gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Sometimes the childish antics that otherwise apparently mature and intelligent people amuse me.
I'm on this mailing list, see, where people have been discussing stuff. (It is mostly unnecessary to divulge the contents of the discussion, because that's not really particularly relevant.) Somehow things have come to a point where some people are saying things like, "This mailing list is not about your stuff, it's about MY stuff, so go away." Well, the actual words are perhaps a little bit more polite, but the point is pretty much that.
Some have gone further. One guy just said that the mailing list was started by a certain bunch of people who did something at some time. So that's supposed to give them the legitimacy to say that they can bump people off their list if they hold opinions and positions different (even contrary) to their own? I should think not. If anything, mailing list moderators have to perpetually remember that line from Spiderman - "With great power comes great responsibility." The power that comes from owning a mailing list - a default setting when you are the one who created the list to begin with - is great enough to demand rationality and neutrality on issues of membership management and message censorship.
I don't find it wrong for the moderators to have their own positions and views on matters. That's fine. You're entitled to your views, and you're free to express them. But it would be wrong to start bumping people off when they disagree with you, at least on a matter of community interest. If Don Rae bumped people off his Axis and Allies forum (which apparently he did), that's fine, because there are other forums that discuss Axis and Allies that are not managed by Don Rae, so the community is not reduced to a single forum. Of course, it may cast aspersions on Don, but that's a risk he knows he takes by banning someone from posting. It is not so fine when a forum or mailing list has become the de facto singular (or near-singular) online congregation point for a community. That's when it starts becoming political.
Political manoeuverings by a small few can be rather irritating when outsiders eventually learn of them. They can also not be. It depends largely on just how those in power use their power, and whether they are seen to be working for a greater common cause, or are instead in it to build their own kingdom. I could be entirely deluded if I drew a line linking mailing list ownership to lobbying manoeuvres at committee meetings, and any number of other past and present events. I could be legitimately accused of being a mad conspiracy theorist. Or I could be right. I hope the latter is not the case, but only time will tell if that hope is well-placed. gambitch [
Thursday, March 10, 2005
There isn't really that much to say about recent developments, except to note that Megan and Heidi have been eliminated from The Amazing Race. If you're among the thousands of viewers who can't remember who these two are, they're the anonymous blondes who look like twins and have stupid dress sense, and are otherwise totally not at all noteworthy. Even Ryan and Chuck left a stronger overall impression.
Oh, and Rob's bribery antics got lots of people talking, except I don't think it is anything particularly new or blatantly wicked. Reichen irritated lots of people in the second or third leg of TAR4 when he physically prevented teams from trying to enter the train station somewhere in Italy. Except that completely backfired on him and Chip - yeah, the married gay team - when everyone else took the bus instead. Whatever Rob is doing is not at all out of the ordinary, and it is not something that hasn't been tried before. Teams just need to wake up and start playing better.
And that, as they say, is that. gambitch [
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Some quick and sharp stuff.
I saw this promotional trailer for a new television drama they're coming up with. Basically, some tweenager (yes, that was not a typo) love story thing starring a much-flogged hunk-wannabe with a Thai-like name and a young, presumably local actress who actually doesn't look too bad on the trailer. The trailer looks promising, as they're supposed to, but my scarred experiences with home-produced television tells me this is going to be another sad dud. Hence, as usual, I'm not going to watch it. Not that that should influence any of you who actually read this and know just what show I'm referring to. And if you don't know, then just as well.
On said young, presumably local actress. She looks okay, not too bad actually, but I suppose it's the clothes and the hair. I'm not convinced she can act, nor am I interested in being persuaded. It has been some time since I hit the theatre scene, so unless I go back to it and see her perform on stage rather than on a filming set, I will just remain skeptical. Plus, for some insane reason, even though she's supposedly portrayed as some kind of "fragile, mild-sweetish with jagged edges" character, something about her seems to scream "party girl", complete with booze, drugs and quite probably some sex thrown in. I don't know what makes me think that the girl's like that, but it is not a good sign - for me and for her, to different degrees.
Anyway, a couple of days ago, I was trading messages with my friend Nyanko about English football, and the question of United's chances to catch up came up. Somewhere in the blabber, I muttered something about Chelsea's squad. Generally it's a good squad, but I had one or two suspicions about certain players. So I said, "I'm not sold on Kezman", which I was indeed not. I should have known better - he went on to score against Norwich that very Saturday evening.
So he's scored that goal. But I'm still not sold on Kezman. And chances are, he's not going to start the game against Barcelona tonight either. Somehow I think Gudjohnsen's the more reliable striker - but this was a man who has spent lots of time at Chelsea even before Abramovich waved his chequebook.
There are two halves to Chelsea - the pre-Abramovich half and the post-Abramovich half. I generally give grudging respect to the latter, with individual exceptions like Makelele who proved his worth at Real Madrid. But the pre-Abramovich players are people I respect without feeling much grudge. Because Chelsea have been good for a decent amount of time. Not good enough for the Premiership title, maybe, but opponents worth respecting. One or two of them are actually superb, like Cudicini in particular. So it's actually a rather good sight to see them still around. Sadly, their numbers are dwindling quite rapidly, even though Abramovich hasn't been around for that long.
A recent check on my bloglinks revealed a rather surprising and distressing fact - Don Rae, a recognized strategy guru in the board game Axis and Allies, had closed down his online forum which included, among other things, some quite interesting essays on how to play the game.
The closure of the site was apparently quite abrupt, and took the wargaming community by surprise. The stories doing the rounds on the Internet rumour-mill suggest that the incidents triggering the sudden closure might have involved (a) a shouting match of some sort between Don Rae and game maker Larry Harris, or (b) an increasingly politicized opinion on Don's part about war and the influence of wargames like Axis and Allies.
Either way it sounded like a really poor reason to close the forum, which was also hosting a bunch of great discussions related to the game itself. Unfortunately, until someone gets to invite Don Rae out for coffee, we might never know the real reason for the sudden closure of his site. We might also never manage to see his essays again.
There is talk of Don "losing it" and "flipping out", and rather unfortunately, a few people have emerged saying things about how un-great Don's ideas were, and things like that. Maybe they've been maintaining the same positions they have always held, even when Don Rae's forums were around. But whatever it is, there is something about such statements that I am not altogether comfortable with. Something, I think, to do with the fact that, love him or loathe him, Don Rae was a significant member of the Axis and Allies gaming community - significant enough that his opinions were sought out in the course of the remake of Axis and Allies a year or two ago. That's how much respect he got from the owners of the game label.
Maybe there is some truth in the rumours; maybe something in Don's brain circuitry snapped and he suddenly acquired a loathing towards all wargames. Or maybe it had to do with the fact that Axis and Allies was recently repackaged into a computer game significantly different from the the original board-game genre. (I'd want to get my hands on that game, although I'd naturally recognize this was not the same A&A that won over the board-gamers since the 1980s.) But all that is only speculation, and if any of it were true, what Don doesn't need is scornful opinion and hurtful insult. If anything perhaps he needs to be understood. Maybe he needs to understand that people can have different viewpoints from his too, but I wouldn't be too harsh on him for that. Because, well, I don't feel like being harsh on a man who's earned my respect as a master in the game when I'm not one.
Until I relocate a source of his very interesting essays, I'm leaving the broken link available.