On Google’s Shrunken Head

During my brief hiatus from this blog, the capital C Culture took another scalp in one James Damore at Google:

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley. 

James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

Hey, such is the price of having an unpopular opinion in Corporate America these days, it would seem.

I started this blog in part to get away from politics. It’s easy to write about politics, because there is always some new outrage happening, and there are thousands of bloggers out there saying witty and quotable things. It’s easy to get involved in the political blogging community, because mid-level bloggers are happy to link to your stuff, and their lower-level followers will also provide a few readers. This is true no matter what side one is on.

However, I consider it ultimately unhealthy and it’s not what I really care about.

I love literature, art, music, and obsolete technology. Those things satisfy me, and make life worth living. They teach me about how other people think, and I believe that they make me a more empathetic person. I find calm and repose in studying them and writing about them.

I get joy in writing dumb little pieces of fiction about robots and flawed but hopefully likable people who are just trying to survive like the rest of us.

And I am, politically, on the right. It’s not the whole of my being, and it never will be. Therein lies madness and despair.

See, here’s a neat little toy I’ve been playing with lately:

It’s a mono sampler called a Microgranny, and it’s made by a Czech company called Bastl Instruments. I’m using it in conjunction with a synthesizer to try and express emotions that I just don’t know how to put into writing. That’s what music does. 

Do my political leanings mean that I have to find a group of people who not only share my musical tastes (70s and 80s industrial) but also my political leanings? We seem to be headed in that direction.

I’m going back to grad school in two weeks to finish my MA at the age of 39. I’m nervous but excited. In my experience, most professors are pretty cool when it comes to opposing viewpoints. They’ll certainly challenge those viewpoints, but they won’t actively seek to harm a student who disagrees with them.

In the current year, is that still the case? Can I be allowed into the club of people who love William Blake, William Faulkner, William Shakespeare, et al if I also don’t share that other part?

I really don’t know. And it really bothers me.

(H/T to Ace)


Sunday Brain Dump: I Dream of Robert Moog

Manic-suicideAnother Sunday is upon us, friends. This week’s edition of the Sunday Brain Dump is brought to you by Manic Suicide (follow her on Instagram) and the late Robert Moog.

I Dream of Wires

I Dream of Wires is the 2014 documentary about the creation and evolution of the modular synthesizer and how it permanently changed the musical landscape. It’s a must-see for any music fan, even those who don’t particularly care for the synthesizer. The movie features interview clips with musicians such as Trent Reznor, Skinny Puppy’s cEvin Key, Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle, and Gary Numan. You can check it out in Netflix, and here is the IMDb page.

Moog Werkstatt-01

If you can’t afford the beautiful piece of machinery pictured above (hint: you probably can’t,) Moog offers the Werkstatt-01, a much smaller and much more affordable alternative. Seriously, we’re trying very hard right now not to drop the $200 on one. You can check out the Werkstatt here. Bat Boy’s Revenge makes no money for posting this; we’re just that enthusiastic about this stuff.

The Vacuum Tube

We at Bat Boy’s Revenge love old technology, especially the kind that has never left us. The humble and elegant vacuum tube is an improvement on a 1904 discovery. Vacuum tubes have largely been replaced by transistors, which are cheaper to produce and less fragile, but many audiophiles insist that the sound produced by a tube amplifier is far superior to that produced by the transistor. Here’s a quick and dirty primer in how they work. DIY tube amplifier kits are on sale for fairly cheap from China, so check them out if you need a project. 

Weekly Podcast Plug

This week’s podcast plug is Unwritable Rant with Juliette Miranda. Each show features a brand of liquor (usually bourbon) along with at least one great story. My favorite so far involves Juliette’s boyfriend being scissor-kicked by a naked stripper, and if that doesn’t at least make you curious, you probably have no soul. Listen in, and follow Julietteu on Twitter.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, friends, and here’s to another week. As always, don’t work to hard and enjoy all of the good things.