Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"What to Do About the Emerging Threat of Censorship Creep on the Internet", substantial position paper at Cato

Cato Institute has a long paper by Danielle Keats Citron, “What to Do About the Emerging Threat of Censorship Creep on the Internet”, link here. This may very well have been printed as a Policy Paper.   Citron is the author of “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace”.

The paper notes that major content companies, especially social networking platforms, have to adjust their practices to European law which is often stricter on expectations of prior restraint and on specific group-oriented concerns over hate speech than American law. This concern appears in areas like “the right to be forgotten”.  On the other hand, this might give tech companies a heads up if American law loosens Section 230 protections (as over Backpage) although European law does have some due process in downstream liability cases.  


European politicians have extracted concessions from tech companies by threatening to hold them liable for extremist speech. But Europe really is in a hypocritical quandary over handling especially radical Islam. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A small press gives its perspective on "Small Business Saturday"

Today, at the “Small Business Saturday” hosted by the DC Center for the LGBT Community in Washington DC, I was able to talk to a small press owner for Red Bone Press

I did buy one book, a collection of free-form poetry by Marvin K. White, “Our Name Be Witness”.
The press says it specializes in black (or presumably other “intersectional” minority) lesbian and gay issues.

This appears to be a trade press, not self.  It appears to manage the actual production and distribution of books rather than outsourcing it to a self-publisher (like Create Space or Author Solutions).

The owner told me she spends at least two days a week on marketing and running the business as a business (wholesale and retail) as opposed to developing more content (which I spend my time on). 

She also said she spends considerable effort reaching independent bookstores and has been to the Miami Book Fair (covered last weekend).
That’s not the track I have taken but this was very interesting to me.  I did mention the independent store on Cary Street in Richmond, and other stores in Charlottesville and Lovingston (near the Monroe Institute).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Atlantic: Two big essays on the alt-right, including a bio of Andrew Anglin

The December 2017 “Atlantic” (a literary magazine that I recall being mentioned in junior English in high school back in 1960) has two big essays on the alt-right and white supremacist movements that surfaced in Charlottesville.

Luke O’Brien offers “The Making of an American Nazi”, a booklet-length biography of Andrew Anglin. , publisher of the Daily Stormer , p. 54 in print.

For a 30-year old (roughly) Anglin looks particularly unattractive in the photos with the shaved head. But his own evolution reads in the article like a journey into mental illness and nihilism. He started out in the most liberal, hippie culture in Ohio, according to the article, and seems to have dead-ended inside before he adopted what seem in the article like arbitrarily convenient beliefs, easily rationalized.  There seems to have been a sudden disgust with the weak.

O’Brien offers a video about how the anonymity of the Internet facilitates extremism.  He talks about radical groups “growing in the shadows”.

Then Angela Nagle offers “The Lost Boys: Brotherhood of Losers” where the print version (p. 68) seems to mock Donald Trump’s idea of meritocracy.

She talks about how the alt-right is actually splintered along the lines of commitment to extremism (not “united” as Charlottesville tried to claim), but takes some exception to the criticism many of us have of exaggerated minority-defined “safe spaces” on campuses. 

She writes, “Together, right and left created a world in which a young person could invent his own identity and curate his own personal brand online, but also had dimmed hopes for what used to be considered the most basic elements of a decent life – marriage, a job, a house, a community. (Liberalism claimed that a village could raise a child, but never got around to building the village.) Amen, Hillary. 

The hardcopy made good reading on the plane to Florida last Friday. 
Update: Dec. 4

Anglin is defending a lawsuit in Montana from someone he trolled, and his defense is bizarre, Post story

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Miami Book Fair 2017

Despite the fact that my own books on political theory from an autobiographical perspective haven’t been tremendously significant commercially (that is, from sales of copies  -- “instances” of a “class”), the Miami Book Fair for 2017 did have several book vendors emphasizing community engagement from physical books

One of the tent stations dealt with children’s literacy, and another pod offered matching charity donations.

As I related on Wordpress, Author Solutions had eight tent cubicles including one for Xlibris displaying ny own DADT3 book.  All copies were available for $5 cash on site.
PBS Books describes the fair.
The Fair runs until Nov. 19

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Yahoo: "Hate in America: Where It Comes From and Why It's Back"

Andrew Romano and Lisa Belkin have a booklet-length piece on Yahoo, “Hate in America: Where It Comes from and Why It’s Back”, link 

What comes through the piece is how important “tribal” identification has usually been for most people, and how politicians want to exploit it. 


It seems as though doing your own thinking is indeed a luxury. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

More remarks on independent bookstores in great multiplicity; publishers worry novelists could inspire copycat terrorists (they really worry)

Well, in practically every college town or even major tourist stop, I find little independent stores selling used book and sometimes a curated selection of new books.  On the hip (for conservative Richmond VA) Cary Street Saturday (a cold day), I stumbled upon Chop Suey Books, although I didn’t get to meet the store cat, who was sleeping in a closet.

I’m beginning to believe that my little “Do Ask Do Tell” series could catch eyes in places like this.  While some of the self-publishing companies have bookstore returnability policies and campaigns to contact samples of them, it seems as though there is a large number of smaller ones that I simply stumble on. Some of them also sell antiques.  It’s hard to imagine a business model to sell self-published books in these stores that could work with a reasonable logistical effort by the author.  But it is something to think about as I start working up my sci-fi novel.

In a meeting today with an attorney and would-be suspense author, I was told that publishers are telling suspense authors to stay away from depicting terror plots that are really too realistic and could actually be carried out.  I can recall right after 9/11, the CIA said, “what we had was a failure of imagination.”  No longer.  I said, well, publish on Create Space. And he says, that destroys your chance to ever sell.  I also heard that the most vulnerable pile of inadequately defended nuclear waste and raw materials in the world is in Kazakhstan.

The lapse at the NSA leading to the explosion of malware last spring may already be a case of life following art. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

When moving and downsizing, I find "racist" (and "sexist') children's books in the family collection, still surviving

When I unpacked the multiplicity of boxes from moving and downsizing, a couple of real antiques popped out.

One of these was an orange hardcover children’s book, “Little Black Sambo”, 24 pages, from the M.A. Donohue and Company, Chicago and New York, no author given, no date given (probably the 1940s). But it starts out by talking about a “little black boy’ with the name of the book.
We know the tale. A tiger wants to “eat him up”, and he manipulates the tigers into a rosy ring so that they turn to butter, and he eats the pancakes.

I may remember this book from the family’s first apartment in Arlington VA in the late 1940s.

Of course, the racism is obvious, as well as the disregard for the intelligence of “higher” wild animals.

There was a pancake house chain called Sambo's until the early 1980s. but the racism of the na,e contributed to its undoing -- a lesson in trademark.
I also found a Wolf Cub Scout book, which I thought was a family antique (I was forced to be a Cub Scout for one year when I was 8),  But I see a receipt from a purchase at a country store in Owatonna MN along I-35 in January 2001 when I was living in Minneapolis.

In any case, there’s a lot of stuff on chores that little boys need to learn to do to measure up.

Of course, we all know the odyssey of scouting, especially on LGBT and then plain gender over the past two decades.

And the BSA, headquartered in Dallas, actually would show up at job fairs for computer programmers in the 1980s. 

A few of them didn’t survive.  One of these was Duvall’s “Facts of Life andLove for Teenagers” from the 1950s. 

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Vox interviews author of "The Atheist Muslim"

I don’t think I’ll get around to reading Ali Rivzi’s “The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason” soon, but I wanted to link to the interview on Vox between the author and Sean Illing, :An atheist Muslim on what the Left and Right get wrong about Islam, link .

The author talks about identity exploration and commitment, in binary combinations that can lead to identity foreclosure, or identity drifting. Young men may find real identity in what they believe is the literal interpretation of scripture, as well as a sense of “belonging”.


The book (256 pages) is published by St. Martin’s Press. 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Milo publishes books by other conservative authors (Pamela Geller)

Milo Yiannopoulos wound up self-publishing his book “Dangerous” with his own little book publishing company “Dangerous” after a psedo-scandal last February; now Milo seems interested in publishing books by other conservative authors who find trouble getting published by the establishment presses and who don’t want to go their own self-publishing routes.

He has published Pamela Geller’s “Fatwa: Hunted in America”, as Pamela describes in her own article in American Thinker.   Geller had tried to sponsor a “cartoon drawing” contest in 2015, resulting in the failed Curtis Culwell CenterAttack.  

Friday, November 03, 2017

IIT theories from the physics of consciousness could help studies with persistently unconscious patients (Scientific American)

Continuing the idea of Integrated information theory (IIT) from Oct. 25, Christof Koch looks at the concept in developing was to evaluated patients in a vegetative state or in UWS (unresponsive wakefulness syndrome), in a Scientific American article Nov. 2017 on p. 28, “How to Wake an Unconscious Mind” or “How to Make a Consciousness Meter”, link (paywall). 

Koch talks about the conscious experience as “different” from all other experiences, yet “seamless, integrated, and holistic.” The also characterizes IIT with a pertubational complexity index, or PCI.