Sometimes the Cyberpunk comments are better than the post

The post is pretty readable, but the comment thread has some awesome moments.

The post has pullquotes like:

The megacorps will strive to order and simplify our lives, for that is where they get their power, while the hackers try to free themselves, and perhaps us, by making our lives as disorderly and complex as possible. But it’s not a question of who wins. It’s an ever evolving new landscape, a red queen race with an unknown number of contestants. Sustainability is not static.

Unfortunately, electrification is not necessarily sustainable either, because so much depends on how the End of Oil plays out.

But the comment section has pull quotes like:

The transition to a society where girls all want to grow up to be engineers or surgeons or spacewomen, bear only 1.8 children and have recreational sex without pecuniary reward, I just don’t see that happening. Rather the other way round. It makes me queasy to see how many girls in the West think manicurist is a dignified career, and webcam wanking a viable business model. But hey, I’m a curmudgeon.

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Lower-class rebellion tropes

Lower-class rebels have been popular since before Outlaws of the Water Margin and Robin Hood.

In modern settings, the line between political rebel and gangster tends to get skewed to favor “hedonistic, selfish gangster” over “idealistic, political rebel.”

Jack London’s Iron Heel is probably relevant here, as are several works by Joseph Conrad, and even Melville and Dickens.

A very interesting trope that is underused in modern pop culture is the motorcycle gang.

The War on Drugs started a movement to stigmatize core elements of the rebel ethos. It was relatively safe to be countercultural in the 1950s, when Marlon Brando did it. In 2016, such maneuvers will get you shot just like Lavoy Finicum.

Furthermore, political correctness has taken over Hollywood. If Hollywood tells a story about rebellious bikers and expects the audience to sympathize, then the bikers must be anti-racist and implicitly pro-gay.

Kinji Fukasaku had this theme down, and Tarentino failed to copy his example.


Applicability: The film’s themes of the poor eating their own under unfair economic conditions are seen as case study in “trickle-down” economics by film academics.
Ax-Crazy: Katsutoshi Otomo ,played by Sonny Chiba, provides a realistic portrayal of this trope, being extremely histrionic and unstable.
Black and Gray Morality: Really, no one is good in this series. For one thing, they’re all Yakuza, which makes them evil by default. But there is really not a single decent person in the cast. While some, like Hirono, do actually cherish the Yakuza honor code, they find it nearly impossible to keep it in the immoral surroundings they find themselves in, and even they turn to assassinations, and murder just to stay alive.

See also:

I don’t think yakuza stories are going to revive this theme, especially for the West. If Tarentino failed (and he certainly did fail – he is entirely owned by Hollywood conventionality now) then the yakuza theme cannot save Hollywood.

For that matter, in real life, the Yakuza are very pro-government. They make Japan more stable than it would otherwise be. The Yakuza are not rebels against Japan.

Conversely, the fictional biker gang in Akira was made up of true rebels. Also, Megazone 23 deserves two or three mentions.

Hollywood celebrates promiscuity in order to trick losers into embracing the cuckoldry fetish


TVTropes seems to have a very low opinion of the “Defiled Forever” trope, and seems to promote Author Tracts that proudly preach “My Girl Is A Slut.”

I had previously said that most of the fiction I notice seems to revolve around virgin romance
. That reflects a certain narrowness of vision on my part. I’m not willing to sit through bad art such as Sex and the City just to get a well-rounded notion of what sort of popular entertainment promotes promiscuity.

In some cases, the “My Girl is a Slut” trope is a celebration of sluttiness. In other cases, it can be used to criticize men who buy into the “sexual liberation” propaganda.

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Transhumanism is a black hole of fiction

The post at

takes transhumanism pretty seriously.

In my experience, transhumanism is mostly about fiction. Yeah, there are a couple of people with good artificial legs, and soon we might have a decent artificial eye. But transhumanism is basically a bunch of New Wave sci-fi writers who can’t live up to Lem and PKD, so they get grotesque.

When we get closer to real-life transhumanism I’ll take it a little more seriously.

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a horrible writer who embodied the (idolatrous) ethos of her time, and also a child molester

Some eras are corrupt.

Some cultures simply have a lot of pederasty.

This does not excuse individual pederasts, it merely explains them.

People who idolize actual graven images don’t do a lot of harm.

People who idolize principles manage to do horrible things.

Sharing wealth is good. Idolize that wealth-sharing as a principle and you get Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot.

Economic individualism is good. Idolize that economic individualism as a principle and you get Bernie Madoff.

Sex is good. Idolize that sex as a principle and you get Josef Fritzl and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

The idolatry of principles is when you take a limited good and convince yourself that it is an absolute good that will ennoble anything you do for it.

Recently metafilter linked to somebody called Deirdre.

Deirdre posted evidence that MZB was not just an accomplice to child molesters, but also MZB molested children.

It’s a little late for mortals to be alerted to this fact, because it’s not easy to take revenge on MZB or her partners in crime – they’re dead already.

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