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Month: October 2003

Home run!

Home run!

Yeah, it’s way dorky to be celebrating a single win when there are two to go. But — this is joy; this is the sweet pleasure of being a Red Sox fan. This is why we put up with the suffering. This is victory in Red Sox Nation.

We still believe

Sony responds

I’m ready to reassert my position as the foremost White Wolf v. Sony blogger, if it please the court.

I got myself a login for the federal court system, and soon thereafter procured a copy of Sony’s response to the complaint. (Thanks to Chris for hosting.) I don’t speak lawyer, but I think it mostly says “We have no idea what your game says vampires and werewolves do, and we did not copy our ideas from you.”

Some fun excerpts:

61. Defendants are without information and knowledge sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the averments in the first sentence of Paragraph 61 of the Complaint. Defendants admit the second sentence of Paragraph 61. Defendants state further that to the extent any colorable similarity exists between Plaintiffs’ works and the Underworld movie in this respect, any such similarity concerns material that is not original, not protectable expression, lies within the public domain, and/or constitutes unprotectable ideas or scenes a faire.

Paragraph 61 in the original complaint deals with vampires awakening from extended sleep in a mummified condition. “Scenes a faire,” as I understand it, are ideas that are inherent to the conventional telling of a given sort of story.

67. Defendants are without information and knowledge sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the averments in the first sentence of Paragraph 67 of the Complaint. Defendants deny the second sentence of the Paragraph 67 of the Complaint in the form and manner averred and state that the Underworld movie contains no character named “Vee.” Defendants state further that one scene in an early version of an Underworld script contained one extremely minor character named “Vee.”

There’s a fair amount of stuff like that; if I had to guess, I’d say that Sony is trying to make a case that White Wolf was working from a very early and irrelevant copy of the script.

116. Defendants deny the first sentence of Paragraph 116 of the Complaint in the form and manner averred and state that Plaintiff Collins’ work The Love of Monsters speaks for itself. Defendants deny the second sentence of Paragaph 116 of the Complaint in the form and manner averred and state that one werewolf character at one point in the Underworld movie refers to vampires as “Bloods.”

And so on.

It's alive!

Thanks for the responses (and the other responses). The inimitable regis makes the apples and oranges point, which I had in mind as well — the Dixie Chicks aren’t selling politicized songs. She also asks about quality. The book, from the chapters available, appears to be exceedingly poorly written.

Merlin notes that “Perhaps not publishing the novel could be seen as a leftist bias.” I’d disagree with that. One reason I care a lot about this particular book is because I’ve become convinced that media transmitters of extremist beliefs is a problem. (But not one that we should solve with censorship.) Baen does publish a reasonable spectrum of material — they focus on military fiction, which tends to be right-wing, but Spider Robinson gives them a touch of left-wing representation. But in general, yeah.

Giving money to hate groups is not my worry. I tend to be more concerned about validating and amplifying the beliefs of hate groups. It’s not so much the publication of the book which bugs me — I think that Kratman should get published. It’s the fact that the book was published by Baen, which means the ideas and poisonous concepts are going to be semi-legitimized in the minds of some readers. “Oh, sure, Baen does those funny military books with Sluggy Freelance references; let’s check this out.” And some will say “Ew, lame extreme book,” and some will say “Ha, knew it all along.” And some won’t say anything, they’ll just absorb it without thinking about it.

Those are the ones who worry me. So my reaction tends to be “educate, get the word out, spread the antigens.”

Anyhow, thanks for commenting. I actually wasn’t sure anyone would, and I’m honored.

Baen and Dixie

Baen Books publishing repugnant Patriot Movement novels.

Dixie Chicks mouthing off about the President of the United States.

Appropriate reactions. Compare and contrast. I have my own thoughts but I’m curious. This is the first time I can recall making one of these “tell me what you think” posts, so disappoint me at your peril.

Bad registrar, no biscuit

The smack, it has been put down. ICANN just ordered VeriSign to fix the DNS by tomorrow evening, or else:

Given the magnitude of the issues that have been raised, and their potential impact on the security and stability of the Internet, the DNS and the .com and .net top level domains, VeriSign must suspend the changes to the .com and .net top-level domains introduced on 15 September 2003 by 6:00 PM PDT on 4 October 2003. Failure to comply with this demand by that time will leave ICANN with no choice but to seek promptly to enforce VeriSign’s contractual obligations.

My earlier discussion of this is here. Link to the ICANN letter via BoingBoing.

Bane of Baen

Baen’s taken that final step over the edge; they’re now publishing a book which goes beyond right-wing military fiction to embrace the Patriot movement. A State of Disobedience, by Tom Kratman, opens with a gem of a screed:

For the Republicans, however, the Democratic dream was a nightmare: thought control through linguistic control, micromanagement of the economy by those least suited to economic power, social engineering under the aegis of the most doctrinaire of the social engineers, disarmament of the population and the creation of a police state to rival that of Stalin or Hitler, at least in its scope if not by design in its evil.

Which is not the problem. This is America; we get to criticize politics we don’t like. Still, it’s a pretty big hint as to where Kratman is coming from. By the seventh chapter, he’s written about an evil lesbian Hillary Clinton look-a-like killing a man so as to become President; she promptly launches a Waco-style raid against a Catholic mission in Texas.

And — not terribly surprisingly — despite strenuous objections and cries of “Hey, he wrote a book with good gay people in it once,” Kratman’s more than happy to characterize book burners as “left-leaning gay and lesbian storm troopers.”

Don’t miss his signature file, either. “Lee surrendered; I didn’t.” Or the thread in which he blithely implies that the Irish have been “fucked with” more than blacks. Charming guy.

Yeah, none of these things by themselves are dead giveaways. However, the totality makes Kratman’s politics absolutely clear. Jim Baen read a manuscript which has the same elements you’d find in a Patriot Movement tract about the evil government and decided it would be a great book to publish. Perhaps his customer base will be enthused. Baen Books certainly makes a great transmitter.

Time to time

According to, Sapphire and Steel is about to see a DVD release. Sadly, I can’t find a press release on the topic, just the one mention. Still excellent news; this is some of the best of freaky BBC ATV science fiction.

(Thanks to Adam Tinworth for correcting my lame knowledge of British TV.)

(TINWORTH. No excuse except being up till 2 AM last night watching the baseball playoffs.)

Kiss of the hentai

You wouldn’t expect a movie about corporate espionage among multinational anime porn to be a bad viewing experience… well, OK, maybe you would. Still, I thought Demonlover was worth my ten bucks. Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep got excellent reviews, and Demonlover stars Connie Nielsen and Gina Gershon, so there was potential there.

I pretty much liked the first half. Chloe Sevigny was tremendously callow, and whether or not her character was meant to be played that way, her performance left me cold. The rest of the movie was fine, though. Very stylish, shot in blues and greys in a kind of 70s futuristic aesthetic. The plot was nicely tangled.

In the last hour or so, the movie went seriously downhill. The final shots struck me as deeply non-profound, despite being set off from the rest of the film in style and tone. But the message didn’t live up to the stylistic flourishes. Further, there wasn’t any tension after a certain point. The resolution came about halfway through the movie, and everything afterwards was just an extended version of the “ten years later” epilogues common in bad 80s teen comedies.

Good concepts. Bad execution.

Instapundit week

Not to harp on Glenn, but I think this is actually an important general point: are bloggers amateur or professional? I think it’s past time we stopped equating “blog” with “amateur.”

In this post, Glenn defends his right to write about whatever he wants, which is a right I certainly support. He also says we shouldn’t use him as our only news source, which is commendable. However, he also says “And this is, as Eugene properly notes, an amateur activity.”

His very next post is a pointer to his TechCentralStation column.

He didn’t get the column gig because he’s a famous law professor. He got it because he’s a famous blogger. He’s not getting paid for, but it sure has led to paying jobs. That doesn’t make it a professional pursuit, per se. Does it blur the line between amateur and professional? Of course it does.