Friday, October 31, 2008

more liberal hypocrisy

The sleaziness of the liberal media continues to surprise me. I don't know why, but it does. I'm watching Bill Moyers. There are two Obama partisans discussing the evil tactics of John McCain with him. Within five minutes there were two instances of unfathomable hypocrisy. It began with one of the guests talking about an ad where John McCain criticizes Obama for wanting to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens and putting up a picture of Mohamed Atta on a driver's license. The guest claimed that the only reason for the ad is to create an association in people's minds between Obama and terrorists. Of course, that's not what the ad was doing at all; it was pointing out the incredible irresponsibility of giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens. What better way to show that than to show the driver's license that a terrorist was able to pick up in a state with just such policies?

The first instance of hypocrisy was when the other guest followed up the first guest's lie by saying that the real harm of this is that after the election, if Obama wins, he is going to have to govern, and that causing Americans to distrust the president hurts all of us. Any genuine journalist would have asked whether by that logic, the last eight years of vicious attacks on George Bush, who was not just a candidate but the actual president, were harmful to all of us. Why the double standard? But Moyers, a loyal Democrat stooge, just let the comment pass, as though Republicans had invented the tactic of making people distrust presidential candidates.

The second instance was from Moyers, who had just agreed how mean it was for John McCain to try to associate Obama with terrorists. He then pulled out three or four pieces of letter-size paper that he said had been put up in train and bus stations. All of them were in poor taste and one was outright racist. Clearly, these ads were either Democrat-supplied frauds, or the work of random psychos with cheap printers at home. Moyer's asked, "do these kinds of ads work?" This is just after they have been criticizing John McCain's ads. Clearly Moyer's is trying to associate John McCain with these ads, even though clearly neither John McCain nor anyone in the Republican leadership had anything to do with them.

How more blatant can they demonstrate that their accusations against Republicans are based largely on psychological projection? Democrats have always tried to associate Republicans with racists, religious bigots, and other unsavory types, even though there is no rational reason for it. So whenever Republican say anything that brings a Democrat together with any unsavory figure, regardless of the context or the point that is being made, or the evidence behind the point, they scream that Republicans are just doing what Democrats always do.

And as long as Democrats control the media, they will continue to be able to get away with this lying and character assassination. One of the more depressing things about recent events is the evidence of growing Democrat control over the internet. I thought that the internet might be the way that America would break free of Democrat thought control. But the Democrats saw that also, and have jumped on it will all four feet. Nothing as minor as the internet is going to be between them and power.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm a genius

OK, this doesn't prove my entire suspicion correct, but there has been at least one case where a woman is listed as giving almost $200,000 to the Obama campaign and she claims she hasn't given any. Now if you are going to funnel money to someone illegally, you try to avoid funneling it by a mechanism that is openly illegal. In particular, when the law says that one person can only give up to $2,300 to the campaign, you try to avoid using the same fake name for many times that much. So how many false names do you think they had to go through to accidentally pick the same false name at least 76 times? I suspect that this is just the tip of the iceberg. But by the time it starts coming out, Democrats will have not only a stranglehold on the news media, but also on the federal government. There will never be a thorough investigation of this.

(link from Stephen Frank)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

third person omniscient-by-cheating

I don't know when, but at some point in my long career of reading fiction, I started to become annoyed at the omniscient-by-cheating narrative mode. That's a term I just made up. What it means is that the story's point of view is nominally first person or third-person subjective (meaning that the narrator only knows what one particular character knows), but they give other information by cheating. The most common form of cheating is the old "his eyes narrowed with suspicion". It tells you that the other guy is suspicious without leaving the limited knowledge of one character. In real life, you can't tell reliably when someone is suspicious by looking at their eyes. You might be suspicious that they are suspicious, but you can't really know. Similar lines: "the flat, dead eyes of a killer", "As he walked, Joe could tell from the smoothness of his movements that he was an experienced and dangerous fighter", "the bulge under his jacket showed that he carried a gun", etc. In the real world, his eyes might have been flat and dead because he was bored, he might have walked smoothly because his hemorrhoids made it painful to walk any other way, and the bulge under his jacket might be his lunch.

This narrative mode is different from the Sherlock Holmes trick. When characters do the Sherlock Holmes trick, they have some special ability to observer minute details and draw conclusions from them. There is in principle no reason that the character could not be wrong, any more than any other conclusion of the character might be wrong. By contrast, in the omniscience-by-cheating mode, the character doesn't have any special abilities and there is no chance that he is wrong, it is just the author telling you that this guy is a trained killer, that guy has a gun, etc.

You can see why authors do this. It lets them retain the intimacy and immediacy of the third-person subjective mode, while giving them the ability to reveal more information, to increase suspense, and such. I usually write in first person or third-person subjective but I don't do the point-of-view cheating because, well, I just don't think that way. If I want to reveal that this guy is suspicious then I have to come up with a way that the character could figure it out. If I really have to, and I'm in third-person subjective, I might step out of subjective mode for a bit because that seems less jarring to me than the idea that the character has sporadic god-like powers to read thoughts from facial expressions.

But even stepping outside of personal mode seems like cheating to me, so I avoid even that. And I think this explains the tunnel-vision quality of most of my fiction. What I mean by that is "tunnel vision" is that the stories seem to constrain the reader, keeping his view of events narrow, even claustrophobic. The reader feels that there are things going on that he doesn't know or doesn't understand because he just isn't getting all of the information. I've noticed this quality before, but never really understood what the source was. I've noticed it also in two authors, Jack Vance and Lawrence Watt-Evans. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a bit constraining.

Part of this tunnel-vision quality is that I tend not to dwell on what the p.o.v. character is feeling. If it is mentioned at all, it is passed over quickly. But as I've been thinking about this point-of-view cheating, I think another aspect is that a strong unwillingness to cheat on the point of view, either by stepping out of it or by inventing signs that aren't there in real life, leads to this constrained view of the world. The reader doesn't know any more in the book than he would know in real life, and this gives a slight sense of claustrophobia and tunnel vision.