I don’t Seem to Have Either Promo Post or Vignette, So this Is my Post

Okay, guys, a quick update/admnistrivia and then a writing exercise at the bottom.

To begin with, we’re leaving on Wednesday for two weeks in Europe, i.e. for once not Portugal.  It’s complicated.  More about this later.  It involves research for one leg of the Black Tide book, though, among other things.

Older son will be staying behind, and we have someone come in to look after the cats in case he forgets.  (He’ll be doing his clinical year, so I suspect sometimes the cats will get fed five times a day and sometimes none as far as he’s concerned.)

Meanwhile I’m very late on books owed to people who won them, and t-shirts and Shwag to subscribers.  Honestly, the problem was that once I was ready to send them, I couldn’t find the fargin boxes because of our movers evenly distributed stuff that belongs in the office from the attic to the garage.

When I come back I’m taking three days or so to unpack my office properly (shoving a hodge podge of boxes into the closet is not unpacking) and clearing the garage, because older son will need to park in it in Winter, so he doesn’t have to scrape ice off his window on his way to hospital.  So mid September I SHOULD have everything I owe people in my hot little hands, and can then do a mass-shipping.

I’m going to request PLEASE that if I owe you stuff you email me not now but around Sept 12.  Sorry it’s been so long, but life has been way too complicated and is just starting to smooth out.

Needless to say I’ll be writing in Europe.  Yeah, we’re sort of trying to cram in a vacation too, but honestly we don’t know HOW to do that.  Our last “not seeing relatives/not convention” vacation-vacation was our honeymoon almost 33 years ago.

The only model for vacation we have is the weekends in Denver and those are very pleasant and we DO get a lot of writing done.  So we’re going to try this.  It will be mostly Guardian, which I hope to have finished when I come back.

Then I need to get Dyce 4 and the vampire musketeer II out.  And then well, there’s the black tide book, and I suppose I shouldn’t leave you guys waiting for years for the next Darship, let alone the Shifters which has been years.  So there’s those.  And that’s the rest of the year.  However, if I do those, it leaves me able to start in January with Dragons, and a couple of other things I’ve backburnered.

At least if no more disasters hit us this year. Let’s hope not.

Oh, and all of you are in charge of making sure I have a country to come back to.  Things have gotten distressingly silly out there.

Right, so your writing prompt is a beginning and remember this is NOT necessarilly romance (in fact, the three ideas I can think of all SF/F though mystery could work too):

I sat down, trembling.  He had touched me.  Nothing would be the same again.

Very Busy This Morning, But Here Are Some Links

Those Who Walk Away From Feminism

A Message to the Children of the Revolution: Grow Up!

Dear Leftists, There Are No Nazis Under Your Bed

In Defense of Vile Speech

Strange Days in America

No More White Knights


I’m starting to get really tired of White Knights.

You’ve seen these gentlemen.  They rush in, when they perceive someone as being in danger, and pavane around with grandeur, proclaim their goodness and wonderfulness, and their willingness to defend the helpless.  And nine times out of ten, leave, full of honor and glory, leaving things worse than they found them.

Except the modern versions don’t ask you if you are helpless, they just assume.  And they don’t do anything except signal their virtue and their willingness to defend you.  Oh, they might take the opportunity to bash a few of their personal enemies, perhaps by claiming that they are your enemies too.

They’ve been all over recently.  Yes, sure, there are many minorities online, who, having fully imbibed the Kool-Aid, are now merrily calling everyone a Nazi on the slimmest of pretexts.  But most such offenders are in fact lily white and convinced of their own special wonderfulness.  It was a lily white and, if I had to guess, upper middle class young man who took it upon himself to tell me I should be grateful to Antifa for saving me from vile speech.

Well, this first generation, immigrant Latina is not grateful.  Do you know why she is not grateful?  Because no one asked you to defend me.  Certainly no one asked a communist front group with a frightening penchant for violence and vandalism to defend me.  And if I wanted to be defended it wouldn’t be from speech, vile or not.  It would be from active, physical aggression, which communists are at least as likely (and possibly more) to engage in than the crazy racists.

I’m no more acceptable to communists than I am to the Nazis.  The Nazis would reject me on account of my origins and the fact that I can tan really dark when I get out of the office and into the rays of the evil day star.  And Antifa would reject me because I think people who attack their fellow citizens are despicable and their theories of power and wealth are wrong and based on the crazy theories of Marx, the most overrated dead white man ever.  And because I’m tired of their trying to impose their ignorance and cultish beliefs on the rest of us.

I don’t want either side to defend me from the other.  I accept that both have the right to say whatever they please, and I hope they do it far away from me.  If they come to my attention, I am entitled to make fun of them by all means available.

Because you see, I’m not delicate, I’m not helpless, and I don’t need a white knight.

The implicit insult the white knight’s defense is the idea that those they are defending are in need of help.

My accent gets me very odd reactions in the US.  For a long while they ranged from the people who thought I’d come to the US to escape the direst poverty (well, maybe in US terms, but really!) to the people who thought I’d left my beautiful, traditional society to come here, as a ambassador of our peaceful and quaint ways.  Which means they know bloody nothing about Portuguese history, or American history.  Or any history, really.

Of the two, I prefer the first.  They listen.  When I point out that my family was middle class (granted for the village, where we were all as poor as Job) and that my degree probably would have got me a better material life than I have here, but I came here because I fell mad in love with America and the ideals it was founded on (yes, I fell mad in love with my husband too.  Still am, after 33 years, but you know, HE was willing to move to be with me) they tend to listen and understand.

The ones who despise America though, and who want me to be the ambassador of my peaceful and quaint culture don’t listen and don’t understand.  And they get really angry that someone from a country where people tan can insist that the US is better.  And they get REALLY upset when I tell them that no, the US doesn’t oppress me, and no, I don’t need their help.

Because you know, all those allies who come in “white knighting” it to defend women and minorities, don’t really want to defend women and minorities.

They most of all want to claim victimhood.  They think America and non-minorities are somehow evil.  And the only way they can wash off that evil is to identify with a minority and defend it tooth and nail.

Second, they want the glory and virtue that comes from being “enlightened” and “helping” minorities.

They want to be the voice for the voiceless and the strength for the weak.  But only if the voice says what they want to say and if the persona admires and endorses their strength.

In other words, they want to use people not like them to aggrandize themselves.  They want to impose beliefs and experiences they believe people of a different color or gender or orientation should have on those people.  They want to receive power and adulation from telling everyone how to live and from othering others.  They are ignorant of US history and virgin of world history, but they feel the need to tell you how everyone should feel, even people from other countries.

They are the privileged, coddled, praised products of self esteem education.  And they’ll trample anyone, demean anyone, destroy anyone, and bring down their own country in an effort to continue thinking of themselves as the best, the brightest and the kindest people who ever lived.

The expression behind the great, shining helm of the white knight is a smirk of superiority.

Race Me! A Blast From The Past July 4, 2012

*Sorry for two Blasts from the past so close together, but part of what I’m doing is trying to diminish the number of hours this blog takes, because, yes, fiction work is what pays.  But also, I was looking for a BFP for Tuesday and came across this.  I’d already selected one for Tuesday and put it up, but I thought “Wow, this certainly is topical.”  Remember, when we allow the fabulists who divide people into neat “races” to hold sway in government, we start getting crazy people ranting about “White supremacy” (which would require laws to enforce, but never mind.  In their heads it’s anyone white-looking looking at anyone else of any other “race” crosseyed.  And when we have got to the point that opposition to Islam is considered “Racist” everything is a race.  Which only fuels the crazies who do think the fact they can’t tan makes them all that and fifty cents.  Which then fuels the commies….  Which gets us where we are.  They should fear, really, that normal people get pissed off enough to tell them to sit down and stop driving each other crazy.  With lead.  Of course, IMHO, since they have the right to demonstrate and be crazy, we should make them do it in some enclosed facility.  Thunderdumb: many go in, none comes out.  But absent that lovely dream, it’s important for the rest of us to remember the sh*t they say is no more significant than UFO cultists insisting there’s been landing.-SAH*

Race Me! A Blast From The Past July 4, 2012

What is race?  If you just answered it is a competition based on who can go faster, you win a gold star.  Because the other meaning of the word is far, far more elusive.

Phillip K. Dick speaking of sanity once said something like (like because I’m too lazy to go look for a quote, and besides it’s late, my having woken up about an hour later than normal and having had to deal with stuff postponed from the trip) Sanity is an edge narrower than a foothold, sharper than the tooth of a guard dog, more elusive than a phantom.  Perhaps it doesn’t exist.  Perhaps it’s a phantom.

Now, just as with sanity there are degrees.  While Phil Dick might have considered the guy on the street corner, weedling on himself and ranting about giant ants perfectly sane, most of us would have no doubt in seeing him for total nuts.  And while you can look at me and my friend Amanda – who is a redhead – and go “well, I’m not sure” if you set Amanda next to someone from Papua New Guinea, you’ll probably go “okay, they have different sets of inherited characteristics.” And you’d be right.  Heck, we all have different sets of inherited characteristics.  I’m fairly sure my brother and I inherited characteristics each from one side of the family.

So, how do we define race?  How do you go “you have this and that characteristic and that other therefore you’re this race.”  If you’re saying “I know your race when I see you” – go sit in the corner and think about your misdeeds.  I’m impressed over and over again by how many American blacks would be immediately and instinctively considered white in other countries.  Perhaps not Obama – although it depends on the country and the circumstances – but Jeremiah Wright?  Oh, for heaven’s sakes, there wouldn’t even be any hesitation.  The man looks Portuguese.  He doesn’t even look like one of the darker – still white – Portuguese.

What we consider black (I refuse to use African-American for the same reason I wouldn’t call myself Portuguese-American – and I got here yesterday. Because the American part is what counts.  Besides, African-American is not a race, it’s an origin.  If Dave had come to the US instead of OZ he could damn well call himself African-American.  Not that he would)in the US would pass unnoticed as Caucasian most places in the world.  (Maybe not Germany or Scandinavia.)

Did you know that if you put an afro on me and I have a tan, I am functionally black?  No?  Well, I was for most of the seventies, and this in Portugal, where race distinction requires a deeper tan and more African features.  And yet, three of my four grandparents were blue/green eyed and two were blond.  And the features don’t even all come from the same side.

Are you under the impression there is some set of genes that makes a race or another?  Well…  There aren’t.  There are some genetic defects that make it fairly sure you belong to one race – or sub-race – but that’s about it.  Even genetic testing at the level we have it can’t say for sure that you don’t have any x blood, just that you PROBABLY don’t.  That the genes you inherited don’t have traces of x doesn’t mean one of your siblings or cousins doesn’t.  We found out recently for instance that my sons have way more Amerindian blood than we thought, because Robert has some health problems that trace to that – however Dan has always considered himself anglo-Irish, and he just doesn’t tan.  If you put him under the sun long enough he’ll turn a slightly less blue-tint shade of pale.

Race is in fact a phantom.  It is also a survival of the human instinct for tribalism.  Throughout history “race” has applied to – not a set of genetic characteristics – but “my tribe” vs. another tribe.  If you’re my tribe you’re probably my cousin and look somewhat like me.  If you are another tribe, you look different.  That’s the earliest definition of race.  Later it extended to national unit and at the time that national units were sharpening their stories, to be accepted as valid, and you can read Nineteenth century about the Portuguese race and the English race and the Irish race.

And now…  And now we have the present system, in which the government uses race to divide and conquer.  In the name of righting injustices and banishing the increasingly more invisible specter of racism, they are looking for race in all the wrong places.  For instance, my maiden name now makes me a different race.  Which is interesting, because for years it didn’t.  My maiden name is Marques de Almeida (it is common in Portugal to do this sort of thing because there are very few family names, comparatively, so Marques de Almeida is a different descent line from say Soares de Almeida or…  You get the point.) If I had spelled that with a z when I became a citizen, I’d have been immediately and without blinking Hispanic, Latina or whatever you want to call it this week.  But I spelled it with an s and therefore I was white.  Now the feds say I’m Latina anyway.  Well and good.  But how does a letter make me a different race?  And what difference does it make, anyway, when at least one branch of the family came from near enough Spain that with one thing and another (and yet another) I probably have a lot of Spanish ancestors (not that I’ll admit to it for sure.  Not under torture.  I mean… Spaniards! – I’m joking, I swear.)

It is possible that you can’t eradicate tribalism from the human soul.  And if you can, I’m not the one to say the federal government should set about doing it.  They’ve already gone too far towards doing that and, like most attempts at changing the human soul with the blunt mallet of statism, it has backfired horribly.

Yes, black people in America have a troubled history – of which the government and the entertainment industry makes a point of reminding them every time they turn around.  So what?  Are they the only people taken slave in the history of the world?

Believe it or not, a lot of Americans believe this.  I once sat through a speech given by a Catholic Bishop – A BISHOP, not a parish priest – who decided to hang his point on the day of the speech being the day of two saints who were slave and mistress (both women.)  I can’t remember their names, but back in Roman times, slave and owner converted to Christianity and died for it.  What was the theme of the Bishop’s sermon?  Racism.  And as he spoke it became obvious this man, who SURELY somewhere along the line studied history, assumed – unthinking – that the slave was black.  She might have been, but it’s unlikely.  From the time period it is far more likely she was blond and blue eyed, while her mistress was somewhat more melanin enhanced.

But American schools don’t teach this.  They don’t teach that each and everyone of us has ancestors who were enslaved – that slavery was an evil that stalked humanity UNTIL the industrial revolution freed us.   Nor that most people were enslaved by people who looked just like them.

I once asked a teacher why not and was told that teaching that – though it’s true – would be racist.  Because singling out people who tan easily, have curly hair and might have recent slave ancestry and telling them they are the ONLY ONES who were ever enslaved is not racist (besides being a lie.)  And apparently it builds their self esteem.  You know, self-esteem is built on being a victim, which makes you virtuous, right?  If I told you “You were beat up by everyone in kindergarten, even the little girl on crutches” it immediately makes you feel powerful, doesn’t it?

No.  It makes you feel like you need protection and therefore it serves the government’s ends, not yours.  Which is why true history of slavery is NOT taught in schools.  Not to save anyone’s “self esteem.”

Phantom.  We’ve given them cart blanche to hunt a phantom. Should we allow our government to spend money and resources pursuing a phantom?  What’s next?  We’re going to give them a mandate to ferret alien landings?  Look, that probably would be better.  At least, it would be less harmful.  This race thing which of course the government sees as a means to win power by pitching a set of their bosses – the people – against the other has now become silly season.  When you say things like “unemployed” is a code word for black, you’ve entered nuts territory.  You don’t even deserve to be tarred and feathered, just pointed at and laughed, because you just crossed that edge of Dick’s definition and proved you’re insane.

In an increasingly more race-mixed America – and world – race is becoming harder and harder to track down.  You see, it’s not easy to pin.  The child of blond people can have black hair – a recessive gene surfacing.  Dan and I could theoretically produce a blond, blue eyed child.  Actually it’s not even that rare, in Portugal, for a family of Mediterranean looking people to throw out a blond child.  We had a couple of blond sheep among my cousins, one of whom could be my twin, except for blond hair and blue eyes.

What you have to remember is this: unless your ancestors come from a very small place and have been isolated for thousands of years, you probably have ancestors from all over the world.

One of my belly laughs on the DaVinci Code is that if Jesus and Mary Magdalen TRULY had had children and any of those lines survived, the descendants wouldn’t be the kings of France – the descendants would be ALL OF US.  Heck, if any of Shakespeare’s descendants survived (well, not from his wife, obviously, but for heaven’s sake, the man worked away from home a good deal) there is a good chance most of us in the anglosphere are descended from him.

We are of a randy species that never really made a distinction based on skin color or much of anything else when it comes to giving someone a two-penny upright.  And lost travelers, ship wrecked sailors, prisoners of war and heaven knows what else, have ensured that enough of that occurred to keep us one species.  Yes, people from Scandinavia can make babies with people from Sub-Saharan Africa, and that means that some gene exchange has kept on occurring.  (We’ve found that species – defined as unable to have viable offspring – occurs in far fewer generations than we previously imagined.) [It wouldn’t mean that someone from Sub-Saharan Africa made it to Sweden every few thousand years, either – just that a lot of someone’s made it to Northern Africa, and then those in turn made it to the Mediterranean and…  Genetic exchange on the retail plan.]

Now, with international travel, more of it occurs.  And meanwhile government bureaucrats are looking for racial characteristics and code words and unconscious racism under your bed and mine and trying to convince us that the way to eliminate racism is to keep emphasizing different characteristics of some sub-group.  Because you know, if we start saying “There’s nothing wrong with redheads” and “redheads are people too” and “you bought carrots.  It means you hate redheads” it will foster integration and good will and not cause EVERYONE to do a double take every time they see a redhead AND CERTAINLY not cause everyone to be afraid to mention “carrot” or “orange” near a redheaded friend.

They think we’re stupid, and they’re trying to make us insane.

I don’t know about you, but I personally am tired of it.  I’m ready to go under the bed with the fumigation equipment – for ants.  Today’s emergency – and if I find any government bureaucrats there, I’ll laugh at them.  Which is what we all need to start doing.

And as for race…  My parents told me I was human.  (Though for a while they weren’t sure.)  I choose to believe them.

The Fringe

So I tried to find some hard numbers on this but all the “Strange things people believe” websites have “strange things Americans believe” being things that Europe and the left can’t possibly accept anyone would believe.  You know, things like “there is no significant racism in America.”

That is their problem and none of mine.

However, as someone who has an appetite for and in fact hangs out in the strangest corners of the net, I can tell you people believe a lot of weird things.

If I had to make an estimation about how many people in America believe that Big Foot is real, it would be about a million, give or take.

How many people believe our politicians are lizard beings from other planets?  At least a few hundred.

Things like the Flat Earth society, or people who believe the Scottish are the lost tribe of Israel claim probably a million adherents, at least.  Feminists who believe that all PIV is rape, and that if men stopped existing women would spontaneously be able to reproduce on their own… well, they have to be in the low hundreds, all things considered.

UFOs? Ancient civilizations? That you can levitate the Denver Mint?  At least hundreds, probably thousands, maybe as much as a million.

Does this mean that the American people, as a whole really, really, believe all these things secretly?

Does this mean we give these people any head space in national discourse?

Uh… America is a nation of 300 million.  Even if a million people believe something, it’s one third of one percent.  America is no more crazy than most of the world, it’s just larger.  This means that a fringe is a significant number.

So, according to what I heard the events of Charlotteville involved maybe 400 people, both sides.

That is a fringe of a fringe.  One in 750,000 people.  More people than that assembled for street festivals when we lived in Manitou springs, a tiny Colorado mountain town.

If only 400 people read your book, you tank even in indie.  Of those 400 people, probably 300 were antifa, which is to say tugs who need money and are on Soros’ payroll.  The other 100 people were neo nazis of some description, or perhaps people who went along because their friends were going, or perhaps people who were there to see what happened.  And of course, some number of them were FBI agents, because some number always is at the KKK and Neo Nazi rallies.

These rallies have happened for a long time, all over America, without either violent confrontation or for that matter any noticeable increase in theory subscribers.

When we first moved to Colorado, 25 years ago, we were living near downtown in Colorado Springs.  This meant tons of parades went by our house, from Pride Parades to Old Car Parades, to “hey, we’re having a parade to celebrate our college graduation.”  The general procedure was to run to the window to watch the parade, particularly since our kid was one and a half and he loved music and people walking by.

So, one Saturday we heard a parade and ran to the window.  It was a KKK parade.  There were probably 100 people, marching down the middle of the street.  And people were ignoring them, and walking on.  No one died and also no one spent any time on social media talking about how this event betrayed the growing belief in white supremacy in America.

The reason no one died is that there were no antifa tugs pre-armed with baseball bats and whatever else they could grab.  And the reason no one thought this was a token of growing white supremacy is that, frankly, there was no social media and also the media itself didn’t bother covering the event.

There might or might not have been some article in the local paper, but if anyone read that, they shrugged and went “it was a hundred assholes.”

I don’t think I need to tell anyone that the neo-nazis are assholes, right?  They are also in general mentally ill and have other issues.  In the same way, the antifa are assholes and many of them are drug users or mentally ill.  In fact, the antifa tugs and the neo-nazi idiots have a lot more to do with each other than with the rest of the universe.  They are the fringe of the fringe.

In a sane world, the rest of the people would shrug and go “Yeah, two sets of fringe people fighting it out.  I’m interested.  Not.”

Instead, over the last few days, the media has been in a frenzy of finding racists under every bed; actual leftists are being turned against if they say we should pause and think about the events, and perhaps consider everything before pronouncing ourselves.  And people all over the spectrum are being denounced by the loony left as a secret Nazi.

Look, guys, I’m used to being called fascist and a nazi because I’m for limited government, individual rights and economic freedom.  Obviously someone who believes in the principle that hou shouldn’t hurt people or take their things must be….  No, wait, it’s not a Nazi, it’s a Libertarian.  Never mind. the left believes unless you endorse a big government capable of enforcing right think, you’re a Nazi.  It’s a form of mental illness I’ve become used to.

But now everyone is being called a Nazi and we’re getting the kind of “profound” psychological analyses that consists in saying “you said the antifa is also to blame.  You’re a fascist.”

Guys, fascists tell you they are so.  Neo Nazis ornament themselves with the swastika.  They are proud of their stupid beliefs.  They think everyone admires their courage.  Oh, yeah AND leftists aren’t given special psychic powers when they sign on for Marx’s team.  Most of them aren’t particularly empathetic.  They just think they are, because they tell themselves they’re doing things for “the downtrodden” or “giving voice to the voiceless.”

Most of what they’re giving voice to is their own inchoate prejudices, frankly.  And this is no different.  This is “everyone who doesn’t agree with me is Hitler and secretly a neo-nazi.”

I was highly amused at being called anti-Semitic on an echo of my post.  Because the caller was Jewish and communist (may G-d have mercy on his soul) and since I didn’t think socialism and communism were kind of sweet gentle ideals I must be anti-Semitic.  And also a neo-nazi.  Oh, yeah, and I was defending the neo-nazis in Charlottesville.

Again, may G-d have mercy on their souls.

When I blogged about this before people said it was nothing.  We’ve had such incidents before, and they passed.

People are right.  But in the past did we have such a critical mass of the young maleducated, who have been turned against their own country and are willing to believe the worst of their countrymen?  Did we have a media, balked of its power last November and anxious to burn it all down?  Did we have aging sixties activists viewing this as their last chance to strike a blow for the revolution?

I’m not afraid of the two sets of asses in Charlottesville.  They are the the fringe of the fringe, and no more significant for public discourse than those who really think we should send a strong message to alpha centuri who are sending lizards among us disguised as humans.

I’m afraid of the idiots who take that tiny, fringe event, and then read the tea leaves to imagine that their country men are “white supremacists.”

They are the people who worry me.  Because if they don’t stop the nonsense, it’s not going to end well.

For anyone.


And so it’s come to this… – a blast from the past from November 2014

And so it’s come to this… – a blast from the past from November 2014

When I was young I was a liberal.  Well, not by the standards of where I lived, but by the standards of the US.  Impossible not to be a liberal when you’re raised in Europe.

Here are some of the things I believed from an ESR post which you should definitely read in its entirety:

    • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
    • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
    • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
    • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
    • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
    • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
    • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
    • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

Okay, I never believed that first one.  For some reason I had a burning passion for the truth.  That whole thing about hungering and thirsting for justice?  Well for me, raised in a village, and seeing people’s characters distorted by malicious gossip, the first and almost the only aim of justice was to re-establish the truth.

There is a story I was told as a child — those not raised in Catholicism, please bear with me — of a man who was a murderer, a thief, a blasphemer, and who died.  As he was plunging into hell, a chain caught him by the leg and held him up.  He noticed the chain had beads and, looking up, heard a voice say they were the beads of the rosary.  You see, even though he didn’t believe, in the rosary or in religion at all, he prayed it every night, because his mother had asked him to.  And that single virtue had saved him.

In the same way, what saved me was that single quest for truth.  It’s impossible to look at those statements above and not think “wait a minute.”

I read the Gulag Archipelago at 14 and I thought “no, you can’t say the anomie of capitalism or the heart break of the downtrodden in capitalist societies is like that.” Yes, they can sort of, compare Dickensenian England (and having read other stuff, Dickens was just another left partisan selling us a bill of goods, sorry) to the communist system, but that wasn’t even capitalism as such.  That was capitalism under a monarchy in a time when the technology was just efficient enough to be brutal.  Capitalism had moved on from the early twentieth century.  It was communism that hadn’t. And worse, they kept pretending the happy people of Brutopia were all happy and stuff.

I couldn’t stand it, and that set me on a quest to figure out the truth of all these received shibboleths so deeply embedded in the culture by the late sixties that they seemed to be divinely ordained.

There were things  that looked at in the light of day were laugh-inducing.  No, seriously.  Like America being just as bad as any place else, while multitudes were going broke trying to get here.  Just get here.  And not always for the money, either.  I knew a high school teacher who was trying to get here (legally.  She’s probably still waiting) just for the chances to be and become and learn.

And that one about Europe being rich because the third world was poor?  A neighbor tried this one on me.  He was communist, see.  And what he used instead of the third world was Portugal.  He must have got hold of the wrong leg of the lizard at some point, because “Portugal doesn’t create its own computer, because America won’t let them compete with IBM.”  Well, I was fourteen, and I wasn’t stupid.  America couldn’t make laws in Portugal, and Portugal had — in fact — expropriated the property of American citizens during the revolution.  So that was not what he meant.  If he meant because IBM was there already, that’s nice, but given how Portuguese patent and copyright laws are about as enforced as China, that too didn’t make sense. So what was the difference?  Well, Portugal had the highest number of national holidays in Europe at the time.  It averaged to two or three a month.  And I knew that — sheer application — was part of the issue.  But not all of it.  Portuguese are clearly not lazy, because those who emigrate work like mad. So I came to the conclusion it was the combination of a dysfunctional culture where you were treated with derision for doing something outside your class and where work was not ennobling and so being seen to work was a bad thing.  (While among foreigners you could do it.) Add to it a tradition bound teaching system as reliant on memorization as China or the Arab countries, and a built in respect for “the way things are done” which extends to the regulations, and even geniuses ended up just working for the government because it was easier.  (From what I hear of writers in Portugal, it still is.)  What all this had to do with America was beyond me, except that America was easy to blame and that kept Portugal from doing the incredibly hard and perhaps impossible (these things are very difficult) work of retooling its culture into something more functional.  It could go on being proud of its history and saying it was the best ever, and not examining itself in the critical light of day, beyond the “revolution” (actually a series of them) that changed the old boss for the new boss and made some adjustments (some of them very beneficial) but did not unleash Portuguese productivity or creativity.  (Just made them into another tired Euro country.)  I can’t imagine that the third world is any better.  In fact, having family in several of these “downtrodden” countries, I knew they were, on all counts, far, far worse.

Yes, America propped up some dictators now and then.  FORTUNATELY I’d read history which means I knew two things: the dictators that America propped up were no matter how bad superior to the communist ones*.  And in a cold war all nations do that sort of thing.  It’s not moral from an outsider, floating above point of view. But it is moral from the point of view of protecting your own people and allowing them to survive.

As for criminals being victims of society — pfui.  I was fortunate (!) to spend fifth and sixth grade in a school where a lot of what we’ll call for lack of a better word the “feral underclass” attended.  There was no virtue.  They were not victims.  They were enjoying themselves terrorizing the law abiding.  I could spew this stuff on command in essays for Portuguese class, but it was not true and I knew it was not true. One of my own cousins belonged — by choice — to the feral underclass. He was still in sixth grade at 14 and his parents asked me to tutor him.  Tutor him?  He hadn’t any problems learning, but he was having so much fun beating up teachers after school and stealing money from little girls who wouldn’t fight back.

Was he a victim?  Sure he was.  He was a victim of doting parents, so enthralled of the fact they’d finally produced a son that he could do no wrong (in terms of the deep culture that we talked about here before, that passes in families, there might have been reinforcement since his mother — from place of birth and names in family– came from moorish traditions.)  They’d failed to instill in him the virtues that would have allowed him to thrive in a free society.  So he was a victim all right.  Of his family.  What the rest of society had to do with this is beyond me.

But though he came to grief later, particularly after his father died, yeah, he was having a good time.  He was nobody’s victim.

Those two years also were the ones I got put in “coventry.” For social and political reasons no one at that school spoke to me in public.  (I did have a friend, but she was on afternoon classes, while I was on morning classes.) Well, no one till I accrued a cottery of real victims. They were the deformed and the small, the poor and the despised.  I’d beat up their tormentors and they clung to me.  That was fine, (and some of them learned to fight back.  Beware the frightened rabbit in a pack) but they weren’t especially virtuous.  Some were very nice people, but some weren’t (being ostracized for that long twists you) and none of them would have benefited from staying victims.  That’s just stupid talk.

So I came to doubt all of those shibboleths, which is a good thing because it turns out, as ESR explains in the article, that we have proof all of these were dreamed up by soviet operatives (Stalinist) and implanted in our culture amid the idiot fellow travelers, in order to corrupt and destroy the west.

In that sense it is literally malware uploaded to a healthy culture, to destroy it from within.

Those of you who are computer programmers know what must be done with malware — it must be uprooted, root and branch.

Now, the problem is that it resides in everyone’s heads by now, even our own, having been propagated by our art, our culture, our news, even, which we trusted to be neutral.

And we don’t want to trash the infected sectors, i.e. get rid of the people running the zombie program of dead Stalinists.  We can’t, because all of us are infected, to an extent.

It might come to a blood bath, but if it does the system will be permanently crippled and diminished — and because we’re humans, not bits and bites, it’s worth mentioning some of the more infected bits are our friends, our neighbors, our family members.  So it might come to a blood bath.  In fact, I’m very afraid that’s the path we’re on, but we as free men and men of good will, we owe it to ourselves to do what we can to avoid it.

So, our path is more difficult.

For years, my husband has despaired of watching movies with me, because I have that truth-checking program in my head.  Hit three or more of those pat “everybody knows” above, and I leave the room, no matter how engaging the romance wrapped around it.  You see I grew up, literally, in a socialist country, surrounded by propaganda at all times.  It was so heavy handed you couldn’t help but see through it.  And I did.  Which means like someone who’s been immunized, I’m sensitive to the virus and anti-bodies deploy.

The funny thing is in the age of Obama, he’s started seeing some of it too, with the result that his favorite romcoms right now are Japanese and Korean.

For years, to, it qualified my enjoyment of books.  I can stand more in a book than in a movie, but hit me too many times with the “everybody knows” or the mini-truths being propagated from above (like “Obama care rescued us all from death, hallelujah” which I’ve been seeing in movies and some books. Or “everyone who opposes Obama is racist”) and the book takes flying lessons.  The same for the horrible oppression of women, and how all women in the regency were secretly suffragettes and PROBABLY hankered for abortions.  (Okay, it’s not that bad, but I’m tired of how in regency romances every female runs a shelter for abused women — rolls eyes.  Yes, there was a lot of that, but not THAT much.)

Look at those points above that ESR was so kind as to compile for us.  Memorize them.  Part of fighting the malware is knowing its code.  When you find it in your own head, eradicate it.

And write books that mirror how the world really works (to an extent.  You can’t do exactly because stories have to be more plausible and cohesive than reality) and propagate them.  If you can, homeschool your kids.  If you can’t, teach them to see through that propaganda in our culture.  Tell them the truth.  The enemy died of its dysfunctional culture, but these errors it “uploaded” in our system are designed to kill us.  Don’t let them.

It took over 1oo years to come to this.  We can’t recover in a year.  We’re going to have to take incremental steps, with infinite patience.

So it’s come to this.  It won’t be easy.  I think it’s doable, because their worldview in no way reflects reality and is collapsing in shards all around them.  But it won’t be easy and it won’t be fast and a lot of it will feel like, in Dave Freer’s colorful phrase “Taking on hell with a bucket.”

But then easy battles have no glory.  Go forth.  Fight the lies in your head, so you can fight them in others’ heads.  Write compelling stories and teach your children well.

Our culture can be saved. And we’re the only ones who can do it.

Now go.  In the end, we win, they lose. Make it so.

*This is because all communist dictators in fact became puppet viceroys of Russia.  But, you say, weren’t their counterparts American puppets?  Well, usually no, because America is REALLY bad at it.  It wins a war, it gives the country tons of money, but allows the enemy free rein to talk and subvert the peace.  No.  But even if it were, the problem is that the  Soviet Union, which, btw, ultimately meant the Russian Empire, was incapable of producing most of what its people needed.  So when they acquired these new territories, they became places to be exploited, their people slave labor and their product sent to Russia at a loss.  When America acquired sway over a country they wanted to sell them stuff and develop factories there while the cost of living was lower.  (No, that’s not the same as Russian slavery, because it allows the country thus “occupied” to catch up, see Japan and to an extent — hampered by its stupid communist/fascist regime, China — which of course brings up the anomie of capitalism which is literally worse than the gulags.  (If you think that think shame on yourself.))  If you want to know how much worse it was for a country to fall under the sway of Russia than of America, talk to Peter Grant who saw the destruction of the Portuguese colonies in Africa.  Be prepared.  He’s a GOOD man but not always a nice one.  Particularly to morons.

Fools to the Left of Me, Clowns to the Right

No one, not even Drudge is touching the Charlottesville insanity.  Or it wasn’t last night.  That is because “nobody knows nothing.”

Depending on what actually happened and why, this could very well be the fuse that heats the cold civil war.  And if you’re rubbing your hands, don’t be.  Go read about the type of civil war where the populations are thoroughly emulsified.  It’s not pretty, it doesn’t end sometimes for centuries, and it takes civilization down three levels, at least.

And yeah, to quote from the Ankhmorpork anthem “we own all your shoes, we own all your guns, we own all your troops, touch us and you’re done” is tempting, but not really.  Sure, we own all of those, or at least they’re mostly on our side.  The problem is that the other side has a near-psychotic disregard for everyone’s else lives and can build bombs.  They’re not GOOD at it, mind you.  The days of rage proved that.  They blow themselves as much as everyone else, but practice makes perfect, and if this starts we’ll have plenty of time for them to practice.

Then there is the fact that our barely existing Pax Americana (yeah, we SHOULD be thanking Obama for the “barely” in existing part) is not something that will continue while we take a jolly break to pound each other’s heads.

And yet, the way things have been going, with not only an entire cohort that was indoctrinated in Russian propaganda (originally) and then just in America-hatred in our best schools, it might be inevitable.  How long can a nation subsist with the enemy within?  Particularly when the enemy’s power is threatened by new technology.  Particularly when that enemy is financed by Soros who might very well BE the beast of the apocalypse?

In America, if it were healthy, the crazy that happened in the weekend would never have happened.  Both Nazis and communists have the right to say whatever the hell they want to.  As long as they don’t have power, let them scream.  But that’s not possible in the land of safe rooms and microaggressions.

Also in a healthy society, if the fracas had happened because of the usual provocateurs, the rest of society would shake their head and go “So much crazy.” not pile on (particularly on the left side) claiming this just proves all their theories.

And no, to whom it may concern, a region not wanting their past or their regional heroes erased to appease a vocal minority does NOT make them white supremacists.  This idiotic changing of names, removing of statues and erasing people from history is NOT the work of a free society.  It is wholly Stalinist and is letting the rest of the world know you by your fruits as it were.  I have nothing invested in the ACW, except for having studied it enough to know it was more complex than most people think, and I’m only “southern” by fiat of my friends, but even I get outraged at the erasing of the past of the region.  And you know damn well they’re coming for Jefferson and Washington next.  At which point they’ll have to go through me.  It’s the left’s old bullshit of removing the giants of the past so their diminutive stature looks tall.  Pfui.

I still hope it won’t come to physical fighting.  I don’t know if there’s a path where that doesn’t happen and worse doesn’t happen.  But I hope it doesn’t come to physical fighting because I don’t want to indulge the left’s fantasies, either their fantasies of revolution or their fantasies of martyrdom, and this would be one followed by the other.  I don’t want to indulge their wish to bring down America.  Pour oil on the waters wherever you can, and no sale their crazy as much as you can.

And if the evil must come, those of you who are praying people, pray that it’s short, relatively bloodless, and that what comes after doesn’t make the crazies of Charlottesville (both sides) look good.

This is my PJMedia work for the last weeks, and yes, I need to work more:

Mr. Acosta, Can You Hear Me Now?

Big Brother Is Listening to You

Those Who Walk Away From Feminism

A Message to the Children of the Revolution: Grow Up!

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Two Weeks Promo by Freerange Oyster

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is:fix

Two Weeks Promo by Freerange Oyster*

*don’t blame the mollusc.  We’re having some work done on the house, so he sent the promo two minutes after I’d put up the vignettes, but I was helping/suggesting/moving things and didn’t get to see it till late that night.

Amanda S. Green

Nocturnal Rebellion

Nocturnal Lives Book 5

All she wanted was a simple murder case, one uncomplicated by shapeshifters or interfering IAB investigators. What she got instead was much, much more.

Now three cops are dead and Mac’s world will never be the same again. It is up to her to find the culprits and bring them to justice. But what justice? That of cops and attorneys and criminal courts or that of the shapeshifters where there would be no record and a quick execution of punishment, whatever that might be?

As she walks that fine line, Mac walks another tightrope as well. Shapeshifter politics are new to her and, as she has learned, more complicated than anything she ever encountered as a cop. One misstep can lead to not only her death but the deaths of those she cares for. Like it or not, she has no choice because she has learned there are other things just as inevitable as death and taxes. Sooner or later, the world will learn that shapeshifters aren’t just things of legend and bad Hollywood movies. If that happens before they are ready, Mac and those like her will learn the hard way what happens when humanity learns monsters are real and living next door.

John Van Stry

Future Tense

Days of Future Past – Part 3

Since being brought forward in time to the post apocalyptic wastelands of what was once his home, life has been pretty hard on Paul. Though it has had two good points, namely Sarah and Heather. But now Coyote wants him to take care of the task that he was brought here to deal with in the first place: Aybem.

While it has always been clear that destroying Aybem is supposed to be Riggs’ job, Coyote remains unconvinced that Riggs can do it without Paul’s help. After seeing just what Riggs is capable of doing, Paul isn’t as convinced that he needs to be there, but he also knows he’s not going to get any choice in the matter.

And of course, just what does happen to you once Coyote no longer needs your help?

This is the last book in the Days of the Future Past trilogy, a story of a young man brought forward in time because he came to the attention of Coyote, who thought that the gods’ chosen hero just might need some help.

Cedar Sanderson

Snow in Her Eyes

Detective Amaya Lombard is a witch hunter and a damn good one. Hated by the magical because she works with cops, feared by cops because she works with magic, she walks a fine line between malice and murder. When an entire family dies in magic and blood, only Amaya can find the truth that lies behind the seemingly senseless mayhem… because even the dead deserve answers.

Pixie Noir

Pixie for Hire Book 1

You can’t keep a tough Pixie down…

Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she’s a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It’s nothing personal, it’s his job…

C.J. Carella

Havoc of War

Warp Marine Corps Book 5


A renegade American fleet has launched a genocidal counterattack against the Galactic Imperium. Empowered by entities from warp space, the Black Ships are about to unleash unspeakable evils on the entire galaxy. Only the US Navy has any hope to stop them, but first it must contend with alien armadas still intent on wiping out humanity.

At the forefront of battle, the Warp Marine Corps faces impossible odds. Armed with new weapons and wielding ancient technologies, Captain Peter Fromm and Colonel Lisbeth Zhang will fight not only for the lives of all humans in the universe, but their souls as well.

Havoc of War concludes the story that began with the Amazon best-selling novel Decisively Engaged.

On sale until August 14th

Decisively Engaged

Warp Marine Corps Book 1

They picked a fight with the wrong species.

A NATION AT WAR: The United Stars of America. Born in the conflagration of unprovoked alien attack, the newest entrant to galactic politics took the few crumbs of hypertech gifted to it and ran with them, soon expanding over dozens of star systems and establishing a wide trade network, protected by its powerful Navy and the dreaded Warp Marines.

A FIGHT TO THE DEATH: A single Marine platoon, tasked with protecting an embassy on a hostile alien planet. An embassy – and the human enclave around it – that soon finds itself surrounded by armed mobs. Can the Marines and a ragtag band of civilian and Navy personnel survive long enough to be rescued?

On sale until August 14th

Alma Boykin

Familiar Tales

Fear the Hamster! (No, seriously, that little guy’s spells pack quite a wallop.)

Five urban fantasy short stories about magic workers, their Familiars, and life in a world where magic may be mundane but it’s never dull. Humor, adventure, pathos, tax deductions, and a wolverine with serious white-coat-itis. And bad breath.

Laura Montgomery

Far Flung

In the very near future a seastead offers consumers a choice in governing systems. Navy Capt. Adam Tenney’s daughter takes that offer, but what can he do for her when pirates threaten the seastead, the U.S. refuses to recognize it, and he is trapped in a desk job on land?

All the Trouble in the World

All the Trouble in the World is a great PJ O’Rourke book, which I highly recommend, but that’s not important right now.

It occurred to me the reason we’ve got to this particular state of shambles is that we’ve given in to the therapeutic/do-gooder notion that we have to solve all the trouble in the world.

This is a relatively new notion.  it used to be, when the West was mostly Christian (with a smattering of Jewish) that we assumed the troubles the world is full of would get solved when the redemptive event happened, be it the second coming, or the first, or whatever that will return the world to its perfect state under divine rule.  And until then, fortunately, anyone who had it too bad on Earth got rewarded in heaven.

The problem is once you stop believing in that, no injustice, no ill, no lack of acceptance, no undeserved hurt could be ignored any longer.  It all had to be fixed, right now.  Justice had to be brought to every little creature.  EVERYONE had to be happy right now, because there as no other time to be happy in.  YOLO, am I right?

Except that humans are still humans.  You can’t make everyone happy and fulfilled.  H*ll, I’m my kids’ mother and have known them since they were born, and I can’t choose what would make them happy and fulfilled.  I’d never have picked the really hard paths they chose.  Why Robert thinks bliss is a packed ER room is beyond me.
Imagine me picking professions, payment, etc for total strangers.

And in the end that’s what that comes to.  People picking in what way strangers are to be happy.

Which means people end up very unhappy indeed.

But even on their own, people can’t be happy because not everyone can end up doing what they want/marrying whom they want/living the way they want.  A decent respect for the opinions of others might not hold us back but other things will.  There are only so many people who can be astronauts after all, say.  And no, not everyone can be a billionaire.

This workaday world doesn’t not have enough opportunities/rewards to make everyone happy.  Most of my friends had instead to make their own happiness, after their first run at careers/marriage/motherhood/whatever turned out quite different from what they wanted.  But they coped, they grew, and most of them found another kind of happiness, doing something else that was possible for them.

In most of the world that is called “being a grownup.”

The problem is that there are people who think you should be protected from every disappointment, every buffet, every slight.  Everyone who wants something must be given it.  No one can be told no, ever.

The problem is that when you do that to people they are not happy.  Sometimes what you want is not what you need.  BUT more importantly, you never learn to cope, with even minor set backs.  So they have no give.  The most minor issue will break them.  It’s no surprise they feel micro aggressions.  The princess can feel the pea under forty mattresses, after all.  People who’ve never been cut will howl at a pinprick.

But it corrupts the do-gooders too.  Their lack of success stings them.  Understand, most of them start doing this out of genuine good intentions.  And then it fails.  Someone else must be doing this.  It must be them, the haters, the wreckers, the saboteurs.

Because it can’t be human nature.

It all starts with good intentions.  And it will destroy us unless we rub their noses in the fact they’re paving the way to hell.

If You See Something, Say Something

So, between the book banners and those who would fire people for sourced documents stating what any neuro-scientist will tell you over breakfast, the left has been on a tear and is going insane.

It is not, as some of my very young friends think, that the left has more dominance or is going more bully-like than ever.

No, this is the mark of a cultural revolution, where the dominant faction is losing its grip.  You see, they controlled the entire culture for decades and anyone who talked back was “crazy” and anyone they declared evil or stupid was evil or stupid.

If you lived through the eighties, you remember all the jokes about Ronald Reagan being both evil and stupid, both on network TV and in casual, non political gatherings.  The media reporting made it seem so, so everyone KNEW so.

Yeah, sure there were those of us who resented this, but we said nothing, because ‘everyone knew” we were wrong and the left was right.  Places like Readers Digest which were supposed to be middle of the road published crazy stuff like that the president of Mozambique was only a nurse’s aid because under the Portuguese no black person was allowed to be a doctor.  Reading this, I threw the magazine against the wall, because my SIL’s best friend, whom she helped escape from Mozambique (because the revolutionaries idea was to send all the black women to cut down jungle for agricultural space in the country’s deranged version of the cultural revolution) was black and a medical student.  But for millions of middle Americans that lie became the truth, and the revolutionaries, an armed puppet-branch of the soviets, became “liberators” of “black people”. ..  who would allow them to be doctors.  (Sort of.  If they survived assignments cutting down jungle or acting as comfort women to the Cuban mercenaries sent over to help with the revolution.)

The narrative was so uniformly shaped, so pervasively pushed that not only wasn’t it possible to question it without sounding crazy, but the inherent contradictions of the left couldn’t be pointed out.

Now, the good little boys and girls, who have done their best to virtue signal, play by the rules, and always say what “everyone knew” are getting talk back.  Worse, some of these people, like Damore, have science on their side.  which initiates meltdown, defensiveness and what appears from our point of view like roid rage.

Asking simple questions like “If men and women are exactly alike, what does a company gain from increasing diversity?” pokes a huge hole in political correctness, and makes it impossible for them to hold these contradictory ideas in their heads in peace.  If they tell you it’s because little Suzie who wants to be a programmer is being discriminated against, ask why we should instead discriminate against little Bobby, who wants to be a programmer, if they’re both exactly alike in any thing but sexual organs.  We’re not hiring them have sex, are we?  If we must have affirmative action, wouldn’t it be better to pick those people who grew up in poor conditions or something, and ignore other characteristics?

Be polite, be firm.  Ask questions.  When they tell you that you’re a Nazi or literally Hitler, tell them you’re not, but you’ve been called worse.  Then go back to questioning.

Question them everywhere you can, on every front you can without endangering either your job, your life or your family.  Question, question, question.  Their philosophy is full of contradictions and they can only hold onto it by pretending they’re not there.  Don’t let them.

The crazier you make them, the more they flail about, the more the unengaged spectators see that they’re in fact crazy.  And the more we win.

It’s time to throw this bastard child of soviet agit prop int he ash heap of history.  Go out there and poke.  If you see something, say something.  Do not let them think they can go unquestioned.

The end result of their efforts is always a soulless, murderous society.

Use your snark for good, and your logic for fun.