The posts you refer to are not about narcissism or self-centeredness, but about the way the event is expressed. I'm not sure it is narcissism to recount an external event in a way that makes you a bit more part of it... is it?
It's all part of the different reactions that you mentioned a bit before: the levels of trauma, those who don't care, and those who do care in a way or another. Isn't it incredibly normal that some people in the world would cheer at a terrorist attack results? The way you simplify it is uncomfortable, it seems like even with your presentation of the complexity of wrapping your head around it, it boils down to : Your society is not fragmented: if they are not traumatized, the citizen in question are either too young or un-american.America has done nothing wrong to anyone over the years and in fact is just some puppy wanting to be loved.Internationally, people are either loving you or hating you, no middle ground.Such tragedy naturally strike the nationalistic fibre, but even before 2001, the US were not "fetching and slobbering and hoping people would love them", they were a world superpower, involved in many shady businesses, perceived by some as arrogant, nosy and irrespectful on the international scene, tyrannical in the economical area, and they were certainly not looking only for love but for power and resources and security too and foremost.
Your government uses it as an excuse to shape that policy, taking into account that this was a symptom of a more global problem with middle east that continues to this day (with, for example, at random, ISIS and/or the migratory crisis in Europe). Why is this dumb, can you elaborate? (I am of not denying that your government may consider most citizens imbecile sheeps easily swayed by hoghwash though. Also, your government is based on texts drafted more than two hundreds years ago, it's not about to consider a single decade significant for stuff that continues being relevant to them.)
He never said anything about not understanding rememberance. Personalization, though, yeah, I have only seen the "where were you/what were you doing when <insert important event>" coming from Americans. It is not bad or good, it just seems peculiar, this way of making a tragedy a bit less about those involved, and more about the uninvolved spectator. Maybe it's global and it ties into the selfie culture or something I suppose, it does sounds like a good subject for a study.
It doesn't seems safe nor efficient to give law-breakers new and powerful bodies in any case.
When mind-swapping is easy and cheap enough to be used for criminals, society will certainly have left behind sentimentalism about the body you wore last season so swapping bodies would not feel much of either punishment or reeducation.
The more obvious would be to upload the mind in a virtual reeducation center, where the prisoner is both effectively removed from society and really can be rehabilitated, meanwhile his body can be used by someone else. I think Richard Morgan has a great take on this, speaking of that.
So I guess for me there is no worth in forced labor like this. You don't even need AI for simple tasks, just advanced programs, that's already what is hapoening right now in the real world.
Let's see for 2 & 3:The Kingskiller chronicles UnfinishedThe Stormlight Archive UnfinishedA Song of Ice and Fire UnfinishedThe Lord of the Rings Not written or published in the last 50 yearsThe Lightbringer UnfinishedHis Dark Materials OKDiscworld OKThe First Law OKThe Sword of Shannara OK but not a seriesDemon Cycle UnfinishedThe Riddle-Master Trilogy OkMistborn Original trilogy over, but series is indicated to be continuingGentlemen Bastard UnfinishedThe Inheritance Trilogy (Jemisin) OKThe Liveship Traders OKHarry Potter OKThe Sword of Truth UnfinishedThe Chronicles of Narnia Not written or published in the last 50 yearsEarthsea OK if not basing oneself on first book (published in 1964)The Fionavar Tapestry OKRavens Shadow OKThe Broken Empire OKA Land Fit For Heroes OKOutlander OKThe Wheel Of Time OKMalazan Book Of The Fallen OKThe Black Company OKElemental Logic UnfinishedThe Chronicles Of Amber OKThe Avalon Series OKThe Merlin Quintet OKThe Dark Elf Trilogy OKThe Elric Saga OKRedwall OKTemeraire UnfinishedInheritance Cycle (Paolini) OKThe Riyria Revelations OKPrince Of Nothing OK - it's not the whole second apocalypseDragonlance OK I supposeThe Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant the unbeliever OKThe Powder Mage OKThe Once And Future King Not written or published in the last 50 yearsThe Bartimaeus Sequence OKGormenghast OKAbhorsen UnfinishedThe Dark Is Rising OK barely, based on publication datesThe Farseer Trilogy OKThe Traitor Son Cycle UnfinishedThe Dreamblood Duology OKRiftwar OKThe Magicians Trilogy OK
You are being disingenuous: he is obviously denying that Martin had an exceptional influence on the genre, and saying he cannot be compared to Tolkien, not that did not have any influence.
I think he majorly influenced the next generation to write with PoV structure (third person limited) and was also big in the current though fading trend of low magic gritty setting stuff... But having said that, Jordan was the bigger influence when it comes to the fantasy series structure as we know it currently, and Donaldson definitely was the biggest influence when it concerns grittiness, while Vance dwarfs them all in the dragons and dungeons and magic department.
This is rather meaningless anyway: if anyone knew what makes a work stand the test of time, everyone would use the formula. It's not about influence, literary skills or present popularity anyway.
Which is totally meaningless since awards are all about exceptionalism: you don't need to be in a majority to be the best. As can be verified by checking the Hugo winners and their political orientations. That only means that their nominations sucked. Why didn't they nominate someone like Gene Wolfe, a conservative yet awesome author? See, you're buying into their worldview here, the "liberals" versus the "conservatives" fighting for the Hugo, and it's bollocks: It was only fans of works with merit versus assholes promoting bad (and their own) works by duping morons with a specific political ideology.
I can chime with that: Eating slowly really will cut the feeling of hunger, you just have to give your body time to register that you have consumed the food it wanted.
Two years ago, I was in pretty bad shape physically, with chronic lower back pains, I was working twelve hours a day, and eating pre-processed food all the time... So I don't know why then instead of before, I decided to do a light work out one hour every day at home to strengthen my back at the same time that I started to eat almost exclusively dishes prepared from ingredients bought at my local market, mostly vegetables but also bread, dairy and a bit of meat. Of course, being a lazy bastard, and knowing I did not need a ton of food every lunch, I made smaller sized portions than when I bought everything ready to microwave. That is when eating slower came into play: I found out that really, my body was not requiring that many calories, I could eat small portions and not feel hungry at all if I let some time for the food to be acknowledged.
Everything is linked, of course, but the end result is that I dropped from roughly 95kg to roughly 75kg without it even being on my radar the first year, but back pains are gone too now so I see the weight loss as an awesome bonus (even if I had to buy new set of clothes every season now, grr) I am really happy about it, and it was so simple, so generic: exercise, good food in moderate quantity and a bit of discipline, without feeling hunger at any time.
Not too certain about fasting or anything that really hurts the body on the other hand: in my case, I know that if I get into a good book, I will not feel things like hunger or sleep (provided I'm not at my limit already: starved and slept the night before), so I also know that if I feel the need to eat at odd times, it will all be in my head, and then it's easy enough to quash. Except maybe when it's about eating that pain aux raisins after that pain au chocolat, but once or twice a week does not hurt, same as wine.
Bran does not know the Lannister twins, he is 7 (he says so in the first page of his first chapter), He would have described it in a confusing way, so I see no reason Ned would have believed him more than he believed Arya when she described Illyrio scheming with Varys -even though there too he knew about scheming going on, that Jon Arryn was assassinated, and Arya did mention something more damning those guys said: killing the Hand!-.
Even if they believed him partly, I cannot imagine them going to interrogate Bran about what they would understand was two people having sex in an isolated location.
Eddard has been the lord of Winterfell for all his adult life, he dealt with his vassals coming to Winterfell to talk with the Stark, he does not need to be good at it to be what he is, a political figure looked upon to settle what's wrong in his lands, a leader. Ned's job is politics, and he's doing alright. "The least politically minded" you say... Among what, half a dozen maniacal schemers, and forgetting all the other lords who have a hard time putting two and two together, much less leading a faction?
Ned is probably the one who built the most solid party in the land even ahead of Robert and Rhaegar, with loyal, like-minded people following him. Being a good respected leader is politics, more so than putting poison in your neighbor's wine. What, you think that inviting a different man to your table each day is done just because, for example? He is doing it, consciously, to bring people together, around him. (And no, politics are not a bad thing in themselves - that's true for the real world too: uniting, leading and making people work together toward a shared goal is a noble endeavour.)
I don't even see where the magical meaning of that sentence comes from, given that Eddard did not believe in the supernatural. It's like believing that if your atheist boss says "there must always be someone at the front desk", it's because if there isn't anyone, zombies will start attacking the offices or something, when really, he just wants no interruption of service for his customers. In the context of ASOIAF, when you ascribe a meaning linked to the supernatural/destiny/whatever to it, you are basically saying that you want this "foreshadowing" so much that you are willing to argue that GRRM sucks at characterization, making a character say something he would and should not.
Incidentally, GRRM shows that this was important when Robb then Bran are called upon as the local Stark to be the voice of authority, and Theon demonstrates it again when he believe that subornating/killing the local Stark is enough to give him dominion over the local land.