Blowing Steam — or The Counterfactuals Can Harm You

Okay, before I start this, I’m going to warn you I’m going to utter several heresies.  It’s not anything I’ve never said before, but we’re so cocooned in a nest of false reality, that these things still have the power to shock.

When I was little, my mom had this gargantuan pressure cooker.  I mean, I’ve never seen another one that size.  Because mom tended to feed the entire extended family on weekends, I think she bought some of her cooking implements from restaurant supply stores.

I was terrified of the d*mn pressure cooker, because there were stories of people getting their faces blown up in them, and I’d run across the patio when mom brought it out, set it in the middle of the patio and opened the steam valve and let the steam escape, before she opened the pot.

You could hear that thing whistle a mile away, like an oncoming train.

That’s sort of what I’m doing today.

A con is a social situation and a wise man taught me that only a fool or a sadist tells the truth in social situations.  My blog on the other hand is my blog, and if you guys aren’t used to the steam by now, I’ll eat my hat.

So this is my blog post to avoid blowing up in someone’s face and/or taking half the room with me.

Today at noon I’m scheduled for a panel on how YA has changed since Heinlein and Clarke wrote for Boy’s Life.  Note that there, the “boys life” slipped in – not “the golden age” but “Boy’s Life” – pretty clever, uh?  That tells you the direction they want this panel to go.  Nifty, uh?

I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.  At the back of my mind, clanging like a funeral bell, the thought goes “What can’t go on, won’t.”*

And guys, let’s face it, this can’t go on.  It just can’t.  We made some joking comment to older son yesterday.  You see, he had one more humanities requirement to fill and after despairing of anything interesting (no, they don’t have any classical history, which was his first and abiding love) he settled on Jane Austen.  He likes Jane Austen.  He grew up on Jane Austen.

We teased him that he would be knee-deep in girls in that class.  Both boys looked at us like we were nutbars.  They’re knee deep in girls in EVERY class.  These are stem classes, and boys are maybe ¼ the class, at best.

I’d guessed it was somewhat like that – I’ve seen our friends’ SONS fall by the wayside since middle school, while their SISTERS, not notably more endowed with brains than themselves, had As.  I’ve seen my own kids’ classes.  It’s not just that the teaching style, the demands on timeliness, putting tab A in slot B etc are far more suited to girls learning styles, it’s that many of the teachers – almost all female – have an ax to grind, and their ax ALWAYS grinds on the boy side.

But I didn’t realize that college ratios in stem were that out of whack, too.

So, do let’s talk about YA fiction – and why I’m on this panel except to start a fight I don’t know.  I don’t WRITE YA fiction, except for the novel I’m trying to re-write, and I haven’t read any specifically YA fiction since Harry Potter.  (Pratchett doesn’t count.  I’d read his laundry list.) – and Saturday morning cartoons, and commercials, and–  DO let’s.

So in Heinlein’s time there were a lot of male main characters.  Yeah, okay, fine.  If you think that women and girl characters weren’t treated with respect, then truly, you haven’t read Heinlein.  What you have read are the feminists ranting about Heinlein.  NOT the same thing.

Oh, yeah, I forgot, Heinlein’s women wore aprons – therefore eeevil.  (Not, in the fifties clothes were way more expensive, therefore aprons, and people CLEANED a lot more intensively than we do.  Heck, I still clean that way,  Look kids, I hate aprons for OTHER reasons – as in, they catch and bind, and I can never find one when I need it.  But I buy my clothes at the thrift store, so I can afford to replace the $5 pairs of jeans when I can’t find any non bleach-splattered.)

Nowadays, though…

When Marshall was three he came to me and told me he wanted to be a girl.  I get alarm bells at the back of my head, the sort of incoming signal you get when you start going “Is this serious?” and “Is it something I did?”  So, very carefully I ask him why, trying to look perfectly neutral.  (And here you guys have to trust me, but Marshall, in both learning style and presentation and play was my very much boy son.  In fact, he was the most MALE child I ever saw growing up.)

He answered quite easily, “Well, it’s just that girls get to do ALL the fun stuff.”  So I sat down with him for Saturday morning cartoons.  Yep.  Girls have all the adventures.  And boys are either dumb or evil, and sometimes both.

In fiction it’s not that naked (it is in commercials) but you get it nonetheless. 100 pound females take out armies QUITE routinely.  (Oh, fine, but Athena is bio-engineered.  And her husband is her equal.  Deal.)

I have a friend who thinks this is good.  She also thinks it’s a pendulum and this is the “revenge” for the times when “the boys got to have all the adventures.”

She is missing the point.  She is missing the point by a mile and a half.

Those stories were REAL – i.e., they fit with the universe around us – and ours aren’t.

(I told you I was going to be a heretic.  Oh, and the kid got over this impression.  More on that later.)

Look, men and women are not the same.  They can be equal before the law, but they can’t be EQUAL.  They serve different functions in society, or in a sane society at any rate.

Or look at it another way: men and women were shaped by different evolutionary pressures.  I remember reading that human ancestors first formed in bands because of pregnant females, who needed someone to look after them, and who couldn’t walk as far as the males.  I don’t know if that’s true, (I read it in Scientific American) but considering how complicated our pregnancies are compared to most animals, it might very well be.  Our young CERTAINLY require a lot more care and vigilance than most young.  And for a longer time.  It’s the price we pay for the brain.

What this means is that in general, the pregnant women and the old ones, and perhaps the juvenile males or the older males, stayed behind in camp and looked after the littles, while the men went out and hunted.  We do know from primitive tribes, most women forage.  The men hunt.

BOTH functions are essential.  Yes, meat in the diet is important, particularly for large brains.  BUT often the men come back empty handed, and it’s the women’s berries and tubers that allow the tribe to live to hunt another day.

Would a female who wanted to hunt be accepted?  I understand in some tribes they are, at least while unmarried.  BUT would it be practical to encourage all the females to hunt, and all the men to gather berries and look after toddlers?


Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that violent exercise of that sort while pregnant might not be the smartest idea and that frankly you don’t FEEL like doing it.  Also that women athletes, who run miles every day often stop ovulating.

Let’s instead look at me.  I don’t think my husband is strange.  He’s the best of husbands (trust me) and he adores the boys.  He’s FAR more patient than I am with them.  BUT when they were toddlers, he did  not have the “psychic” bond.  (It’s not really psychic, of course, but it might be instinctive.)  What this meant was that – we shared an office – I’d get up from my desk, go running down the stairs, come back up and he’d be all like “What?” and I’d go “Marshall was about to overflow the bathtub again.”  And he’d go “What?”  And I’d have to say “Well, there was silence, then a very quiet sound of running water, which meant he was being stealthy.  And he was breathing fast.”  “How can you hear his breathing in another floor?”  And I couldn’t explain.  I just could do it.  The bond slowly dissolved, over time.  I mean, I still pay attention to them, but I’m not connected by a sensory tether.

The explanation might be as simple as women being naturally multi-taskers, while men concentrate better (hey, studies show this.)  He concentrated better on his work, but I could hear the kids.

A tribe that sent the toddlers to the bush with a bunch of men would shortly have no toddlers.

In fact, maybe some tribes did this.  It’s like my son and I the other day, trying to sort out why most people aren’t individualists.  Heredity.  Imagine the proto-tribe composed entirely of individualists.  “Come on man, today we hunt mammoth.”  “Who is gonna make me?  You and whose army?”  Yeah… if there is a tribe that did that, we’d NEVER know.

“But Sarah, we have the pill and all sorts of modern stuff, and women should be encouraged to break out of their traditional roles.  Why should you be tethered to child raising?  Let’s free that half of humanity.  That’s why it’s important to present women as leaders and—”

Brother!  You’re not listening.

You missed the part where we were SHAPED by evolution.  Evolution is a funny thing.  It takes a LOOOOOONG time.  Oh, fine, okay, we’re self-tamed, and we might change ourselves faster than nature intended.  It’s still not something you change between a generation or the next, or even two, or three or ten.  NOT when evolutionary pressures have been changing male and female brains FOREVER and picking the most successful.

And then, even if that were your goal, you’re going about it ALL WRONG.

Heinlein’s women were accomplished and they were good at many things (if you read him you know he often showed them smarter at book learning and abstract thinking than men.  They were also wives and mothers.  It is their being wives and mothers that excites the hatred of our “feminists” who, of course, are the establishment voices and who control publishing and entertainment and even our news – either de facto or the screaming at being “offended.”

And thereby hangs the inanity.  First, our most “accomplished” women aren’t reproducing.  Well known fact, and something that frankly I wrestle with everyday.  Part of the reason we only have two kids was probably the high stress I put myself through trying to break into publishing in our best reproductive years.  Women’s bodies aren’t BUILT for continuous high stress.  (Men’s aren’t either, but weirdly their sperm production gets better.  We stop ovulating, because, well… For men it’s “pass it on before you die.”  For women it’s “We’re always threatened, no time to have babies we have to carry and share resources with.”  We are not EQUAL.  Not before nature.)  Even women who are married (and a lot of our high achievers don’t have time for that, or lack the courage to buck the establishment) among our best performers, will rarely have kids or many kids.  The women who ARE reproducing still and in droves are either from very traditional segments of the society or being supported by the government.

If your goal is to change evolutionary direction – brother, you’re doing it wrong.

But let’s go with your goal just being having a bunch of women in power, and a bunch of men as their toadies.  I often thing that this is the goal of most boomer “feminists.”

I even understand them to an extent.  Remember, I was raised in a country that was at least 20 years behind the US.  My first big trouble was for refusing to clean up after my brother who was 10 years older.  I thought he could take his own fargin banana peel to the trash can and it wouldn’t hurt him.

The fifties were an aberrant time because so many middle class women could afford to make no money, which meant middle class men were important as sole bread winners (no, this is not normal, historically, and partly had to do with affluence, part with societal dynamics.)  That meant the culture in the forties and fifties here – and sixties and seventies in Portugal – picked up all sorts of junk about men being more “important.”  No, not in fact, I know.  There were all sorts of  protections built in for women and girls, too.  But when you’re a pre-teen you don’t see that.  You just see boys lording it over you, and you want to make them eat dirt.

And a lot of the women ten to twenty years older than I never got over it.  This is all about getting their own back, and never mind what it does to the world.

I’m going to be blunt and heretical again: men’s and women’s brains are not the same.  There is a reason men engineers are more “natural” than women engineers.  There is a reason, even now you find fewer women than men working in engineering, though we’re training more women than men.  It’s not discrimination.  It’s that  men are better at spacial visualization.

There is a reason most nurses are female – women have been shaped through evolution to be better at perceiving non-verbal signs of distress and at dealing with the sick.

Now keep in mind that I’m not talking about ANY individual.  This is “statistical likelihood.”  The best nurse I ever had was a guy.  And I’m so awfulbad at dealing with sick anything, that I even shy away from sick cats – while my older son (you know, looks like a Mafioso, is built like a brick sh*thouse) is a natural caretaker, gentle, attentive and kind to those who are sick, old or impaired, human or animal.  (He comes by it naturally.  My dad is like that too.)

No, I don’t think all women should be nurses or teachers.  I also don’t think we should push all of them – or most of them – to be doctors or engineers and push the boys to the caring professions.  And I PARTICULARLY don’t think we should shape our YA fiction that way – i.e. telling lies to the young.

And that’s what our YA has been doing.

Sometimes I wonder what future civilizations will think of this psychosis, (then I remember there won’t be any – at least not any adhering to our culture.)  What will they think of 100 lb girls taking out men four times their size in books and movies.  What will they think of all the girls who are great warriors and brilliant engineers while the man are doltish knuckle draggers.

What besides saying “couldn’t they tell reality isn’t like that?”

Which brings us back to Marshall.  Once, when he was in fifth grade, we were shopping together (groceries.  I hate shopping – deal – so I take my kids along as comedy relief.  They hate it too, but they’re funny.)  I don’t remember why I reminded him of his “I want to be a girl moment.”  He looked at me and curled his lip.  “Yeah, I got over it.  I realized it wasn’t real.  There was no relation between girls on TV and in books and real girls.  Most real girls just want to talk about hair and clothes and go shopping.  The fun ones will play space-games, but mostly they just want to treated like they’re a space-princess and rescued and stuff.  I’ve yet to meet one who likes fighting and running.”  (And here, kids – I LIKED fighting and running as a girl.  Of course mostly I played with the boys, markedly increasing my female relatives’ white hair.)

But this is all a fantasy, because once Islam takes over, all the books from our time will be burned.  After all, there’s no need for any reading outside the Koran.

What’s that you say?  Well, it will be Islam or something very similar.  Perhaps a new form of it.

What can’t go on WON’T.  You can’t keep lying to the young.  For one they notice.  For another those who don’t, those who buy the culture lock, stock and barrel don’t reproduce.

If I thought Islamists were half as intelligent as they think they are, I’d assume they were investing in our publishing houses and pushing the crazy feminists, so that when the revolt comes – it will come.  What can’t go on forever won’t – the boys would all be attracted to Islam and the girls all ready to lay down the burden of being disapproved for wanting to do what women want to do – have kids.  Nest.  Have a safe place to retreat to. – that they’d convert in droves.

I don’t think they’re that smart.  BUT I do think a correction will come.  And since it’s not a pendulum but a sort of crashing reckoning with reality, I think it will be terrible and might destroy us.

And no, that’s not what I want.  What I want is Heinlein’s world, with maybe a little more flexibility – he was working for fifties publishers, after all – where, you know, women could be brilliant engineers and work from home while raising six kids (our tech will help with this, too.)  And where men went out and had adventures, but usually in the service of women, children and civilization.  It’s a lesson boys need.

If a little more flexibility is applied, and men can stay home with the kids and not be frowned at, all to the good (though please, G-d, have technology augment their ability to monitor toddlers.)

I want a world where you can be what you want to be, regardless of what’s between your legs and some desiccated woman’s revenge-agenda.

We can have it.  All that’s standing between our world, where we’re turning men anti-social in droves, and making women so neurotic most teen girls I know are on heavy anti-psychotics (wouldn’t you be?  Grrrrrl power, but the men are keeping you down.  How do you even reconcile that?) is giving up on the stupid fantasies of stupid people.

And we might not.  We might not correct in time to save the future.

But I’d like to.  And now that YA doesn’t have to go through NYC, maybe we can.

Perhaps we should, at the very least, try.

How about some boys who are bluff, protective and adventurous?  How about some women who are smart, capable and feminine?

Or how about YAs that have kids that seem real to you, without pushing anyone’s agenda?  Isn’t that worth the trying?

*And we’ll leave for another day the fact that Heinlein’s day YA dealt with revolution, societal organization and other important issues, while ours deals with sparkling vampires.  Mind you considering the wretched preparation – educational and social – we’re giving these kids, and the debt they’ll inherit, perhaps we don’t WANT them to learn revolution.

UPDATE: Credit where it’s due.  The feminist stuff was NOT brought up.  The idea that what is being written now is just as good was… and some of it is.  Some of it appallingly bad, of course.  All in all not a bad panel, but I took issue with the claim that freezing out sf (versus fantasy) is NOT a publisher thing.  At least, I’d like someone to explain my numbers, otherwise.  OTOH — hard sf doesn’t fly with kids, no.  BUT it flies with precious few adults.

UPDATE: Welcome instapundit readers, and thanks to Glenn for the link — no, I haven’t checked yet, but only one thing sends my counter through the roof like that.  I apologize verb tenses are all over the place in this, I have “finishing novelitis and didn’t revise.”  (Now you know what fun I am to my copyeditors.)
Additionally — The people here know, so I was unclear and confused at least one commenter — my kids are in STEM degrees, and most of their courses are STEM.  This is why we thought the Austen course would be a change.  We’re such innocents.




531 thoughts on “Blowing Steam — or The Counterfactuals Can Harm You

  1. As a mother of four, I’ve dealt with this on several levels. Foremost on my mind, is raising my kids not to buy into the lies. On a personal level, I’ve seen the look on people’s faces when I tell them I have four… They look down on me for having reproduced too many times (my paternal grandmother has told me this to my face, that I have too many children). Then they are surprised if we hold a conversation and I reveal myself to be intelligent and well-read (which does happen, if I’m having a good day). How can a smart woman have four kids? Going back to school has accentuated this, I’m finding. Back to my children… I have three girls and a son. The lies are pervasive, and harmful to females who buy into it, as well. My girls will read books with male protagonists, but they are hard to find. As a librarian, I have to look hard for YA books that are meant for boys. It seems the vast majority that are being published are targeted for girls.

    1. Yes, yes, yes.

      I still remember the young woman who came to our writers’ group back in the day and ASSUMED that my friend and I (married, stay at home writing moms, two kids and (then) four kids) only had high school educations. Finding out we both had post-grad blew her mind and she never quite processed it.

      She’d been PATRONIZING us for months (which most people, btw, wouldn’t do after talking to either of us) on the assumption we were stupid because “married with kids.”

      1. I hadn’t fully read this comment before, or it blew by me, or something. I understand the reaction I mentioned in my comment below: I’ve asked other people who I could trust to be honest, and they agree that if I don’t make an effort to put an intent look of some sort on my face, that I look like there’s no hamster to turn my wheels.

        But just because you had children and worked at home, to assume something like that? Holy crap. I’ve read about stuff like that in books, but I always thought it was exaggerated. I can’t even comprehend the thought processes involved.

        Another one I have heard recently: A woman who rides the bus to work with me sometimes, who is from Peru, and has an accent which, to my ears, is quite a bit like yours, Sarah, says she has been called dumb when she has to ask someone to repeat what they said, even though people have to do the same with her, because of her accent. They don’t get that it’s harder for her to understand because she wasn’t raised speaking English. But she had to work very hard to go to college in Peru, because there weren’t many openings, yet she made it in and graduated with honors.

        1. Largely I understand everything, but I’ve noticed a similar effect. When in cons, on panels, unless I CLEARLY STATE my credits and then refer to them often, people assume I’m unpublished/self-published only (no, there’s nothing wrong with being self-published, but some prejudice persists and coupled with an accent…) This extends to con organizers. I routinely get put on beginner panels, which is NO fun for any of us.

      2. I have had much the same happen also, and the worst are the “feminist” women. One doctor told me that I was going to lose my mind because — brilliant diagnostician! — I had quit my job to raise my kids. Guess who lost my business in less than no time flat? Female doctor, of course. No man has ever come close to saying anything so stupid to me.

        Anyhow, as a mom of boys and a former leftist / recovering feminist, I have to say you nailed it in this blog post! Thank you!

    2. Then they are surprised if we hold a conversation and I reveal myself to be intelligent and well-read…

      I actually know this feeling, but for a different reason. One of my friends told me, after we had known each other for a couple of years, that when he first saw me walking into his college Physics class, that he thought I was lost, because I looked too dumb to play football. I enjoy the shifting mental gears, too, so I don’t worry about it.

      1. Robert. Until you see the eyes — and you don’t, under the brow from afar. He’s HUGE, with broad shoulders, and a dark eyebrows. He looks like “Nice college you have here, pity if something were to happen.”

        1. “He’s HUGE, with broad shoulders, and a dark eyebrows. He looks like “Nice college you have here, pity if something were to happen.””

          Reminds me of a masseuse I once knew. He played football in high school, then went to work in the woods, setting chokers after he graduated. He was in his mid-forties when the spotted owl scam happened, and lost his job during a bunch of the logging shutdowns that resulted. He decided to retrain to be a masseuse through the Displaced Timberworkers Act, and by all accounts of those who used him was an extremely good one. I don’t know about y’all but when I think of a male masseuse I DO NOT picture a 240 pound ex-logger.

          1. Robert wants to be a surgeon. We figure he should say “Hi, my name is Dr. Ug I learned to walk on two this morning, and I heard there’s this thing called fire.” 😛 He just rolls his eyes.

            1. As a matter of fact last I heard he was considering it. I moved and haven’t heard anything about him in several years.

                1. Ten years ago when I was in a German hospital, one of my nurses was a miner who transitioned to nursing. He was one of the best nurses there– and brawny. He picked me up one time when I couldn’t move and was very gentle.

      2. Speaking of football players and the idea that they must be dumb, I still remember the time in college when I had an 8:00 AM class, so I ate breakfast as soon as the cafeteria opened at 7:15 (I tend to be a slow eater, and I wanted to be able to take my time). The cafeteria was pretty empty, so I sat in lots of different spots depending on what struck my fancy. Once when I sat right next to the cereal aisle, I discovered that that was the favorite location of the football players, whose practice ended around 7:30. And when they finished loading up their trays with cereal (and bacon and eggs and so on), they sat down at the table I was sitting at, and proceeded to discuss… philosophy. It helped remind me that not all stereotypes are true. 🙂

        1. I am NOT a fan of football, so I speak as a largely disinterested observer, BUT …

          It was recognized as far back as the 1960s that football players tend to fall into statistically predictable personality types by position, such that the personalities of quarterbacks are different from those of wide receivers are different from linebackers, etc. (I leave it to others to debate whether these personality differentials are a consequence of selection or other factors.) Ergo it is absurd to group football players into a single category as if they were all of a sort.

          Football is a ruthlessly Darwinian sport, with those less able to compete weeded out during the rise through high school, college and pro ranks. Players incapable of learning their playbooks, of adapting to fluidly changing on-field circumstances and other factors requiring intelligence do not proceed past start, do not collect $200, do not roll again.

          Football players quickly learn that academic performance is irrelevant to their athletic career beyond certain minimal achievements. They learn this at a time in their development when kids are most ruthlessly focused on direct benefit activities. Much was made of the fact that George W. Bush was a “C” student at Yale; I got news for ya, bud: if your family can send you to Yale your GPA don’t mean diddley unless you plan to attend grad school. A smart person would invest only enough effort to meet the minimal required standard and instead invest themselves in enjoying life and making the sorts of social connections that advance your post-academic life. Football players don’t need to be swots and any effort to be one would call into suspicion their dedication to their true career path: football.

          Football players also learn early on the advantages of being intellectually underestimated. Work out for yourselves the perqs of getting pretty girls to tutor you in English “for the sake of the team.”

          There may be many athletes — footsball and otherwise — who are intellectually sub-par, but that is largely because nobody encourages nor rewards them for being “smart.”

          1. We won’t even discuss the fact that there is not an athlete on the planet who shouldn’t turn pro as quickly as they possibly can. Screw the NCAA, colleges, and the whole enchilada that forces an athlete to spend prime playing years in indentured servitude to a college that couldn’t care less about them and looks down on them.

            An athlete can get a college degree anytime they want one, even if they’re in a f*cking wheelchair. They cannot get an athletic career back after they have rolled snakeyes and gotten severely injured for Wassamatta U.

            1. I dispute that the universities “look down” on the athletes. Maybe they do treat them as livestock, but they’re PRIZE livestock. The big donors don’t give a rip if a 4.0 engineering student leaves, but if the school drives away the guys who put on the shows…

              (I admit I’m biased; when a jock threatened to kill me, my roommate and my girlfriend for daring to ask him to turn his stereo down to a level that would allow us to hear our TV, the university’s response was to let me out of the housing contract. Had the threat gone the other direction, I have no doubt I’d have been prosecuted, at the least.)

              1. Your anecdote is an argument in favor of my approach. If the universities were to license their logos to the minors / semi-pros and get out of the sports business, they could treat a star athlete like any other student with an after school job.

          2. The Cranky Lit Prof heard an A-student whining about how she was such a hard case and how he struggled to get a C. When she confronted him, he apologized and said that he was the only athlete on an academic scholarship, and if he didn’t play dumb, the others would force him to do all their homework.

          3. Res, no offense, but as a former football player and player of other sports, your reasoning does not jibe with reality. Position is determined by size and ability. Most all positions, except for quarterback, and perhaps linebacker, have about the same amount of information to memorize. I was my school’s best runningback, so that’s where I played, but I was also bigger than several of our starting linemen and Coach often jokingly threatened to “put me on the line.” If I wasn’t good at being a running back, and getting first downs and getting into the endzone without fumbling the ball, that’s where I would have played. Coach also once told me I had the highest IQ on the team. But that didn’t mean I played quarterback. I had a lousy arm.

            I knew some very smart wrestlers, shot putters, discus throwers… And some not too smart soccer players, tennis players and golfers. Sports are a meritocracy and you can’t fake being fast, big, strong or agile. Reading a lot of books doesn’t improve your time in the 40 yard dash.

          4. Res,

            No offense, but as a former football player, as well as participant in other sports, you’ve got football wrong. Position is almost exclusively determined by size, speed and agility. Several positions have similar requirements, so the athlete’s preference matters then. I was a running back. Coach also told me I had the highest IQ on the team based on testing information he had, but I didn’t play quarterback. I had a terrible arm. I was also bigger and stronger than a few of our starting lineman, but I was good at getting first downs and into the endzone, so I played runningback.

            Sports are a meritocracy. I knew some really smart shot putters (putters of shot?), discus throwers and wrestlers. And I knew some soccer players and tennis and golf athletes of middling intelligence.

            And, I don’t really understand your connection with girls and help with homework. “Work out for yourselves the perqs of getting pretty girls to tutor you in English “‘for the sake of the team.'” If you’re claiming girls are often interested in good athletes (and that’s likely true), why would good athletes fake disability to get girls? Aren’t you defeating your own argument?

            1. In some ways this is far more a Chico conversation.

              Think you need to re-read what RES said. His question was not whether raw brain power made the difference in position but:

              I leave it to others to debate whether these personality differentials are a consequence of selection or other factors

              I don’t think he said a that girls are interested in athletes, although they often are, but rather that athletes are often interested in girls.

            2. Hi Rufus – who’s keeping the lights on at Threedonia?

              I think you misunderstood my point. I did not, for example, say that quarterbacks were smarter, just that they had a distinct personality profile (BTW – the article was in Sports Illustrated and reported, IIRC, that Quarterbacks tended to be button-down IBM types while Wide Receivers were more commonly free-spirits, factors the NFL apparently took into consideration when drafting players) — I trust most folks here to distinguish between intelligence and personality.

              As for defeating my own argument, I think not; the point was on the advantages of having one’s intellect underestimated, thus making a cheerleader less “on guard” in “managing” an Offensive Guard.

              1. Good to see you, RES!

                Thanks for the clarification. I did notice a difference with quarterbacks. I never met one who didn’t have a bit of an ego. A lot of other position players do too, as well as a lot of folks who don’t play sports, but, at whatever level a kid starts playing, to show up to that first practice and tell Coach, “I’m a quarterback” takes hubris. Maybe that hubris is justified, but whether it is, or not, that’s the pool a Coach is selecting from. So, despite raw ability there is some pre-selection going on.

                I still don’t get the point about male athletes and girls. I know a lot of girls who projected a less intelligent persona to be attractive to guys and/or less intimidating to other girls, but I don’t know why a guy would do that? Don’t girls/women expect men to have egos, whether justified, or not? Even in TV and movies, which seem to frequently depict males as unintelligent, the joke is that the guy believes he is smarter and more capable than he really is.

                I knew a lot of guys who took advantage of the fact that many girls like to help guys; especially good looking, athletic ones, but the guys didn’t fake a lack of ability.

                1. I still don’t get the point about male athletes and girls.

                  What if the athlete isn’t really interested in the type of girl who likes dating jocks? In some cases, those types are roughly equivalent to groupies (not always, but sometimes), and the ones he is interested in look at athletes as their stereotype of stuck-up jerks, and won’t otherwise have anything to do with them? Then, this would be a way to get the girl to understand that they aren’t like that.

              2. And sorry for the two, nearly identical replies the first time. I’m new to this Sarah Hoyt blog and how comments are posted.

        2. After the Saints and Ditka spent tons of money and most of their future draft choices to get him, I ran into Ricky William in a Borders Books. He had a stack of philosophy and computer programing books. When he saw me notice him I could see him almost panic. Not being a big football fan and not awed by anyone, I just nodded a greeting and I saw him sigh in relief. Then someone else noticed him and he had a few folks accost him for autographs. He then beat a fast exit and I was told he never went back.
          One of the ladies who worked the front office for the saints was telling a friend of mine he was like a lost little boy with the weight of the word on him. That he seemingly snapped didn’t surprise me.

          The other example I have was one of the biggest guys we had in our high school my first year was also the lead of the debate/quiz show team.
          Just a big ol’ farm boy. He often would answer nearly every question on the High School Bowl except once when the host implied we only ever won because he was on the team, so he refused to answer unless no one else had buzzed in. We won by one less than the week before.

          Outside of football is the example of Travis Taylor (Baen author and Rocket City Rednecks fame) and Jeff Foxworthy (You Might Be A Redneck and Are You Smarter Then A 5th Grader). Both good ol’ boys from the deep south with the accents to match. Both extremely smart (Foxworthy worked for IBM iirc as an engineer before making more money as a comedian and quitting) but folks always think they must be dumb. listen to how they sound!. MY Mom’s step uncle is the same way…Heavy Yooper accent (Think the movie Fargo or Escanaba By The Moonlight) mispronounces Nuclear (ala GWB “Nuke U Ler”) but was himself a nuclear scientist and able to do large number math in his head.
          I try to let folks show me they are stupid before I jump to conclusions.

          1. I am told that to see a movie at a movie theater Elvis would have to rent out the entire place. One Christmas season Alice Cooper arranged to shop at a major NYC department store after closing. The Spouse told me that Pete Rose advised up and coming baseball players that when they ate at a restaurant to never to order food that need to be eaten hot. We don’t tend to think about the effect of not being able to go about your business without people intruding.

            1. You know, this is why I’m so glad I’m a writer. No one needs to know what I do for a living, unless I tell them. Yes, I’ve had strangers see my name and gush, but no one is going to stop me on the street.

              However — and no, no, truly, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come see me if you’re at a con I’m in — I’ve had a small taste of this when I go to either a big con or a con where I have a ton of fans (it’s weird and regional. Some cons NO ONE knows me. It’s like being a newby all over again.) It can be fun — but getting meals, time alone with my husband or even greeting my local FRIENDS can be impossible, because I can’t go two steps without someone stopping me. It’s also exhausting. By the end of the day I’m dead.

              I can’t imagine how anyone CAN live like that.

              1. I always find it difficult at cons to try to balance between worshiping at the feet of a writer like the fankid I am and allowing the writer some space, especially knowing that oftimes when two writers get together over a bite to eat they are hashing out some plot or character arc for a joint novel or just some necessary down-time. One advantage of the Baen’s Bar is admission to the Barfly suite which appears at many cons and provides a live-action version of the Bar (or blog) conference experience, allowing writers and readers (and reader-writers) a casual ambiance for chatting without the “pressure” of a public forum, allowing author and fankids space to let down their hair and be “fambly.”

                Fans need to keep in mind that for an author a con is a 2 – 3 day sales presentation, and give room accordingly.

                1. HONESTLY my biggest issue — particularly at Liberty Con which IS all Baen and FUN is getting food. If you see me wandering around looking disoriented, I was probably en route to eating, have been interrupted about five times and am either starving or low on caffeine, both of which make me about as bright as Havelock-cat. To be fair, at LC people have learned this, so they either lead me to food or put a boiled egg in my hand. (In fact, I suspect there’s someone in charge of keeping eggs for Sarah handy, since it’s good low-carb food.)
                  My biggest problem at any fan-heavy con is being put on too many panels. I’d rather be meeting fans one on one, and seeing my friends — it’s also EXHAUSTING to be on more than 3 panels a day, plus fan encounters, PLUS usually going out to eat with locals/friends.

                  BTW, nine times out of ten writers together are actually hashing business: taxes are huge, as are contract comparisons, and these days indie technique.

                  1. That 1 in 10 is the one from which I hope to benefit. Besides, as an accountant I don’t want to intrude on tax discussions … it’s too much like seeing somebody’s laundry before it hits the wash.

                  2. “My biggest problem at any fan-heavy con is being put on too many panels.”

                    Sarah, have you heard Tom Smith’s Be Our GOH?

                    Here’s your room, here’s your key,
                    Here’s your schedule: as you see,
                    We’ve got twenty different panels here,
                    And you’re on twenty-three.

              2. One of my favorite stories around this topic involves Bill Murray. He was participating in a charitly golf event and a local teen-aged boy was lucky enough to win the assignment as his caddie for the tournament. After a few holes Murray asked, “So, Kid, what do you want to be when you grow up?” The young man replied, “I want to be rich and famous like you, Mr. Murray!” Bill Murray said, “Go for rich, kid. Go for rich.”

                Although it’s hard to pity them, most of the super-famous have to live in a self-imposed exile. As others have written, the simple act of walking to a grocery store for a newspaper and a cup of yoghurt becomes a multi-hour ordeal.

                Look at Elton John and Bernie Taupin. They co-wrote all of the hits we associate with Sir Elton, but few people know what Bernie looks like, or even that he is 50% of the Elton John act. Bernie gets all of the money, but he can live a normal life. Also, if he feels the need for some adoration he can travel in music industry circles where he is well known.

                It’s probably more than coincidence that a lot of great songwriters who were not performers lived very nice lives on royalty checks, where many of the performers who made their songs hits had/have tragic lives.

                1. And it may well be a part of why KISS wore the Kabuki-based makeup.

                  One disadvantage of being famous is it makes of you a target. You cannot, for example, allow your kids to play in the yard unsupervised for fear of a kidnapping.

                  It also has a way of distorting ordinary relations. I read that Tom Jones and Elvis had become great friends, hanging out and singing Gospel songs together, in part because The King had learned that Jones, being nearly as famous, was able and willing to tell Elvis straight out when he thought Elvis was “full of it.” For the powerful (and to be famous is to be powerful) honesty is a rare commodity.

      3. Heh.

        Some of them even manage to say things like “only soldiers/police know how to handle weapons and not shoot the wrong people” (condescension 101) while simultaneously calling a military vet pointing out that they have some bad assumptions and are not accounting for most of the known facts an idiot, an insect, incapable of logic, etc.

        Tell them that a gun is mechanically no more complicated to use or maintain than car repair, operating metalworking and shop machinery, or anything else an average teen can be taught how to do responsibly and safely, and they’ll snidely ask how many teens you’ve taught.

        Tell them how many you’ve taught is irrelevant as to whether or not it can be and is done on a daily basis (two nuke instructor tours here) – and they’ll take it as an admission you’re talking out of your posterior (logic: fail).

        Tell them that due to the above facts re: complexity of operation and teenagers, taking the position that teachers can’t be trusted with firearms may not be wise as it is tantamount to self-proclaiming they are incompetent adults – they’ll get REALLY pissed. Then they’ll call you names, and say that you called them an idiot.

        Use a informal body-language bit like “*shrug*” in a comment post, and they’ll treat you like an 11-year-old and tell you to go back to mommy. Nevermind I’ve been on dial-up bulletin boards, usenet, etc. since the mid-80’s, and so my writing/posting habits date from well before most people even KNEW of the internet.

        Oh, and GHOD/GHU/GAIA FORBID you actually say that guns are not a bad thing.

        FWIW – Sarah – I’d love to post the whole back and forth – but I won’t do so publicly. Not that I follow the bog anymore, as the woman has obviously outed herself as a feminist academic first, and willing to acknowledge the sins of central mandated government second (I started following it because of several articles regarding the Soviet Union and her Russian homeland…).

        And if you want to talk about elitism – the same person outright stated that homeschooling was outright child abuse.

        1. Then they’ll call you names, and say that you called them an idiot.

          Well, after all that, you HAVE called them an idiot. Truth hurts, though, so they have to lash out.

          1. Agree – sortof. Though technically I was pointing out that when academics tell me they can’t trust themselves learn to do something a teenager can be taught to do safely and responsibly, that what I was hearing was “I am an incompetent adult.”

            I was told my auditory delusions and voices in my head were my problem.

          2. Also, FWIW – before time I got there, there hadalready been a number of posts by the author and others about the NRA being full of idiots who want to kill kids. Pro-gun owners were people rife with stupidity, dumb world views and psycho-sexual issues (the last was the post author). The aforementioned “homeschooling is child abuse” comment had also been posted by the blog author – not sure how that crept up.

            1. I grew up with banned guns. Let me just say all my friends who stayed out late packed and also that I’ve NEVER been offered guns for sale in public spaces here as I was ROUTINELY as a teen in Portugal.

              I grew up SNORTING at gun control.

              Also, I THINK (though I’m too tired to search out the reference) the DEADLIEST school massacre in the US was committed with bombs, not guns.

              1. You are correct. Bath Township Michigan, 1927. 38 adults, 6 children killed many more scores injured. And it would have been worse, but half of the mass murderers explosives did not detonate.

        2. From London’s Telegraph, presented without (other than a derisive snort) comment:
          Barack Obama: ‘I go shooting all the time’
          President Barack Obama has claimed that he goes shooting “all the time”, while attempting to reassure American gun-owners that he respects their rights to use firearms.
          By Jon Swaine, Washington
          Amid conservative anger over Mr Obama’s proposals to ban assault weapons as part of a drastic overhaul of US gun control laws, the president said that he was a keen clay-pigeon shooter.

          Asked in a magazine interview whether he had ever fired a gun, Mr Obama said he did so with guests at the president’s rural retreat.

          “Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” he said. “And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations.

          “And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake”.

          1. Of course he does. He has to say something. The trouble is that the vast majority of gun owners adhere to a strict understanding of the 2nd Amendment. I know I do. We own weapons for the prevention of tyranny, not to shoot clay discs, as much fun as that can be. Shooting is also distinctly therapeutic, incidentally.

            1. Yes. Precisely. Now, if clay disks start wanting to disarm me and dictate that my kids have to do “x hours” of “volunteer” work (We called that indentured servitude, in my day) and or curbing energy exploration in my country… or devaluing my savings by printing mo’ cash… well, then.. THEN I want guns to shoot the clay disks.

              1. Or the “fried egg” aliens that took over your body on Star Trek (Original Series). Wait – shouldn’t give them any ideas…

              2. Please do not get The Daughter started on the issue of indentured servitude. Have you heard some of the proposals surrounding student loan paybacks?

            2. And what he and the rest of the Democrat Party either can’t or won’t believe is that for a growing percentage of non Democrats it doesn’t matter: we wouldn’t believe a single word they say, including a declaration that water is wet.

              That sums up why Civil War II is inevitable in this country: anything else presupposes that you can form a civil society and include people in it who have systematically and provably lied to you and about you on every conceivable subject, have proven (with statements such as the one on CBS This Sunday) that any conceivable social contract will not be entered into in good faith or for any longer than they think good, and finally that they consider you to be a bad person who doesn’t deserve good faith.

              It cannot continue, and so it will not.

          2. Actually, I should quote Tam:
            “Yeah, he was busting clays with Mantei’s girlfriend.

            Pics or it didn’t happen, Urkel.”

          3. Yeah, he also stated in that interview that too many Republican representatives come from strongly republican/conservative districts, and think they should represent the conservative voters of their district, rather than the majority of Americans. Because they are afraid of loosing votes in the next election.

            Excuse me? Last I checked that WAS the supposed job of Representatives, to represent the people in their district who voted for them, to REPRESENT THEM!

        3. The truth is that a large proportion of our populace have never handled a gun. They really know next to nothing about how they work. The Daughter disparagingly dismisses certain people as belonging to The Cult of the Magic Boom Stick.

          Shortly after New Town The Daughter and I had a conversation with an intelligent, but woefully ill-educated friend, about gun control. It started when she argued that SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE about guns. Sadly, I find for many this something is usually an anything, who cares if it will actually address the situation. So I pursued an avenue of question to draw her out.

          But this doesn’t occur in other countries, she said. The Daughter and I proceeded to recite a list of incidents that have occurred in the last two years in countries with far greater gun restrictions. Apparently these do not count.

          But 9,000 people a year get killed by guns in this country. (Aside from the fact that the grammar is a bit misleading — they were killed by people using guns…) The Daughter and I asked if she realized what percentage of that was done by criminals who already cannot legally possess guns?

          It ended unfortunately when she, referring to a Terry Pratchett book, actually tried to argue that guns have a magic seductive power…

          1. YEah — that part of the book is insidious. However I recommend getting these people to read Red Planet. Dan was raised in a gun-control house. My MIL once said she wouldn’t visit us if she knew we had guns in the house. We looked at each other and chose not to burst her bubble and cause trouble in the family. He tried to argue with me PRO gun control once. I gave him Red Planet. End of argument.

            1. Gregory Kane, in Monday’s Washington Examiner:Hysteria over guns
              By: Gregory Kane, Examiner Columnist
              Did you ever play cops and robbers when you were a kid? Be grateful you weren’t born circa 2006.
              According to the website for Baltimore television station WJZ, “there’s controversy at a Talbot County school after two 6-year-old boys were suspended while playing cops and robbers during recess and using their fingers to make an imaginary gun.”

              The proper name for such a reaction would be this: hysteria. I’m sorry, but there simply is no other term that applies. The Newtown tragedy has made far too many Americans hysterical when it comes to the matter of guns, gun control and now, it seems, children playing with imaginary guns.

              Here’s the thinking — if indeed it can be called such — that led to the suspensions of three 6-year-old boys in two Maryland counties: If we let them play with imaginary guns in school, they’ll grow up to be homicidal, mass-shooting nut jobs like Adam Lanza, perpetrator of the Newtown massacre.

              And here’s where that logic fails completely: Generation after generation of 6-year-old boys did exactly what these three did, and we DIDN’T grow up to be homicidal, mass-shooting nut jobs like Adam Lanza.

              That’s because we grew up in a society that didn’t devalue life. Today’s American culture DOES devalue life, and it has nothing to do with the National Rifle Association, guns or the much-maligned “gun culture.”

              Guns are inanimate objects, harmless in the hands of those who value life. Only in the hands of those who do not value life do guns become weapons of mass murder.

              What led Lanza to think life so cheap that he would extinguish so many lives? We’d be on solid ground if we assumed that it wasn’t because he played cops and robbers using imaginary guns on some school playground when he was 6 years old.

              But that’s not what we want to hear in America’s current climate of hysteria regarding guns. Many of us want to hear that the NRA is the problem, that guns are the problem, and that NRA members and gun owners are all a bunch of raving lunatics.
              [MORE: ]

              1. (New where. Will be sticking around! Cool/interesting blog!)

                I had what I think is a rather fruitful “discussion” with a friend of mine (here: after he wrote a guestbook answer to a commenter, which he called: “Using the Sandy Hook shootings to promote gun control.” Dr. Peter Sandman is an honorable and honest man who, when confronted (by me) with his own lack of information, actually (and amazingly!) read the ‘education’ I asked him to and, while it didn’t change his mind, he did realize some fundamentals that changed his view.

                He also provided me (and, I’d hope, other gunnies) with some very sound and useful suggestions for how to ‘pitch’ our side of this fraught issue. The things we think are just *blindingly* self-evident (e.g., that we feel, as I put it: “double-outrage at the shooting: that it happened and that we were prevented by “gun control laws” from trying to stop or mitigate it) ” are in fact pretty much unknown to the gun-grabbers!

                I’ve seen that too, in my discussions and arguments with friends and family: I take it as a *given* that they know I am at least AS angry, AS grief-filled, AS horrified, at the murders of these children as they are, but as it turns out — they don’t know or think so! They think we “love our guns” more than we love our (or anyone’s) children! Because THEY can’t imagine effective protection of children, they can’t imagine our pain and anger at the denial of effective protection to sooth their fears.

                His site is certainly not a venue for a discussion of gun control, however, if you’re having these discussions (and which of us aren’t?) his suggestions in answer to my comments may help. Taking specific steps to make clear that we “share the nation’s horror” before trying to help them understand that more gun laws won’t be the ‘do something, do anything’ that might stop these attacks. You can’t ask someone in the grip of horror about these deaths (and feeling panic looking for a way to stop such things) to have sympathy for our OWN horror and outrage that we gun-owners were prevented from mitigating this latest horror, and we fear (rightly, oh absolutely rightly!) their desires to do things that will increase the danger rather than lessen it. But — pointing out the need to protect the Constitution does not address their outrage, and until we do, we won’t make headway with them.

                p.s., Disclaimer: Yes, I am Peter’s webmaster and have been for 20+ years. I’m also his long-time friend; dismayed at his lack of gun-knowledge but sympathetic toward his desire to do SOMEthing to stop the killing. (I share that desire.) I respect him more than I can say for his ability to stand up and say: “I acknowledge my lack of knowledge, and how it affected my advice.” (He lives five states away or I’d take him shooting. If he’d go.)

    3. No kids, but I’ve gotten something like that a couple of times when people find out what I do for a living. Can be rather funny at times, one incidence I remember when a friend and I had taken my godson to movies – several years ago, I think he was about seven or eight then and now he’s sixteen – and we met one of his schoolmates and that kid’s mother in the lobby while waiting for the movie to start. The lady first talked to both of us, but then the talk turned to occupations. Well, that friend was then finishing her master’s degree in history. And I said that I both cleaned offices and had a couple of morning newspaper routes. After which the schoolmate’s mom talked pretty much exclusively to the history student. She had seemed quite comfortable talking to me before that… 😀

      1. You get pretty much the same result when you tell people you’re in the military. Why so many people think the military is full of dumb people that can’t make it on the outside is beyond me. Some jobs, even for enlisted people, require much more actual knowledge and experience than most college faculty possess. The average IQ of the people in my career field was around 135. Some of the electronics careers required equal or higher. People have warped ideas about a lot of jobs, about how people look being equal to their intelligence, and many other prejudices. Most of them are stupid.

        1. Okay, that’s even dumber. I can get why snobbish people might dismiss a cleaning lady – for one thing I’m presumably useless as a contact unless they happen to need somebody to vacuum their carpet – but thinking everyone in military is stupid – heh, if they really believe that and had ever thought what it would really mean – scary big bombs and stuff, and who looks after those things? – they wouldn’t be sleeping too well, would they?

          It doesn’t bother me much, not these days. I enjoy the company of people who are at least a bit unconventional (and preferably not in the PC way), the socially snobbish rarely are people I’d like to spend time with (sorry, most of the ones I’ve met seem rather boring…) so if they keep their distance I really don’t mind. But many of them seem to be lefties, and considering how much noise lefties usually tend to make of how they care about the poor working class people it is funny how many of them seem to act when they actually meet one of us, especially if it happens in some sort of social situation.

        2. The people in my field (cryptologic electronic maintenance) in the military had high IQs as well. Plus I met a genius or maybe too there. (One of them had no common sense what so ever). So yea– I don’t understand the “snobbishness” against people who have been in the military.

          1. Cyn — one of my classmates in technical school had been a Rhodes Scholar. He finished school, got a draft notice, and joined the Air Force. During my last assignment, 14 of the 22 people working for me had Associates’ Degrees or higher. Seven had bachelor’s degrees and one had a master’s — in cryogenic systems of all things. They tried to make him an officer and send him to Edwards, but he refused. Don’t ask me why…

              1. An lovely older gentleman lived across the street from our first home. He was a chemist, and he loved doing chemistry. He told us that at one time he was offered a promotion with a hefty raise in pay which he refused, much to the company’s confusion. As he explained it to us they could not pay him enough to tied to a desk pushing paper and watching over other people getting to do what he loved to do.

                1. I had a friend who was an engineer with a power company. They promoted her to a desk job and she almost went nuts. So she took a demotion and went back out on the field, with a crew, fixing power lines after storms, etc.

      2. I’ve had the complementary problem: I’m a nuclear physicist and a professor, so people assume I’m too smart to want to talk to them. I’ve had a conversation stop dead when someone asks me what I do even though we just spent thirty minutes assessing the problems with the Red Sox pitching this year.
        I learned very early on that if it’s a social situation I’m much better off to say, “I’m a teacher.” (My grad school office mate used to joke being a physicist is like having a wooden leg – you will have to tell any romantic partner about it eventually but you don’t bring it up on the first date.)
        BTW, I also teach an SF course occasionally, and usually finish up with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Generally speaking, the female students don’t see Heinlein as sexist; they see equality where women can be strong and smart while still being feminine. So there’s hope yet.

        1. I once dealt with an honest critter who managed to admit that my female characters were strong even though the story dealt with them overwhelmingly in their roles as wives, and marveled at the fact.

    4. Cedar is who she is in part . because 1 we home schooled her and 2 we threw out the tv (10 years)The effect was to remove her from the progressive movement . and 3 ‘forced’ her to read , well turned her loose in a library .4 she got her writing skills from her Mom (as you will see) while I was out hunting , er earning a living.
      Her Dad

  2. I have long noted this. For many years a show for teen and preteens has had to have the following elements. Girls are pretty and wise, even if they are the comic relief they get themselves out of trouble because they are smart. Black guys are cool and witty. White guys are dorks. The only possible exception to white guys are dorks is if they are gay. I hate our culture. Comes the breakdown it will be a bloodbath because the guys are more capable of violence, effective violence. Also evolutionary, they have been the soldiers for many generations. Sad, I wanted to go to space with Poddy and the Stones

    1. I tried watching one of the remakes of the Transformers (TM) cartoons. The girl was the smart one, the Latino kid was another wiz, and the white guy was just there for fun and to help out. Oh, and he got all upset about how the bad guys were ruining the environment. *hurls remote* Forget it.

      Several of my friends who have married and have kids are stockpiling DVDs of the original series of a number of cartoons and puppet-based shows for their kids. I’ve even heard rumors of bootlegged copies of the earlier versions of two PBS kids series, back before the series went all PC and fuzzy.

        1. The original Veggie Tales were good. The original producers got bought out, and you probably wouldn’t like what happened to the show a couple years after that.

      1. The Kids Next Door was a fun little cartoon that I watched with my boys. It had both boys and girls as heroes, but they were different (I just realized this morning that the main characters were somewhat similar to the crew of Serenity in their makeup, though they were all children).

    2. Poddy and the Stones… that’s the alternate universe band where that econ student Mick met a nice soprano math genius who was a visiting student from offworld….

  3. First you go and say you’re about to utter heresy and what follows may shock, then you go and do nothing but utter stuff I agree with 100%. What’s left to have a fun, knock-down-drag-out comments-section argument about if you already agree with the position I’m going to be taking?

    Okay, found something to disagree with: (Oh, fine, but Athena is bio-engineered. And her husband is her equal. Deal.) She’s not quite his equal in physical combat: as I recall, the only time (or was it times?) she was able to beat him in a fight was when she took him by ambush. When he was prepared, they were equals on the level of technique, but he had an unfair advantage in terms of raw strength — biology and all that — that she couldn’t overcome. Of course, I’ve only read the books once whereas you’ve lived with them in your head for years, so you know them WAY better than I do. Am I right in my memory, or is Athena *truly* Kit’s equal in total combat ability, raw strength included? (Or is she better enough at combat technique to be able to overcome his natural strength advantage?)

    But apart from that… where’s the fun in uttering heresy if you leave me (scratch that, us, I’m sure I’m not the only one of your blog readers who likes a good knock-down, drag-out, bare-knuckles intellectual debate) with nothing to argue with you about? 😀

    1. They’re BOTH bio engineered. But even with non-bioengineered men, Athena is at a disadvantage in raw brute force. It’s the speed (and evil) that gives her an edge.

      1. I finally decided that Liadens could hold their own in a fight even though they’re my height, male or female, because (at least when it came to Yos’Phellium) they were based on bio-engineered soldiers. (Cantra, too.)

        But IRL, that’s why Col. Colt created guns.

        1. Not just bioengineered to be soldiers/assassins(Cantra), but the tree has been working on the for centuries. Who knows what it has done.

        2. Synova, that explanation goes for a LOT of science fiction; even David Weber’s Honor Harrington only has three female characters we see doing serious hand-to-hand: Honor herself, Thandi Palane, and Helen Zilwicki. All three of them are genetically engineered heavy worlders, and all three of them are better trained than 99% plus of the men.

          1. Seargant Babcock, Susan Hibson?

            I don’t recall Helen Zilwicki being genetically engineered, although her father came from Gryphon I thought it was explained in Eric Flint’s first short on Zilwicki that he was a normal human that was simply far outside the norm for strength.

            1. We’ve seen Hibson working out, but not actually fighting; I had forgotten about Gunny Babcock, although her opponent was a) another woman and b) caught by surprise. From the description, the Gunny was also better trained…

              I’m not sure what Gryphon’s gravity is; the Honorverse wiki entry doesn’t have a value. We know it is considered a harsher environment than Manticore or Sphinx, but only weather is mentioned as a reason.

              1. I know it is classified as high-gravity, but is somewhere between Sphinx and Manticore, I don’t know if it has ever been classified more specifically than that. Actually I was thinking more of the fact that Gunny Babcock commonly sparred with Honor (and it was hinted that she was possibly the superior in those sparring matches) although she is shown in actual combat.

                Possibly helping to prove your point (which I agree with) we also see several of the ‘wolfesses’ fight hand to hand in Crown of Slaves, and they are bioengineered supersoldiers, rather than being bioengineered simply for a harsh environment like Honor or Thandi.

  4. I started to say, “Sarah, don’t you mean ‘_Sister_, you’re doing it wrong!’ ” But then I remember all the liberal, modern, progressive men I’ve known (One memorable boss!) who are just gung ho for women rule, men drool.

    I’d recommend moderation at Cons, though. Push for a bit more reality. “But shouldn’t part of the message be that women need to know to not get into brute strength confrontations with men? And shouldn’t the message to boys push honor, honesty, faithfulness, reliability? Not tell them are are all stupid lumps? Because they aren’t.”

    What really bothers me about the YA panels I’ve attended, was the majority of writers are on a crusade to show “abused children how to cope and get past it, etc.” I swear, they are pushing a cult of victimology, and _trying_ to pre-traumatize children from perfectly normal homes.

    Good luck. Don’t bite your tongue too hard. Or alienate too many of your fellow authors.

    1. Send the girls to karate classes. At the very least they learn (I learned) that in a brute strength fight, women and girls are disadvantaged. Leverage is the key–

      I agree totally. I know that as a girl I really really really wished I was a boy. I ran, I played, and I wasn’t a doll fan. Maybe I wasn’t into dolls because I am the oldest of nine and had already changed diapers and cared for babies before I was seven. I rode horses and ran away from home regularly during the summer. As long as we came home for dinner, we never got into trouble.

      When I was twelve, my parents pulled me into the house and told me that I had responsibilities now. Until I left home I didn’t get to play again (I used books for escape.) My brothers had a lot more leeway after they took care of the animals. They would disappear on bikes and hunt (they didn’t kill anything but they would try to touch animals– count coup).

      One of my brothers would invent things. I can see the difference between girls and boys by watching my brothers and sisters. My sisters are really girly girls.

      You talk about not reproducing– well, when I wanted to reproduce I didn’t find anyone that was in my league. By the time I married at 31, I was not interested anymore. I was in the Navy, in electronics, and working with men– again. 😉

      About leverage– the times that I have taken down guys– (three or four — they were also bigger, stronger, and longer reach) I used leverage and augmented my strength with things around me. The reason I was able to take them down? They didn’t consider me capable and my brain was quicker. I can think on the run– which is unusual for some females– and I plan evil as I run. Unfortunately– I don’t have the physical capabilities that I had til my disease. It makes me sad.

      1. I grew up playing with my brothers and their friends (also not interested in dolls, spent most spare time reading) and as the oldest I could easily trounce any of the boys in wrestling games….until we hit about 13-14. They hadn’t even outgrown me at that point, they just got more muscle. (I’m 5’10”, my brothers are now 6’2″ and 6’4″, I no longer even have a chance)
        Any girl who spends time playing with boys will quickly realize this fact of life.

        1. Yep, but touching is a bad thing in schools today, so no wrestling (I mean they accuse third graders of sexual harassment, okay?) I actually liked dolls. And cars. And trains… but MOSTLY I liked legos. (And I had a perverse taste for doing the dolls’ hair. Most of my dolls ended up bald from having their hair combed and set so much…)

          1. Yea– that pisses me off– because how to the girls and boys learn their limits– and it is NOT sexual harassment until you add an adult in there– ugh

          2. Oh, this was outside of school. Schools don’t allow play wrestling, someone might get bruised, and if someone consistently wins they are being a bully. (sarcasm alert).
            I liked to make things, so I did Legos and sewing, and anything that involved putting things together. (Now I get the household job of putting furniture together)

            1. My family being the family from Have Spacesuit (not really, but close enough) when I said I wanted a radio they said “Okay.” And since I had no money, I built one from discarded tube radios. Later did something similar with a tape recorder. (BOUGHT — yeah, he was like that — my brother’s broken one with all my spare money, then fixed it.)

                  1. Yes, I hate regs that say you have to be licensed for something that is none of the governments business, and I hate being on any more government lists than I have to be.

                    I will admit that I have been doing a little checking into getting an Amateur Radio license however, so that I can bounce off a couple of the local repeaters. (I’ve only owned and ran hams for almost twenty years 🙂 )

                    1. A Technician license in order to be licensed in the 2 meter, and 70 cm bands where most repeaters are found is very easy to obtain.

                    2. So I was told when I checked last week, I will probably be going in to take the test in March.

        2. The last time I wrestled with my brother (arm-wrestling– ) he was 12 years old and I was 7 years older. He almost beat me. I never wrestled again because I was smart enough to know that he was gaining muscle fast…

        3. Oh, my goodness – that reminds me of how I used to play and roughhouse with my brother and his friends. I don’t think I was particularly a tomboy, it’s just that my brother and I were close in age, and there were absolutely no girls of my age or anywhere near it in the immediate neighborhood. So – this meant boy-games, climbing trees, exploring the empty lots and building forts. But when I was about eleven or twelve, I do recall that my brother’s best friend Wayne and I were wrestling, on the lawn in our back yard. I had a bit of weight and height on him, but he was a wiry little sucker and we were pretty evenly matched, otherwise. Mom came out of the back door and looked at us with the most astonishing expression on her face. I thought she was about to say something, but I was deeply distracted by trying to pin Wayne’s other shoulder to the ground. She turned around without saying anything at all, and went inside. And that was the very first clue that I had, that just maybe what we were doing was a little odd, considering the general scheme of things.

          After reading over this thread, I am pretty certain now that my next HF will be more YA-oriented. A picaresque Gold Rush adventure, with a wide-eyed sixteen year old boy as the main protagonist. The current WIP and my last were all very female oriented, and since this is the 19th century, it was mostly the men having interesting adventures.

          1. Celia your women, even Isabella Hitchcock Patterson, Magda Vogel Becker and Margaret Becker Vining Williamson, all prove themselves entirely capable and, each in her own, is quite feminine. And you have a number of young mean quite worthwhile — even the ill-fated Robert Hunter.

            1. That’s why about two-thirds of my most devoted fans are guys, CACS – because I try to make them interesting … and manly. I rather like Victorian-era men, BTW; it’s a combination of being straight-up studly guys, but very open to their emotions, in certain ways. And the best of the best of them were very accepting with their wives’ work and ambitions.

      2. “Send the girls to karate classes. At the very least they learn (I learned) that in a brute strength fight, women and girls are disadvantaged. Leverage is the key–”

        And yet in judo class, I often found them to have an advantage, at least in some of the beginner throws. The throws worked largely on getting your center of mass beneath your opponent’s. Women’s generally larger hips and generally shorter height made this easier for them. They could barely crouch to get the leverage on me, where I practically had to do deep knee bends to throw them.

        Lesson: learn to use what you have, not pretend you have what you don’t.

    2. Scenario: 17-year-old girl in the hospital after a suicide attempt because her violently abusive burglar boyfriend got a prison sentence. Doc trying to persuade her he’s bad news.

      “”I can look after myself,” said my 17-year-old.

      “But men are stronger than women,” I said. “When it comes to violence, they are at an advantage.”

      “That’s a sexist thing to say,” she replied.

      A girl who had absorbed nothing at school had nevertheless absorbed the shibboleths of political correctness in general and of feminism in particular.

      “But it’s a plain, straightforward, and inescapable fact,” I said.

      “It’s sexist,” she reiterated firmly.”

      Full text here

      1. I had a feeling before clicking on the link that that was going to be a Theodore Dalrymple essay. I don’t remember specifically reading this particular piece before, but it just felt like the kind of thing he’d be writing about.

  5. I’ve heard it argued that one of the reasons the Harry Potter series was/is so successful is that here was a boy allowed to be an old fashioned hero again.

    Different doesn’t mean unequal – different means different. Failure to acknowledge those differences is one of the things modern society looks like a collection of fools for.

  6. They can be equal before the law, but they can’t be EQUAL.

    Now, see, I thought Sam Colt made ’em equal. *runs*

    But seriously, to hijack just a bit, why are the people who insist that men and women be made equivalent the same ones who keep trying to take away the technology that actually allows women to confront violent attackers on the same footing?

    1. Because on both issues, they’re responding with emotion-based arguments based on how the issue makes them feel, rather than rational arguments based on the facts. Thus, the contradiction between these two positions doesn’t bother them a bit.

      And the problem a rational person faces in talking to them is that you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place. (That line is not my own, but I can’t remember where I got it.)

      1. Logical coherence is a tool of the patriarchy, used to deny womyn the power of their intuitive heuristic understanding of the metaphysical realities of this world.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”
        – Jonathan Swift

      2. Indeed. I’ve stopped having certain conversations with practically anyone I can’t gauge immediately. I have found that there are people who generally “reason” from an emotional standpoint who can be brought around through repeated contact, but it usually requires a close relationship and a willingness to admit that you (the rational one) actually do know what you’re talking about. At least in other subjects. From there, you can work around to more important topics without triggering violent reactions. It takes years. Often decades. And they’re a distinct minority.

      3. In one episode of The Simpsons Springfield Elementary School is broken into two schools, one for boys and one for girls. Lisa is asked by her feminist math teacher, “Seven is an odd number, how do you think it feels about that?” She decides to break into the boys school where she can get lessons in ‘real math.’

  7. Oh, and here’s another thing I wanted to comment on:

    Part of the reason we only have two kids was probably the high stress I put myself through trying to break into publishing in our best reproductive years.

    You are an exceptional woman to have managed to juggle career and family and done it quite well. I’m sure a career that allowed you to work from home helped, because it meant that when the kids were doing dangerous stuff in the bathtub, you were only seconds away and able to intervene, rather than 30 minutes’ drive (through commuter traffic) away. Other career choices require regular office hours, which tends to lock women into choosing between daycare and latchkey kids, neither of which is optimum — and so many women end up delaying when they have kids until their thirties, after their career has been launched.

    The heretical advice I’ve started to see given, and which I think I would very much agree with, is that women may want to consider reversing the order of career and family. For many women who want a family and a career, it might be a good idea to start the family first, while they’re in their early twenties and have lots of energy, then once the kids are grown, go back to school and head for the career. This is what one of my aunts did: after her husband died suddenly and quite unexpectedly of a hitherto-unsuspected heart condition, she raised their two kids (who were teenagers at the time) as a mostly stay-at-home mom (they’d made wise financial choices and so she could afford to do this). Then when the kids were grown she got a graduate degree in her chosen field (psychology) and now has a satisfying post-kids career. But if she’d tried that career first, well, they probably would have put off having the kids for a decade or so as most people do, and by the time her husband died she would have had two toddlers to raise. No way you can do grad school plus career as a single mom, not unless you completely hand over the job of raising your kids to strangers (i.e. daycare), which she would not have been willing to do.

    Or if you look at what many women seem to be doing — putting off marriage and kids (or settling into a long-term relationship where they want to have kids with their partner, which is close enough to marriage for the purposes of this discussion) until after they’ve launched their career as a single woman, you may notice a hidden assumption that’s going to turn around and bite them. The assumption is that after she’s launched her career, she’ll still be able to find a husband (or long-term romantic partner) who will want to have kids with her. The problem is that at age 20, her dating pool is FULL of guys who want to get married and have kids. (And also lots of guys who don’t, but if marriage and kids are what’s on her agenda, that’s what she’ll look for). But by the time she her career has launched and she’s 35, ready to have kids, and looking around for a man to have them with… the dating pool has changed. Most single men in the 35-and-up dating pool are not looking for kids: either they’ve been married and divorced once already and are raising kids already (or paying child support for kids in their ex-wife’s custody), or they’re still single and happily playing the field, and don’t particularly want to settle down and have kids. Now, there will still be some marriage- and family-minded men left in the dating pool at age 35… but there will be a LOT fewer at that point than there were at age 20, and she’s now competing with all the other women who chose the career-first-then-family path, for the same very-limited pool of guys. Her odds of fulfilling both her dreams, of career and family, have gone WAY down because she chose to pursue the career first. But if she’d gone about it in the other order, her chances of fulfilling both dreams would have been MUCH higher.

    So the advice I’d give to young women is to think seriously about whether they want to have a family someday, and consider putting off grad school until after they’ve raised their familly. College being the modern equivalent of what high school used to be, I don’t think I’d recommend a woman put off college in order to raise a family unless she’s TOTALLY confident that her husband’s income will be enough for their whole family for the next 20 years; if she needs to take a part-time job to supplement the family income but she doesn’t have a college degree, she’ll be lucky to find anything better than minimum wage. So for any women out there who want to have a family AND a career, I’d seriously recommend putting the career off to have the family first, rather than putting the family off to have a career. This goes counter to the message that modern feminism tries to drum into young women’s heads, but I truly don’t think that modern feminism is doing them any kind of favors with this one.

    1. I’d also advise reproducing early and putting that youthful energy into your kids–but only if you understand the price that gets paid later. Such as finding yourself a single parent at age 40 with a resume that would get you a job at McDonalds.

      You can retrain yourself to a new market, but then your competitors are twenty years younger. And have all that youthful energy …

      1. Me too, if you’re SERIOUS about having kids you should reproduce early. The price, though is there. Even I, if indie weren’t there and I lost the ability to publish (given my opinions, easy.) I have no CONVINCING resume. OTOH I can do stuff…

        1. My sister-in-law is about 60, can’t remember exactly. She had four children and a husband that wasn’t exactly perfect (and considerably older). She struggled for many years after he divorced her, but now is the resident manager of a nursing home. She’s also raising a grandson, which complicates things. I’m sure she wishes things would have worked our differently, but I’m also sure she understands that things happen, people change, and life has to be lived in the here-and-now.

      2. The mindset I was in when I wrote that was thinking about “professional”-type jobs like the one my aunt chose, where grad school is useful. At a grad school level, I think the 40-year-old would have a significant advantage over the 25-year-old because of all the life lessons she’s learned.

        Now, if you end up a single parent because your husband left you (or died, which amounts to the same thing practically, albeit without any kind of betrayal) and you’re NOT in a financial position to go it alone… yes, that’s a danger. It can sometimes be mitigated by being as financially wise as my uncle and aunt were while he was still alive, but not every couple will be able to do that.

        So yeah, the “no convincing resume” thing is a problem. But as Sarah indirectly pointed out in the comment that’ll end up above mine, there are other skills that one learns as a stay-at-home mom. If I were in those shoes (I’m a man so I never will be, but let’s pretend) and the interviewer asked me what job experience I’ve had, I could answer, “I’ve been a chef, a chauffer, a hairdresser, a small-scale farmer, a janitor, a tailor, a nurse, and a teacher, usually all in the same day.” Of course, this does require getting as far as an interview in the first place… but you could also put that line on your resume. Not every company will be smart enough to recognize the value of experience. but the ones that do will be the less hidebound ones, which are also the ones that are more fun to work for in the first place.

        So it’s a balance of risks. What are the risks of doing family first, then career, and how do they stack up against the risks of doing career first, then family? And the problem that many women face is that while they’re usually well aware of the risks of the former, nobody told them the latter had any risks, so when they choose that path then end up single at 35 and unable to find a good man to start a family with, it takes them completely by surprise.

        1. You’re right about the resume hazards, but they can be mitigated. It’s all in the presentation. It’s something I’ve helped a number of people with professionally, so I know it can be done.

    2. When it comes down to it, you actually spend only a quarter or so your life being a hands-on mom (unless you have more than two or three and space them widely.) I had my daughter at 26 – and eighteen years and a bit later, she went off to basic training (USMC) and I walked back into the house after I had dropped her off at the processing center thinging, “Oh, my … that went fast!”

    3. I used to teach the introductory Management course at U of Dayton. One class session each semester was devoted to managing your own career (either you manage it, or someone else will and you may not like it). One piece of advice I always gave the women was, “Be like Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi. Have your family first, then become Prime Minister.” I don’t know if they took the advice, but I think it was correct.

      1. A lot of that depends on opportunity. Specifically, having a husband who is earning enough money to support a family at the time you think is “right” to start a family. I didn’t meet my one-and-only until I was 24 and had been working for years, certainly wasn’t going to jump into a marriage, certainly wasn’t going to have children until I could see that the marriage was going to last (my sisters had one and two divorces behind them). So I was 29 when the #1 kid arrived, with almost ten years of working experience behind me.

    4. And then there is the tax code, which is looking to penalize successful professional two career couples … making avoiding marriage the ‘smart’ financial option. Stability for raising children? Don’t you know that’s overrated. (That last was snark for any of you who are getting ready to snap…)

    5. I was thirty two and my wife was twenty six when we decided (after two years) to have children. We decided we would live on one income. We could not afford any of the toys our friends and neighbors had without serious debt. Both unwilling to have unnecessary debt. If you want children, have children. If you want lots of toys don’t have children. Enjoying your children is a big piece of raising them. Now our (mostly) wonderful children are grown up and we do not have debt as our neighbors do. At least a part of why we do not have lots of debt was our decision to live on one income.

    6. Well, my mom went the career first and then family route because she graduated with a BS in Chemistry during WW II and there was work to do (that and her guy, my future dad, was overseas). She was 30 when I came along (the first of three) and she turned her full-time attention to her family. Note, she did not leave chemistry behind, she took enough Russian to deal with the technical side and earned “pin money” translating and abstracting Russian chemical articles for “Chemical Abstracts”. She could do it on her own schedule and did well. From her and my father, I learned that men and women can be competent, different, and equal and this is a good thing (a lesson amplified by getting hooked on Heinlein et al. once dad got me thoroughly hooked on sf&f). Oh, and dad, he had a MS in organo-metallic chemistry; dinner table conversations could get interesting, all the moreso once I had some high-school chemistry and could understand what they were talking about.

  8. I have no idea if my fantasy series will ever be well known, but I have to say I was pleased when a recent editorial review referred to it saying (paraphrase): “written for adults but totally fine for teenagers, since it has several principled young people.”

    I just loved that someone noticed the “principled” part, since that’s an important part of what I’m writing for the side characters. These are teenagers who are integrated into their culture and learning how to become responsible adults, not alienated from it into a destructive dead-end subculture of their own from which they can only hope to recover, not thrive.

    Youngsters can only get principles from a principled adult culture around them, not the abdicating decaying mess we see today.

  9. You might want to find my daughter, Mitzi Bartlett, there at the convention. I know she helped put it together, and I’m sure she’s there. I never taught my girls to be “girly-girls”, but what they wanted to be. I’ve dealt with the schools on that many, many times. I had one assistant principal who had my number on speed-dial.

    You might really want to have someone in the family read “LOST”. The MC is a woman. She’s also a school teacher. She also outlives all the men, but that’s not quite what’s important. It’s that she knows what’s important to her, and lives it.

    If you’re going to be there tomorrow, I’ll try to get down there. Right now, I’m fighting the last of a head cold, and don’t want to spread it around.

  10. YA also means basically no sex. I have never pushed my books as YA, yet I get comments from people who say they feel free to give my book to their teens on the basis of a lack of gratuitous sex. My principal character was too young in the first book to reasonably have much sex in the story line. To me sex is rather like auto racing. I enjoyed it when I raced, but when I stopped racing I never went and watched others racing. It seemed pointless and boring. Sex is one of the least interesting things people do really. And the effort to make it interesting can go bad very quickly.
    There is a popular author I shall not name to protect the guilty. His recent series has the main character engaging in a lot of sex. I can only conclude he has never done the things about which he writes, or decided to present them in a dishonest manner. It got so bad I refused to buy his latest book after reading the sample chapters.
    My main character in the “April” series is female, and she has all sorts of qualities, including weaknesses and limits. She interacts with male characters who are not faceless spear carriers. I am writing in events and activities that are appropriate as she ages, but I will never write an in your face bedroom scene. It’s simply not what the book is about.

    1. NO. YA from mainstream presses does NOT mean no sex. It means young protagonists. Ask Dave Freer. He got DINGED for not having sex. SERIOUSLY. And YA erotica is a field.

              1. Ok, let me understand this, you go to prison for child porn for pictures of a sixteen year old (It is generally impossible to tell the difference between a mature 16 and an immature 19 simply by looking at a picture) but juvenile erotica, where you know the age of the protagonists is acceptable?

                1. bearcat, I was in 9th – 10th grade 30+ years ago with some 15-16 yo ladies who could walk into any bar in Montgomery AL without being carded.

                  1. I was a Brownie Troop leader in the late 1980s, at an overseas base – and of the 8-9 year-old girls in my troop, one had visible breasts already. And she was about a head taller than the other girls … who, naturally, were extremely resentful. I mean, Brownie Scouts wearing brassieres and lipstick?

                    1. The other girls were as flat as … whatever ordinary 9-year olds were as flat as. I think the joke in Spain was that their breasts were ‘lentillas’ (lentils) rather than something a little more … er, bountiful. This particular girl was so developed ahead of her peers that it was quite unsettling.
                      But some of the other girls were eager to get on with the dating culture. There was one meeting, where it was put about that there was going to be a pre-teen dance at the Youth Center in the next week or so. I had to bag my planned meeting plan, and give them all a hasty lesson in dance party etiquette; the gracious way to respond to,”May I have this dance?” and how a polite young male might cut in, and how young ladies would be escourted to the dance floor …all of that that I learned at cotillion. (Yes, my parents were old-school enough to have sent my brother and I to cotillion.) It was … interesting.

                    2. At nine I had boys who were friends, but I think the “guys are special” light only started coming on at 12 and even then it was the “star crush” type. I had the body but not the mind.

                    3. I came across an article not long ago decrying the rash of early onset puberty — girls as young as 7 developing breasts — and speculating childhood obesity as the cause. While I doubt it applied in Sarah’s case, there seems some peculiar reluctance to fund studies on the effect of femmes piddling estrogen into the water supply since the birth control pill came widely into use. AFAIK, our water treatment plants do not filter that and its presence would account for early onset puberty, androgynous boys and childhood obesity.

                    4. RES — HONESTLY I think it’s “Latin blood” more than obesity OR estrogen. Seriously. Our first vacation in Portugal I had to tell my husband half the girls he was oggling were 12. We’ve had an influx of Latin immigrants over the last… thirty? years. It will show. There’s always been a marked divide between mediterranean/south European and northern European on onset of puberty. (And Dan eventually learned to tell at a glance.)

                    5. There may be genetic factors affecting the phenomenon you describe, but I was referring to something else (note: I specifically exempted your experience in my comment.)

                    6. A few years ago, I read something about a study which found a high correlation between non-familial males in the household with early-onset puberty in girls.

                    7. I have also heard several people claim it is all the growth hormones they give beef now days, that is then absorbed when the girls eat it. I have no idea if there is any basis if fact to this assumption, but it is fairly common claim.

                    8. In addition to hormones given to food animals, there are also indications that the consumption of phytoestrogens may have something to do with it. Soy is a major offender, and soybean oil is in almost every processed food. As you said, there hasn’t been much in the way of studies done, but it would not surprise me if there’s a preponderance of early-onset puberty cases among those consuming mostly processed foods, which usually translates to lower income brackets.

        1. I got to ‘listen in’ to several YA authors – all female – discussing the new arenas of interest. Like S&M for kids. Fetishism is hot! Group sex, with a selection of genders is the new frontier… how to put on a condom should be described in detail, and how and when to use use rubber gloves and dental dams… They’ve got to be taught its all normal. And after all 50% of all girls are having sex by the time they’re (I forget, too busy being nauseous) 12-13-14. And self abuse is normal. And so is bullimea (sp?)….

          Shudder. I kept quiet except to ask whether that 50% were actually reading. I didn’t ask if and when they started these things themselves. Obviously the difference between ‘normal’ and ‘done by some humans’ has been a little confused.

            1. It’s even worse. I forget where it was, but some school administrator was proposing sex ed changes that included such things as what could only be described as “fisting, for pre-teens”. And if you don’t already know what that is, count yourself lucky, and don’t ask for an explanation.

                1. Oh, that’s right – the pedophile. Can’t remember his name, though, and internet right now is too slow to bother looking it up.

                2. I recall this being a big deal back during the Clinton Administration, when Massachusetts schools were having GLSEN (I think that was the acronym) making presentations on “healthy” attitudes about sex.

                  Presumable “healthy” in their mind has no relation to basic hygiene or protection of the body’s integrity.

          1. If 50% of all girls are having sex by the time they are 12-14 (something I flat don’t believe is true in America) that means 50% aren’t. Logically (I know, I know, logic is verboten) that would mean that 50% of the YA books should be targeted at the non-sexually active.

            1. 1)It was supposedly an American stat. Someone told me it actually came from a small sample of inner city schools.
              2)Even if it were true – which I can’t swallow either, I’d bet the ones on their backs have no interest in reading or time to do so. The reading ones are going to be feeling targeted and inadequate by the books that assume they’re also having it off every few hours.
              3)The stat assumes that male figures are irrelevant. No need to think about them reading. Promise you, even if it’s true then you can add 2-4 years on to the boys before they reach 30%.

            2. bearcat, I don’t know about 50%, but my mother was a 4th grade teacher up until about 10 years ago in rural AL. About 80-100 4th graders (admittedly some had been held back a year or two) and it was a given that 1-2 per year were going to get pregnant.

        2. Generally agreed on the yuck factor. It was already intruding in books when The Daughter was young. I first really confronted the notion when The Spouse read me an article about Judy Blume breaking the sex barrier. The Daughter did not have interest in such, in fact she was quite put off. Which was one of the reasons she so thoroughly embraced Heinlien juvenile fiction — science and strong characters, but none of that icky stuff.

          1. Yes– I noticed about five years ago that some of the older YA was more like what I was reading in Harlequin in the 80s. Now it is much worse.

          2. I found it very weird, on the panel, about how books for teens needed to deal with their changing bodies — breasts, hair, period, etc.

            I’ve been encountering this since I was a kid, and I think it’s insane. Does it really sell well because the kids want it, or because the parents THINK the kids want it, and buy it for the kids?

            From age about six, I was aware I wasn’t going to stay the same. Breasts? Period? Look, kids catch a lot of stuff from the surroundings, and I KNEW what was coming.

            But the illusion is SO prevalent that my mom still tells everyone I freaked out at my first period. I did not. I freaked out at its happening in the middle of a party and my having no idea where my mom kept the necessary supplies. I was in a panic that I would ruin good clothes, not that I was “ill or dying” — come on. Even at 11 I had older friends. I KNEW about periods.

            I remember yelling this at my mom back then, while she tried to reassure me I wasn’t dying (rolls eyes.) But in the retelling it has become a “and she freaked out at the blood.”

            I tried not to have such illusions, and I’d like to point out neither of the boys freaked out at growing hair, though both b*tched at early beard growth (Latin blood!) I mean, they both KNEW it would happen, because well… they knew adult guys.

            So, who came up with these illusions and why are they so prevalent?

            1. Oh, H-E-double toothpicks. I grew up in an era well before women’s “hygiene” products were regularly advertised on television and I knew about periods well before approaching puberty!

              I agree this is a socially constructed myth, akin to what passes for “passion” these days, where kids take their models for expression of passion from over-acting TV & Film performers.

            2. So – is it mostly male authors, then, who include girls freaking out when they wake up to bloody sheets in the morning?

              The only first-person accounts I know are my wife’s, and a friend’s daughter’s (who I overheard telling my wife about hers), who both started their first at school, and thereby freaked out for similar reasons to yours, though more on the public embarrassment side than anything about ruining clothes.

              1. No. It’s women too. It makes me wonder at their memory.
                Public embarrassment was my issue too. If I changed a dress, people would notice, and the house was full of older female relatives and I’d have to explain what a dork I was, not knowing where mom kept pads. (I was trying to figure out what it would be. We had to have about 80 people there, mostly relatives though friends too. Couldn’t be my birthday, because I was in a dress, so it had to be warm. Probably mom’s or dad’s birthday.)

            3. Victorian– I think. Plus my mother used to say that her mother didn’t tell her a thing about her changing body. (My mother was born in 47). They did have a class in elementary school when I was ten and eleven about our changing bodies and what to expect. I was not worried about the “blood.” It was the cramping that concerned me.

      1. That makes a horrid sort of sense, actually: when the establishment is doing its best to destroy all traces of the idea of modesty as a virtue, they’ve removed most all of the actual negotiating room on hormonal tension interacting with culture, plot, and people, and are only left with when/how uglies are bumped. Pointing out that people are, y’know, people, and rise above their midsection organs makes the establishment look as cheap and tawdry with their honorless ruined souls and filthy minds as they actually are.

      2. True. The reviewer at Ki… slated the lack of sex and angst. The characters were too busy, you know, doing boring stuff like survive. And there was so much… sf stuff like you know cool inventions that might work. At the same time – and I can provide the link if you want to vomit – she wrote a rave review of a book because its centerpiece was oral sex as performed by a minor on an adult woman who was teaching this kid how to pleasure her. It was soooo good because see, it was teaching boys their job was to pleasure women. The fact that it was – at least in many states – statutary rape, and definitely an adult seducing a child, was juuuust wonderful because she was a woman (and to add a trump, black). I can barely imagine the outcry if it were the a white adult man ‘teaching’ a young black girl how to pleasure him.

        1. The “young male, older female” meme is defended as a long-standing adolescent male fantasy (e.g., “hot for teacher”) as if that justifies it.

          We could probably compile a very long list of adolescent male fantasies (driving fast cars recklessly, firing automatic weaponry into massed crowds, gang rape of females, etc.) which are NOT defended on those grounds.

          1. Reading the obvious pleasure in reviewers reaction to it, kiddie-porn for a sexually frustrated adult (and one I would worry about if she lived anywhere near my kids of any gender after reading her reaction.) it was more like it was her fantasy. I can also think of an awful lot of adult (18 +) male actors that young girls have fantasies about, which doesn’t provide any defense for pedophiles either.

            1. My poor physics teacher in 9th grade. Male teacher — ONLY male teacher — in an all girl’s school. Tall, dark handsome and a hokey (in Portugal it’s high class) player. These idiot girls would SWOON in class. (I’m not joking.) I was immune by virtue of having a crush on an older boy in my neighborhood, and being a faithful type. Also, I like physics too much to care who taught it.

              BUT it was appalling. And to his credit, he always looked disgusted at their antics.

          2. Those are adolescent male fantasies? Hmmm, I guess I was an odd duck as an adolescent in more ways than I imagined. Well, except for the driving fast cars recklessly part … if a ’69 Ford F150 counts …

            1. The neuroscience argues, when you think about it, for making the age of majority higher for males than for females. Ideally we would have a method of testing for the ability to make rational decisions as a requirement, but lif requires compromise*.

              *This has become my go-to rebuttal for those denouncing the Constitution of the United States for not barring slavery: Oh my gawd, you mean they compromised?

      3. YA Erotica? Isn’t that like “Low fat ice cream” and “low sodium salt”?

        I prefer the more former name for the field: Pedophile Porn.

      4. Huh, interesting. I always thought most sex in books and movies was contrived, and not really necessary for the plot. When it is the main part of the plot, I find myself thinking that it should be labeled “adolescent material”, not “adult material”. You would think adults would be over the novelty of their hormones by then.

        I’ve never really understood why other people having sex was supposed to appeal to me. It doesn’t really. I find myself skipping those parts. I wouldn’t go spying on people in real life having sex, why would I take an interest in it with fictional characters?

        1. Sex in any media is a waste of writing, unless it’s the point. Foreplay – in the sense of building the tension – is far and away more important. Boy meets girls, boy and girl fight, flirt, get pulled apart, meet up again, maybe get a kiss, defy death once or twice, have an awkward conversation or three, win the day, and then, maybe, if the sex is the climax (hurhur) of their relationship, THEN give them an intimate moment of the fade-to-black variety. Who knows, maybe they even get married first. Wouldn’t that be countercultural?

          1. As to the “unless it’s the point” notion, here I’m talking romance/erotica, which may be a waste of writing all in of itself. YMMV, and I’ve discovered a heretofore unknown enjoyment of screwball romances, so I’m hardly immune myownself.

        1. Yeah – my general rule is, if the cover of a book shows a large girl’s face looking pensive, or a male torso with no head (and how sexist and insulting is THAT), I don’t touch it.

          1. “my general rule is, if the cover of a book shows a large girl’s face looking pensive”

            So your saying your prejudiced against plus-sized women?

              1. Wrong descriptor, I was looking at large, not pensive. Although admittedly the picture of a constipated girl on the cover doesn’t really entice me to buy the book 😉

            1. :=P
              One big head on the cover.

              (I’d actually like more plus-sized girls, over the anorectic ones today, but that’s a different problem.)

              1. I don’t notice the anorexic ones described in print nearly as much as they are shown on screen. I mean who really wants to describe the female love interest as ‘so thin you could hang your hat on her hipbones, and your coat on her shoulderblade’?

                Honestly a lot of women authors tend to describe the female love interest in terms that they think their readers (female readers) can relate to. While male authors describe them usually as someone they themselves would find attractive, thus both the hourglass figure, and the fifteen pounds overweight, but not obese, female are much more commonly seen in books than on screen.

              2. This might hearten you. I subscribe to a “artist’s models cd thing” for my art. One of the CDs had women who were thin to the point of anorexia. They got so many complaints those models have vanished, but we do now have two plus-sized ones.

            2. HEY! My first book had a pre-raphaelite girl looking pensive. The main character was a guy (Shakespeare.) Please to be remembering that writers don’t pick covers.

              Also, interesting point — I’ve got back and put attractive girl faces on some short story covers because… they sell. Go figure it.

  11. Sarah, I think you hit something that’s been gnawing me recently. In Novel 2: The Sequel (N2:TS), one of the major plot points is how females cope with no longer being to “have it all” (not that they ever could – something mentioned in N1) for biological reasons. The upshot will be that 90% accept the change and a lot like it, and the remaining 10% either find ways to work within the new system or they grit their teeth and endure. Which tells me that I’m going to catch a world of flack from the (self) Anointed. And I really enjoy writing in this culture because they are so “traditional.”

    One of the knots I have to untangle for a third novel/ story series deals with the MC being a woman and a military tactician in what is basically the early 18th century (in terms of tech and most medicine). Fertility, physical strength and stamina, all that requires some sorting out.

    YA or not YA: Looking over my stories, I have a grand total of 4, possibly 5 that are not PG-13 at worst (occasional language, some violence). That’s out of 100+ short stories and novellas, and one novel (thus far).

    Sorry to wander more than usual. I’ve been beating my head against a wall thanks to research problems and it seems to have scattered what few thoughts I have left. 🙂

      1. That’s why I gave a rating rather than wondering “gee, maybe I could sell these as YA.” I probably should have used a comma rather than a colon My mind goes blank when I try to write characters between ages 13 and 18. Probably my subconscious trying to repress the memories of those years. Or because I have very little patience for the antics of teenagers ages 13-18. Yes, I’m “that” substitute teacher.

          1. When I mention that you could not pay me enough to do certain years again — even if I was allowed to carry the knowledge I now have with me — the only challenge I get is which exact years should be avoided at all costs.

  12. About six or seven years ago I ran across a blog post by a young woman who had just started strength training. She was absolutely infuriated because she had seen men in her local gym weightlifting way more than she could. Apparently she had been raised in an ultra-feminist-leftist household and taught to believe that greater male upper body strength was a misogynist lie, because men and women are (you guessed it) EQUAL! in all ways.

    Seriously. In this woman’s world, basic human physiology was simply wished away. And her response wasn’t to accept the evidence in front of her eyes, but to double down on her belief that men are sneaky lying unfair rat-bags who must be punished and shamed and made to comply by any means possible.

    I suppose it’ll be interesting in a morbid way to watch the Robespierre and Saint-Just types spinning out of control and destroying everything in their paths rather than accede to reality. I just want to be watching from a safe distance (preferably with binoculars)…

    1. “I suppose it’ll be interesting in a morbid way to watch the Robespierre and Saint-Just types spinning out of control and destroying everything in their paths rather than accede to reality. I just want to be watching from a safe distance (preferably with binoculars)…”

      I want to be Joseph Fouche.

    2. “men and women are … EQUAL! in all ways.”

      Except that women are better — more nurturing, less aggressive* — than men.

      Refusing to allow a person to hold simultaneously contradictory ideas is sexist.

      *Aggressive is herein defined in such ways as describe male pattern aggression — physical violence, primarily. Modes of female aggression, especially verbal and emotional aggression, are defined as normal and must not be condemned because that is a denial of women’s natural mode and is an effort to oppress women.

          1. I believe I have heard it formulated that men are more aggressive, but women are more vicious.

            1. Another word by any name is still the same– or at least the results are the same– Also aggressive may be a valve whereas vicious is continuous.

              1. Aggressive is outgoing and active, whereas vicious is an action modifier. It is possible to be either one, or both.

                As as example: Someone who picks fights is aggressive, while someone who finishes them by breaking his (or her) opponent’s kneecaps and elbows (or, yes, any number of other extreme actions) is vicious.

                1. “someone who finishes them …”

                  Or is a lot smaller and has no other choice. I read a man who taught at a reform school, largely full of thuggish types. He was quite nervous when he heard he was going to have to teach the class with the boys who’d brought guns to school, only they turned out to all be little scrawny kids.

                  1. Just because you have to be vicious to survive, doesn’t change it. It merely explains it.

                    1. True. But there are some people who are vicious and enjoy it – the bully types. Just wanted to differentiate. 🙂

                    1. While I would love to claim both you and Cyn as sisters, when it comes to mothers I think we differ. Not that my Momma was what the world would call normal or easy. She was a character out of the world of Faulkner and Tennessee Williams.

        1. What has come out recently about women in combat is that they do just fine when it is an occasional thing, when they can drive to the firefight, and the can go back, rest up, get a shower, and don’t have to carry full a combat load. But, in real combat combat positions, the soldiers and marines are going for months without significant rest, and at times carrying 100 or so pounds of equipment. Few women can build up to it, strength wise, and when they try it, tend to come down with many more injuries, such as stress fractures. Even Olympic class female athletes take significantly longer to recuperate than male athletes of the same caliber. And, one of the reasons for all this is one of the things that fundamentally distinguishes the sexes — testosterone levels – something that males have much more of than females, and which aids significantly in muscle growth and body rebuilding.

          1. The thing is, women have been in combat for as long as there’s been combat. Before group showers and general hygiene checks in the military, women have always passed as soldiers – not all women, certainly, but they’ve been there, and I presume the move to guns helped.

            Granted, in past times, armies accepted boys as well. And I’ve heard modern combat is more intense.

            1. Exceptional women SHOULD still be ALLOWED, but they SHOULD be made to fit male benchmarks. DUH. It’s the human who should meet the requirement of what he or she wants to do. No lowering of standards. (A man wanting to teach philosophy, say, should be as verbally gifted as the women doing it, too.)

              1. Having been a Navy officer (in peacetime, a good while back), the problem I see with women in the military is — because they cannot be used as freely … as, you know… EQUALLY as the men — you end up denying the men ‘perks’ they should get. Esp. in the Navy, a “shore billet” — a chance to be stationed ashore and actually spend a year seeing his family (part of that time) — is prized, and rare, and if so doggoned many women are taking up those spaces… when do the MEN get a chance to be ashore?

                One of my assignments was running a tug division in a shipyard: I had 60 sailors, of which 20 were women, of which NINE were pregnant. I couldn’t use the pregnant ones on the tugboats. I couldn’t get any replacements (cause “I HAD sailors” … they were just preggo and unable to fulfill their duties!) — and so the male sailors had to work much harder, take more watches, and get less time with their families. (Oh, and should I mention only ONE of the nine ‘mothers-to-be’ was married; and none of the eight had any idea HOW they were going to continue to be in the Navy without someone to babysit?)

                1. “(Oh, and should I mention only ONE of the nine ‘mothers-to-be’ was married; and none of the eight had any idea HOW they were going to continue to be in the Navy without someone to babysit?)”

                  That is just meaningless propaganda, obviously the Navy should provide daycare (free of charge, of course) for the children of their female soldiers. Oh and you can’t expect mothers to be away from their children for extended times, so obviously we can’t station them offshore (this would include in a foreign country where it would be inadvisable for them to bring their children with them).

    3. I suppose it’ll be interesting in a morbid way to watch the Robespierre and Saint-Just types spinning out of control and destroying everything in their paths rather than accede to reality.

      That reminds me — the next person who sees David Weber at a con, ask him how he likes living in the People’s Republic of Haven? I suspect the response will be noteworthy.

      1. These ARE the crazy years. And here, I didn’t mean to make A Few Good Men either a timely call to arms or a timely call to odd religion but…

        You’ll see.

        1. Today, CBS Sunday Morning had an opinion piece calling for the US to totally ignore the Constitution. Not make a new one, but just ignore the existing one and do whatever “we” want, without being oppressed by “ancient” “white” people.

          1. Ancient and white … so … Germanic people groups, pre-Rome? Does the Kievan Rus count as “ancient?” Or are we talking about people my parents age, perhaps occupying a certain structure in the District of Columbia? I wouldn’t call them ancient, but they keep trying to infringe on my liberties, and I’m starting to get tetchy about it …

              1. Indeed. There are some days I think the heart will break. America is all we have. We have nowhere else to go. They want their socialist paradise, pick any other of the countries of the world. BUT this is all we have.

          2. “Today, CBS Sunday Morning had an opinion piece calling for the US to totally ignore the Constitution.”

            That seems to be a popular subject for liberal writers lately. I wonder who/what’s pushing it. Can you imagine if Fox and National Review had carried similar pieces back in 2005?

            1. I got hit by one of my friends (in my Vasculitis group) that the Constitution was old-fashioned and that the people of the 1700s had different problems than today. I had to laugh. I started with “as in how different” and ended with food, clothing, and children. I was pretty mad.

            2. It is the Alinsky-ite tactic of holding your opponent to their own standards, which is why the Left made such hue and cry over Bush “trampling” the Constitution. This is also why they are so confounded by the failure to persuade of their assertions that Reagan did or supported something contrary to what contemporary conservatives argue — they do not recognize that the Right is a party of principles, not principals, revering Reagan for his adherence to principle while forgiving his lapses.

  13. One of the things about writing for “Boy’s Life” was that it was a magazine for Boy Scouts (and other young boys growing into men). It had to fit the editors’ mindset. If it didn’t, it either had to be re-written until it did, or it wasn’t accepted. I was a cub scout for three months, then got tired of it and quit. I was NEVER a Boy Scout, yet I read “Boy’s Life” until I left High School (for the military). I got the same lessons from “Boy’s Life” that I got from my father and the rest of the male members of our extended family (ten in the local neighborhood alone): treat women with respect, do your job and do it right, know what’s expected of you and meet or exceed those expectations. Today’s boys are mostly lost unless they’re from a family that still instills those values. Those are mostly rural males. City boys usually don’t have the opportunity to learn those lessons, and the MUST be taught if boys are going to grow up to be decent men. It sounds like you and Dan have taught those lessons, but how many others have done the same?

    1. I was a Boy Scout (Eagle Scout actually) and one thing I have always been proud of is that the Boy Scouts have always stood firm on their beliefs. They have been to court multiple times for not removing God from their oath, and for insisting that the phrase ‘morally straight’ remain in the Boy Scout oath; because this is prejudiced against gays. (of course pointing out that the gays claim this can only do so by claiming they are immoral would REALLY create an outcry). An amazingly high percentage of our leaders in business, military, and much as I hate to admit it, politics are former Scouts; which tends to show that they are successful in teaching boys how to be both successful and leaders.

      1. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, but … while doing my morning news troll I saw a story about a new reality series titled “Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout?”

        It seems GLAAD are demanding that the network preface every episode with a disclaimer about the BSA being an organization that discriminates against gays.

        On the same day I see a report that the Feds are writing regulations requiring schools provide sports for disabled kids.

        Heinlein got The Crazy Years wrong.

      2. Thing is though, there are already thousands of Boy Scouts who are Eagle Scouts who are gay. “Morally straight” in fact is meeting your obligations to society and yourself, it has nothing to do with obeying the hypocritical edicts of stone age priests and their iron age follow-ons who thought nailing Christ to a cross was great idea.

        “(of course pointing out that the gays claim this can only do so by claiming they are immoral would REALLY create an outcry)”

        No, that doesn’t follow. You’re admitting it is prejudicially aimed at them in your usage of the words, they are only acknowledging your use of the phrase.

        1. I think you missed the meaning RES was trying to give there. It WAS a little garbled, but I’m reasonably certain that he was not particularly saying that being gay was immoral in itself; rather, he was saying that the only way for gays to claim that the phrase “morally straight” was biased against them was for them to claim that being gay was immoral.

          1. because they would have to assume it relates to orientation, which clearly linguistically it doesn’t. I have LONG thought that the entire objection to the phrase was on the level of demanding Women be spelled Womyn or objecting to the word niggardly.

            OTOH Scouts do forbid openly gay Scout Masters. I do have an issue with this, because it’s a conflation of gay with pedophile. OTOH we live in an EXTREMELY litigious society and all it would take was a pedophile masquerading as gay (they masquerade as straight all the time when they like little girls, too — by picking a woman who looks small/young, etc.) who slips up on an outing, and the entire organization would be ruined. So while I don’t like it, I also wouldn’t put hetero males in charge of the brownies, though the incidence of pedophilia is quite small.

            1. Submitted from today’s news:

              The Washington Times
              Monday, January 28, 2013
              Boy Scouts move to end ban on gay members, leaders
              By Jessica Chasmar
              The Boy Scouts of America is actively considering removing its decades-long ban on openly gay members and Scout leaders, NBC reports.

              The new policy would eliminate the rule from the national organization, leaving local sponsoring organizations the freedom to admit gay Scouts at will.

              “The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ national organization, said Monday.

              Sponsors and parents “would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families,” he added.

              If approved, the policy could be announced as soon as next week, just seven months after the Boy Scouts affirmed its policy of banning gay members. In a statement last July, its national executive board called it “the best policy for the organization.”

              But a Scouting official told NBC News that the move to lift the ban was urged by many local sponsors.

              “We’re a grass-roots organization. This is a response to what’s happening at the local level,” the official said.

              © Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC.

              1. So you’re now corroborating the fact the BSA held “morally straight” to prohibit homosexuals.
                I didn’t think you’d keep asserting the contrary long.

                We are at the point in the country where “morally straight” needs desperately to pay particular emphasis to paying one’s own bills as you go, and holding the government to the same.

                1. I think you’re misreading what RES said (and the original comment wasn’t RES.)

                  I think one shouldn’t be obsessed with the war on words — and the BSA seems to be getting over its problems with gay kids/masters (I’d only ever heard of Scouts masters being an issue, but my kids were never Boy Scouts for various reasons.)

                  If they’re changing now let’s hope our litigious society doesn’t blow it.

                2. Nonsense – I corroborated nothing. You might take that article to corroborate whatever pleases you.

                  I maintain “morally straight” does not refer to “straight” in the slang sense it is used by homosexual activists. For that matter, I would think the phrase refers to integrity without specifying a specific morality.

                  1. And considering how OLD the oath is — Heinlein references it in the 40s I THINK — that is the only LOGICAL interpretation. Straight didn’t mean “not gay” back then, it meant “not crooked.” To project backwards is to assume all gays are crooked. On behalf of my gay friends, I’m offended.

                    At any rate, as I said, highjacking discussion to irrelevant topic, picking fights about people’s religion (when people did not provoke him, nor was religion or religious objection to homosexuality for that matter mentioned except by him), and continuing in self-absorbed manner ARE banning offenses around here, aren’t they?

                    This without the bizarre assumption all homosexuals fall under “morally crooked.” Pfui.

                    1. Sigh – spend an evening watching a movie with the Beloved Spouse and I return here to late to illuminate the determinedly dim. It is certainly the prerogative of the captain (and owner) of the ship to eliminate disruptive persons.

                      Please disregard all my responses to the undearly departed and substitute instead my expressed hope that the airlock not hit them in the …

            2. ” I have LONG thought that the entire objection to the phrase was on the level of demanding Women be spelled Womyn or objecting to the word niggardly. ”

              I’d say no, that isn’t all it is. The not merely prohibit gay scout leaders, they prohibit gay scouts, as in showing them the door and preventing their advancement.

            3. I was not intending to cause a huge controversy over the BSA prohibiting gays, I was simply stating that I was proud of being an Eagle Scout, and proud of the Scouts for standing up for both their beliefs and their members.

              Yes the pedophilia concerns is the main reason why gay Scoutmasters are prohibited. While gay Scouts are prohibited due to their sexual orientation, the same as girls are prohibited from joining the BSA. Most parents do not want their 13 year old son spending the night in a tent with a 17 year old that is a homosexual, I venture to guess most of those same parents wouldn’t want their 13 year old daughter spending the night with a heterosexual 17 year old boy either.

              There is also the fact that a large number of scout troops are sponsored by churches, and the Christian religion (and several other major religions) do believe homosexuality is wrong. This in and of itself wouldn’t be enough to cause the prohibition without the more major factors mentioned above, but I’m sure it does color the issue (and provides lots of fuel for the rabid anti-religion crowd).

              1. Also for scouts I assume it’s “declared homosexuality” — and while I had friends at 14 who “knew” they were gay, about half of them actually weren’t. Sexuality is fluid when you’re growing up (something that fed a whole lot of nonsense in British schools.)

                I’m not saying that people might not know that early. Some of my friends did — BUT to go around declaring it takes the place of more important emotional development and might also lock you in in the eyes of the world into something that isn’t even true.

                I’ll note then drop this topic the tendency of a certain type of mother these days to go around telling EVERYONE their under-16 son is gay (I have a friend who chaperons a youth group and who has been ambushed by this several times.)

                And bearcat, while it might not have been wise to mention it — you are not responsible for people who fasten onto a minor unrelated pointed, accuse someone else (RES) of making it and generally proceed to behave like the drunken uncle at a wedding.

                The more suspicious part of me, particularly given the IP issue, wonders if this is one of those things where you go to conservative, or in this case libertarian blogs and try to get them to confirm your side’s bias that anyone not a socialist is a racist homophobe and, oh, yeah, a religious fanatic too. I’m probably paranoid, but that’s my feeling.

                1. Sexuality is fluid when you’re growing up …

                  Shoot, all the research I’ve seen suggests that it’s even relatively fluid when you’re an adult. For example, while it’s pretty much impossible to stop being attracted to the kinds of people you’re attracted to, it’s entirely possible to create attractions you didn’t have before. (EXTREMELY oversimplified version: apparently, most people could make themselves bisexual if they really wanted to.) Which bears on so many hot-button issues that I’ve just deleted the rest of the comment I was about to write. Following the logic chain to its natural conclusions will be left as an exercise for the reader.

                  1. Which explains societies like Greece and Rome — but there might be some genetic determinant too.

                    Actually what I heard is that most of us (spectrum, spectrum — I’m probably at the far end of not in your life time) are “somewhat bisexual” as is normal for species where genders look relatively alike. Culture can encourage it or discourage it. Now, mind, there are “far end of spectrum” people who can’t be bent either straight or gay.

                2. Sarah, it wouldn’t surprise me if those mothers weren’t trying to position their sons / daughters in an Official Government Victim Group for purposes of a) preemptively insulating said child from the consequences of bad behavior (“You’re just picking on Junior / Juniette because they’re gay!”), b) angling for whatever preferences accrue to a member of an OGVG, or c) both.

                  Which gets back to one of the points of the post: the Opposition these days is so interested in correcting perceived inequalities that they’ve put in a whole new set that can be exploited by anyone dishonest enough to game the system… and they applaud that dishonesty.

                  1. I doubt they are thinking that far ahead. I imagine they are just seeing it as the new “cool” thing.

                    Just like I’ve suspected several actors whose careers were on the rocks in the past several years of coming out simply because they knew the attention would give them a boost.

                  2. The cases I’ve heard about is always mothers with sons and the term “castrating b*tch” comes to mind. I think these are women who are for whatever reasons disdainful or afraid of men, and want to feminize their sons. (I will confess that having grown up as a tomboy I was very afraid of doing the opposite to a daughter by accident, so I was relieved to have boys. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize I come from a long line of tomboys (though mom tamed earlier) and it’s only partly genes. BUT we don’t turn girls masculine, girls in the family just tend to do stupid *ss sh*t like boys mostly when young. Stuff in the climbing and exploring line. And we seem to be a little more (okay, mom, a lot more) athletic and outspoken as adults. Now I wish I’d had a daughter, though I wouldn’t trade either of the boys for one.)

                    1. Yea– I noticed that there are factors like mothers and sometimes there is an abuse issue (sexual). I don’t know if there is a gene or not. I watched my nephew deal with those two factors. I have wondered if there are trigger factors (like with an auto-immune disease). Of course I am probably just trying to understand something that might not be understandable.

                    2. My son believes it’s an epigenetic issue. The abuse can make you go either way. And most mothers who WANT to make their sons gay don’t succeed. THEY DO however succeed in messing them up forever.

                    3. I can see that– (messing them up forever). I think I am following the same train of thought except I didn’t know there was a study for it. 🙂

                    4. “Abuse” is one of the favorite explanations, which drives people from non-abusive backgrounds NUTS. It also appears not to be right. As with maternal influence which “works” if something is already there to make it work.

                      I do however know people whose mom’s tried to make them gay, and depending on personality it can make it incredibly hard to have a normal love life as an adult. NOT that you’re attracted to guys, but because you feel guilty about being attracted to girls and often you have mannerisms, etc that make people THINK you’re gay, which makes it hard to pursue girls. (This is normally guys, though it can be done to girls in reverse, as well.)

                    5. Recently I saw it happen to a girl. She was raised by two mothers and is now dating a friend’s son. She feels so guilty that she is attracted to guys and not other girls. Plus whenever she goes to an occasion like the prom, the mothers set her up with an approved lesbian girl. Strange imho. Isn’t that something that some of them are really militant about? (being set up with opposite sex partners?) I just don’t understand it–

                      I think that there has to be potential first. (The same in some diseases– you have to have the gene before the disease is triggered by factors). It’s just I haven’t met anyone who was gay w/o abuse– most of the ones I have met had abuse in their background. So it seemed a factor–

                      Anyway, I have wondered (not sure if it would fit) if family lines that are too intertwined get a fair amount of gay potential. (I see this in royal lines a lot when I look through them– or other genetic problems such as hemophilia or mental illness.) NOT equating homosexuality with mental illness btw.

                    6. Um… weirdly I don’t know anyone who is gay who was abused. And for obvious reasons people who weren’t abused get VERY testy at this explanation. Well, I know someone who was abused (not sexually) by her mother and is a lesbian, ANYWAY, but a very… conflicted one because she doesn’t LIKE women.

                      It does run in families, but also weirdly nothing to do with inbreeding. There might have been a “utility” to it in pre-human days. At least other mammals often have a caste of non-reproducing colony/band members who devote themselves to the young of their siblings/parents — thereby causing more of them to survive, thereby advantaging the gene.

                    7. That makes sense– in a biological sense– I do know that my nephew and those in my family who have this tendency love children. I can take care of babies, but I am not really children friendly ;-). I can handle children one or two at a time– anymore and it is too much.

                    8. Here’s another strange aspect– as the oldest child– I ended up doing a lot of raising of the other children in the family. I turned into a protector and not a nurturer–

                      I have brothers who are better at nurturing than I am. I have to think about it first and then say– “Oh that is what I did wrong.” lol

                    9. I think that there has to be potential first. (The same in some diseases– you have to have the gene before the disease is triggered by factors)

                      They say it is genetic, they demand acceptance because they cannot change their genes. They insist there is no “recruiting” on account it is a genetic predisposition.

                      So if your daughter don’t have that genetic predilection, no amount of mommas pushing her that way will matter … except to make her feel her otherness more harshly and deeply.

              2. And the reason my kids weren’t boy scouts is that we lived far up the mountain and the church we attended was 15 miles bad road away. The meetings were after sundown in winter, and I’m night blind. We couldn’t find a non-church-sponsored group, so…

              3. I doubt any sensible person thought you meant any endorsement of specific BSA policies, merely that you were commending them for standing up for their principles.

                Heck, I admire the Klan for standing by their principles even though I disagree with pretty much every principle they avow (it is possible, although not likely, that they might have some principle I would endorse, along the lines of “take good care of your horse.”)

                1. I very much doubt if ANY healthy* adult** man would find girls sexually interesting, for a whole variety of reasons; it is a mark of societal decline that we expect them to.

                  *Note use of quibble word.

                  **Quibble quibble.

                  1. And not to pour fuel, but there’s great difference in wanting (being tempted, curious, interested, stupid, pick your poison) and doing a thing. Caveat: the above comment is not limited, nor even specifically directed at male/female relations of the carnal variety. Or any relations of the carnal variety. Oh, look at this deep hole I’m in! How in the world did I get here?

                    1. Anybody who thinks people should never repress anything has never been in a crowded consuite after a taco buffet.

                    2. It is said that Oscar Wilde was one of the very few people who ever really tried to pursue hedonism. In the end he found it dissatisfying. And this was not because the world around him was repressive, which it may have been. It was because it had become a never ending search for something novel with which to amuse himself. (The Spouse quipped that he should have stuck to short stories and plays.)

          2. Actually, ’twas Bearcat as used the “morally straight” line — I merely pointed out that GLAAD is carrying out a jihad against the BSA without delving into their reasons.

            Given that the Boy Scout’s Code employed the “morally straight” phrase LONG before the word acquired its present meaning, any interpretation of it as prejudicial against gays strikes me as presumptuous, although I am not sure just what it is presuming: that the BSA perfected / will perfect time travel and put that phrase in their code knowing that it would evolve into a term offensive to gays? That having seized a word (straight) and perverted* the traditional understanding of its meaning the gay lobby acquired the privilege to demand others abide by their slang and rewrite their positions accordingly?

            *pervert, verb: Alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended. Certes the word straight (Extending or moving uniformly in one direction only; without a curve or bend) has to have been perverted to get to any anti-gay meaning.

            1. Isn’t that straight out of the Left playbook, though? Change the meaning of a word (or simply find a word that has changed meaning) through colloquial usage, then pretend that older documents using that term are meant in the same way as the new meaning, so that they can attack it?

              1. Like the nonsense about the “General Welfare” clause in the Constitution being a basis for unending Welfare payments? Or finding a “Right to Privacy”* in the penumbra and emanations of the Constitution?

                *N.B., do a little serious exploration of the history of the concept of “privacy” and you will quickly learn thar warn’t no sech thang in Colonial Times. Certainly not in the way we conceive it today.

                1. I dunno. I rather like my privacy – the idea that the police can’t simply kick in my door and rifle through my stuff. And, if they follow the constitution, they can’t. (4th amendment).

                  I would also object if my boss, or my professors, or the nutcase in the street-corner protests took it upon themselves to go looking for whatever they could hang me with.

                  There are *reasons* why people are protective of their privacy. (There are reasons why so many people are so intent on violating it) People intent on violating your privacy never intend anything good towards you. There are things of mine that are, fundamentally, not anyone else’s business.

                  Extending that to cover things like abortion (certainly the business of the baby in question) is a distortion, but let’s not go throwing out fundamental freedoms.

                  When nothing is private, nothing is yours. Everything is up for control by society.

                  1. I do not decry limits on the powers of governments, nor even the idea that I have a right of privacy — but it should not have been inserted into the Constitution by force majeure. The Justices could have found grounded their decision more substantially by not torturing the language of the founding contract.

                    1. There’s more wrong here than I can shake a stick at.
                      There is a right to privacy already in the Constitution, both in the 4th WRT to nat’l government action, the 14th extends that explicitly to the states, and the 10th did that by implication from the get go. The point is, there is no right to privacy conducive to a murder–defining a murder is originally and in the usual sense the province of states with respect to the criminal law.
                      The due process rights to life not being interfered with by the national government were extended to the states by the 14th, so although there currently is none, there should be a statute or amendment defining when human life begins and ends.
                      Roe v Wade is a drastically stupid, evil, vile attempt at such–saying essentially it doesn’t start until the end of a natural term.

                    2. You are unclear as to what you are deeming wrong.

                      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

                      Emphasis added.

                      That is a loophole through any semi-competent lawyer could drive an 18-wheeler. And many quite competent ones have.

                      It will be interesting to see what happens when (if) prenatal screening allows determination of a “gay gene” — if the mother’s right of privacy and choice is absolute, there is no basis for denying abortion for purpose of sex selection, much less any other (say, if the Leties are right about a genetic proclivity towards conservatism?)

                    3. RES, I’ve been pointing out that particular downside to the “gay gene” concept for years… and that doesn’t even consider what’s currently being worked on in the way of genetically targeted drug delivery.

                      People should be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.

                    4. There is no general “right to privacy” in the Constitution / Bill of Rights. The drafters of the Bill of Rights had no sense of such a right as we conceive of it today. And the Supreme Court opinions on the topic use the term for only a very very narrow concept – originally the doctor-patient relationship of Griswold vs. Connecticut. Which Roe vs. Wade was hung upon.

                      As an example, there is no constitutional right to prevent the government from going through your bank statements, the records of your phone calls etc. (any protection of information held by third parties is statutory in nature).

                    5. Robin, aren’t you overlooking the 4th and 5th Amendments when it comes to records like that? The feds can get to them, but they have to have a reason for the reasonable search.

                    6. Plus — I have always thought that privacy would fall under unreasonable search– Doesn’t that make sense? As for the Constitution, it is for limiting the reach of government and not the rights of the citizens. Natural rights again– When the judges and government legislators started limiting rights, they were already unConstitutional in their thoughts and actions.

            2. ” any interpretation of it as prejudicial against gays strikes me as presumptuous”

              Other than the official BSA policy you quoted at 3:21pm, you mean?

              1. Tom, RES was commenting on your “oh so tolerant” attitude toward religious people. While I don’t want to get into a fight here, people who insult other people’s religious views won’t get a “favorable reactions” from the other people. In short, some gays come across as bigoted as the people they hate.

              2. The policy was not related to that word except by those bitching about the policy.

                I agree with you on the morally straight point being pay your own say, follow your promises, don’t cheat or steal.

                I DON’T agree the word should be eliminated, because that would be attaching it to the opposite of gay of twisting every tradition out of shape. For the love of BOB in the sixties, my ex-hippie friends inform me, straight meant “does no drugs.” In Victorian England “gay” meant prostitute. Can we stop attacking innocent words? it makes the past incomprehensible to the present — or the future.

                1. I must disagree, the policy was always related by the BSA that the words “morally straight” meant that mong many pother things, by way of their ejecting scouts and would-be leaders who were gay, and referencing those words when they did it.
                  It doesn’t affect me personally, I’m not gay. I know people who were affected by it. But it was perfectly clear to me 30 years ago and I have no doubt from day one, that the phrase “morally straight”, was intended to exclude homosexuals from scouting.
                  The controversy may be recent, that ntention was original.

                  1. But it was perfectly clear to me 30 years ago and I have no doubt from day one, that the phrase “morally straight”, was intended to exclude homosexuals from scouting.

                    (Emphasis mine). How could it have been intended that way from day one, when the word “straight” only acquired its sexuality-related meaning in the past few decades? Do you know how long the Boy Scouts of America, as an organization, has been around?

                    Also, use does not imply original intent. I have no doubt whatsoever that if the Founding Fathers saw some of the ways in which we use the Constitution these days* they’d say, “No, no, that wasn’t our intent at all! What we meant was…” So the use the phrase is being put to today does not imply anything about the intent of the original authors, and to argue that it does is to commit a historical fallacy (that’s probably not the “technically correct” name for it, but I’m not going to spend hours searching for the right name for it.)

                    * Essentially, as toilet paper (e.g., the 4th amendment).

                  2. That is quite possibly because they considered lying not “morally straight” — yes. It’s a catch 22. Life is full of these. Deal. You can’t legislate them away, you can’t litigate them away, you can only make them worse. (And end up with the US tax code.)

                    If that was “perfectly clear to you 30 years ago”, you are a linguistic moron. Because when they put the phrase in “straight” meant something completely different (I will point out that I had to have it explained to me that straight in the sixties meant “non drug taking” in order to understand a story. BUT I’m aware words change meanings and I don’t make hobby horses out of them.) You don’t GET to play Alice in Wonderland with these things or claim that people put in a word they knew would change meaning. Sorry, that’s not even insane, that’s VERY VERY DUMB. It also reaches a frightening level of solipsism. Because you “knew this” thirty years ago, when you couldn’t possibly have known it except by assuming stuff not in evidence and “feeling” we’re all forced to agree with you.

                    And YOU make fun of religious revelation? Pardon me while I ROTFL till I cry.

                    It’s also perfectly clear to feminists that Women contains men and therefore means “belonging to men” because they are LINGUISTIC MORONS. This is not the fault of anyone, and society is not honor bound to indulge their temper tantrums. And we’re not bound to honor yours.

                    And I note you highjacked this whole conversation to be about the boy scouts, which had nothing to do with the central point of the post, except that they tangentially publish “Boy’s Life” which most kids didn’t read because of Boy’s Scouts.

                    I think, sir, you have an ax to grind that has nothing to do with anything and this is the pony you chose to ride to glory for whatever reason. Let’s suppose the boy scouts were TRULY as awful as you say they are and plotted to exclude gay people. WHY would anyone gay, or anyone sympathizing with gays want to join them? What’s the point? Why force them to accept you? I don’t run around demanding to join the KKK which could hate me on THREE counts. I just ignore them. They’re an awful organization whose time has thankfully passed and I trust they will decrease more and more till they disappear. I MIGHT talk about their iniquities if there are fresh ones, but I don’t obsess about them.

                    I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore. I don’t think anyone does. Like a gentleman who used to come at me quoting the Bible, in this very blog, you are boring, obstreperous and narrow minded. Also, you are achieving results opposite what you proport to wish to obtain. Curiously, that man’s IP was the same of several leftist trolls. Should I run yours and see if it tracks to an anti-gay-group? Because none of my gay friends is this obsessed with this nonsense and most of them, being libertarian or conservative, would find your “arguing from personal feeling” appalling..

                    1. Actually, if the BSA knew that some 75 years later the meaning of the word straight would shift in such a way as to … — what else did they know about the future and why haven’t we paid more attention?

                      Slang and colloquial usage in language is generally fluid. When I first came across the world straight it was in phrases like ‘straight arrow’ as in staying within the law and behaving in a socially acceptable manner or ‘straight shooting’* as in honest and to the point — no bull. And yeah, in the sixties ‘a straight’ was one who did not do drugs — and ‘to be straight’ was to not be under the influence.

                      * yes, I know, the heads of the anti-gun lobby probably explode at that usage bearing a positive meaning.

                  3. I have no doubt from day one, that the phrase “morally straight”, was intended to exclude homosexuals from scouting.

                    So when the BSA was incorporated in 1910 they anticipated that Homosexuality would be widely accepted but also that the term “straight” would come to mean heterosexual? Geeze, they were that prescient yet failed to recognize the harm such a stance would eventually do them!

                    It would seem to be much easier to shape an argument on the idea that in order to be “morally straight” a gay person would have to accept their sexual orientation rather than suppress it.

          3. “rather, he was saying that the only way for gays to claim that the phrase “morally straight” was biased against them was for them to claim that being gay was immoral”

            That is what he was saying, I was saying he was wrong.

            1. And I’m saying I’m right, if you don’t believe being gay is immoral, you should have no problem with them swearing to be ‘morally straight’.

        2. … obeying the hypocritical edicts of stone age priests and their iron age follow-ons who thought nailing Christ to a cross was great idea.

          Use of such extreme and gratuitously derogatory terminology in a comment decrying intolerance seems odd, counter-productive, contradictory and hypocritical — which, of course, it is not. It is merely an argument for your preferred form of intolerance.

          1. You are absolutely right I’m intolerant about some things, including that stone age religion. According to it, I am direly contrary to Levitican law because I cook meat and milk together, and I don’t have a rail around my roof–and couple of hundred other supposed offenses.
            To hell with the lot of it, where the lot of it can best go.

              1. Also, it is pretty much ALL old enough religions. ALL of them. Now you can take a pick on wondering if they come from G-d or if those details are added by men. I think G-d couldn’t care less where you put it or whom you love. I ASSUME this is because religions are filtered through humans who, mind you, are fascinated by what goes where. I think G-d cares a lot more by how you treat other people and whether you treat them as things or fixate on one of their characteristics to the exclusion of all else and use this as an excuse to hate them/mistreat them.
                BUT that’s my opinion and people’s opinions and beliefs can vary. I have friends who believe completely different from what I do, and unless they intend to legislate how I behave and what I do I really don’t care.

            1. Ah yes, the old Leviticus dietary rules argument.

              I can’t tell if you’re arguing against Judaism or Christianity right now, but if you’re arguing against Christianity, you should know that you’re arguing against a strawman. The dietary rules, etc., from Leviticus haven’t been binding on Christians since the 1st century AD, when the Jerusalem council met and hashed out what to do about all these non-Jews joining the church. See Acts 15 for the story.

              You don’t have to accept the teachings of Christianity, but if you’re going to rail against them, you’d be wise to find out what they actually are.

              1. Not to mention that for the cultures in question, the dietary rules were quite wise food safety rules. …

                1. Interestingly, Tom Perkin’s IP differed by exactly three numbers (at the end) from one previous banned for Marxist provocateur action. Now, while I’m not sure this means he’s the same old troll crying for a different Billy Goat Gruff, I DO KNOW he’s highjacking discussion to be nothing like what the post was about AND insulting people who had done him no harm.

                  So I thought his IP could join its fellow. I DO NOT tolerate drunk and disorderly or its equivalent on MY private property. For someone talking about not wanting people to vote for other people’s money, he demonstrates precious little interest in not being a nuisance on other people’s property.

                  He is straight, but I don’t know about his morals.

              2. Robin, you are starting from the incorrect assumption that Tom cares what they actually are; anti-theists of his stripe would far rather hate on the cardboard cutouts in his head than deal with inconvenient reality.

                I long ago stopped wondering or caring why Tom made the decision to hate God or religion or religious people; all I care about is whether or not he’s in a position to interfere with me or those I do care about… and whatever steps are necessary to make sure that isn’t the case.

                1. Oh, I was fully expecting him to blow off what I said (though now that Sarah has wisely banned his IP, I’ll never know how he would have responded), but I tend to operate on the principle of engaging trolls for a little while rather than ignoring them completely, for two reasons. First, there’s the rare case where someone who looked like a troll is actually willing to listen to reason. It’s rare, but I’ve seen it at least once, and it’s always pleasant when that happens. And second, it’s for the sake of everyone else reading the thread who might not know that the troll’s arguments are bad. When someone reading the comments a few days from now sees one person shifting goalposts, knocking down strawmen, and being generally unreasonable, and others responding to him with gentle reason (at least for a few back-and-forths — it’s not wise to engage trolls for very long, after all)… well, those later readers will have no problem realizing which side had the better argument. But if everyone follows the standard “don’t engage the troll” advice and ignores him from the get-go, the later readers never get a chance to see the troll’s bad faith demonstrated.

                  1. Yea– his kick towards all religions was really suspect especially when he would be engaging some conservative readers. And then go for Leviticus when no one today (except some really Orthodox Jews) uses those health rules– I was confused at who he was trying to make mad.

                    1. It was pretty clear he had already driven himself mad; I think that, like a rabid dog, he was merely trying to infect others (which is, after all, the chief danger* from trolls.)

                      *Well, infecting others and near terminal boredom are the two chief dangers from trolls**.

                      **I don’t really need to extend the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition riff beyond this, do I?

                    2. When “He” commented about wanting to talk with me off-line, I was tempted to post an email address that I’d ignore. Something like “file.number.thirteen@????.com”. {Evil Grin]

                      By the way, for those who don’t know “file 13” is a term meaning “wastebasket”. [Wink]

            2. Hunh – I hadn’t realized you are Jewish, Tom. Those are the only people required to abide by the Levitican laws.

              Just so we’re clear: you are okay with hatred and oppression so long as the proper people are hated and oppressed?

              1. Well, of course.

                Witness that we know how to contain fatal, incurable STDs. We did it for syphilis. Why are we not doing it for AIDS? Why is there not outrage pouring from the people who claim to care about them? Because they have convinced themselves that their hatred and oppression, causing thousands of death every year after a long and draining illness, is nevertheless okay.

                1. It’s not as easy because it has an asymptomatic up to 20 year period and it is not, as you think, confined to homosexuals. It depends on HOW people have sex, and the younger generation is… uh… interesting. In Africa it is almost exclusively an hetero disease. I could tell you why, but it involves detergent and private parts, and I’m not in the mood for it.

                  Autocratic states have tried to contain AIDs. They failed. It’s not that easy. And if you don’t get people to come in for testing, you’ll never know and then it will be like Africa.

                  Actually it IS pretty much contained — it will always be endemic, but it is contained.

                  1. They didn’t contain syphilis by waiting for symptoms to appear. They went out and engaged in widespread mandatory testing. We have tests for HIV.

                    It’s overwhelmingly concentrated among homosexuals in this country. What is happening in Africa is moot as far as American practice is concerned.

                    1. While yes a much higher percentage of homosexuals than heteros have it here, I believe the actual number of heteros that are HIV positive is now higher. Irregardless of what we do or don’t do as to regards to our own citizens, do we test immigrants for it, and if so do we allow those that test positive in? If so, why?

                      Personally the only way I think we could successfully eridicate it is to
                      a)close our borders, then
                      b)forcibly test everyone in America
                      c)Immediately execute everyone who tests positive, without giving them a chance to infect any of those that test negative.

                      I for one am unwilling to submit to the government that kind of power.

                    2. YES, Bearcat. Exactly. Plus — yes, I have reason to know, no, not personally — it can hide for years, then suddenly appear. If your only pecadillo was at 17 and you’re 37, when you get sick are you going to think “that’s what it is, let me get tested?” EVEN without the death thing? Well, no.

                    3. Nice bait-and-switch there. I didn’t say “eradicate”; I said “contain.” Your nightmare scenario is irrelevant, because we already contained one fatal, incurable STD without it.

                      They didn’t even bring criminal charges against those who contracted syphilis, let alone execute them.

                    4. No. You seem to be talking about something MORE we should do.

                      Let me speak slowly and in SMALL words.

                      AIDS IS contained, except for imports, (the hotel maid the UN muckity muck raped or perhaps not, is an AIDS patient) and willful transmission or willful risk on the part of mature adults — at least in the homosexual community. Most of them are painfully aware that it is a risk, most people who are infected know it. Yes, there is the “death trolling” and the “AIDS Marys”, but that has happened with every incurable illness, including TB when it was. We both invest it with romanticism and fear it, and some people find that sexy. It’s a weirdness of the human brain.

                      Where it might be dangerously uncontained is in populations like high school students. If you don’t have kids in school and don’t hear the stories, you have no idea how appallingly irresponsible the kids are, because… well… they’re going to live forever and not having sex with EVERYONE you can is being uncool. Besides orgasms are their birthrights (yes, they’re told this) and keep them sane.

                      Lest you think I don’t know how syphillis was contained — — AIDS already has all that done. At-risk populations are encouraged to be tested, and partners ARE notified. (TRUST me on this, please.)

                      You’re missing where AIDS IS different from syphillis. Below a certain critical mass you ARE contagious but you don’t test HIV positive, and it might take years to reach that level where you SHOW. Some people show symptoms before they test positive, which led to people thinking perhaps HIV wasn’t responsible for AIDS which seems to be a dead end. There is reported time of decades between infection and positive results, which might or might not be true, because we’re relying on human witnesses. But at least one of the cases was someone I used to know, and I’d tend to believe him, about that at least. So in that time, you might be having unprotected sex, in blissful ignorance. For DECADES.

                      This is why the homosexual community has been bombarded FOR YEARS with the message to assume infection and use protection… And the ones who aren’t inclined to commit suicide DO.

                      The heterosexual community hasn’t, nor has the “in the closet” population, which would be afraid of testing, and whose sex is normally anonymous (and please, don’t suggest criminalizing gay sex. It was for centuries. It still is in many countries in the world. Unless like the leader of Iran you believe this makes it disappear, don’t bother. And if you believe that, you haven’t read any English literature from the Elizabethan age through the 19th century.) Nor has the casually bisexual community, which a lot of the younger kids are (and here we get into how our schools are REALLY failing us. Not in awareness, but in the fact that they not only NORMALIZE promiscuity, but they ABNORMALIZE abstinence or monogamy, even to the “YA” books they assign the kids. The message of “no one can control any impulses” is evil.)

                      That is serious trouble coming our way and not just with AIDS but with things like antibiotic resistant gonorrhea and with “minor” VD which renders women infertile.

                      You’re, a) buying into the “panic” — largely media induced — over AIDS to think it IS the major VD problem in the US. We only wish it were. There are things without name ravaging the younger generation and horrors we haven’t heard of since the middle ages and for which there is no modern name. (In fact, AIDS might be a conglomeration of symptoms, more than a specific virus, though HIV is present at some point, but the concentrations that cause it vary, etc — yes, older son took an epidemiology class, why do you ask?)

                      b) you’re assuming it is an homosexual disease. Yes, I know it’s popular on the right to insist it is. The truth is it is a disease of certain types of sex — unprotected, promiscuous, anal among them (though drug use seems to increase risk) — which, yes, used to be more prevalent in the homosexual community. However, these days it is at least half as prevalent in the young heterosexual “orgasms are our birth right and sex defines us” community. And because they tend to be younger and more unprotected, it puts them at close to equal risk. (BTW in Africa it is helped on by the insertion of detergent into the vagina to create dryness and a feeling of tightness. I’m not absolutely sure how the young girls’ use of er… toys might not facilitate that, by breaking tissues.)

                      People who are in epidemiology tell me that most of the identified cases in the US are still homosexual, but that’s deceptive. Why? Because they’re more likely to get tested.

                      Given the long-term-bomb effect of it, not even counting the time for it to show up in tests, we might have TONS of new cases in the straight community and not have a clue. And we probably do, particularly (as with syphilis) among immigrants from stricken countries, a lot of whom prostitute on arrival in both the gay and straight markets.

                      Given our insecure borders, how do you plan to stop that, short of sealing them and testing every immigrant on arrival (not something I am against on principle — considering that right now it’s considered “discriminatory” to turn someone back because of being infected which is more than a little insane.)

                      Then implementing repeated — every three months? — testing of all the sexually mature (and perhaps borderline?) population. (Reporting sexual partners works fine to an extent, once you’ve been identified, but what about people who aren’t even getting tested, because they’re not gay or drug users? Even if they slept with that cute Haitian chick last year?)

                      And then what do we do? Considering it is now a treatable illness, that people can live with for decades with no deterioration of function? Do we castrate them? Put chastity belts on the women? Neither of these stops sex. Or simply kill them? Or do we shut them all away forever? Are you aware of how many people that would mean and for how long? Do we simply tag them?

                      DO YOU WANT TO GIVE THE GOVERNMENT THAT KIND OF POWER? What happens when they decide conservatism is a virus? You think it can’t happen? Google Soviet Science, sometime. Or Nazi science. Do you think our overlords aren’t that nuts? Have you read the doctored economic numbers?

                      AIDS is as contained as it can be in a free society with practically instantaneous travel around the globe and a promiscuous culture, not to mention practically nonexistent borders. It’s contained enough that it’s not a health emergency. If you think it is, you’re reading people who want to get funding, or listening to “stars” trying to sound caring. It’s a health emergency (major) in Africa, but not here.

                      Do I think the culture could be changed? Yep. But it takes time. Do I think the borders could be sealed or at least better protected? You betcha. But right now the over-culture is against us and wailing that we should be doing this or that, or screaming at each other solves nothing. Giving more power to an overculture already out of control solves nothing.

                      Trying to remove the idea that OF COURSE every twelve year old should be having sex with BOTH genders or else getting complexes or being uptight or something DOES. And that’s something we can do, once the dead-hand of publishing is removed. Let’s do that. And let’s remove as many kids as possible from the Brave-New-World of public education.

                      AIDS (and other sexually transmitted diseases) containment is only a side benefit.

                    5. What happens when they decide conservatism is a virus? You think it can’t happen? Google Soviet Science, sometime. Or Nazi science. Do you think our overlords aren’t that nuts? Have you read the doctored economic numbers?

                      There have been at least two studies in the last 2 years that attempted to make a case that being a conservative is a form of mental illness, or a marker for several. And of course now we have Obamacare, where your doctor is encouraged to ask you questions about such things as “guns in the home”, and Obama’s latest Executive Order making it a priority to get mental health information entered into the background check system so it can be used to abridge the Second Amendment.

                      Does anyone think this is a coincidence?!?!?

                    6. Just out of curiosity, how the heck did we get on the topic of contianing AIDS in the first place?

                    7. Widespread mandatory testing only works for something that shows up quickly. When you can have HIV for years before it first shows on a test, that is not going to work.

                      And no, HIV is reportedly concentrated among homosexuals in this country. That does not mean that it is actually concentrated in that demographic.

                    8. HIV/AIDs is not exclusively a homosexual problem. I have not noticed anyone mention that one of the vectors of transmission in this and other ‘first world countries’ has been drugies of the needle using persuasion. Among these some of the most dangerous is those who ply the prostitution trade.

                      As has been alluded to, in Africa it is primarily a heterosexual issue. In many areas there is a whole generation of children without parents, many of whom carry the HIV virus or have already developed full blown AIDs.

                    9. I read somewhere (I don’t recall where, so the veracity is questionable) that something like 80% of the prostitutes in Vegas are HIV positive, and the majority of these are having primarily hetero sex.

                    10. Well, a good portion of African immigrants are. This is because Africa is an unimaginable AIDS disaster zone. A friend of mine, in 08 begged me not to elect Obama, because the republicans did/would do more for the plight of AIDS sufferers in Africa. Recently he sent me a letter saying he’d been right.

  14. Without throwing gasoline on any fires, what is wrong with teaching boys AND girls values such as treat people with respect, do your job and do it right, know what’s expected of you, etc.? What’s wrong with encouraging boys AND girls to explore what interests them, whether it is Jane Austen or machine shop? Let’s accept arguendo that the rabid so-called feminists need to breathe into a paper bag for a few years and stop caring what they think. Because human culture is not a programming language, “equal” does not mean “exactly the same”. One human being can never be “exactly the same” as another, regardless of gender. The question then becomes, what differences are important? Which are inherent, and which the result of cultural habits that can be changed? Some ancient tribal customs we have collectively decided are a Bad Idea, even if they have been around for thousands of years in all cultures–like slavery.

    And as for size differences, the stupidity of Hollywood in casting anorexic starlets in female action roles indicates THEIR stupidity, not the idea of women of action being stupid. For example, how about a 5’5″, 110lb woman in combat? Not realistic? Yet a 5’5″, 110lb man by the name of Audie Murphy did quite well. Just…think about it. That’s all I ask.

    1. I have no problem with it, Sabrina. My youngest daughter was the only girl in her auto shop class, and had the highest grades. Did all the dirty work, too. Couldn’t clean her room, but could clean and re-assemble a carburetor better than the boys… 8^)

    2. It has been a long time, but as I recall it, Audie Murphy engaged the enemy with automatic weapons; going hand-to-hand with, say, Clint Walker. In combat mass has a value expressed in the adage: Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it is bound to be bad for the pitcher.

    3. I think I agree with this.

      On the one hand, there are the rabid feminists that think, for whatever bizarre reason, that males need to be jammed into female roles and females into male roles until everyone is interchangeable and equality is achieved. Whether they want it or not.

      On the other hand, you have the various traditionalists, fundamentalists, etc, like the Muslim fanatics Sarah alludes to, who want to jam women into servile roles, or at least into sharply defined roles (you will be THIS, or there will be (brutal) consequences) and males into other roles (cannon fodder, brutish marauders, suicide bombers, etc). Whether they want it or not. Unfortunately they *do* exist.

      The problem with engaging the feminists is that it is assumed you are on the side of the troglodytes. They will certainly come out of the woodwork to cheer you if you point out differences between men and women, and the sort of roles they usually look to fulfill. And if you engage the troglodytes, the feminists will slide in behind you and begin cheering for a world made equal, no matter how many misfits they have to reform to do it.

      Both of these “sides” are wrong.

      I’m for letting people pick their own roles. Actually, forget roles, in the enumerated “organ-of-society” sense: I’m for recognizing the right of people to their own lives, careers, etc. The problem with defining it in terms of roles is that you place the emphasis on people’s lives as belonging to the role, not the other way around. People serving the needs of society, not the other way around.

      The Muslim countries do it when their clerics demand their men become cannon-fodder/warriors and their women livestock/baby-factories. The feminists do it when they revile women for raising families and men for being adventurous.

      None of the people I know would ever fit into the “roles” (with the implication that they are the mandatory ranks you must fill, or you are a traitor) dreamed up by these types of people anyway.

      Anyway, I don’t think Sarah was saying anything like either of the two positions above. She was just taking potshots at the idea that men and women usually aspire to the same path and life, and if they don’t, they’ll need to be “fixed”.

      My attitude is to create and maintain honorable paths in life, and let anyone who wants to follow your particular way of life try. Or if they want to try something else, that too. After all, a new path/profession/role has to start somewhere, and experimentation is how things are improved. I’d be surprised if everything appealed to everyone in equal measures. But I wouldn’t bar anyone male/female from any path, and I wouldn’t tell anyone that they are abandoning their “role” in society, for trying to live their own lives pursuing what makes them happy.

        1. EXACTLY! 🙂

          Treating girls as superior en masse is every bit as sexist as treating boys as superior.

    4. Oh. I don’t have any problems with teaching both of these to boys AND girls. I was raised mostly as a boy and I was taught to be a gentleman. I know a lot of chickies that could use it. (Sorry, THEY are chickies.)

      I assume you don’t have kids in the school system? The schools — almost all, not all — seem to be RUTHLESSLY biased against boys and the type of work given favors the way girls think which IS different in their teen years (long and complex thing, but boys take longer to develop a sense of scheduling. I found out when they told us Marshall had organizational problems, because he didn’t remember to give in work two weeks later without being reminded — at 12 — that the ability develops in girls around then — not all. I was appalling — but in boys not till about seventeen. Boys also lag in verbal development, as a matter of average. Not saying you shouldn’t demand they DEVELOP, but you SHOULDN’T demand things they CAN’T do, neurologically. A lot of kids decide, in middle school, that school is not for them because of that insanity, and most of them are boys.)

      Also, I think allowing ONLY female main characters (it’s not quite THAT bad, but it’s close) is daft. I WANT to teach BOTH. I’m just tired of the nonsense that insists boys are inferior.

      1. If I was into conspiracy theories I would speculate the liberal lovies are attempting a divide-and-conquer approach with education. Deliberately sabotaging boys in an obvious fashion, yes, but also sabotaging girls. While girls may be feted and celebrated and featured in stories, there seems to be a lot of “and she was really a super-princess” rather than “she learned everything she could about math and science and this is how it helped her”. NOBODY is winning by being courageous and fighting even when the odds aren’t in their favor. Which is just what they want, a bunch of demoralized people thinking everything good in life must be given to them (by taking these things from someone else of course, since nobody can *create* good things). And the State, as Parental Surrogate, will do the taking and the giving.

        This needs to be pointed out, loudly, so it subverts the whole “bad boy, good girl” effort they are pushing. They are attempting to drive a wedge between those wanting boys to be boys (which I don’t have a problem with) and those wanting girls to have full opportunities which *historically* were only available to boys (again, no problem). We’re really all on the same side. It isn’t zero sum, another fallacy they are fond of. Don’t let them divide us.

        1. I want people to be people. I’m NOT a standard issue female. And yeah, in Portugal, thirty years ago, I was odd in wanting to compete with guys on equal terms. If I have granddaughters I want them to have that option. I’m afraid the backlash will be to run into some form of “women into the kitchen” religion or politics — and that we’ll stick there for centuries.

          1. So do I – want people to be people, that is. I’ve often described myself as a small ‘f’ feminist – even a post-feminist – and written thusly of this: “… only a few simple strictures for organising women’s lives. The same access to educational opportunities, to be judged in the classroom and the job by the same standards, and to be paid the same for the same work. Arrange anything else — your child-bearing schedule, your profession, and your living arrangements in the manner which brings you and yours blessings and happiness.”

          2. Hey, wait – You’re not in the kitchen? Holy cow, are you wearing shoes, too?


              1. See, this is all about environment. If you live somewhere like not-Hawaii, aka Places Where It Gets Cold, then you need something on your feet when slaving away over the hot stove. Those tiles (linoleum, packed earth, granite cave floor) get cold. Hawaii, well: shoes are more or less optional.

              2. You know, it’s irritating when I’m trying to pretend to be sexist, and no one pays attention… 😉

                1. Oh, I think they “heard” your attempt but are ignoring it. By the way, you forgot the “pregnant” part of “bare foot and pregnant”. [Evil Grin]

                  1. Anyone capable of making that happen for me (and Dan, duh) has earned the right to keep me barefoot in the kitchen, even though my feet will get really cold, because it’s a tile floor.

                    1. Heh. You just reminded me of back when I first graduated from college. My cousin (a pretty staunch feminist) and her husband lived next door to me — they helped me find the apartment, in fact. (“Hey Robin, the apartment next to us is vacant and the rent’s quite reasonable, and we could invite you over for meals a lot. What do you think?” I jumped on it.)

                      Thing is, when it was hot, my cousin would sometimes go barefoot in her apartment. I was hoping that they’d announce that they were expecting their first child, so that one day while visiting them I could point out to her that she was currently, of her own free will, barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. Sadly, I moved away more than a year before they had their first baby, so I never had a chance to tease her like that. Ah well.

          3. In this country until the post WWII years the woman who was able to stay at home was usually living on a farm or above the family shop where she put in time. The stay at home mom isolated in the suburbs was a new phenomena brought on by the post war building boom, the automobile, and a lot of people who were collecting their war bond savings. It was helped by a government supported propaganda push for women to leave the work place and make the jobs available for the men returning home.

            1. I know. Throughout most of history, mom AND dad worked at home, in most classes. I.e. small industry, small farming. I grew up amid people like that. The kids started helping, btw, as soon as able. Adolescence, too, is a construct of affluence.

              I still think that’s far more healthy.

        2. While clearing out some pages of notes in an old day-timer I came upon a number of pages from meetings I attended back when I was involved with the local school system.

          It has been deliberate. There is a theory of leveling. The idea, as bizarre as it may seem, was to try to bring everyone in at the same level. Supposedly by investing your resources in the children at risk you could raise them up. The bright kids would be left to ‘get it on their own’ as it was far more important to create equal outcomes for everyone. Yes this was being seriously pursued and implemented. Really.

    5. Oh, and I do carpentry and most of the honey-dos around. Or as we say around here, I refinish pianos, Dan plays them. Meh. BUT I don’t want inverse-preconceptions pushed.

    6. A 5’5″, 110lb man will be significantly stronger than a 5’5″, 110lb woman. It’s not just that guys are bigger than us. I realize that’s a nit. BTW, I enlisted in the military. Most women just aren’t interested, but I think that the 10% that are interested make excellent soldiers. They just aren’t going to be effective at the tasks that require a great deal of physical strength… and the “gear” carried or ordinance that must be lifted, is always going to normalize at what is reasonable for a physically fit male. (Ie., If body armor gets lighter, you don’t carry less total weight, you add more armor or carry more ammo, etc.,)

      1. My shock about male strength wasn’t from wrestling with playfellows — I was unusually large for my generation in Portugal and FAR more ruthless — or fighting my brother, though that was somewhat instructive, but then he was six one, so… It was when my twelve year old son could lift the hundred pound bag of cement I couldn’t budge. AND he wasn’t even buff or anything. AND he was still shorter than I by about two inches.

    7. Go ahead and throw gasoline, it’s cold out and we all need to warm up anyways 😉

      On a more serious note I like aggressive women, but there are two aspects of women in combat roles that are not generally addressed in fiction (and our current government is also doing an excellent job of ignoring).

      1. The lowering of physical standards so that more women can meet them. The physical standards are there for a reason, lower them and you are going to get subpar soldiers. Both men and women if the standards for both are the same, if womens standards are lower than mens, then the female soldiers are going to be inferior to the male soldiers, because THEY ARE HELD TO A LOWER STANDARD! which is absolutely unacceptable to even hint at in either todays society, or todays fiction.

      2. The disproportionately lethal effect mixed combat units have on the male soldiers. Men are hardwired to protect women, this is evolutionary and has been stamped into our DNA for effectively forever, it is not going to disappear in a generation, simply because some wish it to. The Israelis tried mixed combat troops, and found that while the casualty rate of the women was comparable to the casualty rate of all male units, the male casualty rate in mixed units went through the roof. Because they were unable to train the men not to take unnecessary risks in an attempt to protect their fellow female soldiers. Perhaps this could be changed over time, but it is going to take a LONG time, and the problem has to be admitted to before we can began to try and cure it.

      1. I mentioned the protectiveness thing in a comment on a post by one of my FB Friends on this issue, and was summarily ignored. But I didn’t have that information about the Israelis. I’ll have to see if I can find anything about that.

        1. I recall reading in the long long ago that the Israelis experiment with women in the combat ranks found Arab soldiers fought harder rather than surrender to a woman.

          As for the higher casualty rates of men in mixed units … I wish I could say “it is a feature, not a bug” but that would only be funny if it were not obviously true.

          1. I’m fairly sure there’s a passage in the Koran that threatens horrible post-life punishment to any man who lets himself get killed by a woman, in any circumstances.

        2. It’ll be discounted because, y’know: Israel. Also because it doesn’t fit the narrative. That’s what I’m running into a lot. Present evidence of X, get ignored because it doesn’t fit the accepted wisdom. Makes for a grouchy Dave.

              1. I channel in my fiction too– or try too– makes for a better life and less aggression. I was unhappy with one of my critics so she was immortalized in a ghoul attack. 😉

          1. Throughout the ’70’s and much of the 80’s, the US Army was impressed with Israeli doctrine because of their results in the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War.

            Then the US Army fought the Iraqi Army in Kuwait and lost a lot of its respect for the Israeli’s (rightly or wrongly) when it found that beating a large Arab army was easier than it thought.

            1. I remember my Dad telling me some of the jokes that came out of the Six Day War – the survivors of an Arab battalion telling their commander “It was horrible. We were SO outnumbered. There were TWO of them.” “Two battalions?” “No, two soldiers”

      2. To add a little fuel, on Friday the Wall Street Journal had a piece by a former Marine about the other problem of combat – sanitation. 25 Marines crammed into a transport for 15, during the blitzkrieg into Iraq (second one). Couldn’t stop to answer nature’s call, so they had to take care of business inside the vehicle. One trooper got dysentery from the poor sanitation. And there’s more. Yeah, not sure the activists think about that sort of situation.

        1. That is just evidence of why we shouldn’t engage in combat — nowhere in the advocates’ argument is presented the thesis that this will enhance combat readiness and effectiveness, the two criteria which should be preeminent in any such decisions.

          There is one woman (I forget where and when I read this, so feel free to dismiss it) who had attempted to “keep up with the guys” in combat situation who reported that, under the stressful conditions of extended training, she lost muscle mass and tone far more quickly than the men and regained it much more slowly. She began the exercise as well-conditioned as any of the men in the unit and completed it in far worse shape.

          One case, probably an outlier if not an outright liar, and besides the greater goal of inclusion of women in all aspects of military life is an essential component of finally achieving full sexual equality.


          1. I don’t recall where I read it either (I want to say an article linked in Kratskeller, but that may not be right) but I read the same report.

      3. Even without the combat stuff — military forces in this country were trying simultaneously to inure soldiers against the prospect of their hearing women being raped while in captivity, and to give them sensitivity or whatever training to dissuade them from raping service women.

        One wonders what sort of silly goose thought you could accomplish both.

  15. I wonder if this is the reason my oldest (10 y.o. boy) doesn’t like fiction. He reads a lot, but it is mostly non-fiction.

    Oh well, I got his teacher Pratchett’s Nation as well as Dave Freer’s YA series. Hopefully those will get to him, she’s being sneaky and having his best friend (a girl with whom he has been since Kindergarten) read them first.

    1. Don’t forget some good old-fashioned Heinlein in there… And in a year or two, or even now, try John M Ford’s Growing Up Weightless.

      1. Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising is pretty good, especially for those versed in Welsh & British folklore. If you can find any Harold Lamb, those are pretty good historical biography.

        Louis L’Amour is fairly safe for young readers and several feature YA protagonists. John R Tunis’ books about the Brooklyn Dodgers (straddling the second World War) might require some explanation but helped create the YA genre and were very well written.

        For that matter, if the kid is a baseball fan give him Lawrence Ritter’s The Glory of Their Times, an oral history of Baseball between 1900 and 1930 from men who played it; he will impress his friends when he learns to tell the story of how Germany Schaefer stole first base. These books provide a marvelous perspective on American life in the first third of the 20th Century.

        1. I’ll second the Susan Cooper recommendation. The first part of the first book drags, but things really pick up after that. But be prepared for poetry recitation if he likes the series:

          “When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back./ Three from the temple, three from the track./ Wood, bronze, iron,/ fire, water, stone;/ Five shall return and one go alone.” And so on.

        2. I’ll second both Harold Lamb and Louis L’amour, I didn’t find Harold Lamb until later in life, but Louis L’amour and to a lesser extent ERB were my YA reading (along with anything else I got my hands on, but they were authors I followed). L’Amour’s books also do a good job of promoting personal responsibility, self-reliance, and morality, among other things, without beating the reader over the head with it.

          Oh, and if he likes humor I highly recommend Gordon Korman.

          1. Gordon Korman is good. I just caught my brother, who has his own place now, making off with the family copies of his books.

    2. I didn’t like fiction very much until I was about 10. I’d checked out every book in our local library that had anything to do with military, geography, geology, paleontology, science in general, and a half-dozen other areas. Then I found history, and read the library dry on THAT subject. About the same time, I discovered science fiction, and I haven’t looked back. I HAVE branched out, and now read some of DW’s mystery series, and I’ve found that some classics are still classic, and great reads. Don’t give up on him finding fiction — I think the door will open, and he’ll walk through on his own.

      1. For readers of nonfiction, the Iggulden Bros The Dangerous Book For Boys is a must read for male or female (boys of all genders?)

        Conn Iggulden has written excellent fictional biographies of Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan.

  16. BTW, adventures in neuroscience reveals:

    ‘Man Flu’ might not be a myth after all
    It has been scorned by women as a sign of male weakness for generations – but “Man Flu” might not be a myth after all as they have different brains, a female academic has claimed.
    2:27PM GMT 24 Jan 2013
    Dr Amanda Ellison claims that men really do suffer more with coughs and colds as they have more temperature receptors in the brain which causes them to experience the symptoms more acutely than the fairer sex.

    The Durham University-based neuroscientist says the difference lies in the area of the brain which balances a variety of bodily mechanisms, including temperature.

    Men and women both start out as equals in dealing with colds because the area, known as the preoptic nucleus, is the same size in children.

    But when boys hit puberty testosterone starts to act on the area, which is in the brain’s hypothalamus and attached to a hormone gland, making it larger.

    Dr Ellison, 38, a senior lecturer at Durham, said: “When you have a cold one of the things that happens is you get an increase in temperature to fight off the bugs.

    “The bugs can’t survive at higher temperatures. When your immune system is under attack the preoptic nucleus increases temperature to kill off the bugs.

    “But men have more temperature receptors because that area of the brain is bigger in men than women.

    “So men run a higher temperature and feel rougher – and if they complain they feel rough then maybe they’re right.”

    Previous research a number of years ago did point towards the reality of “Man Flu”. But the findings related to genetically engineered mice and were widely regarded as inconclusive.

    Dr Ellison has used research carried out by other people on actual human brains to arrive at her conclusions in her book, Getting Your Head Around the Brain, focusing on the difference between the minds of men and women.

    The original research methods involved the study of brains in post mortem as well as images obtained from scans.

    “My research is on how different parts of the brain communicate with each other,” she continued.

    “My role is to put two and two together. There is no hard evidence that the feelings are worse in males in females. This is a possible cause – but the argument will rage on.

    “It is part of the whole argument about the differences between men and women and how their behaviour can be influenced by differences in their brains.”

    Her research in mapping out different areas of the brain and showing how they work together in a network could be used to teach brain damage victims how to engage other areas of the brain to cope with day to day living.

    Dr Ellison added: “It is about taking a broken brain and doing things differently to teach it how to recruit the bits that are not broken and engage areas that are not damaged.

    “I have always been interested in taking things apart to see how they work. When my mum and dad were out as a kid,

    “I used to take the TV to bits to see what was inside and try and put it back together again. I’m still doing that, but now I do it with brains.”

  17. I thought this was going to be a discussion of Steampunk and was all ready to point out that the people trying to prevent fracking for natural gas (counterfracktuals) probably would harm our economy and thus harm us.

    Dang. Rebuttus Interuptus is a hard hard experience.

  18. [i]In fact, maybe some tribes did this. It’s like my son and I the other day, trying to sort out why most people aren’t individualists. Heredity. Imagine the proto-tribe composed entirely of individualists. “Come on man, today we hunt mammoth.” “Who is gonna make me? You and whose army?” Yeah… if there is a tribe that did that, we’d NEVER know.[/i]

    I’d sign up for the individualist tribe, if I were to sort to join tribes. They sound a bit too group-ish for my tastes. 😛

  19. Oh, yeah, I forgot, Heinlein’s women wore aprons – therefore eeevil.

    My apologies if this has already been addressed, I know you have no reason to follow the avant-fashion trends but, aprons have re-entered the world of fashion. The styles are both retro and funky. I first noticed it among the creative arm of the Vegan Punk and Goth fringes. So, who knows what it means? (I think it is probably due to the fact that they were early-adopters of what the government has done to render our laundry detergent neutered against oil and grease.)

      1. You can still get the tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) that was removed from detergents: go to the painting section of the hardware store, and it’s there in bulk. Remember that it was only used at roughly 8% by volume of the dishwasher detergent, and toss in with powdered dish soap or powdered laundry detergent at roughly the same volume. Marvelous thing, TSP.

          1. Be careful with this stuff. I was using maybe 1/8 tsp per load and it ate a hole in our dishwasher. I switched to Cascade with phospates from Restockit. You have to claim you need it for industrial or commercial use but it works like the old stuff because it is the old stuff. As far as I’m concerned, I’m running an industry – household maintenance.

    1. I like calico – they hide spots better. And it’s fun watching people go cross-eyed when you wear one calico on top of a completely different one.

    2. Trisodium phosphate from the hardware store (the real stuff not the faux TSP) is a great addition to your pantry. I dump it in the laundry and the dishwasher on occasion.

      Don’t rat me out to the EPA.

      1. I’m imagining some absurd dystopian future here, where black marketeers smuggle chemicals and drugs (painkillers and antibiotics), while being pursued by ATF/FBI types.

        Pssst. You got any … laundry detergent?

        1. Though not all that farfetched I suppose. At one time, France made non-state supplied salt an illegal commodity, and executed people who were caught distilling sea-salt.

          1. Let me guess: this was during the French Revolution and its aftermath, a.k.a. France’s Crazy Years? That was the period where they experimented with a decimal-based calendar, after all: ten months, ten-day weeks (how do you think people felt about having their days off go from one in seven to one in ten?) and so on.

            Though I suppose it could have also happened during the monarchy, when some aristocrat had the monopoly on salt and wanted to protect his profits…

            … Okay, just finished reading up on the gabelle ( Holy cow. The French monarchs kept this nonsense up for how long?

            1. ” (how do you think people felt about having their days off go from one in seven to one in ten?)”

              If memory serves: it was “four on, one off”, twice.

        2. Is this a bad time to point out that they recently ran a news story here about local stores locking up the Tide laundry detergent, because it has become a large part of the local black market around here? People steal it and use it to buy their drugs or whatever.

      2. Ah! A fellow home chemist!

        Now I just need to recreate the FULL set of “The Big Chemistry Set For Boys” that my husband grew up with, and give it to a 11-year-old I know…

  20. My own observation regarding gender and young people these days comes from my side job teaching business law and paralegal courses in community college.

    Far too few young men in college today. The ratios are frighteningly off. Look up stats yourself if you don’t believe me. We’ve got a huge problem with male employment coming up in the next decade or two.

    1. Since a significant percentage of women (politically correct phrasing for: MOST women) want a man who is (at least) their intellectual equal — there are a lot more college degreed women wanting men than are available … which makes them have to a) do without b) lower their standards c) compete harder by providing (e.g.,) a more “entertaining” sexual experience d) all of the above.

      There are an estimated 3 women for every man in most colleges, before you adjust for gay men and men spending six years on a four year degree. Is it any wonder that so many young women base their clothing styles on street walkers?

      1. A friend of mine likes to do a two-question sequence that blows most people’s minds. First question is “True or False: most men are smarter than most women.” Correct answer is “False”. No surprises so far. Second question is “True or False: most husbands are smarter than their wives.” Correct answer is “True”. Most people are shocked. He goes on to explain it as men being intimidated by highly-intelligent women, but I’m more inclined to the opposite theory, that the phenomenon is better explained by women wanting to “marry up” rather than by men wanting to “marry down”. Whichever explanation is true, though, it means that for women of high intelligence, the selection of available men is rather limited. And that’s before we take into account disproportions in college attendance, etc.

        OTOH, since Ivy League colleges these days seem to be doing everything they can to lower the IQ of their students, perhaps the situation will end up sorting itself out…

        1. Women are evolutionarily programmed to mate UPWARD. I can attest that what I was looking for was not someone richer or bigger (eh. I like small men. SUE me.) BUT I was looking for someone smarter and someone I could look up to on a moral plane (if that makes sense.) From my dating experiences — to quote pride and prejudice — I knew I could be neither happy nor honest married to a man I couldn’t respect.

          1. It is called advancement of the species. Because in most healthy human cultures it is women who control dispensing of sexual favors (in others* men control sex by virtue of amassing sufficient status to select which women to mate with) it is only by women’s preferring higher status males that males are driven to achieve. Make plenty of sex freely available to a guy and his incentive to work at impressing women goes down the toilet (a fact which explains the apparent personal hygiene habits of rock musicians.)

            Add in the school of thought which argues that what a woman seeks from a mate is to be cherished** while what a man seeks is to be respected*** and you get a reinforcement of that dynamic.

            * In such cultures the woman’s “virtue” carries an exaggerated importance and must be guaranteed by her family.

            ** Increases her confidence that her children will receive fatherly support and protection and that she will not be discarded once fertility ends.

            *** Increases his confidence that he will not be raising the cuckoo’s child.

            1. At one point I noticed that, in conjunction with women being the gatekeepers of sex, that the primary complaint of women is that “guys won’t commit”‘ – at least the guys they’re attracted to.

              It appears that, of the guys that women are interested in, that guys are the ones who determine if it’s worth the risk to pursue a commitment, and are thus the gatekeepers of that.

              Sadly, non-scientific polls/etc. at dating sites have shown that women consider something like 80% of guys to be “below average” in attractiveness. Same polls show that guys only considered 50% of the women below average.

          2. I was looking for someone who had enough spine to stand up to me, a heart big enough to love me, a mind that could challenge me, and morals that would hold me to be a better person. Wish for a crust of bread, get granted a banquet… Other people may wonder at the brevity of our courtship, but after all the looking, I knew for darn sure I wasn’t going to let this one get away.

              1. So, Sarah, is that a story you are at liberty to talk about? Because you have to know you can’t just drop a tantalizing hint like that and not expect your readers to want to know more…

                Or have you talked about it before, and I just haven’t read that part of your backblog? (And did I just coin the term backblog, or has it been used before?)

                1. I was in the hospital, with pneumonia. I was being treated by committee. (It was intracellular pneumonia — later determined — so it showed up funny.) The doctors decided it wasn’t an infection and removed the antibiotics. I went from recovering to the ICU in four days. Dan — who was thinking clearer than I and who was consulting with my SIL in Portugal who was at the time one of the big people in Portuguese CDC — decided they were full of it, and just WANTED me to have something exotic (the fact they tested me for an illness of Russian Jewish MALES just about says it) so he said that they either gave me antibiotics or I walked.

                  The doctors appealed to me as in “Are you going to let him bully you?” And of course I couldn’t think clearly or decide for myself (my blood ox was at around 65 WITH oxygen.)
                  BUT I know the tone of voice in which Dan said “Get up, get dressed. We’re checking out and going to [other hospital in town] RIGHT NOW.”

                  I know Dan doesn’t use that tone unless it’s vital and he’s absolutely sure he’s right. And I didn’t have the energy to argue. (I also knew he’d been talking to SIL, yes.)

                  So I pulled off the oxygen canules, walked to the place my clothes were, started to put them on (to put this in perspective, I was so tachicardic, they didn’t let me get up to go to the bathroom.) They panicked and said “you can have the damn antibiotics, but they won’t do anything. You need steroids and blah blah blah.”

                  Three days later the insurance said I was too well to be hospitalized. Two months later, I could pass as well in public. (Though recovering strength took about a year.)

                  Because it WAS an infection, if they’d continued not giving me antibiotics, AND had added steroids, I’d have been dead in a week or so.

        2. Another issue, IIRC, is that the standard deviation is smaller for women. So if extremely stupid people tend not to get married, we’d expect the average MARRIED man to be more intelligent than the average MARRIED woman.

          I know that getting married was the smartest decision I ever made.

          1. In statistical terms, women cluster in the middle and men at the extremes. BTW other than annoying “feminist” teachers, it’s quite possible that this explains how teachers favor girls now — they teach to the middle, which is FAR easier. And that’s where most girls are. As if to confirm this, the one girl I know who hit major trouble in school is brilliant.

    2. This is what I got from the kids, too, and FRANKLY from our friends. And the problems start in middle school when they’re being asked to do things their nervous system CAN’T do — but girls can. If it were the opposite it would be a crusade.

      We’re also going to have issues with qualified engineers, and other… wrench professions. Don’t eat me. It’s still and will always be a “more males” thing.

      1. Our education system is in process of utterly destroying our nation. People seem to spend time worrying about whether or not Johnny Can Read, and while that’s a problem, there are far greater problems lurking beneath it – like the gender imbalance heading in higher education.

        1. I’m going to recommend the blog “Invisible Serfs Collar”. The author has been digging into the “theory” and literature behind the current teaching fads. It’s disheartening stuff, particularly just how LONG it’s been going on.

          Link provided, hopefully LUN.

      2. On the other hand, having engineers at the top of the food chain will be a decided improvement over lawyers.

  21. I sometimes think that the oppressed women and racist rants are being done intentionally to create anti-feminism and racism. At least on those days when I credit the ‘stop discrimination!’ crowd with enough brainpower to have a coherent agenda.

    Whether it is intentional or not the results are the same, they are creating racists and anti-feminists out of people who used to be completely unpredjudiced. It is really quite understandable, when you are repeatedly passed over for promotion and the choice jobs are all given to much less qualified women or non-whites, while all the while being told that white males are the problem and all you want to do is keep anyone that isn’t a white male down. After a while guys look around and see others getting all the rewards, while they get the blame, pretty soon they start to figure that those getting the rewards that they haven’t earned are to blame, and if they are going to get blamed anyways they may as well get the rewards.

  22. Well, nothing you said I found offensive, and I have to tell you I tried. If venting keeps you from detonating then vent on.

    What has started to bother me is the pervasiveness, even if you guard against it.
    I worked in a large office and I was one of the Spanish speakers (bilingual, yeah,5% bonus, yahoo.) and I noticed that there were some things I was reluctant to say in English that I was happy to say in Spanish, even though it was to one of the other bilingual workers who I knew would not be offended because I was responding to what she had said to me.
    I had to ask myself, was this self censorship, neurolinguistic programming that only took place in the English channel of my head, or simple paranoia that I would be overheard and reported?
    Personally I hate the idea of Neurolinguistic programming and I’m afraid it is one of the leading ideals in education today. You know, the thought that if you remove certain words, or alter the meanings, you can change the concepts in a culture, and change that little bit of the culture to be more better. To me it is like going out to the shop floor and taking all the drill bits out of the mechanics’ toolboxes to change the shop procedure. It just pisses everyone off to no real benefit.You can curtail the behavior but you can’t change the thinking –I suppose until you get a whole generation or three indoctrinated in the NuspEk.

    No one has been able to answer the question about what you do in the future when someone, metaphorically, needs a hole drilled, though.

    1. I noticed that there were some things I was reluctant to say in English that I was happy to say in Spanish

      Not quite knowing enough Spanish to even be dangerous, but knowing a little (tiny bit) about languages and how they work, I suspect that it’s a twofold consideration: 1) There is SOME neurolinguistic programming going on. The language does influence the way you think. However, more importantly, yet related to the first point, is that there are different psychologies involved in the worldview inherent in the two languages. Because of this, the perception of the statement is different, and what might be considered offensive in English, is just a normal statement in Spanish.

  23. ‘this is the “revenge” for the times when “the boys got to have all the adventures.”‘

    Right. Girls who were not prevented from going on adventures are catered to, and boys who did not prevent them are punished. How childish.

  24. I have two daughters. When I used to drop them off at school I always saw more girls than boys. At the mall same thing.

    I read that there are more or less the same number of girls as boys. But my eyes tell me something else. Plus , of the minority of my cohort that bothered to have kids it seems like there are more girls than boys in the broods as well. Actually – not quitre, it seems like people with one-child-only are the only ones with boys.

    Point being, it might be more than mean teachers that causes there to be fewer boys than girls in college leel stem classes.

    1. No, in this country the ratio of boy to girl births is still fairly close to 104/100 as its been for quite some time. There is a study that shows for a woman’s first birth, the ratio is 106/100 and that subsequent births move towards 103/100.
      So your observation does not reflect the actual birth ratios.

      1. Anecdotal evidence to support your statistics. My children were 1 girl (first) followed by 2 boys. My daughter has 2 boys, and my younger son has 1 girl. My descendents total 2 girls and 4 boys so far.

        1. Actually the problem with such stats is they don’t break down the data enough – It would be fairly easy to pin-point areas which did not conform with birth-ratio stats (I suspect you’d pick up statistically significant correlations if diet, or water source were major factors. Of course there are others which are less easy to pick up, such as sexual frequency, or even how often people bathe (yes, both are possible determinants).

    1. No. I didn’t. The boys are in STEM degrees — pre med and engineering — so most of their courses are STEM. That’s why we were joking about the Austen course, (Pre-med requires a few humanities) sweet innocents that we are, thinking this was a novelty for the boy.

  25. If I thought Islamists were half as intelligent as they think they are, I’d assume they were investing in our publishing houses etc

    There’s another side to this: if Islam can demonstrate it can serve as the basis for a modern technology-based society, an enormous population of potential Western converts awaits. Men, obviously, but women too.

    I know it’s a big if, but once upon a time, for a time, Islamic civilization was where it was at.

    (My apologies if somebody has already touched on the foregoing. I lacked time to read the 200+ preceding comments but I searched them for ‘convert’. Nothing.)

  26. There is Young Adult fiction for boys: it’s called comic books. My son read the obligatory Shakespeare, Faulkner, etc in high school, but he never found any regular old books at the Barnes & Noble that he liked.

    Then he discovered comic books, which (and I make sure I read what he reads) are generally smart, interesting, and well written. “From Hell” is one of the best books I’ve ever read, of any form.

  27. There is an answer to the conflict between reproducing and wanting to achieve in one’s ‘prime years.’ Just ‘have them as fast as possible then pop them into the deep freeze’ in a crèche.’ Idea courtesy of…you know who!! From Podkayne of Mars.

  28. I am the mother of 4.

    My oldest daughter likes reading and Science Fiction has long been her favorite genre (she probably likes Science Fiction more than fantasy but in YA it is hard to find).

    She has gotten to where she doesn’t read a lot, and she will reject almost any book with a female main character because she says they aren’t very realistic. She also can’t stand the fact that in current YA fiction there almost always has to be some kind of love story involved. She says this is at its worst when the main character is a girl. And worse they almost always seem to have to have not just a love story but a love triangle. She says it gets tiresome and she would just rather read a good story with a good lead.

    Also, the b side to this unrealistic female leads is that there aren’t a lot of quality books with male leads for almost any age group. There are a couple of fantasy series aimed at the middle school age group with strong male leads, but beyond that almost every book aimed at this age group in fantasy or science fiction has a female lead.

    1. In my twenties, before I was writing seriously — and btw, it’s much easier to SELL a story with a girl lead AND romance is almost mandatory because it multiplies your laydown. But… there’s indie. Tell your daughter to write the story she’d like to read and publish it on Amazon. It might pay for tuition? — I sounded EXACTLY like your daughter. I’d roam the SF/F isles groaning “Oh, no, it’s another woman with a sword saves the day. GAG.”

  29. A few years ago I realized that the future will be determined by a race that running now between the demise of the last Boomer (I’m one of that cohort, just as a point of reference) and some sort of societal/fiscal/spiritual collapse.

    We’ll see how it goes. (Well, I won’t see it, but others alive now will. I have to say I hope it isn’t Islam that coes out on top.)

  30. I agree with almost everything said here–especially with the idea that we need more YA books (actually more books for all ages) that present male characters who believe in honor, act with integrity and are eager for adventure “in the service of women, children and civilization”–but the problem is that when you write such a book, it’s all but impossible to get it read by an agent, let alone a publisher. The gatekeepers are predominately woman who are so steeped in the present culture that they don’t even understand what you’re trying to do–or, if they do, then you’re a sexist and they reject you without a hearing. That’s been my experience, anyway. We need to lament the dearth of good books for boys, but how is it possible in present circumstances to do anything about it? In the YA field, the publishers don’t really want them..

    1. Good heavens. I know THAT — I’m a professional in the field, sold my first novel 12 years ago and I THINK (haven’t counted lately) I’ve sold 21 traditionally published novels, under various names. And yes, I KNOW what makes the field as it is. But we have Indie for that. To acquaint yourself with the new realities of publishing, troll my link bar on the right. Kris Rusch’s blog. Dean Smith’s blog. The Passive Voice. Also, consider J.A. Konrath’s blog and google Amanda Hocking.

      It’s a brave new world and it’s trending freedom. A lot of the people on this blog are writers — hence my call to arms. Glenn Reynolds was right. WE MUST take back the culture. And… well, not quite but it sounds good “There’s an ap for that.”

  31. Yes, self-publishing is great and I’ll be going that route because it is better than just leaving the manuscript in a drawer and bringing it out for my grandchildren (although I will be doing that as well), but I don’t think we take back the culture by having a few hundred or thousand or ten thousand authors self-publishing books that will be read by a few hundred or thousand or ten thousand readers, which is what most self-publishing will likely accomplish. I guess I am more pessimistic by nature, but in a culture such as ours where liberal gatekeepers control the narrative for the population as a whole, both in education and across the media spectrum, I can’t help but think that the war is already lost. On the present trajectory, we are headed for societal collapse, and perhaps that is the only way we will ever be able to recover what we have lost. .

    1. No. PLEASE read the blogs I gave you. self-published, if done right, can give you as much coverage (or more, if more palatable) as the traditionals.

      I’m putting my money where my mouth is, too. I’m taking four of my series indie. In fact, I’m only continuing to work for the one house I think it’s worth it.

      Seriously — yes we can take back the culture. If those books do well, eventually the establishment WILL follow.

      1. I will read the blogs you suggested (I already am familiar with some of them), and I do believe that a few individuals will be heard and do well in indie publishing, but I think the issue is wider than the idea that individuals can and should self-publish. In a post from earlier today, Ed Driscoll at PJMedia quotes a review of Roger Kimball’s book, The Fortunes of Permanence, to the effect that “Culture is never transformed by individuals alone; there must be the infrastructure for communities of discourse: magazines, organizations, venues, organs, gathering places, editors, audiences, salons, and networks, outposts within which those individuals can operate, and flourish, and be heard, and good ideas can be shared, transmitted, propagated.” I know you would agree and that that, in part, is what you are calling for–and which you also have helped create with your blog and writing (and for which I thank you). But I guess my (rhetorical) question is how that can ever be done in any meaningful way at a level that impacts the culture at large when so much of the conversation, means of communication, organizations, etc are controlled by those who reject as nonsense what were once called the manly virtues..

        1. we are building communities in those blogs AND right here. The point is, and you might NOT be aware of this or the extent it’s going on, that the traditional systems are collapsing because liberals put ideology before everything else, including profit. Most of their success is smoke and mirrors. I’ve felt for a long time publishers (particularly magazine publishers) were MOSTLY selling to wanna be writers.

          We can break that. It will take time, but we can break that. And the internet is allowing us to go around them AND create those communities. Someone on this blog is working on a homeschooling/online schooling “thing” and there’s people willing to work when anyone has an idea.

          Look… can we? Who knows. But to quote the little engine that could — I THINK I can.

          Again, remember, they’re big but collapsing. Or as the son of a friend told me, recently, “the publishing establishment is dead. It just hasn’t fallen over yet.”

          1. Thank you for your optimism! haven’t posted before, but I do read your blog and I often end up smiling, or at least nodding in agreement, which is saying a lot..

            1. It’s a determined optimism, if you know what I mean. Heinlein’s dictum comes to mind “It’s better to be a live sheep than a dead lion, but it’s always better — and often easier — to be a live lion.”

    2. I have best seller friends planing to transition to entirely indie. (I can’t give their names for OBVIOUS reasons.) Indie IS competitive or they wouldn’t be doing so. (The transition involves getting enough out, because you have to compensate for the houses paying up front.)

    1. Yes — well. While I wanted to talk about what is happening in our culture, the POINT of this post was that I put in the Heinlein panel again and needed to blow steam beforehand. This is a writer’s blog and the regulars know what I was doing. Also, these are written late at night or early morning and I’m not paid for them. I don’t have the time to make them brief. I save that for the writing I DO get paid for.

  32. Well, I’ve worked with good and bad female engineers (I’ve been in the aerospace industry for nearly four decades now) and the bad get weeded out one way or another, but it can be painful (same for bad male engineers, especially if they’ve risen to their Peter Principle level). Better by far if culture actually encouraged folk to do what they’re good at and interests them.

    As to YA sf & fantasy, I don’t read much at my age but I admit to enjoying David Weber’s YA efforts as well as Diane Duane’s. I’ve only skimmed them, but the main male and female protagonists of Scott Westerfield’s “Leviathan” series seem equally competent and matched. It can be done but it’s not something that’s done as much as it should be.

    1. My other daughter really loved the Leviathon series. She is less picky though than my oldest. This kid will read anything if it involves words and some kind of minimal plot-but this is one series she has actually told my oldest to read because she might like it.

  33. If you can find the time, Larry Niven has written some great books with women in equality roles, Been awhile, I believe he started a great set with ” The Mote in God’s Eye”. Living with 4 women and cognizant of the current state of the world, makes one appreciate teaching them the finer things in life. We went to the gun range, together, just yesterday. Yes, my girls also entertain me while we’re shopping.

  34. I’m glad the panel wasn’t so bad. But I’m surprised, since I think what has happened to YA in the post-Harry Potter years is an absolute shame. *rolls eyes* Yeah, stuff that my tomboy self wouldn’t touch, or Issues books that no kid likes.

    I don’t mind the fantasy so much of the girl taking out an army, IF she’s sufficiently force-multiplied in some way – either with magic powers or really good weaponry, or a brilliant mind. It’s no less realistic than a lone guy taking out an army and I grew up on those.

    It’s the men-as-knuckle-draggers I object to – it doesn’t fit my experience (I’ve been the only girl in the clubhouse since I was 3, and I’ve always found guys to be pretty darn accepting as long as I had something to contribute).

    As for the revenge on males bit, big-time-yeah agreement. Some people really need to get over high school. (If I’m ever supreme-dictator-for-a-day, one of the few laws I’d pass is that no one can enter academia at any level without working in the real world for at least ten years. Double that if they want to specialize in any kind of social science. Triple if they want to go into psychology.)

    One thing you didn’t touch on, and it seems your sons haven’t been affected (good job parenting on your, and your husband’s, parts), is a culture that’s creating boy-men. By destroying admirable adult male role models in the culture, that seems to have created a lot of guys who are making women be the adults in the relationship.

    I do think a lot of male writers grew up as the non-athletic scholarly boy in school and went through all the torment that brings, certainly a lot of my brainy guy friends did, and there’s been a certain amount of revenge from them as well against the old style manly-man hero, and I’m certainly glad to see that type moderated, I’ve always preferred the brainy type. But a strong character is something more than brains or brawn and both types need that. The old boy scout virtues have fallen out of favor these days. Pity.

    1. Let me comment that Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching is a strong woman who saves the world (twice literally) WHILE using the “womanly virtues” and letting the men around her be men. I don’t have an issue with that at all. (And by womanly virtues I don’t mean shrinking violet.)

      Eh. I was the only girl except for my 14 year older cousin, in a group of mostly males. I never had issues — and this was a Latin culture.

      1. I count Tiffany as force-enhanced with a strong mind and Granny-Weatherwax force of character. ^_^

  35. You’re running full-tilt into Third Generational Feminism, in which it hollows out our young in college and in the public media and needs to be fought with a full court press.

    What, you might ask, is Third Generational Feminism?

    (Cultural note-this is the highlights. I should write a book at this point.)

    First generational feminism-“I am just as intelligent as he is, so why should my opinion before the law and in the ballot box not be respected?”
    Second generational feminism-“I work the exact job he does, but get paid less. Why shouldn’t I get paid equally for equal work?”
    Third generational feminism-“Men are only needed for sperm, when you don’t want a cold dildo, and you need heavy things lifted. Otherwise, they are as useful as a bicycle for fish and sisterhood forever!”

    …and that’s a lot of what you’re getting out of universities these days. Women raised to believe that “Sex In The City” and the hookup culture was to be emulated. That modern sitcoms where the man can barely button his own pants without female leadership. Where the sexual whore (and usually CHEAP whores) is a sexual icon versus innocent sexuality (Dita Von Tease vs. Marilin Monroe, I know which one I’d pick). Where Barbie is a sellout, but the Bratz are honest expressions of female sexuality.

    Heinlein and a lot of other authors I respect (including you!) are proponents of what I call Fourth Generational Feminism. I think John Ringo put it best (quoting from memory)-“I am a woman, with my own needs and weaknesses. He’s a man, with his own needs and weaknesses. If I don’t respect his needs and help with his weaknesses, why should I expect him to respect my needs and help with my weaknesses?”

    It’s probably why I won’t go back to college. Or get married unless I go for a overseas bride or somebody from Middle America. Men are only useful as tools to the Third Generational Feminist and I refuse to be a tool.

    1. I agree with your assessment but I think you misspelled “Blunt objects” as “full court press.” My husband, who is a nicer person than I, says we need to make fun of them.

      1. I don’t think many of them are smart enough to understand that they’re being mocked. It gets caught in the top end of the filter, too high to get through the narrow gap of their prejudices.

        So, we mock them, make the most of the tools that let us bypass the gatekeepers (that are no longer making sure the worse of the crap stays out, but only what confirms their world view), and we do the worst of all possible things to them. We ignore then. We make them irrelevant. Sadly, most of them are not pretty enough or smart enough to make remedial education worthwhile… 😦

        1. Oh, they very much do notice they are being mocked, if you do it bluntly enough, then they throw the most hilarious temper tantrums.

            1. Which is tragic, as some of them actually now look cute when you have them firmly duct taped to an object…

                    1. So, why remove the tape as long as their nose is clear? 😉

                      But seriously, the Venn diagram of these women only has sufficiently small enough overlap that I can feel happy to consign them to their lives without too much intervention.

          1. I especially love the ineffectual arm flailing, the “oh, you can’t be in our clubhouse” bit (just got banned today from a forum for bringing up the possibility that sexbots might be the best thing for male sexuality in the same way the Pill was for women)…it’s kind of amusing.

            LONELY, especially since I’m in the People’s Republic of California.

              1. The fond hope if enough of the nuts escape, we can re-purpose the asylum into a brothel and pub. 😉

                I personally don’t want to live anywhere other than California (in the SF Bay Area) or maybe Portland. I like the weather. I like the general amount of things around here. It’s the fruits, nuts, and flakes I can’t stand. I have been to most of the states in the Union at least once and with the exception of Portland and Seattle, I wouldn’t want to live there. New York-too crowded, too pretentious. Most of the South-too humid and flat. Colorado…it’s a nice state, but I hate snow that I have to deal with for loner than 72 hours.

                1. Snow that lasts on the ground for longer than 72 hours is fairly rare on the Front Range.

                  1. Rare here too– except this year. It does get cold though. We left SF area when I was six just before the Haight riots. I won’t be going back.

                    1. He doesn’t come here that often, does he? I still say the cold in the world increases proportionally to his weight and that we’re one double cheeseburger away from a new ice age.

                2. See, that’s what I feel like about any other state. I hate what people from CA are doing to CO, but I love the climate and the landscape and the sane people that remain. (And the lack of bugs. Bugs think I’m a buffet.)

                  Where we are though (the Springs/Denver area) snow stays for longer than 48 hours MAYBE once a year, more likely once every three years.

                  1. Fair enough. The Bay Area, probably more than any other place on Earth short of London or the city of my dreams (which sadly doesn’t exist, but I’ve described as “London about 30 degrees further South, with a permissive CCW policy and no Orwellian cameras”) is what I really consider to be “home” in my mind.

                  2. I love CO, especially the drive over Monarch and past Blue Mesa Reservoir, but I’m not fond of the water rights laws. It’s still probably where we’ll end up after Mrs. Dave’s upcoming tour in the East Part (aka Here There Be Bureaucrats), as her parents live in Montrose. I like the dry, I like the shifting seasons (grew up in western WA, where you have rain for 10 months of the year, and spent the last six years in HI, where it’s always 85 [not as much of a treat as you might think]) I like the lack of bugs, and the abundance of hiking and similar outdoorsness. On the other hand, I don’t like how Denver tends to make state policy. I grew up with that in WA, where King county (Seattle/Tacoma and environs) makes up the laws. We have friends in Utah who are trying to talk us into moving, and the active fandom is exciting, plus the more permissive gun laws. We’ll see.

    1. Young Adult. It’s a publishing classification. Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, etc, are YA. The main determinant is “age of the main character.” It’s what poor kids get pushed at them in school, too.

  36. This may seem off-topic but bear with me.

    In a 2008 presidential debate, Jim Lehrer asked Obama and McCain to each state what parts of their programs they would put “on hold” due to the financial crisis making them unaffordable, at least for now. Neither offered a thing, and both acted as if the question was bizarre. What does being able to afford something man to a Federal officeholder, a US Senator running for President? Nothing at all.

    OK–back on-topic. We are in a world of unreality, led by academics and other sheltered types who have never had to deal with hard reality. Financial, social policy, environmental policy, education, EVERYTHING. The truth means nothing compared to a superficially attractive story line.

    Theory will be the death of us–I fear, literally.

    1. Theory is a wonderful place. Everything works there – but normal people have to deal with the real world where things don’t do what theory says they should.

      Besides, living in the world of theory gets boring.

  37. Actually, I don’t think that the AQ types will end up being the successor to Western civilization, even if they end do up being the barbarians that tear it down.

    They can’t design heavy machinery. I doubt most of them could even make new AK-47’s if left to their own devices. Even the strongmen dictators imported their machinery from either the west or the soviets; they rarely built it for themselves. If they succeed in tearing down western society, they won’t be able to keep the wheels turning.

  38. Perhaps one reason why Harry Potter was so successful with kids was that it didn’t push the feminist lie. Harry was the sports jock and protective hero, while Hermoine was the scholar and bookworm. Mr Weasley went to a job to support the family, while Mrs Weasley kept house.

    The author makes a good point that despite all this leftist feminist propoganda being crammed down their throats, most boys still love fighting and adventures, while the girls still like dolls, dancing, and being princesses.

    As for religions, you dont have to allow the Muslims to win to go back to traditional roles. Mormons are still traditional and have plenty of kids, as do traditional catholics and evangelicals. (although lots of catholics and evangilicals are backsliding, but Mormons mostly not).

  39. Your comments brought me back to the early 1990’s, when my wife was studying Chemistry as a grad student at the University of Arizona. Her professor strenuously opposed her decision to marry and start a family, telling her that if she were “serious” about her studies, she wouldn’t have married and certainly wouldn’t have chosen to become pregnant. In his world, women had to choose between children or a professional career: They’re only allowed one or the other.

  40. Man, I get sick for a day, and I miss an entire season of troll bopping!

    On the subject of linguistic shifts, I love watching old movies and TV shows and seeing how the language has shifted — and it seems like it ALWAYS shifts in a more sexual direction. It’s very common in old enough films to see courting and necking called “making love”, even though not a single article of clothing is removed and nothing more extreme than kissing and nuzzling takes place.

    Then there was the episode of “McHale’s Navy” where the crew was accused of planning an “orgy” and Parker was called a “boob”. This was in the “repressed” early 60s, not long before Star Trek would run afoul of the censors for doing something like showing the underside of a woman’s breast, and Ginger and Mary Anne were required to wear “shorts” that rose up to cover their navels. If “orgy” and “boob” meant than what they colloquially mean today, that episode would NEVER have aired.

    1. My entire family laughs at the Pride And Prejudice Line “He smirks and (?) and makes love to us all” uttered by the father of the family. (SIGH. This is what I get for having sons.)

    2. One of my favorite pastimes is noting changes in the value of currency, as evidenced in this song lyric:

      He doesn’t make much money
      Only five thousand per
      Some judge who thinks he’s funny
      Says you’ll pay six to her

      He says now judge suppose I fail
      The judge says budge right into jail
      You better keep her I think it’s cheaper
      Then makin’ whoopee

      Back when the song was written, that five thousand per was per year — now it could as readily be per month.

      Or take the 1964-5 TV series Valentine’s Day, starring Tony Franciosa and Jack Soo:

      Valentine Farrow works for O.D. Dunstall in a New York publishing house. He is young and single and constantly chased by women. While in the Army, he was saved by “Rocky” Sin, a poker-playing con artist, who now serves as Farrow’s valet.

      This playboy, man about town, most eligible bachelor … made $100 a week.

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