Musings/Träumereien/Devaneios

Thinking in Code: "Antao's Tetris Ported from Python"

 

If you want to have a go at my version of the game, you can install it from here at the Google Play Store (Python version running on the Chrome Browser here).
 
Any idiot can code, and many do. The skill is in understanding the maths and algorithms (speaking as an idiot who codes).
 
Lazy (or to be fair perhaps just poorly informed) people have taken to use the word "coding" as a synonym for software development. Actually, coding is tricky in and of itself (read the C++11 reference manual and tell me it ain't so) but it is still only the "bricklaying" part of construction, so to speak. Programming is creative and exploratory and stimulating to the imagination. It's a different way of thinking that serves people well in all sorts of life situations outside of software. So as a way to develop skills in logical thinking, problem solving and invention it's very useful. Not every child will go on to write software as an adult but having a basic understanding and insight into systems has to be a fundamental part of every child's education I say. If you don't understand the systems controlling your life how can you ever use them to your best advantage?
 
Actually the basics of code are not directly computer related at all. A simple binary device is an on-off light switch which says something like when I am 'on' my user is at home and when I am 'off' my user is away. A second light switch allows this develop into when both lights are on my user is awake and when only one light is on my user is asleep and so on. The code is what you make the light sequences mean. The same use is made of morse code, an abacus, flag signals , hand gestures, anything that can be logically explained to mean something for each different state. I think most children develop logic rather more quickly than we believe possible, and the only problem with computers is demystifying their apparent complexity when they are only ever very fast at very simple arithmetic and being given very precise instructions about what to do with all that speed adding numbers together.
 
 
If you're into Android Game Development, read on.

The Risks of Universal Enfranchisement: "Starship Troopers" by Robert A. Heinlein

Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein
Word of warning. I’m going to discourse both on the book and on the Verhoeven’s movie.
 
He didn't include them as "grunts" probably because the training was sufficiently hard that most wouldn't have made it. If you read the description of the training it wasn't just 12 weeks square-bashing, it reads far more like Special Forces.
 
It might also have been because he was paying lip service to a society kind of modelled on 50s America where the ladies were the home-makers and females in the frontline weren't even on the radar.
 
However, having said that, we have the fabulous line about females in high rank and esteem:
 
"If the Almighty ever needs a hand to run the universe: hot ship pilot Yvette Deladrier" after Starship commander Deladrier brakes her ship's orbit to recover a lander that has blasted off late and which otherwise would miss rendezvous and all on board would perish. I’ve heard from a lot of my friends saying the movie version is utter shit. I’m not so sure. The thing is, Verhoeven was a master of taking existing texts and subtly pushing them into satire by overdoing Hollywood/MTV filming tropes. The viewer was encouraged to look at the films as broad entertainment and then ask what the actions of the heroes had to do with American culture. He did the same with Joe Eszterhas's scripts for “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls”. “Basic Instinct” is a detective story where the 'hero' is someone who's already gotten away with murder because of his badge, and who shoots another innocent victim before the film is out, while the 'villain' is never actually shown to kill anyone. She's chiefly a suspect because of her sexuality (which is why GLAAD picketed the film) and lack of shame about it. “Showgirls” meanwhile depicts a vision of Las Vegas as a patriarchal dystopia where every woman is judged on her body and literally every male character is a predator of some kind. 
 
 
If you're into SF, read on.

Argghh, Just One More Go Mum: "Exploring Tetris On My Own"

 

"but...but...the Spectrum is for educational purposes Mum! Honest, look it comes with a game called Chess and Scrabble!"

 



Ping pong, Pacman, Defender, Elite, Sabre Wolf, Manic Miner, Jetset Willy, Tekken Sensible Soccer, Mario, Sonic, NHL, PES, Fifa, COD, Forza, Dirt, Bubble Burst, Candy Crush, Donald Trump, Mickey Mouse... Never affected me in anyway whatsoever, thinking back, I still haven't handed in my Technical Drawing homework due in 1985. "Argghh, just one more go mum."

I grew up with a commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. I use to play games obsessively, especially Elite but it never impacted my social and family life. Apart from a bit of cop killing and drug, slave and alien artifact trading here and there I have grown up to be a well rounded member of society

I seem to be the only person in public spaces sitting staring into space, thinking without a device of some kind. Looking at other people using their phones, it seems that we're at the point where they're virtually programmed to reach for their phones as soon at every conceivable opportunity without even thinking about it. Often going through the same cycle, checking text, mail, news. Seems the whole concept of independent reflection has gone out the window.

 

If you're into Game Development in Python and Android, read on.

Darkness Changes Nothing: “Replacement” by Tor Ulven

Replacement (Norwegian Literature) by Tor Ulven (2012-06-19) - Tor Ulven;Kerri A. Pierce

“There’s no point trying to tell yourself that darkness changes nothing; maybe she believes that, maybe she doesn’t, but in any case it’s wrong, because darkness happens, it fills a space, and it could also be full of something like the way a drawer is full of silverware, or the earth is full of insects that scatter in panic when you lift a rotten log, even though darkness could also be a balloon, a balloon filled with black air.”

 

In “Replacement” by Tor Ulven

 

Because of its brevity and yet countless fathoms-deep complexity coupled with what is not easy text I tend to consider “Replacement” as an example of a novel that sifts the casual reader from the committed enthusiast. In the same vein as “Heart of Darkness” by Conrad and “Wild Highway” by Bill Drummond & Mark Manning in terms of seriousness of theme in a small expertly packed parcel, but providing a rather more difficult text to engage with,“Replacement” is an significant novel on many levels.

 

“Replacement” carries a matching authorial mood of darkness that is perhaps the seeds of meta-fiction; you are aware that the style of the telling of the tale is intricately woven into the fabric of the tale itself. The clarity and simplicity of the authorial voices in the two books above-mentioned is not present and you, the reader, are called upon to grapple with the text as part of the experience the book is offering up. And it's a hell of a lot shorter than “Moby Dick”.

 

 

If you're into Mundane Fiction, read on.

Fictionalizing Philosopher: “Philip K. Dick and Philosophy - Do Androids Have Kindred Spirits” by Dylan E. Wittkower

Philip K. Dick and Philosophy: Do Androids Have Kindred Spirits? - D.E. Wittkower

‘In Blade Runner, also, it is an authentic relationship to Being that is taken to be what essentially ensouls both humans and replicants. Such is the import of Roy Batty’s famous final soliloquy:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.”’

 

In “Philip K. Dick and Philosophy - Do Androids Have Kindred Spirits” by Dylan E. Wittkower

 

 

I just wanted to say that in my opinion any attempt to construct a coherent interpretation pf Phil Dick’s universe is missing the point. To be able to to construct a Weltanschauung of Dick’s writing we should focus only on philosophy. In all of Dick’s fiction time and causality are of the essence. The point is that, once time and causality become malleable, there is no hope of forming a solid, consistent interpretation of events in Dick’s fiction. That leads to our questioning the Nature of Reality. The focus shifts from epistemology - the problem of knowledge - to ontology - the way different realities are produced. This shift, according to Brian McHale, is precisely what defines the transition from modernism to postmodernism. In its resistance to coherent interpretation, "Ubik" is similar to certain more "literary" works of the 60s, for example the “nouveau romans” of Robbe-Grillet, or Richard Brautigan's "In Watermelon Sugar". (Granted these are very different stylistically). Is it because Dick is writing SF that so many assume the incoherence is sloppiness rather than a deliberate rhetorical strategy?

 

I think Robbe-Grillet was perhaps deliberately, not just stylistically, trying to put thinking and theorizing about the art of writing into the structure of his novels to create novelty, as writing, which he called “Noveau Roman”. I don't know what Brautigan was trying to do, but Phil Dick's subjects and concerns about reality weren't about writing per se, but about living. I don't think he was trying to deliberately create a new kind of writing or novel. That doesn't mean his works are narrowly interpretable, but many, many SF novels have time travel, space/time warps, and so on, but are interpretable. Interpretations or readings are just perspectives which aren't meant to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Reasonably consistent interpretations are possible, such a everything-is-perfect's Jungian analysis. Works like Phil Dick's makes people want to interpret them and present many overlapping and partial possibilities of interpretation and perhaps ultimate impenetrability.

 

 

If you're into Literary Criticism on Phil Dick, read on.

Goodreads' Censorship: G.R. Reader's Off-Topic

OFF-TOPIC: The Story of an Internet Revolt by G.R. Reader - G.R. Reader
The closest source I have to hand "the doctrine that knowledge, truth and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute" does seem to cover some of the arguments dealing with Goodreads' censorship. I don't deny that the world's a complex place but when you get down to the nitty gritty I don't see a third space we've carved out for yourselves between relative and absolute values. Literature is not just a social pursuit - if it was, it would be a hobby. Name an education free of the teaching of it in our society? And why would it be universal to our society in that way? It is, in Donne's sense, involved with our social sphere in a way that buying small-gauge railway models is not. But if you are determined that literature is just a social pursuit then indeed, we have no further point to discuss.
 
Amazon are compelling us. One may wish to view it simply as they are offering each of us a choice, and that if sufficient numbers of us choose then we will have in effect voted to change our society - in ways we may not have considered, in ways we may not want, in ways that a minority of us who have never purchased anything from them are powerless to resist. They are no more compelling us than cigarette manufacturers, or the government, or drug dealers, or manufacturers of greenhouse gases, or the nazis, and so on, and so on. I see the logic of laissez-faire capitalism, even extended to the cultural and social sphere. 
 
 
If you "suffered" at the "hands" of GR, read on

 

An Operating System for a New World: "The Algorithm of Power” by Pedro Barrento

The Algorithm of Power - Pedro Barrento

“ ’Are you saying that ecological balance has been achieved through the collapse of the consumer society, media and democracy?’ ”

 

In “The Algorithm of Power” by Pedro Barrento

 

 

The idea that authors have to know science to write SF is laughably reductive, comically self-important, Mr Science Degree probably, and just provably untrue, as non-scientists Ballard or Banks demonstrated, as but one of many. You can describe a technology without knowing how it works, as a character this might work better than any attempt at omniscience... depends on the book! Exposition can be narcotic but often needs resisting.

 

We've got 6, no wait 7.5, soon to be 10-11 billion people all shitting in the ocean (metaphorically), we've got all kinds of other problems besides global warming. Fixing global warming would just get us on a path to be able to even talk about the root causes (late-stage capitalism and overpopulation) that we can't even mention today without freaking people out. Mostly, but we could get along with many more people if all those people weren't operating under the belief that their lives will only have meaning if they have MORE. The economic system/cult we are busily exporting around the world puts very near zero value on all the valuable things in the world like human life and nature and water and air and our very biosphere, while making greed and waste and obsolescence and evanescent zeroes in bank computers the highest possible aspiration for any human culture. With our values so screwed up, we would still be slowly murdering the planet with a far lower population.

 

No, the idea of the novel as a piece of esoteric, self-indulgent showmanship aimed at making the reader feel part of some occult intellectual elite is dying a welcome, although belated, death. Barrento's novel is anything but.

 

 

If you're into Portuguese SF, written originally in English, read on.

Amazon Cloud Drive Shutting Down Unlimited Storage: Outrage galore!

AND THEY WANT ME TO PAY 236 EUROS!! Outrage galore!
 
Nope. Not gonna happen.
 
Amazon offered "unlimited" storage to paying users then acted surprised when people started using it "creatively". They could have remedied that by implementing a 2TB limit or whatever for paying users and left everyone on the free tier with a 25GB limit, but they chose not to.
 
That's fine, it's their prerogative, but to make out that somehow Amazon hands were tied is somewhat misleading. Welcome to the world of money. Cloud storage was inevitably to hold its trusting customers to ransom one day...
 
People often say "you don't need to keep high res originals unless you're going to print large copies", but I think that's a bit misleading. Maybe I'm a geek, but there are times when I want to zoom in to, say, a street sign and work out where I took an old picture (non-GPS), or look at the time on someone's watch, or perhaps crop it to just a single face to print a portrait or use it as a profile image; and if I only have a low res copy, that can be difficult or impossible. I never know what use I might have for a photo in the future, so I always want to keep the full-size originals just in case. Having originals makes a big difference if you want to crop and edit photos. Also, screen resolutions are never going to go down. The days when your 640 x 480 pixel photo filled a screen have long gone....
 
I have paid great heed to Schofield's Law for many years: "It's not IF your hard drive fails, its WHEN...".

 

 

 

If you don't use clay tablets, please read this.

 

Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water: "Ubik" by Philip K. Dick

Ubik - Philip K. Dick

"'I am Ubik. Before the universe was I am. I made the suns. I made the worlds. I created the lives and the places they inhabit; I move them here, I put them there. They go as I say, they do as I tell them. I am the word and my name is never spoken, the name which no one knows. I am called Ubik but that is not my name. I am. I shall always be. ‘“

 

In “Ubik” by Philip K. Dick

 

 

This would feel like a meaningless read indeed if it wasn't, in fact, a very FUNNY one, full of a dry humor. In Ubik the characters are taken in such a subjective maze of crumbling reality, unexpected time-travelling and personal doubts, that it becomes a materialization of the absurdity of the human condition, in the form of an exhilarating fiction. If you are not into the humor of Kafka and Borges, it makes perfectly sense that you are not sensible to Dick's one. What makes Ubik a wonderful read still today? Dick didn't nail everything too tightly to the plot. The result may seem a potpourri but his worlds live and breathe. If he were writing now this book would make him a rebel and, given what he was like, would give most editors / publishers gray-hairs. It also begs the question (of others in the genre): Can you really do that?

 

I think the current fascination with Dick seems tied to the fact that most of his most popular books have dystopian or control themes. The other worldliness, or just around the corner-ness, of his stories, make it seem fictional, therefore enjoyable, yet also real and possible. I had been seeing a resurgence in sales of his books a couple of decades ago. This is just a speculative thought, but I wonder: If we had really been reading him for a spooky window into the future, then that means that the "seeds of the future dystopia" already started back then. Nixon had been around in Dick's time, but Reagan and the Republican nasties was their second coming. AI was only just poking its nose into things. 2000 was around the corner. Was Dick one of our clues to the future?

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

Reality and Illusion: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick, Robert Zelazny

The one faithful film adaptation of a PKD story I'm aware of was the Linklater version of A Scanner Darkly. All the others take a major conceptual element of the story's basic premise, but then seriously alter the narrative in ways that often make them very different thematically. I really liked the Linklater film, too, because I think the "slavish" recreation of the story does a far better job of presenting the ideas that Dick had in their full nuance and depth than any other film version of his work ever has.) Most other adaptations of his work (there are some I haven't seen) tend to fall far short of that, which is really a shame. I mean, Blade Runner (the 1982 version) is a great movie. I like it a lot, but the novel has layers of philosophical depth that the film just doesn't get anywhere near. “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is one of Dick's many explorations of what was clearly his favorite philosophical topic, namely "what is the difference between reality and an illusion?" The movie is reasonably accurate in its representation of the basic plot points (a police officer hunts for escaped androids from space colonies, who are illegally living on Earth and posing as humans) but doesn't even attempt to probe the weirder, but more thought-provoking elements of the story--e.g. that the human race is actually going extinct, and that the robots' brains are distinguishable from those of humans by the robots' inability to feel empathy toward living things.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

UNRELIABLE FIRST-PERSON NARRATIVE: “MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD” BY K. J. PARKER

Mightier than the Sword - Vincent Chong, K.J. Parker

It’s an interesting debate about SF being written by mainstream writers, and whether it is still SF. Most of the early examples are female writers who coupled SF and feminism. Atwood, LeGuin, Lessing, Octavia Butler (who also brought in race topics, of course). Whether you see them as SF or mainstream really depends which editions of their books you pick up. And it really doesn’t matter either way, they were (and are) just good. When it becomes embarrassing is when mainstream writers start playing with SF tropes but don’t have the skill to carry it off well. At the moment I’m reminded of that point in the eighties when mainstream white pop acts started rapping – embarrassing to say the least. You can tell when an artist has a real grasp on the tradition they are working in. You don’t expect classical musicians to be able to play rhythm and blues without at least listening to John Lee Hooker for a while, yet mainstream writers go stumbling into the depths of Hard SF territory without apparently reading any of what has come before. Fair enough if they can do it, but if Cormac McCarthy and Winterson are any guide it seems that they can’t. What’s “rebellious” about conforming to current expectations and ideology? Stereotypes and political correctness are two sides of the same coin, treating characters as statements or representatives and not as individuals.

Quite apart from believing there is space for pure entertainment, I also do not believe that interesting, challenging work usually comes about as a result of a writer sitting down and consciously thinking “OK, I’m going to tackle this important topic”. Writing is more often a process of exploration and discovery, with a lot of unconscious input. As a provision, I would also suggest that the expectation that writers must “treat characters as statements or representatives and not as individuals”, reliable narrators or not, is also a presumption and taste of our own particular time, place, and culture.

Why “must” this be so?

 

If you’re into SF-done-right, read on.

Representation of Human: "The Odyssey" by Homer (translated by Robert Fitzgerald; read by Dan Stevens)

The Odyssey: The Fitzgerald Translation - Homer, Robert Fitzgerald, D. S. Carne-Ross

I humbly declare this book to be the greatest literary work of mankind. If you don't learn Greek (worth it just to read this Meisterwerk, never mind the rest of the immortal trove of Greek literature) you can read it in so many translations that have become classics in their own use of the English language, Fagles and Murray, just to mention two. Oh, what the Hades, let's throw in a third, not just for its brilliant translation, but also owing to the exotic character behind it: no less than Lawrence of Arabia.

 

The Homeric poems were sung in a less-enlightened time, in comparison with the later Greek tragedies, and with the later epics too. Apollonius' Argonautica was composed, post Greek Tragedy, and his audience would have been, no doubt, familiar with Euripides' Medea. Questions such as how justice and revenge affect societies were addressed by Aeschylus in the Oresteia; likewise, the reception of the anthropomorphic gods, and their pettiness, was raised by Euripides in Hippolytus and the Bacchae. Furthermore, the real nature and brutality of warfare was also raised in the Trojan Women. Throw in how one state views another state, and questions of racial identity, and you have The Persians by Aeschylus, and Medea by Euripides. Additionally, if you include Philoctetes by Sophocles, and the issue of how youth should conduct themselves is also raised. If you consider, too, Ajax by Sophocles, and you find that the bloodthirsty myths of an earlier age are filtered through questions that C5 Athenian society faced. What is better, the brute force of an unsophisticated Ajax, or the sophistry and rhetorical arguments of Odysseus in Ajax? By the time we arrive at Virgil, and The Aenied, brutal events such as the death of Priam by Neoptolemus in Aeneid Book II, are tempered with a more enlightened approach. Neoptolemus is condemned for killing Priam, and rightly so, as mercy is important, and exemplifies the Romanitas of 'Sparing the humble, and conquering the proud'. However, Aeneas doesn't show mercy in his killing of Turnus at the end of Book XII.

 

 

If you're into Greek Literature, read on.

I Do Repent, and Yet I Do Despair: "Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe, Simon Trussler

Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe

For me, the key to Faustus is his interaction in Act V, Scene I with the "old man". The old man gives us Marlowe's theology:

 

Yet, yet, thou hast an amiable soul,”

 

—even after Faustus has made his deal with the devil and used the power he got for the previous 23 'years' and 364 'days', Faustus's soul is lovable. Just repent! Faustus replies:

 

Where art thou, Faustus? Wretch, what hast thou done?

Damned art thou, Faustus, damned: despair and die.”

 

Echoing the stories of Cain after his fratricide and Jesus on the cross, Faustus insists on his damnation. The old man contradicts him:

 

“Oh stay, good Faustus, stay thy desperate steps.

[. . .

…] call for mercy and avoid despair.”

 

The old man leaves, and Faustus speaks out his dilemma:

 

“I do repent, and yet I do despair.”

 

Mephistophilis calls Faustus a "traitor", and "arrest[s his] soul / For disobedience" — don't doubt the keenness of Marlowe's irony, or sarcasm —, and Faustus repents of his repentance —irony! sarcasm! —, and gets his final wish, to see "the face that launched a thousand ships". While he's going on about how he'll "be Paris" and get Helen—does Faustus not remember how that turned out??—, during his poetry the old man returns to the stage. When Faustus leaves, intoxicated with sexual love for Helen, the old man, before defying the devils who've come to take his body to fire (but not his soul), says of Faustus:

 

“Accursed Faustus, miserable man,

That from thy soul exclud'st the grace of heaven,

And fliest the throne of his tribunal seat.”

 

Faustus doesn't crave knowledge: he goes through the catalogue of human expertise at the beginning of the play and finds, study by study, their futility, and turns to "necromantic books": "A sound magician is a demi-god."

 

 

If you're into 16th century literature, read on.

Academic Side-Shows: "Owning Shakespeare” by James J. Marino

Owning William Shakespeare: The King's Men and Their Intellectual Property - James J. Marino

“Those who have taken Heminges and Concell at their word, hoping for some unmediated record of the authorial intent, have made a serious miscalculation. The writer, William Shakespeare, is not to be found in the Folio pages. The figure critics have embraced is an actor.”

 

In “Owning Shakespeare” by James J. Marino

 

Mediocrity has always ruled. And it still rules today, but in a different form. Someone once said that great poetry can no longer be written because we are now all democrats, aren't we? Mediocrity is good these days because it is 'democratic', not because it is aristocratic or Oxbridge elitist. But what we mean by "democracy" here is really bureaucracy. The plethora of creative-writing scholarships and courses promoting the most mediocre work is just one expression of this. For me, I think some of the great Shakespeare debates are side-shows (in Marino’s case the so-called “Sincklo/Soto Problem” in the play “The Taming of the Shrew”, or, should I say “The Taming of a Shrew”?) distracting us from the fact that mediocre values continue to be triumphant in our present poetic culture. I’m sure books and “problems” like these contribute to a true appreciation of Shakespeare unlike the ones dealing with the ill-reputed Authorship Question...Everyone is dancing round their handbags at this party... Once you get into the core truth of what Shakespeare is about - the philosophy, the language, the breathtaking understanding of human nature, the poignancy, you have to concede to a greater power somewhere within. Yes a genius, there's no other word, but surrounded by a core group to feed ideas, information, tales from Italy, the classics, translations (and works not yet translated). But there are so many questions and interrogations regarding Shakespeare: The Authorship Question I mentioned above, Who Edited the 1623 FolioWho Shortened King Lear, etc.

 

If you're into Shakespeare, read on.

The Holy Book of Blake: "The Poetic Image" by Cecil Day-Lewis

The Poetic Image - Cecil Day Lewis

Word of Warning: What you're about to read might not make much sense if you don't have read the book. Read at your own peril...

 

 

Perhaps what Blake also represents to me is the “thou” in performance, on a threshold over which lay different spacial awareness, new, thee in triplicate state, digital long haul through double-number's realm - restoring boring patter to the even lie that led to this.

 

PS

 

Goodbye

 

I cannot go on for very much longer, because Carol's shelf-life, at the bottom of a reject-pile, thee's words, alert the authorities to one's 'undercover' performance as thine own Songs of Experience and Failure, 'shit', you know how it is. Blake here, he did you feel injustice because it is all there?

 

Anonymity, rejection, failure. It's all you knew and experienced, as a prophet: not only unrecognised by the community in your own land of 'Albion', as their Prophet; but also viewed with bafflement, indifference, disconnection, de-friend quality in personal dealings with your fellow bards, more or less, wholly inconsequential; you have, like, 'zero' effect you, in Albion thine of a too, too soppy mug, sceptic tank, this beach, this hut, this sea, this dump, this fecking Portugal’s greater glory, God and Lady AD's words, offering tokens of animal sacrifice and conditions on a toilet by the lake where.

 

 

If you're into Poetry and Blake in particular, read on.

Sexual Proclivities: "The Politicians and I: what I couldn't (or didn't want) to write until today" by José António Saraiva

Eu e os Políticos (Portuguese Edition) - José António Saraiva

 

Is it possible for a journalist (or an author “who was once a journalist”) to cross the line? When someone gave me this book I wasn’t sure I’d read it. I’m not really into the gossipy side of politics. But because I was on a boat cruise on route to the Greek Islands everything sort of made sense...

 

António José Saraiva makes quite clear what’s wrong with this kind of book; a book of this kind chooses a bunch of people who didn't consent to be a subject, rather than the ones who did. If Miguel Portas were alive this kind of privacy violation would probably be traumatic and maybe involve legal action. He's dead, yes but ..is it not still better that Saraiva should just have found a consenting subject? (For my foreign readers, Saraiva claims Miguel Portas said to him that Paulo Portas, his brother, was/is gay).

 

I mean; are you interesting? Are you flawed? Is it ok for a book to talk about things you wished to remain private, and said in a private conversation, to be made available to audiences without your consent? If you are dead, is it OK then, and if you say yes, does it matter how it will affect other still living people who knew you and if you still say yes - should journalists assume its OK for all subjects just because some subjects would be OK with it? Audiences might not care about any of this, but how to get the story without doing anything defamatory or breaching privacy for the subject is what journalists question all the time. I do think it is a more complex issue than that when we are still dealing with the all-pervasive structures of the closet. Individual agency is not always what is keeping something secret in such structures. And I really don't think that one is right that people would have been shouting louder about journalistic ethics if the subject were a straight man.

 

 

If you're into gossipy politics, read on.

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