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MrFlames
On my Clone, Le Creature, I created a C2 for the essay section. I don't want to add anything to it until there are at least three judges for inclusion into this category, and I don't want to make anyone a judge until they have stated their qualifications here. Only in this way will the C2 be different from someone's "favorite stories" page. If you would like to apply for a judge position, post your qualifications here.
10/18/2006 #1
No Trust
Qualifications: I believe you're familiar enough with me and my reviews to know that I'm a hard judge, but a fair one. That I'm far more impressed in factual accuracy and the proper use of logic than by whatever values a writer shares with me.

So I'm open if you can't find anyone better for the job.

10/20/2006 #2
MrFlames
No Trust mentioned two essays on Radyn's list that seemed to be a suggestion. Of the two, the one on ID and evolution seemed to be much more rewarding: http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2127852/1/ He starts by explaining the problems with the debate in terms of semantics, and offers his own opinion that critical thinking rather than "truth" needs to be offered in classrooms. I disagree with some of his points, but I think I would agree that it's one of the better essays I've seen.

Vote 1 for inclusion in the Elite C2: Yes. [right now I'm thinking 3 votes should be needed for inclusion]

10/20/2006 #3
MrFlames
http://www.fictionpress.com/s/167631/1/

Currently, the first essay listed in the essay section, I think is still one of the few actually well-done "creative" essays out there. Preceding the "In soviet russia, x [verb]s y" meme, The Deacon's essay critiques passive living. It's not a formal essay, but it does have a more direct argument than most fiction. Plus, a lot of people don't go back and read the early essays.

Vote 1 for inclusion in the Elite C2: Yes

10/20/2006 #4
MrFlames
http://www.fictionpress.com/s/1146445/1/

Autumndark's "The Isolationist Manifesto" was one of the first "false voice exercises" to hit the essay section. More "famous" for working on The Writer's Attic, I think this essay is a better experiment in style and is more condusive to discussion then most of his/her other pieces. Autumndark isn't one of my favorite writers; one of the only reasons I noticed this essay was because for a while it was regularly one of the "featured links". For a piece in the first five pages of essays, it's one of the few with a distinctive voice and delibrate use of style. For me, that's enough to list it as a superior essay, although perhaps you won't agree that that's enough to make it elite.

Vote 1 for inclusion in the Elite C2: Yes

10/20/2006 #5
MrFlames
http://www.fictionpress.com/s/1147608/1/

A.E. White's "Letter to Terrorists" is far from the best written essay in the essay section. I even offer as a candidate not because of it's own merits, but because of it's nostalgic value in the essay section. It's not the first essay to deal explicitly about 9/11 (it's either the third or fourth, I think), but it's the first to do so quite so polemically, and also one of the first to result in an actual dialectic. The Shellback's review of the essay is almost as entertaining as the essay itself (although even less well thought out). Further, it's interesting looking at White's essay now, something like 5 years later.

I'm not actually going to vote yes on this one quite yet; I think it almost should be required reading, but maybe that would put it as a candidate for a different category of essay other than "elite".

10/20/2006 #6
MrFlames
http://www.fictionpress.com/s/1254714/1/

SqueezyStan's "Take Back Vermont" was pretty much the birth of the fictionpress pro-gay-marriage / anti-gay-marriage debate. Further, even though it's a fictitious-viewpoint experimental essay, it nonetheless presents a fair number of the arguments and criticisms of said arguments in perhaps their most coherent and clear form. It's filled with some over-the-top jabs ("Communism was the radical root of all evil, and, therefore, was the root of all the United States’ problems") and is far from a Swift-ian level of hiding one's real voice, but he also does his research for a few interesting points.

Not sure about this one; I'm trying to decide whether we'd want to include SqueezyStan's essay and Namir's 254 review bombshell, "Gay is Okay!" in the same list. I'm tempted to say: Yes.

10/20/2006 #7
Typewriter King
Whatever you come up with, I look forward to exploiting the XML feed.
10/21/2006 #8
No Trust
(I will have to read the other suggested essays tomorrow.)

Vote #2 for inclusion in the Elite C2 of Biocube's essay "Intelligent Design and Creationism": Yes. The essay can be read at http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2127852/1/

10/21/2006 #9
Typewriter King
I'm not overqualified, and I've passed every reading comprehension test I've ever taken. I'm unmarried, if that helps. I own my own business (in the internet age, I guess we all can). I'm not affiliated with the Communist Party. I'm a registered voter. I've never filed a tax return. I've never solicitated a prostitute, but I'm hoping you won't hold that against me. You've favorited a lot of my works. A lot of internet memes such as the word "testering" originated from me.
10/22/2006 #10
Typewriter King
I hope you don't frown on my bullet point style of formatting.
10/22/2006 #11
MrFlames
Congratumacations, Typewriter King, you're now officially an Elite C2 Essay Judge! Go bake yourself half a ham sandwhich.
10/22/2006 #12
No Trust
"The Isolationist Manifesto" by Autumndark

At first I disagreed with including this as an elite essay, though I remembered finding it amusing. However, on re-reading it today I've changed my mind. Assuming what I'm reading between the lines is not merely a Straussian hallucination, it seems to me now that the essay is far more clever than I originally gave it credit for.

By this as well as the style and voice already mentioned I judge this essay worthy of elite status.

Vote #2 for inclusion in the Elite C2: Yes

10/22/2006 #13
No Trust
A.E. White's "Letter to Terrorists"

Whatever value this essay has for other reasons, it clearly does not merit elite status.

My vote for including it in the Elite C2: No.

10/22/2006 #14
Typewriter King
Do I have to read everything you nominate?
10/22/2006 #15
Typewriter King
Alright, Autumndark's message and his rhetorical methods don't resonate with me, but I can see why you want the essay included.
10/22/2006 #16
MrFlames
Okay, this vote brings up an interesting point. I'm hoping to eventually get 5-6 judges for this project. Since not everyone will be able to vote on everything, I'm thinking entries will need a "3" score minimum for inclusion.

Thus:

"Yes" votes will equal 1 point.

"No" votes will equal -1 points.

Not voting will equal 0 points.

"Concessions" etc. like Typewriter King's should probably count as 0.

So Autumndark's piece right now is either at 2, unless Typewriter changes his mind.

10/22/2006 #17
No Trust
"Take Back Vermont" by SqueezyStan

As far as I am concerned, SqueezyStan gets points for not trying to associate his assigned viewpoint with other views of the sterotypical right wing bigot. He could have done so and most people probably wouldn't have noticed. The essay itself is passable, however, none of his points are sufficiently connected or supported for me to consider the essay worthy of elite status. He relies on an unexplained assertion of a slippery slope, doesn't explain why federal law should aim to enforce religious doctrine (there are even orthodox arguments against doing so, e.g. the from the position that not all sins are crimes), and simply asserts that homosexual civil unions/marriages will weaken heterosexual marriages. In this he is certainly not *worse* than the typical author who actually shares the views his essay puts forth, but certainly these claims all have some kind of foundation or explanation that could have been included; these foundations may of course be wrong, and surely SqueezyStan would not be to blame if the foundations or explanations for the views are themselves shaky, as it is simply his job in this to present the best *possible* case for his assigned side of the issue. But given the absence of such explanations from the essay I'm really no more impressed by it than most of the later gay marriage essays.

Vote # 2 for inclusion in the Elite CS: No

10/22/2006 #18
MrFlames
http://www.fictionpress.com/s/1257287/1/

"Gay is Okay!" by Namir Swiftpaw

Love it or hate it, "Gay is Okay!" by Namir Swiftpaw is probably the most influential essay on fictionpress. Namir not only increased overall interest in the gay marriage / anti-gay marriage debate, her essay is also probably the pinnacle of concise, effective arguments, with a clear tone, style, and voice. Not only that, but since it is a sincere opinion, Namir's essay is probably the best example of conveying sincere opinions effectively. Framing the essay with imagery, Namir introduces arguments against gay marriage, and then after providing effective rebuttals, introduces an argument for her viewpoint.

Vote #1 for inclusion in the Elite CS: Yes.

10/22/2006 #19
Typewriter King
Biocube resorted to the "studies show" business I hate once, and made the controversial statement that Stephen Hawking is a deist without citing evidence for that dubious claim, but his piece was thoughtful enough for inclusion.
10/22/2006 #20
No Trust
Do I have to read everything you nominate?

This is the land of do as you please.

10/22/2006 #21
Le Creature
Biocube's essay, "Intelligent Design and Creationism", available at: http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2127852/1/ has achieved three "Yes" votes. It is now included in the C2. I will probably post something to the essay section, introducing the C2 and keeping a running commentary on successful and unsuccessful entries eventually.
10/22/2006 . Edited 10/22/2006 #22
Typewriter King
A.E. White's "Letter to Terrorists" shouldn't be included in a list for the elite. Even as a political speech, it would have a lot to be desired. I vote no for inclusion in the Elite C2, but if you make a list for provocative and nostalgic essays, I might change my vote.
10/22/2006 #23
Typewriter King
'Gay Is Okay!' is a little more sentimental than rational. After all, marriage is a contract between two people, but Namir argues that it's about love. It doesn't seem like a compelling argument that love conquers other considerations for issuing licenses and contracts.

She rights "Another argument against homosexual marriage is that homosexual love is not “real” love" without ever giving a first reason, which is really sloppy. Read it carefully, there was no first reason given.

"Marriage as an institution has changed its definition of love over the years several times, anyway."

I don't know what that means. I've never heard of the government trying to define the meaning of the concept of love, and I've never heard of it written into a contract.

"Love between a man and a woman of a different race was prohibited until the 1960’s in the United States..."

No, interracial marriage was prohibited, and presumably sex was as well, but as she pointed out earlier, "love" is difficult to define. I don't like how she alternates the words marriage and love, inferring they have the same meaning.

In her conclusion, she doesn’t properly see the distinction between a right and a privilege, as something that’s actually a right wouldn’t need a government license for validation.

I can't cast a yes vote for inclusion into an elite group. It's charming, but mediocre.

10/22/2006 #24
Typewriter King
"The Life and Times" by The Deacon reminds me of the things I didn't like about 'Fight Club' and 'American Beauty.'I don't see repititions about emptiness as beautiful the way some people do. I'll abstain from voting.
10/22/2006 #25
No Trust
"Gay Is Okay!" by Nami Swiftpaw

I have to vote no. Typwriter King summed up the problems I myself see with the essay.

10/22/2006 #26
No Trust
"The Life and Times" by The Deacon

The 'essay' strikes me as silly and nonsensical. As a fan of bad jokes I like the choice of style (or would if the author was trying to be funny). But like Typewriter King I find myself unimpressed by the topic and fear I would not be able to properly gauge how 'good' it is. I won't vote on this one.

10/22/2006 #27
MrFlames
So far, the voting seems to be going well. I just blew through 67 pages of essay lists, and the only one that caught my eye was Tiefling's "The Death Penalty: My Views"

http://www.fictionpress.com/s/1340255/1/

Tiefling's piece is a "for-school" essay which always makes them more tedious; however, she managed to argue her points concisely and effectively enough to be engaging. She starts out by identifying her perceptions of the primary justifications for "punishment" and then tried to identify which form of punishment the death penalty is supposed to entail. Most of it focuses on Deterrence, and why the Death Penalty isn't effective. Her humanist arguments sometimes lead to a few less than stellar arguments, and the ending deals with her personal values, but overall the tone and style is effective. In addition to being one of the first essay to deal with the death penalty, I also think this is one of the first to effectively use secondary sources.

Vote for inclusion: Yes.

10/22/2006 #28
No Trust
"The Death Penalty: My Views" by Tiefling

I took a liking to this essay's voice. In any essay dealing with whether something should or should not be done, the moral values of the writer (or the moral values they are wearing for the purposes of the writing exercise) are going to be the grounds for much of the argument. Tiefling is not as up front about hers as she could be but does not seem to try to hide behind a veil of faux-objectivity. I detect no arguments in the essay that are invalid in the context of their premises, no premises that are obviously false, and no significant empirical errors.

I vote: Yes.

10/24/2006 #29
No Trust
I'm hoping to eventually get 5-6 judges for this project.

Are you sure there are even that many fictionpress authors that qualify?

10/24/2006 #30
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