Archive for the ‘what does this have to do w/ org theory?’ Category
A very learned commentary on the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons. For example, where “alignments” come from:
First of all, the paper explores crucial editorial mistakes in the production of the earliest version of original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D). These are cases where some passages in OD&D are inconsistent with the remainder of the text in a way that hints at what early drafts of OD&D must have looked like. Previously, these have been curiosities to scholars of OD&D. Why does the elemental monster text refer to elemental controlling devices as “medallions, gems, stones or bracelets” instead of the names in the magical item list? Why does the languages passage refer to alignment languages as “divisional” languages? How did the percentage range for the “Ring of Delusion” end up broken? With the Dalluhn Manuscript in hand, we can find answers to all of these questions: each inconsistency points to the content of an earlier draft, a pre-publication system which is preserved in the Dalluhn Manuscript. For “divisional languages,” for example, we learn that “dvision” was the name for “alignment” in Dalluhn.
Required for nerds.
Yo: I will be in Chicago for the Midwest Sociological Association meeting on Thursday. Want to chat? Hang out? Talk about sociology? I’ll be on a panel discussing The Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights edited by David Brunsma, Keri Smith, and Brian Gran. Pls email/tweet/facebook/smoke signal me.
We live in a golden age of papal betting. Within my own lifetime, I will have had at least three opportunities to wager on papal elections (’78, ’05, ’13). Better than bingo. If you need a primer on the possible leaders, click here. Intrade is trading 47% for an Italian pope. For individual cardinal odds, click here. For sociology of Vatican II, check out Melissa Wilde’s ASR article on the topic. Consider this an open thread on the social science (and gaming) of the papacy and/or information markets.
For some conference attendees like myself, one stresser is accurately recalling names or matching names to faces. Certainly, conference nametags are helpful at boosting recall of faces, especially for those who have prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Without such reminders or cues like using a hairstyle to identify a person, those who suffer from prosopagnosia may not be able to recognize the faces of loved ones or even their own faces in a mirror, creating awkward situations such as those described by noted neurologist Oliver Sacks.
On the other hand, like a former graduate teaching assistant who immediately remembered my name despite not seeing me for a decade, a few people don’t need reminders because they are super face recognizers. Even Chaser the dog may do better than many of us at matching names, as shown by this excerpt (click on the youtube link embedded below). Check out astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s sideeye to the camera when he asks Chaser to find Darwin, a toy that Chaser has never met before.
See some of you at ESS March 21-24, 2013, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers!
Quick reaction: The Academy loves well crafted films that are about actors or acting, especially when actors save the day. These films often beat other films. Example: Shakespeare in Love beats Saving Private Ryan; the Kings Speech beats Black Swan, Inception and Social Network. Bonus: Argo had old Hollywood guys saving the day. I still liked it.
We got into a bit of an argument about Django. I agree that Quentin Tarantino has issues, though I stand by Django, but I am surprised that no one has pointed out that Quentin’s in a rut. Think about Quentin’s films and their underlying themes. And I ain’t talking about trash talk and pulp novel violence. I mean Themes, like you used to talk about in English class:
- Reservoir Dogs – betrayal
- Pulp Fiction – redemption
- Jackie Brown – aging/redemption
- Kill Bill Vols. 1-2: revenge
- Death Proof – revenge
- Inglorious Basterds – revenge
- Django Unchained – revenge
Of course, these aren’t the only themes. Some are obvious, like love – which is a big deal in Pulp Fiction and Django. Some themes are quite subtle. Every QT film has involved people faking their identity in some way. But when you think about dominant themes, QT’s definitely stuck in revenge territory. I think it got stale for me, and QT needs to move on. There’s a lot more in that video store clerk and we need to see it.
Just finished watching the documentary I am Bruce Lee and I remain impressed by Lee.
- He was huge child star in Hong Kong cinema.
- He was the 1957 dance champion in Hong Kong. His style – the cha-cha!
- He married his white girlfriend from Seattle – when interracial marriage was still illegal.
- In 1965, Wing Jack Man challenged to a fight. If Lee lost, he would stop teaching martial arts to non-Chinese. Lee did not lose.
- He taught Chuck Norris some moves.
- His martial art style incorporates move from fencing (!).
There’s also interesting sociological insights about Hollywood, how sometimes someone has to make it big on the periphery (Hong Kong) before getting accepted in the mainstream.
All the Django haters are missing the point. Sure, if you hate the n-word, Django is going to piss you off. And if you think that a nerdy video store clerk isn’t in a position to make a movie about slavery, you may have a point, but you really don’t because it’s a revenge fantasy, not a documentary, and not a movie like the Color Purple or even friggin’ Beloved. Not the same ballpark, not even the same sport.
Django Unchained is all about the catharsis. We indulge in childish fantasy about the wretched of the earth getting even for all that’s gone down since 1492. But Django isn’t alone in its desire to stick it to the Man. We now have a whole ream of ethnic revenge movies. We had Machete, which is about the perversity of the border. You could even count Harold and Kumar as ethnic revenge. Yes, it’s a stoner movie, but it’s about Asian stoners who show up their obnoxious White bosses at White Castle.
I hate “post-racial” because it implies that race isn’t important. But the ethnic revenge movie could only exist in a post-racial society. You really couldn’t have a Django, Machete, or Harold and Kumar in 1955. Something is different. It’s now ok to admit that a lot of people have a legitimate claim on being really pissed off and it’s ok to talk about it. But why is it ok to indulge in the violent revenge fantasy? On one level, it’s because some folks really did deserve it. Did anyone not cheer when Hitler got shot in Inglorious Basterds? The deeper point is that no one is remotely serious about revenge because, frankly, things are better, way, way better. That isn’t post-racial, but it is post-something.
A silly game, adopted from the play Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead: Twitter Tennis. You tweet someone a question and they tweet back a question. And you go back and forth. You “lose” the exchange if:
- You fail to respond in time (e.g. two minutes).
- You respond with a non-question.
- Your question is a non sequitur.
First one to get three points wins. Use #twittertennis .
1. The Shining – Bob Ager makes a good case that it’s really a commentary on Native American genocide.
2. Mulholland Drive – Lynch is an impressionist, so you don’t really need to make it all work, but Alan Shaw’s essay seems to make good points.
3. Prometheus – I don’t have a favorite and I think that you shouldn’t read too much into anything co-written by the dude who wrote Lost, but here are a few. Personally, I always tilt towards a Lawrence of Arabia type of framing.
Danish/Congolese saxophonist John Tchicai died a few weeks ago. He was a really unique figure who bridged European folk music with American free jazz. His music had that wry humor often found in the music of Scandinavia. Early in his career, he played with John Coltrane (on the infamous/amazing Ascension album), Don Cherry, and other giants of 1960s jazz, and then went on to play his own music. He also taught music at UC Davis. Above, I’ve linked to Timo’s Message, a joyful composition from his later years.
While the East Coast recovers from the brutal storm, readers might be interested in this most extreme case of hurricane survival. In 1959, William Rankin, a Marine pilot, had to eject from his plane – in the middle of the hurricane. Amazingly, he lived and wrote a stunning account of his experience, which you can read here. My favorite excerpt, describing what it felt like to be hit by lightning:
Invariably, lightning struck in uncanny synchronization with claps of thunder, followed by a rolling explosion which literally shook my teeth; I could feel the vibrations on my teeth as though a giant tuning fork had been struck against them and held there.
Definitely worth reading.