drwex (drwex) wrote,

More Q&A

From selenite. Speak up if you want questions. Ask me some if you want answers.

1. What do you think of the Legion expansion?

Background: he's talking about the just-announced Warcraft expansion. It's been teased for a bit, some bits were leaked, then there was a big reveal and livestream yesterday. In other contexts selenite and I play WoW together.

I think... meh? There's a way in which it feels like Blizzard is trying to wrap up as many loose ends as it can. It would be weird to end the game with players at level 110 but there doesn't feel like much past this. They've been trying to thread the story together through expansions for a while which makes me think they have a big script they're operating with. That's good in terms of the ability to restore some lore coherence, and bad in terms of "if they're on a script, what do we do when the final act is done?"

It's not that I want to keep playing WoW forever, but it's been a lot of time invested over many years and it will be sad when it ends. I've yet to find any one thing that occupies me the way this does, though the good weather lately has vastly increased my Ingress play-time at the expense of WoW. So yes, I expect to buy and play Legend but I'm not roaringly enthusiastic about any of it. Weapon levels... OK, sure, why not. We level up pets, followers, and ships so why not weapons too. A new class, along with a hunter revamp is probably overdue, but I can't see them sticking to "elves only" if only because the PVPers are going to scream bloody murder. Kill more demons? Uh, yeah, I guess. Save the world? Sure, I've done that a few times I can do it again. But let me finish my beer first.

On the one hand it feels unfair to slam Blizzard for having no really new and original ideas of what to do with an MMO because nobody else has either. But then few others have Blizzard's resources. Blizzard has shown us it's a pretty good imitator, with its LOL-alike and soon a FPS-alike. I'm actually more enthusiastic about the Overwatch setting, but I'm not a FPS player. The Warcraft setting feels thoroughly played out. It was a tasty meal, but is licking the plate to get the last bits of the same flavor what I want to be doing?

All of which is to say that I'm not sure anything Blizzard is likely to do would have made me roaringly enthusiastic again but this one doesn't turn me off at first sight the way MoP did.

2. When do you want your boys leaving the nest?

Yesterday, and tomorrow. I have been talking to my elder about what I see as his excessive risk-avoidance and neophobia. We're not going to pay for him to go to camp next year and he'll need to get a job of some kind. He's also talking about not going to college which he can do but I'm trying to point out that he'll be giving up about a million and a half dollars by making that choice. Or maybe he'll decide that doing actual real work for a living isn't to his tastes and go to college later. As long as he's making decisions and not sitting around waiting for things to be handed to him I'm OK with that.

sweetmmeblue and I have been enjoying the freedom of late just to go out and leave the kids alone. They don't have to get up for school and they can feed themselves. Meanwhile we can climb stone hills in the dark, see fog banks covering corn fields under a full moon, and visit the rocks that pass for ocean shores around here. Of course I'm going to miss the kids once they're gone but they need to start living their own lives at some point, and we have things we want to do that they're not up for.

That said, I can't resist telling a story. My maternal grandmother was the longest-lived of my grandparents. I got to know her when I had become an adult and I treasured having that relationship as well as the special relationship that growing kids have with their grandparents. My grandfather (her husband of 50+ years) was a bit of a trial and there was my mother with whom Grandma managed to maintain a good relationship throughout, even after she and my dad (Grandma's son) divorced. It's really Grandma's doing that I had any sort of relationship with Mom. All of which is to say that this was one really even-keeled lady.

The only time I can ever remember seeing her angry was sometime during the 1980s. During the Reagan Recession a number of kids couldn't make it on their own and ended up moving back in with parents. News stories came out about parents resenting this, as they'd been anticipating resuming their own lives and didn't want adult children living under their roofs. Grandma and I were discussing this on one of our pre-Thanksgiving-dinner walks (a tradition back in those days) and to my surprise she got visibly ANGRY. She was so mad at those parents, she told me, because being a parent is a lifetime commitment. Any parent who would be unhappy at having their child move back home during hard times was not worthy of the word "parent" in Grandma's vocabulary!

I've told my kids they'll always have a place, so long as I do.

3. If you could make one change to the Constitution what would it be?

I only get one? There are three I'd really like. But OK, one. I would like to have a Constitutional clause or Amendment that spells out clearly that money is not speech, it's property. I don't agree with most of my progressive colleagues who want a blanket overturn of Citizens United and/or a declaration that Constitutional rights only apply to natural persons. I certainly sympathize with the sentiment that "I'll believe a corporation is a person when one gets put to death in Texas" but I think it's misplaced.

I think we need to have Constitutional rights for organized groups as well. Newspapers should have speech rights, should be allowed to endorse candidates, etc. The government should be required to secure a warrant before searching the papers/premises of a corporation or union or town club. The Constitutional protections against seizure should apply to property owned by organizations. And on and on. Blanket taking away these privileges (particularly First Amendment rights of speech and assembly) will have unpleasant consequences.

However, I think it's possible to fix the fundamental error underlying Citizens United, which I believe is the absolute equation of money with speech. Money may be used to purchase speech or promote speech but it is not identical to speech. We have pretty strong Constitutional protections for property (and in my opinion some of them need to be ever stronger) but those protections are (rightfully, imo) less than those of speech. As one wag noted, if SCOTUS really believed that money = speech then they would give the richer party more time to argue cases. But they don't and yet they issue decisions as if the two were identical.

If I could encode that idea in the Constitution I would. The notion that money and speech are identical is only about a century old in US law but it's caused a lot of trouble, of which Citizens United is only the latest and worst.
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