BackBlog II

I’m feeling uninspired - or rather, drained after a rant on-list about condescension - so I’ll get to that backblog of material now.

First of all, I forgot to mention that it snowed yesterday. In Boston, on October 23rd. The leaves aren’t even properly turned yet and there was snow falling out of the sky in broad daylight. Yet people keep telling me it’s going to be a mild winter.

Second, on the very hot topic of whether the sniper in Washington, D.C. should be referred to as a sniper: yes. I know the real snipers are up in arms because the alleged sniper didn’t use proper military-issue sniping equipment or murder his victims from a sufficiently challenging distance, but you can’t pin this use of the term on the sniper media circus. The dictionary definition of sniping is to shoot at exposed individuals from a usually concealed point of vantage. He shot at people, they didn’t see him - ergo, sniper.

I forgot to mention the forums at NaNoWriMo. They reminded me how much I hate forums. A nice little flat-level forum, say, of the size of the J/C Index message board isn’t bad despite the trolls, but when you get into thousands of posts like at TrekBBS, who has time to follow it all? There are no trolls at NaNoWriMo, but still, a thousand people saying hi, a hundred random topics about novel genre - I can’t face it. I’d rather meet the people in person, though, unfortunately, I’ll be away this weekend so I won’t get to go to the Boston kick-off party.

Liz gave a 1 to 10 scale for ranking fic a while back. There’s a more accurate way to rank fic, though - put it all in order, from Revisionist History to Burning Thistles Amongst Thorns. The story’s score is the percentage of stories that are ranked beneath it. That’s how the SAT’s are scored (or at least, how they were scored before the grade inflation). Of course, a scanner doesn’t have to suffer through the bad fic.

There are simpler ways to do it. One could, for instance, take down the name and summary of every story posted to ASC in the course of a year, or every story in the J/C archive, then ask fans a binary question about the list - say, “Do you remember story X which was about Y?” Then rank the stories by the percentage of readers who remembered them, or remembered them fondly. Anyway, it could be done. People would scream bloody murder if you did it, but it could be done.

The new backblog list is:

  • The Jossing of Anya
  • Extreme measures in veterinary medicine
  • That the things I hate about Buffy are just like the things I hated about XF

As long as I’m here, I’ll add my rant on condescension:

Condescension means taking an air of superiority, or having a
patronizing attitude. It has nothing to do with the opinions being
voiced, and everything to do with the tone in which they are said.

Use of rhetorical rejoiners along with the other person’s first name
(”Is that what you really think, Lori?”) is a sure
sign of condescension. Of course
she really thinks so. Everyone means what they say, unless they’re
lying. Everyone is speaking their own opinion, unless they are lying.
These are the basics of conversation and they do not need to be repeated
every time someone posts an article or writes an email.

Let me be perfectly clear: it does not matter how stuck up you think a
person must have been to have said such-and-such a thing.
Having controversial beliefs, even beliefs about the general
stupidity of fans, is not in and of itself condescending. Thinking that
you’re the best thing since sliced bread is not condescending. Saying
“I’m the best thing since sliced bread; everyone should write exactly
like I do” is not condescending. Saying “P/T sucks - you should write
P/C” is not condescending. Only saying things like, “Don’t you think,
Lori, that we would all be better off, Lori, if you stopped diddling
around with Picard/Troi and started writing Picard/Crusher like the big
girls, Lori?” is condescending.

So stop it already.

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