Friday Flotsam: Starts Grim, Gets Happier

1. An exhausting week full of discouragement. I’m really realizing how much I dislike coding, but the trouble is that I don’t know what else I can do for a day job. I’d really like to have a job that I can actually be invested in, even if it isn’t the Final Goal, but there seems to be so little available in that regard; mostly empty drudgery poking about on computer screens to try to earn a little bit of extra money for an imaginary person I don’t like.

2. One psychological consequence that is not often considered is the fact that once you’ve done something that would ordinarily be considered wrong, you are thereafter committed to whatever has justified it. Because to do otherwise is not just to admit that you were wrong, but to admit that you have done wrong, perhaps something monstrous. The French Revolutionaries were actually aware of this: they encouraged their followers to commit atrocities to ensure that they would never be able to go back and that no one would accept them if they did.

I rather suspect that a lot of our current ‘social issues’ operate on the same way: the extreme vehemence displayed by, say, abortion advocates is not just due to ideological conviction, but also because they are aware that, if the other side is right, then they’ve been pushing for and committing an unspeakable evil all this time.

“He who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” works just as well in the reverse.

3. Revolutionary days of July, so I’ve been hitting Liberalism a fair amount recently. Probably going to take a break from the topic for a while, since I know a lot of what readership I have are Conservatives and it isn’t polite to continually harp on points of disagreement with people you like and who might give you money.

4. Anyway, on to cheerier matters! I got another review: the inestimable Caroline Furlong has provided an entirely-too-flattering rundown of my mystery novel The Ten Commandments of Murder, the first of the ‘Apprenticeship of Alfred More’ series (also the only one so far, but we’ll work on that).

Go check it out and see if it sounds appealing!

5. So far, I notice that Edgar Rice Burroughs’s books, though fantastically creative in the details, tend to adhere to a strictly formulaic basic premise. Namely: “There is a man of exceptional physical abilities and knightly virtue who falls unreservedly in love with a singularly beautiful woman and uses his manly strength to protect her from various dangers, particularly against a more conventional and less admirable suitor.”

I mean, if you’re going to stick to a formula, make it a good one!

6. I found out about this play: The Shark is Broken, apparently now running in the West End: it’s a show about the chaotic, contentious, and often downright painful production of Jaws, which miraculously enough resulted in one of the best films ever made. Co-writer Ian Shaw stars as his own father, Robert Shaw (who was also an accomplished playwright and wrote much of his own dialogue for the film).

I really, really hope that they put out a recording of this, because that sounds amazing! Check out the trailer.

Then check out this clip from an interview where he talks about his father’s famously acrimonious relationship with Richard Dreyfuss.

7. Gonna be out of town next week, so that may result in less or at least lighter posting and certainly less attention. Hopefully it’ll be a bit of a restorative, but we’ll see.

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