war to prevent white replacement (what the more extreme on the right today go right out and call white genocide, as if that distinguished it from the other, more correct kinds of genocide). They were often actually arrested and deported across borders and thrown in prisons for little more than what they said or the flags they flew. They had to seek legal counsel and were called to hearings. They were tried, and testified at each other's trials. That is the suppression Mr. Peterson is talking about. That's the censorship he's referring to, and it's notably absent in his case. His arguments are remarkably similar, though substantially more careful, and he remains unjailed and seems to have little trouble finding platforms. He even uses the courts to harass his own critics, almost like he were a participant in an ongoing real-world civic dialogue and not actually the victim of an unreasonable marxist witch hunt.

A friend of mine recently told me he was sick and tired of being called a racist by people who called everyone brave enough to speak the truth a nazi. I asked him what the truth was--what were the facts, exactly--and he demurred. "Exactly," he said, "what are the facts? I'm not hearing any from the left." Statistics, he said, didn't care what you thought. Statistics were reality, not racism.

He didn't tell me what those statistics were, though I asked. I suspect, which is all I can do, that his interpretations of those statistics he's referring to are pretty damning for him and that his interpretation of the facts would make him sound a lot more like Burdi or Long than he'd be comfortable with, and that since I evidently deny the facts and rely on emotion rather than reason, I'd be pointless to argue with. I look back on my long history of being fascinated by extremist movements and their leaders and ideologues and ideologies, and I recall that this is usually the moment when they realize they're on the edge of having to face it.

Terry Long spent a long time ruminating before he went public, and he got a lot of admiration from a lot of racists after he finally went to the press with his ideas. He made a lot of Canadians very upset, and he basically guaranteed he'd be ostracized, but you've got to admire that he had the courage of his convictions at least. He realized that what he considered to be 'the facts' (and it's notable to me, at least, that he formulated this idea that everyone else was refusing to examine reality in precisely the same way) were highly controversial, and that he was going to have to commit to the course of internalizing them, and accept the consequences of doing that. That didn't stop him from claiming that he was the victim of a witch hunt--he was certainly the focus of a lot of attention from the state--but at least he went through the process of coming to terms with the consequences of the ideas he was expressing.

My friends who say they aren't racists when they express patently racist ideas lack that conviction. They probably lack it because they understand, somewhere inside, that the next necessary step after openly espousing racist views is to start coming up with policies and ways those policies should be implemented, and that historically, the policies racists suggest are actually illegal in this country, and that their friends probably wouldn't like what they had to say and what they suggested society ought to do, and that they'd probably find those circles of friends contracting.

Perhaps it's easier to simply claim you're being censored when you're not, and then never actually say what you're being censored about? Criticism of your ideas is not censorship. The government getting an injunction to shut down your hate line or force you to stop associating with your friends, or deporting you, or throwing you in jail, as happened with almost all the people in Kinsella's book, is. The fact remains that in Canada there's a limit to what we consider acceptable for you to say. There are certain jobs you can't have if you say certain things. There are loans you can't get. There are guns you can't own.

If I were an angry racist and a confused one, I'd probably be reticent to say those things in public too. I'd probably feel I was being discriminated against. I'd be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'd feel that way. I imagine I'd feel like everybody else was a bunch of bullies who were under the influence of my favourite bad guys. I'd probably need to take a time out and relax somewhere and really, deeply think about whether the crisis I was upset about was actually real. I might need to ask some questions. I might need to take a long, hard look at my heroes and decide whether they were worth emulating. I might read a bit and have a look at where people who took the path I was on before me ended up. I'd probably have to check my convictions and decide if I had the courage to follow them through to where they led.

If you look around and all you see are assholes who are out to get you, you need to consider the possibility that the problem might be you, and that your friends might be trying to help.

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Fri, 08 Feb 2019 15:45:37 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/just-like-in-bentley
Culture Club http://sett.com/sigmasix/culture-club I am, in many ways, the ideal audience for a certain rogue University of Toronto psychology professor.

In case you've had your head in the sand for the last few years--and I continue to encounter this, even this late in the game--the putative 'most important public intellectual in the west' is no longer Noam Chomsky. It's now a different older white guy named Jordan B. Peterson, and this new guy is about as stodgy as they come.

I remember hearing the descriptor 'stodgy, tweed-wearing traditionalist' somewhere way back when, probably in the early 2000s, back when I was in the first year of my obligatory degree. It was perfect at the time, a way of poking fun at quaint ivory-tower-dwelling academics who commented on stuff they didn't really understand, bleary-eyed, from behind piles of books, and never ventured out into the glaring light of the mainstream, where practicality reigned rather than desiccated theory.

Reactionaries traditionally dislike that kind of academic for a host of reasons. They're not robust manly-men, generally, though many of them support the idea of that sort of thing. The stately dignity of the tenured professor who's been on the job so long he falls asleep at his lectern is hard to smuggle past the gates of their world. He comes from the university, which, we are repeatedly told, is a haven of marxism. That's the place where they won't let Richard Spencer or Gavin McInnes speak. The people at the university, we're told, go on about tolerance all the time, but they don't tolerate hate. They're totalitarians, see? Who but a totalitarian wouldn't look breathlessly forward to being harangued by people trying to articulate a program for a world where they either don't exist, or at least where they have the good sense to stay out of the way and not rock the boat of western civilization, which is a thing, we're told, that was invented by white European men, and it's good, you see--there are warts, but it's good, and these persistent attempts, often by people who don't look like white european men, to dismantle it are bad.

So yeah. I'm the exact perfect audience for this guy's perspective. I'm in a fraternity. I'm in the service. I'm a white dude. I participate in a whole bunch of old boys' clubs. I like model trains. I own a kilt, a sporran, and a sgian dubh (though my dress kilt is more than a bit moth-eaten). I consider myself, with some authority, to be a 'classical liberal' just like he does with somewhat less authority (given the shit he says and the company he keeps). By all rights I should be a libertarian, just based on my demographic characteristics.

I'm not. I'm one of the people on the other side of the curtain of perception of JBP. His followers, probably more accurately called fans, seem to almost worship him. I can't listen to him. I do listen, because I need to know what he says in the same way I need to know what Richard Spencer says, but I don't like it. It hurts me. He makes me embarrassed for everyone who shares my demographic characteristics.

How does he do this? Assuming you're still reading at this point, which if you're one of his fans, you absolutely are not, I'll tell you. Maybe you're one of my friends and you want to know what I think so you can tell me how wrong I am. If you are one of his fans, you've already, I guarantee, dismissed me as someone who doesn't understand him, has misinterpreted him deliberately or otherwise, or else as a postmodernist or a cultural marxist.

One thing he does is redefine terms. Those two above are excellent examples.

The trouble with addressing them, however, is that you have to literally invoke Godwin's Law. Not because you have to make a spurious link to naziism, but because you have to make a totally accurate and direct one. 'Cultural Marxism,' you see, is literally a nazi term. I'm not kidding. The nazis invented it, and they used it exactly the same way, so that means you immediately lose the argument to Godwin's Law, and JBP gets to go right on using it, and, in fact, basing his entire ideology on its perspectives.

I'm not saying he's a nazi. He isn't. The nazis were a bunch of bad German and Austrian dudes last century who were responsible for a war that killed 70,000,000 people in Europe. They were not U of T professors, which is what JBP is. He's not a nazi. He just propagates an ideology that is, whether he is aware of it or not, based directly on nazi writings and was used by them to justify a genocidal white supremacist hate campaign. The trouble is that we are in fact looking at a resurgence of authentically fascist ethnic-nationalist thinking, and so while we have to acknowledge Godwin's law, we also have to willingly suspend it. Have a look at Wiki on Cultural Bolshevism:

"Cultural Bolshevism (German: Kulturbolschewismus), sometimes referred to specifically as "art Bolshevism" or "music Bolshevism", was a term widely used by critics in Nazi Germany to denounce modernist movements in the arts, particularly when seeking to discredit more nihilistic forms of expression. This first became an issue during the 1920s in Weimar Germany. German artists such as Max Ernst and Max Beckmann were denounced by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party and other right-wing nationalists as "cultural Bolsheviks"."

Follow the related links in that article. It's specifically about art, but the Petersonian critique of culture includes pretty much exactly this ostensibly anti-nihilistic takedown of a straw-man version of post-modernism. Back then it was aimed at modernism, but when Peterson and McInnes go after postmodernism today, which is apparently just a word they've made up a definition for, because it isn't postmodernism as it's understood in academia, they articulate it the same way. To them postmodernism is a mushy, nebulous thing that's opposed to concrete, traditional ideas that have clear meanings. Back in the early 20th Century, modernism was a rejection of the classical tradition that provoked the same ire, got under the same shirts and irritated the same white skin.

The upshot is that the nazis didn't substantiate their accusation of marxism in art, or academia, or in culture at large. They didn't have to. They just hit it with a club. Similarly, Peterson doesn't substantiate his. He just says it's the case, repeatedly, in different ways, and the kludge of an argument that repetition supports stubbornly refuses to be the case. There does not exist a significant strain of what Peterson refers to as cultural marxism in any of those places. It sounds good and meaty to people primed to see it, but the sober critics of his claims about it, who are standing inside the things he's levelling his complaints at simply continue not being marxists.

There's a thing about marxists. I know quite a few of them. They do this thing where if you ask them if they're a marxist they go "yes, I am a marxist." They'll even be excited about telling you all about why and how they arrived at it. Peterson and McInnes and Spencer seem to be talking about a whole crew of people who surreptitiously are marxists who for some reason (this reason is apparently so that they can destroy the modern west) don't want you to know that they are marxists. He has a house of cards (and a patreon) to defend and support with that. While it's staggeringly difficult to get Peterson to say anything concrete, one thing he is concrete about is that there's this big marxist postmodernist thing going on that is new, bad, and needs to be stopped. McInnes thinks we should do violence to it. Peterson seems to think we can think and live it away through awareness of it, a passive refusal to participate, and a support of traditional ideas about how to live our roles in society. Also we should be christians because unlike marxism christianity hasn't caused millions of deaths (I know, it's nonsense, demonstrably false, but bear with him for a moment).

It's not there, though. What's there is an illusion, a canard, that is not new and not terribly surprising. I can't stand Peterson for many reasons, but the key one is that he isn't anything new. I've seen him before, both in the wild and ossified in history.

Let's look back at that article about Cultural Bolshevism and Carl von Ossietzk's critique of nazi writings about it:

"Cultural Bolshevism is when conductor [Otto] Klemperer takes tempi different from his colleague [Wilhelm] Furtwängler; when a painter sweeps a color into his sunset not seen in Lower Pomerania; when one favors birth control; when one builds a house with a flat roof; when a Caesarean birth is shown on the screen; when one admires the performance of [Charlie] Chaplin and the mathematical wizardry of [Albert] Einstein. This is called cultural Bolshevism and a personal favor rendered to Herr Stalin. It is also the democratic mentality of the brothers [Heinrich and Thomas]Mann, a piece of music by [Paul] Hindemith or [Kurt] Weill, and is to be identified with the hysterical insistence of a madman for a law giving him permission to marry his own grandmother."

Let's tease that apart a bit. He's saying that they point to it. Their substantiation of the phenomenon--which didn't exist then, I have to stress--lies in simply pointing out examples of it in the wild. The modernists were not marxists. Some of them were, but some of them were fascists. Modernism wasn't a marxist movement any more than postmodernism is. Postmodernism isn't even a movement. Modernism we only really recognize as one after the fact. Its characteristics became more fully concrete only after much time had passed, and really only in contrast to things it wasn't, like corinthian porticoes and the winged victory of samothrace. But in the nazi writings he's referring to it doesn't matter that it's an illusion. They substantiate their claim that there is such a thing as cultural bolshevism by pointing to things that piss them off, and to them this constitutes evidence. That the things themselves are not examples of a thing called cultural bolshevism and that the people doing the things are not actually marxists and do not have marxist motivations is not relevant. The nazis are advancing a narrative that is served through their continued insistence on the existence of these things in reality. When you said it wasn't real back then, the nazis responded by telling everyone that look, there they go, the cultural bolsheviks are denying reality again. They're out to destroy everything.

Now, there is a contrary perspective here. You can simply say, well, yeah, they're right--the nazis are right. Modernism was that. Similarly, you can say Peterson is right--there is cultural marxism, and the examples he gives are examples of it, and the people he says are marxists (remember when he wanted to create a register of marxist professors?) are marxists. You can do that. His followers do. They become incapable of engaging in a nuanced and accurate discussion of the role of marxist analysis in the arts, in culture, and in academia when they do that, but they do it. You can't discuss that if you've redefined it. It becomes like mormonism in a way. Once you've committed to the belief that a near-east culture, with horses and oxen, predated amerindians in North America, you've painted yourself into an ideological corner where you can't really discuss mainstream archaeology and anthropology anymore. Same process here.

I'm laying bare here my core reason for disliking Peterson, and the shortest way I can think of of rearticulating that is that I profoundly want his followers to get to the damn point about what they mean. Be honest about it. Don't tell me I don't understand Peterson. Tell me the point. You believe, as he does, in a conspiracy of cultural marxist postmodernists that are out to destroy the west. If that's it in the essentials, then we can't have any more of a discussion about the topic. In much the way devout mormons and I can't dialogue in any real way--I am an ex-mormon--I can't dialogue with you because you are now living a fiction, and if you're supporting his patreon you are now effectively a tithe-paying believer. The reality of the place marxism actually holds in 2019 is off the table. You won't even listen to the marxists about it, let alone the people who aren't marxists who are trying to tell you how they encounter it.

Let me analogize again. I worked in defense simulations for a long time. I helped make video games for the military as my full time job. We had this huge problem, and in many ways still do, that video games are a really cumbersome training tool. What we would have liked would have been a software tool that could train effective killers. What we got was something that could improve battlefield communication, allow space for practicing battle procedure, and help troops and leadership have better situational awareness at an almost theoretical level.

Over in the non-reality-based community there was this hysterical insistence that video games were murder simulators and were making our kids violent (a classic moral panic), and that we had to do all kinds of things to stop it and curb it and whatever else. That the professionals had been quietly trying to actually do precisely this and couldn't get it to work was not important. Nobody ever asked. I mean, wouldn't you think it would be the first thing they'd do? Find out if the military and people working for it were trying to develop games that generated killers and then ask them if it worked? Nobody did. The hysteria was enough. They just pointed to things they saw as examples of the phenomenon they had decided on, and be damned to the reality. I can't tell you how many times 'video games don't make people kill,' was responded to with 'why don't you want to protect our kids, you monster.'

The point is, why wouldn't you just ask? Is it a coincidence that all the people who are supposed to be cultural marxists always respond with 'what the hell are you talking about, you just made that up?' No. You just made it all up. You also aren't the first. It's a thread in the ongoing human dialogue that's always been percolating. You are continuing to make up shit in a thread people have been having for literally as long as there have been humans.

Now, I keep looking because like a train wreck in slow motion, extremist movements are morbidly fascinating. I'm always going to want to see the contortions and the acrobatics that are necessary to make everything fit into the self-referential ethnic-nationalist narrative. Particularly since it is so restrictive and self-referential that it literally slots into every other ethnic-nationalist narrative throughout the world and throughout history. It essentially shakes out as it always does. It's a narrative of the powerful that dresses itself up as a narrative of the persecuted. It's essentially cowardly too. You have an enemy who is simultaneously weak and impotent (the soyboy) and powerful and omnipotent (the globalists). You end up with a pinboard with a thousand pins on it held together by a million strands of yarn. You become so confused and enraged that you convince yourself that people are out to silence and even kill you.

So I'm exhorted, as a white dude, to adopt this perspective. The Gillette ad demonizes men, I'm told, and is a cynical moneygrab, and cynical moneygrabs that aren't expressly libertarian in origin are bad, you see. The other kind are okay. Being a cynical moneygrubber and putting yourself first is, of course, a net positive for society if you initiate that from the right side of the conversation. If it urges you, as a man, not to be a bully and belittle women, which are things lots of men do (and they all object to the ad, of course) then it's cynical and it serves this identitarian cultural marxist movement, and is therefore bad. There are, in fact, I'm told and should agree, cultural marxists, and they constitute an existential threat to the social order.

I can never figure out whether we white dudes are supposed to be the victims or the ones who maintain that social order (because we seem to be conveniently both or either whenever we're accessing different parts of the narrative), and the reality of what that social order is ultimately supposed to look like eludes me. I keep mining my history to find what social orders created and maintained by white dudes have looked like and it pretty much all comes up really, really bad for everybody else, but yeah, evidently I'm supposed to adopt this and think, whatever the bad points, it was all primarily good and positive. I mean, we're the status quo. We hold most of the positions of power, including professorships at the University of Toronto and the distinction of being literally the most influential public intellectual in the west, so we are dark horses, outnumbered and beset on all sides by legions of organized marxists who control all the positions of power and are the status quo.

It plays out, tired and tweed-wearing, like every other ethnic-nationalist persecution complex. I'm exhorted to adopt it and resist the forces of chaos. Literally chaos. I mean, he calls women a force of chaos, unironically, and his fans actually go right ahead and unironically adopt that as a line of authentic reasoning that they unironically go out into the world with, and they fully expect you not to think they're mentally unhinged and tell them so.

So no. I won't adopt it. I will, instead, attempt to excise from it the things it doesn't own.

In Twelve Rules for Life, an actual twelve-step self-help book written by an ostensibly adult and self-respecting tenured university professor, written at about a tenth-grade level, Dr. Peterson gives us, among some other brutally unhinged nonsense, some pretty obvious advice about the fact that we ought to behave with integrity, honesty, and charity, and that we should clean our rooms, and he dovetails it into all his other bullshit. Guess what? You can behave with integrity and resolve, deal honestly and charitably, and even clean your room without also attaching to it an unyielding inability to cope with social change and a related inability to avoid being thrown into paroxysms by the irritating desire of people who aren't like you to exist as they like and want to exist. I know. It's hard to believe, but if twelve-step self-help books have ever taught me anything, it's that if I really put my mind to it I can accomplish anything.

****

So what is he saying?

Evidently that's pretty hard to determine. I mean, you could read Twelve Rules for Life, but if you did, and you did anything but nod, you didn't get it, apparently. I mean, that does seem to be the pattern. He says some concrete things, but you're not supposed to take any of them as explicit statements. The rules themselves are pretty explicit, but the chapters that illustrate them mostly meander around not supporting them, and are generally closed with caveats.

At one point he spends a couple of pages telling you that your friends are probably taking advantage of you, people who drink, party and do drugs are objectively bad people, and that people who need help are basically freeloaders who need to choose 'the path upward,' illustrated with examples from his own life of people and circumstances that were to him terrible, but that are, objectively, not terrible. Then he closes by saying he isn't saying any of that 'in case that needs to be said,' which, of course it does. I mean, it's basically 'it's way more likely your friends are contemptible freeloaders than that they genuinely need your help, and way more likely you're just trying to make yourself look good in helping them than that you're legitimately trying to help because everyone's selfish and altruism is a lie,' and then, as an afterthought, 'in case anyone's confused, I meant be compassionate and help people.' It needs to be said because it's the opposite of what you said.

I mean, it could be (and has been) said that that analysis of the book lacks a tolerance for nuance and ambiguity. Yeah. It could. In my experience, people who are constructing nuanced arguments actually construct nuanced arguments that incorporate an understanding of the dizzying complexity of life, and not clearly illustrate one unscrupulous thing that's really explicit that they seem to actually believe for an entire chapter and then effectively take it back at the end (or, in the case of the whole 'enforced monogamy' thing, in a totally different piece of writing that essentially contradicts the first one).

I guess if Ayn Rand had closed Atlas Shrugged with a 'don't abandon the poor as lazy parasites because they're not all bad,' it might have been harder to claim she was a libertarian knocking down her favourite straw men. I mean, you could obviously do it, but her fans would be able to say 'look, that's not what she meant' rather than owning it the way randroids historically have. At least those guys had the courage of their convictions. They had the (good?) sense to own the fact that they were pushing a moral justification for being a selfish jerk.

He basically spends the whole book couching things. He'll say something fantastically misogynistic very enthusiastically for several paragraphs and then roll it back just enough for his fans to be able to feel like he was just warning them against a potential pitfall on the road to being their best self, but what he really meant was whatever their own threshold for basic human compassion is. Judging by the internet output of his fans, that's not very high.

Maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe his fans really, really want to be compassionate people, but they're frustrated at social failure. Jordan Peterson, judging by the book, spent a good deal of his time as a social failure. He didn't like parties. Judging by the way he talks about parties, he probably didn't get invited to a lot of them. He paints an image of himself scowling silently to himself, judging (harshly!) all the people enjoying being inebriated around him. All those people are stoned failures. They're all putting themselves at too much risk. There's a part in the book where he basically goes on a diatribe about how women who dress provocatively shouldn't be surprised when they get raped. He ducks and dives, though. Boy does he duck and dive. He doesn't come out and just say it.

That's where I have to come back to my core problem with this whole ideological bloc. What does he mean? You can wax vague, for sure, but maybe don't tell me what he means then, tell me instead what you mean! Do you mean women who dress provocatively shouldn't be surprised when they get raped? I've literally been told that by people who are just as willing to tell me I misunderstand him, so if he isn't providing you some validation about that, why am I being so enthusiastically encouraged to read him and adopt his views? If you're bitter about all those inebriated people at parties who never gave you the social validation you wanted, he's willing to commiserate about that too, and then deny it so he can get off the ideological train before its destination when you don't. I mean, what is he saying other than what I'm imbibing? It's the upshot of the whole crowd he moves in. He's on TurningPointUSA's panel for their student summit, for heaven's sake.

So what is it? It looks exactly like misogyny, ethnic nationalism, apologetics, and just basically being an uncompassionate person. But it dresses well. It looks and feels exactly like that scene in American History X where Edward Norton has gotten out of prison and he goes back to confront the white nationalist leader he has since rejected, and he's dressed nice, in a nice shirt, and he has hair, so he doesn't look like the old school kind of nazi punk who wore red laces and ten hole docs and shaved his head, and the guy looks at him and says something like, 'I like this respectable look, this is what we need,' which is what Gavin McInnes did, and that movie came out in 1998, back when we were coming out of a previous resurgence of this kind of thinking and rhetoric, but when the people doing it didn't have the good sense not to dress like they were trying to deliberately scare immigrants, but did have the good sense to meet in secret.

It looks just like that, but it dresses well, meets in public, and tells you that isn't what it is.

It even gets spectacularly offended at an advertisement that asks men not to be bullies and then tells you that it's really upset because of what that says about the portrayal of men in advertising, and that advertising panders to audiences to make money (which is apparently news), and actually expects you to believe that it has ever, even once, had any legitimate reason to be authentically worried or upset about how anyone else has ever been portrayed in advertising.

****

So, let's approach charity.

As in, the principle of. I'm not being entirely fair. There are some genuinely admirable things about Jordan Peterson. I keep being told this, and where those things stand out, and they do, they're legitimate things. People keep saying to me that yeah, there are good things and bad things, they don't agree with everything he says, but on the whole, it's good, because what he encourages is, in many cases, positive.

The principle of charity is when we assume the person we're talking to or about isn't an idiot, that we assume they have the relevant expertise or the apprehension to discuss something, so we don't have to go back to first principles. We also assume that their intentions are good. In fairness, he does have a chapter about this, but the chapter isn't an example of it. It's a chapter where he totally dismantles a woman (a client, no less), effectively stripping her of her humanity and agency in a systematic airing of personal details and scalpel-sharp judgments, and not an example of him accepting that others know things he doesn't, which might have been educational for the reader. I digress.

So, in the spirit of the principle of charity, I want to get into what I actually appreciate about him, and then clarify why it's not enough.

He's often actually capable of admitting when he's wrong, at least when it's not destructive to his core ideology. I'm not sure I should get too deeply into the Kavanaugh comment that got him in hot water with his fans, because frankly, displaying basic human compassion and getting your face bitten off for it by your fans really sounds like a him problem to me. He's walking a whole lot of fine lines with a whole lot of disagreeable people, and I have a hard time being sympathetic about that, because it's one of the main places where you get to really see him being deliberately intellectually dishonest. Those fans make no bones about reminding him where his paycheck comes from.

What I mean is, when someone gets him on fuzzy reasoning, and not a lot of people do in places where he can't back out or ignore it, he displays humility and accepts he was wrong. The whole thing about refusal of services to people for political reasons conversation is a good example of this. I mean, he's consistent that you ought to discriminate against people based on your personal convictions, but at least he admitted he was being a hypocrite that one time. I don't think Deepak Chopra has ever acknowledged that he's always wrong about everything at all times. Ben Shapiro, that amazing gish galloper, has made his whole persona about of being perceived to never be wrong about anything by his fans, even though he's actually a complete moron.

I don't think JBP is stupid. A bit addled, maybe. He's certainly smart, but he's not as smart as he thinks he is, and he's definitely not as smart as his fans think he is. He is definitely smart, though, and his advanced degrees display that he's got the ability to see through challenging tasks. Where that falls down is in his willingness to compromise the facts to support his audience.

Wait. I said I didn't want to get into that.

I guess I have to, because this is where I part ways with having any real respect for him or being willing to join some of my dude friends in being a fan (aside from the fact that I disagree with how he arrives at his principles and the way he treats people).

If Ben Shapiro, say, makes his whole biz about intellectual dishonesty, and Deepak Chopra makes his about conflating science with mysticism, then there are essentially two possibilities in their cases. Either they know they are liars, in which case at least they own it--I'm never going to care, or take cues from them, or follow their ideas and nod, but I can at least respect the buy-in--or else they are actually so deluded that they truly believe the nonsense they say, in which case there's something innocent about that, and while what they both do is terrible and the consequences are broader than they probably know, there's something about innocence of that kind that is to some degree forgivable. They don't know any better. Neither Ben Shapiro or Deepak Chopra are smart or moral enough to realistically interface with the consequences of the ideas they propagate. Deepak Chopra is not having a moral crisis over fleecing old people with nonsense. I guarantee.

Peterson clearly knows what he's doing. You can watch the trajectory of his decision to dedicate his life to talking to young, frustrated, confused dudes who feel they've been given a bad hand by life and (let's be honest) women. He's chosen to do that, and in doing that he's chosen to commisserate and play to their prejudices. He knows they're largely libertarians, largely on the right, largely misogynistic. He's way too smart and too old not to have recognized that he's inheriting the space of Rand and Heinlein and Robert Bly, and he's absolutely, 100% capable of streamlining his own intellect and message into what they expect to hear. They want, need to be validated. They need to be absolved of responsibility for downright shitty behaviour. They need to be told they've been socially rejected because everyone else is wrong. The only way he can get them to the positive nature of his blatantly obvious twelve rules is to play to that, and then inject some good behaviour. He's making a god damned killing now doing that. He has a responsibility I'm certain he's aware of to avoid the way Gavin McInnes has gone, with his encouragement of violence and forming of blackshirt groups.

He's made a conscious decision to serve a victim complex, though. He's fully aware that if he were to (as he did about Kavanaugh) actually deviate from the line the fans have chosen him for, the revenue would dip. Angry, frustrated dudes are capricious! See how they respond when people interpret their favourite comic books in ways they don't like? When razor companies suggest they could be better people?

Don't get me wrong. I don't think Jordan Peterson is actually a classical liberal, or a secret leftist or anything. I don't think he's even a centrist. He's a traditionalist and a conservative, and he's using fascist rhetoric and hanging around with the religious right. He just knows he's the intellectual prisoner of a community that will turn on him in five seconds if he doesn't toe the line, and he hasn't been making their coin long enough yet to have gotten over that. And there's where we part ways on the principle of charity. He's locked in so hard that even though he has, as a bona fide academic, the concept of intellectual honesty drilled into him, even though he's capable of admitting when he's wrong, even though he's capable of displaying and articulating legitimate compassion and a concept of the consequences of his words and actions, he's consciously chosen to forgo all that for demagoguery.

Also, the other thing is that since everything he says that I agree with is blatantly obvious human universals (dignity, integrity, charity, cleaning your room and treating people fairly) I don't need to hear it from him. The fact that the rest of it is aimed at people who believe Soros is coming for them and blame their social inadequacy on the girls who wouldn't sleep with them at high school parties means it's somewhere between irrelevant and repugnant to me as a way of seeing the world.

So yeah. You take the good and leave the bad, as I'm told. The problem is that I don't think cleaning your room and behaving with integrity have anything to do with thinking girls who dress provocatively shouldn't be surprised when they get raped, and stoners are bad people you shouldn't be friends with. The problem is that his fans and I come to such drastically different conclusions about what the good and the bad are, and I'm perfectly willing to throw out the judgmental bull and divorce it from basic human virtues.

JBP doesn't own bedmaking, so to speak, any more than Charlie Kirk owns the nuclear family.

I have more to say on this topic, and so expect edits here if you want to follow that.

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Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:57:02 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/culture-club
SpaceX Barge Landing http://sett.com/sigmasix/spacex-barge-landing Yesterday SpaceX landed a first stage on a deck barge in the Atlantic, in heavy seas and high winds. That was a historic moment, at least as important as, for example, the Gemini rendezvous, and probably at least as confusing to explain. Most of the world, if my facebook feed is any indication, didn't notice, or didn't understand. Many, if comment threads are any indication, didn't even believe it had happened at all.

As landmark firsts in human spaceflight go, the first suborbital spaceflight, the first orbital spaceflight, the first orbital rendezvous, the first lunar orbit, the first lunar landing, the first deployment of a lunar rover, the first shuttle launch, Skylab, the ISS, Virgin Galactic's X Prize win, and the first SpaceX flight that wasn't paid for with Elon Musk's personal funds are pretty key. This one is at least as important, and it opens the door to a whole host of possibilities.

Now, I'm aware that's a pretty bold statement. In fact, last night I was arguing with a friend in a bar, and he told me outright that I didn't know what I was talking about and that I must have just read some breathless press release from Elon Musk.

Let me begin with the more facile justifications, and then move on to the more technical explanations of why this is so important.

First. A commercial enterprise just successfully landed the first stage of a rocket they designed and built themselves on a ship in the Atlantic and recovered it for reuse. They did not do this for the sake of whimsy. They're a commercial enterprise. They did it for profit.

Where's the profit? Well, imagine Delta Airlines had to remain solvent while throwing away every airplane they used after every flight and building a new one from scratch. The SpaceX Falcon 9 costs about as much as a 747. Every component of the entire Saturn V system that put men on the moon was discarded or destroyed or rendered inoperable in the process of doing its job. At risk of engaging in (not much) exaggeration, the human mind is not designed to understand the costs involved in that sort of thing.

The reason SpaceX can remain solvent, even with an eight percent failure rate (which would in itself sink an airline, but is the lowest of any space program in the world) is because spaceflight is so hideously, ludicrously expensive that anyone who wants to do it is saving money by contracting with them, because their systems are the newest and their costs per pound of payload are already the cheapest. Now their clients (mostly governments) are saving even more.

I hear you say, “but William, they're not really a business. They use taxpayer dollars.” Let me address that.

Is Lockheed Martin a business? They make money almost exclusively from inflated government contracts. They provide little of substance for absurd amounts of taxpayer money. This is because in the majority of cases you can't sell military equipment to civilians. Lockheed Martin contracts with governments and provides a product. SpaceX contracts with governments because traditionally, they have been nearly the only organizations that could afford to pay for or provide heavy lift spaceflights. This landing and recovery changes the game completely.

Now, it's true that the cost savings here, while great, don't lower the price of an orbital flight by a huge amount just yet, but this is a proof-of-concept done operationally. This flight provided supplies to the ISS (including another landmark, an inflatable habitat) by lofting a capsule theoretically capable of supporting humans, and while the second stage is still discarded, including its expensive rocket engine, the next step is to land that stage as well. Eventually, the capsule will also be landed.

As background to this, you may recall the Apollo recoveries. Maybe you've seen one of the recovered capsules in a museum. Having run a few contracts in those places, I've been to Huntsville and Kennedy, and I've seen a few myself. They're destroyed. This is because a parachute recovery is actually just a crash you can walk away from. The next step, which has engineering hurdles which were not insurmountable in the seventies and are less so now, was to recover the craft. The Space Shuttle was designed to do this.

The Shuttle, or STS, made compromises though, and it ended up costing more than expected, with longer turnaround times. It had to carry its wings up with it. It had to replace a massive area of re-entry tiles constantly. It had to carry flight control systems it only used on landing. It had to carry its ascent engines for the whole flight. It discarded its boosters into saltwater (and eventually recovered them damaged). It discarded its main tank during every ascent. The cost savings ended up being marginal to nonexistent.

The Orion system NASA is currently contracting with other commercial enterprises to produce discards every component of its launch system just like Apollo and STS did, though the Solid Rocket Boosters, the same ones STS used, are recoverable, but they have to be pulled out of the ocean and rebuilt. The Orion capsule recovery is still a glorified crash. Everything about this (admittedly wonderful system I'm actually really excited about) is an outlay.

The Falcon/Dragon has already landed a first stage twice, once on a boat. The cost savings are substantial and verified. The systems aren't finished yet, but this landing is a symbol of the fact that they will be. Eventually, the Dragon capsule, manned, will land the same way this first stage did, and the same way the second stage eventually will, and it will be recovered, turned around, and reused, just like a commercial aircraft. It won't crash at just the right speed for humans to survive. It'll land.

I want to get into the commercial implications of this, including the economics of near and far-future resource extraction in space and why it's affordable, even lucrative, even compared to doing so on Earth—a topic better people than me have explored in depth, with the conclusion that once you have the infrastructure in place (which this landmark builds the underpinnings for), it's actually comparatively trivial—but that's for a later post.

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Sat, 09 Apr 2016 22:40:37 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/spacex-barge-landing
More of Lena http://sett.com/sigmasix/more-of-lena Lena is one of my very favourite characters in A Lion in Heaven. Here is more of her.

As she worked later in the day of that conversation with Cindy—bussing, serving drinks and food, cleaning up here and there, dropping a glass in a moment of absent-mindedness to find that, as always, it bounced—she found herself thinking about Dyke.

By the time she'd met him he'd been going by the name Dylan Kelly—his father and mother's first names pried back out of the ridiculous portmanteau they'd given him. Earlier in his life, he'd told her, he'd respected them too much to change it, even after their natural enough deaths, from lung cancer in his mother's case and heart disease in his father's. They'd both been smokers, and while they'd lived long lives, both into their eighties, they'd succumbed finally to the predictable signatures of their now long obsolete vice.

It was Cindy's ludditism that had triggered this. She hardly thought about him anymore, she told herself. Ludditism? Seriously? Was that still a thing? She'd come to assume, as long as she'd been up here (and maybe this was something he had instilled in her, for better or worse), that people living on space stations understood, as they absolutely had to, the importance of technological progress and the perfection of tailored ecologies. He'd been the pioneer of that. He'd been an actual, literal pioneer, in the sense that his next step might always have been genuinely fatal, as it had been for the many, many early Olympus settlers Cindy had correctly pointed out had died in the early days.

That those people had died in droves then and that their descendants no longer did was evidence against Cindy's position, as far as Lena was concerned. When smallpox had killed millions, advancement had come, and now that dreadful sickness didn't exist anymore. It was like Cindy was harbouring a love for disease and poverty and death, like she was afraid of losing her humanity, (whatever that word really meant), to a clean, happy, prosperous life.

Dyke had been very old—well over a hundred—but she hadn't known who he was when she'd first met him. He'd been nothing more remarkable than an intelligent, charming, evidently well-off, well-dressed young man, apparently in his early thirties. 'Dylan' had been her BFF, inseparable, travelling whirlwind all over the stations for two years before he'd finally told her who he really was, right before he'd revealed himself to the community with that peculiar public statement and disappeared.

She hadn't been the first, and the high strangeness of the statement notwithstanding, she had to assume she would not be the last.

He'd been charming, sure, but he'd also been full of himself. He'd never listened. He probably wouldn't have been able, after two years, to remember her birthday or her mother's name without having to ask Cronos. "When you're my age, Lena," he'd have said, "two years will go by like two weeks. If you're around long enough, I'll remember." Back then she'd still thought he was her age. She'd since wondered why he didn't talk slower—why had he never slowed down and sat on a porch?

There had been Cronos, who hadn't spoken to her since he'd left.

She'd only ever got text messages from him, but they'd both talked to him, and Dylan had told her that they were the only people he talked to. Half the time, he'd called him 'it.'

Cronos was like a virtual valet. He'd made hotel arrangements for them, managed finances, handled transportation and any number of other things. A virtual assistant was of course, standard fare, and the personalities could be pretty convincing, but this one had been really odd. He'd only texted, he'd never spoken or appeared in telepresence, and he had been utterly believable. Lena could picture someone, somewhere, on an old keyboard or something, maybe on Earth, just spending all his time arranging things for Dylan, always one step ahead of his employer's whims.

She'd had her own virtual assistant, like an imaginary friend, when she was younger—Cara, with her tailored personality quirks, hairstyles and cute little outfits—but the things wore thin with their in-your-face-artificiality, so she'd pared down the top-heavy services and now she just got alerts. Neurosimulations could be convincing, but it was always clear there was nothing behind the facade, and she'd always found that sad and disconcerting in a weird, almost scary way. You found yourself almost thinking of something as a friend, and then it would hit you, 'that's not even an animal. It's vacant.' Cronos had been refreshing.

That had been last year. Things had gotten weirder. Dyke's sudden public appearance and his statement had attracted some weird, unsavoury elements to the stations. Anons and earthbound espionage people, it was said. Even Risen were arriving, it was whispered—or alternately shouted to the hills on the internet. Old grudges. Old convictions. Old enemies turning over every rock, looking for someone she'd known only as a self-absorbed man-boy.

He'd never understood her. He'd never seemed to want to. He'd infantilized her, in fact. It had been infuriating, but it had also been fun when it was fun. Who doesn't like getting swept off their feet by a charming stranger?

'I have to go to a party tonight or I'll wilt,' she thought as she finished closing. 'Hopefully with a pool.' She told Cindy to meet her at the Liquid Kitty.

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Thu, 03 Sep 2015 23:12:29 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/more-of-lena
Lena http://sett.com/sigmasix/lena Okay, so this is mostly not exposition. It's actually where we introduce Lena, Milos, and Cindy. FYI, this takes place on a Stanford Torus called 'Pedestal'. It's one of the smaller ones, in low Earth orbit, and it's basically a superhotel. Some old conceptual paintings of what these look like.

Pedestal is actually smaller than both of these, and most of its architecture mimics Venice, but engineering-wise, this is the concept. Olympus, mentioned in this excerpt, is much, much bigger than even the one pictured above.

Enjoy:

Lena had just finished changing. The show had been a hot affair, the clothes had been bulky and ugly and unnecessarily low-tech, and everyone had complained. The make-up had been extensive and equally inert. She had needed chemical make-up removers she hadn't used in years, and now she looked and felt like someone had stripped her face with a heat gun and a scraper.

Nonetheless, the show had been a success. She wasn't the only one, though, who thought this was just the result of a vogue for things that were 'real for real;' game effects that used polygonal or point-cloud modelling, actual clothing instead of augmented reality, vintage special effects in static scripting. It was—and her social aggregator had this fluctuating around thirty percent of pundits and critics for any of this so-called 'analog' art—a new kind of ludditism, a new mutation of one of the oldest fallacies humankind fell for: that things were better in the old days. You could make anything nowadays, of course, but all anyone was ever talking about in say, sculpture, for example, was white rooms filled with thousands to millions of collected and assembled physical, non-printed objects, brought up to orbit at insane expense.

Milos, using his usual handle, Savoir Fairy, was talking to her from Olympus, where he was at some kind of party, and as she stepped out the door of the Abandoned Versailles—the Pedestal venue where the show had taken place—and blended into the neon, slapdash crowd, she was only giving him a fraction of her attention as she sifted semi-consciously through reams of automatically filtered contact requests, notifications, and advertisements. "It's amazing, darling," he was saying. "You should see this place. It's like she can't decide if it's a farm or a luxury retreat, but it manages to do both. The architecture kind of plods a bit. It looks like somebody polished up a burned down Greek temple."

She took a message from Cindy. "You want to meet before work?"

This one she replied to. "Yeah. Patty's?"

"OK. In ten?"

"K."

Milos was still going. If the party was so great, why was he talking to her instead of all the rich, influential guests? She supposed, knowing him, that he was talking to everyone—he was probably having the identical conversation with thousands of people on the Stations and Earth, and about fifteen other ones with certain carefully selected friends and sycophants. She wondered what he was on. How did he manage to multitask as much as he did? She'd seen him talking in person with one person and still communicating with all his followers without missing a beat. The person standing in front of him never knew. She was good, but she wasn't anywhere near that good."You wouldn't believe who's here, baby."

And yet, she thought, you're going to tell me, and I will absolutely believe you, because as much as I can't stand what an arrogant climber you are, it's always true, you're always on top of things, and you're always there for me, friend.

"Kayla Knightsbridge, the Governor's here. The new L&B CEO, you know him? I think his name is Todd. He's talking to Maryanne right now. I don't know what her deal is. I think she's an anthropologist, but why an anthropologist knows everyone and has a place like this I can't figure out. Anyway, it's amazing, honey, you should be here. How did Anselm go? I didn't think you were doing runways anymore. I don't even know why anybody does."

She bit. She couldn't resist. "At least Anselm pays." She stopped walking for a moment and had a brief look at his public telepresence feed. The party was as posh, as elegant, as amazing, and just as fucking pretentious as anything else he surrounded himself with.

"Yeah, honey, but they pay, what, half a million? It's hardly worth it, babe."

So he was paying attention to her, specifically, at least now. She shook her head. "I gotsta get paid, y'all," she told him.

"I get it, honey. Things are changing."

"Yeah, and you've got all the time in the world to assimilate it, don't you? Some of us have to work for a living."

"Oh, Lena, babe, I do work for a living. I just can't spend so much of my time with my nose to the grindstone. I just can't do it, babe."

"Me neither, but my rent doesn't pay itself."

"Oh, nonsense. You just need a sugar daddy. It's your pride, hon."

She laughed. "Yeah. A sugar daddy. Right. You know how well that went last time. Anyway, I have to go. I'm meeting up with Cindy right now."

"You should never have left him, baby. You should have held on to that mercurial son of a bitch. Anyway, bye, honeybear."

"Bye Milos." I didn't leave him, she thought, but I would have if I'd known who he was.

Seldom, if ever, did a message that wasn't from someone she knew or from someone who paid her make it to the top of her queue. This one had leaked in somehow, and she was going to ignore it until she noticed it had no content. It was just a subject, and it said 'Hotblack Desiato,' and deleted itself with a checkmark once she read it. She wondered if it was a virus for a few moments, and then she was distracted as she came around the corner and through the doorway to Patty's. Cindy was nursing a coffee. She waved.

Kaia (another coworker) put Lena's coffee, ordered on the way, on the table just as she sat down. "The age of inconvenience," she said.

"Tell me about it," Cindy said, taking a sip.

Lena smiled.

"On second thought, don't," said Cindy

"I wouldn't dream of inconveniencing you. Did you see my horrible ordeal?"

"The Anselm show? Yeah. I couldn't see the difference. What's the point?"

Lena laughed softly. "Torture. I'm pretty sure she's just trying to find out how much pain and suffering she can put her staff through."

Cindy gave a thin smile. "You know, not too long ago that was how it was done."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Not too long ago people used mercury to make hats and got water with lead pipes. You can go insane being sentimental for the bad old days."

"Sure, but maybe... you know."

Lena made a face. "Not unless you tell me."

"It's just, you know. Maybe they're right about the way we live."

"The luddites?"

"Well, yeah. Maybe this monoculture isn't safe. Maybe we're not meant to be so clean or so dependent on synthetic meats and genetically engineered plants and additive manufacturing and radiation shielding and vaccination and all that stuff."

Lena nodded. She gave Cindy a skeptical look, and looked away after a few seconds. "I had no idea you felt that way. I don't have anyone on my feeds anymore who thinks like that. I've been blocking and deleting them for years. I guess I just don't see it anymore."

"Well, I kind of knew what you'd say."

"What's that?"

"That I'm being stupid."

"No. I don't think I would."

"But you do think that."

"No. I just think if your mind is too wide open your brains will fall out."

Cindy shook her head. "I've heard that one before. Your dad used to say that all the time."

"He did. This is the safest lifestyle anyone's ever had."

"The Olympus outbreak."

"Sure, yeah. It's dangerous sometimes. Everything is dangerous sometimes."

"That killed a lot of people. It was because everything was too clean and new bacteria mutated."

"Yes. It was. And filthy old Europe gestated the plague and smallpox. We're way better off. How much time do you spend down there these days? Have you been back down since Luke?"

"Nope."

"You're better off for it. Believe me."

"But maybe we're not supposed to be like this?"

"We're just changing, Cindy. We're getting better. We're getting smarter. We're getting cleaner. We have more free time. We're more social. We're connected in ways people before us couldn't even imagine. We're flying through space."

Cindy sighed. "I'm just worried we're not doing the right thing. Or maybe that I'm not. I don't know. Did you see Milos's party?"

"It's not his party."

"Yeah, but it's awesome. Why didn't you go?"

"Umm, working." She pointed to her bag.

"Yeah, but you could have got off for that. I mean, Cara Anselm wasn't even at the show. She's at that party."

"She wanted me to do this. I sat in her office for forty five minutes looking at the line."

"Maybe she didn't want you at the party. Maybe you remind her of him."

Lena laughed. "I definitely remind her of him, but I don't think that's why."

Another sudden, suspicious message popped to the top of her queue. Once again, it was atypical. No AR, no links, no content. It said "talk to Alton Ely," and then it vanished.

"What?" Cindy was looking at her, puzzled.

Lena shook her head. "I don't know. Do you get weird messages sometimes? Totally out of context? Kind of creepy? Like someone's watching you?"

"Only from Luke."

Lena laughed. "Yeah. Fortunately, he's a world away."

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:40:11 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/lena
The Tower http://sett.com/sigmasix/the-tower I haven't posted in a while, but rest assured, I have been busy and will post things I've been doing. The novel, A Lion in Heaven is completed to a late 2nd draft, and I'm working on the third and final at this time, having written an additional 4000 words in the last two weeks.

In the meantime, good news! I have a piece of flash fiction on 365 Tomorrows.

The story is a short excerpt of exposition from the beginning of the novel. In my next post, I'll post another, longer piece of exposition here.

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:01:51 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/the-tower
Final MH12 Model Renders http://sett.com/sigmasix/final-mh12-model-renders ]]> Short of getting to work on the interior some time, I'm fairly sure this is as far as the MH12 Dropship model is going to get. Geometry, UV unwrapping, texturing done. Here are some pics!

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Sat, 13 Dec 2014 23:06:26 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/final-mh12-model-renders
CD-177 Textured http://sett.com/sigmasix/cd-177-textured ]]> Having completed the geometry and the UV unwrapping, I went on to do a set of weathered textures with markings. The original concept sketch and description of this craft is here.

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Sat, 15 Nov 2014 13:35:46 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/cd-177-textured
Finished CD-177 Model http://sett.com/sigmasix/finished-cd-177-model ]]> Here are some renders of the final concept model of the CD-177 introduced here.

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Sat, 15 Nov 2014 08:45:40 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/finished-cd-177-model
CD-177 Concept Model http://sett.com/sigmasix/cd-177-concept-model ]]> Over the last two days I've spent some spare time (between an exam and a final paper) Banging up a model of the CD-177 from my last post. Enjoy!

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Fri, 14 Nov 2014 03:33:53 +0000 http://sett.com/sigmasix/cd-177-concept-model