Only three days left, and no more reminders. That’s right, cari lettori (not to be confused with Carrie Fisher, Tony Carey, or — FSM forbit — Jim Carrey). Mind you, if you are one of the few, the proud, the ones who voted . . . well, perhaps you would like to visit this blog post: Inserting photos and links into WordPress Blog Posts<<link.
OK, granted, WordPress screwed with the interface, but, if you are using the Classic Editor Block, most of that stuff still works. It completely different if you use the Block Editor. I mean, the ideas are the same, but the interface has significantly changed and moved around. But, again, that link tells you stuff you can do within the Classic Block. Good luck.
If you want to know more about the SDS challenge, THIS Post <<link explains it.
If you want to read the Seven Deadly Sins stories submitted for the Sin of Lust, and then vote, your gateway is THIS POST <<link. There, you’ll find links to each of the three stories and a poll for you to vote after you finish them (if you be so moved). But, come Wednesday at noon, Central Time, the voting closes.
My readers might not appreciate that I’m now almost a month into using nothing but the Block Editor (and rarely using the Classic Editor). Why? Because maybe I can find some redeeming qualities to this lauded but deeply flawed mess.
I have to admit . . . for short posts with few photos, it’s actually not too bad . . . provided you don’t want to do stuff like using many colors within one text (paragraph) block.
Those are the default colors. Meaning, for quick changes, those are one-click choices . . . and they suck because they are difficult to read. Now, if you want nice colors that are easy to read and are still colors, you need to choose “Custom Colors”. There, you can battle an interface designed to make your life a living hell. Hint: before trying to change the text color using Custom Colors, first click on “Clear”, especially if you like your monitor and don’t want to put your fist through it.
I’m handling it but, as usual, don’t try this at home; I’m what is called a professional amateur part-time expert in a narrow field of generalized know-how about obscure stuff that’s common knowledge, and you’re probably not.
Quick news on the gluttony story front . . . I think I have an idea for a story, and as soon as I finish this post, I’ll get to writing it.
. . . I might eat a snack first . . . and maybe watch a few YouTube shorts . . . also, perhaps grab the camera and sit outside a spell.
But, you know, soon.
Speaking of writing, I came across this piece of news:
As I begun reading, I was as close to elated as a 68-year-old-quasi-cynic can get:
In May, Representatives Ted Lieu and Teresa Leger Fernández introduced legislation to create a 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project. Inspired by the New Deal arts initiatives — which produced government-sponsored guidebooks, murals, plays, and more — their bill is a response to the havoc unleashed by the pandemic on cultural workers in all fields.
Yes! I wouldn’t personally benefit from it, but indirectly I would, and so would the country (my opinion, of course).
However, my elation was short-lived because the very next paragraph hit me like news that the deep-pan Chicago-style pizza I ordered was completely made from soy product with tofu sausage!
This is the paragraph:
Here’s how a revived F.W.P., as currently envisioned, would work. Instead of hiring impoverished writers directly — as the Depression-era F.W.P. did — the new program would empower the Department of Labor to disburse $60 million in grants to an array of recipients, from academic institutions to nonprofit literary organizations, newsrooms, libraries, and communications unions and guilds.
Boondoggle. That’s my first thought. Also, gate-keepers. Also, skimming off the top.
So, rather than hiring the writers directly, the government chooses which entities could be entrusted with the money. Each of the entities mentioned would — and this be my cynicism bursting into full bloom — have overhead that would eat up a good chunk of that money. It’s what these organizations do. Here’s the next paragraph . . .
These grantees would then hire a new corps of unemployed and underemployed writers who, like their New Deal forebears, would fan out into our towns, cities, and countryside to observe the shape of American life. They’d assemble, at the grass-roots level, a collective, national self-portrait, with an emphasis on the impact of the pandemic. The material they gathered would then be housed in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
By the end of that paragraph, I knew one other thing . . . politics. Sorry . . . POLITICS.
Look, the original project was not without its controversies, but it managed to produce a lot of good stuff. Stuff that you can read right now, and stuff that has been used by researchers and writers as a reference since it incorporated interviews with people a lot closer to the history of the first part of the 20th century than our helicopter view of it.
You can read the Wikipedia entry for the program (HERE), and you can access some of the material at the Library of Congress. Stuff like The America Guide Series (LINK). Some are directly available via links in Wikipedia, but others require access through membership or buying the book. I would have hoped it would all be available in the Library of Congress, but a quick search only found some of the material (LINK).
But, I digress . . . the point is that my initial hope for actual support of writers was replaced by the stench of today’s social and political realities. Namely, regardless of what is tried — and if it even gets off the ground — it’ll be a clusterfuck of partisanship and social-political conflicts.
Oh well . . .
But, this brings me to another topic . . .
The more I see (and read) of the publishing industry and the public sphere in general, the more I’m of the opinion I really don’t want to be in the public’s eye.
I mean, it’s highly unlikely that I would be published in the first place, but say by a stroke of luck and the misalignment of the planets, some of my work gets out there . . .
. . . well, there’s a whole cadre of mouth-breathing entities just looking to manufacture causes to rally against. To be sure, it doesn’t matter what one writes, the intent, or even if it’s accurately represented. What matters is whether someone can manufacture self-perceived harm from even hearing about something (let alone actually reading it). And, if not imagined harm to themselves; imagined harm to others (others they don’t even bother asking).
These days, it’s the hard-Left . . . and the Liberals who won’t stand up to them mouth breathers. That’s the reason the Democrats will lose the House in the next national election and the White House in the next Presidential election. (odd that no one seems to realize the pendulum will always reverse its direction and never stop at the bottom of its swing when you keep shoving it too much in one direction or another)
Before them, it was the hard-Right . . . and Republicans who didn’t stand up to them. And, before that . . . well, you get the picture.
But, what does this have to do with writing and getting published? It’s that as cowardly and afraid as moderate Liberals and moderate Conservatives are of their respective fringes, that’s nothing compared to the cowardice of huge corporations kowtowing to strident, vocal, immature, and self-entitled groups. Usually younger, but sometimes spurred on by people who detoured from the whole ‘gain wisdom as you age’ road.
What am I talking about? Take the Antonio Garcia-Martinez (LINK) as a recent example.
What annoys me is that even Wikipedia seems to be one-sided about the affair and deliberately leaving out the context of the quote in question, and implying there was more than this when — in fact — the following was the sum content of their grievance. The quote that got them all incensed:
“Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit.”
The passage in question was written as the utterance of a writing persona, an obvious construct to present the narrative, and demonstrably not reflecting the views of the author . . . but he still got fired because of it. Fired because other Apple employees (and not Apple itself) were “threatened” by his presence based on misconstruing a sentence in a five-year-old book that had been previously lauded by Liberals.
The point is that we seem to have lost the ability to differentiate assumed ideology from intent.
Was it dismissive? Was it unwise? Maybe . . . like half the stuff I write. But, you know what? Even if that’s how he felt, it’s his opinion, and certainly entitled to it. We are, after all, shaped by our experiences. Maybe most Bay Area women are as he describes them. I certainly think the people who signed the petitions are as I describe them in this piece. The difference is I’m not trying to get anyone fired or go out of my way to mess with their lives and livelihood.
Why does this matter to me?
Because I’ve already encountered people getting pissed off about stuff I casually wrote without any harm meant (often, written for humor). I can imagine something of mine being singled out, taken out of context, and becoming the subject of national attention by mouth-breathing non-critically thinking mental midgets of either the Left or Right persuasion . . . but only if I were anyone of consequence.
Note: that there statement would probably be enough to do it because sure as shit, mouth breathers would rightly be incensed and offended at being associated with either the hard-Left or the hard-Right mental midgets. For the benefit of future offense-searchers: it’s just a colloquialism and I have no quarrel with actual mouth breathers . . . unless they are, in fact, associated with either the hard-Left or the hard-Right mental midgets.
Warning: the Block Editor is still a pain to work with and can cause stress levels to spikes. Use with caution. Avoid if possible.
Ah, hell . . . maybe it’s just me rationalizing not making the effort to getting published.
Maybe everything is onky-dory in the world. Maybe the publishing industry — and industry in general — is not scared shitless of offending a bunch of wannabe gritless snowflakes. FSM, I hope that’s the case. But, you can read these pieces to see that it probably isn’t (LINK and LINK).
The second piece — maybey without realizing it — gives cover to a perceived view of the world that fosters the very actions it purports to condemn. In general, I agree with the author of the piece, but he can’t have it both ways. I agree with him that we should never harass anyone (doxing, public threats, ruined lives) but he also says “There is a difference between attacking bigotry and in demanding that art be unambiguous is its moral messaging.”
Sounds high-minded and fair, but that is exactly what’s wrong . . . who exactly determines what is bigoted, sexist, or racist?
Because that’s the problem. I can watch The Godfather and have one of two reactions: be pleased with the visual of Italians are badasses, or be offended with the visual of all Italians as mafiosi . . . all the while forgetting that it’s a piece of fiction!
I spoke before about the inability of people to distinguish between reality and fiction, truth and falsehood. That’s why some people think Pandora exists, that The Force is an actual thing, that UFOs means aliens, that Astrology is a science, and that The Good Book actually is.
I, and you, live in a world mostly populated by decent people . . . but it’s the idiots that seem to be deciding what we should believe and how we should act, and I don’t see anyone have the guts to stand up to them . . . because if anyone does stand up, no one backs them up.
For the record, it’s how dictators come to power. It’s how totalitarianism takes hold and comes to power. It’s how over and over throughout human history, we (humanity) managed to screw up a good thing.
I sure paint a dim picture of our current word, don’t I?
Cheer up; maybe I just lack the confidence — or the will — to go out there and try to publish stuff and, as I said above, I’m just rationalizing my inaction and lack of commitment to getting published.
Anyway, if at all interested in reading three tales about lust, you now know where to find them (and where to vote for the one you like best or hate least . . . you be got three days left, and no more reminders)
Oh, yeah . . . the original size versions of these photos are in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery, but you can still click on these photos to get a slightly larger version to open in a new tab or window..
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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