prudencepaccard:

mare-of-night:

prudencepaccard:

Tale of Two Cities spoilers below the cut for the three people who didn’t read it in high school.

Read More

Pretty sure you’re not a bad person. DeFarge is just a badass.

Also it’s just a natural thing to root for the character you find most sympathetic? There are a lot of stories that make you end up rooting for an “evil” or criminal character because they’re the protagonist and you know them best. I didn’t cheer for Madame in that scene, but I can see why someone else would.

I think there’s a lot of variety in how people read A Tale of Two Cities in general, because the characters leave a lot to the imagination. Madame DeFarge is probably one of the more vivid ones, and she’s also just a really interesting person. (She was probably also creepier back when the book was written - the typical literate Victorian probably found her unnatural rather than badass.) People seem to pretty consistently like Carton, but lots of other characters end up getting a few fans for all different reasons. My own first read of the book was unusual because I latched onto Darnay, thinking he’d become some kind of awesome anti-Marquis. (I’ve yet to meet anyone else who liked that character for that reason.) There’s an ensemble cast of loosely-defined characters who are interesting in a variety of different ways, so the reader has a lot of space to decide who to think of as a protagonist, and how to interpret them.

I agree that Miss Pross was probably seen as all the more terrifying by Victorians because she’s a woman. While she might be Madame Defarge’s double insofar as they’re both unfeminine, childless, physically imposing, strong-willed, domineering, forces of nature, etc., in the end she’s driven by love whereas Madame Defarge is driven by vengeance, and that codes her as more of a “real woman.”

Carton is, I think, irresistible to many people for similar reasons as somebody like Heathcliff. He’s not stoic like a Byronic hero, but he is dark, mysterious, brooding, and tormented. We forgive his lack of success, his mopeyness, because it makes him all the more sympathetic—he’s a tortured genius who’s so tortured he doesn’t even get to reap the fruits of his genius. People can be forgiven for wondering why Lucie preferred Charles’s personality, since they’re obviously equally handsome.

That reaction you had to Darnay is awesome and now I’m feeling sad it didn’t pan out. It wouldn’t even have interfered with the plot, since becoming a champion of the people was no guarantee you wouldn’t get axed. (See: Philippe Égalité.)

I think you’re spot-on about why people like Carton. He definitely fits the dark hero archetype. I want to say more but you pretty much said it all XD Ditto with DeFarge and Pross. Maybe Pross was even be meant as a model of the type of childless woman who was still “okay”, in the way people thought at the time? Her motivations are just barely “womanly” enough. Maybe.

Oh my god I’m so glad to see that someone else likes that idea XD I’m (very slowly) working on writing a story around that concept. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I do see how the plot could climax in pretty much the same way - main complication is Charles wants to be with Lucie who wants to be with her father who doesn’t want to be in France. (In my version, I just derailed the whole plot and focused only on the French characters. But I’m still considering ending it with an almost-guillotining. Or actual guillotining. He did say that doing good was worth it even if he died…)


Being a Pickpocket… literally.

yourplayersaidwhat:

The party has one ninja (my friend) and one battle dancer (me) who has spent many skill points in stealth-oriented skills (hide, move silently and sleight of hand) among others. We’re on a quest led by a dwarf. The ninja is fairly lawful while I’m very selfish. I have sworn to steal the dwarfs wallet because I think he will trick us. The ninja didn’t like this plan.

DM: You start moving towards the far wall of the cave. It’s almost completely dark.

Ninja: “I quickly steal the dwarfs pockets.”

DM: “His what?”

Ninja: “His pockets. Not the contents, but the pockets themselves. I rolled 20.”

DM: “….the dwarf no longer has any pockets. He still has all his items, but there is now no way to access them.”

(via insanefastone)


More thoughts on A Tale of Two Cities

If you haven’t read it - certain characters come off as very flat and bland. I’d argue that most of them aren’t very detailed - even the interesting ones. The narrator is omniscient, but it’s more like watching a play that has no narrator, because you never get to go into the characters’ heads unless they say what the’re thinking and feeling. Most (all? not sure about Lucie) of the main ones do that once or twice, but there are a lot of scenes where you just have to guess what’s going on in their heads.

And it works. Or at least, I think it probably worked in its time. Some characters do come off flat to a modern reader (Lucie, and sometimes Darnay, Pross or the Crunchers), but I think that’s more about characters nearing their expiration date. The readers I know who liked these characters tend to have a more traditional mindset - Lucie makes a lot more sense if you’re a young woman who aspires to be an angle of the home, and sees nothing wrong with that. Lucie, Darnay and Mr. Cruncher do have some interesting stuff going on, if you dig a little. (Pross might, but I haven’t dug there yet.) I suspect that the “hidden” things are more obvious when there’s less cultural distance.

(An aside: the other reason why many of us don’t like these characters, is that Dickens likes them a lot, and it shows. I’m considering author favoritism to be a different problem from flatness.)

On the other hand, the characters people do like don’t have much detail either. I’ll look at Carton because he’s consistently a favorite for modern readers, and was also supposed to be well-received in his time. He definitely is a 3D character, and he does have an inner life. (Some of the disliked characters also have these things.) But there’s so much we don’t know about him, that we’d usually expect to know about the protagonist of a novel - who his parents are and what they’re like, who is friends are (is it only Stryver and the Manettes?), what his home looks like, how much he thinks about religion, whether he actually does anything besides work, drink and wander.

In a way, it’s a really egalitarian way of handling things. A few characters come off as comic relief, but aside from that, anyone could become important as the story goes on. I think this is part of what makes Dickens’s surprise endings work - there are so few indications of who is important, that it doesn’t feel fake when the character you forgot about turns out to be one of the important ones.

But maybe what’s most interesting, is that we don’t mind the lack of detail, even though we like the presence of detail so much in other stories. It doesn’t feel like there’s something missing. I suspect the story even gains something from it - the written words provide just enough interest to make us fill in the rest of the details for ourselves, and getting to help create the characters makes us like it more.

That’s just what I took from it, though. What are your thoughts?


prudencepaccard:

Tale of Two Cities spoilers below the cut for the three people who didn’t read it in high school.

Read More

Pretty sure you’re not a bad person. DeFarge is just a badass.

Also it’s just a natural thing to root for the character you find most sympathetic? There are a lot of stories that make you end up rooting for an “evil” or criminal character because they’re the protagonist and you know them best. I didn’t cheer for Madame in that scene, but I can see why someone else would.

I think there’s a lot of variety in how people read A Tale of Two Cities in general, because the characters leave a lot to the imagination. Madame DeFarge is probably one of the more vivid ones, and she’s also just a really interesting person. (She was probably also creepier back when the book was written - the typical literate Victorian probably found her unnatural rather than badass.) People seem to pretty consistently like Carton, but lots of other characters end up getting a few fans for all different reasons. My own first read of the book was unusual because I latched onto Darnay, thinking he’d become some kind of awesome anti-Marquis. (I’ve yet to meet anyone else who liked that character for that reason.) There’s an ensemble cast of loosely-defined characters who are interesting in a variety of different ways, so the reader has a lot of space to decide who to think of as a protagonist, and how to interpret them.


Most modern wearable technology is not transhumanist.

yxoque:

stormingtheivory:

yxoque:

soycrates:

Smart watches, tech rings, and mobile-compatible arm/wrist bands might be aesthetically pleasing to those who like the stylized look of transhumanism, but they don’t really offer any benefits. They’re not so functional that they can entirely replace a smart phone, tablet, or equally versatile device. Sure, it makes us a “cyborg nation” in a sense, but it doesn’t really connect to transhumanism all that well. Transhumanism is about technological ways in which humans surpass previous limitations. Most of the tech watches and bands on the market are more trouble than they’re worth, even if they look like a techie’s dream.

Here’s an example: contacts could be considered a transhumanist improvement on glasses, because they give you eyesight improvement without having to wear anything bulky on your face. They integrate eyesight into a smaller device with exactly the same functions of glasses. They are less limiting than glasses.

iPhone armbands and smart watches give us a more compact device, but they lack many of the necessary and useful functions of a smart phone or tablet. They are not a transhumanist improvement because they are more limiting than a smart phone or tablet is. Overall, I’d say we don’t like them because they’re useful, but because we think they’re neat. Product advertisements try to convince us that they’re useful, but they really only can convince us that they’re compact.

This preference for technology that looks stylish over technology that actually benefits us is causing the inventor market to flood with more and more wearable technology that’s barely composed of more than a few buttons and an LED screen.

I mostly agree, with the caveat that with some changes, smart watches, etc. could becomes something that we can consider transhuman.

It’s interesting—and this isn’t necessarily a criticism or a disagreement but—it’s interesting that you make a division between “style” and “use.” My glasses are bulky (and uh in fairness my current pair are sort of weirdly misaligned I think—I’m not seeing so well out of them :/ ) but they also make me look sexy as hell. Contacts that change your eyecolor similarly arguably have a limited use value… unless you consider “looking sexy/creepy/inhuman/all of the above in a way that would not be possible without the technology” to be a use. Extrapolating this outward, we could consider all sorts of cyberpunk tech (subdermal bioluminescent tattoos spring to mind) to be stylishly transhuman.

I can see this diluting the definition in a problematic way, but I also think it might be interesting to consider whether increasing aesthetic is a transhumanist goal. If so, maybe these annoying little bullshit devices are transhuman after all.

…IF YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE A NEEEEERD

I’ve considered calling everything that improves the human condition “transhumanist”. This would also increase aesthetic style elements, since they make people happy and help them express themselves.

So in a sense, I disagree that lenses are a strict improvement over glasses, since glasses are part of my preferred style and work (almost) just as well.

The problem with defining transhumanism so broadly is that it starts to fall too far outside the main use of the word and not everyone would agree with it.

In the past I’ve defined transhumanism as a philosophy that thinks people should have more choices. These choices would also include more choices on how you look and dress.

So to me, increasing aesthetic is a transhumanist goal, but a non-central example of transhumanist goals.

I like your point about more choices. With the glasses example, having both options easily available is better for humans than just one or the other, since contacts would actually be more intrusive for some people. (Bad things can happen if you forget they’re there, harder to put on quickly if you’re in a rush, easier to loose, etc.)

Bioluminescent tattoos would be awesome.


iwriteaboutfeminism:

Ferguson protesters gather for highway shutdown.

Part 2

(via littlemariecat)



Apparently “anecdata” is a word now. It means an anecdote that can be taken as a single data point - somewhat useful, but not a definitive answer.


Q
Bunnies freak me out.
Anonymous
A

disgustinganimals:

Don’t worry. They can’t vote or hold office.


Some pointless colour things that may or may not be relevant

dottoraqn:

just-a-line-to-say:

So we all know that colours are written in the format #000000 and a while ago I saw a thing about how #246010 is this colour and this happens:

image

image

So then, because I’m investigating juxtaposition, I wondered what colour ‘246010’ is backwards, and I am so angry right now because #010642 is:

image

And you’ll never guess what the goddamn costume department did

image

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW ANGRY I AM

That is a+ costume design and I am slightly in awe.

(via bumbledoodle)


bumbledoodle:

Am I the only one that finds it horrible, that people who like to call other people sheep, unquestioningly believe the scary video they find on facebook almost every time one circulates. 


thebusiness:

gonzozeppeli:

Just like grammar used to make

new favorite post

thebusiness:

gonzozeppeli:

Just like grammar used to make

new favorite post

(via insanefastone)


yxoque:

queenshulamit:

yxoque:

yxoque:

After calming down a bit after the whole thing (I’m not giving it a name, if it has a name, it becomes history) I feel like it could be useful to write introductory thingies about rationality for a tumblr audience. Not on the same level as scientiststhesis writes. Simpler, more basic and more applied (for lack of a better word). Possibly things to discuss:

  • What rationalists mean with the word “rational” and what non-rationalists hear
  • The problems with Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and why that fanfic is important despite those problems
  • The concept of “heroic responsibility”
  • An explanation of the quote “You are personally responsible to become more moral than the society you grew up with,” and why it shouldn’t get the bad response tumblr has given it.
  • Something something transhumanism

There are other interesting topics to talk about (What is Bayes and why should you care), but these are the first that come to mind and are feasible to write for me.

I’m reblogging this because I have some other things I might want to write and this is probably the easiest way to keep track of it.

  • The what and why of steelmanning (and how to mess it up)
  • Something something utilitarianism (Maybe with MCU gifs, I kinda have an idea for this)
  • Something something the value and danger of having names for things
  • The gaps in “the art of rationality” (probably too ambitious)

I will get hella utilons from reading an mcu utilitarianism post.

Dammit, now I’m morally obligated to write it :-D

I’ve been (very slowly) working on heroic responsibility.


sashayed:

sashayed:

everyone has that one text post that you suddenly remember and weirdly bark-laugh in the shower

image

(via insanefastone)


Q
Hello! I dislike your "someone finds everyone attractive" meme! I mean it is probably true, but I think it leads to dangerous related conclusion "YOU have a reasonable chance of meeting someone who finds YOU attractive" which I do not think is true at all.
Anonymous
A

ozymandias271:

Mm. I am certainly willing to endorse the claim “people in groups constructed as ugly are more likely to find someone attracted to them than they tend to believe” but also the claim “all other things equal, people in groups constructed as ugly are less likely to get dates as people in groups constructed as beautiful” but also “you do not have like the Metaphysical Property of Ugliness attached to your face.”