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Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

Bots Should Punch Up

I came across another delightful Creative Commons post! (The last one was “Just Your Typical Startup Acquisition Announcement”.) It’s called “Bots Should Punch Up”, written by Leonard Richardson, and Beau Gunderson is the person who linked me to it. I’m republishing the essay here, unedited except for one set of punctuation marks. My comments are in brackets. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Over the weekend I went up to Boston for Darius Kazemi’s “bot summit”. You can see the four-hour video if you’re inclined. I talked about @RealHumanPraise with Rob, and I also went on a long-winded rant that suggested a model of extreme bot self-reliance. If you take your bots seriously as works of art, you should be prepared to continue or at least preserve them once you’re inevitably shut off from your data sources and your platform.

We spent a fair amount of time discussing the ethical issues surrounding bot construction, but there was quite a bit of conflation of what’s “ethical” with what’s allowed by the Twitter platform in particular, and website Terms of Service in general. I agree you shouldn’t needlessly antagonize your data sources or your platform, but what’s “ethical” and what’s “allowed” can be very different things. However, I do have one big piece of ethical guidance that I had to learn gradually and through osmosis. Since bots are many hackers’ first foray into the creative arts, it might help if I spell it out explicitly. Continue reading “Bots Should Punch Up”

Quick Movie Review: Get Hard

Edit: I wrote about why this isn’t a good blog post so maybe you should read that instead.

I’m semi-watching an awful movie called Get Hard, in which Kevin Hart teaches Will Ferrell how to survive in prison. Yes, that is the premise of a mainstream film. I don’t even wanna consider how much money someone spent on this production.

There are wayyy too many rape jokes — in fact, the opening sentence of Roger Ebert’s review is: “If you love rape jokes, ‘Get Hard’ is your movie.” Ebert’s whole take is brilliant. As he emphasizes, there is also plenty of homophobia and debatable racism.

Get Hard starring Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell
Poster for Get Hard.

And yet… Get Hard is kinda funny. For instance, right now there’s a great scene where Kevin Hart plays a bunch of different prison stereotypes in a ridiculous turf dispute in the yard. Sure, it’s bigoted in several ways, and misogynistic, but I’m not gonna lie and say I never laughed.

The USA Today blog Entertain This lists “You’re not easily offended” as the #4 reason to see Get Hard despite its problems, elaborating: “Instead of being a clever satire, the movie mostly presents rude and over-the-top jokes. Once in a while, however, the gags are funny. Like, laugh-out-loud funny.” Welp, yeah. Basically.

Will Ferrell hoisting Kevin Hart.
Will Ferrell hoisting Kevin Hart.

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