You should read this for 1/12/2020:
Art and Film
Last week, a post on the r/SaltierThanCrait subreddit — a forum that started as a place for Star Wars fans to pick apart 2017’s The Last Jedi — caused an eruption. Written by a user named egoshoppe, the message claimed director J.J. Abrams’ original cut of The Rise of Skywalker was 40 minutes longer than the film’s two hour, 22-minute theatrical runtime and contained a large chunk of material that would have made some fans happier, including a scene featuring actors Hayden Christensen and Samuel L Jackson, reprising their roles to help fellow Jedi Rey defeat the resurrected Emperor Palpatine.
. . .
The Star Wars fandom is now a nesting doll of speculation, paranoia, and anxiety about corporate overreach — growing more insular and reactionary in the eight years since Disney took over Star Wars.
Books, Writing, Libraries, and Language
Statement by T. S. Eliot on the opening of the Emily Hale letters at Princeton It must have been profoundly difficult for Eliot to write this deeply personal and introspective letter.
Romantic fiction awards cancelled after racism row prompts mass boycott “The 2019 Rita awards for romance writing have been pulled after more than 300 books were withdrawn from competition in protest.”
As of Tuesday morning, more than 300 books had been withdrawn from the contest by authors who were critical of the RWA’s recent decision to discipline romance author Courtney Milan over her public criticism of passages in Kathryn Lynn Davis’s Somewhere Lies the Moon. Milan, a longtime critic of racism in the romance industry, had called Davis’s novel a “racist mess” for its depictions of Chinese women; Davis and her fellow romance novelist Suzan Tisdale responded by filing formal ethics complaints with the RWA, alleging Milan was a “bully” who had hurt their careers.
The RWA’s behavior, and their hypocritical inappropriate response to Courtney Milan is just the final idiocy in a twenty year history of bad behavior.
The Norway Today site reports on the latest attempt by Chinese citizens to censor material in other countries. It involves a delegation of more than 40 Chinese cross-country skiers, along with 15 coaches and managers, who are in the Norwegian municipality of Meråker to train for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Food and Drink
Jane Carnall @eyeedinburgh: On the British and Tea
History and Archaeology
The sheer cliffs of the small island of Okinoshima rise abruptly out of the sea some 40 miles off the coast of the Japanese island of Kyushu. Okinoshima’s sole resident is a Shinto priest who serves as the caretaker of small wooden shrines built among huge boulders on its southern half. For followers of Shintoism, Japan’s indigenous religion, Okinoshima is the sacred home of a trio of goddesses who, among their many responsibilities, ensure the safety of mariners. Fishing communities on the island of Oshima and in the nearby Munakata region on Kyushu still retain beliefs associated with the goddesses that originated perhaps some 2,000 years ago.
Steve Membery, an archaeologist and member of the South West Heritage Trust, which has overseen the excavations, said: “This site is a significant discovery. The individuals were evidently of some status. Most graves in Roman Britain are pretty much a rectangular cut with someone laid on their back. They’ve actually built these graves. There’s been a lot more care taken over these.”
Via Dr. Caitlin R. Green: A man of possible African ancestry buried in Anglo-Scandinavian York
The aim of the following brief note is to direct attention to a burial from a late ninth- to early eleventh-century cemetery in York. The burials here were originally excavated in 1989–90, but an osteological analysis in 2015 suggested that one of the people buried here was a man of possible African or mixed ancestry.
But this bit is particularly interesting:
In addition to such archaeological parallels, attention can also be drawn to the evidence of the eleventh-century Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, which relates the story of a Viking raid on Morocco (Mauritania) in the mid-ninth century that led to the taking of ‘a great host’ of captives . . . This account was discussed at length in a previous post, and the notion that it reflects real events is supported by Al-Bakrī’s Kitāb al-Masālik wa-al-Mamālik, which relates that ‘Majūs [Vikings]—God curse them—landed at Nakūr [Nekor, Morocco], in the year 244 (858–9).
Read the post, and follow Dr. Green’s blog; it’s well worth it.
Science and Nature
H/T Charlie Stross — Nature: Television viewing and cognitive decline in older age: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing “Overall our results provide preliminary data to suggest that television viewing for more than 3.5 hours per day is related to cognitive decline.”
The Americans dying because they can’t afford medical care “Millions of Americans – as many as 25% of the population – are delaying getting medical help because of skyrocketing costs”
Despite millions of Americans delaying medical treatment due to the costs, the US still spends the most on healthcare of any developed nation in the world, while covering fewer people and achieving worse overall health outcomes. A 2017 analysis found the United States ranks 24th globally in achieving health goals set by the United Nations. In 2018, $3.65tn was spent on healthcare in the United States, and these costs are projected to grow at an annual rate of 5.5%t over the next decade.
Via NPR: Deceased GOP Strategist’s Daughter Makes Files Public That Republicans Wanted Sealed This has to do with GOP interest in re-districting to support a racist, classist agenda, as well as 💩🔥💰’s desire for a citizenship question on the census, also racially motivated.
Technology and the Net
We Get Signal: ‘All Your Base Are Belong to Us’ Is 15 Years Old This piece about the “All your base” meme came out in February of 2016, but I completely missed it.
H/T John Gruber: Bruce Schneier on Scaring People into Supporting Backdoors
Which particular horseman is in vogue depends on time and circumstance. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the US government has been pushing the terrorist scare story. Recently, it seems to have switched to pedophiles and child exploitation. It began in September, with a long New York Times story on child sex abuse
‘I left parts of my body in Iraq’: Duckworth rips into GOP rep who said Democrats ‘love’ terrorists In case you missed it, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia is a low-life lying coproplite who isn’t interested in anyone or anything but himself.
💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰
But as Oona Hathaway, a professor of international law at Yale Law School, pointed out, the president’s tweet violates the War Powers Act in a number of ways.
Pay It Forward and Make It Better
“It’s an amazing time, because the relationships between the tribes and the archaeological community are totally different than they were a decade ago,” commented Kim Spurr of the Museum of Northern Arizona. “People are complying with the tribes and understanding why this is important.” </blockquote