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View Full Version : Political Correctness: An Unlikely Friend



Domino Derval
03-31-2012, 06:31 AM
LANGUAGE WARNING

It comes up in every forum everywhere, especially here, where the free expression of ideas is our bread and butter: the dreaded specter of political correctness. Threads pop up like prairie dogs, where someone wonders if his or her (almost always relatively innocuous) idea is TOO OFFENSIVE TO BE WRITTEN, and a flood of posters will encourage them to write whatever they want. That's awesome. Then come the people decrying the state of our politically correct society, the one that causes people to take offense to every little thing, the one that drives authors mad every time they want to write about matters of race or sexuality or... or even duck migration, so out of control is our international P.C. virus.

I would like to state that I dislike the term "political correctness" and its derivatives. Mostly because I consider myself a fairly progressive person, and it's almost always used as an attack on progressives, as if conservatives can't ever be offended about anything. When Obama said in 2008 that people "cling to their guns and their religion," that sure as hell offended people, and was quite politically incorrect (literally, it almost derailed his nomination).

(Sidenote: Okay, I do have to note that Bill Maher is a liberal who uses the p-correct/incorrect terminology, but the guy's role in Rush Limbaugh's "slutgate," which lead to his own "cuntgate," definitely puts his way of speaking into the usual way the terms are used.)

Even moreso, I hate the way the term is used. It's used to deny people's right to an opinion. It is so, so, so much easier to write your opponent off as being crazy kookoo hysterical, or to say that people are just riled up because they want to preserve appearances when secretly they agree with you, than it is to accept arguments against you on their own terms. It's an easy out. A tempting out. Soooo sweet.

And besides, we've all heard anecdotes about a group of Jews who are perfectly fine with the phrase "Merry Christmas" so why do you have to say "Happy Holidays," or a white person getting offended on behalf of your black friend when your black friend thought your joke was really, really funny. As if those stories made up for the concerns minorities have over the way they're talked and written about.

So now that I've whined about the terminology, I'll keep using it because it's what we know.

Political correctness, and the culture around it, can make us better writers. It forces us to think harder, to work harder, to exercise our written word-loving brains harder. It gives us so much more material to work with.

I'm writing about this because of a few news stories I've read this week:

1) Stripper leads double-life as society reporter (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/03/journalistsarah-tressler-fired-by-houston-chronicle-for-stripping/)
2) Transsexual disqualified from Miss Universe Pageant (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2012/03/jenna-talackova-miss-universe-canada-transgender.html)
3) The abortion debate is about more than politicians and protests (http://jezebel.com/5897699/brilliant-abortion-clinic-landlord-teaches-protesters-that-payback-is-a-bitch), it can have hijinx!

50 years ago, the first two stories would have been unthinkable. No one would have argued for the rights of sex workers or the transgendered to cross over into the mainstream, and the women (yeah, I'm going with women) in those two stories would not have had the audacity to go assert themselves the way they did. Having a society where tolerance is at least paid lip-service gave them the ability to dream outside of the boxes they would have been placed into.

And aren't those stories such better fertilizer for the already fertile mind of the writer? Yeah, strippers are bimbos and do drugs and maybe a Russian mobster will pimp them out blah blah. This is a woman who was smart enough to get her Masters, but didn't think her double life would cause any problems? Why not? After seeing all the debauchery at the club, she had enough faith in humanity to believe no one would "out" her. What kind of a worldview does she have? What does her case tell us about our world, sex, money and employment, and the like?

Why did Jenna lie (or stretch the truth) on her Miss Universe application, only to reveal her past when questioned? Did someone snitch on her? Who? Why? Does she see the transgender pageants she entered as equal to Miss Universe, or did she long to escape what might have seemed to be a "pageant ghetto?" What was school like for her, on hormonal treatments at such a young age? Aren't these questions more compelling than seeing another dead, or perhaps killer, "transvestite" on a cop show?

For that matter, why is it politically incorrect to question Jenna's right to call herself a woman, but not politically incorrect for her to sue an orthodox, established organization on behalf of a small minority? Whose politics are we talking about, here? God, I hate the terminology surrounding P.C.

As for the third story, no matter which side you take on the abortion debate, isn't that something? We all know that we can address our differences through words, politics, or violence. But what about when opinions are so heated that the traditional methods don't work? Is it P.C. or not P.C. to sidestep the debate altogether, using unconventional tactics to advance your side? What story opportunities there are, real and fictional, in breaking the rules and smashing the debate!

Now that we have a multi-, perhaps omni-, cultural society, everyone can make themselves heard. It doesn't always do much good, but almost anyone can share their experience. I was beta-ing the work of a friend, and he made a joke about a Muslim superhero. But I couldn't help but wonder how a Muslim superhero would work. Would his powers make him question his faith? I assume a "hero" would be against Al Qaeda, but what about the PLO? How would the public react to a Muslim superhero? I'm so glad I can about these things without dismissing them as a liberal fever-dream.

By now, anyone still reading probably thinks my own stories are the most bring pieces of pablum ever. I don't think that's the case. There's blood, drugs, sex, romance, revenge, love, hatred, naughty words, and yeah, stuff I pulled from my ass without consulting a representative multicultural focus group. I poke fun at conservative politicians, but I also put my "internet communist" character through an ideological wringer. I consider myself a GLBT ally, but my GLBT characters have the same glaring flaws my WASPs do.

It comes from my belief that giving someone equal representation is not the same as deifying them. That my intended audience can tell the difference between a joke and a threat. That subverting, rather than ignoring, stereotypes is a good thing to do in satire. This leaves me open to criticism. I may offend. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that because I've thought very carefully about what I put onto the page and why. If I'm going to do that with my comma placement, why wouldn't I do that with my ideas?

If I still offend, I figure I have four responses.
1) No, that's not what I meant, let me explain it to you.
2) I kind of meant to offend you. My opinion is that you suck, and I stand by it.
3) We'll have to agree to disagree, I just don't see things that way.
4) I'm sorry, I'll do better. NOT "I'm sorry you were offended." I think I'm of the last generation to be raised thinking that an apology is a good way to mend bridges and show I've learned, rather than an admission of weakness that will surely allow the rest of the tribe to devour me.

None of these responses are, "You are censoring me," unless the government or publisher literally steps in and takes a black marker to my manuscripts. Refusal to publish, refusal to purchase, or refusal to take my shit lying down constitutes a difference of belief. And that happens in this zany world of ours. And just as I expect them to take me seriously, I will try, though I might fail, to believe that criticism comes from an honest difference of opinion, and not a show of "political correctness." Whatever that means that particular day.

Thanks to anyone who actually read all of this. I had a lot on my mind. Here's a funny but poignant stand-up routine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmkHLiZMJeU) on the topic as your reward. I'm so generous.

MacAllister
03-31-2012, 07:09 AM
Someone pretty clearly hasn't read the Newbie Guide yet.

Domino Derval
03-31-2012, 07:19 AM
I did, but i wasn't accusing anyone of being inappropriately PC, and I thought my thoughts on the matter were respectful enough to be worth sharing.

MacAllister
03-31-2012, 07:28 AM
You're fine. :) I'm just a smart-ass.

Domino Derval
03-31-2012, 07:29 AM
EDIT: OMG I WAS FREAKING OUT

Medievalist
03-31-2012, 07:31 AM
You're fine. :) I'm just a smart-ass.

OMG.

I am appalled. I had heard that about you people, that you were, like all, registered Smart Asses.

kuwisdelu
03-31-2012, 07:36 AM
99% of "political correctness" is just not being a douchebag.

The other 1% is, when there is overwhelming evidence of your maybe-even-totally-unintentional douchebaggery, stop it, own up to it, and apologize for being a douchebag.

Beyond that, don't worry so much. Idiots will be idiots.

Smartasses will be smartasses.

Macs and Meds will be Macs and Meds.

MacAllister
03-31-2012, 07:37 AM
EDIT: OMG I WAS FREAKING OUT

I'm sorry. :) I didn't mean to spook you. You were just so VERY serious -- I couldn't resist.

Domino Derval
03-31-2012, 07:45 AM
I'm sorry. :) I didn't mean to spook you. You were just so VERY serious -- I couldn't resist.

You think that's bad, my followup defending my post was about to make Jame Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington look like John Belushi in Animal House!

Debio
03-31-2012, 07:48 AM
I'm sorry. :) I didn't mean to spook you. You were just so VERY serious -- I couldn't resist.

I'm kinda jealous. You got Mac to come out and tease you. I haven't seen that happen often. Wowsers!

CACTUSWENDY
03-31-2012, 07:51 AM
I find myself not leaving posts sometimes because of the PC stuff. It's not worth the fight. IMHO

I do agree that when done in a story any thing goes. When done in a forum, it's best to weigh your words with more care. I guess I am a peace maker at heart. It is amazing that some do get mighty upset when someone states their views on something. That's when it borders on personal attacks. I do feel everyone is entitled to their own opinions and has the right to voice them. Just be sure you are also willing to take the fire that goes with some of it.

What I find is that most of the jokes that I thought were so funny for many years are now not consider funny. :Shrug: Most jokes tread on someones' toes.

jjdebenedictis
03-31-2012, 08:10 AM
OMG.

I am appalled. I had heard that about you people, that you were, like all, registered Smart Asses.Oh, crap. No one told me smart asses had to register. Can I do it online? Is there a fee?

Medievalist
03-31-2012, 08:20 AM
Oh, crap. No one told me smart asses had to register. Can I do it online? Is there a fee?

There's an exam.

And a ritual sacrifice.

MacAllister
03-31-2012, 08:43 AM
A ritual sacrifice? Is that what the kids are calling it, these days...

Albedo
03-31-2012, 08:59 AM
We called it 'choking the chicken' when I was at school.

Wait, what are we talking about?

Medievalist
03-31-2012, 08:59 AM
Is that what the kids are calling it, these days...

Git offa mah lawn junyah. You're blockin' mah walkah.

backslashbaby
03-31-2012, 09:16 AM
You think that's bad, my followup defending my post was about to make Jame Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington look like John Belushi in Animal House!

It was very, very long, too. Amirite? :D

I love how you were freaking out!

BenPanced
03-31-2012, 09:17 AM
Git offa mah lawn junyah. You're blockin' mah walkah.
Uphill both directions, snow, barefoot, blah blah blah. Change the record, Grammaw.:e2violin:

jjdebenedictis
03-31-2012, 09:57 AM
There's an exam.

And a ritual sacrifice.Can I use one of the ritual sacrifices I've got lying around? I have extras.

Debio
03-31-2012, 09:58 AM
Come on, when I was a kid, my desktop computer had 64k memory.

64k.

It was top o'the line.

I don't use a walker, but I do use a cane. I got 8. For different occasions don't you know.

Do I get to say "GET OFF MY LAWN!" ?

As to the OP topic. I used to be, like many inexperienced young men who feel like outsiders, very much anti-pc. Then somewhere along the line I figured it out. If people would just state it simply, "don't be a dick when you don't have to," I think most folks would be happy.

Medievalist
03-31-2012, 10:05 AM
Can I use one of the ritual sacrifices I've got lying around? I have extras.

Of course.

But don't forget the traditional obligatory oblation.

Medievalist
03-31-2012, 10:05 AM
Come on, when I was a kid, my desktop computer had 64k memory.

We had a VAX.

And we LIKED it.

Debio
03-31-2012, 10:10 AM
I need to practice the old fart stuff more.

I think I just got owned.

Bartholomew
03-31-2012, 11:35 AM
Derailed by the admin in one fell swoop. o_o

Medievalist
03-31-2012, 11:56 AM
I need to practice the old fart stuff more.

I think I just got owned.

You're just not old enough to have accreted enough dead hardware, and become bitter and grumpy.

But yes, all your base are belong to us.

RichardGarfinkle
03-31-2012, 01:20 PM
On the matter of fogeydom and computers. My school had a teletype connected to NYU's mainframe. A teletype. That's what I learned to program on. I had to save things on paper tape! My first actual computer was a Radio Shack CoCo. And I can still keep ahead of these young whipper snappers, with a good following breeze and if I could just remember where I left... What was I saying?

Mac, I have to say that tease would have scared the heck out of me too.

On to the OP. I first heard the term Politically Correct from a gay friend in college. He got me to understand that it was important because of how many cultural stereotypes against gays were built in to the way people thought and talked (I had said something massively jerky without realizing it).

Whenever people have unspoken assumptions that need challenging, it can be necessary to challenge them. The idea that PC has become thought police has been exaggerated. In many respects it is a simple reminder of proper person to person respect. Of course, it can be taken too far, but the self discipline of considering how one's words come across is vital for interpersonal relations ( says the guy who was a jerk on another thread a few days ago).

RichardGarfinkle
03-31-2012, 02:00 PM
And another thing why do the sacrifices have to be ritual?
What ever happened to a good old fashioned informal New England clambake and offering to Cthulu.
Hmm! Innsmouth cooking.

crunchyblanket
03-31-2012, 03:31 PM
And another thing why do the sacrifices have to be ritual?
What ever happened to a good old fashioned informal New England clambake and offering to Cthulu.
Hmm! Innsmouth cooking.

My god, you Americans overthink everything. We just throw stones at the moon to chase it away and sometimes, if the harvest is failing, we burn a ginger kid*

*disclaimer: I am a ginger kid. It's cool.

Mr Flibble
03-31-2012, 04:34 PM
( says the guy who was a jerk on another thread a few days ago).


Pfft, I'm pretty much a jerk weekly, daily even (not intentionally, but still. If I meant to be offensive, well, let's just say you'd probably know about it :D) Thing is, it's hard not to be sometimes - sometimes we just don't think, or don't realise that X is a jerky thing to say/do. Often because, well like this: I can research about what it's like to be a POC. I can empathise, I can sympathise, but short of some plastic surgery, I will never truly know what it's like. Add to that cultural differences between say the US and the UK, and the fact that POC differ in what they find jerky things to say...same as a guy is never going to know what it's like to pop out a sprog, or have someone look down your shirt/up your skirt rather than look you in the eyes (they do find out what a slap feels like if they try it on me though lol)...well, sometimes all you can do is hold your hands up and say 'Sorry, I was a jerk. I shall try to be less jerky in future'.

I have to say this quite a lot, since I suffer with Foot In Mouth Disease...normally resulting from my mouth saying what is in my brain without any kind of buffer.

So if I've been a jerk to any of you lately, sorry, I shall try to be less jerky in future.



we burn a ginger kid That's where I've been going wrong! All my goats are cream with black noses. :D

ETA: As for teh OP...I've got this thing going to be published, see, and I'm pretty sure that at least one person is going to call me out for being a mysoginist (which would be kinda funny), and then if they find out I'm a chick, maybe say I suffer from misandry...The people (who may be, or may not perhaps) initially offended are going to be people just like me. I'm already working out just how to counter it, but it was done a'purpose. Not the offence that is, but why it was written that way.

Debio
03-31-2012, 04:54 PM
I have found that the quickest way to solve the "I was a jerk" thing, is just that, apologize sincerely. You don't have to grovel, but a simple sincere apology works wonders. Especially if, when you don't understand exactly why you sounded like a jerk you ask. Most folks are willing to give an explanation. I also suffer from chronic foot and mouth disease and have experience with this.


As for getting accusations of misogyny and/or misandry, how 'bout telling them it's neither or both, and that you hate everyone equally. Then let them figure out the rest.

Mr Flibble
03-31-2012, 04:57 PM
you hate everyone equally.

Excellent! *makes notes*

DreamWeaver
03-31-2012, 05:58 PM
OMG--a friendly and light-hearted PC thread. Grab your tinfoil hat and meet me in the bunker, the world is ending!!!!1!!!!!

:tongue

Debio
03-31-2012, 06:02 PM
OMG--a friendly and light-hearted PC thread. Grab your tinfoil hat and meet me in the bunker, the world is ending!!!!!!!!!!

;)

See, it's that Mayan Calendar thing. You know, December 21st, 2012? It says something about this age ending. Everyone thinks it's the end of the world, in a way, for some people, it may be the end.

What it is, for those really in the know, is that people finally decide not to be dicks to each other anymore. Tadaa! A new age is born.

ETA: I still need more to practice non-dickishness however, I still screw up way too often.

Libbie
03-31-2012, 06:23 PM
I don't concern myself overly much with political correctness, but then, I write fiction, so I'm writing with the voice of individual, made-up characters. That gives it a different ring, I think, than writing an editorial piece or writing journalism, or even writing narrative nonfiction. You can explore more "tricky" social issues through fiction from more unpopular viewpoints than you can through other modes of writing, and get away with harsher opinions than you might otherwise.

Manuel Royal
03-31-2012, 08:12 PM
"Political correctness" seems to be a fluid term. I think it's like pornography; hard to define precisely, but Justice Potter Stewart knows it when he sees it. Or he would if he hadn't been dead for 26 years.

Wicked
03-31-2012, 08:27 PM
:eek: Eep. If Mac had done that to me, I think my heart would have stopped on the spot.


*goes off to get the paddles, just in case*

Midian
03-31-2012, 08:40 PM
Come on, when I was a kid, my desktop computer had 64k memory.

64k.

It was top o'the line.


http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z291/digital_medievalist/Linked%20iamges/Compaq_portable.jpg

My first computer. The Suitcase. I had a dot-matrix printer to go with it. *sigh* So glad technology got lighter.

Kitty27
03-31-2012, 08:46 PM
I have no idea what's going on.

But the quotes are priceless,lol.

MacAllister
03-31-2012, 08:49 PM
C'mon...I'm not *that* scary, am I?

Wicked
03-31-2012, 08:59 PM
C'mon...I'm not *that* scary, am I?


I don't know, Ma'am. That depends on which answer you want me to give you.

http://smileys.on-my-web.com/repository/Others/others-233.gif





:tongue

HoneyBadger
03-31-2012, 09:12 PM
Well I think this is very offensive and no one should ever be offensive I have a sister who is crippled in a wheelchair and it is very import too me that noone ever be offended by my writing which is why in my book about an autistic boy he is a HERO and MAGIC and if people says they can't be well let me first be to tell you

THEY CAN

EVERYTHING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

Medievalist
03-31-2012, 09:13 PM
Mine goes to 11.

Alessandra Kelley
03-31-2012, 09:27 PM
See, it's that Mayan Calendar thing. You know, December 21st, 2012? It says something about this age ending. Everyone thinks it's the end of the world, in a way, for some people, it may be the end.

What it is, for those really in the know, is that people finally decide not to be dicks to each other anymore. Tadaa! A new age is born.

ETA: I still need more to practice non-dickishness however, I still screw up way too often.

Pssst. The Mayans didn't count leap years. 2012 is over already.

benbradley
03-31-2012, 10:45 PM
Mine goes to 11.
http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i274/yetanotherboardie/14shirt-600x600-1.jpg

Chasing the Horizon
03-31-2012, 11:48 PM
As for getting accusations of misogyny and/or misandry, how 'bout telling them it's neither or both, and that you hate everyone equally. Then let them figure out the rest.
Yeah, misanthrope rules. :D


C'mon...I'm not *that* scary, am I?
Of course not.
:gone:

Soccer Mom
04-01-2012, 01:15 AM
OMG! I had the suitcase too. But not my first computer. My first computer was a TRS-80. I had the dot matrix too. Sounded like a swarm of mad bees when I printed something I had written with my smoking fast Scripsit program.



http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z291/digital_medievalist/Linked%20iamges/Compaq_portable.jpg

My first computer. The Suitcase. I had a dot-matrix printer to go with it. *sigh* So glad technology got lighter.

Medievalist
04-01-2012, 01:29 AM
My first computer was a TRS-80. I had the dot matrix too. Sounded like a swarm of mad bees when I printed something I had written with my smoking fast Scripsit program.

My older brother worked for Instant Software, a subsidiary of Byte Magazine.

I wrote a couple of game reviews, and got paid a nickel a line for re-keyboarding trash-80 basic to Timex Sinclair basic for a game I adored called Santa Paravia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Paravia_en_Fiumaccio).

For those of you of a nostalgic bent, you can play it online (http://www.santaparavia.com/Home.aspx).

It is the ancestor of all those Age of Empire and Civilization games.

Linda Adams
04-01-2012, 01:44 AM
Mine was a Heathkit H89.


http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z291/digital_medievalist/Linked%20iamges/Compaq_portable.jpg

My first computer. The Suitcase. I had a dot-matrix printer to go with it. *sigh* So glad technology got lighter.

jjdebenedictis
04-01-2012, 05:04 AM
Yeah? Yeah? Well, when my mom got into computing, the big new invention was magnetic tape. BEAT THAT.

Christine N.
04-01-2012, 05:16 AM
Is this the queue for the Smart-Asses?

Do I get a registration card?

benbradley
04-01-2012, 05:28 AM
Is this the queue for the Smart-Asses?

Do I get a registration card?
Yeah, but you have to punch it yourself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IBM_Port-A-Punch.jpg

Debio
04-01-2012, 05:53 AM
Pssst. The Mayans didn't count leap years. 2012 is over already.

Ahh, why'd you go and have to tell me that. I was hoping that we'd actually learn something. This means I'm gonna have to go back to the "peepul is stoopidz" thing.

Domino Derval
04-01-2012, 06:02 AM
My thread about how it is wrong to dismiss the unexpected reactions of others is filled with reactions of others that I didn't expect.

I could say I was hoisted by my own petard, but I think I'll pretend it's a zen thing.

MaryMumsy
04-01-2012, 07:11 AM
Come on, when I was a kid, my desktop computer had 64k memory.

64k.

It was top o'the line.

Pish and tosh. My first computer didn't even *have* memory. It had two floppy ports, for 8 inch floppies. One for the program and one for data.

And I wasn't a kid.

MM

Medievalist
04-01-2012, 07:14 AM
Floppies? HA!

Remember stringy floppies?

And earlier still, casette tapes?

MaryMumsy
04-01-2012, 07:16 AM
Floppies? HA!

Remember stringy floppies?

And earlier still, casette tapes?

And those huge reel to reel mag tapes?

MM

Soccer Mom
04-01-2012, 07:17 AM
I wrote my first book using Scripsit on my TRS-80. I was a college student.

<---semi old fart


Psst: and I just love it when threads go sideways like this.

ETA: And I still think "probable cause" when I see PC, not personal computer or politically correct. I guess it's all in your frame of reference.

Debio
04-01-2012, 07:25 AM
I apologize to the OP for my involvement in any derailing of this topic. But I must say, I feel warm and happy. This is the first discussion in my experience that touched on PC that has not devolved into a raging troll filled flame war.

Granted, my experience is limited. (at least I am hoping that is the case)

I remember the eight inch floppies, and the casset tapes. I also, for one class had to use the punch cards. It was training for working in those companies who didn't keep up with the times. This was before I realized that I am not a programmer. Took me much to long to learn that.

How many of you used a hole punch to make your own double sided floppies to save money?

Chasing the Horizon
04-01-2012, 08:49 AM
Gods, you're all so old. I can't even remember a time without CDs.

*leaves at a fast walk before any of you can beat her with your canes*

lolchemist
04-01-2012, 09:11 AM
OH YEAH??? Well, I had to write my first novel with a chisel and a mallet on slabs of freaking stone okay???

Seriously though, we're so lucky we don't have to deal with that stuff anymore! Whenever I start whining about writing, I remind myself of what authors who only had pen & paper or typewriters had to go through and it pulls me out of my spoiled bratty self-pitying ways right away!

RichardGarfinkle
04-01-2012, 01:26 PM
OH YEAH??? Well, I had to write my first novel with a chisel and a mallet on slabs of freaking stone okay???

Seriously though, we're so lucky we don't have to deal with that stuff anymore! Whenever I start whining about writing, I remind myself of what authors who only had pen & paper or typewriters had to go through and it pulls me out of my spoiled bratty self-pitying ways right away!

Yes. We tend to forget that the word manuscript literally means handwriting. And that 'cut' and 'paste' involved actual scissors and actual paste.

And think about the lengths of some of those old handwritten texts. My hand cramps up at that thought of that much penmanship.

Christine N.
04-01-2012, 05:19 PM
I took "Computer Programming" my Freshman year in HS.

On Apple IIe's. Writing Basic.

Ah, the good old days. I love proper OS's...

crunchyblanket
04-01-2012, 07:22 PM
My first computer was a typewriter. Damn, I loved that thing. The wi-fi sucked, though.

benbradley
04-01-2012, 08:51 PM
When I was a youngster, we only had NarrowFi.

And we LIKED it.

RichardGarfinkle
04-01-2012, 09:19 PM
I think this sums up all our computer fogeying:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1fBd7UbQPA

Regrettably not the original artist, but very funny.

Here are the lyrics:

http://www.stevemacdonald.org/lyrics/wiwab.html

Medievalist
04-01-2012, 09:35 PM
I know the ultimate computing set up (http://www.lisaspangenberg.com/it/2002/08/31/computer-folklore/).

But I gotta say, my words per hour productivity has gone way up with this amazing new software just for writers (http://www.absolutewrite.com/jotters_jolt/).

I have the free trial version, but I'm going to move everything from Scrivener to this new app.

heyjude
04-01-2012, 09:47 PM
This thread is way more fun than I thought it would be.


I wrote my first book using Scripsit on my TRS-80. I was a college student.

We had one of those! I was a kid. My grandmother still has it. It's amazing. Wonder if it'd still turn on?

ironmikezero
04-01-2012, 10:29 PM
Just remember that getting old ain't for sissies...

The second thing that goes is memory... damn, I can't remember the first.

RichardGarfinkle
04-01-2012, 10:33 PM
Just remember that getting old ain't for sissies...

The second thing that goes is memory... damn, I can't remember the first.

Processing Power, but that might just be Moore's Law.

MoLoLu
04-01-2012, 11:26 PM
Good threat.

And wow... I feel young remembering floppy disks as a young kid (the ones which really flopped I mean). They were fun. My dad hated it when I played with them though.

benbradley
04-02-2012, 12:07 AM
But then, of course, Moore's Law is only about the number of transistors on a chip, or "Integrated Circuit" as they called 'em back then.

Manuel Royal
04-02-2012, 04:48 PM
C'mon...I'm not *that* scary, am I?That's not the adjective I'd use, no.

I love how AW threads migrate to completely different subjects. (Unless I start the thread, in which case it's annoying.) I remember my dad bringing home punched computer tape, which we kids played with in various ways, and an integrated circuit chip I used for show-and-tell in 1970. (I brought a microscope.)

Thinking of taking a step back in technology and getting an Alphasmart Neo, just to force myself away from the Internet when I write. (Though sometimes I go even further back and just take a notebook and pen somewhere. Occasionally get an idea that way that never occurs when I'm staring at this screen.)

Perhaps the subjects of political correctness and computer technology will intersect. When true artificial intelligence comes into the world, what will we call it? Will it be intelligent enough to be offended at being called a computer? (Or will the first true AI not exist on any one machine, but be spread around the 'Net?)


I prefer the term "artificial person".

Alessandra Kelley
04-02-2012, 04:54 PM
When I was little, my school had me sit in a big refrigerated room doing math problems on an electric typewriter that would automatically type the problem for me, then wait for my answer. If I took too long it would make a little grumbly type, I don't remember which character.

And I remember a teacher who had a calculator with little tiny red numbers, like miniature neon glass tubes, stacked on top of each other, and whichever number lit up was the right one for that place when doing calculations.