Friday, July 15, 2011

Combatwords, July 15, 2011: Balance

Combatwords, July 15, 2011: Balance

I was reading some scifi fascist—maybe it was Jerry Pournelle, maybe it was someone else—my point is that he made the creepy point that if the Western World (ie anyone who has the time and/or inclination to read/play Combatwords) truly wanted to throttle industrial/technical/economic competition, all we had to do was buy grain. If each of us bought an extra 10 kg of grain, we could kill the rest of the world by driving food prices so high, we wouldn’t need to worry about the deforestation of the Great Rift Valley, Iranian nukes, illegal immigration, or Chinese plastic.

I also read a great story by James Blish called ‘We All Die Naked.’ Extinction by garbage. Dine on neon shrimp before being buried in feces and ash tainted rubble (the shrimp are in the water… the shrimp shit in the water… we eat the shrimp… we shit in the water… the shrimp eat shit…). It’s like those tales of hoarders whose decades worth of newspapers topple and bury them alive, except it’s a whole civilization doing it. Those bottles and CDs that come with new hardware we’ve purchased must be balanced very carefully atop our desks of phones, books and dishes (if we’re slobs)(you are a slob)(I have spies everywhere). Aha! KW finally gets to the thesis of this week’s combat: balance.

The word ‘destabilizing’ is so context-specific, we almost don’t see it anymore. Yet, we often hear we’re in unstable times; that things are destabilizing (were they ever stable?). And it’s true. We aren’t on stable ground. You might say we’re standing on liquefying ‘deep shit’ and are trying to find a way to walk upon it, like mini-Jesuses (Jesii). So why not just make the topic ‘stability?’ Because ‘stability’ is a judgment—maybe not absolutely, but the word is laden with concepts I would just as soon subsume beneath the liquefying mountain called ‘balance.’

Combat Expiration: 12am PST, 7/18/2011

Critique Expiration: 12am PST, 7/20/2011. Nobody (self included) has been doing critiques lately. Here’s a modest proposal: whoever does the most critiques this week, starts off with a base +1 for next week’s combat. I know! Reward people with more of something they’ve already demonstrated they don’t value!

Bonuses/Penalties: +2 if posted by 3pm PST, 7/15/2011; +1 if posted by 2am PST, 7/16/2011. -1 if posted by 6am PST, 7/20/2011; -2 if posted by 12pm PST, 7/20/2011

The Rules:

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