Posts by James Butler

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  • Speaker: Not in my name, and not in his either,

    I haven’t been a Christian for some years, but recently I have been “working” in the vocal ensemble at St Matthew-in-the-city on Sunday mornings. I had some qualms about endorsing an institution that I don’t believe in, but their devotion to social justice and equality has won me over (I’ve always thought their famous billboards tended towards cheap shots at the expense of actual reasoned debate, but the intent is genuine and their advocacy is real). If people must believe, then I’d rather they believed this way, not that I really have a say.

    I know there are other churches around the country with similar stances – St Andrew’s on The Terrace comes to mind – and there was a letter in favour of marriage equality signed by priests of many Protestant denominations circulating around Facebook a while ago. But traditional protestantism is shrinking in this country (something that I’m conflicted about as a sympathiser rather than a believer), and as it does so I think it’s inevitable that congregations will become more polarised; those who care less, one way or another, are those most likely to drift away.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Neither fish nor fowl,

    My cycling friends advise that the chief benefit of dismounting for crossings is to not make angry drivers angry.

    In my experience so far there is no correlation between how I behave on my bike and how drivers behave towards me. Drivers who are dicks will act like dicks, tailgate, swerve, swear and toot no matter what I'm doing - just the sight of me can be enough to set them off. So although I try to ride courteously, and I acknowledge drivers who give me extra time and space when I'm able, I'm certainly not going to go to any extra inconvenience just to make drivers feel better. They won't notice.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Grow Up, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would say that our younger son, who still has issues with emotional control, in some ways has greater emotional maturity and self-knowledge than some of the “adults” I have had to work for as managers.

    That's interesting - do you think that some of this might come from having had to confront and analyse his own emotions from a relatively early age? Someone on twitter the other day said something like "Cognitive [or Dialectical? can't remember] Behavioural Therapy should be taught in high school". It can be pretty interesting comparing the behaviours of people who have mental illnesses or other emotional disorders and know they need to deal with this stuff, and "normal" functioning adults who don't, and don't. It's not always flattering to the latter.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Grow Up,

    My wife and I are 30, and we'll have a teenage son next year. Guess which path to adulthood we won't be encouraging?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Card on the Table,

    While I'm here, has anyone else noticed the subgenre I'll call "SF writers who are also lefty bloggers who are probably better bloggers than SF writers"? I'm thinking of Charles Stross, David Brin and Cory Doctorow in particular.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Card on the Table,

    I'm going to add to this list of "SF writers whose politics I know of and disagree with" Gene Wolfe, a conservative Catholic (not that there's anything wrong with that, Craig (: ). He remains one of my favourite writers in any genre, but I find myself often cringing at his ideas about duty, honour and women.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Card on the Table,

    For all the talk about how Heinlein was a nutso libertarian and PKD was a flag-waving commie, it's worth noting that they were firm friends and Heinlein financially supported PKD when he was at his lowest ebb (which was pretty often).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Card on the Table, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I’m sure Hayeck, Friedman and Saint Ayn are spinning in their graves.

    Meh, they're too busy reading Terry Goodkind.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Card on the Table,

    For anyone who has trouble reconciling the thoughtful, excellent writing in Ender's Game with Card's reprehensible and plainly stupid bigotry, I recommend this essay. It finally cured my desire to re-read the whole series.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Waterview Bore,

    Is it pessimistic of me to not feel too bad about the omission of bus lanes, because within a few years car volumes will have dropped enough that there will be lanes to spare for buses?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

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