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Kevin O'Neill
Lived in Franklin, WI
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Kevin O'Neill

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I'm never sure when I see this discussion at what level it is supposed to hold true.  Very few authors portray any characters that I find believable.  'Believable' in that they reflect my experience.  

We each have only our own internal dialogues with which to compare.  The question becomes: Is my experience unique?  And that disregards the question of how well we even know our own thoughts, motivations, biases, prejudices, etc. It's hard to even objectively monitor my own internal thought processes, actions, and the resulting consequences. Especially since there are often many things going on at once and rarely in nice sequential order.

Joyce, in <i>Ulysses</i>, probably comes closest to being believable (to me). By tacit agreement we've decided that Joyce's level of detail isn't necessary.  Instead, most authors rely upon various conventions, archetypes, stereotypes, caricatures, and genre-specific memes to help fill in the missing pieces.

We are often asked to suspend our disbelief not just for  the existence of FTL drives and Elvish maidens, but for truly believable characters and/or their relationships.  This works as long as we don't examine too closely.
At Star Trek Writer's Defense of Diversity in Sci-Fi Is Damn Near Perfect, PV said, I don't think I could ever write a convincing same-sex relationship. I'm just not wired that way. But I totally support and encourage those ...
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Kevin O'Neill

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Hmmm .... comment deleted accidentally or intentionally?
"The middle class is always a firm champion of equality when it concerns humbling a class above it, but it is its inveterate foe when it concerns elevating a class below it." —Orestes Brownson
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Kevin O'Neill

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http://thegrio.com/2013/12/04/us-airman-stands-his-ground-in-florida-sentenced-to-25-years/

This story highlights so many wrongs I don't know where to start. Racism, handguns, violence culture, perverse christianity, mandatory minimum sentencing - one little vignette that just leaves me with a big sigh.
"And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." —Luke 12:15 Brother Will notes that bit about covetousness should be consider...
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Kevin O'Neill

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Luke 6:29 
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.

Somehow I don't interpret this to mean: Stand your ground! Pull out a gun and shoot the #!%$^#@.
"And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." —Luke 12:15 Brother Will notes that bit about covetousness should be consider...
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Kevin O'Neill

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I always find it amusing that most of the defenders of Christian dickishness rarely cite the words of Christ; it's almost always some passage from the Old Testament or one of the early church leaders - and even these usually ignore the context of the passage being quoted.
At Vox Popoli: Mailvox: Are Christians "required to be dicks"?, Vox Day cites four verses to defend Christian dickishness. Two are offered to support expelling self-professed Christians who "willfully and proudly" disobey Chr...
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Kevin O'Neill

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"I remember I asked John once, of the 20 or so hits the Beatles had at the time, 'What do you think is your best lyric?' He said, 'That's easy, Vic, 'All you need is love.' " - Victor Spinetti talking about John Lennon
My momma taught me me some manners. So did my daddy. I’ll always be sorry that when disagreeing with people who reject civility, I sometimes followed their lead. I rationalized it by saying that going by the house rules is ju...
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Kevin O'Neill

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I have enjoyed stories by authors who have far different politics than mine, but only when they either stay away from ideology or tread lightly on the polemic.

Otherwise the story becomes an internal argument where I find myself constantly thinking, "Oh, c'mon. Use your freakin' brain. "  It's more annoying than anything, like constant typos or poor editing.

.
There are people of all politics, from the most conservative to the most radical, who only want stories that confirm their prejudices. And there are people of all politics who know art and politics can be independent. The pri...
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Ideology tends to turn off people's brains. Not denying I have my own belief systems, but one of the purposes of a strong belief system is to save the brain from having to work. Sometimes this is useful—it can help us focus. But a bad belief system is deadly, to thought if nothing else.
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Kevin O'Neill

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Life and people are far more complex and interesting and frustrating than Brownson's quote would have us believe.

It doesn't explain the many whites who fought for civil rights for blacks.  It doesn't explain the many moderate to wealthy Americans who fight poverty.  Nor does it explain the many poor and middle class who promote and sustain policies that benefit the wealthy.

In any area of social, political, or economic conflict there are positions of self-interest and positions of altruism.  No class or easily identifiable group of people is entirely homogenous.
"The middle class is always a firm champion of equality when it concerns humbling a class above it, but it is its inveterate foe when it concerns elevating a class below it." —Orestes Brownson
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Kevin O'Neill

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Jonathan Cook, in <a href="http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/06/mandela-a-dissenting-opinion/">Mandela: A Dissenting Opinion</a> writes:

"It is an indication of what Mandela was up against that the man who fought so hard and long against a brutal apartheid regime was so completely defeated when he took power in South Africa. That was because he was no longer struggling against a rogue regime but against the existing order, a global corporate system of power that he had no hope of challenging alone."

"It is for that reason, rather simply to be contrarian, that I raise these failings. Or rather, they were not Mandela’s failings, but ours. Because, as I suspect Mandela realised only too well, one cannot lead a revolution when there are no followers."
From Tyrannies ruling in the name of socialism | SocialistWorker.org: Engels, in his criticism of August Blanqui, a French socialist who believed that revolution would be brought to the masses by a minority, wrote: "From Bla...
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It's a damn fine quote. I don't know much about Mandela, but it sounds likely.
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Kevin O'Neill

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Got No Breeding, Fanetiks, & The Great Puzzle are always in my Top 100 albums -- glad to hear you're still making great music :)
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Kevin O'Neill

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"Punishment only teaches punishment"

That rather cavalierly throws out the whole idea of deterrence.  There's certainly a vast amount of literature on deterrence and most of it shows that the certainty of punishment does act as a deterrent.  There is far less evidence that severity of punishment has any significant effect.  

"Punishment only teaches punishment" sounds like a nice little aphorism, but I don't believe it.
In "What Does it Mean to be Pro-Life?" Elizabeth Stoker quotes Augustine: And if any member of the family interrupts the domestic peace by disobedience, he is corrected either by word or blow, or some kind of just and legiti...
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There are criminals that should be incarcerated, but I don't think of that as punishment; it's simply safety. But I'm making a mental note to look deeper into deterrence theory someday.

As noted before, I agree that things like jaywalking laws tend to work if they're harsh and sure. Whether they're the best solution is another question.
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Kevin O'Neill

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What is the purpose behind boycotting Ender's Game?  OSC has no direct financial stake in the movie.   OSC makes plenty off the book and the NY Times has it listed as #1 on the Mass-Market Paperback Best Sellers list.  If the sponsors of the boycott wanted to hurt OSC financially they would have organized a boycott urging people not to buy new copies of his  books - not the movie.
I was just reading about a wacky conspiracy theory (our government's run by reptilians), so now I'm ready to propose one. The Ender's Game moviemakers have known for decades that Orson Scott Card's homophobia would be a publi...
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Def rather have another Aliens movie than help out OSC.
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