Re: I See You

1

i'm in favor of invisibility for me, but not for anyone else.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:47 PM
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I wouldn't want to be invisible as envisioned in the article drum refers to, because I wouldn't be able to see out and thus would bump into things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:48 PM
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There are basically two good reasons to be invisible: to hear what Dick Cheney and David Addington are planning, and to see your neighbors naked

Also heists.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:50 PM
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Let's not get bogged down in technical details.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:50 PM
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4 to 2.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:50 PM
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This is where we find out who the voyeurs and exhibitionists are.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:51 PM
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Not after you made it explicit, teo.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:51 PM
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Even an exhibitionist would likely want to know who was looking at him/her.

Personally I don't want the power to see my hot friends naked. Having sexual fantasies about them makes things awkward enough already.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:53 PM
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That would put him in the exhibitionist camp, yeah?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:53 PM
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9 to 7.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:53 PM
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Seeing hot friends naked is awesome. Highly recommended.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:53 PM
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11 to 10. 12 to 14.

Let's stick with actually indicating which comment we're responding to, instead of relying on our superhuman quickness to presume we are going to post something before anyone else does.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:54 PM
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11: But where they don't know? Not awesome.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:54 PM
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It's like being in section when we discuss the Ring of Gyges. So, Xerxes, what would you do if you had an invisibility ring?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:54 PM
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If you have the power to be invisible as part of a species-wide eruption of said talent, why not solve the other-people-too problem by just staying invisible all the time? I wouldn't consider it burdensome to have to drop invisibility to do things that are inherently not private anyway - say, ordering in a restaurant - and the rest of the time I could just be invisible. Sure, there are scenarios in which it could still be bothersome but I think a little creative thinking could surely come up with completely grotesque ways of confidently clearing a room in a hurry.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:55 PM
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Yeah, imagined-invisibility usually omits the blindness part, and it's not clear what other senses you'd get to keep in the hidden state - sound, most likely, so it would be good for *getting* somewhere, but not for observing anything while being there. In some senses we're closer to this now with remote sensing equipment (hidden wireless cameras, etc) than we would be with physical invisibility.

(Arms-race-wise, you'd want various kinds of mazes or things that needed vision to navigate reliably, a la Alfred Bester.)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:55 PM
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11: Not in a situation of asymmetric information/without their consent.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:55 PM
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18

Wasn't it actually Gyges' grandfather's ring?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:56 PM
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Come on now, all superpower fantasies are based on having exclusive use of the power. Example: telepathy.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:56 PM
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20

Always knowing you're never alone: another reason not to believe in God.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:56 PM
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when we discuss the Ring of Gyges

What's interesting about Drum's point is that it incorporates the availability of technology: not "what would you do with this power?" but "what would it be like for everyone to have this power?" Good stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:56 PM
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Or it's the Ring of Gyges meets the categorical imperative. Dude, I want to give you a C-.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:56 PM
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19 - The only way you could have known that about me is if you were reading my mind already. Time to adjust the tinfoil.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:57 PM
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Seeing hot friends naked is awesome. Highly recommended.

Everybody to the Russian baths!!!

A similar issue is who is modest. I am not an exhibitionist, but I have no modesty. I guess after walking around in a bathing suit, it just doesnt bother me to be naked or nearly naked.

Perhaps part of it is my assumption that nobody really wants to see me naked that bad or would be horribly offended by what they see. "Nothing exciting or horrifying here."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:57 PM
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18: I'm pretty sure Gyges is the one who discovers the ring, and his grandson (or descendant) is Croesus, as in "as rich as."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:58 PM
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Everybody to the Russian baths!!!

I'm heading over in a few minutes, actually. Yay, sweaty near-nakedness!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:59 PM
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Near-nakedness? You mean, you are in close proximity to nakedness or people are not actually naked? BC AWB promised nakedness!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:00 PM
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25: And the internet tells me it's one way in Book 2 of the Republic, and the other way in Book 10.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:02 PM
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It seems odd to me that in these conversations -- and I include the related conversations about which superpower of a proffered set, usually comprising invisibility, superstrength, superspeed and flight, but rarely invulnerability or immortality -- people rarely draw from their own experiences. Most of us probably have experienced a sort of invisibility, hiding under a table or behind a door to listen to a conversation when we were kids, but instead of drawing out that experience proceed right away to the girls' locker room. Interesting.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:02 PM
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In every voyeurism discussion we've had, I've mentioned that there is no shortage of ways to see people naked and that this leaves me mystified as to why people get all excited about invisibility, hidden cameras and peep holes.

So I'm mentioning it again here. You guys don't need to repeat the responses you've given every other time. I'm just keeping up tradition.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:03 PM
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31

Cala is correct.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:04 PM
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32

The big Other is always watching regardless.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:04 PM
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(I saw the same thing as Cala regarding the two books of the republic, but looking in bk X did not see it assigned to Gyges' ancestor, so.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:05 PM
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34

Dear philosophers,

Nobody cares.

Sincerely,

Everybody


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:08 PM
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I can't imagine this is the discussion Ogged had in mind. But then again...


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:09 PM
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See, that's what I get for trying to take your side, Ogged: pwned!


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:10 PM
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it's on topic
it's visible but invisibility is implied
i imagine the bpl looks like her may be, no?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DWRXwrSgHM


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:12 PM
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I think the real interesting question is what is your preferred method of seeing hot friends naked

a) sex
b) hanging out in Russian baths
c) emailing each other dirty pictures
d) turning invisible.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:12 PM
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helpy-chalk, the thrill of voyeurism is in seeing something secretly, or seeing something you're not supposed to see, not strictly in seeing nudity; seeing nudity is merely the most intimate form of voyeurism, because nudity is more secret than most other things.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:14 PM
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... seeing nudity is merely the most intimate form of voyeurism....

Did the Marquis de Sade die for nothing?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:15 PM
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Persons who identified as members of the Invisible community would come to resent the moral panic over voyeurist stereotypes pretty fast, I'd think.


Posted by: Golza | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:17 PM
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No discussion of this topic can be complete without mention of Robert "I Am the Cheese" Cormier's Fade, in which a 13-year-old learns how to become invisible and it quietly destroys his life by allowing him to discover just how disgusting everyone he knows is when they think they're alone.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:18 PM
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I think somewhere or other I read the suggestion that the line in Book Two should be parsed as something like: the power belonging to Gyges, ancestor of the Lydian, where the Lydian is Croesus. The Greek is here, if you can follow along at home.

On preview, I learn that no one cares, which makes me sad.


Posted by: Zippy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:18 PM
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44

If there were a significant possibility that I were being observed by invisible people at any time, I would probably expire from self-consciousness. Not for any particularly interesting reasons, just conventional scratching, teeth-picking, and so forth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:21 PM
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45

39: Ogged, thank you for participating in this ritual reenactment of previous conversations.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:21 PM
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45: On this day each year we re-enact those conversations to commemorate the valor of those commenters who gave their comments in the service of the rights of free men dudes everywhere. They died so that Cory Doctorow can ban people from BoingBoing.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:27 PM
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47

It would depend on how this invisibility came about. Were it to happen now, after a lifetime of possibility, first thing I'm doing is ensuring I have pressure sensors and infrared magic shit around to make sure no one's looking.

Were I to imagine a society where everyone could go invisible at any time, I imagine a society that does not place a high priority on privacy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:27 PM
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48

Invisibility/voyeurism doesn't work out so well for the narrator in Henri Barbusse's Hell.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:27 PM
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49

John Hodgman did I great piece for This American Life a few years ago (here it is) on the question: if you could choose, would you want to be able to fly or have the power of invisibility? A lot of people seemed to think invisibility would backfire, karma-wise.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:29 PM
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50

All rooms would have hippie beads hanging from the door frame.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:31 PM
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51

Were I to imagine a society where everyone could go invisible at any time, I imagine a society that does not place a high priority on privacy.

Right; it would probably be a society where shame over bodily functions was pretty much absent, and where the value of interpersonal relations wasn't tied to their intimacy. The latter is particularly hard to imagine.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:31 PM
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I guess you'd get around hippie beads by developing the ability to turn into a mercury puddle and slide along the floor and shimmy through the air ducts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:32 PM
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49: To fly. Having flown makes the decision easy. Freezing my invisible ass off in bank vaults and watching pretty girls pluck their nose hairs pale in comparison.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:34 PM
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Samoa has a pretty close to zero expectation of privacy -- houses with no walls, and the culture incorporates that. But you can see who's looking at you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:34 PM
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Then we should ask the blind Samoans how bad it is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:37 PM
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51: I was thinking less about personal interactions as much as I was secrets. How would they work? Would there be secrets?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:39 PM
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57

Generalizing from Samoa? No, or at least very very few.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:43 PM
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58

Why wouldn't there be secrets? "Private" and "secret" are two different things in this setting, no?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:43 PM
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59

You'd only tell secrets under a blanket, with your face lit by a flashlight. You'd have leaves all over your floor and carpet to alert you to any crunch. You'd weave fibrous webs throughout your house, all connected to your pinky by a ring, so that you could feel if any tugged. Bells on every door and window. You'd pick your scabs until they oozed and take apart all your electronic devices.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:44 PM
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60

If they discover how to make people invisible, I'm hiring heebie as a invisibility-proofing consultant.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:46 PM
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58: Yeah, but it takes an awful lot of effort to keep a secret without a default assumption of privacy. It's doable, but doesn't happen much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:46 PM
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Rooms would be really small and people would just swing a bat, poll, or club of radius slightly less than the size of the room around right after closing the door to any room they've just entered. They'd also have to give a little extra poke with their poll towards the corner (assuming rooms stay rectangular), and possibly compensate for varying heights and the ability to jump.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:48 PM
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58: Because you need an expectation of privacy in order to have an expectation of a secret.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:50 PM
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64

Rubes, we'd all learn to echolocate.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:52 PM
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65

and possibly compensate for varying heights and the ability to jump.

No, because you'd hear them land, then. What we need are noisy, crinkly floors. And smoke machines that go off when you walk in a room.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:53 PM
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But you're right on about swinging a bat when you walk in a room.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:53 PM
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Hey, strong lights and a lot of ambient mist. Like, humidifiers everywhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:54 PM
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68

Stop reading over my shoulder, invisible people! Also, shoo! I need to pick my nose now.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:55 PM
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69

Okay, we're not looking. Go ahead and pick your nose.


Posted by: Invisible People | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:57 PM
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70

Ew. God. That was so disgusting.


Posted by: Other Invisible People Who Were Looking | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:58 PM
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71

We'd all start wearing hypercolor clothes again so that we could tell if we were being felt up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:58 PM
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72

Wouldn't this all be easier if everybody was blind?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:59 PM
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73

Or everybody had to cover themselves with a blanket: then you'd know you were alone, but couldn't see anybody! And then somebody would cheat and would be the only seeing person! Until another seeing person saw them, and they had to debate whether to turn each other in because they'd get in trouble and it'd totally be the prisoner's dilemma! Trippy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:01 PM
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74

Maybe just the marginalized people would be invisible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:01 PM
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75

We should ask Invisible Adjunct.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:01 PM
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76

Since invisibility != intangibility, you might just need invisibility-identifying devices that work briefly and then turn off, like lasers. Then, as long as all entrances visibly stay closed, you could have some expectation of privacy.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:02 PM
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77

73: I already levied the blanket defense manouver with a double-secret probation flashlight spin, in 59.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:02 PM
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78

OK, maybe not lasers actually. On reflection.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:03 PM
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79

On reflection.

Mirrors? Those won't work.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:05 PM
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77: double secret probation flashlight spin is from that Animal House Laser Tag variant, isn't it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:05 PM
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Wouldn't this all be easier if everybody was blind?

If everyone were blind, the people with shark-like sensitivity to the electrical fields of living things would be laughing at the rest.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:05 PM
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Wouldn't that be a good cheap plot device if invisible people showed up in mirrors, though? And probably photographs then, too. But not digital photographs. Photographs where you have to wait impatiently for a few hours while it develops, to see who else was in the room.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:06 PM
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double secret probation flashlight spin is from that Animal House Laser Tag variant, isn't it?

Zounds! You're onto me!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:07 PM
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If everyone were blind, the people with shark-like sensitivity to the electrical fields of living things would be laughing at the rest.

You mean New Agey types? They're too nice to laugh at others' misfortune.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:08 PM
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85

if invisible people showed up in mirrors

Reminds me of a great prank.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:09 PM
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86

But Satanists laugh only at others' misfortune. Long, overacted, comic-strip-villain laughter.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:11 PM
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85: That's awesome.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:12 PM
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88

Robert "I Am the Cheese" Cormier

Someone else read I Am the Cheese? Forsooth. All books should go like this: french kissing under the bleachers, "everybody has some farts", VIOLENCE OH FUCK, commitment to an mental institution.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:14 PM
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89

twins, right?
can't get german may be they explained the trick


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:16 PM
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90

o it's in the comments, should have read that first


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:17 PM
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91

Robert Cormier is the king of the OH FUCK young adult novel.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:19 PM
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92

85 is awesome.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:19 PM
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93

71: "again"?


Posted by: RobDP | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:24 PM
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94

93: You've never been felt up?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:25 PM
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94: No, he goes right for the DP.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:27 PM
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96

Jeez, stay classy, Sifu.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:39 PM
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97

Oh, like you thought "Ah! Rob Desktop Publishing!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:40 PM
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98

Dispersal pattern? Diplomatic personnel? Dialysis protocol? Duckbilled platypus?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:44 PM
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99

Dongoplasty. An alternative to pump culture.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:46 PM
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47: Were I to imagine a society where everyone could go invisible at any time, I imagine a society that does not place a high priority on privacy

This reminds me of an Arthur C. Clarke/Stephen Baxter novel, The Light Of Other Days. Evil scientists develop wormhole technology to allow any person to see into the past - anywhere, anytime. All of history basically becomes transparent.

The chapter about Jesus being a dirty hippie backpacker is a bit of a bore but society is irrevocably changed as a result. It gets to the point where people are walking naked down the street. The authors even tease the reader with a bit of public felatio. Perverts.


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:04 PM
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101

All these invisible people can see my cabbage soup! It's disconcerting.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:06 PM
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102

Weirdest slang for genitalia ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:06 PM
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103

Think of all the invisible cabbage that you don't even know that they put in your soup!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:07 PM
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104

Evil scientists develop wormhole technology to allow any person to see into the past - anywhere, anytime. All of history basically becomes transparent.

Is this the one where someone realizes that history runs right smack up against the present, allowing you to spy on your neighbors with a mere mini-micro-nanosecond lag?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:08 PM
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105

That's an Isaac Asimov story, "The Dead Past".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:12 PM
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106

I smell ... nerds.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:14 PM
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107

That's the cabbage soup, actually.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:14 PM
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108

Observe the bonus nerdness that arises from Snark answering me here, when he is about five feet away from me right now.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:15 PM
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109

Snark's answering me here.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:15 PM
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104: I've forgotten what the technology was called in the book, but basically the wholesome TV is replaced with a viewer that can see into the present and past anywhere in the world. So yes, the neighbours are spyin on you cheating on your wife now or having a wank when you were 14.


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:16 PM
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105: What! A SF author stealing a good idea from someone else? Well, I never.


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:19 PM
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112

So given that this a late period Arthur C. Clarke + execrable co-author work, can we assume they had the cabbage soup to employ a SuperPastDetectoReader to rip off the Asimov story's plot wholesale? I say yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:19 PM
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113

On the other hand, the hidden birth imagery in this cover is kind of cracking me up, so I guess they get a pass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:21 PM
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114

I hope that this use of "cabbage soup" will live on.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:23 PM
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115

112: Nuts to you. I read it for the hot-nerd-sex. Woot.


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:24 PM
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116

113 is hilarious.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:27 PM
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117

Nuts to you.

Cabbage soup to you, gender-indeterminate diminutive!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:28 PM
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118

117: Yeah laugh it up now fat boy. When the gender-indeterminate nerds are kings you will be first against the wall.


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:33 PM
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119

118: I have a gender-indeterminate nerd army.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:35 PM
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120

119: Awww. Can I join? I'll bring my army of flying monkeys and we can march on DC.


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:38 PM
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121

Sure thing, bub/toots!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:39 PM
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121: Excellent. I'll bring the cabbage.


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:43 PM
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123

Heebie cracked me up in 71 and others.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 7:37 PM
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124

Seriously, nobody is going to talk about Wells? Jesus.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:12 PM
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125

Alright fine, I'll do it. Invisibility is Bad. For everyone involved. The food invisible persons eat remains visible as it is digested in their stomach cavity. This is disgusting and reason enough alone, though I could go on.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:21 PM
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126

125 meet 4.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:22 PM
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127

If Jesus turned himself invisible and turned a burrito invisible and then ate it, would it stop being invisible as it ceased to be a burrito?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:24 PM
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It's not technical, it's science fiction. And a metaphorical problem that emblematizes the necessity of being visible within society in order to know how to assimilate your experiences without awkward and crippling social exposure of vulnerability.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:24 PM
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127: not as long as it remained burrito shaped.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:25 PM
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If I were invisible but all my digestive processes were visible I'd stick a pickle up my ass just to confuse people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:25 PM
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131

That's funny.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:26 PM
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Really though there are all sorts of problems with this "digestion would be visible" thing; would your stomach acids be visible? What about intestinal flora? There are, what, trillions of bacteria in the human body: would they be visible under a microscope? Would you look like an amorphous cloud of greenish fog? What if you had tooth fillings, let alone an artificial hip?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:28 PM
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Okay, folks, obviously the only ways in which "invisibility" is possible are those like the ones the military is developing for camouflage, in which the body to be invisibled is merely hidden behind a substance that projects on itself the landscape behind it. That is, it only works at a distance, as you'd never buy it up close. From a distance, do you trust your invisible friends?

Yeah, neither do I.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:31 PM
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My 133 is unfun. Please continue with your "are digestive juices mixed with foods invisible" discussion.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:32 PM
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I didn't mean it to be technical, just a brilliant problematization of the matter by the first guy to really play it out. But in that novel, you can mostly just see the what the food is (apparently not fully masticated, as the protagonist is a fugitive and eats ont he run) before it is digested. It looks like "bits of bread and cheese" suspended in air.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:32 PM
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133: you could certainly refine the technology to the point that it would be somewhat difficult to spot from up close. At least that's what I gather from the linked article.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:33 PM
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135: oh I know, just being a pedant per the fanboyish turn of the discussion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:34 PM
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136: Well, I didn't even read the linked article, until just now. That'll learn me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:35 PM
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So Sybil let us talk more about the metaphoric complexity of Wells's depiction of invisibility, how it was referenced and expanded by Ellison, and the larger societal statement being made ARPA releasing these research results in the context of Obama's remarkable primary victories.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:41 PM
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the larger societal statement being made ARPA releasing these research results in the context of Obama's remarkable primary victories

They're accusing him of stealing lightbulbs?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:43 PM
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PVC pipe is here!


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:43 PM
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139: If alien substances took a while to dissolve, shooting up would be the most awesomest thing ever!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:45 PM
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142: Trippy. Ooh, you know what else would be awesome? Eyedrops.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:47 PM
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yea, Sifu, I don't really do metaphors in Am lit. or the primaries.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:47 PM
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Also, smoking would be cool. Of course. It always is.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:48 PM
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I also think it's remarkable that this thread made it to the 140s without mention of the words surveillance or disciplinary.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:49 PM
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In the original covert art for The Invisible Man, there's an empty smoking jacket sitting in a chair with smoke swirling around where the throat would be. That's cool. Smoking is cool.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:50 PM
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Snorting coke would be fascinating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:50 PM
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The moon was an invisible galleon tossed upon cloudy skies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:50 PM
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How does this discussion relate to the fact that my daughter, at dinner tonight, revealed her belief that ghosts are the liquids that people drink. Then the other parts die, and all that's left is the liquid, which is "see-throughable."

I'm pretty sure they're not doing Spirits Week at Preschool.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:50 PM
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148 to 150.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:51 PM
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150 is fucked up. Your daughter is totally cool.

Bave and I spent tonight at the Russian Baths discussing whether thoughts are different from emotions, and whether you'd want a few seconds to know you're dying before a sudden death, but man, JRoth's daughter wins.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:54 PM
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150 means your kid is cool. and dealing in complex metaphor.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 8:56 PM
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She started the conversation with an explanation so complex (including compound-complex sentences) that AB & I couldn't write it down before it just evaporated from our minds. But she kept going, in a very matter of fact tone.

Oh, the ghosts were here before people were. Even though she "believes" ghosts are the spirits of dead people. And - I think I got this right - we sometimes drink the spirits. She is not aware that liquor is also called spirits.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 9:01 PM
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I think your daughter might be a Scientologist, JRoth. Does she ever ask you for money?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 9:02 PM
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whether thoughts are different from emotions

Yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 9:02 PM
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Having made the poor decision to eat Taco Bell's Cheesy Bean 'n' Rice Burrito just now, I'm limitlessly happy that it's no longer visible, let alone visible during digestion. What a bad idea.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 9:10 PM
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Total eclipse of the burrito!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 9:16 PM
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Westlake explored the question of tangibility, as in people treading on your invisible feet, (and heists, obviously) in one of his out of series books about ten years ago. Also the issue of undigested food. Can't remember what it was called, but he made the point that sex with an invisible partner would be extremely creepy.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:36 AM
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given that this a late period Arthur C. Clarke + execrable co-author work

(irritation) Stephen Baxter is not execrable!

JRoth - I suspect your daughter has been reading "Expiration Date" (LA junkies inhaling ghosts through clove cigarettes).


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 6:20 AM
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Laser nets and fog machines and crinkly floors? I was impressed by no one's admission that a society in which invisibility was possible would likely be one with a very high bean and/or garlic content in its diet but then Stanley got there.

whether thoughts are different from emotions

I say yes, as does Asimov in the original Foundation trilogy; the Mule is able to affect emotional states but not thoughts.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 7:44 AM
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159: Not surprisingly, there is an internet fetish following for this. Also: sex with giants fifty times your size. Also: sex with Lilliputian-scale people. (Swift saw this coming and including a couple of scenes in which Gulliver is used as a sex toy by the women of Brobdingnag.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 7:45 AM
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162. Thanks. I needed to know that.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 7:51 AM
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spike and invisible buffy had sex a few times, and it wasn't that creepy. no, it was kind of creepy, I guess, emotion-wise.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 7:59 AM
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spike and invisible buffy had sex a few times, and it wasn't that creepy.

Only if you are comparing it to other times spike and buffy had sex.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 8:06 AM
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Not having a television, I've never seen spike or buffy, having sex or otherwise, so I can't comment. But in Westlake's book the woman having sex with the invisible man found she had to keep her eyes shut to avoid being freaked out. Which I find very plausible, actually.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 8:13 AM
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On the internet, no one can tell if you're invisible.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 8:14 AM
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159: Can't remember what it was called, but he made the point that sex with an invisible partner would be extremely creepy.

The ejaculate, visible or not? Brings to mind possible sexual problems Superman might have per Larry Niven's "Man of Steel,
Woman of Kleenex"
.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 8:22 AM
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I hate "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" more than any other document in the English language.

Someone above made an illuminating comparison to blindness. Do blind people lack privacy? Can you sneak into a blind person's house, and they won't notice? Heebie, you don't live that far from the Texas School for the Blind -- go drive over and find out for us. Liveblogging preferred.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 8:49 AM
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I would like to believe that, just as food becomes invisible as it is digested in the invisible body, ejaculate (and other bodily products) gradually becomes visible as it leaves the invisible body. This makes for more possible invisibility pranks, and is therefore a good rule.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 8:51 AM
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169. H.G. Wells' Country of the Blind does a good job of that. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man will be king?

(And back to Wells!)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 9:19 AM
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169: Yeah, I should have caveated that "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" is pretty reprehensible in concept and execution. It probably should be read as basically a Larry Niven projection fantasy. (Before I looked it up I had somehow in my mind associated it with Paul Krassner and The Realist)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 10:38 AM
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Really? Reprehensible? I read it as a silly musing on the ridiculous illogic of comic books. If you want reprehensible, how about this thread unifying joke:
Superman is patrolling the skies above Metropolis when he spots a Wonder Woman laying on a rooftop completely nude, catching some sun. In his loneliness he thinks, "I'm faster than a speeding bullet. I could probably get in, get off, and get out without her even noticing." So he proceeds to perform the fastest rape in history, vibrating his nether regions so quickly they become, in effect, invisible, and then flies off. Wonder Woman, startled, says "What the hell was that?" And the invisible man replies "I don't know, but my asshole sure hurts."
Hey, I said it was reprehensible.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:02 AM
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I already regret telling that joke, with its reliance on homophobia and misogyny for humor. I stand by my question about the Niven story. It's certainly juvenile, but two subjects that are never far from men's minds are sex and superpowers.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:21 AM
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172: I read a whole lot of Larry Niven as a young teenager, and keep on finding him more and more depressing in retrospect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:24 AM
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175: Humorless.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:26 AM
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No, no. Humorless™. It's different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:33 AM
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"Look at me ma, I can be on both sides of an issue at once!"

At some level you are right Eggplant, but in light of Niven's whole body of work, what little funniness there might have been in "let me mock-earnestly explore the utter power of Superman's sexuality including having his semen blow a women's head off" turned pretty ugly for me.

But hey, I was the one who first cited it above, the ejaculating sperm into an invisible person concept brought it to *my* mind. Walt's comment just resonated with how I felt about it upon re-reading it today. Everyone's mileage may vary; given my positions here over the last week, I am cetainly not in a position to judge anyone else's sense of humor.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:36 AM
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177: HTML Snob®.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:38 AM
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178: The use of the words "gut her like a trout" was also uncomfortable as a female reader.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:41 AM
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I see. I cannot remember reading any Niven, so I don't have any context. I was quite detached reading it, thinking primarily of the logistics. But, on reflection, it certainly is fertile ground for misogynistic fantasy. I guess if someone thought about this sort of thing with any frequency I would be suspicious. Me, though, I'm pure. Right?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:54 AM
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180: Oy. When you point that out, it's obvious. It probably doesn't speak well of me that I glossed over that.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:57 AM
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Do you think Ryan North reads Unfogged?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 7:23 PM
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That'd be some coincidence otherwise. Huh.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 7:29 PM
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