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Monthly Archives: March 2013

In the US, there’s been a lot of discussion about the right to privacy. The US constitution enumerates a lot of basic rights, but doesn’t specifically mention the right to privacy (probably because there were no recording devices back then, and heresy, telling a court what someone else said, was mostly forbidden in common law). So a lot of people wonder if privacy is part of an unspoken “umbrella” of rights that can be inferred from the other rights.

I would say that the right to privacy is an integral component of the right to free speech, and that any law or argument in favor of the right to free speech is therefor in favor of the right to privacy. To protect free speech, we must protect privacy.

The reason why free speech requires privacy is that context is an integral component of every type of communication. Every person, unless they are on the far end of the autism spectrum, tailors their every communication based on the audience and situation. You might whisper to your friend “I’d like to kill that guy,” but you would never say it to that guy, nor to a judge. And this isn’t just because you are being secretive and deceptive, it’s because those same words would mean something quite different if you said them to that guy or two a judge. Who you are speaking with, the previous communications and experiences and culture you share with that person, and in what setting, determine the perceived meaning of your words every bit as much as the words themselves. Without knowing the audience or the context, you cannot have effective speech. And by taking speech designed for one context (e.g. a message whispered to a friend) and making it available to other people in another context (e.g. a judge and jury) you are ruining the speakers ability to control (as much as anyone can control) what meaning will be perceived from their speech, and therefor ruining their ability to communicate.

And this goes just as well for those things in the quite wide grey area between actions and speech. Imagine for a moment that some friend of yours was making a WWII movie and asked you to play a Nazi in a movie. Imagine you are in your bedroom putting on your Nazi uniform. Imagine someone takes a picture through your bedroom window and it ends up on the first page of the newspaper. People will think you are a wannabe Nazi. Your right to free speech, to send a message to the people around you by choosing what clothing to wear in what context, is trampled on. Insomuch as your clothing is free speech, your choice of clothing in a non-public setting should be protected.

A thing is an act so much as it affects people, and speech as much as it communicates something. Your choice of sexual positions affects your sexual partner, and to them it is not speech but action. To everyone else, though, your choice of sexual positions (if you choose to make it known, or someone violates your privacy and makes it known to others) is communication, as it’s utility in those situations is to communicate something about you. Your sexual partner might have a legitimate right to tell people about your choice of sexual positions insomuch as it effected their lives. Your landlord, who has put a camera in your bedroom, would not have that right.

Or, similarly, if someone advocates something in private that would affect others, the action component of that, the advocacy, should not have a right to privacy. If a presidential candidate holds a private fundraising dinner and advocates to the attendees that rich people should be allowed to eat poor people, then the fact that he was advocating for that position should not have a guarantee of privacy. The choice of words he used to advocate for that position has a privacy interest, but that interest can be overridden if making a recording of the speech public is the only way to prove that the person was advocating for that position.

If we move far enough down the action-to-speech spectrum, though, we find things that are overwhelmingly more action than speech, and thus that the right to privacy shouldn’t apply to. If you murder someone and bury them in your basement, that’s not speech, that’s an act that affects another individual (that infringes on their rights), and you shouldn’t have the right to keep that private. If you sing “I’m a barbie girl, in a barbie world” while dismembering the corpse, though, that’s speech that should remain private because you might have chosen not to sing that particular song if you knew other people would be hearing you.

A careful judgement must thus be made: in this situation is the right to privacy paramount or is the right to protect people from actions you have done that would hurt them more important. As difficult as this is, it should not be unfamiliar to the judicial system, who have spent centuries trying to figure out stuff like whether it’s okay to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. Insomuch as they can draw that line between speech and action, they can draw the same line between privacy of communications and privacy of actions.

We could imagine free speech is a table with three legs. The top of the table is the “right to free speech” and the three legs are, first, the right to say/communicate what you want to whom you want, second, the right to not say/communicate what you want when you don’t want to, an, third,d the right to choose to say/communicate one thing to one audience and a different thing to a different audience. Take any of these three legs away, and the table collapses. Without these three, you cannot communicate effectively. And that third leg, the right to choose to say what to whom, vanishes if you don’t have some basic guarantees about the right to privacy.

by Brian St.Claire-King

If you’re some flavor of anarchist, use this code to tell people exactly what type you are.

 

Culture

  • C— Fuck culture, religion, gender, taboos, etc.
  • C– Most religions and traditions should be abandoned.
  • C- We should question cultural codes.
  • C+ Our traditions have wisdom we should pay more attention to.
  • C++ We need more traditional values!
  • C+++ Let’s stone perverts and heathens.

Government

  • G— All government of any type should be wiped out.
  • G– There are only a few situations where limited, temporary government with limited power might be useful.
  • G- Government shouldn’t control so much of our lives.
  • G+ Modern government is a pretty good idea.
  • G++ The government should be given more powers.
  • G+++ Whatever happened to fascism?

Ownership/Capitalism

  • $— Nobody should own anything.
  • $– Most resources should be shared.
  • $- Rich people suck ass.
  • $+ Capitalism is useful.
  • $++ Capitalism can sure our ills.
  • $+++ Capitalism is the meaning of life.

Poser

  • P— I’ve written papers or given lectures about anarchy,
  • P– I’ve read books or gone to lectures about anarchy.
  • P- I’m aware of the philosophies of anarchy.
  • P+ I don’t know much about anarchy but I think it’s good/bad.
  • P++ Anarchists throw bombs, right?
  • P+++ 4n4rchy Roxorz!!!!!!!!! (or Suzorz!!!!!!!!)

Violence

  • V— I’d rather die than have to kill people.
  • V– I won’t kill for political objectives.
  • V- I try to avoid violence.
  • V+ We might have to kill a few people to change the world.
  • V++ Military action is OK.
  • V+++ Blow up everything!

Insider

  • I— If you participate in modern society in any way, you are the enemy.
  • I– I try not to participate in the system unless I have to in order ot not be thrown in prison.
  • I- I’m kind of an outsider.
  • I+ People can do some good from inside the system.
  • I++ I participate to bring down the system from within.
  • I+++ They all think I’m one of them.

(please note: if you click this button, the info will be sent out over the internet where, in theory, any person on a router between your computer and the web server can read the info).

Let’s say you’re superman: you can fly, see through walls, you’ve got incredible strength, you can blow out fires. Whenever you go out flying around, you find some life to save. So why would you have a mundane 9 to 5 job? That’s 8 hours you’re stuck in an office, 8 hours you could be out saving lives. Those lives would haunt you, those lives would torture you in your dreams, they’d have to. You’d see the kids that died in the bus crash while you were stuck in a meeting. You’d see the old lady that was raped and murdered in an alley while you were on hold with tech support. You’d see the fireman who was disfigured for life when a burning building collapsed on him while you were signing your timesheet.

Granted, you need money. You’ve got to pay for groceries and rent. But it would be so damn easy just to take it. Just fly in to a bank and say “give me two thousand dollars.” Who is going to say no to you? Or just demand a paycheck from the government. The city government pays $2000 a month keeping the windows clean on city hall, do you think they’ll have a problem giving you rent money?

Go ahead, live off of the people you’re saving. It’s a great deal for them, they couldn’t ask for a better way to spend their money. But the money isn’t the point, the money is nothing in the scheme of things. If the world’s most brilliant heart surgeon ran off to work in a fast food place, don’t you think you’d say ‘hey dumbass, why are you serving fries instead of saving lives?’

And what is this social life shit all about?
“Hey, superman, you want to go get some coffee?”
“Well, I could be flying over town using my x-ray vision to scan for the pedophile that’s been kidnapping children.”
“Yes, but we could blather on about sports and the weather.”
“Oh, that sounds much more important than saving children. Let’s go.”

Yes, if you don’t spend time socializing with people, you’ll get very lonely. But guess what: right now, this very moment, there are people getting beaten. Beaten trumps lonely. There are people getting raped. Raped trumps lonely. There are people getting murdered. Murdered trumps lonely.

So when an old college buddy invites you out to dinner, calmly explain to him that if you went and hung out with him for an hour there would be at least one gruesome, painful, tragic death that didn’t have to happen. Or don’t tell him. Keep your ‘secret identity.’ Let him be partially responsible for death, torture and rape without even knowing it.

Quit your job. Disconnect your phone. Never speak to your friends and family. Yes, your social skills will suffer. But do you think the people you are saving care? You matter to them because you can tear open cars like tinfoil, not because you know the latest sports scores. You could keep your mouth shut, never say anything to anyone ever again and nobody would mind.

And for god’s sake, stop bathing. Fuck laundry. You take a shower, some guys gets his legs amputated in a train wreck. “Hey superman, I’ll never walk again, but at least you smell like an Irish spring!”

Can you think of anything you could possibly be doing that’s more important than saving lives? Is a nice dinner worth a life? Is a clean apartment worth a life? Is a haircut worth a life? I guarantee you that every single person out there would rather be saved by a hairy-smelly-socially awkward-pale-urine smelling-barely clothed hermit than be killed while some bastard brushes his teeth.

They can’t just hire another superman to take over while you are out getting a haircut. It’s not like you can take out your powers and put them in someone else. It’s you, only you.

And forget about sleeping eight hours a night. Drink coffee. Pop amphetamines. Do whatever it takes to stay awake, even if it makes your nauseous, irritable, paranoid, depressed, exhausted and unhappy. Yeah, I know it sucks, but it’s nothing that will prevent you from pulling people out of burning buildings. Sleep is for people that don’t have the world to save.

You didn’t think having superpowers would be fantastic and wonderful, did you? You didn’t think you’d get to save the world very week and get all the fringe benefits of being a normal person too, did you?

It comes down to this:

You can spend every waking moment of your life helping people. No social interactions, no comfort, no personal grooming, no job, nothing that normal humans do. And you’ll be a monster. Or, you can shirk your incredible responsibilities in order to lead a normal life. You can just ignore all the people that are dying right this moment. And you’ll be a monster. Either way, you are a fucking monster, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Sorry Superman.

 

 

 

Click to Embiggen

Copyright 1985 – Brian King

Birdwatching is enjoyed by millions of North Americans of all ages, and by millions of others all over the world. It is a hobby that can give pleasure at any place and at any time. The end times, especially, will have many interesting features of note for birdwatchers.

At first, expect to see changes in migratory patterns as birds begin to move towards the battle grounds of the end times. This is an excellent opportunity to see many birds that aren’t normally found in your area. As the end times grow closer, birds will stray farther and farther from their normal ranges. In the first days, Tree Swallows may be seen summering in Kansas or wintering in Texas. In the weeks before the end, expect to see sky-blackening flocks of Magpies, Nuthatches and Starlings converging the cities where the last battles will take place.

Remember that even the most harmless birds can be dangerous during the end times, so take extra precautions. A group of song sparrows can skeletonize an unprotected birdwatcher in minutes. When birds begin to be spontaneously generated, birdwatchers caught in a spawning ground may be suffocated by the sheer volume of birds.

Watching birds may even help birdwatchers avoid danger. When the fighting begins, flocks of American Crows will move from place to place, feeding on the dead. It is a good idea to follow these animals because it is always better to be where a battle has been than where a battle is now.

It will be fascinating to see how the unbalanced primal forces of the universe will enhance the natural characteristics of birds. For instance, Brown Headed Cowbirds are known for laying eggs in the nests of other birds. During the end times, they may start laying eggs anywhere they can, even in the flesh of living or dead humans and animals. Male Cowbirds (recognizable by their green and blue wings) may even be seen laying eggs. The Belted Kingfisher is known as a skilled hunter of fish, but during the end times they may start hunting down rodents, pets, even humans. The Mockingbird is known for its ability to replicate other bird calls. In the end times, you may hear Mockingbirds speaking human languages and even quoting from various holy books.

At the end, there will be few things, be they animal, vegetable or mechanical, not involved in the fight. The different primal forces of the universe will choose different combatants and imbue them with unimaginable power. You and your birdwatching friends may enjoy trying to predict what sides different species of birds will take in the final battle. Crows have long been associated with death (in fact, a group of Crows is called ‘a murder’) but will these birds actually fight on the side of death in the final battle, or will they be drawn to fight for some other force?

A birdwatcher may need to modify his or her equipment some as the end times approach. Certainly it is still a good idea to bring binoculars, waterproof boots and mosquito repellent.  Your standard notebook will not be as useful since your notes will not survive to ever be read again. Try to wear as many layers of clothing as you can. If possible, wear something with a hood you can pull down over your face. This will greatly increase your chances of surviving a bird attack. Conventional weapons are always a useful item to take with you whenever you venture out of your house in the end times, but are not much good against birds. One trick is to load shotgun shells with phosphorous and sodium (easily found at a hobby shop) as well as charcoal dust, gunpowder and pellets. This will turn your shotgun in to a sort of “flamethrower”, capable of firing out arcs of white-hot flame which can discourage many bird flocks from attacking you. A flashlight is a good idea, even if you are going out in the daytime, as you never know when the sun might be extinguished. Bird photography is not recommended because pictures (and all other graven images) may come to life during the apocalypse.

In the last minutes before the universe is torn apart, look for new species of birds that transcend the limitations of physical reality. You may see a bird flock large enough to blot out the entire endless depths of space. Extinct birds, like the Passenger Pigeon or the Dodo, may make a last appearance. You may see luminescent, transparent Great Blue Herons who are so beautiful that on glimpsing them you will be paralyzed. You may see mile-high Rock Doves (the so-called “domestic pigeon”) made entirely out of the insects and parasites, and any being they gaze on will be instantly consumed by parasites.

Although many prefer to engage in birdwatching by themselves, others prefer the sociability of birdwatching in a small group. There are more than 700 bird clubs in the United States and well over 100 in Canada. Some of these groups are already making plans for group activities during the apocalypse, so be sure to check them out right away!


The Homeless Camera Project booklets are now available for purchase.

The booklet is 14 pages and contains 12 full-color photos showing the best photos from the project.
 



 US Orders - $4 USD (shipping and handling included)
 International Orders - $5 USD (shipping and handling included)

 

Image Scans

Go here to view thumbnails of the images taken and download zip files containing high-resolution images.

About the Project

In Brief: I sent out dozens of disposable cameras to street newspapers throughout the US and Canada. The newspapers took the cameras and gave them to their carriers. The carriers took pictures and dropped the cameras in the mail. I developed and scanned the pictures and created an on-line repository of photographs relating to homelessness that anyone can use free of charge. I also sent CDs of those photos to street newspapers. I printed up booklets with some of the best photos, which I sent to the photographers (via the street newspapers) as a reward. I am also selling some of the booklets myself to try to recoup my costs.

Goals: To create a bank of public-domain images relating to homelessness that publishers can use free of charge. To give homeless people an outlet for self-expression. To publish a booklet showcasing the best work of these photographers.

Purpose: This is a not-for-profit project. I don’t hope to make any money, but hope to recoup some of what I’ve spent. This project brings together my interests in publishing, homeless issues, photography and the public domain (as well as the fact that I bought a bunch of disposable cameras for a low price and need to do something with them).

A complete reference guide to writing fiction that takes place in the supernatural south, all faithful to the real history, culture, legends and beliefs of the American old South. Contains chapters on the mundane history, culture and geography of the South; on the supernatural beliefs of the South; and on supernatural protagonists.

By Brian St.Claire-King and Carl Warner

178 pages

$14.95 – softcover - buy at Lulu.com

$7.95 – PDF - buy at Lulu.com

Samples

A note to customers of Vajra Enterprises’ role playing game books: the Writer’s Guide to the Supernatural South andHoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game contain much of the same information. The Writer’s Guide is geared specifically for fiction authors while Hoodoo Blues contains roleplaying stats and rules.

$11.96 USD. 6″x9″, full color, 30 pages. The old graveyard in Eureka California is shown from a variety of viewpoints. A beautiful coffee-table book for anyone who’s appreciated the beauty of a graveyard.

Click Here to buy My Life With Graveyard from Lulu Press.

 

Dusk
  Fog
      

Buhne Mausoleum
 

Frost

Night
   

Sculpture
  

Vandalism
 

Drowned Graves
 

Lost Graves