It’s Not Just Me, Is It? – by David Pascoe

It’s Not Just Me, Is It? – by David Pascoe

Is the world getting weirder, or is it me? Seriously. I’m having a rough time with this right now, and I’m distinctly wondering if our species has gone mad.

Our nation has apparently shifted from one interested in the world and concerned with maintaining a sort of peace to one more or less – it seems – afraid of its own shadow. Those at our highest levels don’t react to genuine tragedies, instead preferring to court long-time enemies (enemies who have repeatedly called for our corporate destruction), censure long-time allies, and generally make of us a laughingstock upon the world stage.

Closer to home we have a man – a genuine racist, unlike those of us who simply are unfortunate enough to be born with a melanin deficiency – who has refused to rent to those of African or Latin descent, repeatedly and egregiously. And yet, nothing happens to him until his girlfriend records him saying something to match his actions. She almost certainly didn’t ask his permission to record his statements, and did so in his home. I’m given to understand that’s kind of a bad thing.

He’s a racist [REDACTED], and I’m pretty sure nobody argues with that. What I expect concerns most of us here is where this may lead to. I realize that the NBA doesn’t constitute anything resembling a government, and that they can sanction him or whatever it is they do (what is this sport thing of which you speak?) and it’s an internal matter of private citizens and corporations and whatnot. That’s up to them, and when people do horrible things, we human critters like bad things to happen to them right back.

But what about when somebody comes over to your house and records you talking about a villain in one of your stories (for my fellow writers), a truly despicable creature who uses children for his pleasure and sacrifices hard-working entrepreneurs to his dark demon-god? Said recording then appears, in edited form, on the internet. It goes viral, at which point, you become a pariah. Your professional reputation is ruined (now here’s a genuine case of libel, I expect) and you can’t show your face for fear of violence. Farfetched? Probably, but how much farther do things have to get before this becomes possible? Normal?

Indeed, the mayor of Sacramento recently made public comments to the effect that he hoped every bigot in the country understood that what happened to Sterling could “happen to you.”

For extra irony points, the LA chapter of the NAACP announced they’re withdrawing the Lifetime Achievement Award with which they’d intended to honor him. Which would have made the second one for Mr. Sterling.

On a more personal note, a man I know to be a good friend, a good husband and a good father is “enjoying” the attention of the rabid far left of the scifi community. (Slight digression here: libel seems to require not only intent to damage reputation, but actually doing so. I’m pretty sure this isn’t actually going to hurt his rep any. In fact, quite the opposite.) His actual words are misrepresented, and frequently, his opponents simply make things up and attribute them to him. The comments, as they so often do – painfully, tiresomely often – overflow with the most disgraceful assortment of abominable rubbish imaginable. So much so that his wife has had to reassure acquaintances that she and their children are in no danger.

On one hand, I find this all amusing. I’ve never known Larry to be anything but a gentleman in person. He has plenty of friends who don’t necessarily agree with him, and so far as I know, none of them are afraid of Larry. I expect it’s quite the contrary. Knowing his level of training – and the fact that he’s kinda huge, and I’m rather less so – I like having him around.

But. If a man can be branded a bigot and brought low through shady (and possibly illegal) means, and only after he’s said something, what then is to prevent this from happening to someone everybody – at least everybody who *matters* – just <i>knows</i> is a similar bigot? And while I think this path is missing a few rather large steps, these are the kinds of plots we deal with all the time. And I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that truth is stranger than fiction, and not nearly as well plotted. The Author can get away with a lot more coincidence than we lesser writers.

The world is getting weirder, and our nation is marching along with it in lockstep. The White House is growing less and less coherent as information is dragged out of it. Judicial Watch received copies of emails demonstrating that the administration was working hard to spin the Benghazi attack so it wouldn’t harm the President’s re-election prospects, and the press secretary recently tried to claim they weren’t about that at all.

Economic growth has slowed to a tenth of one percent in the last quarter, yet we’re fast approaching another “summer of recovery.” We’re warned that unless a significant number of people enroll in Obamacare, it will fall into a death spiral, and I fully expect to hear that record numbers enrolled. And I understand we’re fast approaching the corporate mandate, unless that’s been delayed by royal presidential fiat. Again. The IRS continues to waffle as Congress continues to investigate its targeting of groups based on how well their politics don’t match up with the administration’s.

There’s a strangeness in the air. It seems like everybody’s walking on eggshells and keeping a weather eye out. I think John C. Wright is correct: we’re in the midst of the Crazy Years. And somehow, we didn’t notice until recently.

So what do we do about it? Personally, I mostly want to sleep for about a week, and I understand that won’t really disappear until after all the kids leave home. Considering we’re a bare couple weeks from welcoming our first into the world, I’m not particularly heartened. We’ve got strengths. We know how to learn, and we like it. We can keep picking up new skills and new information, and teaching each other when we’re together. We’ve got spokesfolks. Larry’s loud, and Sarah’s got a heck of a following. Mr. Wright has a tongue that by rights should be carried in a scabbard, it’s so sharp. Brad Torgerson is indefatigable. We have a community of people who care about good stories more than messages, and it seems to be growing. More than anything, we’re discovering our voice. When our opponents don’t want to engage in discussion, they resort to insult and attack. This alone should be considered a victory. Most of all, we should keep our humor. And get some rest. After all, if you haven’t got your health . . .

Oh! RavenCon was last weekend. Sarah and Kate have already posted their after actions, here and at MGC. First, it’s very strange to be able to more or less dawdle on the way to a convention. Every one I’ve gone to has required a flight from Hawaii to the mainland or a long day worth of driving. Sometimes both. Now that we’ve moved to the East Part, there are actually conventions that are local. Again: weird. We arrived in Richmond just as the storms began to sweep down upon us, and had just landed in Barfly Central when the hotel was struck by lightning. A quirk of the architecture left BFC without a fire alarm in the suite, so we ignored the one wailing in the hall and enjoyed each other’s company.

Mostly, panels seem to me a place for fans to try to connect with their favorite authors, and for authors to try to gather a few more readers into the loyal fold. I’m not certain yet what my role is in attending panels when I’m at a convention as a professional. Beyond providing moral support. Which was in need. Sarah had the aforementioned Matrons and Crones panel. A rather sexist panel, I thought, as there were no men on it. Apparently, our opinions weren’t sought. I guess being a woman’s son and another woman’s husband and now somebody’s father doesn’t qualify me to speak about character archetypes. Fair enough.

Back to panels: my problem with panels is that I don’t learn much at the typical writerly ones. Consequently, I don’t really attend many where I’m not front and center to be a presence for someone actually speaking. Your mileage may vary, of course, and I suspect this will shift over time. Especially as I switch which side of the microphone I’m on.

Barfly Central was, as usual, excellent. A great place to get away from the crowds, and to connect with other Barflies. Speaker brought excellent scotch, as usual. I’m partial to the Islay he shared Saturday evening. We didn’t do any room parties, and with Mrs. Dave being very definitely eight months pregnant, we didn’t really stay out very late. It was a delight, as always, to spend time with Dan and Sarah, though I think we all missed the boys. Meeting and getting to know Kate was a pleasure, and I enjoy that she’s relatively local to us (my sense of distance is skewed. If I can get to you in a day or so, that’s local). RavenCon was a lot of fun, and I expect the Pascoes will be back next year. All three of us.

252 responses to “It’s Not Just Me, Is It? – by David Pascoe

  1. Last I checked, being a bigot may be frowned on, but it isn’t illegal. Yet we have idiot that was (illegally?) recorded in his own home making racist comments being totally ostracized and villianized. Yet the same people accept pedophiles and make excuses for them, because it wasn’t really rape, rape.

    We have an Attorney General that is in contempt of Congress, and openly states that he doesn’t agree with the law, so he isn’t going to enforce it. (not to mention the ones that continually breaks in order to provide his boss and cronies with deniability) Yet he continues to be the Attorney General with no consequences for his actions.

    We have a head of state that repeatedly passes, changes, or instructs subordinates to ignore, laws illegally, yet again with no consequences.

    People support those blatantly doing illegal things, simply because they are of the same political party, while persecuting those of the opposing party, at times specifically for following the law.

    No it’s not just you.

    • The following is Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution as found at the US Senate page. This is the link:

      http://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm

      He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

      Note that the President is not only required to follow the laws, he is responsible of the officers he appoints, such as the Attorney General. Which leads me to believe that it is time for Congress to take up its duty under Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution, available at the same website:

      The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

      • Jeff Gauch

        Unfortunately there’s a big gap between “should” and “could.” Obama isn’t going to be impeached, however much he deserves it. There’s no way a Senate Democrat is going to torpedo his political career to see justice done. Plus, President Biden.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          President Biden is looking more and more like a better idea than President Obama. [Frown]

        • At this point, Mr. Gauch, President Grin with an Idiot Behind It scares no one.

          • Jeff Gauch

            Idiots always scare me. Competent people, even evil competent people, are predictable. I can get a good idea of what they’re going to do to achieve their goals. Idiots can do anything.

            • But the menace is not competent, either.

              • Jeff Gauch

                But that’s the problem. A competent menace has a limited decision space – they’re not going to do something wildly stupid – which means they can be predicted and countered. An idiot could do anything. I mean, look at the grief caused by Barry’s stupid “red line” comment. And Biden would be unconstrained by even Barry’s limited intellect.

                • William O. B'Livion

                  And, isn’t sanity really just a one-trick pony anyway? I mean all you get is one trick, rational thinking, but when you’re good and crazy, oooh, oooh, oooh, the sky is the limit.

                  –The Tick.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Biden may have never been a stoner, and depending on what the unknown effects of pot actually are, he may be far preferable to Obama. That said, let Obama serve out his term. The US can survive it, if it was going to survive without it, and more chickens will come home to roost. Furthermore, impeachment and especially criminal penalties for a president may escalate things more than the punishment would be worth. As far as staff, and spear-carriers, those are a different matter.

                • I’m not convinced that Obama is either more sane or more intelligent than Biden.

                  Plus in order to have a President Biden it would mean that Obama was removed from office (which I agree is highly unlikely, even if it is obviously not only the right, but the lawful thing to do). Which would give some teeth to the threat that you better abide by the constitution or we’ll give you the boot, which would provide a stick to threaten Biden with. As is, they all think they are immune from any punishment, because there have been no consequences for all their illegal actions.

                  • Jeff Gauch

                    But that comes back to my first point. There’s no way we’re getting enough Dems in the Senate to convict on impeachment, so voting to impeach isn’t going to do anything but allow the Democrat operatives in the media (i.e. the media) to portray the GOP as mindlessly mired in petty partisanship. After all, they’ve impeached every Democrat President in the past 35 years. Don’t shoot at the king unless you’re certain you can kill him.

                    A far better plan is to have the next GOP President (and it looks like the public is going to volley between parties every 8 years for the next while) act just like Obama, but in favor of GOP interests, while laying out exactly what Congress needs to do to reign him in.

                • While ‘President Biden’ does not initially scare me, I do wonder sometimes if he’s deliberately doing the Obfuscating Stupidity tactic.

                  • Jeff Gauch

                    The guy was in the Senate for 30 years and the Democrats never put him in any kind of leadership position. It’s not an act.

                    Obama is a second-rate intellect. One symptom of that is that he surrounds himself with third-rate minds, the better to make himself look. First-rate intellects look for other first rate minds both for the stimulation and because they have nothing to prove. For example, look around.

                  • As Jeff says, Biden is really that stupid. And utterly convinced at what a deep thinker he is. The mystery to me is whether or not Obama thinks Biden is a smart guy or if Obama has been trolling the US for five years. And the reality is that either answer of that conundrum is equally depressing.

                    • …is really that stupid. And utterly convinced at what a deep thinker he is.

                      My growing conviction is that much of the intelligentsia in the ‘upper’ circles falls quite neatly into this pattern. And are self-congratulatory, to boot.

        • At least with Biden we could disagree with him and not be labeled as racist.

          • I’m afraid you’re more optimistic than I am. :-(

            Let’s see, the only reason we disagree with Biden is because we don’t like Obama, and the only reason we don’t like Obama is because he’s black, so obviously we’re racists! Of the worst sort! (Or possibly something that’s even more contrived.)

    • Word.

      And I’ll add: I’m getting very, very tired of the “The First Amendment only applies to government entities” argument. This is an argument that reduces the First Amendment to a narrow legal doctrine, rather than one important expression of a broad American value.

      I don’t much care for genuine racists, and it sounds like the NBA slapped down a genuine racist. But in so doing, the NBA acted as a government. And a tyrannical one, because they did so without due process (the evidence of the tapes, being illegally obtained, could never be used in a real court), in violation of any notion of free speech (which, we must recall, includes protection of speech we find deeply offensive, since pleasant speech generally needs no protection), and with draconian punishment ($2.5 million plus lifelong ostracism for saying nasty things is excessive even if we stoop to believing in punishing people for saying nasty things.)

      I said it in an early comment thread, but to repeat: If I chose not to associate with someone because he’s a boor, meh. My privilege. If I chose to compel others to avoid associating with someone because he’s a boor, then I’m looking for a warm place in the afterlife.

      And I’m arguing this for my own safety’s sake. I hold a number of politically incorrect views that the progs are working very hard to make as politically toxic as racism. Starting with a traditional religious view of marriage, but it’s certainly not going to stop there.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        I’m getting tired of: “Free speech doesn’t protect you from the consequences of your speech.” True, but the problem is it is almost invariably used to justify the politics of personal destruction, as Larry Correia and John C Wright are experiencing right now.

        • This. Yes, the First Amendment needs to be there as a protection against government intrusion, but the wider culture used to, and should still, support free speech. Government, law, etc., are downstream from culture. As the culture moves further from protecting free speech, and specifically further from valuing free speech, a change in the law ostensibly protecting free speech becomes more and more acceptable.

          Of course, that’s not the only first amendment freedom being put under pressure. Apparently, Virginia is proposing a limit to gatherings at private residences, impacting freedom to assemble. And, of course, there’s always the ongoing “discussion” regarding religion in the public square, conscience rights, etc.

        • Ingeniarius

          What bothers me is I made that very argument for years. Pointing out the first amendment only covers governmental actions. You know, so you can’t claim a first amendment right to protest on private property, or say whatever you wanted as an employee. Somehow I was just didn’t understand and free speech is bigger then the first amendment. So now for the last few years it’s been the same people that suddenly decide that *obviously* you can fire someone because they don’t like gay people. Or black people. Or whatever. And having your TV show canceled wasn’t a first amendment right, because the TV network Doesn’t have to provide you the platform. Huh? Wasn’t that what they were yelling at Fox news and the Fairness Doctrine about just a couple years ago?

          • “Time, place, and manner” suggests that there is not a right to protest whenever and however you want even in public space. Of course, that can be abused, too. “Free speech zone”, anyone?

            Bottom line is that we can expect rights to be respected and not abused only when we have a broad social consensus about those rights.

      • I’m a bit weary on that score as well. Particularly when someone speaks of free speech and some crank goes off about the 1st Amendment. There’s the governing document and the restrictions on government, and there’s the philosophy of free speech from which those restrictions sprung.

        People who claim support for free speech, but take whatever action is in their power to restrict someone’s speech lose the moral high ground. And it’s not a question of legality but of philosophy.

        • Just want to say, agree with all of the above and WTH WANTING TO LIMIT GATHERINGS AT PRIVATE RESIDENCES?!

          • Somebody wants to turn the US into a dictatorship. Resist. this with all your strength.

          • You might disturb your neighbors…

            It seems like pols everywhere are looking for that step too far, and eagerly trying to take it.

            I fear they’re going to find it.

            • Usually, what I have noticed is that if neighbors over here have a large party they THINK is going to disturb the neighborhood, the people holding the party goes around and puts notes in peoples’ letterboxes advising them ‘we’re going to have a party that might be noisy on this date, and apologize in advance for the inconvenience.’ It goes with the understanding that letting the noise slide will be reciprocated later on, if you do the same thing. I suppose that’s LESS tolerated in apartments though…

              • Yeah. They do that where we live too. America, remember, is a huge country. Things are different in different areas.

                • Yep. I kinda wish I had the chance to go see America Outside of Los Angeles. I keep getting told by my American friends it’s VERY different.

                  But even there I saw good. My aunt kept warning me against taking the bus, because ‘lots of black people ride the bus and you’ll get mugged.’ I had to take the bus at one point, from UCLA campus area to Bellflower. The bus driver, an older black guy with the most cheerful voice I can recall, saw me with my sheet of handwritten instructions, and said “Don’t worry, I’ll tell you where to get off when you have to.” All the people on his route were familiar to him, and they’d all chat briefly when they got on the bus. Every time, he’d nod at me and say “It’s her first bus ride in LA!” And they’d talk to me, asking why was I visiting, where was I headed, and they all seemed quite surprised that none of my relatives knew how to take the bus. One of them said “I like the bus better! I don’t have to worry about no car getting jacked!” which was met with a chorus of agreements. Every time someone got off, they’d be told ‘See ya later, (name),”

                  When I had to change buses, it happened to be the bus was already there. The driver said he’d be right back, walked me over, and introduced me to the driver on the other bus, and told him to take care of me. It was later in the day so there were less people on the bus, and it was quieter. The driver saw I was sleepy and told me to go ahead and sleep, he’d wake me at my stop.

                  Now, I probably was naive as hell, trusting random strangers, but it’s America. I grew up with the perhaps ‘silly’ notion that folks over there tend to be nice. I went back to my aunt’s house, ignored her scolding and yelling and told the story to my parents, who shook their heads in private at my aunt’s tirade. As far as we were concerned, that was me seeing firsthand a bit of the America we keep reading about.

                  • I’m familiar with that area, and I’ve seen that exact behaviour…

                    It’s what happens when the good people in a bad community recognize that one of the lambs has strayed into the lion’s den. They circle the wagons and make sure the lamb gets safely out of the danger area.

                    The bus driver let his regulars know that you were out of your element. They went out of their way to help get you thru. (And then, having assumed responsibility for you, he made sure the next driver would too.) You might have had a completely different experience at a different time of day, or if you looked like you could take care of yourself.

                    It’s a great example of the good people that can be found even in a “bad” area, and why it can be counterproductive to generalize. That said, at 10pm, with a drink or 2 in you, it could have been VERY unsafe for you.

                    zuk

              • Same idea here, in one informal way or another. With commonly understood courtesies, such as don’t party with the music blaring until 2am on a weeknight.

                What I thought was funny about the linked article, the county commisioners were citing neighbor complaints as justification, and the county supervisor (who opposes the measure) said they received all of six complaints last year. In the largest county in the state. Yep. That’s a problem looking for a legal solution.
                :\

                • The ONLY time we called the police on anyone for noise, was the band playing BEHIND OUR BEDROOM WINDOW (the other house faced it) with windows open, at two in the morning, when we had an infant.

                  • Ack!

                    Rude folks, them.

                    • yeah. Not a party. Band rehearsing. We had nothing against that — Dan was a musician when he was younger — but he went and asked them to close the window, because by that point Robert was screaming non-stop, unable to sleep. They said no. We called the police. (City noise ordinance kicks in at ten.)

                    • They were asked and declined?

                      Upgraded from rude to… it’s a family blog, let’s leave it at upgraded.

                      Recently found the hipster fellow across the street standing in the driveway doing faux Amerindian chants and arm-waving at the moon. At 3am on a Tuesday. I politely inquired as to his purpose and asked him to reschedule. Given the alacrity with which he scurried back inside I suspect his — hm — paranoia might have been enhanced. But he went away and I went back to bed.

                      I did learn my dog doesn’t like faux Amerindian chanting at 3am, and he’s really pretty sure I should fix it. He’s also pretty sure I should make the babies on TV stop crying. And insistent.

                    • That’s less a content of your speech issue than a time, place, and manner issue. Though the latter can be abused, too, as I noted above.

                    • Yes, abuse is the risk of codifying courtesies. Though, with a legitimate government, the risk is less.

                      Now to get back to a legitimate government…

                  • We had to call the police last night on our neighbor. The woman was yelling “let me leave,” and “help” in the next apartment. By the time we called three of our neighbors had called to– The woman does this every so often … and then leaves and then come back and then leaves… you get the idea.

                  • Eamon– we have had that happen where we asked people (a party at 3 a.m. on a work night) to quiet down (apartment living). They have said no- we call the police.

                    • Perfectly reasonable. Folks want to ignore the noise ordinances and polite requests, the consequences are on them.

                    • We think so– the party hardy types don’t. We have gotten some interesting threats from that crowd (usually the 16-25 crowd).

                    • Sounds like the party hardy crowd needs a good demonstration of the reason for courtesies in society.

                    • When we lived in AZ we had a group of 16-25 year olds who fancied themselves as a gang who liked to party really late and throw empty beer bottles into our front and back yard.

                      My dad asked them once. only once, to knock it off. of course he said in the politest possible terms.

                      They basically told him to go do something unnatural to himself.So he then waited till the next loud party, and then raked the front yard the morning after.

                      We never had a problem again.

                      Who knew that people are so responsive to a a man raking his front yard at 9 in the morning wearing nothing more than flip flops, cotton breifs, and an AR-15 slung across his back.
                      :)

                    • guns speak loudly in the right hands.

                    • True that. I learned 2 things that day.

                      1. You don’t always need words to convey a message.

                      2. This one is Summed up perfectly by George C. Scott and Paul Stevens in Patton,

                      PS:You know General, sometimes the men don’t know when you’re acting.

                      GCS: (as Patton) It’s not important for them to know. It’s only important for me to know.

                • … SIX COMPLAINTS justify the abrogation of Constitutional rights over there now?

                  Cross out ‘justify’ and put in ‘excuse’. (I don’t know the html tags for that unfortunately.)

                  Common courtesies don’t need the backing of the law, in my opinion. *shakes head*

                  • The HTML tag for crossing out a word is “strike” and it works just like bold or italic (angle-brackets around the word “strike”, and angle-brackets around “/strike” to close the tag — and no quotation marks in the word strike in the tag, of course). Let me demonstrate:

                    This text has “strike” tags around it. And this text is not.

                  • 6 complaints justify mockery and tar n’ feathers for the .gov idiots wanting to take action, IMO. But I’m not in Virginia so I don’t know how those folks will react.

                    • Fairfax County.

                      Let me put that in perspective for ya. Fairfax County is what cuddles up to DC like a necrophiliac on a corpse. That’s Northern Virginia. Also known as the reason the “Commonwealth of Virginia” trends democratic in some elections.

                      The rest of blue collar Virginia generally looks upon them with a certain amount of disgust. Reality ends somewhere around Manassas or so. Beautiful country, Virginia. Some real wackos up north, though.

                    • I showed it to someone who comes from there and his reply was “We don’t consider North Virginia part of the Commonwealth”, which I translate to ‘they’re quite mad up there…’

                  • It’s an excuse not a reason.

          • If the problem is a public disturbance, then there are already laws on the books. If the problem is abuse of zoning (oh, say, having weekly rock concerts and selling merchandise on a property zoned as residential), then go for that. If the property is a rental that has occupancy limits in the lease, there you go. But just to put in restrictions? No.

            • Yup. We don’t need more laws selectively enforced. Just respect (and enforce) the ones on the books.

            • Yeah I can see all of the above as being problematic on many levels. There’s several mini-cottage industries where the house-person (wife or husband) run their business out of their home, usually craft stuff. It’s not uncommon as well for several people who share the same hobby to do hobby sessions / parties, because doing stuff together is fun (and we no longer have the village ‘community’ thing where everyone goes there to do the task)

              It strikes me as intensely foolish. There are plenty of reasons that aren’t political to get together frequently in a private home. Ugh!

              Oh I’m told at one point someone tried to prohibit groups of people getting together to watch a privately owned or rented DVDs at their homes over here. It was supposedly kicked out because it goes against the Australian values of mateship. Dunno if it’s true, but that’s an interesting thing.

        • Jeff Gauch

          As I said on Facebook in reply to the XKCD comic a few weeks back: You can organize a boycott of people because you don’t like what they say, but you forfeit all claim to the word “liberal” and you have no place calling someone else an asshole.

    • Randy Wilde

      Last week, an employee of a gaming studio tweeted that Sterling is a victim because a man has the right to be a bigot in the privacy of his own home. He was fired because that attitude is in “stark contrast” to the studio’s values.

      So much for Voltaire.

  2. Last one I visited was Norwescon 14, in Tacoma, IIRC. I took my mentor, Avram Davidson, and was delighted to visit with a lot of old timers in the field.
    Oh! I almost forgot the small one right afterwards, a Trek minicon. Loved the Orion Dancing Girls troupe and the Klingon Diplomatic Corps singers.
    <> A sci-fi convention is supposed to be weird and esoteric and make you suspend reality for a bit. It’s too bad the ones lately are so political in that they want you to suspend cognitive function as well as realty.

  3. An interesting link on the connection (or rather, lack thereof) between vileprogs and science.

  4. I’ve been to exactly one con. Of course,it was DragonCon 2012, so it’s not like it was a tiny one.

    I just hope I can meet up with some of these good folks at some of the smaller cons near Southwest Georgia. :)

  5. Christopher M. Chupik

    For decades, the Left has been tirelessly warning the rest of us of the dangers of a witch-hunt mentality.

    Nice of them to give us advance warning of their next move, don’t you think? ;-)

    • It’s what they do. Most of what they accuse us of, is projection.

    • Funny, this morning as I was playing dodge-dog (walking around a local park), I was thinking about learning the wrong lessons from “Important Books.” In this case “A Handmaid’s Tale,” which I read in my early teens and which convinced me that anyone why says they want to protect me from [thing] is probably up to no good. While fans of the book read it as a dire warning about religions (Christian) Fundamentalists, I apply it to everyone, ESPECIALLY the current VileProgs. As you say, Christopher, nice way to telegraph your moves, dummies.

      • Jeff Gauch

        Vileprogs are religious fundamentalists. They’re just not Christians.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          That’s an insult to “religious fundamentalists”. Now “religious fanatics” would be correct. [Evil Grin]

          Seriously, religious fundamentalists doesn’t equal religious fanatics. Religious fundamentalism refers to seeking out the fundamental beliefs of the religion in question. I know some Christian fundamentalists who are better Christians than me.

          ::Hey! Where Did This Soapbox Come From????::

          • And “fundamentalism” isn’t even really technically correct unless you are talking about Protestants who are in denominations that agree with the ideas laid out int the essays, later collected in the book called “The Fundamentals,” which were published between 1910 and 1915. (Yeah, guess who got one of two A’s in her “History of Religion in America” class?)

            Alas, another good word that’s lost its meaning, now it’s shorthand, first for certain types of congregationalist Protestants in the United States (Southern Baptist, non-convention Baptists, Church of Christ, other similar groups [see Atwood above]), then to Salafist Islamists and the official Iranian government version of Shia, or anyone else the Proper Sort think are behind-the-curve fanatics.

            I once heard NPR talking to someone they identified as a “Hindu Fundamentalist,” which left me blinking at the radio. He wanted to go back to the “good old days” of sutti, strict caste enforcement, throwing out all non-Hindus, and returning the Sikhs and Jains to second or third-class citizenship. Charming fellow. *hops off soapbox to go move sprinklers*

            • Haven’t yet heard of a Bhuddist fundamentalist, but I’m sure somebody has used the term. :eyeroll:

      • Yea– I apply it to everyone– and I also read it (and saw the movie– there was a movie right?) in my early 20s.

  6. Josh A. Kruschke

    David E. Pascoe?

    Their several different variations of David Pascoe come up when you do a search of Amazon.

  7. Yes– the crazy years is as good a name as any– except they started a lot longer than the last eight years.

    • Absolutely Cyn, but it seems like it’s just been these past few years that all the accumulated signs and portents have come creeping out of the shadows and now bask in the bright clear light of day as if they have some deity inspired right to do so.
      There for a long time it seemed that witch burning was at least frowned upon. Now it has become the default response to any belief the vileprogs object to.

    • Yep. Pretty much started in the late 60s.

  8. What I find interesting is the connection of Sterling and a teaching in the Jewish spiritual book, the Kabala. My spelling because I don’t have an actual copy; but, I believe that is where I read. “Who is the most righteous, the good man that gives out of love or the hateful man that none the less gives to charity?” Sterling has been noted for his donations to Black causes, recently a three and half million dollar grant to Berkley for sickle cell research. Which they have now refused- and who loses from that bit of spite? The NAACP is canceling a ‘second’ award for his charity. They didn’t have any problem accepting what he did to earn that second award he isn’t going to get. His team is comprised of more than one Black player so the NBA is putting Blacks out of work. You are right, we are in the crazies.

    • Sterling’s also gotten in trouble over racism in the past due to the apartments that he rents out. So it appears that there’s a legimitate racism complaint against him. The problem is that everyone essentially ignored his racism until the girlfriend aired the recording. Kareem Abdul Jabaar’s piece for Time Magazine has a pretty good write-up of all of the reasons why the NAACP had no business giving this guy any sort of award.

  9. Now I have an almost irresistible urge to play Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years” at full volume.

  10. Jeff Gauch

    What’s going on? The Left gained total control in 2008 and saw everything start to slip through their fingers. These are the crazy years because the Left is losing and it’s driving them nucking futs.

  11. Its definitely the Crazy Years.

  12. Salamandyr

    I may be whistling in the dark to keep my spirits up, but I’m suspicious of designating the time we live in as The Crazy Years. I grew up a Baptist, and have had more than on minister go on about how we are living in “the Last Days” (capitalization evident in their speech) because of this that or the other. But after a while I noticed, it’s always “The Last Days” but the last days never quite get here.

    Is today really any crazier than, for instance, the late 19th Century, when Progressivism married to Evangelical Christianity first took root? Is it crazier than when the government regularly sterilized women with “undesirable” attributes, or when respectable people could speak openly of “euthenizing” the socially unacceptable?

    Is the weakness and dissipation displayed by our nation today really any different or worse than that displayed in the post Vietnam 70’s?

    It is possible that we have become too decadent, and our country is headed to a long, mostly comfortable decline, similar to the waning British Empire. It certainly seems that way, but we can hope. We’ve clawed our way back from insanity before.

    • Periodic eruptions. Crazy Years number something. It’s good enough a name anyway not to use. Not that the times in between have always been that much less crazy.

      Sometimes feels kind of bipolar. But if so are we in the manic or the depressive stage right now – I’d vote for manic, for the left. Conservatives and libertarians, on the other hand, have tended to sound seriously depressed during the last years. Have they ever had a manic time?

    • I think it is different than previous instances. We’ve never, to the best of my knowledge, had society turn on the family with the fury that we’re seeing nowadays.

      • China during the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward? But that’s not a western society. Some of the N-zi and Stalinist stuff comes close, but that was from a single source, not the multiple sources we see today.

  13. Salamandyr

    That being said, the tribulation involved in purchasing allergy medicine to alleviate my wife’s suffering was enough to make me want to imitate Mencken, and hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats.

    • masgramondou

      Oh boy. Did you get hit by “war on drugs” idiocy or “healthcare reform”? or both?

      Why don’t we discuss that wonder of modern policy: Obamacare. I have a friend who has hit the Doc problem – she quite literally took a day calling local doctors to find one who took her “covered California” insurance and now has an appointment in a couple of weeks. And apparently, despite the subsidy, the premium is more than it was on her old plan where she had no problems finding a doctor. As she joked – maybe she should get her free birth control pills and sell them on the black market to pay for the difference

      This, from everything I’ve read, was the predicted outcome of Obamacare. And the people who foisted it on us KNEW it would happen which is why that made it cut in years later. But despite that they still passed the law and are now busily refusing to amend it while not enforcing chunks of it.

      • Salamandyr

        In this case, it was the ‘war on drugs’ I shudder to call it idiocy, more like malevolence. One cannot buy cold medicine without a prescription in my county. So I have to drive to another county, and then deal with the federal rigamarole, all to buy an over the counter medication, proven safe, that alleviates my wife’s symptoms.

        In order to mildly inconvenience some drug dealers who don’t actually even use the product they’re restricting any more to manufacture their drugs (and couldn’t use anyway thanks to the number of other active ingredients mixed in with the base product), our Lords and Masters have decided it’s better to make my wife suffer. I’ve often been accused of loving my country, but going through that mess makes me wonder if there is anything left of the country that I loved.

        • Ah! I have to sign the register to buy floor wax. Seriously.

          • Wha…? Are you waxing your floor with C4?

            What is that reg in service of (theoretically) preventing?

            • Teenagers huffing it. SERIOUSLY.

              • I…

              • William O. B'Livion

                And yet ANYONE can go to a gas station and buy this dangerously abused CHEMICAL without a license or ANY government oversight.

                Oh, and there is (or at least was a short while ago) a problem with Aboriginals stealing fuel from road trains to sniff to get high.

                Unfortunately it doesn’t work with diesel.

            • William O. B'Livion

              I wish buying C4 was as simple as signing a register.

            • It’s preventing the buying of floor wax. Haven’t you heard of the manifold evils of floor wax? If your house is too clean your children might develop allergies alleviated by a judicious application of dirt.you put your household in danger of slipping, falling and breaking their necks. /sarc

              • Next it will be dessert topping….

                Actually, it already is, since some kids learned to huff the nitrogen propellant from whipped cream. Especially the charging capsules from restaurant-style whipped cream makers. (AKA Whippets),

                • Kids? I heard a couple of thirty-something office workers discussing doing Whippets. Actually they were discussing doing them in the store, before buying the whipped cream. When I made a comment they acted like the only thing unusual/wrong about that was doing it in the store aisle. They thought the only reason anyone would buy canned whipped cream was to do Whippets. They didn’t seem to appreciate me pointing out that they could get the same rush from me throttling them, and I could get some enjoyment out of it also.

                • It’s not Nitrogen, it is Nitrous Oxide. It is used because ( I am told) it permeates the cream under pressure and makes an even foam. It also acts as a preservative and prevents the oils in the cream from going rancid.
                  Nitrous Oxide is also called laughing gas.
                  (Do not breathe Pure Nitrogen. It will make you dead.)

                  • Actually, if you do it with something that you have to hold to your face (as opposed to having something like an Oxygen mask, but hooked to Nitrogen, or perhaps like those idiots who worked their way into a giant Helium balloon and suffocated), Nitrogen is not likely to hurt you. Once anoxia sets in, you pass out, the source of the N2 falls from your nose, and you begin breathing normal air again.

        • The country you love is not gone, the .gov regulatory beaucracy was never the country you love. Might need to scrape off a few layers, but that country is still there.

          • Heh. I got these hexagrams from iChing a while ago when I asked about the situation of your nation, as a whole entity (the text is from one of the numerous online iChing sites, no idea whose translation, I usually use coins but look the hexagrams up by googling for them). Now whether you believe in that kind of stuff at all or not, in some ways they seem fitting:

            Hexagram 39, Limping

            Key Questions

            Where can you find help?
            How could you see the obstacles differently?
            Can you imagine going a different way?

            Oracle

            ‘Limping. Fruitful in the southwest,
            Not fruitful in the northeast.
            Fruitful to see great people.
            Constancy, good fortune.’

            So this is a time to take a step back from the struggle and connect with people more than with ideals. Really facing a problem means being prepared to tackle it in a different way, not just trudging doggedly onwards until the path peters out beneath your feet.

            Changing Lines
            Line 2

            ‘A king, a servant: limping and limping.
            In no way is he himself the cause.’

            Hexagram 48, the Well

            Key Questions

            What is the ever-present resource you draw from?
            What can you do to realize its potential here?

            Oracle

            ‘The Well. Moving the city, not moving the well.
            Without loss, without gain,
            They come and go, the well wells.
            Almost drawn the water, but the rope does not quite reach the water,
            Or breaking one’s clay jug,
            Pitfall.’

            The well itself is utterly dependable: nothing anyone can do will raise or lower the water level. People and experiences come and go; time passes; the well is always the well, and does not change. You need never doubt that you have these resources, or that they are enough. The real question is whether you have the means to reach into such depths, and a steady hand to bring the water up into the real world without loss. To fail would be disastrous. The potential in the situation is undeniable, but it may still be a long way from realization.

            Image

            ‘Above the wood is the stream: the Well.
            A noble one toils with the people, encouraging them to help one another.’

            Sequence

            The Well follows from Hexagram 47, Confined:
            ‘Confined in reaching upward naturally means turning inward, and so the Well follows.’

        • The people of your country are still here. It’s the bloated controlling bureaucracy of your country that are giving us all hell.

      • Riiiiiiight. Obviously rates just have to go down if we add a few million people who previously had no coverage, require plans to cover conditions that were not previously covered (we’re in our 60s now, why do we have to have pediatric coverage included when our youngest child is 31?), and no adjustment for per-existing conditions.

        Which surely explains why my coverage roughly doubled in 18 months, and my wife’s is almost double mine. And why neither of us are currently covered at all. And insurance companies (who have enough on their plates with which to blame them) who comply with the dictates of the law will be blamed for all that goes wrong, and used as a lever to pass the next step to “fix” the problems.

        Any legislator who voted for it in the first place either never never read the bill, or never progressed past 2nd-grade math, or was getting kickbacks, or is just an idiot. Any of them defending it now are suspect for darker motives.

        • FlyingMike

          Yeah, not just pediatric coverage – pediatric vision coverage.

          Because the unchecked scourge of squinting children is all that stands between the US and greatness.

          No wonder it costs so darn much.

          • Greatness costs so much that our current administration thinks they are getting a great deal on mediocrity at only 60% more.

        • I don’t think that your last paragraph should be treated as exclusive choices – I’m quite willing to believe that those any voted for this travesty met more than one of your conditions. And not a few met all of them.

        • Jeff Gauch

          “Any legislator who voted for it in the first place either never never read the bill, or never progressed past 2nd-grade math, or was getting kickbacks, or is just an idiot.”

          Well, considering that the only people who voted for it were Democrats, the last option is sufficient. I mean, they could have been getting kickbacks, but they’re still idiots.

          • I wish i could call you a partisan nut, but Guam tipping over, and the constitution is more than 100 years old, and passing the bill to know what’s in it, and…

            • Jeff Gauch

              Their belief in Marxism, Keynesianism, and anthropogenic global warming is sufficient to prove idiocy in the first degree.

            • It’s really very difficult to top being worried about Guam tipping over.

              When these are the people in charge it makes you wonder sometimes, why we are in as good of shape as we are.

              • Because they’re not in charge, though they’re doing their level best to muck about in the system hoping someone will put them in charge. They’ve bought into the mistaken notion that they’re leaders, but…

                If they were actually in charge, we’d be done for.

              • Ah, but if Guam tipped over, it would be environmental remediation because it would eliminate the snakes! ‘Course, that’s assuming flightless birds can swim . . .

  14. masgramondou

    The thing I don’t understand is whether our glorious leaders are utterly incompetent or actively malicious. I’ve always subscribed to the maxim “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” and when you look at the late 2000s, heck most of the 2000s, there was plenty of evidence that our political leaders were in fact not the smartest of folks. But recently I’m having problems continuing to subscribe to that viewpoint because the actions (and inactions) are so boneheaded that you’d think you would have to be a moron not to see how they would be destined to go wrong. Some of it, I’m sure, is the well known desire to never admit to failure or guilt (and given that admissions of guilt at this level could lead to jail time that’s sort of understandable) combined with a sociopathic selfishness that means that they don’t really care about what happens to anyone else as long as they are OK. But even with all those caveats there’s still plenty of evidence of active malevolence.

    • I honestly fear that the answer is both incompetent and malicious. Which in a strange backhanded way is a good thing. Were they competent I suspect we would find ourselves much further down the rabbit hole than we are today.
      Were it not so tragic it would be highly amusing just to watch the leaders of our country and their assigned spokespeople publicly deny statements that are readily available on audio and video recordings. That would not happen were the evil at all competent in their machinations.

      • Part of the reason to do the unbelievably stupid is that they drink their own ink.

        • I was just explaining to #2 son, that would be the ten-year-old, that one reason we get such silly laws (the subject was Obamacare) is that the political profession has become a profession instead of a short-term public service as our founders intended it to be.
          I imagine if you are a congressman, with all the insulation from the real world that comes with it, and you have been in that position for oh, your entire career, Obamacare seems like a stunningly good idea. How could anyone (with the income they enjoy) find the cost to be high? Obviously only people who need to be protected from themselves would not have coverage (after all, Congress doesn’t notice the costs of their health insurance) so best to protect those fools from themselves.
          We don’t just need congressional term limits, we need a lifetime limit on all elected offices. Ten years and out sounds about right to me.

          • I strongly suspect that the reason the founders did not specify term limits is pure and simply because they could not conceive of such a thing as a career politician. You worked hard, became a success in your chosen profession, then served a term or two as a way to pay back this wonderful country for the opportunities it provided you.
            Sadly, public “service” has become little more than a vehicle for the ambitious to achieve power over the citizenry.

            • Which, when you consider they were breaking off from a country that had not only career but hereditary career politicians, makes them a little short on imagination! Where were the science fiction writers when they needed them?

      • Indeed: one from Column A, one from Column B. Marxism necessitates having an enemy to brand “evil,” and American politics is tailor-made for just such a thing. We’ve see this in operation for decades. But. When it’s so easy to check what our “leaders” say against what they’ve said and how they’ve voted in the past (genuine change of view notwithstanding), it’s easy to see the hypocrisy and incompetence. I really pity poor, poor Mr. Carney for having to parrot emphatically stupid lines to the world in defense of his boss. I don’t pity him much, of course, but it’s genuine. And it feels (bloody treacherous things, feelings) as though things are starting to swing a bit more to the logical. We’ll see.

    • marycatelli

      Studied ignorance does not alleviate guilt. It may even increase it, because of the hardness of heart entailed.

      so it’s not a choice.

    • They’re both stupid and malicious.

    • William O. B'Livion

      The thing I don’t understand is whether our glorious leaders are utterly incompetent or actively malicious. I’ve always subscribed to the maxim “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

      I don’t know who said it first, but Eric S. Raymond said “Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice”.

    • “The Leadership” is comprised of a hundred thousand (give or take a million, depending on where you draw the line between “leader” and “bureaucrat”) individuals. So both incompetent and malicious. Plus blind, shortsighted, and arrogant. The ones who think they’ll emerge on top, and the ones who keep their heads down and hope they can retire before it all goes belly up.

  15. Pingback: The Crazy Years – or what should I laugh at | Cyn Bagley - Poet and Writer

  16. But. If a man can be branded a bigot and brought low through shady (and possibly illegal) means, and only after he’s said something, what then is to prevent this from happening to someone everybody – at least everybody who *matters* – just knows is a similar bigot? And while I think this path is missing a few rather large steps, these are the kinds of plots we deal with all the time. And I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that truth is stranger than fiction, and not nearly as well plotted. The Author can get away with a lot more coincidence than we lesser writers.

    The world is getting weirder, and our nation is marching along with it in lockstep. The White House is growing less and less coherent as information is dragged out of it. Judicial Watch received copies of emails demonstrating that the administration was working hard to spin the Benghazi attack so it wouldn’t harm the President’s re-election prospects, and the press secretary recently tried to claim they weren’t about that at all.

    I commented about this on one of Sarah’s blogs last week. It no longer matters what you do, it’s all about what you say. Lip service to Our Glorious Leader and his following is what matters in today’s society. Mere actions can be overlooked as long as one does not challenge the narrative.

    Economic growth has slowed to a tenth of one percent in the last quarter, yet we’re fast approaching another “summer of recovery.” We’re warned that unless a significant number of people enroll in Obamacare, it will fall into a death spiral, and I fully expect to hear that record numbers enrolled. And I understand we’re fast approaching the corporate mandate, unless that’s been delayed by royal presidential fiat. Again. The IRS continues to waffle as Congress continues to investigate its targeting of groups based on how well their politics don’t match up with the administration’s.

    And here is the proof of my point. It’s ok (under their rules, not mine) for Zero to unilaterally change the law as long as he SAYS that his intent was not to violate the Constitution. It’s ok for the IRS to punish the wicked doubleplusungood-thinkers for what they SAY as long as the IRS SAYS that they really didn’t do it. If they SAY that millions of people enrolled in Obamacare, then it doesn’t really matter if they did or not. And OF COURSE the economy is recovering because they SAY it is. The rules are simple and easy to understand. If we would all just shut up and wear our Che Guevara/Chairman Mao t-shirts and just say the right things all would BE right with the world.. Or at least we would believe it was, which is close enough for government work.

    • Nooooooo.. Tag fail. Dammit!

      • *shakes fist* Darn you, WordPress! Darn you to heck!!

      • I really hope Sarah finds a replacement for the comment software she’s using… Hell, I’d settle for something that just allowed for editing, y’know?

        That said, Jim… My post below addresses some of your issues. Yeah, this current crop of idjits is pretty bad. Can’t disagree. However, huge ‘effing comma, one should have perspective on things: Look at the last time we had a similar economically challenged demagogue in charge, and what happened afterwards. With Obama, we at least don’t have the prospect of him becoming President-for-life, absent some really unlikely political events. He’s going to shuffle off the stage, and a whole lot of people who enabled his criminal activities and derelictions are going to find out that, yes, you can be held responsible.

        It may only be because they suffer the inevitable destruction due to a shift of public opinion, but I do hold out hope that the excesses they’ve perpetrated are going to be criminally prosecuted once their cover evaporates with the credibility of the mass media. You can see the first little chinks of daylight, as the monolith starts to crumble. I think we’re going to experience a preference cascade in the next few years, as people wake up and realize that the mass media has been lying, and is complicit with the educational establishment, with the wholesale propagandizing and looting of the public. My guess is that, within a generation, being a college professor or journalist is going to be about as prestigious as being a fluffer on a gay porn set, at least with mainstream America. You can already see a lot of the reaction setting in, as people realize they’ve been sold a bill of goods. Getting the first set of health care insurance bills post-Obamacare, and then doing the math for themselves has already opened quite a few eyes.

        The people who are running things have been relying on legerdemain to keep people from asking questions. We’re about to see what happens when legerdemain doesn’t cut it, anymore, and they actually have to be accountable to the public. FDR had the miracle of WWII to save his name from the judgment of history.

        Obama and his sycophants will have no such luck.

        • I think you’re overly optimistic. You seem to forget that the average American voter isn’t all the well informed. Sure, they’re mad at Obama right now, but that’s because the main stream media told them to be. Even then they’re only upset about Obamacare. Most Americans don’t connect Obama with the other problems in this country.

          Just the other day, I had a conversation with a really good friend of mine. I’ve known the guy for over twenty years. He’s pissed about Obamacare but can’t understand why Barry gets blamed for the IRS scandal or Benghazi. He thinks (and cannot be convinced otherwise) that the president has nothing to do with the IRS or the Department of State. The fact that Obama is being investigated by a man who works for him is a lie. Why? Because Zero has nothing to do with the Department of Justice either. The fact that the investigator donated to the Obama campaign is irrelevant as well. If any of this mattered the media would be all over it. It’s just a matter of time until the media falls in love with some other totalitarian @$$hole and the cycle starts all over again.

          • Jim, people have always been this dumb. Especially about the way the government is supposed to be working–Go dig up the purely delusional crap that the average person believed about FDR, and how prevalent it was.

            Thinking is hard. The average citizen would prefer not to, and generally won’t. Blame education, if you like, but I blame the average person more. These are the people who didn’t pay attention in civics class, and who blew test questions like “What are the three branches of our government?”.

            Y’know when I knew despair over my fellow citizens, for the first time? It was after I was co-opted as a teacher’s aide by my history/civics teacher in high school. Helping him grade tests was a revelation to me, because it blew my mind how people who’d just sat through some very good instruction and were provided with the resources simply couldn’t muster the wit to get things right. For the love of God, he allowed “open book” with regards to the stuff that was in the Constitution, in order so that students would at least know where to look things up, and the idiots who were my fellow students STILL couldn’t get basic questions right.

            That was circa 1980-ish. I’m not sure that things are really that much worse, these days.

            • I agree. The thing is, we’ve been headed into worse and worse territory since FDR. Lack of knowledge is the cause of that. What scares me is that it’s not getting better despite the evidence that it needs to.

              • Grumpy Old Badger

                Long time lurker, first time commenter: I would take it back even farther to Wilson, maybe even T. Roosevelt, but definitely Wilson is when matters started to go sideways with all the progressive “bat pucky

      • WP, she’s a fickle birch.

      • Tags must be ALL CAPS. That is the thing that gets me most often… (and I think no spaces.)

        • I never capitalize mine and they usually work. And my phone likes to autospace after certain characters and I don’t always catch it.

          I believe WP is evil. Or, you know, just inconsistent.

          • I don’t capitalize mine, either. Normally, when they don’t work, it’s actually my fault, though I will blame WP if it allows an improperly closed tag to screw up the whole rest of the thread…

            • It’s likely my fault as well, but I have had some checked with no apparent errors. So I’ll happily blame WP for all that’s wrong in my world.
              :D

            • FlyingMike

              A simple preview button would salve many a wounded ego and save many an expended expletive.

  17. It probably doesn’t really belong here, but we’re talking about racism here, so . . . (and I’m probably just rambling here.)

    Recently we watched a Very Special Bewitched episode about racism, and it bothered me. (Sisters at Heart, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0523217/?ref_=ttcz_cz_tt)

    It got me thinking (always dangerous). For this episode they brought in a black family, never seen before, never seen again, for an episode showing how bad racism is. But they probably showed more racism in simply doing this show than they realized.

    Wouldn’t it have made more of an impact if they had had the family in multiple episodes, most of which had little to do with racism, except maybe peripherally?

    As I understand it, that was the what the show I Spy did. It was in a similar era, and had a black man (Bill Cosby) and a white man (Robert Culp) working together as equals, and never brought up the subject of race at all.I think that approach really probably makes a stronger impact over the long run.

    • I remember I Spy with great fondness. Two US spies operating under cover of working the international pro tennis circuit. One adventure after another filled with modest violence, a good bit of humor, and friendly interactions between the two leads. And, oh by the way, one of the leading characters just happened to be black.
      Cosby went on to host another show about a successful middle class two parent American family that just by the way happened to be black. As I recall he got no end of grief for that. He’s also spoken out about lack of achievement in black students. Shouldn’t wonder that he will probably be labeled every bit as racist as the Clipper owner.

      • “Just happened to be” is not enough, being accepted is not enough, being judged on merit alone is not nearly enough; you must celebrate, rejoice and ultimately cower before!

        The attitude dishonors those who came before, but it’s prevalent nevertheless.

        • The good Doctor King notwithstanding it’s more often than not a truism that no minority ever really wants equality. What they desire in their heart of hearts is to reverse the roles of slave and master. Seen such play out time and time again in colonies that gain independence from the motherland, and in a social sense it seems to be happening here in what was once the land of the free.

          • Sadly consistent with current observations.

          • Jeff Gauch

            But that was the core of Rev. King’s message. He recognized that a black v. white race war would have only one outcome (hint: numbers matter) and so undertook a course of action that would focus the justified rage of the black community into a non-violent direction. Then he got assassinated and the Democrat party figured out a way to co-opt the “leaders” in the black community to bring back the plantation system.

      • Cosby has done some good stuff, but the last appearance we watched had some pretty racist material. He is a good man but under a lot of pressure to be politically correct. He’s gotten soft in his old age.

    • A lot of television meant to instruct in what is wrong with racism more often instructs on who to be racist against and how to go about it. After School Specials will even go so far as to instruct you that peer pressure will be brought to bear against you if you try to bridge the racial gap, and no kid wants that.

  18. Except for a few accidental shining moments, most of our politicians and social “leaders” throughout history have been blithering idiots. The only reason we think it’s worse now is that we’re having to live through this, and we remember only the good things about the “good old days”. Nobody seems to comprehend that that phrase only addresses the good things we remember, not the reality of the times.

    What kills me, the older I get, is hearing the younger folks wistfully remark that, “Gee, I wish I’d grown up in the 1970s/1980s/whatever…”. Which leads to me doing a double-take, and having to restrain myself from slapping the ever-loving snot out of them… My memories of those “halcyon” days are not quite so rose-colored.

    Golly gee, I just absolutely loved going to bed every night wondering if I was going to awaken to a bright flash on the horizon, followed by my hair falling out over the next few weeks. Nothing like the prospect of some informal radiation therapy to put the right taste into your mouth, y’know…

    Feckin’ idjits…

    I don’t see that things are any worse, these days. Back then, we had Teddy Kennedy et al selling us out for a mess of pottage to the Soviets. Were you to look at what was going on in that era, it’s a wonder more of us didn’t just suck-start a damn .357 to save the morons the time and trouble of getting us killed. Today’s fools are really not that much worse, it’s just that their stupidity has shifted focus. Anyone despairing of the times should do some reading of actual, y’know, history, followed by some self-questioning: Is the travesty that is Obamacare really any worse than the WPA? Is it likely to last longer, or is it going to wind up on the dustheap of history the way most of FDR’s other excesses did? Is Obama as bad as FDR? Well, has he gotten away with anything quite as deeply rooted as confiscating the nation’s gold bullion, the way FDR did?

    Despair is a sin. So is lack of perspective. Remember how Japan was going to take over the world, back in the 1980s? Hmmm? Remember the dire warnings of all the Cassandras predicting economic eclipse for the US, despite all the issues with the Japanese economy and culture that were readily apparent to anyone who looked past the surface? Gee, kinda-sorta the same as that current bugaboo, the “rise of China”, eh? Factor in all the issues the Chinese are going to have to deal with, plus the oncoming train of demographic doom they’re facing, and you almost want to give the collective Chinese a quick hug, and sorrowfully tell them “You poor bastards…”. They’ve got issues that I really hope they work through, because if they don’t, that’s going to mean misery for a huge swathe of humanity that I’d just as soon not have to experience it.

    Forget national rivalry–A billion and a half people descending into economic chaos and warlordry isn’t a pleasant prospect, at all. China has this history of central power and great national togetherness, interspersed with periods of outright Mad Max-level insanity. God help us all if they lose their way in the near future–Which is entirely possible. I really don’t know who the hell came up with the idea of “one family-one child”, but they deserve to go down in infamy as having come up with and enforced one of the most devastating social and cultural destabilizations of human history.

    Anyone worried about China’s possible use of all that excess manpower in any real warlike manner had better reflect on a couple of facts: There is no “safety net” for the elderly retired in China, and those single children are pretty much it. Get them killed off doing something stupid, like reinforcing failure in the Korean War? The government is going to last about as long as any other ephemeral phenomena, as the parents of those lost boys turn on them. What do you have to lose, when your entire future gets burned up in some stupid war the regime gets you into? People talk about how China is a rising military power, but the fact is, their military power is extremely brittle, probably more so than the regime and/or military leadership realizes.

    Ah, well… We’re going to find out about a lot of these things, in the future. About all I’m willing to predict is that things are not going to work out the way a lot of people who describe themselves as “smarter than anyone else in the room” think they will…

  19. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading up on John H. Patterson, the guy who made NCR a big business, and several of his favorite inspirational slogans seem to apply to today’s tech society:

    Man Ought Not To Be Employed At A Task Which A Machine Can Perform

    Improved Machinery Creates More Demand Than It Fills

    Improved Machinery Makes Men Dear And Their Products Cheap

    I also read a letter by him where he laments having kept prices too high on cash registers for too long, because high prices aren’t good for volume of business, and hence you end up with lower profits (and more competition beating the pants off you). Apparently the traditional publishing industry has never heard this….

  20. You only need to worry about the competence and consistency of our notional leaders if you believe that they are ACTUALLY running things…. Just sayin’, there are lots of alternative theories about who is REALLY running things.

    (It’s been on my mind due to reading a nicely written summary of that worldview just this morning.)

    WRT crazy times, you forgot a tax cheat being named head of Treasury :-)

    WRT racism, it’s not illegal, and it should terrify everyone that this guy’s livelihood and possessions are being denied to him for THOUGHTCRIME. He’s been sued and taken to court for his illegal ACTS (housing discrimination) but there is no such thing in the US as an illegal THOUGHT. Even speaking the thoughts aloud isn’t illegal, even if it happened at work with employees, where the idea of creating a ‘hostile workplace’ is used to control speech that offends. It happened in the man’s own home. Additionally there is apparently some non-zero chance that the whole thing was engineered so that another party could benefit from his forced sale of the franchise. Where is the protection under the law for YOU when a politically or culturally connected person decides they want some of your stuff, hey Juden??? (used as a rhetorical device and a historical example of where this is headed, not addressed at anyone personally.) Man what a quagmire.

    Pedophile, rapist, racist. Demonize, dehumanize, deprive of rights, deprive of life. I’m sure that there are lots of people out there patting themselves on the back that this rich guy gets his comeuppance. Not me, I think it’s terrifying.

    zuk

  21. The world has always been weird. Remember in the 1980’s when we were supposed to copy everything Japanese? THAT was pretty weird. Or the musical British Invasion? Scores of British bands made up of White boys playing a style of music with its roots in the Black culture of the American South? How about the Space Invaders Addiction panic? Anyone remember how adults carried on about that?

    Every period of human history for which we have any depth of information was full of weird. And it’s always changing.

    • And Satanic rock music, or rather, Satanic lyrics in rock music (if played backwards). I got a full does of that “scare” during my teens. I wonder what would happen if I got a time-machine, went back, and left a tape copy of one of Voltair’s albums for the Youth Director. (“And I sing death, death, devil, devil, devil, devil, evil, evil, evil, evil songs . . .”)?

      But the general atmosphere wasn’t “crazy” like it is now. There’s a lot more people acting a bit spooked, a bit more cautious, keeping one eye on the horizon like you do in summer when the wind goes calm and the air feels heavy.

      • I had a preacher going on and on about the “burundi beat” in devil music.

        He played a lot of clips backward too. Just made me want to go out and buy some more records :-)

        There is definitely a feeling of imminent doom out there. Lots of folks waiting for the shoe to drop. Gold purchases outstripping worldwide production, guns and ammo flying off the shelves. CHL applications in record numbers. Even ham radio licenses issued in record numbers, primarily driven by disaster preparedness (CERT teams, etc.)

        The constant drumbeat of lies from this government about the economy is getting to folks, as is the reality of obamacare. Just look at what happened at the Bundy ranch. A year or two ago, it would have been nothing, Now it was almost Bunker Hill. More people are waking up to the militarization of the police force, hearing stories about cops shooting dogs for no reason. No knock raids, homeless man beaten to death while crying for his mommy, and handicapped kids shot by cops in their own homes. Gun registration- followed by massive civil disobedience. The list goes on and on…

        I think people are getting the feeling that it could happen here, and it could happen now. The changes have been small, but the progression is geometric. Suddenly “whatever your trigger issue is” is twice as big, and doubling again quickly.

        So yeah, really unsettled times. Much more so than recent previous periods. And in line with those other times in history when there were big changes. Look at the early 1900’s. WWI, worldwide flu pandemic, mass urbanization and industrialization. Powered flight, electrification, you name it. The world was reshaped almost overnight.

        What will the early 2000’s look like to historians? A world thrown back into feudalism when the US can no longer act as a stabilizing force? De-urbanization as people flee contagion in the densely packed cities? Massive deaths when the “just in time, lean industry” breaks down due to quarantines and people afraid to leave their houses? No food deliveries because the trucks can’t get thru on highways blocked by refugees? Economic collapse when the continued financialization of the economy hits its natural limit? Man, there are a million ways things could go wrong.

        On that cheery note, a question. All this yammering about the richest 1% and ‘income inequality”. Seems to me that we have recently been in a unique 2-300 year period where income distribution leveled out. Anyone out there have any real numbers about what it looked like in 1600 or 1700 or 1500? I’m guessing that between serfs and lords, there was a whole lot bigger bottom, not much middle, and the top was REALLY the top. I’d love to see a discussion of the real numbers though.

        zuk

      • I think what’s happening is that the trust in the system (or our culture, if you will) has been eroded badly. You see the fools inside the Beltway lambasting the ‘rich’ on one hand and giving them massive rewards with the other, you hear about all the poor that are supposedly helped by government insurance while the average joe is seeing his premiums and deductibles rise – and then he’s told he’s lying if he dares to complain.

        Gas prices rise, but a pipeline can’t be decided upon – despite the thing being in the works for years with all the environmental impact paperwork being complete with little to no risk the chattering classes act as if this is the FIRST pipeline ever built, and it’s so highly experimental we don’t dare approve it… ignoring the quarter-million miles of OTHER pipeline in the US.

        We have a President that won’t make any sort of decision that might negatively impact his ‘legacy’. Then there’s Reid and Pelosi who seem to act like they’re the King and Queen, and all should bow towards them and not question any of their edicts.

        And don’t get me started on the media. At least it looks like they’re starting to wake up and realize their gods have feet of clay.

        So the trust is being eroded, and being put under more tension even as it happens. It almost feels like tension on a material sample – how much strain and erosion can it take before it breaks, and what’s going to fail when it does?

        • If one more oil train derails, we may see busloads of rail-town residents descending on D.C. with track-laying tools and chanting “pipeline now.” Heck, we may see people showing up on the pipeline right-of-way with shovels and neighbors to start digging on their own.

          • If the governors of the states the pipeline goes through greenlight the project, and the pipeline is started, what is the President going to do?

            • That’s a very good question – and that I can think he’d call out forces to physically stop it shows how much my own trust has eroded.

              • Depending on who he calls upon, the troops may refuse to follow his orders or even go work for the other side. If he does do this I’m fairly certain our civil war will start.

                • If US troops are called on US citizens, things will go hot. I doubt the troops will do anything. Best case scenario would be one John outlined in Last Centurion, where individual units have issues that prevent them from carrying out missions. Convoys “break down” for odd reasons, units get “lost” and the mission goes unaccomplished. More likely, it would be Guard units used, as most active duty personnel know it’s illegal to operate on US soil (yeah, unless martial law is declared, etc. still). Even then, the National Guard is technically under gubernatorial control, so things immediately get even more complicated. It’s the civilians that’ll get tetchy, and in a hurry. And the government doesn’t have enough LEOs to handle that kind of situation. Definitely Interesting Times, though…

  22. The other day I ran into an interesting article linked on, I believe, Instapundit. It proposes that Political Correctness, as it is practiced, is a positional good, which people use as a cheap status marker. The problem those run into is, because it is a cheap way to indicate relative status, once people catch on to it, they tend to imitate it, diluting the value, and requiring the status seeker to ever increase the amplitude of their signaling:

    http://www.iea.org.uk/blog/the-economics-of-political-correctness

    I kind of wonder if what we are seeing is the signalling getting amped up to the point that it is destroying the basic conduits of community.

    • I have always despaired at getting the style of the day right. Since grade school I have always secretly felt that the style was changed regularly to prevent me from fitting in. This indicates that I might have been correct.
      Progressive thought is also this sort of phenomenon. You have to learn what the new goodthink is regularly or you get left behind or ostracized. That would make the Overton Window effect a tragedy, where the shift of what people accept as normal is powered not by the schemes of a cynical elite drunk on power and privilege but instead by a bunch of people trying to get themselves accepted by the Cool Kid Clique.

      • What is the Overton Window effect?

        I think that some people act as if reality is whatever they say it is and not something external to them.

        • I think one effect of post-modernism is the leakage of the idea that words shape reality. Not just the words of the author in his time, but since everything is a verbal construct, what those in power say will make that thing so. And since emotional intensity proves rightness, if you really, really, passionately believe that X should be Y, then it must be Y, all arguments and evidence to the contrary. Thus Obamacare is a benefit to the Middle Class, the economy is improving, and we shall have peace in our time.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsWmfljeIq0 As sung by the incomparable Vera Lynn.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          The “Overton Window effect” simply stated is the idea that some ideas are “more acceptable” than others to the general public.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

        • Paul has it right that the Overton Window encompasses the “acceptable options” of policy. But the effect is a little different.
          As culture shifts, the “acceptable options” also shift. Thus, (arguably) two years ago, and definitely six years ago, advocating for same-sex marriage was not acceptable for any candidate for public office, especially a nation-wide office. The culture changes as we’re constantly bombarded with messages that those who don’t advocate for that can only be doing so from a position of bigotry and hatred for the “other”. And with wider acceptance in the culture, we now have politicians who are explaining that their position on the issue has “evolved”.
          That’s just an example.
          So, think of it as “pushing the cultural envelope” until what was once unthinkable becomes workaday. Or as Marge Simpson said, “You know, FOX turned into a hard core sex channel so gradually, I didn’t even notice.”

        • That seemed to be one of the tenet of the ‘Reality Based Community’ of a few years back.

          ‘Reality’ is defined by the group consensus, and if reality doesn’t match up to ‘Reality’, it’s not ‘Reality’ that’s wrong. Magical thinking at its finest… or worst.

          • marycatelli

            But they are so reality-based. The universities fill up their English departments, where interpretations of novels are rigorously and scientifically tested and will collapse if erroneous, with them, and their engineering departments with those loosey-goosey conservatives, since facts don’t matter when it comes to bridges, and no one cares if they fall down anyway.

  23. That is an interesting idea. Groups do use language as a marker for inclusiveness. Pity the poor fool who gets the hip slang o the day wrong.

    Fans can play a form of this with movie and book references. The more obscure but recognizable the higher the ‘cred’.

    Makes sense that other groups would develop their own status markers…

    zuk

  24. FlyingMike

    It’s not just you. And it’s not just the normal “You darn kids get off my lawn” impulse that folks get as they advance in years a bit, where distance makes the past seem better. We’re not just getting “We’re doomed! The Japanese will own everything in 10 years!” of the Nakatomi Plaza era, nor the “Oh, it’s the end of History!” Baloney from the 90’s- As the Great Leader joked about at the WH Correspondent’s Dinner, it’s not just the paranoid pot heads who like him who think the Government is out to get them and listening to all their phone calls – they REALL ARE listening to all the phone calls. And reading all the emails. But it’s OK, they are from the Government and they are here to help. Unless you have something to hide…like you once contributed to a campaign that the overwhelming majority of churches in your state supported, and pretty much all the minority churches, or you want to start a non profit organization that might not work towards the reelection of the incumbent, or you want to fly from here to the a private plane, staying completely within the country, and not get the local PD SWAT team called out to conduct a warrantless search of said plane, which most likely will leave it unairworthy due to the hamfisted standard search tactics they learned to use on cars, or you want to avoid the Department of Education’s SWAT team (!) raiding your house because the previous owners wife was late on her student loan payments. Then you are trouble.

    As we all are.

    Maybe “The Time of Troubles” is a better fit than “The Crazy Years.”