Harlan Elllison

On June 28, 2018, Harlan Ellison passed away.

I feel little sorry for whatever entity has to deal with him now 🙂

He was one of the first writers (I won’t call him an SF writer, he didn’t like it 🙂 )  I had ever read.

To give some of you younger people some context. He was the writer for the script for the classic Trek  (think Kirk) ep called, “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Considered one of the best Trek ep’s ever made.

He worked on consultant on the 80’s revival of The Twilight Zone, and had stories submitted for and was involved in a  a magazine of the same title back then also. He was also  a consultant on the SF TV series Babylon 5.

He wrote a story a long time ago called “Soldier” that was the basis for the movie “The Terminator” (the “I’ll be back” one)

He’s written a ton of stuff. Most of his books don’t get reprinted because they are mainly  short stories and short story collections tend not to get re-printed unless they are from a very popular writer (Stephen King being the only one I can think of offhand).

He’s won pretty much every major writing award.

The very first story of his I read was “Along the Scenic Route”. I also read “Doomsman” and I don’t remember liking that very well. It turns out that novels weren’t really his forte. Short stories and TV screenplays were.

He was on the leading edge of what they were calling back then “new wave SF”. He edited  a book of SF short stories called “Dangerous Visions”. That anybody is a real SF fan has probably heard of AND has a copy of.

He is one of few writers whose books I will pick up unseen. I would add  Richard Matheson,  the big 3 (SF, look it up) to that list.

One of my favourite quotes is from Harlan Ellison himself:

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

So yeah, that elminates  95% of the people who post on Facebook. Hmm, I think I’ll also  post this blog there.

 

 

 

How Users are Ruining the Internet

So there’s this little online networking thingy.

You may or may not have heard of it.

When people first discover it, they can’t believe it’s been around and they never heard of it. Or they heard of it and just didn’t care.

When they first get on it they are amazed at the wealth of information that’s out there. They  find they that they can interact with other people with common interests, sometimes live interaction, but a lot of times on a msg forum.

They find that they can send mail, even get replies. This thing is incredible. What bunch of nerds thought this up?

And then….and then they get stupid. Everyone has opinions, they started arguing about their opinions. To the point where they start insulting the person they are arguing online with. Eventually they will be subjected to Godwin’s Law. If the argument goes on long enough.

Look it up…can you think of any recent examples?

There will be bullying. Bullying by people who know better, but do it anyway. They get caught up in it. Almost seems like it’s subject to a mob mentality.

When it gets bad enough, the police, or lawyers can get involved.

This is done by ordinary people. People you know (or don’t really know like you thought you did, that’s always an eye opener)

I can’t find it quick enough for this entry, but there was a study done lots of years ago, that had two groups of people asked to do a particular task or project. One group was in the same room and asked to work together. The other group were not in the same room but interacted over a network via keyboard.

You guessed it, name calling, arguing, threats, happened within hours. I think that was the timing but how long it took doesn’t really matter. The fact that it did happen does.

When a certain amount of anonymity is involved, it will go sideways.

Wanna guess the network?

Wrong.

Gotcha!

I’m talking about Fidonet.

Never heard of it have you?

You probably haven’t heard of CIX, BIX, Genie, Prodigy, or Compuserve either. You probably have heard of AOL. (although you might not know what the acronym stands for. Millennials, you  may have to look that up…and the word “acronym” for that matter)

What I described happened on everyone of those networks. To be fair they didn’t have nearly the degree of saturation the internet has, but the stupidity was just as common. Just shows you only need a few rotten apples to ruin it for everyone.

My point is: get people together, let them be a little anonymous (or even not, nowadays) and they get stupid.

Need some examples?

Log on to Facebook. Like minded bullies like to hang out there.

Log on to Twitter. Like minded bullies like to hang out there.

Log on to Reddit. Like minded bullies like to hang out there.

Read comments on Youtube, Slashdot, Digg, Instagram. You find these asshats everywhere.

Everybody complains about it. Nobody calls out the bullies, specifically, by name and shames them. Or revokes their online privileges.

If you ever said anything uncharacteristically negative to another person on any network. Clap yourself on the back, you are part of that club.

If you ever did it on purpose…well go eff yourself, karma is a bitch. Wait for it.