Sausage, Dinosaurs And Culture

Amanda’s article at MGC yesterday linked to an article by some intellect-critter who referred to himself as having “made culture” for the last twenty years.

On reading that infelicitous phrase, I had two reactions.  The first was what my mom says, rather crudely, when someone is proud of something but the something is an actual mess.  It is meant as crudely as it sounds: “You may as well wipe your hands to the walls, then.”  The second was “And like making sausage, it’s a process that would do best remaining hidden.”

Shortly after that, I remembered a phrase that was popular among my ninth grade class (look, it was the times, but we were also precocious) “Hang all intellectuals.”

However, stepping back from the fact that I have a tiny little problem – almost unnoticeable, really – with authority, let’s consider the boast and what it meant, as well as the fact that this person thought it was not only something worth doing, but worth bragging about.

First, can you create culture?  Yeah.  You can.  It has been done at several times throughout history, sometimes better than others.  Shakespeare can be said to have created worldwide culture, to an extent, and various communists theocracies have created culture.  (what, you were under the impression it WASN’T a religion?  Let me see… prescribes what to believe on every case – check.  Has a completely coherent system that has no reference to reality and must be taken on faith – check.  When its prescriptions fail, time and again, the fault is of the imperfect humans who carry them out – check.  Has a myth of perfection “before the fall” – check.  And oh, yeah, aspires to creating a paradise with perfect people.  [Something only religions can aspire to.] The fact that paradise is in the ever-unobtainable future and that they don’t believe in personal immortality is truly no different than other historical religions.) Usually they didn’t create the culture they said they were creating, but well… that’s on a par with everything else.

To create culture you need only take over channels of information and entertainment as completely as possible.  This is, of course, more conveniently done via a totalitarian regime.  However, since humans are social creatures and want to stand “well” with their contemporaries and “embrace the tide of history” and all that, it can also be done in the way other social things are done: infiltration, bullying, but, above all the creation of a “cool” culture that everyone else wants to be part of.

It takes more time, mind, than simply commanding that people from now on will only believe this and thus – though we have that too.  No?  Try writing a government document without being thoroughly versed in “politically correct” language – or at least express this and thus.  However, it works just as well.  If you have a highly concentrated “mass” culture and you take over the critical and conceptual channels and start blasting at full bore that to believe anything but what you believe is uncouth, artists and other purveyors of entertainment and information will fall in line.  No, trust me on this.  I know my people.  Like any group that sticks out – no, really?  How many people do you know, other than writers, who are obsessed with getting “right” events that never happened? – we try to fit in in every way we can.  (Well, they do.  I don’t know.  Maybe in hopes of being killed last?  Me I live by the Heinlein dictum.  Better to be a live LION.)  And educators and other such?  Please.  Those aren’t even a challenge.  Any kid who goes to public school and can’t wait to return to it – unless he’s a very odd duck with a naturally subversive bent, and let’s remember subversives are of necessity few in any group – is by nature a conformist, forever trying to fit with the “right” group.

And there you have how we arrived at the culture of the last twenty years.  Ever since radio and TV became the main means of dissemination there’s been the “reality” that “everybody knew.”  Everybody knew it, not because they experienced it in their lives but because it was what came at them through schools, colleges, textbooks, tv, radio, newspapers and, oh, yeah, stuff read for entertainment too.

Everybody also knew that what they experienced in their real life was often at odds with what everybody knew.  No?  Come on.  You know it.  There are things that have been “true” in all those channels for years.  Things like “every religious person is an hypocritical criminal” – even though any of us knows religious people who live as close to their ideal as they can come.  And frankly, I’d rather entrust my kid to an evangelical Christian than to a homeless person in the park.  What?  Well, come on.  In movies, tv, entertainment and the news if they can slant it, it would be the other way around.

There are a hundred such things I don’t plan to list (it would take days.)  We all saw them, we all shook our heads over them, but we didn’t say anything because if we did people would think we were crazy.  You see, culture is in large part the stories we tell ourselves.  And the stories for the last… oh, eighty years, have been spinning increasingly loose from reality.

They always do to some extent, only the ability to broadcast them wide and have people go “well, it’s not that way for me, but maybe it is in the majority of the country” broke it free from “verification.”

And because in the way of the modern era professions – including those devoted to (gag) “creating culture” – tended to form their own echo chambers where they all went to the same colleges – or aspired to – and all knew what the “good places” to work were and followed people who worked there, the stories they told each other spun ever freer from reality.

In the heyday of this nonsense (if that bastard, Hegel, was right about something it was that when a system is at the top of its dominance, it is ripe to fall) in the early nineties, what ‘everybody knew’ actually proclaimed that any ninety pound woman could take out any man in a fight; that women enjoyed sex in exactly the same way as men and for the same reasons; that victims were always right; that “noble savages” (and therefore savages) were the most advanced form of humanity.

I wonder what would have happened if technology hadn’t shattered the unified means of distribution of “culture.”  I suspect that changing in the distribution of culture was inevitable, but there are several other outcomes that one can posit as an intellectual exercise: revolt, perhaps violent; revolt, non violent, just a moving of the posts of “cool” so they are the polar opposite of what they were then; or, more likely, increasing gazing past “culture” and eventually civilizational collapse.  Actually, civilizational collapse would be the result of the path we were on if people had continued on it, simply because the stories that made the culture were anti-survival.  If you go around afraid to entrust your child to your Christian friend and thinking that every muttering vagrant is not only a heart of gold but a moral authority, your life will be short (but interesting.)  The same, writ large, goes for the culture.

At any rate, that is neither here nor there, since the technology changed.  Which is either a sign of someone driving this gig or of the fact that something in us knew the culture was going bad and we needed ways to change it.

It started with talk radio – and please remember the vilification of it.  Then with blogs.  And now it’s moved on to entertainment with music and books and, if we’re all lucky and there’s another technological step, soon it will be movies.

In every one of these small overturns, the pattern is the same.  The Lords of Entrenched culture, those who sold their soul for someone else’s cool are first shocked.  “What?  Someone is creating culture outside our channels?  Inconceivable.”  Then comes the mockery, “Those grubby people, in their pajamas.”  Then come outright attacks “the tone of blogs causes murders.  Eeeevil.”  Or “only idiots listen to talk radio” or…  Then comes the soft sobbing appeals “Can’t you see you’re destroying the true professionals?”

Along the way come dirty tricks, personal destruction of those they view as their enemies and often counterproductive attempts at countering what they view as wanton destruction.  They will never, ever, ever understand why talk radio that echoed the rest of the “culture making” apparatus didn’t succeed, for instance.  Nor will they ever GET why their “carefully vetted” newsites attract fewer readers than someone’s blog.  And they will NEVER understand why writers would rather go indie than jump through the hoops of political corrected.  Nor why readers would prefer to read stuff that hasn’t been made “politically correct.”  Why, why, “everybody knows” their world vision is right.

Being insulated from reality by their professional associations, their colleagues and peers and – often – by companies in which performance has become totally divorced from reality – as in publishing where numbers were more or less a function of what you put into them – they have no clue how different the stories have become from reality out here, in what the rest of us know as the real world.

I wonder if the dinosaurs looked up at the approaching meteor and simply denied it was there.  It was just a fad, that glowing thing in the sky.  They didn’t need to do anything differently.  It would all go back to normal soon?  Or if they raged that their rich culture was passing?

In either case, the result was the same.

And when I read intellectuals lament the “death of culture” I see dinosaurs lumbering around moaning that life on Earth is extinct forever.  Because they ARE life on earth.

Meanwhile, us mammals have work to do.  Those ecological niches aren’t going to fill themselves.

*crossposted at Mad Genius Club*

314 thoughts on “Sausage, Dinosaurs And Culture

  1. If your problem with authority is small, then my ego is no more than medium sized. Good to know!

    Speaking of filling those niches… Any word on how the reading is going on April submissions for Naked Reader?

    1. We’re in the middle of a recorganization because one of our first-line readers has to leave to finish his third novel. (it’s a loooong story) Also, Amanda has been ill and dealing with massive doses of RL, I’m not doing much better and…
      It’s on the upswing, but first we need to reorganize.

      1. Thanks! I really do understand. After all, you and Amanda have blogged about health issues and such. It’s just easier to be patient now that I know you haven’t abandoned NR. The site shows an update date from early 2011, so that’s like virtual cobwebs.

        1. Yeah, I sent a little note to the webmaster at Naked Reader about a corrupted query link, because I didn’t want to pester anyone else if they are not taking submissions this fall.

  2. Nobody actually laments the “Death of Culture” — what they are lamenting is the death of my culture. The plantation owners in America’s anteBellum South felt the same way.

    Zelazny’s Lord of Light makes the point that culture change requires a virus to subvert the dominant belief system and divert it, in his instance attacking a Hindu culture by introducing the Buddhist worm.

  3. TV has the ability to validate reality. What we see there defines “normal.” Thus overly “wise”, smart-alecky and cynical small fry and clueless parents replaced The Beaver and his Dad. Our “Culture” reflects reality, but too often we forget that the mirror is warped. All the more so since artists got filled with crap about Art’s true function is to challenge the culture. Tell that to Bach & Handel and pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.

    1. Just a kibbitz. When Bach and Handel challenged the culture it was a challenge to look above and to rise above — to bring out what they saw as the best. Many modern artistes seem to think that to challenge is to tear down.

      1. I submit the music of Heinrich Schütz. He introduced new styles of sacred music to Germany and wrote some magnificent and inspiring works – during the 30 Years War. He adapted to the lack of musicians and budget to produce truly lovely chamber works.

        1. I cannot resist. I hear the voice of Rod Serling.

          It can be impressive what human creativity achieve in the face of limitations. This is something we should remember and celebrate.

  4. I enjoyed this post Sarah –
    Actually I got a smile out of it, which makes it a 5 of 5 stars on my culture meter. 😉

    Those pesky dinosaurs have decided to infest my lawn. Oh, those are birds? Look like dinos to me. 😉

            1. A reminder: this is not a (partisan) political site. Snarky comments about recent “revelations” regarding the president being able to (mostly) trace his ancestry to the First African-American enslaved in America should be eschewed and spat out.

              1. While it’s not a partisan blog, I’d like to point out most genealogy as practiced now is a crock, and that particular piece was a bigger crock, and we all know what the crock is filled with.

                1. Non-partisan meaning that we don’t care who owns the crock. Between Fauxcahontas and this does it not seem the genealogists are working overtime to discredit their profession? IIRC, the rule of thumb is that if you go back 7 generations everybody is descended from everybody.

                  It does seem at times that genealogy shares with “past lives remembrances” that people trace themselves back to notables; I am more charmed by those who trace themselves to horse-thieves, adulterers and cowards — people somewhat more likely to have prolifically passed along their DNA.

                  1. Judging by the ancestors I know about, I’m mostly descended from polygamists and no-accounts. Now, some of those were good at some profession or other, but… polygamists and no-accounts.

                    1. Oh yea- polygamists in my family too… hardworking. If you go back to seven generations. My family started writing down their genealogy in the 1860s so we have a better line to there than most. We have a witchhunter, and a horse thief. On two lines we slide into the Norwegian and Dane kinglines (the one before this Dane line). The Dane kings by then were either nutso or very ill. My great-great-great grandmother was conceived when the current Dane king couldn’t sire a male (at the time it was entailed).

                      So the kingship went to another line. If you talk to the Danes they were happy because the line it went to was a hardier line (and actually not even from the same line–the queen had an affair with the king’s doctor and that line now holds the throne.)

                      My great-aunts on my mother’s side were looking into the Norwegian line. I guess when they talked to someone in Norway they triggered the king’s genealogists. My great aunts (this was in the 1960s) was invited to Norway to meet the king and family. So yea – we are distant cousins of the Norwegian king. It doesn’t matter… I still wouldn’t walk in and say HI CUZ. lol

                      So … yea – I don’t say that we are related to every important person… but we do have that travel and explore bug, which seems to plague the oldest known lines. 😉 They do lose their best and brightest that way too.

                    2. BTW just before her father died, my ggggrandmother gathered up her mother, husband, and others who lived on their estate and moved to the US. They supplied everyone that came with them with wagons, horses, oxen, and livestock – etc. None of the people who came with them died on the trail to Utah. …Now that is Noblesse Oblige.

                    3. I can only infer an occasional polygamist in my family, like the one who may or may not have sired my great grandfather by an Amerind slave. Based on what I know of my living and recently-living male relatives, it’s probably true (who, ME? I categorically deny having more than one wife. What’s that? Only because of lack of opportunity, you say? Uh…no comment). 🙂

                      My father has become interested in genealogy because of the above story, which was told as gospel (though the slave part was left out) by his father. One of the most fascinating things I find in my paternal line is that the generations coming down to me average 41 years per, so I only have to go back 5 generations to get to the time of the American Revolution.

                    4. While I’ve never really studied my ancestry, I don’t know of any true polygamists in it. (if you go back far enough they will be in everybodies since it was practiced the world over at one time or other). My grandpa did go to jail for bigamy however, not a true polygamist since he didn’t live with both wives at the same time, he just didn’t bother to divorce one after they split, and married my grandmother a couple years later. She was unaware he had not gotten a divorce, until an irate women showed up on her doorstep a year or two after they got married, wanting to know what she was thought she was doing with ‘her’ husband. When she started to cuss my grandma out, my grandma proceeded to lay her out on the porch, and slam the door in her face, things went downhill from there 😉

                  2. 33% of people in Ireland are members of my clan by surname, and obviously the percentage of relatives is higher. We have a pretty high percentage in the US also.

                    So in the genetics sweepstakes, we won!

                  3. You’d have loved my great aunt– she traced back, found we were related to Wild Bill on one side and a guy who was such a sheep thief that they hung him and his dog.

                    She was more likely to admit the latter, rather than the former!

                    1. My dad says that people do sometimes deserve punishment, animals and infants never do. I mean, you still need to yell and smack their noses to train them, but they don’t do wrong on PURPOSE.
                      (of course, dad never met my cats.)

                    2. It is not that your cats do wrong on purpose, it is that they refuse to conform to your repressive bourgeois value system.

                    3. actually there is some support for all of us being descended from famous people. I’m not sure how much I believe this (mind) but there is a sociological model that claims that until about the eighteenth century poor families went one or two generations and disappeared. Then they were replenished from above. If that’s true we’re all ultimately descended from kings, for our shame. I think it’s greatly exaggerated, (Southampton was descended three or four generations back on the mother’s side from a shepherd in Shakespeare’s area and we know hemophilia entered the royal lines of Europe through a humble tailor. So we know sometimes the movement went the other way. And I know in Ancient Rome at least the rumor went that half the babies were sired by gladiators and slaves.) though of course the way kings flung it around they did spread their genes.

                    4. Pretty cool- I am related to Capt Jefferson Hunt – he would take wagon trains through from SLC to California. He was a polygamist too. Plus even more interesting he told the Donner party not to go through the northern passes when they did. (it was too late in the year).

                  4. As far as tracing back to … “interesting” folk, I don’t have much. My great-great-grandfather (or perhaps there should be an extra “great-” in there, I don’t recall exactly) was a riveter in the Belfast shipyards. Pretty boring.

                    … At least until you read that the Titanic sunk because of substandard rivets. And where was it built? In the same shipyards where my (g?-)g-g-g’father was a riveter. Though of course, he wasn’t the one who made the decision to use lower-quality iron in the rivets. Probably. 🙂

                  5. My mom’s mom traced one line of family back to one of the English kings — on the wrong side of the blankets. Does that count for “adulterer”? ;D

                2. No fooling’ it’s a crock. And unless you have very closely documented matrilineal descent, then you’ve also got a statistical problem once you go more than about ten generations.

              2. Whoa… Did I step in some controversy I’m unaware of? I was just quoting Heinlein.

                1. No. Quoting Heinlein is always allowed. But you might want to google genealogy and the current president and recent news, for an eyefull (almost typed eyebull) of how crazy stuff has gotten.

                  1. It is an instance of identity politics gone mad. A massive protest by “African-American” preachers deploring the presidential endorsement of gay marriage needed to be refuted, so hey-presto! the president has descended. Values, schmalvues, he looks like them so they must vote for him*.

                    *Does not apply when candidate in fact embodies both values and identity of class represented; that is an instance of false consiousness and inauthentic personification. See: “Sarah Palin is not a woman, she’s a Republican.”

                  2. No thanks. Politics is well into the Crazy Years already, and it’s only the start of August. It’s all Theatre of the Absurd designed to divide us, make us angry, and distract us from the state of the nation.

                    1. Not “Crazy Years” — try “Era of Limited Choices” (see Chapter Two of _Fallen Angels_ by Pournelle, Niven, and Flynn — available via the Baen Free Library, no less).

                  3. I think typos can be some of the funniest things at times. I almost typoed “rock the boar” yesterday, instead of “rock the boat”.

                    1. I almost typoed “rock the boar” yesterday, instead of “rock the boat”.

                      Isn’t rock the boar a game that Obelix plays?

              1. Every time I try to take a picture, he stops and stares. Pets and small kids, they never cooperate for the camera.

  5. Academia is in the throes (throws might be better) of a dinosaur battle – administrators who want numbers, professors who want to keep their lifestyles, and those who think super-sized on-line courses are the solution to everything. Meanwhile, small mammals in the form of people who just want to teach, people who do non-PC research, and a few brave souls daring to ask “is not the purpose of a university to teach those who truly want to learn advanced skills, rather than to make up for terrible high schools and to allow teenagers another four years of responsibility-free recreation?” are running around under the feet of the stomping dinos. And a few really outside types are standing in the 800s and 900s at the public library whispering, “psst, wanna hire a tutor for your home school student so he can take college-level courses at home?”

    1. MIT and Harvard are going to kill most of the excessively expensive college programs as they add more and more online classes. Others will begin to follow suit. Once that happens, the whole “Education bubble”, as Glenn Reynolds calls it, will burst.

      Online courses aren’t for everyone. You also don’t “get the college experience that being on campus provides”, but in many cases that may be a blessing. More than a third of my credits were through correspondence. They still count, and I still learned quite a bit. As the dinosaur “university experience” costs more and more, and fewer and fewer people are willing to go into debt for the remainder of their lives, other options will emerge. The same thing that happened with indie press will happen to colleges – someone will provide a way that’s cheaper, more appropriate, and more useful than “African-American Transgender Social Philosophy”. Just as there is a limited number of requirements for biographies of 6th-Century vintners, there’s a limited number of requirements for such degrees. Once that number is reached, each additional biography or degree only burdens the market and brings down the price one is willing to pay for it.

      The good thing about indie, just as it is about online courses, is that the more there are, the more chances each person has of finding a niche. Want a degree in the history of stereo? Eventually there will be such a degree available – but it won’t be on campus. That would be too expensive. However, if there’s a market, someone will find a way to supply it. Want to write dystopian human-wave zombie horror? Those that are looking for that will eventually find you and buy your books.

      The future’s best defined as a blind man holding a 12-ounce tumbler, standing in a torrential downpour. He can’t catch it all, but there’s no excuse for his glass to be empty.

  6. Which leads, yet again to the necessity of preparing ourselves and others to engage the present culture. The Spouse will attest that I have argued that part of what contributed to the present mess was an unwillingness or inability on the part of our elders to explain the underpinnings of the their culture. Those who were trying to create a new culture took every advantage. So we heard let’s not actually read The Federalist Papers, they are difficult and archaic. Besides, there is all this important new scientific stuff we need to present. And Sex ed, too.

      1. One of the reasons the West went a little nutty after WWI, and TOTALLY nutty after WWII, is that so many of the best and brightest young men from all sides were removed from society in their teens and twenties. What was left were the dullards, the stick-in-the-muds, and the easily frightened. It usually takes three or four generations before that inequality of resources (the lack of bright, resourceful, capable young men) can be remedied. I have a friend who thought that the Russians understood this enough that they provoked wars between others and the US, to keep the US drained of its best people. What it really did in reality was develop a volunteer-only army of very bright, very capable people that SURVIVE. Another outcome of the constant wars – and other stupidity – was a growing disrespect by the military for politicians.

        The current “culture” can be destroyed if less than ten percent of the professors that now teach suddenly put their entire course material online, and provided open access. Sell it on Amazon, just as those of us who publish indie do. Charge a minimal amount ($3-$5) for the course material, then charge another, somewhat more substantial amount ($25) for the final exam and credit. I’m sure many of the online colleges would accept those credits toward a degree. That would make most college professors a nice, six-figure income (or broke) over time, while totally destroying the modern “university”. The quality of education can’t be destroyed any more than is currently being done, and it would totally bankrupt the “student aid” monster.

        1. That is generally considered the reasoning behind Katyn Woods.

          This can happen on smaller scale, too: the town in which I grew up lost its leadership elite in a plane crash (Huntington WV; the plane that took out the Marshall University football team also took out the team boosters: the mayor, city council people, Jaycees and other civic leadership) and has withered ever since in spite of numerous favorable circumstances.

        2. Don’t forget the Spanish flu epidemic, which mostly killed the middle-aged and adults who were still fairly young.

          Oddly, it turns out that my metropolitan area had something like 50,000 cases but only 574 deaths. Of course, it only lasted two and a half months here, and public stuff was closed down early. But they also had this idea that fresh air killed the flu. So they had people sleeping out on the roof of the hospital until it got really cold. (And this was November.) And they closed churches, but thought it would be okay to have open-air church services. Um. But mostly, people were pretty sensible about it and learned something by the bad experiences of other towns.

          1. Shhh! Can’t say “Spanish flu”. That’s racist, or something. I don’t understand; but if Sarah can’t say it even at LIBERTY CON, it must be pretty awful!

            1. ROFL. It wasn’t me. it was poor Stephanie Osborn. We got this waspish put down from the other side (possibly in all senses) “That’s a slander on the Spanish.” At which point Robert leaned over to me and said “Put your hand up and say that slandering the Spanish is your cultural right, being Portuguese born” I said “Yeah, but Les Johnson is moderating and I REALLY like him and don’t want him to have a nervous break down.”

              1. I believe the word slander is itself an ethnic slur, reflecting Roman hostility toward the Slan of Central Europe, therefore the protesting audience member was engaging in invidious language and should be ashamed.

                Mind, I believe in a great many things that are not well-founded in history or reality, but any effort to disprove my assertions is an obvious instance of oppressive assertion of hegemoniacal authoritarianism and demonstrate the hierarchical totalitarianism of the … I’m sorry; what was the question? Oh, yeah: a quick etymological Google shows it comes from the French and Latin, deriving from the same root as scandal.

              2. No — it’s a slander against the flu; who’d want to be associated with the psychotic morons responsible for the SPANISH Inquisition? The flu didn’t know what it was doing; the Spanish *did*…. >:)

          2. I watched, with great interest, a science special on PBS on the great flu outbreak. Part of the problem with that flu was that it thrived deep in the lungs, making the young and healthy more likely to succumb to it.

  7. As for the ‘everybody knows’ – what about the poisonous meme about those violent, racist, crazy Tea Partiers. There are still those who believe it with their whole heart, having seen it on TV. And the other one, about the ubiquity of gays – wasn’t there a survey circulated recently, which had Americans wildly overestimating how large a proportion they actually are?
    My own favorite meme was the one about the noble savages. One of the alpha readers of my own books went into a tizzy about that. (Nice woman, teaches English and creative writing at a local junior college – friend of my mother, that’s how I had her as an alpha reader.) Well, she came unglued at my completely historically accurate discriptions of Comanche raids into Texas in the mid-19th century; straight-out murder, torture, gang-rape and enslavement of captives, etc. etc. It’s been years, and I don’t think she has calmed down about it yet.

    1. Huh. In the very PC 1970s, up Abbie Gardner-Sharp’s narrative of the Spirit Lake Massacre. No more noble than anyone else.

      1. Some of my relatives died there – the Howes. All eight of them were killed, including the women.

        I had no idea there was a book about it. (ponders) I guess I do want to know… maybe not in detail.

        1. “t was one of the last captivity narratives written of European Americans’ being held by Native Americans.”


          What do you suppose the statute of limitations is on applying the qualitative suffix to the term “American”? I suppose we can check to see how long it was from when the first Asians came over the Bering Straights and get an idea how long we’re going to be seated with “European”.

          Take heart, though. At some point, Native Americans were able to officially shuck off their previous “Asian” moniker. Is the current countdown to our being natives at 20k years or so?

          1. Amerindians. No, it’s not accurate — what the heck is? Is there some “perfect” name for any race/country/culture? They all, in their native languages, mean “the people.” Dutch have never complained of the gross misunderstanding of their moniker in English. Nor have the Germans, for that matter. So, can it. Amerindians.

            1. AH! I’d forgotten “Amerindians”. I can live with that one. Does that make me an Amereuropean or an Euroamer?


              Hey…Euroamer kinda rolls off the mental tongue, doesn’t it? Do not picture mental tongues while reading this. Stop it.

                1. We used to hear the word “Ameridian” in Europe, but I have to say we always said American Indian or for the people from India …India Indians. 😉 I just use NA when I get dirty looks or I want to be cool. (Since it is almost 100 degrees today, being cool is important). (I can’t run away… so tiptoeing away).

                  1. We always just simply called them Indians, and when people from India started showing up occasionally (immigrants) they were India Indians. Although I have typed it occasionally when talking to non-local people, I don’t believe I have ever called them Native Americans verbally.

              1. Euroamer sounds like something that shouldn’t be sold to anyone under 18. (especially if your picturing mental tongues)

              2. Would you please mind yourself? Euroamer? Euro-yammer? Eu-roarer? ugh? spit! It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

                BTW the suffix eu in Koine Greek means good. Just thought I would add to the pot which too many cooks are already attending.

            2. Is there some “perfect” name for any race/country/culture?

              The Dearly Departed?

              I think the Greeks had it right: if they ain’t “my” people they are Barbarians.

              ‘Sfunny – do you hear the Beach Boys?

              Uh bah bah bah bah Barbarian
              Bah bah bah bah Barbarian
              (Oh Barbarian)
              Oh, bah bah bah bah Barbarian
              (Take my land)
              Bah bah bah bah Barbarian

          2. I was told to either use Native American or (preferentially) the name of the group (whatever is currently in use). A few people are using Native to mean American Indian, and some Indian Peoples are getting irritated by the fuss and all themselves American Indians. No matter what you write, someone’s going to be ticked. Thank heavens the Comanches are not utterly insistent about people using their Comanche-language name, because I can’t afford that character set right now.

    2. My great-great-great grandfather was William (Billy) Weatherford, also known as Red Eagle. He participated in the 1814 Red Sticks attack on Fort Mimms, in Alabama as a war leader. He made his warriors promise not to slaughter those inside the fort, who were related to most of the Lower Creeks at that time. Once the fort was breached, however, the Upper Creeks took over, and massacred more than 300 people inside. Billy Weatherford had gone back to his home to get another horse, since the one he had been riding had either been killed or ran away. He was so disgusted with the massacre that afterwards he went back to his plantation and refused to engage in any Amerindian business after that.

      As for “noble savages”, read James Mitchener’s “Centennial” about how the Arapaho Indians treated the wives of warriors when they died, or some of the works of early Western writers who actually LIVED among them. They were men, no more nor any less noble than any other group of men.

      1. Steven Le Blanc’s books are also good antidotes for the “peaceful, all-wise Indian” myth. He’s the anthropologist who finally shattered the legend about how there was no violence in the Anasazi and later Four Corners peoples’ world. Um, folks don’t build little fortresses in P.I.T.A. to reach locations just for a lark.

        1. Um, folks don’t build little fortresses in P.I.T.A. to reach locations just for a lark.”

          My minds made up, don’t try and use logic to confuse me.

        2. T.H. Fehrenbach’s “Comanches – The History of a People” is a good cure for the ‘peaceful Indian’ myth, even though it’s out in another edition lately, with a slightly more touchy-feely subtitle. What will really put the nail into that meme though, would be Michno’s “A Fate Worse Than Death” – a collection of 19th-century captivity accounts. I honestly couldn’t read more than a chapter or two, since just about all of them began with bloody murder/grotesque torture and mutilation/gang rape of adult female captives.
          This last practice did come back to bite the Comanche, though. According to Fehrenbach, there was an awful problem with fertility among those various tribes. The life was harsh, of course – but Comanche women eventually bore so few children that in order to keep the numbers up, they adopted young and amenable child captives right and left. (Cynthia Ann Parker being the primary example.) It is also speculated that the Comanche war-party custom of gang-raping captured women very likely introduced syphilis into the tribes. All it would have taken to spread it widely was a couple of infected woman captives over the years, passed around to the members of a Comanche war party … who went back to their village and infected their wives … and then the epidemic took it’s course.
          Not politically correct to point all this out, of course. But TH Fehrenbach did report the existence of a semi-legendary Comanche tribal division (there were quite a few, upwards of a dozen and more) who were known by a name meaning roughly “their privates have rotted off.”

          1. Unfortunately… they aren’t sure if Indians gave the world syphilis or it was the Europeans. I have heard so many different theories that I am confused. IMHO I think everyone had a form of sexual disease. I could be wrong though.

            1. In any case, apparently it was endemic in Northern Mexico by around the end of the 18th century … where the Comanche were raiding pretty frequently. But again – all it would have taken was one or two.

              1. I’d like to point out the Amerindian tribe behavior is much the same as we believe the Celts were. It’s completely human. And NEITHER were noble savages. There are no noble savages. Man unreedemed by aspiring to higher behavior is much, much worse than animals. And humans who think ONLY their tribe is human will behave bestially to everyone else.

                1. Bite yore tongue, gel!!! No Noble Savages??!! Might as well say no unicorns, no elves, no naiads or dryads! Next you’ll be saying there are no trolls!

                    1. In one of the Monster Hunter International books, we met a Troll who is also an Internet Troll. [Wink]

                    2. Not a lot of them. At least, not around here. Of course, the way all of us jumped on the last one, he’s probably looking for a bridge to haunt in Svalbard.

                  1. One more proof that there has been a general abandonment of logic and an adoption of cognitive dissidence. The same generation that were raised on the idea of noble savages also were fed with Lord of the Flies.

                    1. I’ve had this argument plenty of times with Ann Althouse, regarding the “Boomers” and their various impacts on the country, the culture, etc. We may really be looking at the intellectual equivalent of a Lost Generation. An entire group of people (the leadership class of that generation, economically/politically/academically) who’s worldview rotated around what they wanted life to be rather than the way the world actually operates.

                      My take on it is pretty simple. Taken as a whole, are the aggregate contributions along those three axis positive or negative. I suspect we’re still a little too close to the forest to see just yet, but I imagine by the time the Gen X’s are retiring, we’ll have a much better idea.

                    2. Ah. But that correlates. See, civilized man having committed the original sin of civilization can’t revert to noble savage except through willful destruction of the culture. If they merely lose civilization, then their evil comes out.

                      It’s a religion. It’s a stupid, joy-killing, human-destroying religion. We must see it for what it is, and then destroy it. I can think of only one traditional religion that destroys everything it touches as thoroughly as cultural marxism, and it too is a socio-political system more than a system for individual salvation. And interesting, it and marxism seem to think they’re natural allies.

                2. Having a strong Celtic ethnic background (mixed with Picts, Danes, Norse, Roman, and anything else that could be captured and brought back for the “benefit” of the tribe), I have to agree. I don’t practice cruelty, but if push came to shove, I’m certainly not squeamish about doing whatever is necessary to ensure the continued livelihood of me and my (extended) family.

        3. Um, folks don’t build little fortresses in P.I.T.A. to reach locations just for a lark.

          Rolls eyes and dryly quips: Oh, I though it was to stay above the flood plain.

          1. I thought it was to get better reception. Radios and tv’s built with the latest paleolithic tech are shit for reception. They had to actual real rabbit ears, you see.

            1. Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
              They’re the modern stoneage family,
              From the town of Bedrock,…

    1. It’s also culture he makes that (I’m guessing) doesn’t support itself through sales and is propped up by the sales his publisher makes from other “non-cultural” books that people actually want to read.

  8. if we’re all lucky and there’s another technological step, soon it will be movies

    I’m still shocked that “The Incredibles” even got made. They did, however, cut a backyard bbq scene in which a bunch of DINK and yuppie women square off against Mrs. Incredible and other stay-home moms. That one was story-boarded, but never got animated.

  9. if we’re all lucky and there’s another technological step, soon it will be movies

    The other, more snarky answer (as I’m not a very snarky person) would be, “dammit…Kirk Cameron is making movies as quick as fast as he can!”

  10. Amusingly, indie stuff can also please the people who think that political correctness A) has lost sight of the intent in the shallows of appearance, and/or B) isn’t going far enough.

        1. at any rate “political correctness” was a Maoist concept and has nothing to do with advancing or improving a free culture.

          That is what any reactionary would say when confronted with the Truth of the dialectic.

      1. which is why so many trad books are an army of clones

        Wait. Someone’s done an army of clones before? Dammit. Another ten years of work down the drain…

              1. Speak, tangentially, about Star Trek, I jotted down a quip from a background character, said before they understand how serious the situation is. When they first see the huge cylindrical ship, he jokes, “Quick. Someone google the world’s population of humpback whales.” Answered by nervous laughter and a stern look from the second-in-command.

                1. There’s a reason why Arthur C. Clark has that bit in “Rendezvous with Rama” about why the captain insists that his female crew wear “chest harnesses” before coming onto the bridge while in reduced G. Something about distractions and accidents. I imagine Starfleet has a similar regulation for gravitational failures. The, ahem, knock-off movies (knock-up movies?), probably not so much.

                    1. But their healthcare costs would sore, not to mention all of the training hours teaching people how to properly fly across the screen during an engagement.

                      On a related note, anyone ever slam a 500 meter long cylindrical spacecraft massing around 700,000 tons into a body of water on Earth? How did that go for you?

                    2. On a related note, anyone ever slam a 500 meter long cylindrical spacecraft massing around 700,000 tons into a body of water on Earth? How did that go for you?


                    3. Hmm. Is it possible that it would be hot enough that it would flash-evaporate the water before actually touching it? I’ve currently got it equipped with tokamaks, as standard gear, which safely direct re-entry plasma around the ship, but in this scene, the system is failing over most of the structure, allowing things to get very, very, very hot.

                      I suppose, even if it didn’t actually touch water because it flash boiled the impact site, it would have to be relatively shallow for it to hit the river/lake/sea/ocean bottom before coming into physical contact.

                      Regardless, as I’m already two paragraphs into overthinking it, a bow wave or shock wave would make a splash 🙂

                    4. The fact that they actually held on when the “Inertial Dampers” overloaded was what amazed me. They should have either been fine, or else they should have been paste on the bulkheads.

                    5. I had to reread your post, first time I read it I read that you had it equipped with tomahawks; and I was confused how a strange choice of survival gear could redirect plasma.

                    6. They have to be really big tomahawks and they have to be wielded by extremely large, well-insulated Cherokee. For some reason, no other nation will work and they just incinerate after the craft strikes the atmosphere. This is one reason it’s so, so, so important to hit the atmosphere at the correct angle. Too steep and you burn up your Indians. To shallow and you buck ’em right off.

                    7. This is why Ted Turner should be tried for treason. Betraying state security secrets by encouraging fans of his Atlanta Braves to reveal the “Tomahawk Chop” on international television broadcasts. “America’s Team” my broad and hairy!

                    8. I know Scott already responded to you, bearcat, but I was thinking maybe they were Tomahawk Missiles with Tokamak warheads?

                    9. Scott –
                      You mean Mohawks won’t do? I know that there are so few of them now and are in Canada… but they do look sturdy. 😉

                2. The only good part of New Trek is that Uhura gets the Vulcan openly, fulfilling the wishes of a zillion fangirls.

                  For that, I can forgive it for being, well, AU fanfic. >_>

            1. That was the second one. The other one was manlier.

              I just watched something a few months ago and found out that Gene Roddenberry was more into the Politically Correct notions than I had ever imagined. Seems that ST:TOS was only the way it was because he would not have been able to sell it the way he wanted it to be back then. Blech.

  11. accordingtohoyt: “early nineties, what ‘everybody knew’ actually proclaimed that any ninety pound woman could take out any man in a fight”

    This is one of the more hilarious things to watch. When such a scene usually follows on the heels of two large men slugging it out with no winner, the juxtaposition makes it abundantly clear, even to someone with no experience, that she who wears a size 4 isn’t going to make the large male work really hard.

    I’ve done lots of martial arts, I’m tall, and I enjoyed sparring. However, when you spar with men you know that mass matters. In an actual Situation, my plan would be to run like hell.

    1. Was it really the early 90’s for the woman she-beast warrior princess type? Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Conner is the standout, obviously, but at least they made that one somewhat plausible. Xena started in ’95 or so, but wasn’t it toward the end of the decade, certainly in this one past, where more and more “entertainment” was based on the woman always beating men?

      1. Oh, it might have got worse, but in SF/F it was the nineties. I remember screaming in panels that if women wanted a real challenge, they shouldn’t have a sword and save the world. They could have my two sons and save the house … no one ever took me up.

        1. Ah, well there you have it. I spent a summer as a mother’s helper on a farm taking care of two boys. Loved it. Taught the younger to climb trees. Taught the the elder Algebra (he was in elementary school… he found math boring, so I decided to prove that it was otherwise.) Of course we had miles of outdoors, which helped.

          1. yes, but at that time, my sons were 5 and 2. Kind of like E squared. Mind you, I did keep them in line and enjoyed them immensely, but half of the ninnies writing “woman with sword” fic would fold up like wet tissue paper.

            1. I raised my younger brothers so even though I didn’t have children, I know what you are talking about. Even so I think boys area easier than girls. But that is my opinion only.

              1. dunno. Never had girls. At the time loved that I didn’t — I was a boyish girl and was afraid I wouldn’t know how to raise girls — but over the last ten years it has turned into great regret. Every time we managed a pregnancy that didn’t hold, I hoped for a daughter. Mind you, my mom says she’d MUCH rather have raised thirty boys than me, so…

              2. I have four sisters with three of them close to my age. It was not fun. Like being in junior high for years. *snort… Of course, I am odd compared to my sisters. lol

            2. Ah. My personal vision of hell is that I turn up to find it is devil’s mission Sunday with the attendance at capacity. I am assigned to the toddler room, and find that I am the only adult in the room. I have no trouble with 2 year olds one on one and can even enjoy it. En masse they scare me…

              1. I remember watching the pre-school teacher go into a room with Marshall’s class — I put him in preschool for three hours a day because I thought he was too introverted. WHY I thought that would help, I don’t know — and thinking “OMG, I wouldn’t take that job for ANY pay.”

                1. Animals, small children, and computers can sense fear. Then they zero in on you and WHAM! your Mac starts flashing a DOS prompt when you restart it and fourteen toddlers swarm you all at once just as snack time ends!

                  1. I worked the Toddler room during the evening service as a summer substitute. We had three adults one evening and only six toddlers. What I recall most clearly was the three of us watching the interaction of two of the children. One was a boy, quite large for his age. The other was such a petite little girl it was hard to believe she was the older. He walked up to her, and gazed at her for a little while. Ever so gently he reached out and took her arm. She simply looked at him. Then, suddenly, before anyone could move, he bit her on the forearm. She let out such a wail. He looked stunned and commenced to bawl. She quietly walked away.

            3. I KNOW I drove my mother into nursing to get away from my brother and I. We’d leave home at daybreak, come back home just in time for supper. We had about 800 acres to roam in. There were plenty of dangers, ranging from snakes and insects to the occasional alligator or severe thunderstorm. I think I built my first semi-waterproof ‘tent’ when I was about twelve, using pine boughs and straw. I usually led my cousins next door and a couple of other kids on their escapades – about ten of us altogether. I understand exactly where you’re coming from, Sarah! At least we weren’t underfoot… 8^)

              1. You do know there are girls who would druther tag along with the boys than sit demurely back home? I climbed the trees to above the power lines, and I would climb from tree to tree. Momma used a large cow bell to call me home because it was one of the few things with range enough — and my parents eventually accepted that I would range. But I didn’t get the opportunity to mess with a landscape that contained deadly snakes (other than the human kind) until I was sent off to school in Tennessee…

                1. Oh, yeah. My childhood. That’s why my mom said it would be easier to raise thirty boys than me. My brother was the reflective, quiet kind who’d stay home and read. :-p

        1. And by ditching the stiletto heels, you can run. And you will have a more stable shooting stance, unless you are in a position to take a knee and aim (i.e. not in a tight skirt).

          1. Seven of Nine always managed to hit what she aimed at, and she always wore stilettos. Or had them implanted in her heels, I never was certain.

            Then again, she never wore a tight skirt, so that probably made all the difference 🙂

            1. And by ditching the stiletto heels, you can run. And you will have a more stable shooting stance, unless you are in a position to take a knee and aim

              If you were on Hoth, stiletto heels would be an advantage, not a disadvantage.

          2. I’ve been known to tear a slit skirt almost to the waist to run unencumbered. Fact I used to be a marathoner saved my life more than once. The stilettos, if of Italian make, at least in portugal in the seventies, had an actual stiletto in the heel — metal, like a knife. If you managed to break the plastic around it, you had a dagger. I only managed it once, but it was good enough. If you aim at soft parts with the stiletto, even if not “bare” it will hurt.

            1. I have lived in areas where the men were six to eight inches shorter than I am. Still I wouldn’t go at them head on – I usually do sneaky things like when a guy tried to grab my purse through my car window, I rolled it up on his arm yelling all the way. The other guys at the corner chased him off… However I scared him pretty good cause I was yelling and punching him and he couldn’t get away from me cause for awhile he was caught in the window. lol

              Oh yea – he finally did and never came back to that corner. I was considered crazy American cause (this was in Panama). Some of the Panamanians considered me their … lost the word… but they would give me free papers. lol

            2. If you calculate force per square inch, a small woman in spike heels can likely drive a heel through the shoe and foot of a man who grabs her from behind. She just has to be quick and unafraid to STOMP! I don’t recommend it as a plan — running or gunning, either one, is a much better plan — but if caught in the situation, you use whatever tools you have.

              1. at the same time reach back and rake the b***… doing both together (spike and grab) and the unsuspecting poor male will drop… The run like a hellion.

                1. Cyn, I like your style! You sure you didn’t take our self defense class? You just described our recommended tactic for surprise grabs from behind.

                    1. It is really helpful. I would like to do it again, but because of the meds I have to be careful what type of exercise that I do. Walking, weights, and water aerobics is what the doctor suggests.

                    2. If you can get a class in your area, see what you think of aikido. It’s not how big you are, it’s how you use the body and its momentum against itself. I was 17 and taking the class with army men (often in their 20s) and occasionally their wives. I was 125-ish and while probably at my physical peak because I was in Colorguard and our band director would make everyone do pushups if someone screwed up the marching routine, I was still a 17 year old girl who wasn’t specifically trained for strength…. and I made several men with at least 25 lbs and five inches on me go flyyying. (Granted, this was in demonstration, not free-form.)

                2. If you don’t care how much damage you do, stick your fingers or your thumbs in their eyes and PULL. There is little on this earth that hurts more, and they’ll be temporarily blind to boot. If I get a chance to land a blow, I try to make my first one count – I aim for the chin or the nose. I can put all 200+ pounds behind it. When I was in Vietnam, I got attacked by a couple of “cowboys” – Vietnamese ‘toughs’. I put one guy’s chin down his throat. The other guy is probably still running. Of course, I got a few lessons from a real pro – a ROC Marine master sergeant. He was TRULY nasty.

                  1. Throat and kidneys are also good, groin shots are so common they are often well defended against. If they are obviously high hit them repeatedly in the guts, many of the common drugs tend to make them less capable of taking blows to the stomach, while tweakers spun out on meth have a distressing habit of bounce from the pavement to their feet repeatedly (seemingly like a rubber ball) from head blows.

                    As Mike said anyplace you can stick your fingers inside of and PULL (eyes, nose, lips and cheek outside of teeth, etc) hurts badly. Many women have longer nails which work admirably for doing additional damage to eyes, but don’t attempt to scratch them, try to sink your fingers to about the second knuckle, then pull.

                1. I don’t think… I just do… there is no feeling involved… I scare the bejeezus out of them. No apologies from me either. Afterwards I am shaking as a leaf. I believe that it is better to be vicious and save myself than to get hurt.

                    1. I beserk too… although I am plainly Viking lol It is an odd state of mind, very different from my writing trance or anything else. It is like I can see every flaw in the person who I am attacking–whether physical or mental.

                    2. Yes, and the come down is sheer h*ll. In A Few Good Men, I had to think through it, because Nat berserks. And because he ends up in the military (or sorts) it’s a HUGE drawback. Which is not what people would think. Berserkers make great warriors in primitive-medieval warfare. In modern warfare to have the “other” take over is a huge problem, so you have to control it. (At least that’s what I’ve found from research. I have no military experience. Experience with street fighting is more closely akin to primitive warfare. EXCEPT when being fired at — and in that case my mom saved my life, so…)

                    3. I’ve heard the same story from so many people — and experienced it myself on a couple of occasions — that I think this is somewhere close to “normal”. In a crisis like that, survivors survive by letting Mr./Ms. Hyde out of the bottle; and afterwards, your higher-level, more intellectual self is a bit puzzled because he/she was out of the loop.

                    4. I go completely cold, analytical, and outwardly TOTALLY calm. It’s a sham. All it means is that I’m thinking “I’m going to kill you now”. I’ve been in combat twice (hey, I’m AIR FORCE – only our pilots do ‘combat’ – the rest of us are blue-suited civilians, remember?). In both cases I reverted more to hunting mode – I needed to make a kill or two. I used to get into that mood to put food on the table. In combat, it’s the same for me – I need to make sure I live long enough to EAT the food that someone else puts on the table.

                  1. When I realized my potential in that area around ten years old, I was pretty scared of myself. I was afraid that the berserker could get out of the box easily. Not true– it is usually when I am mad and then go cold or I am in a scary situation.

                    1. yes. Same here. For years in adolescence I had dreams where I’d bashed my nearest and dearest heads in in a fit of berserker.

                      BUT here’s the thing, Dan can always stop it. It hurts like HELL with reaction, but he can stop it. I will never turn on him or the boys. So…

                    2. I did some research on the Berserkers. They usually guarded the head family because when they berserked on the battle field, they would kill both friends and foe. It is a Viking line, but was very rare. They also knew how to invoke the rage. it was much harder to stop it. In many cases it was impossible.

                    3. My wife has been afraid for several decades that I’ll kill her in my sleep. I don’t have BAD PTSD, but it shows up now and then. I’ve “killed” a couple of bedside lamps…

                  2. I have to be like the well-known soldier (whose name I am not certain of, but I’ve seen quoted a lot) and “Be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone I meet”. I don’t do extemporaneous well.

          3. Ah, but if you take a knee in a tight skirt, it is possible you will provide enough of a distraction have a second more to aim.

        2. And don’t forget the “scream Fire!” at a really annoying volume while running like hell. Get loose, run like hell. And be frigging aware not to be trapped.

          1. I don’t know why but I only remember the word “Stop.” (and not fire). For some reason it makes men and boys cringe for just a second. I raised some of my brothers so I have a really good voice for that word (it booms). You think they had a mother who used that word on them? Is it an off switch for just a sec?

        3. What was the order? — plenty of nasty stuff: stiletto to the inner foot, elbow to the solar plexus, knee to nuts, palm slam up into the nose AND run like hell. Of course that is only if you are forced close enough for physical contact, which I was always told to avoid if possible.

          1. If you remember half of it, you’ll probably survive 😉 … and yes, don’t let them get that close. I know a girl who was grabbed by behind in a mall. She did three movements punch backwards, stomp, and push.
            The guy ended up on the ground.

          2. I don’t remember WHY — Again I berserk — but I was in a situation where I got cut off from my group and pushed against a wall. I remember taking my shoe off, (though it might have been off for some other reason) breaking heel against the wall, shoving stiletto into man’s neck between neck and shoulder and running like hell, abandoning other shoe. I ran to nearest apartment building, buzzed all the buttons till one let me in, ran to nearest door and begged to use phone. Called dad. That was the last time I was allowed to come back from Swedish on my own. It ended at ten and Portuguese culture at the time decreed any woman outdoors after 8 pm was a whore. Mind you, I’d been with a (small) group of women, but a group of guys chased them and cut me off. (I think that’s why I had my shoe in my hand. There was something wrong with that heel, I think. The plastic shouldn’t have come off that easily for one.)
            I know I was blood spattered but not COVERED in blood and to this day I don’t know if I killed the guy (well, the wound probably wouldn’t be fatal, unless he bled out.) I didn’t read/hear about anyone found dead just outside my university, so I assume not. Dad’s view was that I shouldn’t report it and to hell with the idiot, I’d done what I’d done in self defense, since his intentions were clear and he was stronger than I. In that case I went with his opinion.

            1. Thank you. With great luck, you may have improved the gene pool. With good luck, maybe you made a thug afraid to try again.

            2. The Daughter expresses her admiration for your sense of self preservation. She notes that if she must wear stilettos that, of course they should have a metal shaft. And that it served the bastard right.

              I agree on the sense of self preservation — our lives have been greatly enriched by your books, your blog and all these fellow ODD posters.

        4. I once took out a mugger with a copy of _The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare_ (a book ~12″ tall, ~8″ wide, and ~4″ thick)….

          1. I once wrote a scene where my main character fought her way out of a library by wielding a medical reference book with lethal intent. My crit circle convinced me to take it out because it just wasn’t believable.

            I’m looking forward to a satisfying “I told you so” the next time I see them.

            1. When I was young and living in Chicago, my mother gave me a bullet and told me to keep it in my shirt pocket. One day there was a maniac out in the street hurdling Gideon Bibles at people and I took one in the chest.

              If it hadn’t been for that bullet…

                1. You know they stalked Rocky Raccoon. Every time he came back to his room, there one was.

              1. Beg to differ – books are somewhat low density (compared to rocks or anvils) and clumsy to wield. To properly weaponize books you want to put them in a canvas bag with handles. Then you’re ready to lay some serious mayhem upside fools’ haids.

                1. Too bad book bags don’t work like Thor’s Hammer. I’d love to been able to throw a book bag and have it return to my hand for another throw.

                  1. Yes, but what tome would be the one you would slam on the floor in order to change from mild-mannered to thunder god? And would it be thunder god or something literary that rhymes with thunder, but currently escapes this attempt a pithiness?

                    1. At that time of my life, I’d preferred to become Loki. Thor has to be the good guy. Loki doesn’t. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                    2. Sigh. He just called himself the Midgard serpent. Never outgrew teen jokes, see? In truth his name was Karl Marx and he– okay. My corner? yes sir. On it.

                    3. Completely off topic, but since I’m amusing the hell out of myself this morning, my wife is trying to play nutritionist for both of us and emailed me asking for my height and weight. I sent back, “Tall and ponderous”.

                    4. No, no, no, no — the Midgard Serpent encircles the globe, holding it fast in his crushing grip, his fangs dripping poisonous venom that enflames and destroys all who … umm, never mind.

                    5. For close combat situations, I recommend Stephen King’s unabridged hardbound edition of The Stand — 3.6 pounds of densely packed prose in a compactly lethal 9.5 x 6.6 x 2.4 inches. In the proper canvas case this book is guaranteed to lay waste your enemies. As a bonus feature, in direst need you can always read it aloud to your foe.

                      For heavier combat situations, try The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories a full 10.5 pounds of slip-cased death at a massive 8.6 x 4.2 x 11.5 inches in two volumes. Bayonet optional.

                    6. I second the suggested use for The Stand. Certainly deadly within melee range. And, for whatever reason, if you cannot close to melee range, you can read from it and put the enemy to sleep with all of the unnecessary exposition.

                    7. It should probably be noted that modern Law of War bans use of Dostoevsky in combat situations. The irony of being struck down by a hardbound edition of War and Peace or Crime and Punishment is deemed cruel and unusual.

                    8. A comprehensive encyclopedia of meteorology. Possibly, as he is a Norse God, a copy of Springer’s Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments.

                2. I carried mine in a leather shoulder bag which, because of the fashion of the times, had chain for straps. I broke the original chain and Daddy replaced it with chain designed for swing sets. Quite strong and sturdy. Very weaponized.

                  1. ROFL – I think because of the berserk blood, we need strong men. –bad boys? My hubby was never a bad boy, but he is definitely a man and a warrior.

                3. An anvil is easier to wield than a book? While admittedly it would do a lot more damage to your attacker if you hit them with it, I would be more likely to damage myself attempting to swing it than actually connecting with an attacker.

                    1. Anvils come in many sizes. The Daughter and I have one that is used for wire working and other applications in jewelry manufacture. It fits in the palm of my hand. I could see using it as a weapon by holding it so the pointy part came out between my fingers, but it really doesn’t have much heft.

                    2. The only thing I could think for it was to drop it from a window onto the boys’ heads. And that would probably be lethal.

                      I’ve been meaning to explore precious metal crochet jewelry, but I can’t find the RIGHT wire or the right instructions. Crochet I can do, and I can see irish-crochet making exquisite fantasy jewelry, all leaves and twisting branches.

                    3. Traditional wire braiding has some steps that aren’t immediately obvious. I’ve seen it done in the SCA, though I don’t do it myself. There is a tutorial here, and you can search the term “Trichonoply”.

                      Hope that’s useful.

                    1. Yes, but then they stand up, pull themselves out of accordion shape, and are back to chasing you again. Though if their eyes pop out, there’s a short time for them to grope around for those.

                    2. True, but there are two things to consider. First, you absolutely have to use the quality ACME-brand and, secondly, if you’re target has a penchant for tongue-thrusting “meep meep’s”, forget it. Get a giant magnet and some fake metal food pellets instead.

                  1. depends. I found a hand-sized anvil last week at a thrift store. Dan wouldn’t let me buy it. He said it would still kill the kids if I dropped it on their heads from sufficient height. (SIGH)

            2. I’ve got a scene in my current novel (the one I’m writing about the mammoth party we had here a few weeks ago) where one of the protagonists is having her food stolen. She grabs the man’s wrist and BITES DOWN HARD – hard enough to draw blood. The pain discourages the thief and his screams bring the cavalry in a hurry.

              There are no rules when you’re dealing with members of the criminal element.

          2. I took out a would be rapist with a Comprehensive German dictionary and an Oxford English Dictionary for foreign learners. I lifted and whapped across the face. He fell back and cried. (I should point out he was drunk.)

            Book control! Books are dangerous. Thick books should only be sold after thorough background check. (runs.)

                1. With this lot, how can you call anything “truly weird”?

                  Whip Me, Beat Me, Make Me Write Truly Weird Stories”?

                  Shouldn’t that be Weird Tales?

                    1. Okay, give. SMBC? And I thought the safe word was Flying Fish. Oh, wait that’s the password.

                      Is this the meeting of the Enlightened Brethren of the Ebron Night?

                    2. pineapple…or I could take it another direction, and ask:

                      Fourth Man- Like someone who attacks you with a pointed stick?

                      RSM (scornfully)- Pointed sticks? Ho, ho, ho. We want to learn how to defend ourselves against pointed sticks, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you eh? Well I’ll tell you something my lad. When you’re walking home tonight and some great homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don’t come crying to me! …

                    3. Ever watched the Adam Sandler movie “Little Nicky”? Pineapple is NOT a safeword. (shudders)

                    4. In the scene that your comment brought to mind, Satan is reminded of the time, then a demon goes out and fetches Hitler, who is dressed in a French Maid costume. Satan opens a door to a pantry containing pineapples, where Hitler chooses a small one. Satan shakes his head, so Hitler turns back and selects a really large one. He hands it to Satan, then bends over. Satan rears back, makes sure the leaves are frontwise, and shoves. Next you see Hitler’s head snap up, and his eyes get really big.

    2. This was brought up a few weeks ago, but I suppose I won’t reprise my comments there since I was threatened with a weapons-grade Photoshop for making bad visuals.


  12. Agree with everything! I’ve said for years to be wary about listening to the opinions of people who work in words. There are all kinds of exceptions, but those exceptions are almost always people who have done other things in their lives besides work in words, or have other experiences that gave them a good dose of reality. Because that’s what it is, just as you say, it’s people who spend their lives insulated from reality that are the problem. (This includes a lot of computer programmers (I used to be a programmer, I can say this) and people in the computer industry; they can be just as isolated as any New York media person.)

    1. No matter if we have genealogy or not (the paper trail), we know that our ancestors had to have had children cause WE are here. 😉 ROFL

      Or as my hubby says, if you go by the paper trail, he doesn’t exist.

  13. Mike Weatherford, In one of Pier Anthony’s Xanth novels, he had a wizard (evil one) called Murphy. Guess what his magic talent was. [Evil Grin]

    1. Paul – yes, I know. Gray Murphy. I’m a Xanth fan, too. In fact, I gave Piers the basics for “Yon Ill Wind”. That’s one of the things that kicked my personal writing into gear.

  14. I am told by people who studied these things that the native American Indian word for their own tribe translated pretty much as “The People” … and their word for their neighboring tribes translated as “Those ____ Others”. (Inserting disparaging reference in the blank space.)
    You know, the most discouraging aspect of the various ‘studies of the other” university programs these days?: They don’t really study ‘the others.’ Once upon a time, I did a Japanese art course, and part of the required reading was “The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon” and Lady Murasaki’s “Tale of Gengi” … in translation, of course – it was just an art elective, and just for us to get a sense of the culture involved. (This came in useful when I actually got assigned to a base in Japan, in the late 1970s.)

    A long lament I read a while ago, (can’t recall where, that’s my eccentric seive of a memory) was that the usual ‘studies’ courses didn’t require that students read the relevent literature of a culture, or even make a stab at learning the language involved. All that was required was to read whatever some mid-20th century commentor had written about the culture.
    So, you didn’t really get students conversant with another culture … only academic drones who thought they were.

      1. Hurrah – I was there from 1977 until the end of 1980 – before they moved in an AF fighter wing. Then it was a Security Service base, of which it was said that the AF had no planes, the Army had no tanks, the Navy had no ships and the Marines had no guns. (The Navy had the main flying mission – P-3 Orions, rotated from Moffet Field.) Sigh – good times, good times.

    1. I call this “tourism culture studies” — you learn their interesting cuisine, their colorful apparel and in which way we supposedly victimized them. (Rolls eyes.) Such stupidity.

      1. There is a fundamental logical fallacy at the basis of multiculturalism. The concept that “all cultures are essentially equally valid” has trouble coexisting with cultures that deem all other cultures essentially invalid. Tolerance coexists with intolerance to the same degree that lambs coexist with wolves.

        Feminism at least squares its circle of “gender is a construct; male and female are essentially equal” linked to “women are better/kinder/gentler/more nurturing than testosterone poisoned men” by decreeing “logic a tool of oppression for male hegemony.”

        As Orwell is credited with observing, some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals can believe them.

      2. Don’t forget the coloring page, where you get to color in a picture of someone in ‘native’ costume. I had a friend whose son actually received one of these…of a Samurai based on an Ukiyo-e print.

  15. Very likely, derivitive in the worst and most superficial way. Look, I can’t claim to be all-knowing about various cultures and nations – some of which I actually lived in, courtesy of the USAF … but I DON’T claim to be an autority about them. I picked up a little here and there … one has to know one’s limitations. (To paraprase ‘Dirty Harry)

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