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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » A Little Word on Card's Commentary (Page 0)

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Author Topic: A Little Word on Card's Commentary
Nato
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I remember being sad when OSC's publishers cracked down on the group that was making the Homeworld mod to recreate the simulator "game".

He said then that if any unauthorized use of the copyrighted material that he let slide could be used as a precedent to make him let all infringement slide...

In both this case and Rowling's recent protest, something of value was prevented from entering the culture in the name of protecting the copyright. Neither of the publishers ever created and offered such a product themselves, so the result is we have never been able to use the little dr. against virtual buggers and Harry Potter fans don't get their Lexicon. And I know how much some Harry Potter fans love that kind of minutia. It is a shame that the authors are stamping out this kind of added value.

Giving away a little control over your work certainly involves a balance with the amount of value that can be added, but I think it is important for authors to think about. You do have the option of letting your fans interact with your work in the many new ways that the Internet makes possible. Fans love doing this. Sure there will be some pretty poorly written Ender fan-erotica that you couldn't demand gets deleted, but people will not have any difficulty separating that from the true canon you have written.

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TomDavidson
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Um....Harry Potter fans will get their Lexicon. That's actually why she's currently suing.
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DDDaysh
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Synesth - how ELSE is he supposed to present his views?
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Samprimary
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Now that this "story" has hit slashdot and digg, the overall reaction on the innernets appears to be the equivalent of a gigangic eye-rolling smiley directed at Card.

The highlighted insightful posts on /. make that clear enough before you even read the digg'd responses.

.. oh well, the internet amuses again.

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Synesth - how ELSE is he supposed to present his views?

Presenting views is one thing. Being outright rude on the other hand.

It's just not polite.

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DDDaysh
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Synesthesia - maybe he thinks she doesn't deserve polite treatment in print. It once again brings us back to the point - why do YOU care what he rights? If you don't think that what he rights is in any way valid, then you would just ignore him. After all, there are TONS of sites all over the internet that say terrible things about just about every person alive. Do you bother to respond to all of THEM?
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TomDavidson
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DDDaysh, I'm not sure what you're getting at. I mean, it's obvious that Syne cares more about what OSC says -- for good and for ill -- than what Random Webizen #100427 says precisely because she respects him more than she respects Random Webizen #100427. So?
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Synesthesia
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It doesn't mean he has to add to any of that.
He's a smart man and a good writer. Surely he can come up with a better way to denounce her than resorting to name-calling and mud slinging.
Why add to the fray?
It just creates chaos, not intelligent useful conversation.

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steven
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"...Random Webizen #10042..."

I'm tempted to make a username of this.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
quote:
You know there's something wrong with what Nunki said in the OP if Hatrack comes together to actually defend one of OSC's non-fiction pieces.
How so? There have always been people on Hatrack who have defended OSC's non-fiction pieces. He's insulted them for it, but they've still always been around.
I don't recall OSC ever criticizing people who defended his non-fiction pieces. When did he do that?
I vaguely recall a rather chilling post he made, maybe three years ago. A rather long one, and in it, iirc, he was rather insulting to his own defenders. I would have no idea where to start in digging up that post, but it was, at the time, a "belief statement," which TomDavidson argued with OSC about. I could be totally wrong, but there is a glimmer of that memory now.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Synesthesia - maybe he thinks she doesn't deserve polite treatment in print. It once again brings us back to the point - why do YOU care what he rights? If you don't think that what he rights is in any way valid, then you would just ignore him. After all, there are TONS of sites all over the internet that say terrible things about just about every person alive. Do you bother to respond to all of THEM?

Again, Daysh, you trot out the weakest possible defense of OSC. This is the kind of facile debate and intellectual dishonesty that, ironically, OSC hates the very most, because any of the people you are trying to "reason" with do a better job of articulating OSC's position than you do, and would be far more equipped to understand him than you have appeared to be.

An aside: it's "writes." I don't know of a national variant for that spelling.

First off, we have it established that OSC has the right to say what he wants within the liberties afforded him by the first amendment. You have taken this a step too far in your thinking however– this right does not afford him a freedom from criticism. In fact, this right is bound up with the backlash. Synesth, and many others, are fans of OSC, and have enjoyed, as you have not, many interactions with him through this forum. They read his strong language and vitriol, and they feel the need to respond and to communicate with the audience they know is seeing the same thing. That is why this forum is here, among many reasons.

You state the assumption that synesth or others believe that what he says, thinks, writes, etc, is totally invalid. This is wrong. These people find that there are parts of his discourse which are dishonest, which may be based on poor motivations, and which may themselves be invalid or misleading to other readers. That does not make his opinions totally invalid, or lacking in any value. On the contrary, these posters respond here because they believe that this is the most useful place for the discussion, and because they believe that OSC has the potential and the ability to be very relevant and to have valid opinions.

If they did not believe this, then they would not be here, and you would not be asking them WHY they are here.

Go ask a smoker why they smoke, and you will not get a satisfactory answer, because if you do not smoke, the benefits are necessarily foreign to you. Do you then subscribe to the collective stupidity that states that smoking is a disgusting habit that people do for NO REASON? I agree it's disgusting, but I always did it because I liked it- it did something for me.

So please, Daysh, think of us all as smokers. Yes, all this bandying about of ideas and argument and opinions other than your own is all very stressful and difficult and unfair. You'd love us all to stop thinking, to stop piping up, to stop arguing, to just go with the flow, just have fun, just loosen up, just agree, or shut up and find something better to do. But we can't stop, sadly, we're addicted. But at least we know why. Why are you here? To agree with everything and question nothing? Does that fulfill you?

Are you a small goldfish in a large bowl, content with the space this situation affords you for relaxation?

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DF2506
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Eh, I think it's reasonable to assume OSC's reaction would have been different in that scenario. After all, OSC has said he's reacting to the Dumbledore thing because he thinks it smells of PC. I can't think of a similar way to construe the hypothetical claim that Dumbledore is Mormon, so I imagine the reaction would be quite different.

Of course, it's a lame point. If A led to X, B (being different from A) would have led to something else, which we'll call Z. So what?

I noticed something here and I'm sorry if someone else said this, but:

I can totally see OSC reacting the same way if J.K. suddenly came out and said that Dumbledore was a Mormon AFTER the book came out. Here's what OSC said in his article about Dumbledore being gay:

" It's like her stupid, self-serving claim that Dumbledore was gay. She wants credit for being very up-to-date and politically correct -- but she didn't have the guts to put that supposed "fact" into the actual novels, knowing that it might hurt sales. What a pretentious, puffed-up coward. When I have a gay character in my fiction, I say so right in the book. I don't wait until after it has had all its initial sales to mention it."

Basically, OSC is saying that she didn't have the GUTS to put Dumbledore being the gay in the book because she thought it would hurt sales (and it might have). And that she only said it AFTER the book was out!

Well, I think the same thing would have been true if she had Dumbledore as a Mormon. When OSC has a Mormon character, he lets you know. Rowling announcing after the fact that Dumbledore was Mormon would have gotten the same reaction from OSC I believe. He would have thought that she didn't have the guts to make Dumbledore a Mormon.

Now, I don't want to offend anyone and I'm sorry if I do, but there are a lot of people out there who have the wrong idea about Mormons. I know I did until I learned that OSC was Mormon. Mormons just didn't seem as "mainstream" as other religons and this is coming from someone who isn't in any of those "mainstream" religons (I believe in God, but I don't prescribe to any "religon").

I think Dumbledore being Mormon would have been conversational (look at what a big deal was made of Mitt Romey being Mormon). Maybe not as much as Dumbledore being Gay, but close. OSC would have seen that she wasn't brave enough to release that bit of info before the book came out. He would have been unhappy with it.

And btw, you'll notice earlier OSC said he used Gay characters & he said they were gay in his books. So what he said about Rowling and Dumbledore being gay isn't because he has some kind of BIAS against gays. He just thinks that Rowling was a coward for not putting that in the books.

And personally, I have to agree. She was a coward ESPECIALLY if she knew while writing the books that Dumbledore was gay. IF thats important to the story, then put in the book! IF its not, then don't announce it. I think the main thing with the announcement was just Rowling wanting attention. The book was over and she wanted a bit of extra attention, so there you go.

(and just as aside, maybe I'm blind to the whole gay thing too, but while reading the books I did get a sense that Dumbledore was gay. I took his friend to be a person who was his old friend and someone he worked with. So ya, I was little shocked when she said he was gay, but also thought it was stupid because she really didn't set that up or even mention it in the book. Seems like it would be an important element to the character, don't you think? I almost think she made up her mind about it AFTER she was done with the series...).

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Rowling and Harry Potter. I know from reading previous OSC articles that he likes both of them too, BUT it is very cowardly of her to do this. Or at the least, attention seeking of her.

As for the rest of the article, I have to say I agree with OSC. Rowling didn't act this way when Harry Potter was GOING ON. When it was going on, she would have LOVED a book like this. It would have helped sales. And now that the series is over and she thinks she can do this better (and make more money), well, here we go with the lawsuit.

Its all about money people. Rowling has so much money and wants to make more.

I thought she said she was going to move onto something else after Potter? Doesn't see like it...maybe cause she knows she probably won't make as much as money with something else?

Personally, I have lost some respect for Rowling. She's a good writer, but she really needs to move on now that Potter is over. She needs to write something else, even if it doesn't do as well as Potter. She has a lot of money, so she CAN do something else and still survive. (maybe she has nothing else in her? )

Grow up Rowling. Move on.

DF2506

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Samprimary
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quote:
" It's like her stupid, self-serving claim that Dumbledore was gay. She wants credit for being very up-to-date and politically correct -- but she didn't have the guts to put that supposed "fact" into the actual novels, knowing that it might hurt sales. What a pretentious, puffed-up coward. When I have a gay character in my fiction, I say so right in the book. I don't wait until after it has had all its initial sales to mention it."

Basically, OSC is saying that she didn't have the GUTS to put Dumbledore being the gay in the book because she thought it would hurt sales (and it might have). And that she only said it AFTER the book was out!

Then what OSC is saying is directly contradicted by the reason offered by the actual author of the book, but why listen to her when you can take a more convoluted answer offered by some other dude?
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Synesthesia
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She's going to take the money she earns for her encyclopedia and give it AWAY TO CHARITY, DUDE.
She knows she doesn't need any more money so it is NOT about money. Dang.
There's been dozens of HP side books. With people's unique thoughts in it, not just copying and pasting the books without siting, but actually adding something to conversations about HP. That's why she's upset about this book. Because it's not a sufficient reworking of her material. If the publishing company had just let her and the WB see the manuscript several months ago when they requested this, the suit wouldn't have happen.
That makes pure sense to me, why doesn't anyone else get that?

Also, like I said before. There's all sorts of details about characters that don't make it into the book. HP could have some sort of mole on his behind. If that doesn't have anything to do with the story, like the scar on his head, it's not mentioned.
Homosexuality is not really that big a deal. Gay folks don't sit around thinking about their gayness anymore than black folks think about their blackness, though if you're a gay male and someone handsome walks by then it's a reminder.
Fact is, for the most part, Dumbledore and all the professors are a mystery to Harry. He does't know who they are dating except for Hagrid who is more like a friend than another teacher.
At the HP event she said that Hagrid and Madame Maxine didn't work out together, and the fan who ask this question was rather dismayed about this. Should she not have announced this? She was answering a question of a fan. There's nothing cowardly about not putting every single detail about every single character.
What's Dumbledore going to do, tell Harry, "I'm gay." have Harry go, "Really?" and shuffle his feet in an uncomfortable way and then Dumbledore launches into what the story is really about and that's Harry fighting Voldermort.

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Samprimary
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I, personally, sit around thinking about my white maleness constantly.
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Aris Katsaris
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"BUT it is very cowardly of her to do this. "

Pfft.

I agree that JKR behaved cowardly.

But most of us who think JKR to have been cowardly about the "gay" thing tended to have seen her as a coward already for not having *any* gay characters in the books.

If she's a coward *now* for not mentioning Dumbledore's homosexuality in the books, then why wasn't she a coward before the announcement for not mentioning *any* character's homosexuality?

Suddenly you get all these anti-gay people who are complaining about the supposed cowardice that most pro-gay people had already noticed.

This argument doesn't make sense -- and it's what tends to convince me that it's not the 'cowardice' that is bothering these people (or it would have bothered them already), it's the homosexuality instead.

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Synesthesia
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Philip Pullman had gay angels in his story.
But folks hate on him for being anti-organized religion. So you can't win.
If she had say, Lupin making out with Sirius, I can't say I'd mind, but parents who think reading about gayness will turn their children gay or make them think that gauyness isn't such a bad thing will object.
But I don't th ink it's cowardly though. It just isn't part of the book.
But, i've read some folks who are fine with homosexualtiy gripe about the concept of him falling in love with Grindelwald or something so you can't please everyone.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:

This argument doesn't make sense -- and it's what tends to convince me that it's not the 'cowardice' that is bothering these people (or it would have bothered them already), it's the homosexuality instead.

Ehhh. Personally I'm not a Harry Potter fan either way, but this move just strikes me as annoying. An author should not be invested with a "controlling interest," for lack of a better term, in the meaning of their work for other people. I think the gay thing could be seen to some people, like OSC, as a kind of liberal "trojan horse," where the stereotypical "leftaliban" (shudder at the small-minded term), traps you into experiencing their extremist worldview... or something. It's all very hackneyed any way you slice it.

I'm just not a big fan of authors telling people what their work "really" means. And as such, OSC is a fairly massive hypocrite if that is what is bothering him. Yes, it is cowardly and annoying to straddle the fence with your ideas that way... but OSC does it too.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I, personally, sit around thinking about my white maleness constantly.

Dude, tanning cream! The glare from the fishbelly whiteness is hard on the eyes.
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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I, personally, sit around thinking about my white maleness constantly.

Dude, tanning cream! The glare from the fishbelly whiteness is hard on the eyes.
[ROFL]
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I, personally, sit around thinking about my white maleness constantly.

Dude, tanning cream! The glare from the fishbelly whiteness is hard on the eyes.
What better sign of genetic awesomeness than the fact that a mere 15 minutes in the sun is enough to bake layers off my epidermis?

Without pasty white guys like me, there would be no tanning cream industry. Think about that.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
And btw, you'll notice earlier OSC said he used Gay characters & he said they were gay in his books. So what he said about Rowling and Dumbledore being gay isn't because he has some kind of BIAS against gays.
In fairness, OSC generally has his gay characters mention they're gay nowadays only to add pathos to their decision to not have sex with people of the same gender. [Wink]

quote:
IF thats important to the story, then put in the book! IF its not, then don't announce it.
It wasn't important to the story. But it was the answer to a question a fan asked at a session specifically about answering questions from fans.
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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
And btw, you'll notice earlier OSC said he used Gay characters & he said they were gay in his books. So what he said about Rowling and Dumbledore being gay isn't because he has some kind of BIAS against gays.

Tom is making sense. Also HAVE YOU EVEN READ some of his articles about homosexuality?
Like the one on gay marriage?

GAH! [Wall Bash]

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html See?
Dang this article pisses me off so much.
For one thing, having a stigma towards single unwed mothers is extremely unhealthy. Even if single unwed mothers are co-ersed into placing their children for adoption because of this false concept that a child is ALWAYS better off with a two parent home than with their biological mother who genuinely wants to parent, it can have a horrible effect on both the birthmother and the child. Not to mention the adoptive parents.
Just look at the baby scoop era and the pain people effected by it have suffered.
It's just not right to constantly stigmatize people in the name of morality whwen a child is much better with one loving parent or two parents of the same sex than parents of the opposite sex who are unhealthy.
He should really read Alice Miller and what she has to say.
Homosexuality isn't destroying society. There's all these other factors that have been engrained in society for centuries that hurt it even more, including some so-called tradition values.
dang it, it's just not that simple!

I need to never, ever read another article by this guy again if I want to be sane and happy.

[ May 04, 2008, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Synesthesia ]

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steven
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"In fairness, OSC generally has his gay characters mention they're gay nowadays only to add pathos to their decision to not have sex with people of the same gender."

I can only think of one gay character, that one guy in the Homecoming series, and I thought he was used mainly to show how someone with gay tendencies should behave.

[ May 04, 2008, 03:28 PM: Message edited by: steven ]

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
"In fairness, OSC generally has his gay characters mention they're gay nowadays only to add pathos to their decision to not have sex with people of the same gender."

I can only think of one gay character, that one guy in the Homecoming series, and I thought he was used mainly to show how someone with gay tendencies should behave.

I haven't read that book yet, but...

Why should a person who is gay give up a relationship with a person of the same sex when it really doesn't damage society even 1/4 as much as all of the traumatized children folks should be caring for instead of caring about gay people.
Reforming the foster care system comes to mind.

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scholarette
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In Homecoming, the society was made up of like 6 couples and so it was pretty important that anyone who was coming along was willing to take part in repopulating the new world. The gay character also did not have to give up a relationship as he was single at the time. In a situation where there is limited number of couples to repopulate, then I think it is very appropriate to expect everyone to toss their genetic makeup into the mix. Of course, in that case, monogomy is probably not the best option, though depending on the groups involved, there might be an argument for it.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
"In fairness, OSC generally has his gay characters mention they're gay nowadays only to add pathos to their decision to not have sex with people of the same gender."

I can only think of one gay character, that one guy in the Homecoming series, and I thought he was used mainly to show how someone with gay tendencies should behave.

The character Anton in the Shadow series is gay. First he tells Carlotta that he was encouraged to be gay by the government because they were trying to control the population. He characterizes his gay lifestyle as bereft of real human intimacy- intimating that homosexual relationships are inherently inferior to heterosexual ones in terms of closeness and responsibility.

Then later in the series he gets married to a woman with a bunch of kids to "weave into the pattern" of life and make some contribution to humanity. He then happily notes that he has conceived a child "in the natural way." This is taken as a great personal achievement. So yeah, I'd call that pretty unsympathetic to homosexuality- but conveniently constructed so as to appear understanding and forgiving.

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Synesthesia
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Like a man can't be with a man he loves and contribute to humanity. *mutters angrily*
As if gay people can't have real human intimacy. I imagine it would be difficult being a gay man who was strictly gay and trying to be intimate with a female. It would be unature to some, and very unhealthy for the woman as well.

He should read what Rev. White? had to say about it.

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Aris Katsaris
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So... I'll rephrase my earlier question then...

Has OSC ever written a book with gay characters that didn't end up married to people of the opposite gender?

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Synesthesia
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Well, there was the Songmaster, but he got really old and I think he had some sort of implant that meant he wasn't allowed to have sex with anyone without pain and agony.
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CRash
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Yeah, and look what happened to the bisexual(?)character Josif in that book. Not only did he end up in a happy relationship with a woman, when he attempted one with a man he had his genetailia mutilated and subsequently committed suicide. I can't really think of any gay characters that OSC has written that have fulfilling relationships with members of the same gender. So the answer to your question, Aris, is pretty much no.
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PSI Teleport
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Well, Rowling's gay character didn't end up in a fulfilling relationship with a man, either. So they're even. [Big Grin]
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sylvrdragon
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As long as the world population is 6.5 Billion+ and rising exponentially, I will maintain that any system that limits reproduction is a GOOD thing. Homosexuality falls nicely into that category.

I can't actually think of a single objective reason to be against homosexuality; outside of a colonization situation, that is. Everything I've ever heard against it has human insecurity or religion at the base of it, neither of which I consider sufficient reason to persecute a growing genre of people. But then, freedom of speech is good, and freedom of religion is necessary. As such, it is up to the people LISTENING to change the way they think, not the people preaching.

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Orincoro
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sylvrdragon- it's quaint the way you hearken back to 20th century fears of overpopulation and chaos.

despite popular belief, there is no real danger of the human population "rising exponentially." Actually the word you're looking for is "geometrically," but the human population is not destined to grow geometrically forever.

Basically, there is no historical precedent for overpopulation because overpopulation, in the strictest sense, is impossible.

If a group becomes overpopulated, its population either moves, or drops. The drop in population occurs when the size of the population and its technical resourcefulness allow it to shift from subsistence to production based economies. In western Europe and Britain, native born populations have been falling by around 1 percent a year for the past 15 years or so- they would have dropped much sooner if they had not had to recover from the World Wars.

The U.S population only continues to grow because we continue to produce WAY more food resources than we need. There is a misconception that 300 million people in the U.S. makes it crowded. In fact, the problem with our population is the inefficiency of our resource use, and that problem will actually be ameliorated by our rising population- more competition= conservation and innovation. Also, the notion that we will become "crowded" is ludicrous.

Britain has about a 5th the population of the US, with a land area of 209,331 square km. The US has a land area of 9,161,923 SQ KM, making it 43 times the size of Britain all told, with a population density about nine times lower, and even lower when it is considered that most of Britain's population lives in England. One could speculate that the US population might reach 2 or 3 Billion before we actually start running out of arable land- disregarding the problem of resource use, which will limit the population long before arable land is ever exhausted.

As the standards of living increase, the need to be educated, and the demands for service and creative work increase as well. As people find it economically beneficial to delay family-making, the population levels off, and may fall slightly until the benefits of family making increase, or immigrants fill the working class, and the native born achieve more education than their parents.

All of the evidence shows that as populations increase, fewer people are needed to feed this population, and so the process of mechanization and industrialization lead first to a higher standard of living, and finally to a population plateau- the world will not be overrun.

[ May 05, 2008, 04:04 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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manji
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That certainly sounds interesting and logical, Orincoro, but are your statements in any way backed up by facts? Preferably within clickable range. I'm not doubting you, I'm just curious to know more.
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sylvrdragon
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The term "Overpopulation" doesn't particularly have a fixed definition. It isn't limited to living space, or even necessarily resources (although resources are a major factor). First off, when you say overpopulation is "Impossible", exactly what do you mean? If you mean eradication via overpopulation, then yeah, that's so improbable that it might as well be called impossible.

I understand that "Overpopulation" is a self correcting problem, hence why people say it's impossible. The point I'm trying to make however, is that the "Correcting" is what we're trying to avoid. The way overpopulation corrects itself is by famine, disease, war, and other such nasty side effects of too many people with ever-lessening resources. There is no set line at which you can say "Ok, that's it, we're overpopulated." Instead, their are DEGREES of it. Right now, we don't feel it too terribly bad, at least in the US. As the population rises, the aforementioned catastrophes WILL increase in frequency and severity.

Also, a little anecdotal trend that I've noticed: As the population rises, the value of human life seems to be dropping. As we are barraged daily with stories of terrible tragedies across the world, we tend to react less and less. It is only a matter of time before society as a whole is so desensitized to death that nobody even takes note anymore.

Oh, and I definitely did mean Exponentially. The growth at each interval is based upon the total from the interval before it, and so on.

If you take nothing else from this post, I implore you, please just watch at least the first 2-3 parts of this video (it has 8 parts total, and I think that you'll take the most away from it if you watch the whole thing, but I can't expect people to give up 75 minutes of their time just for me to make a point). It explains everything I've said far better than I could without straight plagiarizing it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by manji:
That certainly sounds interesting and logical, Orincoro, but are your statements in any way backed up by facts? Preferably within clickable range. I'm not doubting you, I'm just curious to know more.

Alot of the information is physical sociology and anthro texts I've actually had to read. I am remembering a very good google video by a danish sociologist that dealt with population growth in a very dynamic illustrated presentation, I can try and dig that up from several years ago. I believe it started out linked here at hatrack.

Overpopulation on wikipedia seems to be a good article, although wikipedia can be misleading because it is going to talk about the effects of large populations and not about the concept of "overpopulation" in a meta-analytical way. For instance, the article sights the fact that Tokyo is overpopulated, and that Africa is becoming overpopulated, but does not address the fact that in Tokyo people are living to a higher standard, and that in Africa "overpopulation" has to do with the availability of clean water and other resources that would be available in a more developed region of similar density.

Most importantly the wiki article is unlikely to point out that problems of resource management are the primary motivators for either innovation, immigration, or reform. The idea that an increasing population, with its inherent problems, is necessarily detrimental to the worldwide mean living standards is simply not consistent with history. That's all very qualified on my part and not very quantifiable.

The thing is you can state an army of figures to prove that population growth is both a negative and positive thing, but from where I'm sitting, I can see that over the last 5 centuries, population growth has accompanied a rising living standard. You can point out that population growth has had a negative effect in China and Africa, but only because temporary influences retarded the progress of educational systems, mechanization, competition, and everything else that SHOULD accompany population growth. And we're seeing quite plainly now that this state of affairs in China was necessarily temporary, and that we will soon be competing at a much higher level.


Edit: I'll quote an essay by economist Walter Williams, who is referenced on Wikipedia as well:
quote:
Planet Earth is loaded with room. We could put the world's entire population into the United States. Doing so would make our population density 1,531 people per square mile. That's a far lower population density than what now exists in New York (11,440), Los Angeles (9,126) and Houston (7,512). The entire U.S. population could move to Texas and each family of four would enjoy 2.9 acres of land. If the entire world's population moved to Texas, California, Colorado and Alaska, each family of four would enjoy nine-tenths of an acre of land.

So-called overpopulation problems are really a result of socialistic government practices that reduce the capacity of people to educate, clothe, house and feed themselves. Poor countries are rife with agricultural restrictions, export and import controls, restrictive licensing and price controls, not to mention gross human rights abuses that encourage their most productive people to emigrate. The most promising anti-poverty tool for poor people and poor countries is personal liberty.


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Orincoro
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quote:
The way overpopulation corrects itself is by famine, disease, war, and other such nasty side effects of too many people with ever-lessening resources. There is no set line at which you can say "Ok, that's it, we're overpopulated." Instead, their are DEGREES of it. Right now, we don't feel it too terribly bad, at least in the US. As the population rises, the aforementioned catastrophes WILL increase in frequency and severity.
I don't think you can support that assertion. There has never, to my knowledge, been a time in history where the population of a dominant society was faced with the sudden, catastrophic diminution of resources. In your view, we continue to grow in population and out resources continue to diminish. This view is inherently flawed: as our population grows, we continue to expand our ability to gather resources of all kinds, including intellectual, technological, and raw material resources. There is no historical precedent to indicate that this will ever change. And you can mark my words, when resource pressure related to oil shortages becomes grave enough, the world may fight for resources, for a time, but ultimately the pressure will lead to a discovery of new resources, and the institutionalization of usage reform.

Think about this: the world is vanishingly close to the moment that solar energy will become our primary source of energy. When that happens- when the benefit of launching orbital-tether platforms with solar arrays in space a kilometer wide is recognized by the world, and can be done safely, it will happen practically overnight. Think about the Manhattan Project- we went from a theory to execution in the time it took to build the bomb; it wasn't perfect but it worked very well. When the time comes for innovation on the world energy stage, it will happen so fast that no one will believe it. So I think the "catastrophes" you fear are bogeymen instilled in our consciousness by socialist government theories. In fact, if you think back just 70 years to WWII, you'll see that that catastrophe was not even prompted by a battle over resources, but was instead the expression of vehement nationalism that despises the notion of interdependency and fair competition.

quote:

Also, a little anecdotal trend that I've noticed: As the population rises, the value of human life seems to be dropping. As we are barraged daily with stories of terrible tragedies across the world, we tend to react less and less. It is only a matter of time before society as a whole is so desensitized to death that nobody even takes note anymore.

That is anecdotal because it is not a reliably demonstrable trend. In fact I very much doubt that it is at all true, and I think it's quite the opposite of the real situation, especially in America. Instead what you are observing is a bias in the media. You are not alone in believing that the world is becoming "desensitized to death." But I ask you what America was thinking when millions of Europeans were dying in the first 5 years of WWII? They were aware that Europeans were dying in the thousands, and they did not act- the same way that today we do not act in Dar fur. Yet the Europeans dying in WWII were closer to us in culture and economy than Africa is today. We would never stand idle at the invasion of western European nation today- so how desensitized are we?

If you examine your all too common appeal to this idea, you'll see why it doesn't stand up. Are we less sensitive today about plane crashes because we hear about them on the news, or because the people involved are not people we know? How would you feel if you did know someone who died in a plane crash? Are you telling me that you would care less because you are familiar with the concept of crashes?

And why do we call for the government to intervene in our healthcare situation today, blaming it for the fact that HIV is on the rise in Africa? I would suggest that 100 years ago, we would not have had the public support for medical assistance to foreign nations that we do today. But those activities are not exciting, they are not newsworthy.

The media always has, and always will draw our attention to our failings, and we will always feel callous towards the problems the media presents, simply because they are the problems that are easy to see, and difficult to fix. This is why the media loves the concepts of racism, sexism, class struggle, poverty, inequality of all kinds, and disease and tragedy, because they are always happening, and are easily portrayed and ubiquitously understood. The attention of the media will be drawn to the problems that the media know how to cover- that are eminently "depictable." These will be problems that persist, problems that have many causes and many incomplete solutions, problems that are reflected in manifold aspects of the observable world, and will never really go away as long as people exist- so it's a wonder you feel that we are becoming more callous.

But I can tell you that people have been saying that through human history. It has been a constant refrain, and it's evident in the writings of the philosophers of any age, and any land. And yet today our standard of living is higher than ever in history. Our lifespan is longer on average than any period of our history. Our access to information and systems of communication are orders of magnitude greater than they were only decades ago. So what exactly has gotten worse?


quote:

Oh, and I definitely did mean Exponentially. The growth at each interval is based upon the total from the interval before it, and so on.

Then you are mistaken. The population does not and cannot grow exponentially, it grows geometrically. A little math to make my point. If the population started with just one couple, and grew exponentially over 80 generations (very roughly 2,000 years worth of growth) then the population would reach a Trillion Trillion people.

If you started with the population of today, and projected exponential growth, in 25 generations (just 750 years), you would end up with over 200,000,000,000,000,000 people, or 200 quadrillion people- more than could fit standing shoulder to shoulder across the surface of the earth.

Exponential growth is not possible over multiple generations because this would not account for the fact that all humans are distant relatives. Lines of growth intersect, so even as families of two have four children, those four children will not amongst themselves alone each have four more- they will have partners of distant relative branches. For the population to grow exponentially, we would all have to split like single celled organisms.

And aside from that fact, there is no evidence to show that populations do grow beyond their means. As I stated before, western European's native born populations DROP every year- their birthrates are going down by 1% a year, and have been for some years. Why do you think that is, if the populations is bound to grow "exponentially?"

You may be confusing certain facts and trends with others. In the middle east for instance, the population HAS doubled in just the past few generations. But it has doubled because of an increase in the number of live births per couple, and this was a response to growing living standards and medical knowledge. This does not indicate that the population in those regions will double again- that would require a whole new set of circumstances.

[ May 06, 2008, 02:48 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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King of Men
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quote:
I don't think you can support that assertion. There has never, to my knowledge, been a time in history where the population of a dominant society was faced with the sudden, catastrophic diminution of resources.
Then your knowledge appears to be incomplete. May I suggest that you read Jared Diamond's "Collapse", which gives multiple historical examples of precisely this situation?

Or were you being highly specific with the suddenness and catastrophism? Just because a disaster is slow doesn't make it less disastrous.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Then you are mistaken. The population does not and cannot grow exponentially, it grows geometrically. A little math to make my point. If the population started with just one couple, and grew exponentially over 80 generations (very roughly 2,000 years worth of growth) then the population would reach a Trillion Trillion people.

Depends on your constants, actually from the following paragraph I think you're under the misapprehension that exponential growth is necessarily with a rate of 2 (i.e. doubling). An exponential growth function with a rate of 1.01 on a population of 1000 would yield only roughly 2216 people after 80 generations, yet that is still exponential growth.
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PSI Teleport
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Orinoco (or others): Would you be willing to help me understand something? I am confused as to how there can be huge populations of starving children dying in under-privileged countries. I mean, I can understand how there would be one generation of it, if some catastrophe caused a sudden drop in resources. But wouldn't a generation or two of this cause a much lower population and less competition for resources? Or am I misunderstanding something fundamental? It's just something that has always confused me and it seems to be related to the conversation at hand.

Thanks.

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sylvrdragon
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The video I linked is actually ABOUT the exponential function. One of the first things said in the video i: "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." He then proceeds to put his statement into context using newspaper articles, and research data and applying the appropriate math to them to show how people don't understand the gravity of some of the problems facing us.

It's actually a lecture given by Dr. Albert Bartlett (in front of students), Professor Emeritus from the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It really is a very interesting video.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
Orinoco (or others): Would you be willing to help me understand something? I am confused as to how there can be huge populations of starving children dying in under-privileged countries. I mean, I can understand how there would be one generation of it, if some catastrophe caused a sudden drop in resources. But wouldn't a generation or two of this cause a much lower population and less competition for resources? Or am I misunderstanding something fundamental? It's just something that has always confused me and it seems to be related to the conversation at hand.

Thanks.

The disparity in resource use and allocation throughout the world is a complex function of the interactions of the world's markets and governments.

Essentially though, and in simplified terms, the U.S. government subsidizes the production of food resources within the US in order to encourage an over-production of food that the free market would not have a reason to produce. This way, the US is ensured against famine because we produce MUCH more than we consume, and we are motivated to do it by subsidies.

But what happens to all that food that we don't eat? In order to get rid of it and recoup some benefit for us, the U.S. ships these food surpluses all over the world and sells them to other countries for less money than it takes for those countries to grow their own food.

So, as people in these regions are getting more food resources than they can produce, they slow down their production, and their standard of living increases. They have more children.

But while that is going on, the region is becoming dependent for resources upon a politically based system. The local government presents opportunities for corruption, rising tariffs, the food supplies become a bartering weapon for trade embargos, and the US may at any time withdraw the food surpluses for its own benefit, as it is currently doing to produce Ethanol fuel. This leads to a larger than it should be population with diminishing means to support itself.


When you look at those commercials about shanty towns and huge families living in abject poverty, or scenes like the refugee camps in from Rwanda, you have to remember that the people did not live in a society that naturally tended towards this condition- it was not the inevitable result of breeding. It is the unpleasant result of economic disparity that is difficult for large nations to keep from creating.

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King of Men
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It is worth noting that you can get feast-famine cycles in the absence of subsidies, although Western (not just US) farm subsidies are undoubtedly doing enormous harm to the African countries. If you have ten years of good harvests, people will have children - fertility increases when you're well fed, and infant mortality decreases. Then when you get two bad years, you've got a large cohort of children ages zero to ten, and they are the first to starve. Happened all the time in the past. In certain parts of America you can study it on a scale of centuries, where people would move in to a marginally arable region in a good century, their population would increase for a bit, and then El Nino would crop up or something and you'd get forty years of drought, and the population would drop like a rock, all the way to zero in some cases. (They don't necessarily all starve, at some point the survivors get the hint and move to a more fertile region, displacing the inhabitants there or being massacred or absorbed.) Then a century later the climate changes back and the cycle repeats.
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PSI Teleport
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Thank you both. I was wondering if the US and other affluent countries had something to do with it. This question popped up in my mind while I was reading a nutrition textbook. Information in the margin mentioned that the US produces enough food to end 95% of malnutrition in the world, or something like that. (I just made that stat up.) It made me wonder how that would help, if all those people thrived and had more children. That got me thinking a lot about feast-famine cycles (as King of Men called it) and how you could end up with these huge starving nations. But when you realize that it IS a cycle, it makes a lot more sense. There's probably never a time when there isn't a population starving somewhere. I can see how politics, economics, and climate all work together. It's pretty sad, though.
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Samprimary
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I like the anatomy of thread drift. This one went from an osc rant about a 'cowardly' rowling to problems of exponential population growth.
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sylvrdragon
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hehe, my specialty.
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bootjes
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a reaction to Ish.
(first: I'm Dutch, so I hope i use the right words to express what I mean)
You give a very logical explanation for Cards comment. By being so elaborate it looks as if you demonstrate that there is no reason to attack Card's article. It looks as if you are saying: "pure logic right? No need to argue" And though I like cranberry's, there still is something left to argue. It is in what you don't tell that shows where youre sympathies lie.

I think mr Card (btw I love his books) is generating a mood in his article. The "I'm being generous, and she's really pittifull" mood.
not facts but demagougery.
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, heck, I feel like the plot of my novel Ender's Game was stolen by J.K. Rowling.

and being elaborate about it. (We have read Ender so don't explain, or we didn't read it so it will not mean anything to us anyway.) Besides it is a general theme: a poor child realy being the saviour. Read books from Terry Pratchet and see how he plays with this theme's.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The difference between us is that I actually make enough money from Ender's Game to be content, without having to try to punish other people whose creativity might have been inspired by something I wrote.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wy the need to say: I do it so much better than you?


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rowling's hypocrisy is so thick I can hardly breathe: Prior to the publication of each novel, there were books about them that were no more intrusive than Lexicon. I contributed to one of them, and there was no complaint about it from Rowling or her publishers because they knew perfectly well that these fan/scholar ancillary publication were great publicity and actually boosted sales.
___________________________________
Now this is for me the only point he is making. Why be so mean about it?


_____________________________________
And don't forget the lawsuit by Nancy K. Stouffer, the author of a book entitled The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, whose hero was named "Larry Potter."

At that time, Rowling's lawyers called Stouffer's claim "frivolous."
________________________________________
Wy use this when you know it is not true? Because it fits the mood.

My point is: even is Card is right with his statement that Rowlings accusations do not hold, Why be so mean about it? And if people take offence of the tone that Card is using why clinicly disect the speech to tell everyone that Card is right, and completely ignore the fact that his tone is not professional but a bit childish and unnescesarilly mean?

(sorry for my spelling and use of strange words)

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Ish
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Thank you bootjes, that was a very simplistic and understanding way of debating the context of my argument.

And to some extent, I might even agree with your analysis.

WAS there a reason to rant upon a silly lexicon and the fit J.K. Rowling may have been throwing over said lexicon?

Probably not. What does HIS opinion matter on the subject? It doesn't change a darn thing! But it's still there! Why is it there? What purpose does it serve??

Oh the woes of the internet and the opinion collumn for there inexplicable ability to allow people to rant on things that they rarely have authority to rant or present opinions on in away that is portrayed as "Scholarly".

I digress to your questions of me,

The reason to be "So mean about it" was to get readers to buy papers and to log on to his website. Passion, as any tabloid or soap opera fanatic will tell you, drives sales, and sales are the reason people write columns.

The reason to extemporaneously editorialize his column was to;

#1. Eradicate common misconceptions that had been riddling the discussion

#2. Explain thought proccess that seemed to be in disregard at the time of the argument, allowing for a lot more disagreement than may have been if his words were explained a little more thoroughly.

Finally, I did not ignore the fact that he used "childish" or un-proffessional tactics in his commentary. I simply chose to utilize the already incredibly long post I made to discuss something with a little more meaning that

"Gee, I sure wish O.S.C. could be a little more poliet when he writes his columns."

Seems like a serious time-suck to me, and I do NOT encourage time-sucks, that would be like creating a thread to talk about how I wished someone would give me a million dollars, you could... but would there really be a point?

Thanks for the debate,

~Ish

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bootjes
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quote:
Originally posted by Ish:
Thank you bootjes, that was a very simplistic and understanding way of debating the context of my argument.

Thanks for the debate,

~Ish

thank you too.

This shows what a good debate is about IMO (i.m learning the slang).
listen to each other and open up to what someone is saying.
I get your meaning, and indeed: a column is a column. But still I like it when people actuly listen to each other and not just make statements.
So thanks again.

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