The moral obligation to pirate movies

Hollywood is filth. Its fanatically greedy denizens make Goldman Sachs look like relative paragons of financial honesty:

J.R.R. Tolkien sold movie rights to his “Lord of the Rings” novels 40 years ago for 7.5 percent of future receipts. Three films and $6 billion later, his heirs say they haven’t seen a dime from Time Warner Inc.

This is why I have so little interest in the film industry. It’s full of talentless, unimaginative thieves. I’ve been contacted at least four times that I can recall about the possibility of turning one or more of my novels into movies, and each time I tell them the same thing. I have absolutely no interest in the industry whatsoever, so thanks for your interest and have a nice day.

This thievery, combined with the brutal vivisection of one of my favorite Susan Cooper novels, only confirms my contempt for the industry. The lesson every creator should take from this is to refuse to accept any “cost” deductions from their royalties. If they can’t make money on their 93 percent of the take or whatever, then that’s really just their problem. I don’t go to movies or buy movie DVDs, but if I was interested in watching them, I’d feel an absolute moral duty to pirate them.

Goetic minds think alike

I note, with no small amusement, a certain synchronicity between Joseph Farah’s column about Obama and Saul Alinsky and an obscure novel.

One of his [Obama’s] inspirations was Saul Alinsky, author of the infamous “Rules of Radicals,” a book he actually dedicated in its original manuscript form to Lucifer.

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins – or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.”

“Although the poet attempts to make Satan appear to be the villain, he is actually the hero. He is willing to stand up and fight for his beliefs, and for the freedom of both himself and others, even those who fight against him. He cannot hope to win against the totalitarian might of God, but he is still willing to make the ultimate sacrifice solely for the sake of his conscience. Since we admire this spirit in great heroes like Nathan Hale, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, it seems both unfair and wrong to deny the same regard to their true intellectual and philosophical antecedent, Satan.

God, on the other hand, is an unfair dictator. He is uncaring, because he arbitrarily puts his Son in authority over all the other angels without regard for their feelings. He is undemocratic, because even though most of the angels agree with Satan’s position, he is unwilling to compromise. He is repressive and uncivilized, because he is willing to chain Satan to the Lake of Fire just because Satan disagrees with him. Unfair, uncaring, undemocratic, and uncivilized- it is impossible to reach any other conclusion than the correct one: that the God of Milton’s Paradise Lost is totally contrary to the spirit of the modern age.

Gods are supposed to represent the perfection of a society’s values. A god should strive to reflect the ideals of the people worshipping it, just as the people must strive to live up to those ideals. But the world of the seventeenth century is not the world of today. Although it is still a great epic poem, the twin lessons of Paradise Lost for the modern world are as follows: One, that only uncaring, undemocratic and intolerant people can worship the biblical god of the Old and New Testaments. And two, that anyone who values fairness, tolerance, democracy, and freedom, when presented with the choice between God and the Devil, would logically prefer to worship Satan.”
– Christopher Lewis, The War in Heaven

Of bad models and nonscience

I know you’ll be shocked to discover that the AGW/CC models are not only useless predictors of future climate, they don’t even backtest properly:

“In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record,” says oceanographer Gerald Dickens, study co-author and professor of Earth Science at Rice University in Houston. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.”

As I have previously written on several occasions, there is conclusive evidence that even a model which backtests flawlessly is not necessarily a functional predictive model. But the AGW/CC models don’t even function at that level! There was a time when I thought economics and finance were softer sciences than biology and climatology, but the more I’ve learned about the latter two disciplines, the more it’s become clear that they are far less rigorous than even the great financial whorehouses would find acceptable. Both biology and climatology presently contain significant aspects that are inherently unscientific by every definition of science except for Polanyi’s explanation of it as a social construction of a specific professional guild.