Friday, February 23, 2024

Republican rationalizations are unchanged, even in the face of ... facts

Down at the end, I'll offer an excerpt from an essay on my alternate site asking "Does government-funded science play a role in stimulating innovation?" Both the far-left and today's entire-right share in common a cult reflex answer to that question. An answer emblematic of the lobotomization of our time.

But do hang around for that excerpt, at least!

== Another milestone raises a serious question ==

With the passing of the "Greatest Generation" (GG) - parents of the boomers - and now Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter - perhaps it's time to re-evaluate the America... and world... that they made.

Especially the Rooseveltean social contract that transformed the USA into a world titan, science-leader and awash in wealth, while setting us down an inexorable road toward some kinds of equality: first regarding social/working class. But then (admittedly far too-slowly!) race/gender and the rest.

That social contract directly correlated with the highest rates of middle class prosperity increase, fastest startup entrepreneurship and lowest levels of wealth disparity the world had ever seen. But it has been - since the 1980s - carved-away on a range of incantatory excuses and partially demolished by a massive campaign of conservative 'reforms'...  

...economic and social theories that were supposedly aimed at enhancing creative market freedom, but that correlated exactly and always with reduction of innovation and competition, while restoring the one trait that the Greatest Generation despised most... born-class as the primary decider of a child's destiny. 

This campaign was justified by guys like Milton Friedman and Robert Bork, and think tanks such as Heritage and AEI, that continue pushing utterly-disproved notions like "Supply Side (voodoo) Economics" - that never had one successfully predicted positive outcome.  

(In science, a theory is abandoned in the face of relentless predictive failure, but cults don't do that.)

In the 90s, those pro-oligarchy economists were augmented by "neocon" imperialists who urged both Bushes and Dick Cheney etc. to plunge us into blatant traps that had been laid for us by Osama bin Laden and his ilk. Those Middle Eastern wars were supposedly in revenge for 9/11 attacks that (always remember) happened on their watch. The neocons openly brayed their ill-disguised glee at transforming an 80% benign American Pax into a thumping, gallumphing empire.

(My hero - George Marshall - held meetings in 1945 revolving around a question that no leader had ever asked, before: "We are about to become an empire. What mistakes did all other empires make and how can we make something that succeeds? That won't make us hated and eventually destroyed?" (paraphrased))

Look at the blared yowls of Wolfowitz, Nitze, Adelman and the other neocons, in those days, and tell us you see any signs of wisdom, or awareness of the traps they were falling for.  Alas for them, their orgiastic era was brief. America soon soured on imperial preenings that distilled down to $trillion dollar ripoffs. At which point those poor neocons were promptly flushed away by the Republican establishment - without even a word of thanks - as oligarchy decided to veer republicanism away from armed adventures, over to populist/isolationist/lobotomizing/nerd-hating classic confederatism... now called Trumpism or MAGA.

But don't be distracted... all along, those apparent gyrations were superficialities. The central goal has always been the same. To defend and expand "supply side" tax grifts for aristocracy while crippling the Internal Revenue Service, so that a myriad cheats and thefts should remain hidden. 

Scan from 1981 to present. That sole priority was the only consistent policy position of the GOP and the only one always enacted, whenever they got power. 

(Other than that, and recently the abortion mania, can you name any actual legislative activity by GOP Congresses, the laziest in US history?)

No other 'priority' (e.g. the border) got more than lip service. That is, until the virulently riled MAGAs ('Do you still think you can control them?' Watch Cabaret!) demanded real action on abortion and other social incitements.

A lot of dems/libs went along with Supply Side (SS) in the 80s and even 90s, until, by it's 4th round, the effects grew clear: that not a single positive outcome prediction - not one - ever came true. 

Industrial investment? Nada, zip. As Adam Smith predicted, the vast waves of grifted lucre were poured by the rich into passive, parasitical 'rentier investments like real estate and bonds and tax havens. (A third of US housing stock was snapped-up by inheritance brats in cash purchases, immune to interest rates. It's why young couples can't buy homes.)

As for investment in manufacturing? Recipients of Supply Side largess did almost none. America's current, booming re-industrialization only began with the 2021-2 Pelosi bills.

== Why does no one point this out? ==

Well, Robert Reich does. Like the pure fact that federal deficits always worsen across GOP rule and after SS tax grifts (duh?)

Any non-hypocrite, competition-friendly conservative would realize by now that ONLY 
democrats enact pro-competition and pro-liberty measures. (Have your attorney contact me when you have escrowed $$$ wager stakes over that assertion; but first look at things like the ICC, CAB, AT&T and the damned War on Drugs - and now on reproductive rights.)

Here, in this New York Times article - Google on Trial - a corner of this program is appraised -- whether anti-trust laws can and should be used to break up super-corporations like Google who have inherent advantages. And yeah, that's a major issue. Cory Doctorow rails about it, entertainingly.

Left out are more imaginative solutions. Like whether it's time to help mom & pop America and get needed revenue by instituting a 5% National Sales Tax on interstate internet purchases. Since you-know-who (a South American river) is no longer a baby - but now a market dominating behemoth. In fact, since we all rely on that central market, without much other choice, isn't that the very definition of a public utility? (Ponder that. Treat that unavoidable e-marketplace like electricity and water and trash pickup. If there's no competition, then regulate it to be flat-fair-for-all?)

But the core issue that I keep returning to is one of tactics - at which Democrats (the Union Side in this 8th phase of the 250 year U.S. Civil War) have proved utterly inept! 

It's the reason why I wrote Polemical Judo. A few better tactics and we could peel away just one million residually sane Republicans, leaving the Confederacy in a state of utter, demographic collapse. 

(Of course then the oligarchs will resort to more violent versions of incitement; but we have skilled defenders working on that, right now, e.g. in the much maligned heroes of the FBI.)

And this...

In this conversation, Evan Anderson, CEO of INVNT/IP, an expert on global manufacturing and supply chains, takes us on a deep dive into the power dynamics between the United States, China, and Taiwan.

== Merits and drawbacks of government-funded science ==

And finally, as promised, here's that excerpt from an essay on my more formal, WordPress site asking "Does government-funded science play a role in stimulating innovation?"

There's a deep-cult that underlies many of our familiar political cults. What do the far left and today's entire right share in common? A desperate urge to AMPUTATE our options and methods down to only the few that they prescribe. And hence I posted (on my formal WordPress site) a dissection of this shared, sanctimoniously-oversimplifying, mania.

Excerpt: "For a century and a half, followers of Karl Marx demanded that we amputate society’s right arm of market-competitive enterprise and rely only on socialist guided-allocation for economic control. Meanwhile, Ayn Rand’s ilk led a throng of those proclaiming we must lop off our left arm – forswearing any coordinated projects that look beyond the typical five year (nowadays more like one-year) commercial investment horizon.
"Any sensible person would respond: “Hey I need both arms, so bugger off! Now let’s keep examining what each arm is good at, revising our knowledge of what each shouldn’t do.”
"Does that sound too practical and moderate for this era? Our parents thought they had dealt with all this, proving decisively that calm negotiation, compromise and pragmatic mixed-solutions work best. They would be stunned to see that fanatical would-be amputators are back in force, ranting nonsense."

If you are interested in this... and especially whether government-funded science has played a big role in "Making America (and civilization) Great," then drop on by.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sci Fi News & roundup!

First a few items about my own works. In about a month, two of my books - Earth and Glory Season - will be re-released by Open Road Media - with gorgeous new covers, in both trade paperback and ebook versions.  Pre-order now?

Here, Mark Rayner's lovely review of my novel Earth is very flattering. 

For any of you completists out there: my first novel – Sundiver - is the only one that never had a hardcover. Now one is coming… and what an edition!  Alex Berman's Phantasia Press will release “Numbered editions which will feature a full color wrap around dustjacket, frontispiece, and interior art by Jim Burns

Each copy will be printed in two colors throughout, on high quality acid free Smythe sewn paper with full color endsheets.” Phantasia previously released signed limited editions of the second and third books in the series (Startide Rising in 1983 and The Uplift War in 1987).  Expected release date early 2024.

This edition includes my 2020 foreword and a terrific Robert J. Sawyer introduction specifically for this release.

Do you know YA? I am looking for a new publisher for my series of short novels for teens, featuring some of today's brightest new authors, in a consistent future setting for adventures through interstellar space and time!  The "Out of Time" (or "Yanked!") series: Only teens can teleport through time and space! Dollops of fun, adventure and something so rare, nowadays... optimism for young adults. If you think of a publisher who might be compatible, speak up in comments!

Finally, are you a fan of live theater? We were in Pasadena at our alma mater - Caltech - to attend a one-night production of my play, "The Escape: A Confrontation in Four Scenes," presented by the Caltech Playreaders. The directing/acting/performances were beyond my best hopes! You can watch the production on Youtube.

== Sci Fi Roundup! ==

Almost the entire catalogue of sci fi legend Norman Spinrad is available (cheap) online. If you don’t read it… coming generations of AI surely will!

Thomas Easton and Frank Wu have a future-tech spy series going. ESPionage: Regime Change: A Psychic CIA novelWhen the Russians start an undeclared war to bring down the West with assassinations and disinformation attacks, the CIA reactivates a psychic agent from its old Project Stargate to fight off the attacks.  See Paul DiFilippo’s rave review!

Eliot Peper's latest novel Foundry is a near-future thriller featuring (among many things) two spies locked in a room with a gun, leveraging the secrets of semiconductor manufacturing to play the greatest of games, the only game that really matters: power.


Just finished reading a YA novel by Gideon Marcus… Kitra. A lovely, lively adventure tale of five teens – one of them a blobby alien – getting into and out of trouble when they buy a used spaceship. Fast paced and Gideon has got the skills. Hook your own teen on the series!

Amid headlines covering the demise of JFK on November 22, 1963, I long knew that an obit on the back pages told of the same-day passing of Aldous Huxley, supposedly during an acid trip (I hear) in the arms of a lady guru. (I’d rather blithely believe that hearsay than look it up.) What I never realized was that C.S. Lewis ALSo died the same day!  This book - Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog beyond death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley - imagines JFK, CSL and Aldous meeting in the Bardo just after death. One of them on a lingering acid trip, one shouting "Wait, I was so young and powerful!" and Lewis shocked to find himself in a buddhist waiting room.

Calling nerdy SF + NASA junkies...

As I retire from 12 years on the advisory council of NASA’s Innovative & Advanced Concepts program – (NIAC) – some high NASA officials have asked if any great science fiction was ever inspired by NIAC studies. In addition to my own, I know of as few more. Especially, Doug Van Belle’s A World Adrift - set in the skies of Venus, some 800 years after they were first colonized - incorporates elements from several NIAC studies, including Stoica (2015), Bugga (2016), and Balcerski (2018), with work by space scientist and Nebula winner Geoff Landis (2019) figuring prominently as an essential element of the plot.

==SF & Hollywood ==

Writing this on Star Trek Day!  Count me in with this wave of love for Trek! I do adore it for some unusual reasons, though. Example, the ship in Trek is a vast naval vessel charged with diplomacy, science, exploration and only occasionally fighting... and the captain is no super-force demigod (the core conceit of Star Wars) but merely a way-above-average person, who needs help every time, from above average crewmates. And the Federation is aboard, a topic almost every episode. It's faults and blessings and rules and codes and dreams and possibilities. (See my essay, To Boldly Go.)

(Shoot!  Shoot the Federations starship!" screeched that nasty oven mitt, Yoda, in one of the prequels. Seriously, Lucas? Are you at all the same person who created the wonderfull YIJC?)

In contrast, the ship in Star Wars is a WWI fighter plane (banking against nonexistent air) with the silkscarf lone hero-pilot and his gunner-droid... the knight and squire going back to Achilles & Patroclus. Wars is all about demigods, demigods. Demigods all the way down. Normal folk can only choose which set of feuding gods to die for. And the poor, hapless Galactic Republic has no place on such a ship. Hence it is never really a topic. The Starwarsian Galactic Republic does nothing. Ever. At all. Name an exception. The lesson is the same as in all works by Orson Scott Card: "Hold out no hope for a decent civilization. Throw yourself at the feet of a demigod and pray he'll be a nice one, like Ender!"

All of this and more is in Vivid Tomorrows: Science Fiction and Hollywood

Oh. Also. In this podcast, a brilliant Stanford biologist cites his influences, including science fiction authors. (Especially about 9 minutes in.)

And here's an bit for those who saw and loved (I did, with minor quibbles) the recent Oppenheimer film: a CBS 1965 interview with Oppenheimer. Twenty years after Trinity. Twenty years before Gorbachev.

== Science meets art! ==

If you are interested (as I am) in the intersections of science and art, then this might be a good listen for 20 minutes during your commute: an interview with half a dozen artists and musicians who collaborate closely with scientists. Fun and inspiring! There are also links to other discussions about the societal impact of science fiction. 


Of course, having spent my entire post-puberty life in both realms, I have my own take on science overlaps – and conflicts – with art. Or more generally, the tense but often productive interplay between pragmatic-enlightenment methods, on the one hand, and the deeper-rooted human drive for romanticism. 

As I describe in another program – and in Vivid Tomorrows – we would live far poorer, even soulless lives, without the mighty talent of creative imagination. Though we have – at long last – also come to realize how dangerous – even devastatingly deadly – imagination can become, when it seizes control of politics and policy. A failure mode that made the last 6000 years a living hell for 99.99% of our ancestors, until the last few generations began emerging from that world of delusion and ghosts and ‘magic.’

I do what most of those interviewed do - craft art that can collaborate with... or challenge... or project possible outcomes of... a scientific civilization that's dedicated to the kind of progress that only comes from lively, good-natured rivalry among the widest diversity of free minds.  In other words, the diametric opposite to those 6000 dark years.

Obeying unsapient reflexes, many members of a world oligarchy think they can make things much bettwer if they restore those 6000 years of brutal feudalism. Ingrate traitors to the one, unique civilization that gave them everything.

And finally....

North Korean science fiction? In The strange, secretive world of North Korean science fiction, A. Fiscutean reports that “Late dictator Kim Jong-il referenced science fiction books in his speeches and set guidelines for authors, encouraging them to write about optimistic futures for their country.” Of course, the father of the current dictator also had a fetish for moviemaking and (apparently) even arranged for some film creators to be kidnapped and brought to Pyongyang.  Further, “Stories often touch on topics like space travel, benevolent robots, disease-curing nanobots, and deep-sea exploration. They lack aliens and beings with superpowers. Instead, the real superheroes are the exceptional North Korean scientists and technologists who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.”

Phew, no wonder Donald Trump 'fell in love' with Kim the younger! We must be under an alien Stoopidizer ray, that such 'leaders' are even possible.

Oh, an addendum... on travel to Panama!

Come on by comments if you have suggestions for our trip (to the Beneficial AGI Summit)...

Friday, February 09, 2024

Tucker's Mother of all (softball) Interviews. What a real journalist might have asked about Russia and the kompromat war.

Despite his being there to pitch softballs for his master, Tucker Carlson was treated by Putin the same way that Donald Trump treats his lackeys - with curt contempt. A real journalist might have asked: 

"Will you present evidence to a broad, impartial, international commission that Jewish President Zelensky and the several million Ukrainian volunteers who have fought you tenaciously - are Nazis? Would you go along with that commission polling large numbers of random Ukrainians, to see if they deem themselves to be Russian?"


"Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said that Ukrainians will only accept Russians as brothers after a century of gentle friendship, to ease memory of past, horrific ill-treatment. 

"So, now, amid half a million deaths, 6 million buried land mines and whole cities pounded into charred dust, should Ukrainians care about your 'historical grudges' from the 13th Century?"


"You claim the West threatens you with invasion. Then why have you stripped your western borders of every military unit you can send to the front? If you claim those borders are strong, even now, shall we let a commission verify? 

"Anyone with a drone can tell there's no one there, so aren't you absolutely counting on western rule-of-law to prevent the very thing you claim to fear?"


"Shall we right now agree to form such a commission, made up of Russian, Ukrainian, western and nonaligned citizens, chosen at random from old, paper telephone directories? Let them go anywhere, interview whom they like, and report to the world about your "nazi" assertions and the determination of Ukrainians, and the morale of Russian troops, and so on?"


"At minimum, would you agree to letting an interview with Joe Biden get as much free access, for 2 hours, across Russia, as you have used this one to push your messages to Western citizens? Are you brave enough to risk Russians hearing Biden? Or Kamala?"


"You and most of the powerful men in Russia today grew up reciting Leninist catechisms, waving hammer/sickle banners, and condemning the czar and his boyars as monsters. You have many times called the end of the USSR 'History's greatest tragedy.' 

"Now, you and your fellow "ex"-commissar Russian oligarchs raise statues to the same czars. You appear to have taken over the US right, just by switching a few symbols and lapel pins (plus some kompromat held by the slightly relabeled KGB.)

"For decades, the 'historical imperatives' that you pushed were Marxist, internationalist slogans about workers rising above tribalism. 

"Now it's Russian hyper nationalism. 

"Hence a final question:

"What line will you push, tomorrow?"

== When will the blackmail be obvious enough? ==

For more than a decade I’ve shouted that this should be obvious: that many of our elites, especially in DC and not just in the Republican Party – behave in ways that cannot be explained by corruption, or fanaticism, or stupidity alone.

It's a point that seems obvious and yet so hard to get across. So please try to grasp this: by itself, graft is satiable! 

A corrupt official who has avoided leaving an evidence trail can say “That’s enough this year. Any more favors I do for you will scream for attention that I don’t want. Come back with your envelopes of cash next year.” Again, bribery alone does not explain the craven self-humiliation of so many, with Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz only the screaming-blatant tips of the tumor.

But their craven kowtowing IS explicable, because blackmail is insatiable! The more you do for a blackmailer, the deeper they sink in their claws. Especially since Kremlin operatives -- stretching back to Stalin’s NKVD & KGB and the Czarist Checka and Okrahna -- specialized in honey traps. Luring Western officials etc. into hanky panky hotel rooms, where recordings begin that digging-in of claws.

A year or two ago, Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn declared that his peers invited him to incredible sex orgies. He was punished for this candor with ejection from the party!  

Only now, an even braver GOP lawmaker has stepped up to blow the whistle harder! 

“A Tennessee Congressman warns that fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives have been lured into honeytraps with sex workers and drugs changing the way they vote…. If it's women, drugs, booze, it will find you in D.C. and in most elected offices,” said Rep. Tim Burchett. “That’s what people, power and influence do.” 

(Well, after 6000 years of feudal lords & kings doing whatever they want, it’s what a large fraction of males will always be tempted to do. Though some can keep it zipped! And shall we compare rates of turpitude between the parties, Rep. Tim?)

In this other article: “As Burchett tells it, Republicans aren’t backing important efforts, such as Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s crusade for Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs, because they’re being bullied by big backers and Russians.” Again: he attributed the biggest actors doing these "honey pots" to Russian agencies. 

(Full disclosure: Mr. Burchett has been pushing for the Pentagon to make all of its information relating to unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) available to the public. And I am fine with that!  I just doubt there’s anything much to divulge. 

== Can anything be done? ==

I’ve long believed that Joe Biden could do one thing – above all others – to rescue the republic, to restore honest government and to get us rolling toward all the good things that you want. That one thing? 

Announce a program of clemency, pardons and whistleblower rewards for the first dozen politicians in DC - or other elites - who step up to fess up and help turn the tables on any blackmail rings.

Even with promised pardons, it would still take real courage to answer this call. A dangerous move in half a dozen ways. And hence, Biden’s promise to treat the first few as flawed but real heroes, at last doing what their consciences should have made them do, from the start. 

(I even started writing a novel based on this concept, till I realized I need a collaborator from the world of FBI procedural fiction – an area I know little about! Anyone know one?)

Oh, and let’s spice up JoBee's offer, cash inducements and a new identity for any KGB/FSB officer who brings over those Kompromat Files. That oughta light a fire under folks like Linds--- but no, I’ll leave you all to fill in the blanks.

Envision it. Sure, some prominent dems and liberals would get caught up, as well. Maybe folks in Biden’s circle. And so? What better proof of sincerity?  Anyway, let's suppose that devastates the male-heavy power structure. SO? If leaves nearly all remaining politicians female, aren’t Dems ready for that, anyway?

== Get educated ==

Here’s an incredible interview from a couple of years ago, with senior members of the Mueller probe, about The Russian Connection.  And don’t let the Fox narrative (“Mueller was a nothing burger!”) fool you. Just the stench-rich convictions surrounding two-time Republican national campaign manager and Putin lackey Paul Manafort - and I mean Manafort alone - swamps any total compilation of Democratic sins.  

But about 20 minutes in, these experts discuss ‘kompromat’ and how prolifically Russian secret services are known to use these methods. “It happens all day, every day.”

== The real way to defeat Russian blackmail ==

Re Blackmail, honeytraps have probably been used as long as there have been rulers to compromise. But on a lighter note:

Perhaps part of the solution is to become "French" about political sex scandals that don't involve minors or abuse of power. I love the story of the French diplomat who, lured into a honeypot in a tryst hotel, is shown pictures… and he explodes in outrage!

"You call THIS photography? And from my bad side?

“My wife would be shamed on my behalf.  I demand a re-do!!"

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Brief midweek post: The time flow of Wisdom

This week’s missive by Nathan Gardels in Noema Magazine – about longstanding Eastern philosophical alternatives to Western Modernity - was thoughtful, informative and moving. “The Philosophy Of Co-Becoming: Ancient concepts of the relational interdependence of humans and nature are being revived.”  

Indeed, without any doubt, Western notions of supreme individualism can exacerbate into toxic negligence toward the many ‘wholes’ of which each of us is a part. 

Still - (and you knew that a ‘still’ would come from this contrarian!) – I am reminded that ‘by their fruits you shall know them.'  

Sure, Western industrial civilization threatens to destroy all the Fruits of Nature… indeed, the planet we depend upon… unless that same civilization’s commitment to science, conscience, and relentless self-criticism – leading to the world’s first wave of major environmentalism – all prove adequate to mitigate those harms.

Above all – as I point out in Vivid Tomorrows – the West’s altered philosophy does not only have to do with individualism. It also transformed notions of TIME and of HISTORY.

During my time talking to students in China, I found that even those who loved science fiction also felt a profound ambivalence. Many of them fretted over admitting even the possibility that the future might be better. That people might learn from past mistakes and gradually improve. To them this seemed an implied insult to their ancestors! When I probed this reflex, each of them admitted wanting their own children to be ‘better’ and going to great pains and expense to make that so. I pointed out that - no doubt – their revered ancestors wanted that, as well. So how was it insulting to admit that they succeeded at their fondest goal?  I number of the students stared back at me, wide-eyed, having clearly never thought of that.

What I came to realize: they were expressing the ‘Look Back’ zeitgeist that dominated almost all philosophies, across all of time! That there were Golden Ages in the past, when people were better and that  things have declined since. And not just in the East, but almost all mythic systems across the globe, including the West. Even today, you can find it totally dominant among millennialists like those fervently praying for End Times.


Or else, more secular, but just as fanatical, is a political cult that clutches almost biblically a tome pushing a meritless mishmash of so-called “cyclical history” called The Fourth Turning.  

But overall, there certainly has been a departure from standard reflexes, in the West. Indeed, other than individualism, the biggest philosophical change we’ve made – (though ignored by almost all philosophers) - has been to reverse the perceived Time Flow of Wisdom

For example, we now know – from very clear archaeology, anthropology etc. - that there was never some grand, past golden age. Indeed, any Golden Age – if ever – will be something that we build… or our successors might… in the future. Hence the time reversal in perspective that some find daunting, even sacrilegious..


My second point has to do with history – that horrible litany of horrors across 6000 years (or much more), nearly all of it dominated by brutal males who repressed progress by crushing any possible hist of criticism or competition by bright sons and daughters of those below. Whereupon those lords hired priests and ‘philosophers’ to preach lessons of humility and acceptance to the masses.

Is individuality that much better?  Not if it becomes the all-against-all insanity pursued by some… and that the West is denounced as promoting!  


But it has never been so among a majority, even of Americans. Want evidence? Look in a mirror. Your own critical view toward excessively insatiable egotism and greedy hyper individualism is far more widely shared than you tend to (egotistically?) believe. Most of the pro-individualism messages carried by Western myths come accompanied by finger-wag lessons about “don’t be a jerk about it.”

And maybe seek a little wholeness with others… and serenity… while you are at it.

For more impudent challenges to assumptions we all suckled from movies... 

.... as I explore in my nonfiction work - Vivid Tomorrows: Science Fiction and Hollywood.