CLoM » March 2010 Archive
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I'm back for more and only a few hours late!
OK, I'm not on time. But I'm less late than I might have been. Yeah. Think about it.
|“||Pop Harper glanced up at Eddie Willers as he came out of the president's office. It was a wise, slow glance; it seemed to say that he knew that Eddie's visit to their part of the building meant trouble on the line, knew that nothing had come of the visit, and was completely indifferent to the knowledge. It was the cynical indifference which Eddie Willers had seen in the eyes of the bum on the street corner.||”|
- “a wise ... glance” - Sorry, that’s not allowed. “Wise” is not a facial expression. And more importantly, you can’t just tell us that someone is wise. You have a whole one thousand pages to play with — take some time off and show us that this person is wise.
- “it seemed to say that he knew that Eddie's visit to their part of the building meant trouble on the line, knew that nothing had come of the visit, and was completely indifferent to the knowledge” - Yeah. How about “Harper already knew he’d failed”? Plus, if you start a sentence with “it seemed”, you really can’t follow it up with a list of objective facts. “It seemed to mock him” is fine. “It seemed to convey every little thing Harper was thinking” is insane.
- “It was the cynical indifference which Eddie Willers had seen in the eyes of the bum on the street corner.” - Eddie, you work in a large, impersonal business. If you’re going to stop and tell us whenever you encounter “cynical indifference” we’ll be here all year.
|“||"Say, Eddie, know where I could get some woolen undershirts?" he asked, "Tried all over town, but nobody's got 'em."||”|
I’m sure we all already noticed, but “he asked” is redundant here. It’s not quite as bad as “damn my sister said James Taggart”, but it’s pretty clumsy.
|“||Eddie started. That was the sentence he had tried to remember: Your days are numbered. But he had forgotten in what connection he had tried to remember it.||”|
It was the giant implausible calendar, you stupid idiot. Besides which, the connection between these two things is a joke, not a legitimate apprehension of mortality. It’s the kind of thing you’d find in a humorous birthday card.
|“||"I'm not going to requisition a new typewriter. The new ones are made of tin. When the old ones go, that will be the end of typewriting. There was an accident in the subway this morning, their brakes wouldn't work. You ought to go home, Eddie, turn on the radio and listen to a good dance band. Forget it, boy. Trouble with you is you never had a hobby. Somebody stole the electric light bulbs again, from off the staircase, down where I live. I've got a pain in my chest. Couldn't get any cough drops this morning, the drugstore on our corner went bankrupt last week. The Texas-Western Railroad went bankrupt last month. They closed the Queensborough Bridge yesterday for temporary repairs. Oh well, what's the use? Who is John Galt?"||”|
- This whole thing is pretty random. I think it’s meant to be a stream of consciousness, but it reads more like the lyrics to MacArthur Park. There’s too much of a disconnect between these thoughts — they’re not a train of thought, they’re clearly a list that was thrown together from different drafts of this scene. Why would anyone go from “horrible industrial accident” straight to “listen to a good dance band”?
- I get what Rand is trying to do with the “Who is John Galt?” thing, but it’s just falling flat on its face.
- Firstly, we’re supposed to find it mysterious that this man’s name has become so ubiquitous — but the problem is, it never makes any sense that his name is ubiquitous. Galt is supposed to be acting secretively at this point, so the fact that he has also become a household name just seems farcical. The effect isn’t “everyone is interested in John Galt”, it’s “Ayn Rand is interested in John Galt”.
- Secondly, the fact that the question “Who is John Galt?” actually has an important answer is supposed to surprise us (I assume), but this would be pretty unlikely even if I didn’t already know the plot. The fact alone that he has been given a unique, deliberately dramatic sounding name (By Rand’s standards, at least), makes him a obvious character to us, even though we haven’t seen him yet. When Graham Greene tries a very similar trick in The Third Man, it actually works because (if we don’t already know the plot) we think Harry Lime is dead. Plus, Harry Lime is convincing as an unseen puppet-master, whereas John Galt’s influence comes from the fact that he is writing the book he is in.
|“||She sat at the window of the train, her head thrown back, one leg stretched across to the empty seat before her. The window frame trembled with the speed of the motion, the pane hung over empty darkness, and dots of light slashed across the glass as luminous streaks, once in a while.||”|
- Dagny Taggart is a sleeping cat. Canon.
- The flashes of light you see in a train at night are very immediate sensations. Here they are rendered in a very dull, itemized way. “Luminous” is such a boring word. It’s incapable of evoking anything close to its supposed meaning.
|“||Her leg, sculptured by the tight sheen of the stocking, its long line running straight, over an arched instep, to the tip of a foot in a high-heeled pump, had a feminine elegance that seemed out of place in the dusty train car and oddly incongruous with the rest of her. She wore a battered camel's hair coat that had been expensive, wrapped shapelessly about her slender, nervous body. The coat collar was raised to the slanting brim of her hat. A sweep of brown hair fell back, almost touching the line of her shoulders. Her face was made of angular planes, the shape of her mouth clear-cut, a sensual mouth held closed with inflexible precision. She kept her hands in the coat pockets, her posture taut, as if she resented immobility, and unfeminine, as if she were unconscious of her own body and that it was a woman's body. She sat listening to the music. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance.||”|
- Why say “sculpted” when you can say “sculptured?”
- “She wore a battered camel's hair coat that had been expensive” - Wow. If you really have to stick details on the end of a sentence and ruin any kind of flow you might have had, make sure they aren’t this shallow.
- “Her face was made of angular planes, the shape of her mouth clear-cut, a sensual mouth held closed with inflexible precision.” - Dagny Taggart is a robot. Canon.
- “She kept her hands in the coat pockets, her posture taut, as if she resented immobility” - I can kind of imagine this, actually. Compared to the rest of the paragraph, this is a very good description. I will tentatively award Ayn Rand one gold star. The only downside is I am now imagining Dagny Taggart as Asuka Langley Soryu.
- “and unfeminine, as if she were unconscious of her own body and that it was a woman's body” - Jesus. Even lacking femininity is a quantifiable mistake in this world.
- “She sat listening to the music.” - I suppose “the music” is a quite good way of introducing it without revealing where it’s coming from. Normally I’d expect Ayn to write something like “She was hearing music but was unaware of it’s source or location”.
- “It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive.” - Well, this is quite bad, as you can see, but writing about music is pretty much impossible, so I think I have to let her off on this one. There but for the grace of God go I, etc.
|“||She had never heard that symphony before, but she knew that it was written by Richard Halley.||”|
Halley is actually quite a good name for a composer. I can really see that. However, I don’t think we need “Richard”... and we especially don’t need “Richard Halley” every time he’s mentioned. Luckily, Rand seems to relax her “full names at all times” rule a bit in this case, and we will see him referred to as “Halley” in the future. Thank heaven for small mercies.
|“|| She recognized the violence and the magnificent intensity. She recognized the style of the theme; it was a clear, complex melody - at a time when no one wrote melody any longer. . . . She sat looking up at the ceiling of the car, but she did not see it and she had forgotten where she was. She did not know whether she was hearing a full symphony orchestra or only the theme; perhaps she was hearing the orchestration in her own mind.
She thought dimly that there had been premonitory echoes of this theme in all of Richard Halley's work, through all the years of his long struggle, to the day, in his middle-age, when fame struck him suddenly and knocked him out. This — she thought, listening to the symphony — had been the goal of his struggle. She remembered half-hinted attempts in his music, phrases that promised it, broken bits of melody that started but never quite reached it; when Richard Halley wrote this, he . . . She sat up straight. When did Richard Halley write this?
- OK. I knew this part was coming, but it still annoys me. By opening this book I have somehow entered a world in which enjoying the work of a composer implies the ability to predict and recognize their future compositions with sublime accuracy. I can’t express how arrogant I find this. This isn’t possible in the real world, or even anything approaching the real world — you would need to bend the definitions of music and the human mind to a great degree to make this possible. Morality is one thing, but when you lazily reduce music to a simple, objective construct you have really crossed a line.
- “through all the years of his long struggle, to the day, in his middle-age, when fame struck him suddenly and knocked him out” - I kinda like this part, actually. It isn’t phrased that badly, and it seems like something that actually happens. It kind of reminds me of J.D. Salinger. Sadly, I suspect Ayn Rand is aiming more for “non-free market hampering creativity” rather than anything like “dehumanizing nature of fame”.
|“|| She watched him incredulously for a while, before she raised her voice to ask, "Tell me please, what are you whistling?"
The boy turned to her. She met a direct glance and saw an open, eager smile, as if he were sharing a confidence with a friend. She liked his face — its lines were tight and firm, it did not have that look of loose muscles evading the responsibility of a shape, which she had learned to expect in people's faces.
- I quite like “Tell me please, what are you whistling?”. Sure it’s stilted, but it fits what I know of her character so far.
- “its lines were tight and firm, it did not have that look of loose muscles evading the responsibility of a shape, which she had learned to expect in people's faces” - This is ridiculous. Everybody take note: the expression on your face is now an issue of “responsiblity”. This is especially absurd if you actually know what Ayn Rand herself looked like.
|“|| "It's the Halley Concerto," he answered, smiling.
She let a moment pass, before she said slowly and very carefully, "Richard Halley wrote only four concertos."
This guy is such an idiot. Again, I should mention that I haven’t read this book all the way through, and everything I know about it is absorbed from second-hand sources, but I’m pretty sure this guy knows of the new concerto because he and Halley are both somehow part of Galt’s “strike”. And if that is true, he should really be more careful about giving out information like this. It’s bad enough that he’s actually whistling the theme deliberately, in full knowledge of what it is, but actually explaining himself to a suspicious passerby is really pushing his luck.
Also, this nameless woman will soon be revealed as Dagny Taggart, the éminence grise of Taggart Transcontinental. She effectively owns the company John Galt is currently skulking around in (I think), and is a close personal friend of several of his chosen strikers. If anyone is going to appear on a hypothetical “people you shouldn’t explain everything to”, she is.
|“||The boy's smile vanished. It was as if he were jolted back to reality, just as she had been a few moments ago. It was as if a shutter were slammed down, and what remained was a face without expression, impersonal, indifferent and empty.||”|
Why is this klutz part of the strike anyway? What makes him a candidate for this ideal meritocracy?
|“|| "Yes, of course," he said. "I'm wrong. I made a mistake."
"Then what was it?"
"Something I heard somewhere."
"I don't know."
"Where did you hear it?"
"I don't remember."
Nice covering up there. She’ll never suspect a thing.
You know what? He could have just said something obviously wrong, like “it’s Beethoven's Fifth”. This would be extremely plausible behavior in a human being. But I guess it would be difficult to swing now that we’ve decided music is objective. Who would have thought that would have had any negative effects?
|“||"It sounded like a Halley theme," she said.||”|
See how good it looks without “Richard” next to it? Richard doesn’t belong next to Halley.
|“||"You like the music of Richard Halley?"||”|
Goddamn it, Ayn.
|“||She tried to think; but the music remained on the edge of her mind and she kept hearing it, in full chords, like the implacable steps of something that could not be stopped. . . . She shook her head angrily, jerked her hat off and lighted a cigarette.||”|
- “lighted”? Fucking “lighted”? Is this what we’re reduced to?
- “jerked her hat off” sort of works. That sentence is kind of “busy”, rhythmically, and it fits what is happening.
|“||She had fallen asleep and she awakened with a jolt, knowing that something was wrong, before she knew what it was: the wheels had stopped. The car stood soundless and dim in the blue glow of the night lamps. She glanced at her watch: there was no reason for stopping. She looked out the window: the train stood still in the middle of empty fields.||”|
- I don’t think there is such a thing as a situation where the word “awaken” is better than “wake”.
- “She glanced at her watch: there was no reason for stopping” — I suppose this is OK. Something like “it was only three o’clock” would get this across without sounding so robotic, though.
- “She looked out the window: the train stood still in the middle of empty fields.” — This is just plain bad. The colon here doesn’t work at all — this seems like two slow, leaden sentences with no actual connection between them. Worse, we don’t even need to read that she is looking out of the window — just saying “the train stood etc” would take care of that just fine. I, for one, would not have assumed she had reached this conclusion through telepathy.
|“||She heard someone moving in a seat across the aisle, and asked, "How long have we been standing?"||”|
I’m kinda lost here. Is it really that dark that she can only detect things “across the aisle” by sound? What happened to the "blue glow of the night lamps"?
|“||A man's voice answered indifferently, "About an hour." The man looked after her, sleepily astonished, because she leaped to her feet and rushed to the door. There was a cold wind outside, and an empty stretch of land under an empty sky. She heard weeds rustling in the darkness. Far ahead, she saw the figures of men standing by the engine - and above them, hanging detached in the sky, the red light of a signal.||”|
- We don’t really need “a man’s voice” there, because we discover he is a man in the very next sentence. We really need to get some of that fluff out of the opening of the line, and this is obviously unneeded.
- “The man looked after her, sleepily astonished, because she leaped to her feet and rushed to the door.” - What. The fuck. We’re now covering events in reverse order? Seriously? All this does is make her rushing to the door seem like an unimportant addition, when it’s actually the only important piece of information in the sentence. If you wanted the perfect word to kill the momentum in the middle of this sentence, it would be “because”. Seriously, read that out loud and try to make that “because” sound natural. It’s like it doesn’t want to associate with the second half of the sentence.
- “figures of men” - Just “figures” is fine. If they’re next to the engine, that itself is a very good shorthand way of tell us who they are.
- “the red light of a signal” - The only reason to string this out and mention light separately, instead of just saying “red signal”, is if you want to really evoke the image of this red light. This line really doesn’t manage to do that. If you really want to do that (I’m not sold on the idea, personally) you have to have the light touch something.
|“||She walked rapidly toward them, past the motionless line of wheels. No one paid attention to her when she approached. The train crew and a few passengers stood clustered under the red light. They had stopped talking, they seemed to be waiting in placid indifference.||”|
Still trying to get that red light to work, huh?
|“|| "What's the matter?" she asked.
The engineer turned, astonished. Her question had sounded like an order, not like the amateur curiosity of a passenger.
Good news, Miss Rand! It turns out you can actually convey an authoritative attitude in the dialog itself, instead of telling people what it might sound like. Who’d have thought?
For example, drop “sounded like an order”, and change her line to something like “what do you think you’re doing?”. See how much better that is? Imagine how good it could have been if I’d spent longer than three seconds on it.
|“||She stood, hands in pockets, coat collar raised, the wind beating her hair in strands across her face.||”|
You missed a trick, there. Ayn, you know perfectly well that if you don’t mention the red light in every image, I’ll just forget it’s there.
|“||"Red light, lady," he said, pointing up with his thumb.||”|
Much better, thank you.
On a serious note, I think everyone has noticed the red light by now.
|“|| The conductor spoke up. "I don't think we had any business being sent off on a siding, that switch wasn't working right, and this thing's not working at all." He jerked his head up at the red light. "I don't think the signal's going to change. I think it's busted."
"Then what are you doing?"
"Waiting for it to change."
If you hadn’t guessed, this is supposed to be a serious satirical event. If you don’t take an assertive, self-possessed attitude towards things, you can’t succeed in any kind of regular employment. Never mind that this presumes that the employees in question have no awareness of anything beyond their specific roles, just look at the pretty red light some more.
OK, enough of the red light now. Seriously.
|“||In her pause of startled anger, the fireman chuckled. "Last week, the crack special of the Atlantic Southern got left on a siding for two hours — just somebody's mistake."||”|
Again we have an event described in the weirdest, most round-about way possible.
|“|| "This is the Taggart Comet," she said. "The Comet has never been late."
"She's the only one in the country that hasn't," said the engineer.
"There's always a first time," said the fireman.
"You don't know about railroads, lady," said a passenger.
What is this, a nursery rhyme? A fairy tale? That's the only possible context in which a deliberate “— said X. — said Y” form works for a prolonged length of time. I particularly like how Rand wanted to have a passenger deliver a line, but couldn’t be bothered to create a character for them, or even a cursory explanation for why they might be communing with the engineers.
|“||He did not like her tone of authority, and he could not understand why she assumed it so naturally. She looked like a young girl; only her mouth and eyes showed that she was a woman in her thirties. The dark gray eyes were direct and disturbing, as if they cut through things, throwing the inconsequential out of the way. The face seemed faintly familiar to him, but he could not recall where he had seen it.||”|
- I notice that while James Taggart, the antagonist, looks older than his years, Dagny Taggart, the heroine, is unnaturally youthful. Is it possible for a bad person to be beautiful in Ayn Rand’s world?
- “He did not like her tone of authority, and he could not understand why she assumed it so naturally” — This is small point, but in the real world it is very easy to assume a tone of authority, even if you are a complete idiot. In Randworld it seems to only be possible if you are a successful industrialist.
- “The dark gray eyes were direct and disturbing, as if they cut through things, throwing the inconsequential out of the way” — Why write “as if” if you’re going to follow it up with a direct description of something? This is like saying “he looked at the skyline, as if it was lots of buildings”. This stuff about disregarding inconsequential things isn’t subtext, Ayn, it’s just you saying what you think.
|“|| "How long do you propose to wait?"
The engineer shrugged. "Who is John Galt?"
This is a better use of the catchphrase. It doesn’t seem forced in this time — if it was a real saying, this is a situation in which it might be used. More importantly, it’s an economical way of handling this piece of dialog. Quick, simple, and not hammered in.
|“||"He means," said the fireman, "don't ask questions nobody can answer."||”|
Oh for fuck’s sake.
I swear, this is the very next line after "who is John Galt". It goes [enigmatic question], [immediate explanation]. I think Ayn Rand just really hates subtext.
|“||She looked at the red light and at the rail that went off into the black, untouched distance.||”|
What is this part for? This is the most blatant filler I’ve ever seen. If you have a character take a whole paragraph out to look at something, please make sure it’s something worth looking at.
|“|| She said, "Proceed with caution to the next signal. If it's in order, proceed to the main track. Then stop at the first open office."
"Yeah? Who says so?"
"Who are you?"
It was only the briefest pause, a moment of astonishment at a question she had not expected, but the engineer looked more closely at her face, and in time with her answer he gasped, "Good God!"
She answered, not offensively, merely like a person who does not hear the question often: "Dagny Taggart."
- Very clumsy dialog there. When have you ever heard an exchange this predictable in real life? Surely she would have said something like “Don’t you realize who I am?” as soon as they didn’t leap at her instructions?
- “like a person who does not hear the question often” - Another directly informational statement phrased like a simile. I know it’s probably not a big deal to anyone else, but to me this just seems like such a disingenuous way to write. It’s only phrased like that to give it a superficially “descriptive” appearance, because Rand is at least vaguely aware that real people don’t write in blank statements of face. Is this type of thing going to turn up a lot? Please tell me it isn’t.
- "Good God" supposedly comes at exactly the same moment as "Dagny Taggart". This fails completely, but in fairness I don't think I've ever seen a real author pull this off, either.
|“||"Well, I'll be—" said the fireman, and then they all remained silent. She went on, in the same tone of unstressed authority. "Proceed to the main track and hold the train for me at the first open office."||”|
I’m not a complete fundamentalist when it comes to format — I don’t think you always have to begin a new paragraph to denote a new speaker — but in this case we desperately need some kind of pause to give Dagny’s line the weight Rand wants it to have. Shoving it on at the end of the paragraph like that, especially after the abysmal, arhythmic opening of that paragraph, makes it seem like time itself has stopped moving, and all events now take place in the same murky, purgatorial moment.
|“|| She was turning to go, when the engineer asked, "If there's any trouble, are you taking the responsibility for it, Miss Taggart?"
More pseudo-subtextual moralizing. Dagny is strong and able to make decisions because she accepts responsibility for them. I get it.
|“|| The conductor shook his head. "Your brother — he wouldn't have taken a coach."
She laughed. "No, he wouldn't have."
Which is why he is evil and must die.
|“|| The men by the engine watched her walking away. The young brakeman was among them. He asked, pointing after her, "Who is that?"
"That's who runs Taggart Transcontinental," said the engineer; the respect in his voice was genuine. "That's the Vice-president in Charge of Operation."
- I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this scene before in better stories (with phrases like “that’s my dad” at the end). Is it physically possible to say something as meaningless as “Vice-president in Charge of Operation” with “genuine respect”? Why would he know her exact job title? This little vignette could be genuinely affecting if it was played right, but it just isn’t. All it does is make me want to read a good book.
- Another wasted semi-colon. Try reading this and making it seem like there is any kind of rhythmic connection between the two sentences it bridges.
|“||When the train jolted forward, the blast of its whistle dying over the fields, she sat by the window, lighting another cigarette. She thought: It's cracking to pieces, like this, all over the country, you can expect it anywhere, at any moment. But she felt no anger or anxiety; she had no time to feel.||”|
Why is there no middle ground between “robotic” and “angsty” in this book? On a side note, I would love to see this story reimagined by John Hughes. Tell me that wouldn’t be awesome.
|“||This would be just one more issue, to be settled along with the others. She knew that the superintendent of the Ohio Division was no good and that he was a friend of James Taggart. She had not insisted on throwing him out long ago only because she had no better man to put in his place. Good men were so strangely hard to find. But she would have to get rid of him, she thought, and she would give his post to Owen Kellogg, the young engineer who was doing a brilliant job as one of the assistants to the manager of the Taggart Terminal in New York; it was Owen Kellogg who ran the Terminal. She had watched his work for some time; she had always looked for sparks of competence, like a diamond prospector in an unpromising wasteland. Kellogg was still too young to be made superintendent of a division; she had wanted to give him another year, but there was no time to wait. She would have to speak to him as soon as she returned.||”|
- Why the fucking hell would Dagny refer to her brother by his full name in an internal monologue? Why can no one in this book be known by their first name? What the hell is going on in your head, Ayn?
- Is it me or is Dagny micro-managing to an absurd degree here? “Hello, Nameless Superintendent? Pack your bags, I’m replacing you with the assistant of a man you’ve never met.”
- “She had not insisted on throwing him out long ago only because she had no better man to put in his place.” — Phrased very badly. At this point, it’s almost not worth pointing these little things out.
|“||The strip of earth, faintly visible outside the window, was running faster now, blending into a gray stream. Through the dry phrases of calculations in her mind, she noticed that she did have time to feel something: it was the hard, exhilarating pleasure of action.||”|
Yeah... “No feelings... except pleasure” doesn’t cut it in this club, dude. Lose three emo points.
|“||With the first whistling rush of air, as the Comet plunged into the tunnels of the Taggart Terminal under the city of New York, Dagny Taggart sat up straight. She always felt it when the train went underground — this sense of eagerness, of hope and of secret excitement. It was as if normal existence were a photograph of shapeless things in badly printed colors, but this was a sketch done in a few sharp strokes that made things seem clean, important — and worth doing.||”|
- “With the first whistling rush of air, as the Comet plunged into the tunnels of the Taggart Terminal under the city of New York, Dagny Taggart sat up straight” — This sentence has more baggage than the fucking train. Care to throw in a few more random details, Ayn? What day was it? What color were her shoes?
- “She always felt it when the train went underground — this sense of eagerness, of hope and of secret excitement.” — Dagny gets secret excitement, I get nausea. (What's so fun about trains anyway? To me trains are just an opportunity to be ill in different places.)
- “It was as if normal existence were a photograph of shapeless things in badly printed colors, but this was a sketch done in a few sharp strokes that made things seem clean, important — and worth doing.” — Ayn, not everything is a metaphor about industrial responsibility. Jesus.
|“||She watched the tunnels as they flowed past: bare walls of concrete, a net of pipes and wires, a web of rails that went off into black holes where green and red lights hung as distant drops of color. There was nothing else, nothing to dilute it, so that one could admire naked purpose and the ingenuity that had achieved it. She thought of the Taggart Building standing above her head at this moment, growing straight to the sky, and she thought: These are the roots of the building, hollow roots twisting under the ground, feeding the city.||”|
I’ll be honest. I like this bit. If only for reminding me how pretty traffic lights are when you get a lot of them in one place. It still has far too many random detours and ham-fisted metaphors, but I like it anyway.
|“||She started off, walking fast, as if the speed of her steps could give form to the things she felt. It was a few moments before she realized that she was whistling a piece of music — and that it was the theme of Halley's Fifth Concerto. She felt someone looking at her and turned. The young brakeman stood watching her tensely.||”|
If you can’t think of a mystery that will actually occupy your readers’ thoughts, just use a dull one and keep reminding them of it. It works just as well.
oh god why am I reading this.
--04:08, 1 April 2010 (UTC) </div>
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Symptoms of Mei Volume IX
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Symptoms of Mei Volume IX" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Atlas Shrugged, Part II".
My breathing feels wrong. I'm sure my lungs aren't filling properly. The air tastes like chalk.
--05:11, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
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Interesting quotes about God
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Interesting quotes about God" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Symptoms of Mei Volume IX".
|“||He is known to have wheels, you know.||”|
|“||Ridiculous. There is no evidence against apple pie, or the bible.||”|
|“||The calendar is set to Jesus.||”|
|“||Why can we throw a Buzz Lightyear doll out the window on the second floor, and it takes a few moments to hit the ground? That is the sort of thing science can predict. However, ask the doll to fly to Infinity, and beyond, and see what they can't do!! The so called science hucksters and charlatans make claims about infinity and beyond, but are talking out their nose.||”|
|“||I don't need to think.||”|
|“||Oh, no. That is a canard. Cars and etc have nothing to do with the creation state. Did you drive Adam out of Eden!!??||”|
|“||I find it interesting that God hovered over the seas in creation week. One would assume He did what He does in other parts of the book. That is, that He had a vehicle. A ship, if you will. One that pre dates our entire universe! Now that's a ship!||”|
|“||The life of a rock, (or half life if you prefer) means that in so much time that rock or material would cease to exist. Elementary.||”|
|“||That is wheat you must face.||”|
|“||Thanks for the accusatory drivel. There is a God. And far be it from me to see how pointing out that godless fables that oppose His word are a croc, sends anyone to hell??? Strange claims. Talk about never supporting your claims!!?||”|
|“||Interesting. So you think you have pilllow lava formed in some other universe state!!?? Where is it!? Like to have a looksee at that!.||”|
|“||Intelligence has nothing to do with the patient and kindness required to reply to empty blab. God's word was the pearl in the original! Your attempt to try to make something else swine, or pearls is meaningless.||”|
|“||So, what, the cow that moos against the bible is the good one now? You may be braying in the wind there.||”|
Everything seems to be in order here.
--00:16, 31 March 2010 (UTC) </div>
[ main page ]
Atlas Shrugged, Part I
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Atlas Shrugged, Part I" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Interesting quotes about God".
So where you can go to read someone dissecting Atlas Shrugged -- possibly the ugliest book ever written, in every possible way -- and showing you exactly what is wrong with it? Apparently nowhere. This is deeply wrong, and I intend to correct this oversight. Good, righteous people shouldn't have to read this stuff themselves just to be reassured that it is moronic. So since I'm bored and I have some time to kill, I'm going to do it myself. I do this in the hope that in the future people will say "Don't bother reading 'Atlas Shrugged', just read 'Mei Yelling At Ayn Rand'." It's also kinda fun.
First, the vital statistics. As if you didn't already know, this book is a thousand pages long, and dedicated mainly to telling "collectivists" why they are evil. Atlas Shrugged is a pretty open depiction of Ayn Rand's personal philosophy, Objectivism. This philosophy consists of self-evident truths ("A=A", "existence exists") with not-so-self-evident moral implications spray-painted over the top ("money is fantastic", "stop disagreeing with me").
Understandably, the mindset of "I am objectively correct" isn't so nice to look at close up. If you were to reduce the sum total of all human hatred and small-mindedness to one sentence it would be "other people don't count". If you were to string that sentence out into a huge novel, it would be Atlas Shrugged. This is what we're dealing with. And I'm going to read all of it. Every word, even the bad ones.
Make peace with your gods. This is happening.
So anyway, I own Atlas Shrugged, because I found it on a shelf and I thought it looked interesting. I never read it but I always thought it would come in useful some day. For example, I could cut a rectangular hollow in it and use it to store sports equipment. Later I discovered that other people had read it and turned it into a religion. This interested me.
I'll be doing this "blind", since I have never read past the end of the first chapter. Although I'm pretty sure I know most of the plot. I'm not going to quote all of it, because a lot of it is just boring. Despite this, I will definitely read all of it, even when it is really boring.
|“||"Who is John Galt?"||”|
This is the beginning of the "names that sound made up" subplot. It's my favorite part of the book.
|“||The light was ebbing, and Eddie Willers could not distinguish the bum's face. The bum had said it simply, without expression. But from the sunset far at the end of the street, yellow glints caught his eyes, and the eyes looked straight at Eddie Willers, mocking and still as if the question had been addressed to the causeless uneasiness within him.||”|
OK. When you're in the middle of writing a paragraph and you have to refer to recent events as if they happened a long time ago, you know you have a problem. The second sentence refers to the bum's line. It's the kind of thing you put right after dialog, but here it's been pushed back so that Rand can fit the first sentence in. OK, now read that first sentence again. Why in God's name was that so important that Rand had to stop the flow of events to fit it in? It's an observation on the local weather. We don't need that sentence at all.
I'm not convinced we need "simply, without expression" either. What exactly does that tell us about anything? For this section, I would have kept "Who is John Galt" but skipped any kind of description. You know how that would look? It would look simple and without expression.
"causeless uneasiness" might be the stupidest thing you can possibly say in two words. I'm not sure I can even say it out loud.
|“|| "Why did you say that?" asked Eddie Willers, his voice tense.
The bum leaned against the side of the doorway; a wedge of broken glass behind him reflected the metal yellow of the sky.
"Why does it bother you?" he asked.
"It doesn't," snapped Eddie Willers.
- "Why did you say that?" does not sound realistic at all for this situation. Something like "Huh?" or "Excuse me?" would be more plausible. Making it a full-blown "Why did you say that?" (complete with "his voice tense") makes it sound like Eddie has already decided this is a plot point.
- We don't need that semi-colon. It's just there to look pretty.
- "a wedge ... behind him" sounds wrong to me, somehow. Something like "the glass behind him" would be better. Starting with "a" makes it seem "distant" somehow. I might be wrong. This kind of thing is probably quite subjective.
- Yellow sky is already a very evocative concept, if you can pull it off. Making it "metal yellow" is pushing it. Can anyone describe what color "metal yellow" is?
- "snapped Eddie Willers" is just awful. We already know his full name. We have now read his full name four times in the first handful of paragraphs. This is just bizarre. I genuinely can't imagine how any writer could want to write like this. Besides which, his dialog now sounds like a sulky teenager.
|“||He reached hastily into his pocket. The bum had stopped him and asked for a dime, then had gone on talking, as if to kill that moment and postpone the problem of the next. Pleas for dimes were so frequent in the streets these days that it was not necessary to listen to explanations, and he had no desire to hear the details of this bum's particular despair.||”|
These are current events, yet they read like exposition. Do we need to know the exact circumstances that lead Eddie to give this guy some change? If you refer to him as "the bum" and describe Eddie giving him a dime, I think we can pretty much guess what is happening.
|“||"Go get your cup of coffee," he said, handing the dime to the shadow that had no face.||”|
Continuity error - we've already seen his face. Nice try, Ayn, but I never forget a face.
Also, how is he a shadow? There is sun reflected behind him, and the first few lines talk about "yellow glints" catching his eye. What the hell is happening to the sun?
|“||"Thank you, sir," said the voice, without interest, and the face leaned forward for a moment. The face was wind-browned, cut by lines of weariness and cynical resignation; the eyes were intelligent. Eddie Willers walked on, wondering why he always felt it at this time of day, this sense of dread without reason. No, he thought, not dread, there's nothing to fear: just an immense, diffused apprehension, with no source or object. He had become accustomed to the feeling, but he could find no explanation for it; yet the bum had spoken as if he knew that Eddie felt it, as if he thought that one should feel it, and more: as if he knew the reason.||”|
This is going to be one of those books with hundreds of random semi-colons, isn't it? Oh god.
- "said the voice" - What is this for? Did you get tired of calling him "the bum"? Usually people are only "the voice" before they're identified.
- "and the face leaned forward for a moment" - He was a shadow without a face like three seconds ago. Now Eddie can only see his face when he leans forwards. I am starting to worry about Eddie.
- "Eddie Willers walked on" - This is a change of pace and requires a new paragraph. Moreover, I'm really sick of reading his full name now. His name can be shortened to two letters, Ayn. Think about it.
- "nothing to fear: just an immense diffused apprehension" - Definitely a teenager now. This is canon: Eddie Willers is an emo kid.
- "yet the bum had spoken as if he knew that Eddie felt it, as if he thought that one should feel it, and more: as if he knew the reason" - Might be reading too much into that.
|“||Eddie Willers pulled his shoulders straight, in conscientious self-discipline. He had to stop this, he thought; he was beginning to imagine things. Had he always felt it? He was thirty-two years old. He tried to think back. No, he hadn't; but he could not remember when it had started. The feeling came to him Suddenly, at random intervals, and now it was coming more often than ever. It's the twilight, he thought; I hate the twilight.||”|
- "i hate the twilight" - Rand is trying to evoke an actual emotion here, and I kinda get what she is going for, but why choose such a pretty, artificial word like "twilight"? Ideally, this passage should remind readers of something they have felt, and no one has ever thought "I hate the twilight". Twilight is a word you choose because you want to sound sophisticated - it's a pretense. But emotions themselves do not have pretenses. Your emotions don't rephrase themselves to sound good, they just are.
- Eddie hates Twilight because he's a huge Anne Rice fan. He has a tattoo of Lestat on his ankle. Canon.
|“||The clouds and the shafts of skyscrapers against them were turning brown, like an old painting in oil, the color of a fading masterpiece. Long streaks of grime ran from under the pinnacles down the slender, soot-eaten walls. High on the side of a tower there was a crack in the shape of a motionless lightning, the length of ten stories. ... The glow was red and still, like the reflection of a fire: not an active fire, but a dying one which it is too late to stop.||”|
Observe how the phrase "like an old painting in oil" actually reads OK. Rand cannot allow this, and sabotages it by adding "the color of a fading masterpiece"... which is god-awful. Also, I'm trying to picture a tower with "soot-eaten walls" and "long streaks of grime" and all I can see is a big piece of liquorice.
|“||No, thought Eddie Willers, there was nothing disturbing in the sight of the city. It looked as it had always looked.||”|
The city has always been on fire.
|“||It was the calendar that the mayor of New York had erected last year on the top of a building, so that citizens might tell the day of the month as they told the hours of the day, by glancing up at a public tower. A white rectangle hung over the city, imparting the date to the men in the streets below. In the rusty light of this evening's sunset, the rectangle said: September 2.||”|
After all, it was very successful at Hogwarts. The only problem is, on Halloween you occasionally end up summoning Batman.
|“|| Eddie Willers looked away. He had never liked the sight of that calendar. It disturbed him, in a manner he could not explain or define. The feeling seemed to blend with his sense of uneasiness; it had the same quality.
He thought suddenly that there was some phrase, a kind of quotation, that expressed what the calendar seemed to suggest. But he could not recall it. He walked, groping for a sentence that hung in his mind as an empty shape. He could neither fill it nor dismiss it. He glanced back. The white rectangle stood above the roofs, saying in immovable finality: September 2.
This man is disturbed by large calendars. I... can't really add anything to that.
|“||Eddie Willers shifted his glance down to the street, to a vegetable pushcart at the stoop of a brownstone house. He saw a pile of bright gold carrots and the fresh green of onions. He saw a clean white curtain blowing at an open window.||”|
Sure. Because what this book really needed was some random colors.
|“||When he came to Fifth Avenue, he kept his eyes on the windows of the stores he passed. There was nothing he needed or wished to buy; but he liked to see the display of goods, any goods, objects made by men, to be used by men. He enjoyed the sight of a prosperous street; not more than every fourth one of the stores was out of business, its windows dark and empty.||”|
- That semi-colon should be a comma.
- That third comma should be a semi-colon.
- "fourth one of the stores"? Are you kidding me? A child could tell you that "every fourth store" sounds infinitely better.
- "it's windows dark and empty" - I suppose this is a good place to describe the appearance of a closed business. It can be quite an affecting image, after all. This attempt is so generic, though. I don't see anything at all when I read those words.
|“||He did not know why he suddenly thought of the oak tree.||”|
I don't know either. And I never will, because Ayn Rand's saying nothing.
|“||The great oak tree had stood on a hill over the Hudson, in a lonely spot of the Taggart estate. Eddie Willers, aged seven, liked to come and look at that tree. It had stood there for hundreds of years, and he thought it would always stand there. Its roots clutched the hill like a fist with fingers sunk into the soil, and he thought that if a giant were to seize it by the top, he would not be able to uproot it, but would swing the hill and the whole of the earth with it, like a ball at the end of a string. He felt safe in the oak tree's presence; it was a thing that nothing could change or threaten; it was his greatest symbol of strength.||”|
What a selfish tree. This tree is circumventing the free market. What this tree needs is some deregulation.
|“||One night, lightning struck the oak tree. Eddie saw it the next morning. It lay broken in half, and he looked into its trunk as into the mouth of a black tunnel. The trunk was only an empty shell; its heart had rotted away long ago; there was nothing insidejust a thin gray dust that was being dispersed by the whim of the faintest wind. The living power had gone, and the shape it left had not been able to stand without it.||”|
So perish all socialists.
|“||Eddie Willers shook his head, as the screech of a rusty mechanism changing a traffic light stopped him on the edge of a curb. He felt anger at himself. There was no reason that he had to remember the oak tree tonight. It meant nothing to him any longer, only a faint tinge of sadness - and somewhere within him, a drop of pain moving briefly and vanishing, like a raindrop on the glass of a window, its course in the shape of a question mark.||”|
- I guess he's "Eddie Willers" for good now, huh? Jesus Christ, even as a kid he was "Eddie Willers".
- Again, "the curb" would be much better than "a curb".
- I thought I was going to complain about the first sentence being long and pointless, and then I read the third sentence. Read the whole of that and tell me this guy isn't an angsty teenager. I dare you.
- "sadness ... and ... pain" - sadness is pain, ffs. This is like writing "hopelessness and a lack of hope".
- You can't convey the sensation of sadness just by describing it. More importantly, you can't overcome that inability by describing it at length. If you want emotional impact, you actually need to write something people can identify with, not just tell them to identify with you.
- "its course in the shape of a question mark" - Dude, that's so deep.
|“||He wanted no sadness attached to his childhood; he loved its memories: any day of it he remembered now seemed flooded by a still, brilliant sunlight. It seemed to him as if a few rays from it reached into his present: not rays, more like pinpoint spotlights that gave an occasional moment's glitter to his job, to his lonely apartment, to the quiet, scrupulous progression of his existence.||”|
"Eddie was nostalgic."
|“||He thought of a summer day when he was ten years old.||”|
|“||That day, in a clearing of the woods...||”|
Ayn, I'm begging you.
|“||...the one precious companion of his childhood...||”|
What I was implying was, I'd like you not to tell this story.
|“||...told him what they would do when they grew up...||”|
Because two flashbacks on one page is madness.
|“||The words were harsh and glowing, like the sunlight.||”|
The sunlight might have glowed a little bit more.
|“||...in admiration and in wonder.||”|
Are you even listening to me?
|“||When he was asked what he would want to do, he answered at once, "Whatever is right," and added, "You ought to do something great . . . I mean, the two of us together." "What?" she asked. He said, "I don't know. That's what we ought to find out. Not just what you said. Not just business and earning a living. Things like winning battles, or saving people out of fires, or climbing mountains." "What for?" she asked. He said, "The minister said last Sunday that we must always reach for the best within us. What do you suppose is the best within us?" "I don't know." "We'll have to find out." She did not answer; she was looking away, up the railroad track.||”|
Let me summarize:
- Eddie says "I want to help people".
- Mysterious Person says "Why?"
- All he can come up with is "the minister said so".
You might have guessed already, but Ayn Rand is not so good at portraying people who disagree with her views. The idea that people would voluntarily help others is anathema to objectivism, because if other people need help, selfishness is no longer so virtuous. The result is, altruism can only be depicted as "that thing people want to force you to do". Obviously, I'm writing this "blind", but I'm pretty sure we're going to see this theme a lot.
|“||The building stood over the street as its tallest and proudest structure. Eddie Willers always smiled at his first sight of it. Its long bands of windows were unbroken, in contrast to those of its neighbors. Its rising lines cut the sky, with no crumbling corners or worn edges. It seemed to stand above the years, untouched. It would always stand there, thought Eddie Willers.||”|
Did you learn nothing from the socialist tree?
|“||The floors of its hallways were mirrors made of marble. The frosted rectangles of its electric fixtures were chips of solid light. Behind sheets of glass, rows of girls sat at typewriters, the clicking of their keys like the sound of speeding train wheels. And like an answering echo, a faint shudder went through the walls at times, rising from under the building, from the tunnels of the great terminal where trains started out to cross a continent and stopped after crossing it again, as they had started and stopped for generation after generation.||”|
- "floors ... made of marble" - a pretty standard "successful business" cliche.
- "The frosted rectangles of its electric fixtures were chips of solid light." - You took thirteen words to describe that and it still ended up indecipherable.
- "the clicking of their keys like the sound of speeding train wheels" - I'm kinda biased here, because I hate all open similes.
- "And like an answering echo, a faint shudder went through the walls at times, rising from under the building, from the tunnels of the great terminal where trains started out to cross a continent and stopped after crossing it again, as they had started and stopped for generation after generation" - Anyone else get lost in the middle of this sentence? Can you find any part of it which is actually necessary? I'm pretty sure I could compare typewriters to the sound of trains passing in a more efficient and evocative way than this.
|“|| James Taggart sat at his desk. He looked like a man approaching fifty, who had crossed into age from adolescence, without the intermediate stage of youth. He had a small, petulant mouth, and thin hair clinging to a bald forehead. His posture had a limp, decentralized sloppiness, as if in defiance of his tall, slender body, a body with an elegance of line intended for the confident poise of an aristocrat, but transformed into the gawkiness of a lout. The flesh of his face was pale and soft. His eyes were pale and veiled, with a glance that moved slowly, never quite stopping, gliding off and past things in eternal resentment of their existence. He looked obstinate and drained. He was thirty-nine years old.
He lifted his head with irritation, at the sound of the opening door.
- Actually, those last three sentences are pretty good. "He looked obstinate and drained. He was thirty-nine years old" is timed pretty well. It has a nice rhythm, and it's quite evocative. This is how you divide sentences. The paragraph break before "he lifted his head" is also a good decision. I'm not keen on "at the sound of the opening door", since we already know the door is opening, unless the twist ending is that Eddie is a ghost.
- "a man approaching fifty, who has crossed into age from adolescence" - Nice and succinct.
- "...without the intermediate stage of youth" - Fuck. So close.
- All this "petulant mouth" and "limp ... sloppiness" is a lazy way of characterizing a villain. I know it's hard to understand, Ayn, but in the real world you can't actually judge people purely on their appearance.
|“||"Don't bother me, don't bother me, don't bother me," said James Taggart.||”|
- We already know his name. Goddamn it, Ayn, don't make me come round there.
- This line would be quite good (as in, it's the kind of thing a real person might actually say) except for that clumsy "said James Taggart" at the end. If you're writing a naturalistic piece of dialog, you should avoid all unnecessary baggage, especially formal things like "said X".
|“|| He looked at James Taggart and said, "It's the Rio Norte Line." He noticed Taggart's glance moving down to a corner of the desk. "We've had another wreck."
"Railroad accidents happen every day. Did you have to bother me about that?"
"You know what I'm saying, Jim. The Rio Norte is done for. That track is shot. Down the whole line."
"We are getting a new track."
Eddie Willers continued as if there had been no answer: "That track is shot. It's no use trying to run trains down there. People are giving up trying to use them."
"There is not a railroad in the country, it seems to me, that doesn't have a few branches running at a deficit. We're not the only ones. It's a national condition - a temporary national condition."
- That first line is horrifying. "He looked at James and said..." Are you serious? You really had to mention that he looked at him? I think I might have got that without the hint. This is the worst way to frame dialog. To me this is like nails on a blackboard.
- The rest is better. I like unbroken dialog. I mean, this isn't fantastic (ideally dialog should tell you more than just what people are saying to each other) but it'll do.
|“||Eddie stood looking at him silently. What Taggart disliked about Eddie Willers was this habit of looking straight into people's eyes. Eddie's eyes were blue, wide and questioning; he had blond hair and a square face, unremarkable except for that look of scrupulous attentiveness and open, puzzled wonder.||”|
We've known Eddie for five pages and I never guessed he was a spaniel.
|“||James Taggart seldom raised his head; when he looked at people, he did so by lifting his heavy eyelids and staring upward from under the expanse of his bald forehead.||”|
I kinda like this part. I can actually imagine someone doing this, which is good. This is progress.
|“||"But we haven't met a schedule for the last six months. We haven't completed a run without some sort of breakdown, major or minor. We're losing all our shippers, one after another. How long can we last?"||”|
Clearly there is much shipping to be done.
|“||"Jim, there isn't going to be any new track." He watched Taggart's eyelids move up slowly. "I've just come back from the office of Associated Steel. I've spoken to Orren Boyle."||”|
These eyelids are really something.
I have a quick exercise for you -- try to move your eyelids slowly. What you find is that they move falteringly, and can only be "slow" if they spend longer between moving. Eyelids are not designed to move slowly.
|“|| "What did he say?"
"He spoke for an hour and a half and did not give me a single straight answer."
"What did you bother him for? I believe the first order of rail wasn't due for delivery until next month."
"And before that, it was due for delivery three months ago."
"Unforeseen circumstances. Absolutely beyond Orren's control."
"And before that, it was due six months earlier. Jim, we have waited for Associated Steel to deliver that rail for thirteen months."
The main thing here is just that James is unable to be competitive. Objectivism relies on financial success being a virtually flawless indicator of moral worth, so anyone who is not successful is like that because of clear personal weaknesses. Here, James is being too accommodating to his business associates, and is reluctant to make major decisions without his sister, who is our designated protagonist. James' shortcomings in business are the result of his mindset, which will eventually make him an explicitly "evil" presence in the story. Truth is stranger than fiction, except in this case, where fiction is didactic and laughably shallow.
|“|| "Well, whatever else you say, there's one thing you're not going to mention next and that's Rearden Steel."
Eddie did not answer at once, then said quietly, "All right, Jim. I won't mention it."
Why does every line have to be burdened with useless information? How about:
Eddie paused. "All right, Jim. I won't mention it."
The only problem with that is it exposes just how thin the dialog is. We can't have that.
|“|| "People would put up with it - they'd have to - if it weren't for the Phoenix-Durango." He saw Eddie's face tighten. "Nobody ever complained about the Rio Norte Line, until the Phoenix-Durango came on the scene."
"The Phoenix-Durango is doing a brilliant job."
"Imagine a thing called the Phoenix-Durango competing with Taggart Transcontinental! It was nothing but a local milk line ten years ago."
A good call here. Having James sneer at their name is an effective way of showing that he thinks TT doesn't have to compete, without spelling it out. It could have been handled so much better, though. You don't need the second sentence at all.
|“||"It's got most of the freight traffic of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado now." Taggart did not answer. "Jim, we can't lose Colorado. It's our last hope. It's everybody's last hope. If we don't pull ourselves together, we'll lose every big shipper in the state to the Phoenix-Durango. We've lost the Wyatt oil fields."||”|
I think I can handle the shortfall of shipping myself. Fetch my lilac unicorn sketchpad.
|“||Those oil wells, Eddie thought suddenly, didn't they have something in common with the blood vessels on the map? Wasn't that the way the red stream of Taggart Transcontinental had shot across the country, years ago, a feat that seemed incredible now?||”|
I actually like this bit, a little. These details are vaguely interesting, somehow. If there was any real backstory to the rail industry in this book, it might have been fun to read. I'm not sold on all the rhetorical questions, though. Why is Eddie thinking in questions? His thoughts read like... well, like a badly written book. No one thinks like this.
|“||of course it's blood, thought Eddie Willers, because blood is supposed to feed, to give life||”|
Eddie likes to pretend he is a vampire. Canon.
|“||It had shocked empty slopes of ground into sudden existence||”|
What the giddy fuck does that mean?
|“||at a time when the pumps were stopping in one famous field after another||”|
We already get that the famous people are going out of business. You don't have to crowbar it into every sentence. Try "when the pumps were stopping one by one".
|“||"Ellis Wyatt is a greedy bastard who's after nothing but money," said James Taggart. "It seems to me that there are more important things in life than making money."||”|
Which is why you're evil and must die.
|“||"I think he's a destructive, unscrupulous ruffian. I think he's an irresponsible upstart who's been grossly overrated." It was astonishing to hear a sudden emotion in James Taggart's lifeless voice. "I'm not so sure that his oil fields are such a beneficial achievement. It seems to me that he's dislocated the economy of the whole country. Nobody expected Colorado to become an industrial state. How can we have any security or plan anything if everything changes all the time?"||”|
Even though he's angry, Ayn Rand can't bear to write his lines without the preface "I think". I can't tell if this is bad writing (longer is always better!) or just her inability to understand differing opinions. Either way, it doesn't read like "sudden emotion". It reads like a speech.
|“|| "Good God, Jim! He's -"
"Yes, I know, I know, he's making money. But that is not the standard, it seems to me, by which one gauges a man's value to society. And as for his oil, he'd come crawling to us. and he'd wait his turn along with all the other shippers, and he wouldn't demand more than his fair share of transportation - if it weren't for the Phoenix-Durango. We can't help it if we're up against destructive competition of that kind. Nobody can blame us."
Real people don't talk like this. If you're not a creepy utilitarian like Ayn Rand, you wouldn't say "value to society" instead of just "value". It presupposes the very principle he's supposed to be disagreeing with. Damn it, Ayn, pay attention.
|“||James Taggart smiled; it was a thin smile, amused and cold.||”|
You're not quite there. Try having him stroke a white cat.
|“||"Look. Jim, I know it's not my place to talk to you. But I can't understand what's going on. I don't know what it is that your proper advisers tell you, or why they can't make you understand. So I thought I'd try to tell you myself."||”|
"I don't know what it is your proper advisers tell you, because our author hasn't thought too much about the infrastructure of this company."
|“||"I appreciate our childhood friendship, Eddie, but do you think that that should entitle you to walk in here unannounced whenever you wish? Considering your own rank, shouldn't you remember that I am president of Taggart Transcontinental?"||”|
This is a first draft. It has to be. There is no possible way any human being could read these words and not see these faults. Oh Jesus Christ, what is this gibberish?
- "I appreciate our childhood friendship, Eddie" - NO ONE WOULD EVER SAY THIS.
- "but do you think that should entitle you" - I could rewrite this with both eyes closed, glued to the ceiling, in less than half a second.
- "Considering your own rank, shouldn't you remember that I am president of Taggart Transcontinental?" - Why the hell is this so long? He's just saying "have you forgotten who I am?" I swear to God, Ayn, if you don't behave I will turn this car around and there will be no Galt's Gulch for anyone.
|“||This was wasted. Eddie Willers looked at him as usual, not hurt, merely puzzled, and asked, "Then you don't intend to do anything about the Rio Norte Line?"||”|
I love "looked at him as usual". You're right, that is usual. That's what he's been doing all along.
|“||"Don't let's talk about that, Jim." Taggart turned, startled by the unprecedented phenomenon of an implacable anger in Eddie's voice. "What's the matter?"||”|
What? We already had a "surprising anger" moment from James, now there's an identical one for Eddie? Are we really supposed to believe that neither of these incredibly petulant men have gotten angry with each other before? I'm not buying this.
|“|| "You know what's the matter. Your sister said -"
"Damn my sister!" said James Taggart.
Eddie Willers did not move. He did not answer. He stood looking straight ahead. But he did not see James Taggart or anything in the office.
I think I've become too desensitized to this. I read "Damn my sister! said James Taggart" and nearly didn't notice how utterly stupid it sounds. This book is actually worse than I thought.
|“||After a moment, he bowed and walked out.||”|
Now there's a thought.
--01:43, 30 March 2010 (UTC) </div>
[ main page ]
Spotting WikiFauna, Part II
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Spotting WikiFauna, Part II" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Atlas Shrugged, Part I".
When we left, HM was approaching his second explosion. It all begins with User:Feba mentioning to HM that his userpage is a bit over the top (). Apparently Wikipedia doesn’t approve of userpages that basically proselytize people’s beliefs, and HM’s is (as far as I can tell without access to the history) mostly made up of talking about Christianity in big letters. I can kinda picture it.
I don’t really understand the technicalities of this policy, but I don’t need to because I’m about to link you to three hundred people talking about it ().
The conversation basically goes like this:
- PEOPLE: Your userpage violates this policy.
- HORNETMAN: It’s not offending anyone.
- PEOPLE: It’s offending me.
- HORNETMAN: Meh.
- (all hell breaks loose)
- HM's first comment — “I like it the way it is and I'm not taking off the flag!”
- Kurykh makes me sad I can't access the old revisions of HM's page — “Um, you can post the flag, but the...eh...current size of the flag is the online equivalent of shoving it in people's faces.”
- HM does the legal thing again — “...and by the way, asking me to take off my christian flag is like taking away my constitutional right of freedom of religion and how to express it.”
- Alison is wise — “You're. Not. Listening. To. A. Word. I'm Saying.”
- A surprise guest appearance from a generic right-wing cynic! — “You would certainly lose this case. There's a secular hegemony here. They may not be satanists, but they'd be more accepting to an editor who was one.”
- Generic right-wing cynic is here all week, folks! — “Were it a giant Bisexual Pride Baphomet, that user would be in the Corps of Administrators by now.”
- Despite being lukewarm on the topic of ‘not offending people’, HM is red hot on ‘being offended for no reason’ — “I will not have people dissing Jews on my page. Jews are God's chosen people and Jesus was a Jew. You diss them it the exact same as dissing me cause I take serious offense to that!!!!!”
- Btw, HM is responding to a random mention of the Star of David. That’s it. Seriously.
- Alison is still wise — “The only thing you'll listen to is when it goes to crisis and some other admin comes along and nukes your page (as happened last time).”
- Progress! Sort of! — “It's a flag dang it. what matter's mor is the article's not my user page. What do you want me to do with the flag?”
- Alison patiently summarises what people have been saying for hours — “I want you to think, and to start showing respect for the beliefs and opinions of other editors. As Feba asks, is it too much to ask for you to tone it down just a little?”
- HM lacks perspective — “Yeah it is too much to ask. But I shrink it if it'll make ya happy and get you off my back about it!”
I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “Christian flag”. I’m still not completely convinced there is. What is it, just a cross on a rectangle? That isn’t a flag; that’s Windows 95.
At this point, the conversation peters out for about three hours, but it seems that HM hasn’t actually fixed anything on his page, despite his apparent concession. User:Nihiltres now appears, and says “I just went ahead and toned down both huge flag images to 100px each -the community has expressed a valid concern that's really easy to fix, and users do not own their userpages.” ()
Obviously, I still can’t access the history, but it seems that HM just reverts him without commenting. Twice. The next comments are from Alison despairing of him:
- “Please stop it already. Nihiltres is trying to compromise here and help you out. Let it go” ()
- “And again. How far are you going to take this here? Is direct action the only thing you understand? Are you going for some sort of see-how-often-I-get-my-page-nuked award or something?” ()
(Come on Alison, no one deserves that award more than him. He just wants it more.)
Nihiltres is actually an okay guy, and he continues talking to HM and tries to get through to him — rather than summoning an air strike as I would have done. Nihiltres says:
- "I now see images at only 200px, so I'm willing to call off the brigades. What you should realize, however, Hornetman16, is that usually Wikipedians will prefer it when your faith in god(s) is expressed in scholarly work towards educating people about him/her/them, that is, without giant images on your user page expressing your frenzy. Your userpage regardless doesn't quite fit with WP:NOT, and I suggest you read that page carefully before continuing to edit. :)" ()
Seems pretty reasonable, right? I mean, not only is he being polite, he’s actually allowed a pretty big compromise on what they wanted. He apparently let HM double the size of the flags, which is very kind of him. All fair and reasonable.
Would it surprise you to know that HM was so annoyed by this comment that he randomly went to Nihiltres’ page to yell at him?
If you’re confused, let me explain. The thing is, all HM sees in that comment is the bit that reads “god(s)”. And you can imagine how insulted he is by that, right? So this is what he does: 
Seriously, what a jerk.
Some small highlights.
- Instant persecution just add water -- "Obviously Wikpedia has too high a standard when it comes to respect cause not on here i guarentee you would say that wasn't disrespectful. He personaly attacked my religon (no directly but he did by by not getting how my faith goes correctly) and I was just defending my self so if any one was disrespectful it was him but whatever!"
- Alison lectures HM like a child -- "You, sir, have a lot to learn about the world, and a lot to learn about respecting others."
- HM is still thinking about the last argument -- "what do you want me to do to my userpage? It bugs me that I can't have it the way I want it cause 3 people think it's to annoying."
- HM is so confident he can put exclaim marks on the end of gibberish -- "I wish to denominate thins on ground that I will listen now since it is the Christian way!"
- Alison has a headache -- "I'm sick and tired of this nonsense. I did my best to help you here, but no."
- User:Daniel (omnipotent WikiGod) deletes and protects HM’s userpage. 
- User:DarkFalls notifies HM of Daniel's actions, and says what we're all thinking -- "I strongly suggest contributing to the encyclopedia, instead of causing mayhem and making things worse for yourself."
- HM provides sober patient criticism — “I TRIED TO KEEP MY COOL AND YA'LL JUST COULDN'T LEAVE IT BE!!! I HAVE SENT A VERY STERN LETTER OF YOU ALL'S DISREPECT TO THE OFFICE!”
THE PLOT THICKENS
The next part should be familiar to anyone who's spent time on a wiki. I put it in bullet points because I like bullet points.
- A random new user called "Cenafan16" appears, and complains to Daniel about HM’s block.
- "How could you protect Hornetman16 from editing his userpage (I'm a new user)?" ()
- He is reverted by User:Ryulong () and blocked for abuse of multiple accounts ().
- Hornetman is caught in the autoblock of Cenafan’s IP address, and complains loudly that he has been unfairly blocked, and that Cenafan isn’t him (,  & . The thing is, the autoblock is automatic and only gets you if you have the exact IP address of the original blocked user. Not only is HM unaware of this, he fails to understand it when people explain, and continues acting as if people have blocked him specifically because they assumed Cenafan was him.
Everyone traipses back to HM's talkpage to discuss this ()
- Alison captures the zeitgeist — “BTW, that autoblock you got caught in - well, that's going to last an awfully long time, assuming that other guy was you. What do you intend to do about that?”
- HM is brutally honest — “Get angry and beg cause that wasn't me!”
- ElinorD is the first to attempt an explanation — “This user's request to have the autoblock on his/her IP address lifted has been declined. reason — You created a sockpuppet to protest about Daniel's deletion of your userpage, pretending to be an uninvolved user, and then your real account got caught in the autoblock when your sockpuppet was blocked. I'd be prepared to lift the autoblock after 48 hours, or perhaps even 24 hours, if you promise to behave. But you don't get to create sockpuppets to plead your cause, and then escape the autoblock.”
- Feba puts the whole thing very succinctly — “So basically you're claiming that someone who happened to be using your ISP, had the same IP as you, *and* created an account *AND* immediately made edits *concerning you* and nothing else... wasn't you? If this were a movie, you'd really be testing my suspension of disbelief right now”
- But HM is impervious to reality — “THAT WASN'T ME I WAS LOGGED OFF AT THE TIME!!!!!!”
- Feba knows the score — “And is that because you were logged into another account?”
- Deskana joins in — “It's patently obvious that it was a sockpuppet of you. Not only does this user have a broken form of your signature, they also have an interest in wrestling, specifically John Cena, of who you used to have a photo of on your userpage. The only edits from that account are also related to agreeing with something you said. So don't try to fool us.”
- And ElinorD provides the finishing blow — “Admins can also see in the deleted edits of your userpage that that particular IP edited your userpage before when you were blocked, and acknowledged being you while logged off.”
- HM is utterly shameless — “THAT WASN'T ME THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MY BROTHER WHY BLOCK ME FOR HIS ACTIONS?”
- HM is the narrator — “They blocked me for my brother's actions and they won't unblock me.”
- (Yeah, he’s really not talking to anyone there. If there is a “they”, why isn’t Deskana (the only person he could possibly be talking to) one of “them”?)
- HM is surprisingly rude to people who don’t exist — “It's not good faith if you unblock me this time...it's called understanding that my brother stuck his nose where it didn't belong.”
- Be nice to your fictional brother, dammit.
- HM has my number — “I do have a brother and don't insult him agian by saying he doesn't exist! Now please unblock me!”
- I can’t unblock you, HM. I’m not on Wikipedia, and you’re all the way back there in 2007. Think about it.
- Feba sings the ending credits theme — “The thing is man, people are tired of it. They're tired of being nice on the off chance that you were trying to go with the rules. They're tired of acting like you mean no harm. At this point, it would be just plain irresponsible to assume that you or your brother were making a good faith effort to improve wikipedia, and honestly at this point it's somewhat irresponsible to assume you have a brother at all. Compared to quite a few other cases, people have been VERY nice and EXTREMELY lenient with you. Constantly trying to forge your own path in opposition to policy and other users is what got you here, not a stray comment from a sibling”
- ElinorD provides a ray of hope — “The autoblock won't last forever. Just stick it out. Say your prayers tonight, and reflect on whether Jesus really wants you to keep on saying it was your brother. (Remember Revelation 21:8, again.) Stop arguing. Behave yourself. The autoblock will expire. And you can start editing within policy. I'd be prepared to adopt you, if it would help. If you're not prepared to tone down the disruptive behaviour, I'm afraid you're heading for an indefinite block. Alison and Riana and Deskana have been very patient and helpful, and look how you've repaid them.”
At this point, the main argument is over. Discussion continues, even though the main administrators involves have kinda lost interest. A kindly soul called Pastordavid wanders over and gives HM some advice, which he wastes no time in ignoring (). It’s evening on the 3rd of July, and everything is dying down for now.
Early on July 4th (about six in the morning UTC) User:Moondyne, who hasn’t been involved before, declines another unblock request:
- “This user's request to have the autoblock on his/her IP address lifted has been declined. Decline reason: Hornetman16, this account is not currently blocked, its your sockpuppet Cenafan16 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log) who has been blocked which has caused you to be unable to edit. But I am not about to unblock as after reading all the words above I see no evidence of you becoming a constructive editor. Experienced editors have bent over backwards trying to give you constructive advice and second chances but you repay them with this. There's been a suggestion below for another place for you to play. Go there and annoy them, we have serious business to do here.”
Guess where this “another place to play” is. It’s surprisingly topical. Here is the text of the suggestion:
- “==Christianwikipedia== If you want something like this, go to Conservapedia. There is no need to disrupt wikia and there is especially no need to spam Wikipedia trying to create your own little wiki when it's already been set up for you. Go, and be happy --Feba 03:00, 4 July 2007 (UTC)” ()
At the moment, HM doesn’t pay much attention to this suggestion, but he does eventually end up on Conservapedia. Here’s a really small history of his work on CP:
- Complaining about Wikipedia’s treatment of him in his userspace
- Writing professional wrestling articles
- Getting told off by Karajou (once)
- And then, he actually left because he thought it was too authoritarian. Classic.
Anyway, back to Wikipedia.
REDO FROM START
I must admit, I chose Hornetman to write about because his career as a Timed Explosion Kid was so long. Normally TEKs tend to blow themselves out pretty quickly or just lose interest, but HM actually spent quite a while on Wikipedia before being thrown out.
In accordance with the established order of thing, things pretty much return to normal after that explosion. HM acts kind apologetic (or as apologetic as you can get without actually apologizing for the things you've done wrong) and volunteers for Wikipedia's "adoption" scheme thing, at the suggestion of Elinor D ().
And that's where I'm leaving it for now. There is somehow much more material than I expected, so I guess I'll have to make this split over three or four entries. Sorry about that. You can counteract these negative vibes by listening to Gorillaz () or possibly by eating an ice cream.
--23:10, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
[ main page ]
Cunning Log News/Gloating of Mei
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Cunning Log News/Gloating of Mei" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Spotting WikiFauna, Part II".
Hey there impartial person! Sit down and listen to this: this is a political broadcast from the Mei party.
Did you know that the amount of stuff in CLoM has nearly doubled since I started doing daily updates? And hey, wasn’t that like five days ago? That’s right. It was. And it did. Obviously you should vote for Mei, or if you are already voting for Mei, you should do so with increased frequency.
Now here’s Mei being smug: ........
(Relax, this isn’t today’s update.)
--21:07, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
[ main page ]
Symptoms of Mei Volume VIII
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Symptoms of Mei Volume VIII" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Cunning Log News/Gloating of Mei".
Wow this daily update thing can be kinda harsh. Why did I only start thinking about today's update just before I started getting tired and sleepy? That is not how to run a Log promptly or on time. Clearly I need to rethink the way I am approaching this.
I was totally planning to make all my posts really long and at least fairly interesting, but fate was against me. ;___________; Not every post can be long or interesting, and I guess this has to be one of the short boring ones. Even though it is sad.
OK here goes.
I have small mysterious cuts on the inside of my palms.
Now here's Proton Jon 
(It's not all bad. That's a pretty cool video, and I'm writing tomorrow's update right now. See? Everything is under control, or sort of.)
--23:02, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
[ main page ]
Spotting WikiFauna, Part I
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Spotting WikiFauna, Part I" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Symptoms of Mei Volume VIII".
WIKIFAUNA TYPE 05 - THE TIMED EXPLOSION KID
The most beautiful example of a Timed Explosion Kid is Hornetman16, of Wikipedia. He is no longer called that, but I'm calling him that now because pretty much everything I could link to is going to use that name. He was only renamed after being banned from Wikipedia indefinitely, so the new name is not so important.
You could go and look up him up yourself if you really wanted, but it would be pretty dull and slow, because his talk page is now deleted, so you'd have to go through page history and edits bit by bit to work out what's happening, and unlike me you don't know what to look for or where to go. If you just sit there and read this post, I will give you nice relevant links which will show you the exact bits of conversation which are relevant. It's all very nice and I enjoyed reading it all again. Sit down and relax, and make yourself a drink.
Before I begin I should mention that I’m not going to type ‘Hornetman16’ every time I want to refer to this guy. That is just not on. I know I resolved to have lots of words in Cunning Log, but you should keep in mind that I am also a lazy person. As names go, Hornetman16 isn’t particularly long, but it’s just so dull and arbitrary that it sucks a bit of life out of me whenever I type it. You can experiment with this yourself, but try not to do it for too long.
I considered abbreviating Hornetman16 to ‘H16’, and that sort of worked. It’s quick and easy to write. However - whenever I read it I get three syllables, which is pretty cheeky for a word with three letters in it. That’s one syllable for each letter! Think how long it would take to say simple sentences if this rule were true for other words! It would take you a whole afternoon to say ‘Fuck all these overly long words’.
So H16 has to go as well. I exchanged it for ‘H6’ because that allowed me to drop a whole syllable without changing the sound of the word, but that still annoyed me because it still looks random and numbery. So long story short, I decided to convert the six into twelve, because the number originally had two digits, and take the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet as the second digit of my abbreviation. This gives me ‘HM’, which is perfect.
It's not "stalking", it's schadenfreude. Say it with me.
THE EARLY DAYS
HM signed up on October 12th 2006  (I know, ancient history, right?), and made some random edits for a while, without actually speaking to anyone else or taking a serious interest in any specific articles. He mainly made low key janitorial edits (including uploading a relevant image, which still exists) for the next couple of months, and then on December 11th put in a request for adminship. See here: .
Connoisseurs of WikiDrama will be interested to note that this RfA is basically the first time HM spoke to anyone on Wikipedia. This is the first time he signed with four tildes. This is also a pretty typical post of his — note the capital letters used to subtly emphasize certain words. Note the pre-emptive insistence that his young age doesn’t make him immature. We will quickly see that it does. It really does.
HM then answers the typical Admin-quiz. Set your faces to stunned .
I did warn you.
Long story short: HM uses the three question format to give us four reasons he can’t be an admin. That’s pretty impressive. If you missed them, here is the score.
- HM intends to use admin privileges to delete “nude photos”. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Wikipedia will know this just isn’t going to fly.
- HM hopes to keep the site “within the range of not offending anyone. ESPECIALY CHRISTIANS!!!”. Yeah good luck with that.
- HM is most proud of his edits to wp:Haines City High School, because it’s his school and it was his way of showing “loyalty” and “school spirit”.
- (In case you don’t want to sift through the page history, here is the HC High School page at the time HM made his RfA . Almost everything there was written by him. It’s not quite Felidae but it’s pretty indulgent. It includes text copied from the school website, a big table of football results, and three now-deleted images. It’s also pretty badly written. It’s not as COI as I thought it would be though, so I guess I have to give him that.)
- HM says he will rely on God to guide him through conflicts. This later turned out to be correct.
You can see the results (and the full application, and the rest of the comments) here: . HM gets four opposing votes, which are pretty damn negative. His best vote is a neutral one which pokes fun at his comments and suggests he withdraw the application.
“(aeropagitica)” (who clearly never realized anyone would have to type his name) tells HM on his talk page that deleting images is against policy, but he should nominate images for deletion if he thinks they’re actually illegal. () About 35 minutes later, HM nominates an image for deletion () with the justification “Child porno”. Brace yourself: we’re about to go from normal to surreal in six seconds.
The discussion is here, in all its bizarre glory: . During the discussion (in which almost everyone votes Keep), HM insists that the image is pornographic and tell its uploader “What the Hell? What is up with you and every photo you post being about nudity?”. His response to the first few posts, which make it very clear the image doesn’t qualify as child pornography, is “I don't care this photo isn't right. This is an encyclopedia NOT a issue of Playboy or Playgirl.” Said image is a photo of a nudist holding a small child who is presumably his daughter.
The image was kept, and still exists. I hope that isn't a spoiler.
BOREDOM, BOREDOM, RANDOM SCOLDING, BOREDOM
At this point in our story, HM becomes less active. Content with having sewn the seeds of his future destruction, he takes a bit of a break, and there is nothing to see for a while. On December 24th, he makes one last edit (), and then disappears for about five months. Don’t worry — all the top shelf lulz is still to come.
In May 2007 (the 14th), he returns to Wikipedia, apparently lured by the Spider-Man 3 article () — which, I am interested to note, still contains spoiler templates. We all miss you, spoiler template ;_______;
Over the next month, he makes dozens of low key edits to professional wrestling flavored articles (gag), Christian Pop Music articles (???), and his high school’s article again. He also uploaded the images which are currently used for most of the books in the Left Behind series. So now you know who to blame. In amongst the boring edits, he also made this delicious comment: . Rather than actually reading the comments he’s replying to, HM just reads the title of the thread and guesses what it’s supposed to be about from that. I always kinda suspected HM didn’t read people’s comments, and now I feel pretty vindicated.
We then have to wait several weeks for HM to do anything lulzy. Pull your socks up, HM.
On 11th June, HM meets “3bulletproof16”, who is to become the closest thing he has to a supporter. I like to imagine this meeting as HM crashing into 3bulletproof16 while running for the bus, and then helping him pick up his scattered tray of jam tarts. Oh HM, you’re so disorganized. The meeting is here: . HM is referring to this edit: .
3bulletproof16 (who will be known as Bulletproof from now on) is basically what HM would be if he had a lick of sense. He’s a fan of professional wrestling, and presumably also a Christian — since I only know one meaning of the numbers 3 and 16 together (John: 3:16) — but he's also very reserved and keeps policy in mind while editing. Later on, he will become one of HM’s many voices of reason. For all the good that’ll do.
The next day, User:Durin (who is a logical guy) scolds HM for repeatedly ignoring a policy that has been explained to him several times. HM’s response is basically “whoops!” (). We cannot see HM’s persistent violations of userpage policy, because his userpage and its early history were later deleted. Can you guess why?
The next day (the 13th), HM is scolded by Bulletproof, for basically formatting his pet wrestling articles to look how he wants, and reverting people when they correct them (). HM leaves a catty remark on Bulletproof’s talk page (), and Bulletproof responds (on HM’s page, because these people have no consideration for random Meis who might be documenting their WikiCareers) with a patient explanation of why HM’s edits aren’t that great ().
You can see the formatting discussion and ensuing mini-tantrums here: . I sectionlinked to the section above the one I wanted (ignore “WWE Raw” and read the one below) because Wikipedia doesn’t like exclamation marks for some reason. On that page, all three sections under “RE: You can get on my nerves!!!” are mildly fun to watch. Comments like “I don’t want that picture deleted” are pretty standard from Timed Explosion Kids in the middle of their cycle. For some reason, they decide they’re established editors, and start to throw their weight around a bit. The trouble is, they don’t really have any weight, and as soon as the real admins bring them in line with real policies, they get angry.
HM has a bit of a break from being interesting for a few days. However, nature is against him — he is rapidly approaching the end of his cycle, and will soon explode all over their nice clean wiki.
HOLY WARFARE, BATMAN
In June, HM also argues with a few editors on the wrestling pages, but I’m going to skip over that because it pales in comparison to the lulzfest that is looming over us. You remember that stuff about child pornography, right?
On June 23rd, HM advises Wikipedia to delete NRT6 2001.jpg (the same pic from earlier) or be prosecuted (). That’s right: he went there. His comment on that page fails to interest anyone, but HM is already moving into pre-explosion mode.
HM adds a speedy delete tag to NRT6 2001.jpg. This edit is impossible to link to, because the history for this file is absent, for reasons I cannot explain. This is a feature I haven’t seen on any wiki before. We only know of HM’s speedy delete tag because of this comment () telling him it was removed.
Go ahead: lap it up. It is classic lulz. I drink this discussion in the same way I would usually drink a can of Sprite. Open these pages and treat yourself. It’s been a long day and you deserve it.
- HM sternly telling admins that the image “sould be quickly deleted if Wikipedia is to survive!”.
- HM gets technical — “It's child porno because the girls naked”.
- HM is fine with legal threats “If it's what it take to get this place justified”
- HM is a political prisoner — “DO NOT BLOCK ME. I'M JUST TRYING TO AN OFFENSIVE PHOTO DELETED PLUS I DEFINE CHILD PORNO AS A NAKED CHILD!!”
- User:Kurykh makes me giggle — “DO NOT SCREAM AT ME, PLEASE.”
- HM makes me cringe so very much — “According to my Mother who has been both molested and had Child Porno picture taken of her, That photo fall under the Florida Law def. of Child Porno!!!”
- HM brings in the heavy weaponry — “I can get my Uncle Greg involved who has a License to practice law in both Florida and North Carolina.”
- HM fights the power while channeling Limp Bizkit — “Fine ya'll wanna be that way? Those of ya'll that live in Tampa, FL pay attention to local news. Expect trouble. And by the way. WP policy says it's allowed as long as it complies with Florida Law which this photo doesn't!”
- HM comes so close to an important revelation — “It's child porn I don't know how else to prove it to you cause everything I throw at you, you freakin counter!!”
- HM makes me reach for the brain bleach — “that picture's gotten me in trouble with my mom because I'm 16 if you know what I mean”
- HM refers us to his boss — “it's also a matter that God's telling I should get it deleted!”
- HM breaks the shift key while planning revolution — “SERIOUS NOTE:I'd just thought you'd like to know in about a month I will be Interviewed by News Channel 8 about this photograph. Until then have a Jesus Filled Day!”
Oh god. This lulz is so delicious. I couldn’t eat another bite.
But I will. I must. Because HM holds another entirely separate meltdown on the exact same day. What are the odds?
If you scroll down to the very end of the discussion I linked to on HM’s talkpage, you’ll see that the last comment is the admin Riana saying “Another thing - your userpage reveals considerable personal information about yourself. As a minor, you should be more careful. If you like, I can delete it for you and you can start from scratch with less revealing information.” HM basically ignores her and continues arguing with people about the definition of child pornography (to be fair, how could they have known that child pornography can only be defined by a random teenager from Florida?).
Eight minutes later, Riana deletes HM’s userpage for reasons she declined to discuss publicly (presumably it contained personal information that Wikipedia couldn’t allow on a minor’s userpage). HM finally explodes.
The whole discussion is here: . It’s even better than the last one. Dive in.
- HM comes out shouting — “My parents okayedit and that's all that matter's now put it back!!!!”
- Coredesat rebuts him — “Your parents are not Wikipedia editors or admins and do not trump WP:NOT and WP:USER.”
- HM ignores policy in favor of more shouting — “It's my userpage it was the way I want it. My parents have athourity over me more than any of you! NOW PUT IT BACK!!!!”
- HM pesters Kurykh to help him — 
- HM pesters Bulletproof to help him — 
- HM pesters Jimmy fucking Wales to help him — 
- HM regresses to a childhood state — “I spend days putting that userpage togeth to get it the way I want it. And they deleted it *crys*! All I want is it put back the way it was!!! I violated not rules *sobs* just put it back!”
- Coredesat tires of the explosions — “I've blocked you for 12 hours for your continued incivility and disruption at the IFD. When the block expires, please come back with a cooler head.”
- HM is a dick — “I'm moraly right not Hot Headed!”
- HM becomes a hero — “As God as my witness I WILL get that photo deleted!!!”
- Hilarious non-heroic afterthought — “Also, could you at least reduce it cause 12 hours seems a bit extreme.”
- Deskana explains reality — “Wikipedia is a privately owned website, that is editable by the public. The US laws on free speech do not apply.”
- ...and is ignored — “Proof?”
- HM practises guerilla warfare, but is caught by Deskana — “If User:18.104.22.168 is you, you are not allowed to edit while blocked. Evading your block is grounds to have your block extended.”
- HM continues abusing his imaginary status — “That rule needs to change to where you can only edit your userpage when blocked.”
- And finally, Coredesat cuts off my lulz — “Per the guideline WP:AGF, you and your IP have been unblocked. However, please keep in mind the advice other editors have given you here, and present your arguments in a more civil tone. Failure to do so could lead to re-blocking later, but hopefully that won't have to happen.”
THE CYCLE BEGINS AGAIN
After that, HM simmers down for a bit. Any Timed Explosion Kid has the potential to loop back to their starting position after reaching critical mass, and HM is a good example of this. Having exploded all over the wiki, HM becomes apologetic and productive all over again. On June 24th, he pesters Jimmy Wales again () socializes with ubiquitous WikiQueen Alison () and joins WikiProject Florida ().
Alison, being a fundamentally nice person, indulges him for a bit, and makes him his very own navigation bar for his userspace, which is now deleted. She is also responsible for most of the help he receives with his userpage — both making it look good and keeping it from violating important policies. This will be important later. I like Alison.
On June 26th, HM exchanges images based on personal preference again () and gets told off by someone who knows about copyright policy (). You’ll notice that, despite being 100% wrong, it takes HM a while to get used to the fact that he isn’t going to get his way. This isn’t so lulzy, but it’s all part of the big picture.
Much more lulzy is the conversation HM has with Dandelion, the guy who uploaded his least favorite picture. Find it here: . There’s only five comments, but they’re full to bursting with lulz. Oh my god.
- HM does the catchphrase for his fans — “Have a Jesus filled day!!!”
- HM makes me want to tweak his ears — “Not according to the Police and Media I've contacted but, you go ahead and live in your fantasy world”
- HM clarifies the details of his holy mission — “I WILL GET THAT PHOTO DELETED!!!And by the way, if you were a Christian you'd know God would frown on that photo! He's the one that told me to fight so hard to get it deleted. Thank You!”
- Dandelion knows the score — “Make sure you mention that Jesus told you to delete the image on the debate page.”
- HM rounds off the perfect conversation — “Most of these people son't believe in Jesus so it wouldn't matter, PLUS, it was God that told me not Jesus.”
Dude, it’s an image of some nudists on a day trip. Let it go.
On June 30th, HM decides to stretch the rules a little in order to get his userpage looking how he wants, and is told off by Deskana, who I am starting to like more and more. Discussion is here () and includes another block.
HELLO PUNISHMENT I AM FEELING GLUTTONOUS TODAY
Emboldened by this questionable victory, HM submits his second request for adminship the next day (July 1st). Find it here: . It is the massacre you would expect. This time he gathers eight oppose votes, and none supporting or neutral. This page is the first time I’ve ever seen someone use “Strongest possible oppose” as their vote. One voter votes “Oppose” and then retracts this vote in order to vote “Very strong oppose”. It’s like something out of the Godfather. All that, and voting was only open for 57 minutes.
- HM unwittingly identifies work he is least likely to do — “Maintianing the paramiter and policies of Wikipedia.”
- HM rejects our reality and substitutes his own — “Yes, I dealt with it by relizing I'm only 16 and I may not know as much as they do. So, I take a break and cool down and when I've cooled down, I come back and talk like the MATURE TEENAGER I am!”
- HM just wants nuclear weapons — “If I abuse just take them away and I'll go back to normal just please give me a chance...you won't be sorry!”
- Alison makes my head spin by mentioning tantrums that even I missed — “Furthermore, your treatment of User:BaRiMzI only two hours ago almost had you blocked for revert-warring and incivility.”
- Kurykh torments me with a vision of what could have been — “I was almost about to block this user indefinitely in exasperation if I didn't step away and go to sleep during the image incident.”
Just minutes after his RfA is closed, HM decides to show willing by signing up to a teaching project -- the “Editor Review” system. His page is here: . HM only has four comments there — one starting the page, and three more denying any wrongdoing. Excellent progress then. User:Dfrg.msc helps out by giving HM a quiz on the minutiae of speedy deletion, but HM has already gotten bored, and so his comment goes unanswered. Admittedly, it was a whole four days later, but seriously HM, pay attention. Editor review is for life, not just for Christmas.
Bonus lulz — HM’s comments there were actually “improved” from his first attempt () after User:Corvus cornix (nice guy, good taste in lolcats ) told him off for personal attacks (). CC is asking HM to admit personal responsibility for something, so this can’t possibly go anywhere good. And indeed it doesn’t — HM spends the whole conversation whining that he didn’t commit any personal attacks and makes it clear he’s only rewording the comments because he’s being forced. Oooh, bad karma.
We are about to witness the second explosion. This one is even bigger, measuring a 4.2 on the Mei Scale. However, we are not going to witness it right now because I am tired and confused by tracking down all this history.
A future post, "Spotting WikiFauna, Part II", will wrap up the story of Hornetman16. After that, I will do examples of the other Fauna as well. I have some other long stories to tell, but probably not as long as this one. This one was pretty long. You know those letters on your keyboard? Mine are all gone because of typing this long story. Don't end up like me.
--23:55, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
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[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Health Warning" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Spotting WikiFauna, Part I".
Do you hold opinions? If so, you should read this helpful health warning I have compiled.
JUSTIFICATION VERSUS INERTIA
The most important property of an opinion is its origin. By this I refer to the system a person will go through before accepting an opinion. According to idealistic systems like empiricism, opinions should be justified beforehand. In contrast, pragmatic systems (which are nameless, but infinitely more popular) let you absorb opinions by vague methods and then require a crucial change in thinking in order to modify them.
The second type is what I want to discuss mostly. It is normal behavior for a human to reach a conclusion without logical justification and preserve that opinion until a change occurs. Human beings find it difficult to react to anything that isn’t a change. Assessing an unchanging field of inquiry is virtually impossible. You can consider this type of opinion yourself by investigating your own opinions. Consider these questions.
- Do you have an opinion on global warming?
- Have you assessed the data on this subject first-hand?
If your answers to these questions were not identical, your opinion belongs to the category I have described. Do not be ashamed: we all hold these opinions. It is impossible for us not to. However, since I intend to discuss this category of opinion further, I cannot continue calling it “this category”. Fortunately for me, there is a simpler word to describe an opinion like this - “delusion”.
Obviously, the fact that a given opinion is a delusion does not in itself imply that the opinion is false. It is possible to be convinced of something without justification and later find that you are right.
Systems like empiricism are intended to weed out unjustified opinion, but they are powerless to affect the thousands of small scale opinions we adopt and discard in our daily lives. Virtually all our opinions are based on holding onto things that appear right until they are proved false. More importantly - vast belief systems are build on small premises, and only an absurdly small proportion of society is capable of identifying their premises.
Here is an experiment: find a fundamentalist, identify their premises, and question one of them. If you do this, you will find that they simply cannot understand the question. It will be like they didn’t hear it, and their answer will be entirely about something else. Let me show you an example:
- A: Why am I evil?
- B: This text states that your actions are evil.
- A: Why is this text authoritative?
- B: It was written by God.
- A: How do you know it was written by God?
You will never see this question answered - except for a handwave like “the text says it was”. This question is never answered partly because it can’t be answered but most importantly because person B is not aware of the importance of this premise in their opinions. In extreme cases, they will be unaware of the premise itself.
This is not unusual. We all do this. None of us escape this tendency — we all have delusions in the bedrock of our opinions. The whole of human existence rests on building consistent principles on top of unproven axioms. Pragmatically, it's all okay. It only becomes not okay when someone expects people to agree with their hidden premises. You would think it was basic logic — you can’t expect someone to be convinced when there is no way to convince them — but it is apparently impossible for any living human to grasp that this is an error. This isn't just fascism and fundamentalism - this applies to everything. If you hold any opinion as true and expect other people to agree without justification, you are obliged to discard it.
Which is why you should vote for Mei to tell everyone what to believe.
CAVEAT - I was originally going to talk about the difference between a casual opinion and a concrete inflexible one, but it made the post so much longer, and since no one else distinguishes between them it's probably a waste of time. Basically - you don't have to reject all opinions, you just have to accept that anything can be wrong.
--21:35, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
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Play! Volume III
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Play! Volume III" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Health Warning".
I don’t want to write about map four right now.
And so, on to map five.
Map five is the most annoying map so far. Seriously. I thought map three was irritating, but it turns out that map three is gentle and kindly disposed towards the world. Map five is like some guy who hates you because you burned his hair. And it doesn’t even have that many spiders in it compared to the others.
The main thing about map five is it’s tall. Map five takes place on top of some very large platform-pillar things. If you fall off — and you do, you fall off all the time, when you least expect it, when you're not actually moving, when you’re not paying attention or when some kind spider just knocks you off for fun — you fall about half a mile into a sea of lava. Then you die. Map five wants you to fall off. In between random sadistic fights, you have to run across smaller platforms which are carefully arranged so that they’re hard to run across. Falling off is the main theme.
If you were not paying attention I hope you at least absorbed the main point that I fall off a lot. That is sort of the gist. I'm not going to mention every time I fall off, but you should keep in mind that when I am doing other things I am also falling off in between those things.
The first half of the level is OK. You have a few straightforward fights, then a really annoying one with a Mook Maker who keeps making mooks for me to fight, even though there are plenty of mooks already and I didn’t really need any more mooks. The Mook Maker flies, and if you shoot him, he drifts serenely backwards into the scenery until he hits something. And the thing is, he doesn’t hit something, because there are no obstacles in the air. He drifts backwards until he hits the skybox and then starts moving towards you again. Basically, he flies to where you can't hit him with anything and then comes back very slowly. And while he’s doing this, he keeps making mooks, unless you hide behind something so he doesn’t think he can hit you. I’ll be honest — I think I ended up with too many mooks.
But all that is nothing compared to the last fight. The guy who makes this has a thing about epic endings, and pretty much every map has a separate room at the end which will be much harder than the rest. On this map, it’s different because there are no rooms, just rooftops. There are no enclosing spaces, and it's easier for things to hit you because there are less obstacles. The final fight is very big — it is made of several platforms, which are quite big and covered in random architecture. You run onto the first platform and several gangs of spiders appear all over the place. Once you beat them, you hit some switches and walk back to the start to find the exit.
Very simple right? No. To stay alive here you have to basically memorize the arena. And when I say arena I actually mean ‘shapeless series of rooftops’. There is literally nowhere you can stand that doesn’t expose you to getting attacked from an unexpected direction. What basically happens at first is that I run out into the fight, I fight for a bit, I circle the group to try to get them fighting, some guy hits me from behind, and then another guy hits me from the side while I’m dodging frantically, and then I die. I'm not dying because of my skill, I'm dying because I do not have a rearview mirror or satnav. This is even more annoying than the Neverending Spider Horde at the end of map 2.
I was stuck on this fight for about 45 minutes, so I’m a bit annoyed and I want to share all the details. This fight about has about a hundred Demonic Spiders and three bosses. The bosses are scattered about the place. The spiders start in groups but quickly spread out like they are sightseeing. They fire heat-seeking missiles, whereas the bosses just fire in straight lines but make up for it by killing you in one shot. In this fight, you don’t just die because people hit you with missiles, but also because all the space gets clogged up with spiders, and you have nowhere to run. Best of all, you sometimes die because you haven’t memorized the layout, and you end up making jumps onto platforms that turn out not to be there. The way the place is organised makes it easy to not see where the platform you’re on ends, and whether there is a slightly lower platform next to it or not.
And that brings me to my next topic: random architecture. I used to think that architecture in a game should not have a negative impact on gameplay, but it turns out I was wrong. It turns out the best architecture gets in the way all the time and makes it impossible to know where you are or where you’re going. For example, there is an L-shaped wall at one place, with a teleporter in the corner. When the final fight begins, boring mooks begin to spawn there, and fill up the space. You might think this serves some kind of ingenious gameplay purpose, subtly shepherding the bad guys into a pattern that makes the fight more challenging, or rewards certain behavior in the player. Nope.
If I was actually in this place, it would be difficult to see my feet because of all the random details near me. I would probably fall off slightly more of the time. All the walls here are placed arbitrarily, and exist only to look nice. Most of them make navigation difficult or unnatural. All of them impede movement (this is usual for walls). But walls don’t need to be this stupid. If you’re going to have walls, can’t I have some walls that stop me being hit by random rockets?
Even if I was just strolling around without people attacking me — imagine I am trying to buy a second home and I really want it to be a crumbling city on a planet made of lava, for example — I wouldn’t be able to keep track of where things were. I can’t even form a vague idea of the general shape of this place. When I tried, I came up with a scarab beetle displaying its wings, but covered in walls. Except beetles are usually symmetrical. This level is definitely less symmetrical than a beetle. If you look on the map, you see what looks like a biscuit being eaten by confused ants.
That is enough ranting. Basically, this fight isn’t fun. I mean, none of the fights on this level were particularly fun, but at least they were short. This one is long.
Maybe if I scream loud enough I can alter the data on my computer with the sound waves?
(Success is minimal)
LATER THAT DAY
Surprisingly, after a while I picked up what to do to stay alive, and I discovered it was actually quite fun to panic all the time as long as you win a bit. If you manage to thin the crowd a bit, avoiding the shots of the rest of the pack is much easier. I actually like dodging those heat-seeking missiles anyway. I am good at dodging. Also, I was listening to music, which might have helped.
So at first I hated this fight and was sure it was not fun, but then I had fun beating it. It turns out I am some sort of hypocrite. I'm sorry about that. In the end it took almost as long to find the random switches you need to exit. Seriously, what’s with all the random switch hiding?
By the way, going back to the start is so much fun when the map is made of messy platforms. It gives me a chance to catch up on all the falling off I might have missed. This part of the map really isn’t needed. I need this part less than I needed the random architecture and spider armies. It’s not fun and doesn’t add anything. It’s just there to make it impossible to run past the last battle. Sure, because limiting gameplay options is always a good idea.
Anyway, after that I got into map six, which is instantly so much more fun. Seriously, map six is the best by miles so far. It’s even harder but also fun. It’s chaotic but it doesn’t have invasive architecture. I played about halfway through even though I was trying not to. Then I went to sleep, probably. It’s all a bit hazy, but I'm sure I do sleep at times.
--19:17, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
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14 Tracks from a CD
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » 14 Tracks from a CD" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Play! Volume III".
01. “r ess”
- This track has about five-hundred square feet of reverb. Quite a lot like “Altibzz” from Quaristice. A beat that sounds like a clock dancing on crutches. The beat sounds really weird and unnatural if you try to focus on it, but perfect if you ignore it. This song is really designed to be played at very high volume, because it is very glorious. It is sort of like an opera. However, it is better than an opera, because it is not operatic in any way.
- Every time I play this song, someone gives me a chocolate muffin. Begins with a wave of dissonant pads. Based around a really slippery bass, which is paired with some wet sounding Autechre beats. It sounds so much like Confield, except without that type of song structure. In fact, it could be the older brother of “Cfern”. Nice subtle blips, but you won't notice them when they start, or when they change. Autechre are good at blips.
- There are things that sound like guitars. There are things that sound like sound effects from Windows 95. It’s very odd, and it put me off a bit. This song makes it impossible to play the album to people you know. It would be like introducing them to Ron Paul. I have deleted this song, so I don’t know what else to say about it.
- This song has a thing that sounds like ringing glass. It is quite nice, very subtle but also consistent. It is very loose, like the previous track, but without the bizarre FM synths and general tackiness. If I was going to compare this song to a foodstuff, it would probably be rice.
- Really understated light synths, against a tough kind of hip hop beat. This sounds like a videogame from the early nineties on MSDOS. Unless it’s Ken’s Labyrinth. Nothing sounds like that.
06. “see on see”
- Very echoing, sort of like a flashback. Not much bass or beats at all. The last ten seconds is just reverb. I don’t find this song very interesting. However, the title is fun to say and/or look at.
- This song is nice and alien. It is structured in a way I like. You have to put the volume up a lot, because it builds very smoothly. Nice, understated drums. Random, kind of jazzy melodies.
08. “os veix3”
- This song is mixed so that the musical parts are lower than volume of the drums, so you can hear the beat clearly, but the synths & bass always sounds understated. In my opinion, the rest of the album should have been mixed this way. The only problem with this album is that there isn't enough of a beat going through it — LP5 feels very cohesive and structured because every song is based on a beat despite being mainly melodic. It feels like every track can relate to the others despite being unique, which is something that beatless songs can’t do. Oversteps feels a bit woolly and meandering because a lot of the tracks have very subdued beats. Anyway, on this song All the drum sounds work perfectly at exactly the right time. It’s an odd thing, and I can’t explain it. It’s like one of those machines that make breakfast. With this song, you should picture toast flying through the air and landing exactly on a plate. More people should have songs that do this.
- My favorite song! It sounds like a streetlamp with frost. Unlike the rest of the album, it goes through stages very clearly, and there are four or five points where you hear one stage stop and another one begin. That’s pretty refreshing for Autechre. This song sounds like touching a brick wall in 1997. I haven't done that for a while but I remember what it's like. There are nice bell synths, excellent foggy pads in the background, humming, whirring, hissing retro-ish beats, weird pitch-shifted (?) bass instruments and things that sound like trumpets. It sounds like Corc, but far more random and fun. If I ever make a movie in which intelligent robots discover the meaning of Christmas, this will be the soundtrack.
10. “d-sho qub”
- Probably the track that stands out the most. It has the most distinctive intro, for one thing — it starts with weird tape hisses, whereas most other tracks here just launch straight into the main loop at the start. From there, you get the weird semi-random melodies that the other tracks have, only a bit more dissonant, somehow. And then... a massive beat. Seriously. The random melodies suddenly make perfect sense against this beat. You can actually dance to this song. I don’t, though, because I have a sick note. Random melodies invite their best friends “gurgling sound effects” and “granular synthesis”, and make a huge mess in the kitchen trying to make crepes. The song — and it is a song — trails off completely and ends with, of all things, male choir synths. Which actually works.
11. “st epreo”
- Fades straight in from the last note of “d-sho qub”. Features a gristly bassline, nails-in-a-washing-machine beats, and really nice acid lines. Best of all, you can pronounce the song title. This song definitely has that LP5 feel.
- Probably the least distinctive song. It’s quite nice, and I’m not going to delete it, but it’s not so interesting and it doesn’t really go anywhere. It feels basically the same as earlier songs — especially “see on see” and “pt2ph8”.
- Another one of the ones I like. Pretty much the same drill as O=o. No drums. Nice sweeping melodies, somewhere in the randomness. Has a slightly classical feel, despite the acidy synths. I think this is the longest song (about six minutes) but I might be wrong. It kinda feels like its doing something similar to Corc — a long calm before the last track. Actually, was Corc really the one before the last track? I think it was, but I might be wrong. This is the kind of thing you should look up before writing something like this.
- Immediately sounds similar to “r ess” because it has nice textures and odd timing. Sounds a lot like LP5's last song “Drane2” but much shorter. It presses about ten minutes worth of rising into four minutes. It gets buried in delay, until it begins to sound like its breaking up. Not distorted — just sort of crackling with lots of delay and compression. It sounds like a really old cassette tape. Then it all stops.
--19:04, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
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Ten Selected Species of WikiFauna
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » Ten Selected Species of WikiFauna" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » 14 Tracks from a CD".
There are several articles online about the different types of people on a wiki -- you know, WikiDragons and that kind of thing -- but they're all kinda small and incomplete, and they miss some really obvious things. To remedy this, I have compiled a list of strange species you can find on wikis. It is mainly about Wikipedia, and in fact most of these things don't exist on RationalWiki or Conservapedia. I hope you find it helpful.
01. FURIOUS RELUCTANT TIME TRAVELER
- The Furious Reluctant Time Traveler arrives with a bang, registers a complaint on a talk page that does not make sense or appears to be largely fantasy, and then disappears forever. Godspeed, furious traveler.
02. OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENCYCLOPEDIAS
- The Officer of the Department of Encyclopedias does not need to read about Wikipedia policies, because he has better ones. He will revert you, and talk to you politely about it, and explain the policies he is using, and you will eventually realize his policies are written on an imaginary roll of papyrus in his head. Expect him to cite policies like 'articles shouldn't offend anyone.'
03. SUDDENLY INFLATING PLAINTIFF
- The Suddenly Inflating Plaintiff regrets to inform you that he will initiate court proceedings against Wikipedia unless they reinvent most of their policies. He is usually new to Wikipedia, and doesn't realize how clichéd this is. It’s fun to watch him disappear into obscurity.
04. WOUNDED RABBIT MARTYR
- The Wounded Rabbit Martyr is a special type of editor who can take lethal damage from ordinary things like conversations. One slight knock is all it takes, and then you have to read an endless block of text about how uncaring you are, and how your favorite rabbit is now leaving forever and there’s nothing you can do about and it’s all your fault. Wounded Rabbits are almost always nice people. They just happen to randomly explode. Mei is in favor of rabbits but not in favor of explosions.
05. TIMED EXPLOSION KID
- The Timed Explosion Kid does not understand any policies, and will eventually get angry about it. Timed Explosion Kids go through several phases.
- HELLO I’M HERE LOOK AT ME.
- Sorry I didn't mean any harm. Look I’m typing in lowercase.
- It’s all cool.
- I’m being helpful now.
- Can I be an admin?
- Why can’t I be an admin?
- HULK SMASH.
06. BEAUTIFUL ENLIGHTENED CYNIC
- This guy has eventually reached the momentous conclusion that some things on Wikipedia might be wrong. He is appalled that Wikipedia is so much more successful than infallible encyclopedias, like the Encyclopedia Britannica. He knows that few people have heard of the Encyclopedia Britannica, so it is important to tell them what is is and why it is better. The Beautiful Enlightened Cynic is much more intelligent than you, so do not take offence if he slyly sends up your naivety whenever he talks to you. He’s not trying to be rude, it’s just that he’s so intelligent.
07. SHELTERED NAZI
- In a nutshell: a Nazi who doesn't realize the world is mainly full of people who aren’t Nazis. The Sheltered Nazi arrives and starts correcting articles in order to make the important point that Churchill was a race traitor, and will then be genuinely stunned when people revert him. Expect comments like “you mean you seriously don’t think the Jews are in control of our economy????”.
08. PROTOSS ZEALOT
- The Protoss Zealot is a proud, fierce warrior of internet arguments. He will argue for years about the same thing, and will engage anyone who will hear him out, but unfortunately he does not live in the real world. His arguments are internally consistent but bear no actual resemblance to reality. They are like a parallel universe made of words. There is no point trying to understand or reason with this person - you will just hurt your head and gradually erode your keyboard. The Zealot is usually not hostile, but can make other people hostile by sheer weight of repetition.
- The Cenobite is happiest when hurting people. This is their casual state. They are allowed to do this because of free speech. Don’t ever vaguely insult or tell off a Cenobite though, because they will go absolutely fucking mental because it’s against the law.
10. SELF-COLLAPSING UNIT OF IRONY
- The Self-Collapsing Unit of Irony wants you to know that it is sad to edit a wiki with your free time. He wishes you to consider getting a life, and will explain that he personally does have a life, and it is much better than yours, you sad little wiki editor.
--13:19, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
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I am Mei hear me roar
[ main page ]Warning: Display title "CLoM » I am Mei hear me roar" overrides earlier display title "CLoM » Ten Selected Species of WikiFauna".
Now here's Queen. 
--19:54, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
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