Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Economics

How George R.R. Martin infuses his fantasy series with real-world economic lessons.

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The sixth season of HBO's hit fantasy series Game of Thrones will kick off Sunday night. For those of you who like a bit of economics with your dragons and White Walkers, take a look at Reason TV's 2013 interview with Auburn University economics instructor Matthew McCaffrey.

From the original May 30, 2013 write-up:

McCaffrey has recently written about the economics involved in the popular Game of Thrones novels by George R.R. Martin as well as the HBO series based on the books. He sat down with Reason TV's Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss the various economic concepts that develop alongside the character-driven plot line, such as sin taxes, coin clipping, and the ever-present cost of borrowing.

According to McCaffrey, Martin extensively researches historical economic systems to make "the Realm" as plausible as possible.

"As part of his process he ends up uncovering a lot of historical details that usually get lost in a fantasy book of this kind," says McCaffrey, "just practical difficulties of running a kingdom, how public finance works, how the game of thrones corrupts the people who play it and how it ends disastrously for the people who don't play it well."

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  1. I’m going to be the first one to say it – Martin is a shitty writer. People love his stories, but it’s tough to imagine his books are written at more than a fifth grade level.

    And Tracy Oppenheimer. Would.

    1. “I’m going to be the first one to say it – Martin is a shitty writer.”

      For a fantasy/sci fi writer his writing style is very good. He doesn’t use particularly difficult or highbrow language, but neither did Hemingway or Graham Greene. I’m not saying Martin is as good as either of them, just saying that a fifth grader could probably understand all three and that doesn’t make them bad writers.

      “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”

      High art? No. But I don’t think a fifth grader could write this.

      1. You should have gone with a passage where he describes food.

    2. Brochett and Notorious,

      I have it upon good authority that anyone and everyone and anything and everything (et cetera) that doesn’t thoroughly enjoy (or at minimum like for reasons of wisely trending popularity) the current article’s root topic is too busy being sexually repressed, unhealthily angry at concepts beyond their understanding, jealous with hubris – categories of envy with regards to the exceedingly accomplished author, and should spend a sufficient amount of time to reflect upon their inadequacies in order to appreciate the wondrous glory laid out before them which their betters revel in and debate and reflect upon with frequency.

      1. I didn’t say a word against the two key components of the Game of Thrones series.

      2. It sounds like you’re trying to claim some sort of perverse martyrdom by being the last sane man willing to defy an incomprehensible world by not liking something that’s immensely popular.

        1. Look at the statist election results over the past few decades, then try again, with a straight face, to criticize someone *else* for disliking something popular.

          1. Because political choices, which affect people in the real world, are totally analogous to fantasy books.

            1. Sure, the way people are doing politics today, it has a lot of resemblance to fantasy.

              cf. H. L. Mencken on working up the public to fear hobgoblins.

              Hobgoblins are only a couple steps up from Kobolds, and yet the public is scared of them!

              1. I thought Denis Kucinich was a kobold.

                1. Kucinich doesn’t have enough hit points to be a kobold.

          2. And you’ll notice that I never criticized him for disliking something that’s popular; I said it sounded like he was pouting about feeling put-upon by other people liking something.

            And no, those two are not the same thing.

            1. If you *must* know, I don’t have cable and I haven’t read the books, and I feel sad and left out whenever people go into a nerdgasm over discussing this stuff.

              So I simply lash out. Nothing personal.

              1. Eh, it’s not for everybody. If you like fantasy, I think you’ll really enjoy it.

                I have a tattoo of a stylized wolf with a banner that says, “Winter is Coming” beneath it on my right arm. I got that in 2004. I will never get it touched up. How faded it looks is my only defense when people see it and say, “Wow, you must really be into that TV show!”

                Fuckers.

                1. Anyway, you caught out my dog in the manger attitude, but depending on whether my tastes have changed over the years, I might or might not like fantasy nowadays.

                  1. I *did* enjoy watching the Harry Potter movies, but that was probably because I was running a Rifftrax commentary during the whole thing.

                2. I always thought “Winter” would be a cool name for a chick.

      3. I’m a very unhappy person.

      4. I like it. If it doesn’t sound like something you want to read, then don’t.

    3. The key is pairing Martin’s forgivable prose (to be forgiving) with Roy Doltrice’s incredible voice acting. Seriously. Work, work out, drive, garden, cook dinner to those audiobooks. You will be engrossed.

      1. The only thing I hate more than people who read are people who listen to audio books.

      2. Except for book five. Roy made Danny sound like a 90 year old crone that burned her tongue on some eye-of-newt soup.

    4. The key is pairing Martin’s forgivable prose (to be forgiving) with Roy Doltrice’s incredible voice acting. Seriously. Work, work out, drive, garden, cook dinner to those audiobooks. You will be engrossed.

    5. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

      1. Martin is a shitty writer, from what i can tell. (read half the first book last week). 5th grade level is about right. (i’d be generous and call it 6-8th grade-level reading material)

        Its basically “Piers Anthony”-style, with less wit, less character-depth. He has no particular gift at storytelling from what i’ve seen, but is more a “needless-detail-spewing machine”. Hence the endlessness of his narrative.

        World-creation is cute, but encyclopedic-detail does not add to literary merit.

        1. World-creation is cute, but encyclopedic-detail does not add to literary merit.

          Judging genre fiction within the framework of literary fiction is a sucker’s game.

          1. Holy fuck, literary fiction. Zzzzzzzzz.

            1. I believe Orson Scott Card is on target when he suggests that people normally unaccustomed to genre fiction don’t understand that while literary fiction focuses on theme or plot, genre fiction follows the MICE quotient. That is in genre fiction, stories focus around milieu, idea, character, or event. For a work of genre fiction the creation of a fully detailed world (milieu) can be the entire point. For example, there is nothing innovative in the plot of Lord of the Rings, but people don’t read it for the plot, which is bog-standard Campbellian ‘hero’s journey’; what attracts a fantasy fan to LOTR is the expansive and detailed world-building that allows the reader to suspend disbelief and indulge in the illusion that he’s reading the myths and folklore of a lost civilization and time.

              1. Exactly. Fun is okay.

                1. To further make the point, milieu can be the entire point so much in genre fiction that fans of it are willing to read what amounts to a fake history book/encyclopedia.

                  1. milieu can be the entire point

                    …then why would someone then insist that a Milieu-creator in question is also necessarily a “great writer”?

                    No one suggested he wasn’t *creative*… exhaustively imaginative, etc. He obviously has that in abundance. (*even if much of it is just changing the names of various medieval historical cultures/myths and relocating them on a map)

                    But no one holds up module-creators for D&D as “great writers”.

                    in fact, from a storytelling POV his boundless creative scope seems to be part of the problem. He’s got more characters than any reader could possibly begin to care about. when entire characters live and die and have zero impact on what’s actually happening, even the most ardent fan of a “universe” will start to feel cheated. I think there’s a bit of that going on in the show as well, FWIW.

                    1. Is anyone calling Martin a great writer (as in prose style)?

                2. I think you’ve missed my point. No one said “fun is not okay”

                  I said Martin – from what i’ve seen – was a poor writer. As in, “uses the english language inefficiently, inelegantly, hamhandedly”

                  Even for the purposes of his universe-creating, or ‘MICE’, or whatever you call it – he’s still a clumsy plotter that writes wooden dialog and has 1-dimensional characters.

                  Basic sentence construction, efficient plotting, natural dialogue, etc. aren’t some skill that only applies to “literary” stuff…whatever that means.

                  but whatever. Im not disparaging what other people find *entertaining*. I like GoT as a show; the books i’ll probably pass on.

                  And i’ve read some pretty schocky books in my time which i’d never hold up as great literature, but which i absolutely adore (e.g. the pulp fiction of Cornell Woolrich, Ross McDonald, etc)

                  1. Even for the purposes of his universe-creating, or ‘MICE’, or whatever you call it – he’s still a clumsy plotter that writes wooden dialog and has 1-dimensional characters.

                    That’s the point, plot, dialog and 1-D characters aren’t the focus of a milieu genre fiction story (Star Trek is the prime example).

                    Basic sentence construction, efficient plotting, natural dialogue, etc. aren’t some skill that only applies to “literary” stuff…whatever that means.

                    Above, you seem to argue that is what “literary merit” consists of. The irony of course being that Gene Wolfe is the best writer in America based on the above definition.

                    1. Don’t even know who Gene Wolf is. Yeah, i’d argue “literary merit” is measured by =

                      – Basic sentence construction; core skill w/ English language. efficiency, elegance wins points; how much can you communicate with fewest words. being a gushing stylist works for people who are already masters, but its rare that can be endured for long.

                      – characterization. Re-creating ‘real people’ is the most important basic talent of fiction. Personalities are like fingerprints. Great writers capture and communicate personality in tiny details.

                      – dialogue. the main means by which stories get told; its the medium in which character & conflict meet. every conversation should be an argument on some level; else, why are they talking (*the ‘tell’ of a bad writer = they make people ‘say’ what’s happening instead of show you)

                      – the “plot” is sort of just a byproduct of good characters in some kind of “interesting problem”; its probably not all that important if the above three things are being done well.

                      i really don’t see how any of the above things ever “matter less” in any kind of fiction

                    2. i really don’t see how any of the above things ever “matter less” in any kind of fiction

                      Matter less to you. Again, many fans of genre fiction, if they stopped to think about it, would disagree with you. They would say that the merit of a story lied in how well it created a world in which they could suspend disbelief, or a story in which an interesting question is posed and then answered, or the depiction of a world-changing event. That is the story outweighs the mechanics. Now are all the elements you listed positives for any story? Sure, but they are bonuses as opposed to prerequisites (i.e., MICE) for genre fiction.

                      Again, you don’t have to like genre fiction, nor do you have to “get” it. But honestly, it’s like you’ve been giving your critique of a Mexican restaurant by judging the quality of their tacos as compared to you’re favorite moo goo gai pan.

                    3. Matter less to you.

                      if its all so subjective, why dispute anyones observation?

                      Brochett said he writes at a (junior-high) grade level. I concurred.

                      then the retort to “he’s no good at ‘basic-fiction stuff like dialoge and characterization” is that “those things don’t matter” in this super-special-niche thing where details matter more than characters.

                      it seems you’re just changing what ‘most people mean by “writing” to mean something most people don’t. Sort of a semantic dodge.

                      He’s great at universe-creation (agreed!) and that’s what people want, sure. Its not something people typically tend to credit as ‘great writing’. (e.g. like your ‘fake encyclopedia’ example)

                      You don’t have to like genre fiction, nor do you have to “get” it.

                      i do like lots of stuff you might call genre fiction. (or not). I’m a huge fan of “Black Lizard” style pulp fiction; I read lots of sci-fi as a kid, the tolkein books, the Dune series, etc.

                      compared to those, the “world creation” of Martin also seems kinda weak (but nothing to do with my point about writing) … most of his world is just transposed medieval cultures into a fictional-context. Ironborn = Vikingish, Dothraki = golden horde, Dornish = mediterranean, etc. Dune did a better job IMHO w/ the same shtick.

                      I’m not pretending to compare GRRM to Proust, ffs

              2. side note =

                decided to look up Orson Scott Card (i recognized his name from Enders Game, but know nothing else of his)… just curious. thought this was cute =

                Politics

                Card’s vocal opposition to same-sex marriage and other views on homosexuality led to a boycott of the film version of Ender’s Game[33] ? a development which itself received criticism.[34] ..
                Describing himself as a political liberal[36] and moral conservative,[37] Card’s ideals concerning society?as well as foundational themes within his fiction?are described communitarian.[36][38][39] In 2000, Card said, “Most of the program of both the left and the right is so unbelievably stupid it’s hard to wish to identify myself with either. But on economic matters, I’m a committed communitarian. I regard the Soviet Union as simply state monopoly capitalism. It was run the way the United States would be if Microsoft owned everything. Real communism has never been tried! I would like to see government controls expanded, laws that allow capitalism to not reward the most rapacious, exploitative behavior. I believe government has a strong role to protect us from capitalism.”[40]

                A vocal supporter of the U.S.’s War on Terror,[41][42] according to Salon, Card is close to neoconservative concerning foreign policy issues.[43]

                Obviously irrelevant to his views on creative writing…. but still, sounds like a real Hot Date.

          2. Judging genre fiction within the framework of literary fiction is a sucker’s game.

            I didn’t realize there was some difference? I never use the term “literary” to mean some special class of ‘fancy shit’. All novels are ‘literature’. Is there a different set of rules for when dragons or robots get involved?

            1. Rule of cool?

            2. Is there a different set of rules for when dragons or robots get involved?

              As I wrote up-thread, many would argue “yes”.

          3. also – i mentioned the Aubrey-Maturin books below (mainly because i have no other frame of reference in the last 10 years as far as ‘serialized novels” go)

            … why would the standards for something like that (super-detailed historical fiction) be so different for a completely fantastic universe?

            Dialog, characterization, etc. aren’t ever any different no matter what you’re writing. Turning a cute phrase isn’t the exclusive purview of the fart-sniffing.

        2. Nor does literary merit make a boring fictional universe any less boring. And lack of imagination describes mos professional fiction writers these days. In my always ever so humble opinion.

      2. Squats are the most overrated lift, as well.

        1. (GASP!)

        2. *armbars Brochettaward*

    6. I like the writing – I like long, detailed passages and intricate storylines; I just lost interest somewhere during the 4th book.

      1. Long and detailed passages, eh?

        These euphemisms…

      2. See, the actual writing isn’t that detailed. I don’t think he’s good at setting a scene. He’s definitely not Tolkien who could describe a table or room’s lighting for three pages. His writing just is very basic.

        1. His writing just is very basic

          and not “good” basic either. Clumsy, tedious.

          PKD did “simple” better in a way that let you care about the subject matter without getting irritated by the writer’s weaknesses

    7. Meh, so what? Most of what constitutes high literature these days is produced by an idiot with a thesaurus and a political chip on his/her shoulder.

      Nabokov (who I don’t like) once said, while trying to disparage Dostoevsky (the greatest Russian novelist of all time), that there isn’t a sentence of his worth reading; Nabokov himself admitted (or perhaps back-peddled, depending on how you see it) that the essence of Dostoevsky’s writing isn’t in ornate and flowery words or sentences, but in the greater story that those things are supposed to make up.

      Martin creates an interesting and complex world and constantly gives the impression of many intricate things going one, with considerable depth. I find that far more entertaining, aesthetically pleasing, and dare I say insightful than the musings of some postmodernist stem-of consciousness diarrhea in which each sentence tries so hard to be a work of art and the whole thing ends up looking like a Jackson Pollack painting (in other words, diarrhea) Or some pretentious self-important novel that takes hundreds of pages to describe a single day in the life of a bore, that delights in its own boringness (Ulysses or Mrs Dalloway come to mind).

      I hate most modern novelists, but I don’t mind Martin (or at least ASOIAF). Frankly, I prefer philistines to charlatans.

  2. Didn’t read the books, didn’t watch the series. However, I’ve seen Lord of the Rings and I’ve seen boobs, so I guess I’ve seen the basic components of GoT.

    Anyway, see this incident from last month at a Senate debate where the audience wanted to hear the Green Party candidate, not just the Ds and Rs. Nothing doing.

    1. I’ve seen men and women, so I’ve seen the basic components of Romeo and Juliet.

      1. You *do* realize I’m trolling you, don’t you?

        1. I’ve seen Trollkins, so I’ve seen the basics. 🙂

          1. Wow, this is the most people I’ve triggered in a long time.

    2. You’ve never seen tits, Eddie.

      1. Your mother is a mammal, isn’t she?

        1. I thought he bit off his mother’s teats once while breast-feeding.

  3. Does this story ever like…end?

    1. Well, when either Martin or the reader dies. For most Game of Thrones fans, it will be the former.

    2. Martin seems to have kind of lost the plot. Originally this was supposed to be three books, then seven and now I’ve heard he’s considering going to eight…

      1. Yeah, I enjoyed them, but stopped reading after book 4 I think. Haven’t watched the show.

      2. It could be worse. I started reading the Wheel of Time in the early 90’s. The author said it would be a trilogy, it stretched out to 13-14 books. The author died before the last three could be written so it had to passed along to somebody else. Over 20 years later and I still haven’t got around to reading the last one.

        1. You wool-headed man!

          *twists braid*

        2. The “Aubrey-Maturin” books go to 20

          I’m not normally a fan of those sorts of things…. serialized novels, or historical-fiction… whatever. but i do think that collection deserves credit as the “best thing of its type” ever done. Both in its literary quality and its historical detail and scope. I’ve never actually finished them either; i read the first 12 or so, then went back and read them from the beginning like twice again over the course of years.

      3. Really? 8? I’ll finish the fifth, but no promises beyond that.

        Fun fact: Dostoevsky originally intended Brothers Karamazov to be part of a trilogy.

  4. New York Times: Let’s take a teachable moment and piss the opportunity away in a tsunami of SJW retardation

    People at Georgetown University are tracing the descendants of slaves sold by Jesuits in 1838 in order to pay the University’s expenses.

    The Times is vague on what Georgetown ought to do now, except that it is “morally obligated” to Do Something, starting (but not ending!) with scholarships to the slaves’ descendants.

    And tempting as it must be for the Times to focus on the evils of the Catholic Church, they impartially take a broader view and play around with pro-“reparations” rhetoric, mentioning (non-Catholic) banks and insurance companies and other companies which profited from slavery.

    Any attempt at reasonable discussion of outreach to the descendants is made retarded in advance by using the dispute as leverage to bash America in general, because Lord knows America and American businesses never paid any price for their involvement in slavery.

    1. The NYT is a cesspool of pissing and shitting on teachable moments, logic, reason, self awareness…

    2. Admit it, dude. You still have resentments for the Times over the Mortara case.

    3. I’m sure one of NYT’s owners owned slaves or killed Indians or loaned money to Nazis at some point in the past. Ergo, the NYT should pay infinity dollars to one of those groups.

      If they reject that logic, then they should reject the logic of corporate guilt in perpetuity. Individuals do bad things, organizations are just a name and a collection of individuals. If nobody at the organization was involved in the abd thing done, than the organization doesn’t owe shit, certainly no more than does an organization that consists at least in part of individuals who are descended from individuals who did bad things.

      Though it wouldn’t surprise me if NYT writers believed, despite their stance on corporate personhood, that corporations (including Georgetown) have immortal demonic souls that stretch beyond the mere lies of the people of which they consist.

  5. I really haven’t watched TV that much since the intertoobz were invented. I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld like 10 times. When was that… like early 90s? Right before/during the time the intertoobz were becoming available and featured more than text. Since then, the time I have spent watching TV would be far far far less than I have spent on the internet. I bet I have not watched more than 100 hours of TV in the last decade. I spent more time than that on Fallout New Vegas and many other computer games. I watch movies with the wife. I can’t consider that TV since you can watch films on your computer.

    1. Fallout NV was sublime. You’re correct about that.

  6. The only economic lesson you need to take from the books is: don’t piss off the Italians.

    1. Never piss off an Italian when death is on the line!

      1. Wesley did not actually put poison in either cup. He administered the poison when he told Virginia to “inhale this, but do not touch.” His claim that both cups of wine were poisonedoing was a lie.

        1. “Poisondong” is my new band name.

        2. Vizzuni, not Virginia. What the actual heck?

          1. Vizzini, not Vizzuni. Can I get a spill cleanup over here?

  7. Libertarian moment!

  8. It wasn’t just St. Thomas who enlightened India, Shakespeare did it, too.

  9. Spot the not-Shakespeare

    1) The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!

    2) Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.

    3) Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it.

    4) Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

    5) We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

    6) What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?

    7) What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here

    1. 6…aint that the Stones?

      1. Sort of; Shakespeare did a cover of their original.

    2. Quincy is right, #3 is from Christopher Marlowe’s play Dr. Faustus.

      #6 is the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet

      1. What do I win?

        1. Nothing, because my coffers sound/With hollow poverty and emptiness” (2 Henry IV (1.3.76) )

          http://www.shakespeare-online……verty.html

          1. Nevermind. I has the warming smartfeel of the winning. Whee!

            1. (Rufus the Third, part 4 (4.20.99))

  10. Spot the not – Shakespeare

    1)

    Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame
    Is lust in action; and till action, lust
    Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
    Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
    Enjoyed no sooner but despis?d straight,
    Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
    Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
    On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
    Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
    Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
    A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
    Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

    2)

    Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
    Minds innocent and quiet take
    That for a hermitage.
    If I have freedom in my love,
    And in my soul am free,
    Angels alone, that soar above,
    Enjoy such liberty.

    1. 3)

      But at my back I always hear
      Time’s wing?d chariot hurrying near;
      And yonder all before us lie
      Deserts of vast eternity.
      Thy beauty shall no more be found;
      Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
      My echoing song; then worms shall try
      That long-preserved virginity,
      And your quaint honour turn to dust,
      And into ashes all my lust;
      The grave’s a fine and private place,
      But none, I think, do there embrace.

      1. 4)

        Hence vain deluding joyes,
        The brood of folly without father bred,
        How little you bested,
        Or fill the fixed mind with all your toyes;
        Dwell in som idle brain,
        And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
        As thick and numberless
        As the gay motes that people the Sun Beams,
        Or likest hovering dreams
        The fickle Pensioners of Morpheus train.

        1. 5)

          Under the greenwood tree
          Who loves to lie with me,
          And turn his merry note
          Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
          Come hither, come hither, come hither:
          Here shall he see No enemy
          But winter and rough weather.

          1. 6)

            There’s a feeling I get
            When I look to the west
            And my spirit is crying for leaving
            In my thoughts I have seen
            Rings of smoke through the trees
            And the voices of those who standing looking

            1. [HINT: There may be more than one not.]

      1. That’s one of the nots. There are others.

        1. (I’m no just giving this one away)

          1. 5 *is* Shakespeare – As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 5

            2 is Richard Lovelace

            1. There’s still one or two nots left.

            2. 2 for 3! I haz not cultural illiteracy!

              1. What do you mean 2 for 3?

                1. .666 batting average.

                  1. I prefer to write it as .6666666666666666666666666666666666666666666

                    1. But as to number 1, number 3 and number 4, can you spot the not or nots?

                    2. Fine, 4.

                    3. Is that…your final answer?

                    4. I’m not dying, so no, I will answer again, sometime.

                    5. 2/3rds is pretty good as well. Compact and accurate.

                    6. THERE’S ONE OR TWO NOTS LEFT!

                    7. Do you want to leave me here to play by myself?

                    8. 4444444444444444444444444444444444444

                    9. OK, 4 is a not, but you missed 3, which is also a not.

                      It’s by “To his coy mistress,” by Andrew Marvell.

                      True story – Marvell’s poem was also set to music.

                    10. I think the composer was Henry Purcell

                    11. And as you probably noticed, 4 is from John Milson’s Il Penseroso.

                    12. And as you probably noticed

                      You over-estimate me.

                    13. True story – Milton’s Poem was also set to music. By Handel. Sublime.

  11. 700ft tall wall of ice is stupid! NEEDS MOAR SAWDUST!

  12. Spot the Not – Played out H&R memes

    1. Euphemisms

    2. Mexicans,pot,ass-sex

    3. Libertarian moment

    4. Setup … sunglasses… Punchline

    5. STEVE SMITH

    6. Spot The Not

    7. the one where you bitch about overplayed H&R memes

    8. Would

    1. 9. Winston

    2. I think it’s cute that you think this is interesting.

      1. What gave you that idea?

        1. I’m being the worst.

    3. Seems like one of those..

      [dons sunglasses]

      …is only ever used by a single commenter. AND HE’S GREAT AT IT.

    4. Obviously, 7.

    5. 10: a troll’s real identity.

    6. 2 will never be played out. It’s the perfect pithy expression of this publication’s core values. “Narrows gaze” is played out but useful. (Though I’m sure you all have crow’s feet now.) “This is why Virginia Postrel hates us” is a bit played out but absolutely necessary.

      1. Did I say this publication’s core values? I meant mine.

    7. I noticed you didn’t include the Tulpa meme, probably because you are Tulpa

      1. We are all Tulpa now, lap. We are all Tulpa now….

        1. Speak for yourself! I’m Mary!

    8. The least discussed meme is SIV’s blog.

        1. Yes, that blog. Why isn’t that more frequently discussed? What is wrong with you people?

          1. The writing there stinks

              1. If you don’t like hot chicks wearing tight uncomfortable underwear you must be some sort of anti-sex feminist or homosexual. NTTIANWWT on the latter.

                1. kidding, yo

                  i think its freaky in a good way

    9. You know another meme that’s played out….

        1. He never gets old.

    10. I miss the old memes.

      When’s the last time someone towed the lion?

  13. TIL about Katherine Johnson and Juvenal, and am motivated to actually watch Mr. Show, which I had only sort of known about.

    This is why I like this place.

    Thanks baes.

    1. The episode with the rich fat kids camp is pure sublimity. It’s genius.

      1. on it

  14. Charles Koch endorses Hitlery Kkklinton

    he believed Bill Clinton was a better president “in some ways” than George W. Bush

    WTF? I did not like Bill Clinton one bit but as president he was far better than George W Bush. I’m not sure Bill Clinton could have been worse than Bush if he tried.

    The billionaire Reason-patron is showing signs of being non compos mentis

    1. Why are you here?

      1. To offer thought-provoking and high value content. Unlike YOU, faggot college boy.

        1. That response was Cytotoxician.

          1. Jus’ tellin’ it like it is. Speaking truth to pussies.

    2. He didn’t really contradict what you said. “He was a better president in some ways” could imply “he was a better president.” It’s all so vague.

      And he added this disclaimer:

      “We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way,” he said.

      Which is also true, and makes his claim that she may be better than Trump true? but rather trivially so. It’s all a lot of whatever.

      1. Charles Koch, snubbed by the Manhattan cocktail party circuit.

    3. Look, he’s eccentric, not crazy. There’s a billion dollar difference between a crazy guy and an eccentric.

      1. Eccentrics don’t own a comb, and they blast funky music from their boomboxes which rest on their bikes.

        Something like that?

    4. My father, who back in the day hated Clinton, now considers him to be a great president, thanks to W and Obama.

      I was actually always a fan. The first Bush was rotten, too.

      Yet if you tried to implement Bubba’s policy today, you’d be labeled a right wing extremist.

      1. Policy before or after the 1994 slaughter?

        Clinton era revisionism is odd.

  15. Good night – let Mozart sooth you to sleep

    Here’s a translation of the lyrics

    1. No.

      Mozart has been silently tormenting for the past four months. I’ll see the last of his fantasies packed into a box Monday morning. Whee!

  16. Or if you’re gonna be up late and wanna be weird, here’s the new Howls of Ebb album

  17. Hangover cures? Only drank beer, but a lot of it. Hair of the dog not an option.

    1. salty food & fluids.

    2. Non-alcoholic fluids. It helps to drink large quantities while the alcohol is still in your system. Tomato juice, a raw egg yolk Worcestershire sauce, and Texas Pete or Tabasco works even better…if you swallow it all with 15-30mg of oxycodone.Chaseit with 24 ozs of strong coffee, or better yet, Adderall.

      1. Tomato juice

        yes, its also very salty, which helps.

        If you have any B-complex vitamins, they can help a lot as well.

      2. swallow it all with 15-30mg of oxycodone

        also, smoke a bowl, put jello in your footbath, and get a blowjob from a thai ladyboy

        1. I thought I was the one who needed liquid?

    3. I’ve felt hungover for almost 10 weeks, hydration and exercise help a bit

      But seriously, when I have actually been hungover, I’ve always felt better faster after I exercised a bunch and drank lots of water and Gatorade

    4. First, place a healthy dose of Tabasco sauce on your left thumb. Then gently insert your right thumb inside of your rectum while ravenously sucking on your left thumb. Then, thank me for curing you.

      1. *Thrusts thumb under CJ’s nose*
        Did I do it right?

  18. Swear to god, i think i just saw a headline that said, “PRINCE = STILL DEAD”

    1. Sure that wasn’t “Franco”?

  19. If you want fantasy novels with economics infused, try the two by David Friedman: Harald and Salamander

  20. HM,
    (first post eaten by squirrels)
    Finished Weatherford’s “GK”. Given that my intro to GK was the dregs of Votaire’s misdirection (cowardice?), it was enlightening reading.
    He (Weatherford) was a bit romantic at times and some of the claims are a bit too just-so, but he’s got the bibliography to back it up and I have some other books for corroboration; just grabbed “China, a History” (Keay) from the shelf to read his comments on the Yuan dynasty.
    Thanks much; good reading.

  21. Didn’t read the books, haven’t watched the series – just never bothered. No judgment, therefore, one way or the other. Disinterested – and uninterested – observer.

    What do I win?

    1. It depends on whether you own a TV or not

  22. No mention?

    “Lonnie Mack, singer and guitarist who pioneered blues rock, dies”
    […]
    “Mr. Mack was a country boy from southern Indiana who grew up on the Grand Ole Opry, rhythm and blues radio, and the gospel music he sang at his local church, influences that he blended as both a singer and guitarist.
    http://www.sfgate.com/nation/a…..306010.php

    He used to play it a stream-side dive west of Cincinnati, where you didn’t leave your money on the bar. If the pissoir was full, you went out in back and pissed in the stream…
    Not far from where Nick now lives, but no one wore a black leather jacket unless they were ‘making a statement’.
    When he first signed with a ‘label’, he bought he and his (then) GF yellow Cadillacs. She was a cutey…

    1. I wouldn’t expect them to obit Lonnie Mack here. Kinda outside the scope.

    2. RIP

      saw him a few times; once in the 1980s w/ Roy Buchanan. once @ jazzfest i think. Always liked his understated style. good voice.

  23. Given he is a hard core leftie, I’m guessing it’s mostly accidental and because it’s based on the War of the Roses

    1. Hard core lefties who deal well with realistic human interactions tend to come up with worlds with libertarian messages. Like Joss Whedon and Firefly. A believable alternative world is going to have libertarian messages in it somewhere.

  24. Want to meet a girl? Welcome to http://goo.gl/mxiosK
    the Best adult Dating site!

    1. Can I find a girl with a short skirt and a long jacket there?

      1. She said ADULT dating site.

      2. Pervert

  25. “just practical difficulties of running a kingdom, how public finance works, how the game of thrones corrupts the people who play it and how it ends disastrously for the people who don’t play it well.”

    At least under our modern system the precious pols are spared and it only ends disastrously for the governed.

    1. What happens to the people who play the game poorly but think they’re winning everytime Millennials agree with them in a poll?

  26. 2?once I saw the draft of 4200 bucks,,,I admit that my sister was like really generating cash in his free time with his COM. My aunt has done this for only 6 months and by now repaid the loan on their home and bought a new BMW..H0

    ———— http://www.Buzzmax7.com

  27. Upthread some folks were talking about authors that paint immersive and fantastic worlds but execute character development and storytelling styles poorly (i.e. 5th grade writing level. )

    I’d put almost any fiction book authored by Rudy Rucker sort of into that “space” and characterise it similarly in the sense that for decades he has weaved some incredibly interesting fictional technology and fantastic concepts and worlds – just really amazing shit from my point of view, but the characters often come off as dopey and prattle back and forth with stupid grade school dialogue.

  28. Well, since it’s a slow weekend and the subject is books, thought some of you might find this interesting. The kid received handwritten replies from famous authors. I found his project, let alone the actual questions and answers, fascinating and wonder if it could be reproduced today (I doubt it.)

    “In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?”

    http://www.theparisreview.org/…..sm-survey/

    1. The answers were rather lackluster but yeah pretty cool undertaking. I think some authors would probably respond today. Might be harder to get their attention through all the electronic communication “noise”.

  29. FWW, In the GILMORE vs Heroic debate up thread, I’ve got to side with GILMORE’s general argument (I haven’t read the GoT books, can’t comment on Martin specifically). You can be a popular, successful, entertaining, creative writer without being particularly good at writing. Similar to how you can be a popular, successful, entertaining pop star without being particularly good at singing.

    1. something about the line of reasoning didn’t feel totally congruent with that sweet music snob smackdown G did a few days ago, which was awesome, but the stated case seemed very similar. My takeaway: Authors with primitive literary skills can produce entertaining books. I also walked away disinterested in reading the Martin books.

      1. I think it’s largely a semantic divide. With music, there is more granularity — we can talk about someone being a good guitarist, or a good singer, or a good songwriter, or a good performer, etc, instead of just using the blanket term “musician”.

        In literature, “writer” seems to be used as more of a catchall, which makes it easier to argue over the meaning of the word or how it is being used. If, up above, they were using the terms “word smith”, “world builder”, “character developer”, etc., the debate may not have even happened.

        But I found it interesting, so I am glad it did happen.

      2. I think it’s congruent. He was arguing against equating popularity and entertainment with lack of skill. In this case, he’s arguing against equating popularity/entertainment with a certain level of skill. There are skilled popular entertainers and there are popular entertainers who are hacks

        1. i think you guys summarized it well.

          I agree it seems mostly a semantic niggle about what “good writer” means.

          my view is that there is universal applicability to ‘good writing’ which transcends genre; and that skill w/ basic prose, dialogue, characterization applies equally to anything.

          I disagree that there’s “different standards” depending on the genre. (see: the ‘suckers game’ claim)

          some genre readers may not *care* as much about those elements, as HM notes; but the works aren’t necessarily better for their absence.

          (e.g. i’d argue tolkein and herbert were far better prose writers than martin, and their works don’t require special-categorization as ‘genre’-fiction to be admired. the fact that they also ‘create separate universes’ doesn’t negate the added-value of eloquence)

          there’s certainly mountains of hack-produced fiction which is still popular and very enjoyable. Similarly, shitty musicians make enjoyable music. No one defends them as great-talents. Its still completely fair to point out – within genre, or across them – that, say, Iggy Pop was obviously a better singer than Henry Rollins. That isn’t a summary judgement about their music as a whole, but about their specific skill & ability.

          I’m not making a case for some kind of literary elitism. calling martin’s prose ‘5th-grade level’ is probably accurate. (*i’d be more generous and call it “junior high”). some people don’t mind it, others find it boring. but it is what it is.

          1. No talent but still popular…

            …I give you Adam Sandler.

          2. “there’s certainly mountains of hack-produced fiction which is still popular and very enjoyable. Similarly, shitty musicians make enjoyable music.”
            I’m not sure what you’re saying. For one, ‘popular but bad’ is not the same thing as ‘poorly written but entertaining.’

            I’m pretty sure the definition of being a good musician is that you make good music. Unless you’re saying that some people with horrible voices are great song-writers or vice versa, I’m don’t get what you mean when you say someone can be a better musician than someone else but make worse music.

  30. 2?once I saw the draft of 4200 bucks,,,I admit that my sister was like really generating cash in his free time with his COM. My aunt has done this for only 6 months and by now repaid the loan on their home and bought a new BMW..T1

    ———— http://www.Buzzmax7.com

  31. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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