It’s Just A Flesh Wound

Pull down those walls.  I’m sure the roof will remain standing.  Do let’s continue the nostalgia for baby boomers challenging their parents, when baby boomers are now grandparents: June Whitfield interview: ‘Middle class is still a dirty word in TV’.

Fortunately those middle class values are just things that kill joys came up with to prevent the perfect non-patriarchal society from happening.   It’s not like It’s not just boys who need male role models.

And it’s not like teaching the kids to despise their own homeland will have a bad effect, so, let’s double down on that, because there are kind and sensitive “others” and their perfect cultures which will be better than our flawed land, the one that gave most people the most prosperous and freest lifestyle in history.

After all they should be fighting for the ideals of believers in far-away religions, ideals that are so much more likely to bring about paradise than our capitalist, middle class society.

And above all never mind if the evidence is on your side, don’t call a reporter a left wing liberal.  (Dirty and smelly is a personal opinion and I wasn’t there.)

Because they have no sense of humor, whatsoever.  You have a sense that there’s something good and decent and worth saving before you have a sense of humor, I guess.

Fortunately we have a sense of humor.  And a good idea of what works too. We’re not demanding paradise on Earth or happy forever more.  We’re just working towards a world where most people can live okay lives.  Because we know humans are fallible, we exempt no race or creed from decent human behavior.

It’s Wednesday morning in the last week of August 2014.  We have things to learn and a society to rebuild.  The wall-pullers have been at it a long time, and what can’t go on forever, won’t.

Learn, work, hold yourself responsible, and teach your children well.

Up and at ‘em.

The power of crazy

Have you ever been followed on the street by a crazy person shouting things at you? In a big city with crowded sidewalks?

It happened to my son – fortunately – when he was thirteen. He didn’t look thirteen, but he also didn’t look old enough to drive. Say fifteen or so. This was the fortunate part. Our family went for a walk downtown. A normal looking man (until you looked at his eyes) middle aged, in a suit, took a look at Robert and started following us shouting “You ran over my little girl, you bastard. How dare you walk around free? Are you going to run over more people?” etc, etc, ad nauseum.

It was obvious he was yelling at Robert, because if we shifted formation, he would change to be within about two feet of Robert and looking at him.

It was also obvious to anyone watching he was crazy. At least I hope so, since my kid didn’t even look old enough to drive.

BUT our entire family was cringing and Robert looked like he wanted to hide. ALL eight blocks back to where we’d parked. Then he stood there and shook his fist at us while we took off.

That wasn’t precisely a new experience for me. It says something about the texture of life in the Portugal I grew up in (that caveat is needed, as I know nothing or next to about Portugal now) that a romantic song promised to protect the girl “when a madman follows you on the street shouting things.” This happened fairly routinely when I was going to college and taking a train to downtown Porto and then a bus to my campus. Madmen would follow calling me a whore, (because someone in a black skirt suit and a black medieval cloak is self evidently selling her wares?) or saying I stole something, or sometimes just shouting the equivalent of “millennium hand in shrimp.”

It’s so common that passersby would grin at my embarrassed face. BUT there’s the point. No matter how common, no matter how unjustified, you always feel like SOMEHOW you did SOMETHING to bring this episode on.

I was reminded of this yesterday – yes, on Facebook. You know… — when I posted a somewhat tasteless, but not overly so meme on the Titanic. I might not have posted it, not being interested in either of the topics, but my son made it and it was cutish. It was the titanic, sinking and it said “The Ice Bucket Challenge/On expert mode.” Okay, I have nothing against the ice-bucket challenge, but it’s been all over and the Titanic sank because of striking ice, so, you know, it was kind of sort of chuckle worthy. And it took you unawares while drinking tea (me) spray worthy, because of the juxtaposition of ideas.

My first comment was from someone who has written a book about the Titanic “Just.not.funny.” Well, okay. I know what it’s like to be close to your subject. I’ve been known to put a cutting remark when an Oxfordian posts something about not having enough evidence of Shakespeare’s life. But that’s usually on serious memes. I think I pass on raining on someone’s parade in politics or history at least once a day.

Why? Because it’s a facebook meme. People are having fun. Do you really want to stand at the edge of the crowd screaming “Not funny.”

But fine, he was close to it, knew the details of the tragedy, etc, so I put in “Well, maybe you’re too close to it, but it’s been used as a joke in Ghost Busters, so this is not even the real titanic, it’s the “meme Titanic”” – and also the drawing showed the ship, not the people.

What I expected was the he’d absent himself from the rest of the thread.

Oh, boy, was I wrong. Next, he posted pictures of the remains in the Titanic, and what looked like someone’s leg bone. We tried to explain to him that, er, no, we weren’t making fun of the death of people, it was just the weird idea of a ship deciding to take the challenge.

AND THEN he decided that he would make “funny memes” of Nazi cold water immersion torture and post them, because, you know, no one told him not to.

Now you guys have known me long enough, so when I said, “No one told you not to dance in traffic, either, does that mean you feel compelled to” you know exactly how far I’d been pushed. I don’t think I’ve lost my cool to that point here, except with overt trolls.

BUT he kept coming back, and defending his outrage, and saying we were making fun of the horrible death of hundreds (which I hope it’s understood in the meme was not part of it) and on and on, until he called Kate Paulk (!) two swear words. And then I blocked him and banned him.

I went to bed still confused about this. You see, it’s the first time I blocked anyone on Facebook.

And he’s been my friend for a while, and what’s more, he wrote a book I enjoyed on the Titanic. So I thought “he can’t be that crazy. What did I do wrong? It can’t be just the meme. Consider that there are titanic tea infusers for sale, and titanic inflatable lawn toys, and…” I mean, the Titanic, 102 years after its sinking is, yes, a horrible disaster. (We went through the Titanic exhibit at the museum, and while not as powerful as the one on Pompeii (no, trust me) it was heart-rending) but from the disaster enough gallows humor has emerged to make it a meme for “sinking ship” – not the real Titanic but sort of a cultural cartoon. Or even a meme for “engineering failure.” I mean, if you’re talking about someone designing a spaceship with obvious flaws, saying “remember the titanic” doesn’t mean “remember everyone who died. It means “remember the massive engineering failure.”

But anyway I went to bed torturing myself over his rather public implosion – a friend said it sounds like a manic episode – and wondering if I should have defused it earlier.

And this morning I realized that half of my flist seems to have blocked him BEFORE that incident, so I feel a little better.

But at the same time the incident and its aftermath, like the incident with people following us on the street showed me the power of crazy and how the left has deployed it in elections.

Look, if you’re A LITTLE crazy, people wonder what is wrong with you. Say the person on my thread had kept insisting that it wasn’t funny, in a mournful tone. I’d have gone “Dude, what’s wrong with you?”

But once he started posting Nazi memes, I was going “Dude, what have I done wrong?”

Now compare it to the things Romney was accused of in the election: not paying taxes for 10 years; causing someone’s wife to get cancer…

He was probably ready for “when have you stopped beating your wife?” but he wasn’t prepared for “When did you stop eating babies?” Craziness on that level leaves you bereft and open-jawed and wondering what YOU could have done wrong to bring it on.

In the same way tea partiers were prepared (probably) to be accused of wanting to starve the poor – but who is prepared to be accused of being racist, when half of your gatherings have more people of color than white ones? (The one in town had a whole tribe who took a bus from a reservation, in full regalia.) Or a white supremacist? Or Nazis?

And it goes on and on at all levels. It’s like the left reaches into the bucket of crazy and flings the crazier non-sequiturs they can find at people’s heads. This is for instance why I have been accused of being fascist (because I want to take over the world and leave you ruthlessly alone!) or a white (!) Supremacist. It’s a bucket of crazy, and how do you defend yourself from that, and what have you done to bring it on?

And when our side tries similar crazy things (not even as crazy) – say the birth question or whether Mr. Obama might just perhaps be hiding a gay side (notthatthereisanythingwrongwiththat, but it would be a blatant lie to pretend otherwise) — our own side starts mumbling “Don’t say that. That’s just wrong.”

The other side, otoh, the party of people whose representative is afraid Guam will tip over, has no qualms.  But we do.

 

Look, take it from someone who’s been followed by crazies on the street. Sometimes turning around and saying in the most dramatic tone you can conjure “It was you Mr. Wiggins. It was you who stole the turtle. Millenium hand in shrimp. I’ll have three brown ones.” In fact, I’ve found it’s the only thing that DOES work. It gets this weird look to come to their eyes, and then they slink off.

But that is not something our candidates can do, of course. However, WE can. And we need to stop slamming down on people who do.

Beyond that, our candidates – and ourselves – need to be prepared for those questions and ready to laugh and point and make duck noises, instead of cringing and looking embarrassed at their insanity. “When did I stop eating babies? What kind of crazy asks that question? Or do you mean eggs? I had eggs just this morning. Do you, Mr. Wiggins, also devour the unborn?”

Because the low information voters see the cringe, and being liv’s think “No smoke without fire.”

Toss the crazy ball right at them. Use GIFs if needed. Stop feeling guilty because they’re crazy. Their problem is not your problem. And you shouldn’t feel sorry for them. They are, at this point, doing it deliberately.

Laugh, point, and be ready to make fun, just like medieval people did when confronted with madmen.

Sometimes, it’s the only sane answer.

 

 

The Autism Question — Cedar Sanderson

The Autism Question — Cedar Sanderson

The recent discovery of what may cause autism was first brought to my attention by Peter Grant’s blog. I’ve since seen it several times since then, posted by gleeful optimists, but my first reaction wasn’t sheer joy. You see, I have a little sister who is autistic. However, as Peter points out, many creative type folks – including many people I know, and perhaps even myself, also show signs of autism.

 

The problem is, what was once a nebulous diagnosis limited to those who were almost completely withdrawn from the world is now applied to anyone who displays social awkwardness. I’m not going to get into the subtle workings of the brain, in any depth, as I’m not the person to talk to about thingies in the brainies (although perhaps one of those worthies will drop by in comments).

 

I’ll start with the International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. “Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterized by impaired social interactions and communication, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests. Impairment in each of these dimensions can vary in severity, and symptomatologies among individuals with ASDs are often quite diverse. Over the past 20 years, there has been a marked increase in the diagnosis of individuals with ASDs. In 1966, Lotter undertook the first epidemiological study of autism, estimating the prevalence of autism disorder to be 4.5/10,000. Two decades later, the estimate rose to 10.1/10,000. Currently, the community prevalence of ASDs is estimated to be at least 36.4/10,000, with some estimates as high as 67/10,000. It has been suggested that this increase in the number of cases of ASDs is due, at least in part, to more inclusionary definitions of disorders within the autism spectrum. While more in-depth discussion of this increase in ASD prevalence can be found elsewhere, there is at least some suggestion that changes in prevalence may be due to changes in, and broadening of, the diagnostic conceptualization of ASD. “

 

However, while at one end of the diagnostic criteria lies my sister, who is a lovely person, mentally about four, physically around thirty, on the other is me. You all know me, some have met me in person. I’ve never been tested for autism, I refused to even consider it when it was suggested not too long ago. I’m a functional adult, and I don’t need that label hung on me. Because the ‘high functioning’ end of autism, which was recently (and still, I think) called Aspergers, is more a psychological diagnosis than a physical one.

 

While doing research for this essay, I came across an article that was published in the New York Times, entitled “I had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly.” which succinctly lays out my concerns with the over-diagnosis of people with autism. “I exhibited a “qualified impairment in social interaction,” specifically “failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level” (I had few friends) and a “lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people” (I spent a lot of time by myself in my room reading novels and listening to music, and when I did hang out with other kids I often tried to speak like an E. M. Forster narrator, annoying them). I exhibited an “encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus” (I memorized poems and spent a lot of time playing the guitar and writing terrible poems and novels).” Nugent goes on to explain that as he got older, and developed, his mother, who had diagnosed him and applied the label to him, realized that he was not on the autism spectrum.

 

While the Federal Education code lays out a much stricter criteria for diagnosis, we have already seen that parents and doctors adhere to no such standards. Which brings me back to the article and study published in the Daily Mail.

 

If, and it is a very big if, they have truly discovered the cause of autism and Aspergers, what do they propose to do with that? While perhaps such treatment could reveal my sister, as we glimpse her now through a veil, an engaging person with an impish sense of humor, a temper, and a distinct personality. Then the veil falls again and she is out of reach. I would go far for a treatment that would lift the veil forever. But what if it doesn’t work? And how will we know? Will they decide to use people like my sister, deeming them not contributors to society, as guinea pigs. Yes, I know that would be unethical and illegal with today’s laws… If a fetus capable of drawing breath for their first cry can be deemed a non-person, what protects my sister?

And that same treatment, the neural pruning, if applied to an adult, what would happen? Would we creatives lose our social awkwardness, that need to flee a crowd because it’s all just too much, the shying away from direct contact that overwhelms us? Or would we also lose our weirdness, that which makes us Odd and able to create? No-one knows. We simply don’t know what the brain does, internally, well enough to plunge into declaration of a ‘cure” much less implementing it.

 

I’m never one to seize on a ‘new discovery’ and this one has me taking a step back and hesi – no, I’ll admit, the first words out of my mouth on reading it were unladylike. I immediately saw where it could go, and folks, it ain’t pretty.

 

I’ll finish up with this: the history of eugenics and mental retardation. “ In this country, attempts to eradicate the population of individuals with mental retardation can be traced back to the emergence of eugenics in the latter half of the 19th century. Francis Galton’s theory of eugenics was aimed at improving the “inborn qualities of a race.” One of the objectives of proponents of this “science” was to colonize and sterilize all undesirable subgroups in the United States. Half of the states adopted laws that forbade marriage for individuals who had mental or emotional impairments. In the 20th century, sterilization was used as a means of controlled breeding. In 1911, the American Breeders Association was established to study the reduction of the mentally retarded population. By 1926, sterilization laws had been passed in 23 states that made sterilization mandatory for “mentally deficient” individuals when recommended by the courts (Rubin & Rosseler, 1994). These laws ultimately resulted in the involuntary sterilization of over 60,000 individuals with mental retardation and mental illness by the year 1960 (Reilly, 1991).” Later in that same article, “There are no national or even regional statistics reported in any publication on the incidence of elective abortion that follows a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The only information available is from those individual diagnostic or treatment facilities that maintain such records and permit disclosure. Although current statistics were not available, between 1984 and 1987, 88% of the women at Washington University Medical Center who were informed that they were carrying a fetus with Down syndrome elected to abort the fetus (H. Beaver, personal communication, February 24, 1993). Similarly, P. DaVee of Indianapolis University Hospital reported that of the 1,125 clients tested in 1993, 29 (2.6%) indicated abnormal fetuses (personal communication, December 13, 1993). Although statistics were not available, she reported that most of the abnormalities were Down syndrome. DaVee concurred that, based upon her experience, nearly all of the fetuses carrying Down syndrome were aborted. These findings appear to indicate that genetic testing as a logical extension of eugenics is indeed being used as a means to screen for and then prevent the birth of persons with Down syndrome.” (Ethical and legal issues regarding selective abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome By: Glover NM, Glover SJ, Mental Retardation, 00476765, Aug, 1996, Vol. 34, Issue 4)

 

I had a personal brush with this. While pregnant with my son, I had an ultrasound. That evening, we got a rather concerned-sounding voice mail from the doctor, telling us that the fetus had a marker for Down’s, and we needed to come in for an appointment to discuss options. My immediate reaction was again explosive, unladylike, unprintable, and boiled down to “he’s 27 weeks old. There is only one option, and that is we will love him.” For those wondering, short legs run in the family on his paternal side, and he inherited short femurs… but nothing else. He’s a bright, energetic, engaging young man now, at nine years of age.

 

Before we start looking at cures, we must look at the consequences. What happens without those neurons? If you treat very early in life, then the person will never miss them. But we might also miss out on what would have been. Do we risk the people we already have, to see a cure for those who are coming now? How much of the autism spectrum is real, and how much a convenient excuse for people with an agenda? And when will pregnant mothers start making decisions about their children based on some genetic test which might or might not be a reality?

 

I can’t begin to answer all the questions. Nor can the scientists who did the original study. Perhaps in time, we can be more certain. But not yet, and I wouldn’t be willing to risk my precious sister to it.

The Grandchildren of Imagine

The other day here, someone brought up “Imagine” under if everything we think we know is wrong, then…

Imagine is one of the songs which gets me talking to the supermarket loudspeakers, and not in a good way. If I’m alone in a section I might go so far as to give the speakers the double middle finger. (The others are mostly Phil Collins.)

The problem with Imagine is not that it’s lousy, kitchy, superficial art (it is) or that I tend to like songs that have a bubbly meaning on top and more layered meanings underneath (“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell. I know, right now you can’t tell, but stick around and soon enough you’ll see another part of me.”) I also like plenty of songs that are objectively tempests of sound and percussion signifying nothing.

No. What really gets me going about Imagine is that its pretty, shiny bobbles of concepts are infantile, wrong AND pernicious. And also that it is largely the same concepts I was raised with (not by my parents, but my brother, his friends, the schools, the popular entertainment, etc.)

Take for instance that “Imagine there’s no religion…. Nothing to live or die for, a brotherhood of man.”

Oy.

Where to start?

 

Imagine there is no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

He is of course, fluffy and confused, and then the next verse is about nations and we have:

Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

That sort of refers to nations, but bringing religion in, gets us the idea people kill for religion.

Most people start on the Evangelical Christians get boiled out of shape by that verse – which was probably Lennon’s intent – but let’s, do, examine why eliminating religion is such a good thing “Nothing to kill or die for”. Uh…. Really?

Yeah, okay, we had “Wars of religion” that lasted for centuries. But to be fair, most of the wars of religion only got that way because the cause was co-opted by various princes, kings and countries. And I’m not even going to go into the Crusades as war of retaliation, or the West learning that the only way to stop a religion that promotes itself by cutting off heads is to have a religion that cuts off heads, which made the reformation a kettle of fun as the state seized control of the whole thing as a means to enrich itself.

Let’s go instead into the post-religious world. Whether they dressed it in religious shibboleths or not, WWI was not religious. WWII was not religious. The cold war’s “little” flareups, the millions of people who died in the camps, etc, none of it was in the name of G-d, but in the name of the state.

So for someone in the seventies (?) to be crooning about the brotherhood of man that would ensue once no one had religion is not just appallingly shallow, bordering on stupid, it’s also a crazy denial of facts that were already in evidence.

Turns out, humans being tribal, what ensues if you remove religion is not a brotherhood of man, but tribalism for other reasons. And once the higher objectives of religion and the idea that we’re all created by the same G-d and therefore brothers and sisters are removed, what ensues is not a great family, but – as in those countries for whom atheism was a state religion –humans as utilitarian work machines, humans as fertilizer, and humans as food (during the engineered famines. Look up Holodomor. It dare you.)

So, you say, no nations.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

 

We’ll leave aside the fact that it can or cannot be achieved. It’s not something that has been achieved in… ever. Yes, I know some fluffy libertarians think that the nomadic tribes that roamed around without established location were “equalitarian” and had no kings and no concept of nation. This only ignores the evidence of all grave goods and the experience of anyone who’s lived in a large family.

Never mind. Let’s establish that there were no Nation States. Is this by any chance a sign there was peace? Well, no. See again under “humans are tribal.” The graves we discover from that time do not speak of peace. No matter what you heard about the nomadic past of the US, the Amerindians weren’t children of nature, living in peace. In fact, anyone who has raised kids knows better. Humans not only are tribal. Humans have a will to power, a will to either be admired or admire, to either control or be controlled. Humans seek it. We’re Odds and goats and a little different, but still. You can’t even say that in their vision humans would have to be sheep, because sheep fight intruders, too.

That impulse can be controlled but not eliminated.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

Do I have to dissect this piece of crap? It’s not even wishful thinking, it’s irrational babbling. You’d think a grown man, no matter how many interesting substances he was snorting, injecting and smoking, would have realized possessions are not the only thing people strive for. For a lot of people, power over others seems to be the driving motive.

But let’s leave that aside. HOW do you enforce the “no possessions?” Humans like things, and humans will take and hold things they like – pretty baubles, interesting stones. Humans will make things too and those they are even more attached to. “You didn’t build that” is the cry of someone who has never built anything and is jealous. Oh, yeah, jealousy. Another thing that precludes “universal peace.”

To have your state with no possessions you need to have someone making sure no one else has possessions, and that person, of course, will have possessions, because human (and we’ve seen this pattern over and over in human history.)

But beyond that, who is going to enforce “no possessions” if there are no nations.

Don’t answer. I know the nightmare answer to this. I once read a document from the Weather Underground on how they’d organize the US after taking over. It was all “soviets.” You’d belong to a soviet for each of your characteristics. Take me, for instance, I’d be in a soviet as wife, one as mother, one as Latin, one as woman, one as writer, one as…

These soviets would have representation, but not the individuals, who were supposed to help the soviet come to positions through “struggle sessions.” Those of you who have read about the Cultural Revolution are shuddering right now, and if you haven’t, do. I suggest the first hand accounts of people who escaped it.

So, none of these concepts or their children-concepts (“No patriarchy” and “PIV is rape” and a million other insane ideas that proceed from believing that religion – something that has been with man since we didn’t quite have language – is just a plot of “priests” and can easily be discarded; that nations and nation states can be abolished without just as pernicious entities appearing in their stead; that possessions are things you can just say you’re done with, and also that these three things are the only cause of violence) are so stupid that a blind child can see their asinine idiocy.

BUT and here’s the important thing, they were embraced and promulgated by the intelligentsia: those controlling your entertainment, your communications, your education. (We won’t point out their semblance to soviet propaganda probably caused that.)

It is assumed in most things that these three principles and everything that comes from them is “right” and that we deviate from them at the risk of “sin” (Not sin, sin, since we’re not supposed to believe in religion, but a secular sin that leads everyone to point and call us stupid.)

These ideas amount to a wholesale discarding of western civilization and of everything that’s been believed and written about how to integrate human nature with civilization without destroying either.

And we are up to three generations raised since these became not just fringe (they have been there since there’s been humans writing, and yep, mostly they’ve been fringe) but the core and center of our education in civics.

We’re now up to the grandchildren of Imagine, people so far gone that the precepts of their grandfathers are these nonsense assumptions; assumptions not only unproven, but proven wrong and impossible at least in this world we live in.

John C. Wright wrote a brilliant (natch) essay on the uglification of art. He approaches it from a … ah… theocentric perspective. (One of the reasons I admire John is that he doesn’t shy away from explaining how his belief works, even when this belief is obviously based on religion. He won’t be shamed by Imagine.) I’m a little different. While I am, as I’ve said, a woman of belief, the way I was raised requires I explain my beliefs and ground them without resort to my faith.

So, here’s my explanation for the uglyfication of all artistic pursuit. These are the children of Imagine. I’m not going to say that the SONG is to blame, understand (I must explain this for the wandering SJWs who read this) but rather the philosophy behind the song, a kitchy, irrational faith prevalent in progressive circles.

The belief in that nonsense and in the nonsense that derives from it makes people’s lives NATURALLY meaningless and horrible.

Look, if you’re going around believing you must eradicate possessions and religion and nations ALL the time, when these things are patently impossible, you’re going to be miserable. If you attribute every setback you suffer to “the patriarchy” or “the oligarchy” or whatever you’re blaming it on these days; if you attribute your dissatisfaction and hunger to the fact other people have more – that is the recipe for ending up in a private hell of envy and resentment.

And this explains the tone, the purges, the sheer anger you encounter in progressive cycles. They can’t enjoy their lives or build anything until oh, possessions are eliminated, and there’s “a brotherhood of man” and every step taken towards that seems to have the opposite result.

Take, for instance “I’ll try everything once.” Or “I will not obey my husband” both precepts promulgated by this sort of hatred for the past of Western civilization. If you live by them, you’re going to end up broken and miserable. (Translation for the SJWs who read this blog: No, dears, I don’t mean that you should always obey your husband. He’s human too. (Well, yours. Mine is a living god. Yes, I AM joking.) I mean that sometimes there are reasons to take his opinion over those of your best friend, your hairdresser or the cashier at the grocery store. More reason probably. After all, you married him. But the women liberated across to your “prescription” refuse to take the opinion or advice of any man, because patriarchy. Which is why they end up miserable.)

Most of the SJWs I know are miserable. At best they hold on to the trappings of “normalcy” by pretending REALLY hard. But they feel either guilty or failures or ineffective, because they’re not living up to their ideals.

Hence their stories, where everyone is miserable, and all of life is pointless, and their works of “art” where every shred of beauty must be eliminated.

They think they’re holding up a mirror to the world and showing that everyone is really, really broken and those evil people who pretend to be happy are really the worst (this is why “hypocrite” is the worst insult in the SJW vocabulary.)

They don’t realize in the end they are just holding the mirror to their own lives, and that those of us who are, in fact, happy and fulfilled, and who are in fact in the majority, just ignore them more and more, until their screams of rage occur only in their own little echo chamber.

Now, is that work complete? Not yet. They still have the education, and other bully pulpits and they’re still twisting the young into non-functionality.

Which is why we have a lot of work to do. Three generations of stupid pap are enough.

Teach your children well. Read, write. Enjoy. Rebuild the foundations of society that they’ve been chipping at for generations.

Living well and living on are the best revenge.

 

 

Rogue Magic, Free Novel, Chater 56

Rogue Magic, the second Magical Empires book.

Rogue Magic, the second Magical Empires book.

The prequel to this — Witchfinder — is now up on Amazon.

This novel will get posted here a chapter every Friday or Saturday, or occasionally Sunday.  If you contribute $6 you shall be subscribed for the earc and first clean version in electronic format.  I think it will probably take another three months to finish.  Less, if I can have a weekend to run through and get ahead of the game.  It hasn’t happened yet.

NOTICE: For those unsure about copyright law and because there was a particularly weird case, just because I’m making the pre-first draft of my novel available to blog readers, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t copyrighted to me.  Rogue Magic as all the contents of this blog is © Sarah A. Hoyt 2013.  Do not copy, alter, distribute or resell without permission.  Exceptions made for ATTRIBUTED quotes as critique or linking to this blog. Credit for the cover image is © Ateliersommerland | Dreamstime.com

The Enchanted Cottage

 

It is my firm belief that men are very daft. Women too, mind you, but not in the same way. The peculiar way in which men are daft is this consistent belief that not only should every woman everywhere be protected, but that every woman everywhere wants to be.

Even Jonathan subscribed to this credo. I knew – I have ears – that Jonathan was a rogue, what people considered in general a bad lot, and what my uncle had once stigmatized as a loose fish, something I’d never fully understood, since I could see no resemblances between my dapper brother and a fish. Nor could I figure out what a loose one would be.

Yet, even when he was very drunk, he would say things like “that is not fit for your ears,” and “I will not sully your mind with these events.”

Oh, a sister develops her ways of knowing. I’d worked around and found some things that Jonathan surely would not have wanted me to know. I can’t say they shocked me overmuch. His letters from and to his friends, the parts I could understand, seemed to be a lot of tomfoolery, with drinking till you were blind and then… and then consorting with the sort of women that didn’t seem to be much fun. But there it was. He thought that would shock me, doubtless.

The disappointing thing was finding out that such a grand personage as the king of fairyland who, by all accounts, didn’t have the same sort of interest in women that other men did – though I wasn’t sure of that, since, after all, that was also something my ears shouldn’t be sullied with – also though I needed to be kept safe.

No. worse than that. He thought I wanted to be kept safe.

He sort of pushed at me as he vanished, and I felt myself pushed through an envelope of sorts, and then—

I was in a fairytale cottage. Not the ominous looking one, where you’re sure the grandmother has been eaten by a wolf. Nor the one made of candy, because anyone would know that was a trap. Not even a realistic cottage like the ones in the home village next to what papa had called our principal seat.

No.

I was standing in the garden of a cottage so unreal, so perfect, so beautiful that it could not have existed anywhere but in fairyland. For one, the garden was all wrong – trust a man not to know when things bloomed or what needed sun or shade. This garden was a riot of colors, with everything blooming at the same time, a sweet buzz of bees in the air – I bet none of these bees stung, either – and a path of shiny, polished pebbles leading to the white-stone cottage with the arched doorway, the window boxes full of flowers and the chimney set on at an adorably crooked angle.

I started up the path, and of course, a beautiful baby bunny loped across it, pausing only to look at me with eyes that were too big and too innocent.

At the door, I pushed it open.

It was exactly as I expected. There was an entrance area, with a fireplace which was burning brightly even though it put out no warmth and no warmth was needed.

Around the fire place were two chairs and a lot of books. And yep, the books were just exactly the sort I read, about pirates and grand adventures.

Past that was a kitchen, with everything scrubbed and bright and the table set for tea, with scones and jam and a pot that – I touched it – was just the right temperature under a cheerful red cozy.

And then a blue bird perched on the flower box outside the open window and started to sing.

I believe I could have endured it, otherwise. Doubtless behind the kitchen there was the perfect bedroom with a comfortable bed, and I was in fact very tired.

But the bird was too much.

If I’d believed that this was one of those traps set by fairyland, I could have endured it, too, and tried to defeat it from inside.

The problem is that I thought it wasn’t a trap at all.

When I was very little, nurse had a sort of fence she carried along and would set around me, so I could play outside and still be safe in its confines.

This was a fence like that, a safe box where the king of fairyland thought he’d keep me away from anything unpleasant and dangerous.

I don’t like unpleasant or dangerous things. Would you?

But I was also not blind to my own failings. I might be a wretch as mama says, or ungrateful, as papa used to say, or the most trying creature alive, as Jonathan has been known to say – though with a twinkle – and normal moral lectures might bounce off me like a cat off water. But I do realize when I’ve brought about a great deal of ruin and trouble. And that was now.

I had, in fact, got lost in this world, caused Mr. Merritt to come after me. I might have got him killed, since we were in fairyland, where he had, I gathered, rather old business. And by now, Jonathan might have come after me too. Other people wouldn’t, but he might.

And I had a strange feeling I was also responsible for whatever was happening to the king of fairy.

Which meant I couldn’t just be here and safe and let them fight this battle alone. For one what if they lost? Would I go on living forever in this cozy place with the obviously false bluebirds? I thought not.

It took me a second to figure out what to do. In every fairytale, the heroine is cautioned not to leave the safe spot and not to go into the woods.

The king hadn’t warned me of this, probably because he hadn’t had time.

But as I opened the kitchen door, I saw, past a strip of garden with more flowers, butterflies and blue birds, a fence. And past the fence – woods. Dark, ominous, unruly wood.

“I thank you for my share of the favor,” I told the warm air of the cottage and the singing bird. “But I’ll have none of it. We Blythes might be many things but cowards we aren’t.”

I ran down the path to the fence climbed on it and leapt off it into the dark woods.

The world tore like a piece of paper.

Let There Be Books!

*First a note from Sarah — Okay, because there was confusion before — I did not read these books and they’re not personal recommendations.  They’re books my readers send in to promote.

I’ll turn this over to the Oyster, but before I do, this week I have something on countdown sale.  I think Crawling Between Heaven and Earth is on sale for 99c for another 24h give or take after which it will creep slowly back up to 7.99.

This book contains my first published shorts and is a good snapshot of who I was at that time.

Btw, it’s number one in fantasy anthologies (It’s not, it’s a collection, but what does Amazon know.)  Thank you. – SAH*

 

Good morning, Huns and Hoydens! Another fabulous weekend is upon us, and to get you started we’ve a small selection of books for your enjoyment. Do remember, please, to go leave reviews for the books once you’ve read them, whether to praise them or offer constructive critiques. One more note, since there seems to have been some confusion recently: these books have not been reviewed, curated, or endorsed by Our Beloved Hostess or myself. The Beautiful but Evil Space Princess is simply providing a platform for the writers among the commentariat (and occasional lurkers) to advertise free of charge, and I simply put it all together. No warranty, guarantee, deputy, Model T, contract, compact, hijack, fel pact, gentleman’s agreement, endorsement vehement, negotiated easement, pachyderms indecent (in case of bereavement), handfast, hold fast, bypass, repast, top caste, bombast, or martial satisfaction on the bloody field of honor is, has been, or ever will be provided. *catches breath* [Ed.: But he doesn't know the territory!] So, if you have words for sales or rent, future entries can (and should!) be sent to my email. Happy reading!

Jason Dyck, AKA The Free Range Oyster

Book Hawker, Minion Wrangler, and Fancier of Patter Songs

Alma Boykin

Marie’s Tale

A Colplatschki Novella

What price rank and riches? Duchess Marie von Starland knows full well. Now she tells her story, of Aquila Starland, Elizabeth von Sarmas, and of the traitor who was once a beloved baby brother.

Includes a bonus Elizabeth story: When the chance to explore a Lander city arises, Elizabeth must decide between her two greatest loves.

John Van Stry

Champion for Hire

Portals of Infinity: Book One

William is just your typical engineer fresh out of college with a stressful job, a boring life, and not a lot of prospects of anything better in the future.

Until one weekend while hiking in the woods he stumbles across a portal to another time, or perhaps another place. The more he investigates this new world the more he realizes that it may just be able to offer him a lot more than the one he’s been living in.

However, there are forces at work beyond anything that Will has ever come across before and the local Goddess seems to have taken a liking to him. Will may soon find himself getting an offer he cannot afford to refuse.

Michael Kingswood

The Pericles Conspiracy

William is just your typical engineer fresh out of college with a stressful job, a boring life, and not a lot of prospects of anything better in the future.

On sale at Amazon this weekend

Josephine Ishikawa’s last shift as Captain of the starliner Pericles changed the course of history, but no one knows about it. The powers that be took charge as soon as she got back to Earth, with only a select few permitted to learn about the beings she encountered during the run from Gliese, or the eggs they entrusted to her care.

Satisfied that the government would make good on her commitment to return the eggs home, Jo returned to her job of getting Pericles through a major maintenance overhaul and then back out to the stars. But when she learns that the authorities reneged and have begun experimenting on the eggs instead, she faces a difficult choice: keep the life and career she loves or embark on a quest to rescue the eggs and keep the promise she made to their dying parents, out in the depths of space. That quest could cost her more than she ever imagined as it plunges her into a shadow war against a planetary government that will stop at nothing to keep its secrets.

Also available from these fine booksellers:

 

A plague on both their charities

*Two Quick Updates before your Whacky Post Of The Day TM:  First Crawling Between Heaven And Earth, my first collection, of stories that were, you know, the first I got published (almost my juvenalia!) is up for 99c for two days, and then slowly going up to its normal price.  I know many of you got it when it was free at baen books.  It now has a shifter short story and such, but anyway, if you’d echo the link in whatever social media you use, much appreciated.

Second: Baen books, who as we all know is an evil publishing house, decided to up its psychological warfare on me personally by interviewing my husband (and other Baen Spouses) on what it’s like to be married to a highly splodey writer.  I understand Dan had a lot of fun with it, and also that Madames Correia and Weber were in this also.  So.  Baen Spouse Podcast here.*

I confess I’m not much of a joiner, and that I view joining an organization as a liability. You join, say an organization for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers and soon enough, early enough, you find you’re a member of an organization that wants to ban the word “Lady” and would love to run all men out of the craft.

And then you pause and wonder “What have I got myself into?”

Yesterday, in the diner on facebook (if those of you are getting the idea that if you want to fight you should go there, don’t. I try to keep it as politics and friction – but I repeat myself – free as I can) a semi argument developed on whether or not the Black Panther and the KKK were similar in nature.

I stomped on it, because I didn’t want to get ugly in the diner, that’s what I have a blog for.

The fact that the black panthers at least used to be a charitable organization, with literacy programs and pancake breakfasts and that this makes it intrinsically different from the KKK who were, after all, just the night riders who lynched people and stuff.

GROAN.

I come not to defend the KKK. No, seriously, I come not to defend the KKK who would object to me on at least two genetic points and one of choice and whom I object to in principle. And this post is about something far more important/different from these two rather icky organizations.

The black panthers MIGHT have started as a charitable/uplift organization. Or at least their members believed that, early on. But it has gone a long way down the rabbit hole of a pretend black supremacy theory that in fact keeps Americans of African descent stuck in a loop of resentment and self-sabotage. Oh, and also they bar people’s access to polls and parade around a lot armed for purposes of intimidation. Whatever they started out as, they’re a race-based association that tries to intimidate all those not eligible to join and to control those who are eligible.

And the KKK might have started as a revenge organization (did it? It’s a part of history I don’t know very well, right after the civil war) but it d*mn skippy was also a charitable organization.

It is a little known fact that the state of CO somewhere in the late nineteenth early twentieth century was more or less controlled by the KKK. At my son’s college graduation a letter was read from the first president of the university. You see, he’d received a letter from the governor who was in the pocket of the KKK, telling him to kick out all Jews and Catholics or be left without state funding. So, he answered not only no but h*ll no, and the school barely survived. The letter they read was his speech at the graduation of the following class. (And I’m so glad they did that instead of having a guest speaker.) It was a moving letter and the incident was an example of the KKK flexing wrong-muscles.

However, the elementary school my sons’ attended was built by the KKK. The corner stone is still there in a rather hippy-dippy and mixed community, something for which I applaud them: not erasing the past because it’s gross.

What this means is not that KKK was a “mixed” organization or that we should feel any sympathy towards it (I don’t) but that they too clearly did some laudable and charitable things – which still does not excuse them from being evil bastages and icky and stomach-turning.

Does the fact they had pancake breakfasts and literacy drives and such excuse the Black Panthers for the evil they do and the amazingly ignorant stuff they spout on history and racial theory? Don’t know. Don’t care. Supposing my kids were dark enough to join or white enough to join the KKK, my answer would be the same to both, “Don’t do it. Yeah, they might, maybe, do some good stuff, perhaps, but organizations based solely on race tend to go wrong to justify their own existence.” They start out as “us against them” and sooner or later you need “incidents” by the them – real or (these days) largely imagined – to justify the being “against” and next thing you know your whole cause of existence is not to uplift your race, ethnicity or cultural group but to “stick it to” whoever is perceived as the enemy.

Exempt from this – to an extent – are certain cultural associations, like, say the Scottish Heritage association or the Italian History league. To an extent. It’s important to realize that if the last two meetings have been about “How city council is discriminating against us because they don’t like kilts” you might be going down a dangerous path. (Or the city council might be *sses, of course. Still, it’s best to step back and see it with fresh eyes.)

Look, the characteristic of humans is that we are tribal critters. We not only like to tribe up, we like to define us against them. Nothing makes you feel so cozy in your in group as knowing other people are out. (Whether the other people want in or not.) And once we tribe up, argument and fighting are a step away.

You can see it in any group of kids released to the wild of a playground for a considerable period of time. Once, long ago, it was “No gurls allowed” and maybe “No darkies allowed” (Or whities.) but at least in most middle class areas, kids wouldn’t do that openly now. They know the adults would descend on them then. So, instead, they have “No trailer park kids allowed” or “No boys allowed” or “no people who live on that hill as opposed to this hill allowed.”

And if you let the groups (particularly if there’s two) go on long enough, sooner or later there will be fights.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I remember glorious afternoons of chasing each other with bamboo sticks while playing at Robin Hood (and his men) vs the Sheriff (and his men) or The musketeers vs. the Guards of Richelieu, or even world war too (when the bamboo sticks became guns) even though we were all girls. Because it was ritualized and rather like a massive LARPG very few nose bleeds, bruises and skinned knees ensued, and at any rate, Dona Albertina of blessed memory (“Honestly. I’ve never taught a class of such rambunctious girls before. I’ve taught boys who were tamer.”) stood ready with bandages and hydrogen peroxide.

I’m saying it’s a human thing. And you don’t leave it behind just because you grew up. Humans like to join up with others that are like them and keep others at bay.

Which is why it is very very important to make sure the charter of whatever you’re joining is not evil. No, seriously, it starts there. You want to start an organization to take care of the under-privileged children of left handed yodeling laplanders? That’s great. WHO CAN JOIN? Because if it’s just a benevolent organization, then anyone should be able to join.

On the other hand, organizations based on ethnicity that go to the bad – and we might include the Mafia, which regardless of purpose, sort of started in its earliest origins as mutual protection (before the US) and yep, through the depression did a lot of good, supporting whole families. But to be a member of the organization you had to be Italian.

Look, no humans band up then sit in their clubhouse twirling their moustaches and saying “now we’re going to be evil.” But human organizations often become evil. Partly this is because the people willing to do the donkey work of running a voluntary organization are often – not to say always – the type of mind that seeks power over others. If the charter of the organization allows them to achieve that power by dividing (as it were) the world in two and playing us against them, they will, and they will drive the association down an ever more paranoid path. At the end of which there’s always evil and attack on the “the other.”

On the other hand, if the charter of an organization is to achieve something, it’s harder to subvert. Not impossible, mind.

Take the charter of SFWA which was to negotiate with publishers and look after the interests of SFWA writers. The problem is that it couldn’t (I don’t know if from the beginning, I know it tried at least in the beginning. I know by the time I joined, it couldn’t) do anything in a business model that as an oligopsony and where anyone who fought any of the controlling publishers was blacklisted. This made it an organization with a requirement of membership and no chart, so it went in search of stuff to do. Hence, where we got to. (And no, it’s not as bad as the KKK. It’s just annoying and might hurt us professionally by making our field sound like a collection of whackballs.)

OTOH look at feminism, which isn’t even a formal organization so much as a “club” that you join by saying you are one, and a few loudmouth “leaders” who purport to speak for everyone with a vagina. Holy mother of whack! How did we get from equal pay for equal work to “I want to kill 90% of men and studfarm the rest”? Well, because when you assume that all women are equally oppressed and all women are interchangeable you’re already on the path to insanity. From there to “look for a mission” is one small step.

And the mission groups find in these circumstances is always between insane and “ew” because it starts by EXCLUDING.

So, if you’re thinking of starting a group (and who isn’t, after all) make sure the membership is open to all who might have an interest in the cause and are aligned with you. (A non-Marxist group shouldn’t have to accept Marxists, for instance.) And then make sure your mission makes sense and is something that can be accomplished and that you have a provision to disband when it is. Making sure your mission is not outright evil, like, say, killing all left handed Laplanders, might be a good idea too. Because if you start evil, you’ll only get more evil.

And if you’re considering an organization to join, look for the same things.

Me? I’m not much of a joiner. I’m odd. And odds don’t band well, even with other odds. So I’ll stay on the outside and blow raspberries and fondly wish a plague on both their houses.

And now all you left hand Laplanders shut up. I have books to write about your iniquities.*

*No, not really.

 

 

 

Rumor and Innuendo, Alarums and Excursions

Did you hear about the snake-headed baby born to the woman in the next village? What about the three-legged centaur born to the woman a village over? No? You know those people over there, with whom you don’t interact are always having monstrous children and, what’s worse, they eat them too.

You’re reading that paragraph again and wondering if I lost my mind.

Last night, I found myself wondering if the field as a whole has lost its mind.

A colleague, a midlister with a decent reputation and okay writing, posted a recommendation of one of Larry’s books. The comments were immediately assailed by people informing her that he was the evil lord of evil and she was evil for promoting him.

I considered jumping in, and while I was deciding, she erased the post, then put up another saying that, well, she’d liked his books, but since he was an unsavory homophobe and all around evil in the matter of gay rights, she would never read him again, and she would now recommend a female from a small press.

This – this leap from rumor and innuendo to “since he is” pushed me over the edge. Yes, I do know some of you are saying that it’s a short road and an easy drive, but really, what kind of insanity is this?

I posted that Larry is no more homophobic than I am. For all I know he does oppose gay marriage (I don’t know. Never asked. Not particularly interested. Some of my best friends oppose it. I don’t. We have discussed it. They see my reasons, I see theirs. Neither will change. Doesn’t matter. They’re friends, not members of my hive mind. We can disagree on a lot and still be friends.) However, I’ve never seen him treat gay people differently or espouse the view that we should pull walls down on them or hang them from cranes, or that they’re worth less than the rest of humanity.

My comment was deleted, then the post was deleted, and meanwhile I blew up in the facebook diner, but all of this left me feeling furious.

Look, what idiocy is this? Are we people in the age of reason, taught to look for fact and evidence? Are we humans grown in a land of law where you get to confront your accuser? Or are we savages in a little village who believe all the bad things said of the people in the next village?

Humans are tribal and tend to believe the worst of strangers. The left has used this tactic for a long time.

As someone mentioned in the comments, a lot of (stupid) people constantly repeat “there’s no smoke without fire” without considering that sometimes the smoke is deliberate and special effects.

There is a tendency, particularly on the right, where we pride ourselves on being morally upright (by which I mean neither prudes nor judgmental, should any leftist be reading this. Most people on the right that I associate with pride themselves on being as moral as they can in their own conduct) we tend to immediately distance ourselves from someone we perceive as having some taint. This explains why they’re trying nonsense like the Perry indictment. It worked with all the minor figures of the Bush administration. Indict them of something stupid and everyone in the country would know they’re “criminals.” They might have stepped too far on that one.

And there is a tendency in the soft right and the center to distance ourselves from someone perceived to have committed the unforgivable crime of our age: being a bigot.

The left knows this. It is not for no reason that they fling around words like sexist and racist. (The Fascist MIGHT just be because they get carried around with rhymes. I keed, I keed. It’s because they have no clue what it means.)

So they start a whisper campaign and after three or four times of hearing the same thing repeated, the mush heads who never verify anything for themselves will believe “there’s no smoke without fire.” And never mind the fake smoke blowing from beside the stage.

This is nonsense and I’ve had enough of it.

Dave Freer, who is a better man than I am, unfriended the writer who posted the nonsense about Larry. I didn’t. Unless she unfriends me, I intend to bring down the rod of correction every time she does idiotic stuff like that.

Look, the hard left is lost. They employ these tactics because they know they’ll work. The mushy left, the mushy right and the mush-headed center just runs scared, afraid of being mistaken for a bigot or of being seen with the people the left is reviling.

Pfui.

I have had enough of this. They’re like a puppy piddling on the rug, and you wipe it up and don’t say anything because the puppy is young and doesn’t know what he did.

It does great credit to our soft hearts and none at all to our soft heads.

From now on, when the mush-heads go along and get stampeded by the smoke blowers, I’m intervening.

Yeah, I have the clean up bottle. But I also have a newspaper. I’m going to rub their noses in their own messes.

And if that doesn’t work, I’m going to ask them to explain why they gave birth to snake headed babies.

Bet I can find more proof of THAT than they can of Larry holding any of the opinions they attribute to him.

Can I make them abandon this tactic? On my own? No. If all of us do it? Probably. The matter, be it with leftists or puppies, is to make it too painful for them to crap on the rug of society.

I suggest we start doing so. The carpet was too expensive to throw out or burn. Let’s house-break them.

An Update On the Writer

So, in addition to extended family turmoil, I figured out part of the issue with my writing.  As we all know something has been giving me allergic reactions (yes, could be the cats.  Monthly baths for Havey help.  OTOH I’ve had cats my whole life and only the last few years have been bad. I think it’s more household dust as the cutting down of physical books is helping) so I’ve been taking a benadryl a night to sleep.

I know that benadryl makes me woozy and weird and stops the writing, but I thought “just a four hour one at night…”  After being unable to write for a couple of weeks, I stopped it.  The writing came back.  Yes, it’s proceeding.

Zen, main character of Through Fire, is still the world’s hardest character for me personally to write, but my cheerreaders say you can’t tell.  Which is good.

After Through Fire gets delivered, please G-d, soon, I’ll finish Darkship Revenge.  Meanwhile, fully revised, The Musketeer’s Inheritance (formerly published as Dying By The Sword) is waiting my entering the changes into the electronic version so I can put it up.  I’d like to do so before the end of the month, since I’d like to do a promo on Death of a Musketeer.

Also being edited are the three books of the Magical British Empire, a subset of the world of Witchfinder.  It’s taking forever because they got “Political correctizized” in edits and it needs careful cleaning for the “author’s edition.”

All of that is taking back burner to books for Baen, and the YA fantasy — Shadow Gods — which is due at Wordfire press in exactly a month, give or take.  Some of you have seen the beginning.  It’s about blended families and Roman Gods with emotional issues.

Robert — #1 son — and I are working on a YA series that’s sort of Harry Potter space opera.  You’d have to be there, but… well, you’ll be there.

I’m also working on The Haunted Air, a short novel that falls between Witchfinder and Rogue Magic.

After I deliver the Space Operas to Baen, the most vital thing is getting Bowl of Red, the fourth shifter book, finished.

At some point here, I SWEAR A Fatal Paws, the first Orphan Kittens mystery will get finished.

Look, I KNOW I can write two novels a month.  I’ve done it in the past.  The price might be to wheeze and be stopped up, but that’s not the end of the universe.

Other projects which might or might not get done this year: The great Southern Gothic UF, Hell Bound (Also a UF), The Musketeer’s Confessor, Changeling (A space opera.  With Aliens.), Lucky (A space opera, with aliens.  Not the SAME space opera), The Brave And The Free, which is half done and might just be sent to Denver and, if they don’t want it, come out on its own.

I counted, and I have something like 42 things in the back burner.  And they’re all either novels or series.  And at some point here, we’re going to lose a big chunk of time as I move.  However, if we can find JUST the right place and set up for low maintenance, and if the hyper-extended family can stop having crisis, (or at least keep it down to a low roar), and if I can have just two “good years” (where the health issues are also down to a low roar) I could dig myself out from under the back log.

It’s a dream.  It could happen.  Don’t burst my bubble.

On the other hand by that time, I’ll have another five or six novels in the pipeline.

But that’s a different story.  Or several.

The Haunted Air

 

Sarah A. Hoyt

 

 

The problem with a wicked stepmother, Miss Albinia Blackley thought, suspended from her sheet-rope, between the sky and the distant Earth, was when the wicked stepmother was in fact your real mama.

It was all very well, after all, for Miss Albinia’s brothers – who always called her Al – because Mama was just the woman who had married papa when Geoffrey, the youngest, was seven, and was in fact no blood relation to them.

Oh, it had been terrible for them, probably, when papa had disappeared shortly after the marriage. Al couldn’t be sure, because she did not remember papa and wasn’t sure if he was like Mama or not.

But then when mama had done something and Al’s brothers had disappeared. And even if Mama was her real mama, Al was not going to stick around and have the full benefit of mama’s attention for the duration. Whatever the duration was.

She was going to run away and find her brothers, because Geoffrey needed someone to help him make himself understood when he started stuttering and Edmund was likely to lose everything, including his paints, and Aaron, Jeremy and Joshua would argue about everything, and William was likely to disappear into his music, and Samuel would just go all extremely disappointed…

It had all seemed so simple when she’d hid the sheets and crafted this tied-together rope ladder to escape from the room where Mama had locked her when Al had asked once too many what had happened to the boys.

But once she’d crept over the stone ledge of her room window, she’d found herself in a world she couldn’t recognize.

Gone was the tower of the mannor house on the cliff, overlooking the ocean and the familiar marshes. In its place, Al found herself hanging from a building that seemed entirely composed of blue glass.

Beneath her, there were flashes of moving things that she couldn’t understand and the sound of klaxons superimposed on a low roar as of a million voices.

She had no idea where she was, dangling here, between Earth and sky, on her fragile ladder of sheets.

All she knew was that the ladder ended far short of the ground.

Far above, a window opened in the wall of glass, roughly where Al’s room would have been, if this were still the tower from which she’d left. Mama’s silhouette appeared, and Mama’s voice called, “Al, how dare you.”

And Al let go of the ladder.

She let go before she could think. She let go, knowing only she couldn’t stand to go back in and explain herself to Mama.

She tumbled downwards, head over heels, wondering how it felt to hit.

And then she stopped. Middair. Someone was approaching on a rowboat, slicing through the air and the clouds.

 

UPDATE: You should read Amanda’s blog.

 

 

Lies, Truth and Rats

This post is late because I have an outdoor not-my-cat who loves me. He brought me something that squeaked for breakfast. He brought it back very fresh. In fact, he brought it back for me to kill. Fortunately I was in the kitchen and he was in the outdoor mudroom thing we call the airlock. I stood in the kitchen, listening to the squeak-thump and wondering if I should intervene, but the chances it was a bunny are minor. Sounded like a rat. And the chances of a desperate rat in the kitchen were really high.

Eventually Greebo (He’s just a big softy) grew disgusted with me and carried of his victim breakfast to enjoy elsewhere.

All of which has absolutely nothing to do with the post this morning. I mean, I could twist myself into pretzels and come up with something, but I’m not going to and instead I’m going to plunge head first into the post.

Imagine everything you’ve ever been told is a lie.

No, seriously. Close your eyes and picture it.

This kind of ah epistemological upheaval is very difficult. I’m telling you this as someone who found out about half of what she knew was a lie. What? Oh, little things – the first flight across the Atlantic was NOT as I’d been taught Sacadura and Cabral. “I regret I have only one life to give for my country” was not said by one of the assassins of Dona Inez de Castro before his execution, no matter how much my history book said so. (It might have been said by him TOO, but I suspect someone just thought it sounded good and stole it.) If you take more than an aspirin at one time, you won’t die. (I remember standing frozen in the kitchen when I’d complained to my host mother of a headache and she said “Just take a couple of aspirin, honey.” I thought “She’s trying to kill me!”) Other things that aren’t true that I “knew” were true: if you take a bath before it’s an hour after you last ate, you won’t die. Oh, and if you wash your hair every day it won’t fall off. Also, the entire street won’t turn and laugh at you if you go out in last year’s fashions. In fact, fashions are different in different countries. (And in the US, different parts of the country.) Things I found about the US, like for instance, it’s not all paved and built over, and Americans don’t ALL live in skyscrapers, was a different thing. You expect to find new things about a country when you go to a new country. You don’t expect to find out new things about how the world works.

Even the aspirin thing? Blew my mind. “Why did my mother tell me I would die if I wouldn’t?”

Of course, the answer is because someone told it to her. (Also mom hates meds. ALL meds. She wouldn’t even take vitamins, because she was sure it would kill her.)

I understand it was much more difficult for people like the inhabitants of the former soviet block to come out and find out that everything was the other way around. In fact, anyone who comes from a repressive and self-aggrandizing society gets a shock when coming to the greater world. For instance I’ve heard of Arabs stunned to find out they DIDN’T win the six day war.

So, why am I talking about this? We are not in a repressive society, or not that kind of repressive society. News leak in around the edges.

Except we sort of are. Our press is not in collusion because they think that the dictator will punish them (unless you mean not inviting them to parties.) But they are in collusion in order to be thought of as “beautiful people” and “good people” and smart.

And it’s amazing how much of that crap you end up buying. I mean, everyone behind the curtain knew their news lied. It was just the AMOUNT of the lies that was unbelievably large. They thought some things would be true. Same with people coming from Arab countries. I bet you if we kidnapped someone from North Korea and exposed him/her to the real world, they’d be shocked at how little their great leader occupies our consciousness day to day. Because that’s probably the part they believe. That he looms large in enmity or alliance in the west. In fact, I’ve read stories of transplanted Arabs and the part they didn’t anticipate was how little people in the west think about Islam and Muslims day to day. How their neighbors were neither resenting them, impressed nor spying on them due to their origin/religion. (Most of the time the neighbors think they’re South American :-P)

I don’t know how much we’d get “The truth” when transplanted to another country, but I’ve noticed that British newspapers (even sometimes the Guardian) sound terribly “right wing” to me. I know they’re not. It’s just compared to our press.

But American media looms so large in the world we tend to drag the rest of it at least partially with us into madness.

Still, I wonder what when we emerge from this mess – we will, though it will take a while and feel like we’re swallowing live frogs. (I’m almost sure Greebo didn’t bring me a frog.) – will be completely upside down from what we imagine.

This is relevant for what we talked about yesterday. Because I read a lot I knew of the horrors uncovered in communist countries after the fall. It shocked me – still does – that people not only still go around, proudly proclaiming themselves communists, but also that the schools are still teaching communism as the better/more moral alternative and always coming up with false equivalence soviet-style “we have homeless too.”

But what you have to remember is that MOST people didn’t sign up for the epistemological upheaval. And most humans are REALLY bad at that sort of thing. REALLY REALLY REALLY bad. As in, most can’t, not after adolescence. And some not then.

Even when I was an exchange student – a self selected group – I was one of the very few ones who socialized/had my best friends outside my linguistic group (British and Japanese, actually.) Most people would go to their linguistic group or the next one. Portuguese would preferentially associate with other Portuguese, then Brazilians, then Spanish, then Spanish colonies, and so on.

I mean, even while they were in the US. This is because that spare-time association allowed them to reaffirm at least some of their world view and to say “Americans think this, but—”

I chose to go off without this protection because I wanted to know what was true/true and what was agreed-upon true.

BUT I’m abnormal. I run towards that which scares me. (Not a survival skill.) [Okay, unless what scares me is the possibility of allowing a rat in the kitchen. And that’s not so much scares me as “ewwwww”]

For most people maintaining the imagined integrity of their world is worth being wrong. Even being wrong in significant ways.

Because of Soviet Agit Prop, the “communist” view was “popular” and “cool” in the west since the seventies and counterculture, at least. (It was popular in intellectual circles before that.) It’s probably hard for you young kids to picture, but even stalwarts on the right assumed that communism was somehow more “moral” even when it failed. They disapproved of their curtailing of freedoms, etc, but it was ASSUMED it would have better results than capitalism, if allowed to continue long enough. The right merely objected to the cost in human capital.

If this was true on the right, imagine on the left. Do you wonder that the journalists didn’t report the true horrors or reported them with exculpation. “If it weren’t for embargos against Cuba, it would be a paradise” is still believed. And as for Russia… Well, truth be told if we hadn’t sent them wheat they would have starved, but instead you’ll hear about how our insane capitalist arms race kept THEM poor.

But more importantly, once the exculpation and the nine days wonder was over, and the snide laments about the good guys losing, it was back to acting as though communism had never fallen. In fact, over time, that has mutated to a denial that all the times communism has been tried, it was in fact communism, and an insistence it’s “never been tried.” This is combined with eructation about Marx still being “right” – mostly they insist he’s right about things like literary criticism (and no, even there Marxism isn’t of any use. It’s like trying to measure elephants in light waves. It’s just that most people don’t care enough about these niches to go and show them they’re wrong, so they can protect their epistemological certainty wrapped around themselves like a blanket.)

This is typical of people under stress and whose world view is under attack to such an extent they can’t cope. They erase whatever challenged it and place it outside the discussion, and go back to repeating the cherished platitudes.

You can see the embryonic effect of this in a kid who has done something disastrous that threatens his view of himself. “I didn’t break the dish. Aliens flew through the window and broke it.” Is the first defense. The next is to pretend it never happened.

You can also see it in the white house, as our red-diaper baby president stumbles around breaking things, but can’t process it, because it would mean upending everything he’s been taught and his vision of him as “smart” for believing these things. He’s a normal human or possibly a normal incurious human. He didn’t sign up for this kind of upheaval. So he keeps stumbling around, pretending he didn’t do things, pretending things are different. Hence the insistence that removal of troops from Iraq was the former administration’s fault despite recordings of him bragging about doing it.

The problem is this: due to effects of a super-abundant society where people are not close to the bone – in fact are so far from the bone they haven’t seen bone in years – and the dominance of the press and academia by the far left, people’s view of reality is at least as skewed as that of people behind the iron curtain in the bad old days.

This corrupts everything, even those of us who are awake. What sounds right and plausible is twisted 25 degrees from reality. Western society is a giant bubble and a loud enough bubble that even people outside the bubble believe it. And a lot of the things propagated by the bubble are antithetical to the west and fossilized old communist propaganda, because the denial-reaction of our “elites” has enshrined that as “smart” and “cool.”

Will it take a crash to correct?

I don’t know. I think a crash might be inevitable, but whether it would correct it or not, I don’t know. The magnitude of the crash that would correct it scares the heck out of me and might not be possible, due to see how far from the bone we are.

I think what will correct over time is that technology is changing too fast for centralized anything. They’re losing the plot in each field it hits. And because of their mismanagement (Centralized is always more inefficient) the fields it’s hitting first are the ones they most control: media, entertainment, education.

We can hear that epistemological “reset” in the voices of the publishing industry’s execs as they say over and over again that their houses are better for authors because covers and editing and publicity, as though saying it made it true.

It’s possible things will right themselves as the generation that is most heartily promoting its epistemological error passes from this world. (Not long before I do, so I can’t verify that.) Kind of like the generation of the desert had to pass before the promised land could be entered.

Or it’s possible it will happen faster, as technology will change very fast. At least it seems to be on a track of not so much rapid change but “rapid change that makes a difference to normal human beings in every day life.”

It’s unlikely to stop.

And they simply can’t adapt.

This is going to make the times ahead as interesting as those thumps and squeaks from the mud room. (See, I told you I could tie it back!)

But we are at least semi-awake. So, whether we’re flexible or not (and a lot of us are, being Odd) the shock will be lesser to us.

In the end, we win they lose.