A collection of minimalist web blogging platforms

Boing Boing’s Rob Beschizza has made a web publishing ‘toy’ as he calls it, text.fyi. It’s small, brutalist, anonymous and mostly just a fun little thing to play around with. Here’s the list of features from BoingBoing:

This is the dumbest publishing platform on the web. … There’s no tracking, ad-tech, webfonts, analytics, javascript, cookies, databases, user accounts, comments, friending, likes, follower counts or other quantifiers of social capital. The only practical way for anyone to find out about a posting is if the author links to it elsewhere.

But it is legible, no-nonsense static hypertext, good for short stories, not-short-enough tweets and adventures and all your numbers station or internet dead drop needs. Here you can scream into the void and know the form of your voice is out there forever.

Search engines are instructed not to index posts and I’ll do my best to make sure this isn’t used as a tool by spammers or other abusers. Nonetheless, posting will be turned off if anything bad grows out of it.

Use Dumbdown to format posts: #header, **bold**, *italic*, `code`, >quote, and hyperlinks in the format [link](http://example.com). Try !hacker and !professor and !timestamp too. …

Long live the independent web!

Then goes on to write about a list of very similar web publishing platforms for small content like this:

txti.es is plain and perfect. Unlike txt.fyi it allows post editing for the duration of your browser session. Barry T. Smith made it with Adam Newbold to provide “fast web pages for everybody,” especially those with poor internet and low-end devices. (Newbold also made motherfuckingwebsite.com, itself among the many inspirations for txt.fyi; see also Drew McConville’s bettermotherfuckingwebsite for an idea of what a line of CSS can do for you.)

Said So is “a simple, anonymous, non-indexed, non-searchable microblogging platform,” but with share links, and stylish typography. Writes author Apostolos Pantsiopoulos: “Anonymity was the first thing that interested me. Then after I watched the documentary “helvetica” I was inspired to create a minimal posting service that removes all the unnecessary clutter and deliver the message as emphasized as possible, using a font that has this “authority” effect on people.”

I really, really like this. Sure it may be stupid and nowhere near as fully powerful as an actual blog (ala this site), and it’s probably not just for the brutalist design1. Maybe it’s just because it’s an echo chamber for my thoughts, but any kind of indie centralised writing is great and can go a long way. Jason Kottke just celebrated his websites 19th birthday. That’s an amazing acomplishment that has outlasted most blogs. I hope Valiant Ghost does the same (A few months – 2-3 years going strong!).

You should start a blog too if you haven’t already. As a decentralised echo chamber for your thoughts and feelings. As one of my blogger idols Rands said: Support freedom of the press. Start a blog.

  1. I’ve had a weird obsession with brutalist design lately, both in architecture and on the web. Maybe it’s just because my university has brutalist architecture, or that I found brutalist web design was a thing and then spun my own 90’s-esque page on Neocities. There’s something very stark about it. 

A discussion of the good points of Griffith 

For a lot of people in the Berserk fandom, Griffith is an object of intense hatred. It makes sense after all. He killed of numerous characters that we had grown to love watching the show. But the intense hatred masks the good points of Griffith, which I set out to discuss in my editorial on Fighting For Nippon, Screw Griffith (Because Fuck Griffith is too crass for an article title):

To say that Griffith did nothing wrong would be incredibly wrong, but so would simply condemning all his actions as evil. He is a character that deserves to be discussed fairly, while most people would not hesitate to slander his bad points, I think his good points are something that’s interesting to discuss.

Because, in reference to his good points, I can kind of relate to Griffith.

First time clubbing

I went clubbing for the first time last night, in a small rooftop bar called Engineers in Christchurch. Despite the fact getting in was a hassle – Friends kept changing where they wanted to go, forgot items, complaining when we got there, making some of us wait for them because they were stuck in line for being too drunk – once I finally got in, it was good times all around. For those who stayed, we danced until we literally couldn’t, and then retreated to a small corner that overlooked the small portion of the city the bar overlooked.

The whole thing was a hotbox of crowded people, dancing, drunk, kissing, smoking. Moving was hard unless you physically pushed your way through. But once I got to a small space with all my friends there, I had fun dancing with them. It was free to get in, but damn was everything expensive. All I bought was a Red Bull so one of my friends wouldn’t die of dehydration, and that cost me a whole six dollars. But in the end, I had a heck of a lot of fun.

Donald Trump is Skynet

Cathy O’Neil, Bloomberg:

I think Trump is Skynet, or at least a good dry run. To make my case, I’ll first explain why Trump can be interpreted as an artificial intelligence. Then I’ll explain why the analogy works perfectly for our current dystopia.

Trump is pure id, with no abiding agenda or beliefs, similar to a machine-learning algorithm. It’s a mistake to think he has a strategy, beyond doing what works for him in a strictly narrow sense of what gets him attention.

As a presidential nominee, Trump was widely known for his spirited, rambling and chaotic rallies. His speeches are comparable to random walks in statistics: He’d try something out, see how the crowd reacted, and if it was a success — defined by a strong reaction, not necessarily a positive one — he’d try it again at the next rally, with some added outrage. His goal, like all TV personalities, was to entertain: A bored reaction was worse than grief, which after all gives you free airtime. This is why he could never stick to any script or teleprompter — too boring.

To be honest, sometimes I think an AI would be better at running America then Trump is.

An amazing comic that tells a story in only nine words

In just nine words and a well drawn comic, the author /u/tysmurph tells a compact and potentially amazing story. It reminds me of Hemingway’s story in six words: Who is the boy, why is he there, what is the monster he came from? The author submitted it because he was thinking of making a comic, but with the following and support he’s got now it would surprise me if he didn’t follow it up. I would read it.

I’m thinking about making a comic, so I drew this test panel [OC] from comics

Virtual Reality porn isn’t working for male performers

Tracy Clark-Flory, Vocativ on how, for the males in POV VR porn, it’s hard as hell to actually do the… thing under the constraints it gives:

This is why Shreddz is one of the very few male performers who can film virtual reality porn — or, more specifically, virtual reality porn that is shot from a male point-of-view. In these shoots, the camera rig is typically placed within inches of the guy’s face, so as to eventually create the illusion for a headset-wearing viewer that they are occupying his body. That illusion not only requires blocking the male performer’s view, but it also necessitates that he remain largely passive. Too much touching, thrusting, or talking on his part is thought to take the viewer out of the sensation of being in the scene.

Who Gatsby and Atticus Finch would have voted for

Maureen Corrigan, 2paragraphs on who Jay Gatsby would have voted for in last years election:

The easy answer is Trump, isn’t it? After all, Jay Gatsby and Donald Trump share so much: a brazen flair for con artistry, a nouveau riche taste in home décor (Trump Tower is West Egg made manifest in glass), and even a skewed vision of a lost golden age. “Make America Great Again” is but a blunter iteration of Gatsby’s signal line: “Can’t repeat the past, why of course you can!” But, Gatsby would never do it; he would never vote for Trump. That’s because despite their surface similarities, Gatsby loathes everything Trump stands for. We know this because Gatsby loathes Tom Buchanan, Donald Trump’s fictional doppelganger.

Upon reading an early draft of The Great Gatsby, Maxwell Perkins expressed a visceral disgust toward Tom Buchanan: “I should know him if I met him on the street and I should avoid him.” Swollen with arrogance, proud of his unearned authority, Tom strides around spouting half-chewed climate change theories (“It seems that pretty soon the earth’s going to fall into the sun—or wait a minute—it’s just the opposite—the sun’s getting colder every year”) and racist ideologies (“[I]f we don’t look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.”) Tom, like Trump, can’t keep his hands off women; in fact his meaty paws do more than grope. Recall Daisy’s broken pinky finger; Myrtle’s broken nose. Contrast those images with Gatsby’s hands stretching out in aspiration toward that green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. Because Jay Gatsby is above all else a dreamer he could never endorse an ignorant brute like Tom Buchanan/Donald Trump. Despite the fact that Hillary, like Daisy, “isn’t commensurate to his capacity for wonder,” Gatsby would have voted for Hillary Clinton.

Unsurprisingly. Gatsby is one of my own personal heroes in literature (For a reason I should probably write about soon, except school whipped any fun of writing about Gatsby out of me) and this rings true to exactly what he would’ve done. And our lovable Atticus Finch, who he suprisingly/un-surpsingly would’ve voted for:

Meet Atticus Finch, Alabama attorney and famously gentle single dad, until recently revered as a literary saint. Mr. Finch would have voted for Donald Trump—and this is true for both the heroic defender of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird and the bigoted segregationist of Go Set a WatchmanWatchman takes place in the 1950s, when Southern politics were defined by furious resistance to the Brown v. Board of Education decision and to Northern “liberals and do-gooders” striving to end segregation. Atticus rejects the progressive forces of the early Civil Rights movement and joins the White Citizens Councils, whose incendiary pamphlets are described by Scout as “stuff that makes Dr. Goebbels look like a naïve little country boy.” A former Klan member, Atticus views blacks as a backward people “unable to share fully in the responsibilities of citizenship.” He confronts his freethinking daughter with reactionary questions: “Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools, churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?” She responds by comparing him to Hitler. Atticus says the Supreme Court is trying to “wreck” the South; he has a constitutional mistrust of government in large doses. “I’d like for my state to be left alone to keep house without advice from the NAACP,” he says. Atticus voted for Eisenhower in ’56 but describes himself as a Jeffersonian Democrat because “Jefferson believed that full citizenship was a privilege to be earned” and that “a man couldn’t vote simply because he was a man.” This pretext for ignoring the Fifteenth Amendment might soon be embraced by Trump’s attorney general pick, Alabaman Jeff Sessions. Certainly this Atticus would have voted for Trump.

What about To Kill a Mockingbird? In this book Atticus guards the courthouse to prevent a lynching and risks his children and career to seek equal justice across the color line. How could Trump’s bigotry appeal to him? Let’s remember that the daughter who worships Atticus in Mockingbird is eight years old. In her twenties Scout understands that for Atticus, the Robinson case “had nothing to do with” the black defendant, that her father was simply trying “to work order out of disorder.” In Mockingbird as in Watchman, Atticus denounces liberal overreach and identifies with the Southern status quo. In making his final plea for Robinson, he can’t resist taking a swipe at the Roosevelt Administration and the North:

Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal, a phrase that the Yankees and the distaff side of the Executive branch in Washington are fond of hurling at us. There is a tendency    [. . .]  for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions.

In effect Atticus claims that it’s “ridiculous” to take the Declaration of Independence literally. His reference to the “distaff side of the Executive” insults Eleanor Roosevelt for having the audacity to sit with blacks at the Southern Conference on Human Welfare in Birmingham. His coded rhetoric means, “Let’s acquit this man because he’s innocent, but blacks do not deserve social equality and any Northerner who says they do is my enemy and yours.” Pleading for Robinson, he nods also to white supremacy. People change, but if this character were conveyed intact from either of Lee’s novels to the present day, he’d find his political home in the alt-right movement without which Trump could not have been elected. Trump carried Alabama by 29 points and almost 600,000 votes.

Which is in a way, surprising and unsurprising to me. When you read To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus is a hero. A shining paragon of everything a man should be. Kind to his children, fair and just to everyone regardless of race or gender. I bought the book in 20151 and did not get what the hell it was about2 until I got to the end. It was about humanising Atticus. It was about removing his cloak of holy light to show the man that was underneath. When you take this into account, it’s almost no surprise he voted for Trump. It seems obvious.

  1. And then loaned it to… someone. Honestly the book’s not interesting enough to bother. I’ll just let whoever has it now keep it. 
  2. Other than Scout coming home in her 20’s and just being angry at everything.