Knight Of Winter

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About Knight Of Winter

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    Northern Bound
  • Birthday 01/05/1989

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  1. I think you're ignoring the evidence that Dany is actually a secret Marbrand masquerading as a Targaryen
  2. Ok, that would increase size of his army manifold. However: - where would he find resources to feed such army? - where would he find weapons to equip it? - how would he train them on such a quick notice? - who would be left to work the fields and harvest the food for winter? Therefore, it's not a feasible idea by any stretch of imagination. If you want an analogy from pre-modern times, in ancient China 8 families were expected to equip and send one warrior to serve in the army in times of war. This was a ratio that was considered doable and manageable.
  3. I got and it saddened me because it's not crackpot at all
  4. Hm...it says "You need permission This form can only be viewed by users in the owner's organisation. Try contacting the owner of the form if you think that this is a mistake. Learn more. "
  5. To discuss what I consider an important societal issue, to hear other what other people have to say about it, to discuss ideas... What did you expect? For me to write a tractate on the subject of racism, the need to redefine it, complete with step by step guide on how to get there?
  6. Oh, no doubt about that. It's incredibly complex and I find it infinitely fascinating.. My point was just that the language is human construct and is ultimately under people's control (though of course way beyond the scope of a single individual). Which is great, for if neither the "offended" nor "offenders" realize the word is racist, then it truly ceased being racist. Yes, I remember that thread. In meantime, I thought the difference could maybe be in our backgrounds. To my understanding, you (and presumably some other people in this thread), come from countries where "open" society indicated saying whatever you wanted with impunity, without feeling any kind of "brakes" not to give unnecessary offense. Hence, you favour "less open" society. Here, the situation is reverse. It is mainstream/majority who want to make certain values into dogmas and shut down any kind of discussion about them, calling it "protecting our values" and such. So, naturally, certain fondness for a "more open" society appeared in me and like-minded people. Several points here. Firstly, I'm talking about how a society (i.e. all of us) should work in ideal circumstances; not about myself being a brave harbinger of change I'm about to gloriously bring. That would indeed be foolish and arrogant. Last thing I want would be to racially offend other people; I'm saying that I hope we all, one day, get to the point we're so certain and secure in our non-racist ideology that no amount of accidental (no matter how insensitive) images of black boys in wrong hoodies will make us question our values and create the need to loudly reinforce them. Till such a time comes (and again, not with me as a harbinger), I'll keep hoping and debating Secondly (and this is a big digression when I don't want to lose the main thread of this conversation, so under spoiler tag it goes) And lastly, here you touched on something I consider quite interesting, not just on practical but philosophical level as well: can an idea be valued and discussed independently of its originator? Do it merits and flaws change depending on who proposed it? Back to the matter at hand: can a racial slur be more or less offensive depending on who uses it? For I think not: it would remain offensive or not regardless of who utters it. You're a moderator here: if you found a post with racial slur, would you remove them or check member's background and deemed them ok if you concluded that the person in question is a member of historically oppressed group who maybe trying to "reclaim" the word? If reclaiming happens, it should be under equal conditions for everyone involved. Actually, here's a quick interesting thought experiment: would you feel any differently if you (purely hypothetically) found out that H&M's CEO, board of directors and every designer and photographer who made this hoodie, are all black? Yes, you have a point regarding Gypsies and immigrants. I obviously didn't want to spread bullshit, but since this thread is mainly focused on racism against black people (who are very rare in Croatia), I overlooked other forms of racism which certainly do exist. My mistake. Ok, for one, I certainly didn't claim I come from a enlightened utopia of no -isms, just from a land with no racism (and have retracted in the last paragraph due to baxus's post). Other -isms: sexism, anti-secularism, chauvinism and nationalism are all having a time of their lives in my country. Secondly, one does not need to be a part of any group to be oppressed. I don't think I have to explain this. Thirdly, you are correct in assuming that I'm not a part of any group that has been historically oppressed, but again I don't see why it should matter. I'm not a big fan of particularism, for example viewing racism as a issue which needs to be solved by "oppresed" group with the help of enlightened individuals from the "oppressing" one. Anti-racism is a fight for equal-soceity (equal rights, equal opportunity...), and as such, it's everyone job to contribute to it. (hence, when racism does happen, anti-racist organizations should not be the ones to react. everyone should react: syndicates, feminists, stamp collectors, truck drivers, lawyers, hikers... If there's one thing I liek about h&M incident, it's the massiveness of reaction it generated) And each can offer a different perspective in order to create it. Perspective of a first-hand victim of a racial oppression is not the one I can bring, true. Here, I didn't talk about H&M case at all, but about public discourse in general. I got the feeling that you at least partially agree with me on this issue; since you spoke how you're not worried at all about conservatives, bigots etc. being offended about your values and words.
  7. That is absolutely true, but there's not much I (or people in my position) can do about it. I certainly don't. But who does? God? Nature? Aliens? Dice throw? Or, as I believe, human collective as a whole? I'm comfortable with the evolution and, as I've written in my response to butterbumps, have no personal stake at racism/anti-racism (other than very abstract wish for a fairer society). As for other people who use the same argument as me, just for the purpose getting a license for various kinds of insults - well, I (vehemently) don't agree with them and can't speak for them. Gah, of course it's not about me. Just the very idea that well... we should err less on a side of caution means that I, as well, am gonna hear lots of things I don't like or prefer or which make me uncomfortable. I'm trying to honestly present an idea which I think makes for a more open and freer society, not get carte blache to insults minorities and then scream "I'm oppressed" when somebody calls me on my bullshit. Again, and I feel the need to emphasize this since it's been wrongly implied twice already: this is not personal for me. It may surprise you, but according to every possible segregation (economical, political, educational, human-rights, religious etc.) I'm in minority in my country; so I'm well aware of possible repercussions of my ideas. I disagree here, but for now I would not like to digress from the main topic and open another can of worms. ETA: A few minor points: 1) it's not about purposely giving offense and it's definitely not about "we should stop being offended". It's more that getting and giving offense is unfortunate inevitable consequence of a healthy public discourse. 2) the fact that I'm an outsider to the group being targeted is irrelevant. Today it's not "my" group. tomorrow it might as well be. In the grander scheme of things it's all the same. Otherwise, you raise some fair points, I'll dwell on them for a time.
  8. Butterbumps (and Xray to an extent): My own personal feelings and sentiments are utterly irrelevant here. In fact, I'm gonna be a notch down on your 100% percent here, since I've never in my life either been a victim or a perpetrator of a racism, nor have I ever encountered it. My country has pretty much zero problems with it (that's because there are very few non-white people here, not because we're particularly enlightened). In fact, I'm noticing that I'm arguing more academically and dispassionately than a lot of people who have (presumably) witnessed racism first hand. To me, it's strictly impersonal discussion on what constitutes racist behavior and how to make better society in the long run. My paragraph about society's insecurity should be taken pretty much at a face value, for I believe that we, as a society, feel a lot of need to go out of our way to make sure that our behavior and words couldn't be seen as racist, instead of just assuming it's a given. Maybe it's necessary when discussing the issue with some random people whose opinions you don't know and want to make sure you're all on the same page, but here, at least - let's assume we all know that racism sucks and don't need to emphasize it every third sentence. I can agree that measuring whether something is offensive or not can't be exclusively in the eyes of an "offender". Meanwhile, I believe society as a whole errs lot more often on the opposite direction, on the side of caution. As a big proponent of polite and respectful discourse and not offending people, I genuinely believe that it's very hard to have any kind of meaningful public discussion without risking offending someone. (in ALL of the following cases I'll be making very very broad generalizations, which DO NOT apply to entire groups as a whole): black people get offended because you unintentionally put them in the same sentence as a object of racial slurs (H&M's ad); white people get offended because you call them out on their entitled and imperialistic behavior of the past, or even present (in France, one presidential candidate lost significant amount of support after he dared to say France should be ashamed of its colonial history), some religious groups get offended because they see Christmas trees in a public place; conservatives (my favourites) claim mortal offense because they have to "suffer" gay prides in their towns (in my country, they use this very exact phrase: it offends our feelings); gun owners get offended because you want to restrict gun control, politicians get offended because you called them liars and thieves, veterans get offended when you point out their war crimes etc. Sooner or later, you get a sterile and lifeless public discourse where every public figure tiptoes around sensitive subjects (which DO need to be discussed) because some group is inevitably going to be offended somehow by something. And nobody's better off as a result. My point is: yes, we should have respect for each other and yes, we should not give intentionally insult each other (I very much agree with your Chucklefuck example). but, at the same time, we have to have free-spirited kind of society where ideas are discussed, and where measuring whether something is offensive or not can't be solely in the eyes of "offended". If I told you that I have very unpleasant memories of Kirby and hate everything he stands for; so I'm asking you to change your avatar while we're having this conversation - would you comply or would you tell me to kindly fuck off? Latter, I hope. This whole stupid, offensive and derogatory black people - monkey correlation is not inherent but man-made. What I'm arguing this whole time is that it needs to be man-unmade.
  9. Why not? Do you know what was the most common racial slur 300 years ago? Neither do I. Whatever it was, it likely completely changed its meaning in meantime. No, it goes without saying that I don't have any kind of mind-reading power. And neither do people on the opposite side of the debate, who jumped off the chairs to scream racism, who also did it without knowing the motive. I just made an educated guess not to assume racism, when I saw no actual reason to suspect it (supermatist photographers notwithstanding) So all in all, I don't think this argument favours either side. Absolutely, yes. Here we agree 100% And here we don't. While we're certain to disagree here, I'm sure you'll see, having read my posts, why I don't consider it racist at all. If you define racism as discrimination (including de-empowerment, humiliation. lack or rights...) based on race, my prefered ideology is complete opposite of that. If a white guy (or gal) has x% chance of being stripped and search by the police, black guy should have the similar percentage. If a white guy gets paid y amount as his salary, black guy doing the same job should get the same. In fact, employer shouldn't even think in terms "I hired a white/black guy" but "I hired a guy who's best at his job". Similarly, if white kid can wear a hoodie without stigma, because it's not offensive, same should apply to the black kid as well. In short, ideal anti-racism society shouldn't even consider race as a factor. It should be just a physical characteristic of a body, much like height or eye color, which you certainly notice on a person, but dismiss it as unimportant (as it is) and not think in terms of it. Which says nothing about their stance on it. Could it be possible that they realized the ad was racist and genuinely apologized? Certainly. But could it also be possible that H&M, as a capitalist company with the aim on making money, deiced apology is the cheapest way to cut their losses and restore their reputation? Equally possible. Normalizing non-slur nature was not the intent, just the unintended side-effect, of course. But yes, morally speaking, I believe that in, such a case, they should not have removed the ad. What I'm talking about is fairly common over the course of years/decades. In my grandparents generation, word "divorcee", for example, meant exactly the same as it does today, just with large amount of slur-like connotations. It was used to signify that person in question (and for the added sexist benefit, it was almost always used on women) is somehow faulty, wrong or not right in the head for having been divorced, and should be shunned and avoided. Nowdays, after cca 50 years, slur-like implication is almost gone and "divorcee" just means a divorced person, nothing more. Lol. I chuckled a bit a lot for this. Good one On a serious note, context is not just what you and your intent alone make of it, but rather everyone's collective effort. And I also struggle to find a single circumstance where calling someone sweet tits would ever be construed as well-intended. Look, I didn't come here to argue semantics. Suffice to say I saw heated disagreement and debates in every community I visited, hence I used the phrase "not consensus". Now, can we move on to more important matters? The reason why I provided such historical examples was to show that this exact same scenario already occurred before, more than a few times. Same ideas, same process, just different setting and actors. If you, however, believe that this particular issue we're discussing is somehow different and will follow different rules, please do explain. I'm genuinely interested. That's not really that much of a argument, is it? If you want, you can elaborate on this and we can talk and exchange ideas. Or we can follow the pattern and share few snide dismissive remarks. Personally, I would find former infinitely more interesting and productive.
  10. Why, yes, by all means we should do so. Correct them, ridicule them, mock them for their stupidity. If there are elements of criminal offense in their racism - prosecute them. That part was never the issue, it's just not the whole picture. I'd wager to say that this controversy highlights our insecurity in our non-racists beliefs. When confronting with a idea we're sure we find ridiculous and malicious and have no doubt about it - e.g. the idea that climate change is a Chinese hoax - we'll respond with ridicule. When discussing climate, we won't feel the need to preface our every sentence with denying said idea for the fear of being misunderstood. Our opposition to that idea will be a given presumption, not a point of discussion, When confronted with racism, on the other hand, we'll behave and speak in a lot more insecure manner. We'll feel the need to go out of the way to make sure that whatever we say or do cannot in any way, shape or form ever be construed as racist, even if there was zero malicious intent behind it. This, IMO, is what happened in the H&M story. Intent is what made words like monkey stick as a racial slur. Lack of intent, for example seeing black kid wearing a hoodie in question without any symbolic undertones, has the potential to un-stick it. Lol, it's obvious there's not even a consensus in this thread (and again, not speaking about myself only), let alone any other community I've seen discussing this, and let (even more) alone entire society. Different non-racist people will have different ideas about this issue, and that's fine. I agree absolutely that it has, and that is was used as a deliberate offense. To explain my point, I'll use a bit of perspective. If your friend told you he'd like to get to know your kids, would you beat the crap out of him? Or if you told your wife you visited a nunnery, would you be surprised if she filed for a divorce? Few centuries/millennia ago, you would have every right to, in both cases. However, sometimes in meantime, people stopped using "get to know" as a synonym to "have sex with". The word "nunnery" ceased to mean "brothel". At one point in time, people were secure they could use verb "know" without any sexual undertones. The intent changed, the word changed, the meaning changed; and this happens in language all the time. This is what is and should be happening with monkey as racial slur. For I'm sure that 50,100 or 200 years in the future it will done, completely (and this time, it will be a consensus), without anyone even making a mental connection between "black person" and "monkey" in a slur-like way. I simply wish to speed up a process by acknowledging it and using it, not passively watching it happen. Later on, you spoke how context matters. While that's obviously correct and valid, I think it doesn't cover the whole picture. Context is not just some abstract, God-given, non-changeable perennial given, rather it's defined and shaped by us - the society. If context made monkey into a slur, lack of context can un-make it just as efficiently. H&M's ad can be a fine example of that.
  11. If I were pedantic, I'd say that last sentence is a oxymoron On a more serious note, I'm not referring to myself only, as there are other people who share similar view (and I'm not talking about genuine racists, with whom I've no desire to be associated with) Sigh... I understand this a [understatement] serious and sensitive issue [/understatement]. I understand your point of view and will gladly and eagerly have this debate and try to answer every argument with counterargument. What I don't understand is this desire to ad-hominem - ly attack someone who expresses different opinion, or even a different idea on how to achieve same opinion. You and I can both fervently, genuinely and passionately believe in anti-racism and race equality, but hold diametrically opposite view on how to reach it. In any case, I'd ask to debate what I wrote, not what (do you think) I am. In any case, back to the substance of the discussion. There are two possible narratives here: a) black people are called monkeys b ) there is no connotation between them, much like how there's no connotation between brunettes and raspberries Narrative A is, I think we'll all agree, wrong, appalling, disgusting, regressive, primitive, offensive and in dire need of extermination as soon as possible. It's what we had in the past and it's what is, unfortunately, still often present today. Narrative B is, what I also believe we'll agree, what we hope for will happen in the future. So while visceral reaction I understand and have indulged more than once in the past, I'm trying to approach this in different manner: how do we as quickly replace A with B? Considering H&M's ad as racist, although certainly well-meaning, paradoxically reinforces A. It acknowledges it even while viscerally negating it; it forces people to even think in terms of it where there's not ill-intent and hence any reason to. Not considering it racist, on the other hand, erases A completely; it implicitly puts it beneath mere notice. Of course monkey will mean monkey (and nothing more), which sane person could even think or imply otherwise? It takes non-racist way of thinking at a face value and implicitly denies racist one to even rear its ugly head. In my mind there's no doubt which approach is better. On a more general note, language is a fluid concept. Words and phrases change their meaning, connotations and implications over years and generations; and we're in middle of one such change - A to B (and it will last for decades more, no doubt, but in the end it will be done). I simply think we're better off acknowledging it and using it in a way that makes for a better society. ETA: to sum up all around: just like how bad connotations and meanings can be put into practice with malicious use, so can they be be replaced in a similar fashion. Not seeing racism in ad, in my genuine opinion, is a step towards it.
  12. I meant there was nothing obviously offensive about the words like "Australians are dumb" or "Lets kill puppies". But I get your point: people (i.e. society) can make harmless words into something hurtful through ill-intentioned use. The thing is, society can also just as easily do the reverse: un-make the "ill" meaning though erasing and replacing it. In that light, I'd venture to even suggest that hoodie in question represents a step forward, for using monkey as a symbol for... monkey , and nothing else, no hidden connotations.
  13. Topic such as this is usually bound to create controversy, for this is either a case of blatant racism or a political correctness gone way too far. However, I do find it interesting and think it's important that it be discussed, hence this thread. About two months ago, international fashion brand H&M released new line of clothing. Problems arose with T-shirt saying "Coolest monkey in the jungle", and the reason was that H&M used a black boy to model it. Full article can be found here, controversial picture in question is this one . In the aftermath huge scandal erupted, H&M was accused of racism and issued an apology while boy moved with his family to Swedish safe house for security reasons. What I find interesting and would like to discuss here is ideological layer of this story: can a "message" be more or less right/wrong/ok/offensive depending on the "messenger" ? For, in my opinion, H&M genuinely didn't do anything wrong here. If there's nothing inherently wrong with T-shirt words Coolest monkey in the jungle (and I don't think there is), then it should be equally acceptable for anyone to wear them, be he/she black boy, white elderly women, red-haired dwarf or blue-eyed Chinese. Stupid derogatory connotations used against black people in the past should remain there - in the past, not hindering what is in all likelihood perfectly innocuous T-shirt which had the misfortune its words could be taken in a wrong way.
  14. But could Mongols dedicate their "full time" to Hungary invasion or were they busy fighting other enemies and each other (Mongol infighting began around 1260 and only got worse with time. E.g. few attempts of the Ilkhanate to invade Levant failed due to raids from Golden Horde) ? Did they have access to siege engineers? How able were their generals - did Mongols in 1285 have anyone comparable to Subotai, leader of 1241 invasion? How prepared were Hungarians in 1241 compared to 40 years later; how familiar were they with Mongols' warfare? Mass-fortification program led by Bela IV certainly helped a lot, but I think we can't discard a number of other factors as well. I understand your argument; but were these reasons decisive? Central Europe was indeed quite forested, but was in the only forested region among millions of square kilometers that Mongols conquered? I doubt so. Europeans built formidable and impressive castles, no doubt about that, but have Mongols conquered and sacked other fortified cities (Chinese, for example) - very much so (and, btw, Europeans maintaing their position in Outremer for so long has much to do with many other factors, like Arab political disunity and infighting and their inability to create stable lasting states) . European cities had stone walls, and population and soldiers ready to defend them - but were any of them more populous or better manned than Baghdad, the most important city in then-islamic world, which was brutally conquered and sacked in just a half a month? I think not. Argument that European division into several countries would impede Mongol progress I don't understand. While it would make it harder and longer to conquer Europe in one swoop, it would, OTOH, make picking them up one by one much easier. If, e.g. Mongols decided to attack HRE, they would fight German armies and German armies alone; and not allied forces from Spain, Denmark or Bulgaria (for example) as well. Having many small enemies is always better than having one big. As for Ain Jalut, I couldn't find any record of Mongols being defeated in that area earlier than that - closest were two repelled raids from 1237. and 1245. I agree that this is certainly a possibility. however, it's IMO far from certainty.
  15. Hm... this bears an interesting discussion. I think we should consider the other side of the equation as well, namely the fact that Mongolian power waned considerably by 1285 compared to "golden days" under Genghis and Ogodei. Before, they were unified under a single leadership and single purpose, while later they already split into 4 different states, each of them getting weaker with each generation. Hungary may have gotten stronger in 40 years, indeed, but there's little doubt that Mongols become much weaker, as well. The thesis above is not exclusive to Mongols' wars vs European countries in any way. One can, for example, compare Mongols' first invasion of Middle East (when they were basically unstoppable) against their attempts few decades later, when they were defeated in the first major battle (IIRC, called Battle of Ain Jalut) - and see the clear difference. I'd like to discuss this idea - that Mongols would have been impeded or stopped while encountering countries of central and western Europe, because almost everything I know about them suggests quite a different scenario, Mongols established an empire of unthinkable power, overshadowed by size only by British colonial empire of 20the century, and even so only by a small margin. They conquered China (medieval China was in no way, shape or form weaker than any of the European then-countries) in quite a quick period. They had no problems winning against powerful enemies such as Khawarezmian Empire, who could muster hundreds of thousands of soldiers. They defeated and subjugated first major European enemy - Russian states and princedoms - pretty easily. Next European countries which tried to stop them - Hungary and Poland - failed pretty spectacularly: battle of River Sajo ended up very badly for Hungarian side. They fought over large number of terrains and climates, against enemies great and small - and always ended up on the winning side. What makes you think e.g. HRE or France would fare any differently?