I recently found out that one of the band members of Ace of Base was formerly involved in fascist politics and culture in his home country of Sweden. I've never been sure when and how society should manage trust and forgiveness with people who were once visibly members of such groups (I realise that as a communist, if I were to seem to change positions, anticommunists of some sorts might wonder the same towards me - this isn't particularly about the specifics of fascism, but rather a more abstract query independent of the webs of relative "beyond the pales" that various positions place each other in). The crux of the issue is trust and secrecy - while societal disapproval and the voice of conformity has largely made racist thought absent from public political discourse in the United States (thus both making overt efforts towards blatant racial segregation difficult and dooming racist thought to stagnation and eventual decline over spans of time measuring generations), it (and other things like it) still happens beyond closed doors (as I've seen all too often through doors open to me as a white male from a mostly well-to-do southern family). Public figures such as Mel Gibson and Billy Graham have sometimes had their closed-door feelings exposed through various means, and have been forced to offer hollow confessions. In some ways, it's probably better to have this private-public duality, although it seems a shame in others because of the doublethink and difficulty of honest public conversation. Apologies sometimes might be real, but in these areas we can't count on it unless we know people. Claims of reform are similarly muddied - it's more plausible (as in the case of the AOB member) when one dabbles with ideas in youth that one later disinherits) than when people have a "Hallelujah!" moment, but really knowing is hard to tell. I think it's important to be able to tell - supporting (through various means) groups with ideologies that are "beyond the pale" to one seems counterproductive to me on some level - if I found a "White Power" music group that made really good music, I would not be inclined to suggest it to friends (even with reservations), and I'm unsure if I'd want to enjoy their music myself.
Recently I had a surprisingly awesome lunch. Also on the surprise front, today I learned from a friend that the Caliban book store has a downstairs - I'll have to swing by there sometime soon (even though my reading queue is pleasantly large at the moment).
With the little bit of gaming-interest I've been able to summon recently, I've still been trying to wrap my head around Master of Orion 3 - epic turn-based-strategy games only start being really enjoyable once one really understands them, and the better games in the genre tend to be really complex (and thus a bit scary to approach initially). Moo3 is no exception - Moo2 and Moo1 were really good games though, so it's probably worthwhile to learn. It looks like there are some sites that have written some fairly extensive mod packages for the game too - given that my favourite way to play Civ3 is with a large mod package, I may eventually want to go that way with this game too. I just wish I'd be in the mood for more than going to sleep or cleaning when I make it home recently. At least taking post-midnight walks in Schenley is feasable again... I should do more experiments with late-night photography (if any other photography-interested folk want to join me, I know of some good spots, especially if a car can be scrounged up).