Educating the Benighted

Yesterday we were driving back from Denver – molestation of dinos happened, (aka I got to look and dinosaur bones and let my inner kid out to oooh and ahhhh) and looking for a radio station to listen to.  We don’t actually listen to much Country – not a hatred of the genre, but we grew up at a time when Rock and Roll was cooler, and it formed our tastes.  That said, we like some Country – but as we hit that station, my husband said “you realize they think this is what we listen to all the time.”

I must have looked blank, because he said “You know, we’re the unenlightened.  There are only two types of people who disagree with them on how the world should be run: i.e. with the idea that you can merge all nations together and stop war; with the idea that if America just becomes poor other countries will become rich; and most of all with the idea that people could or should be guided in everything by their “betters.”

The only two people they think disagree with them, are the evil rich, who don’t want to share out their ill-gotten loot (and all wealth is loot to them, since like Marx they don’t realize wealth can be created) and the unenlightened.  I said “the unenlightened.”  And he said “Oh, yes, they live in trailer parks, listen to right wing talk shows, own several guns and might or might not sleep with their relatives, depending on who you talk to.  But they are all white and all male, this is very important, because otherwise instead of unenlightened they would be a downtrodden minority and their opinions would have immediate moral authority.  As is, it’s a wonder they reproduce.””

This made me burst out laughing, but of course, the problem is that in internet forums (particularly when not under my name, but often then too) I get accused of being one or the other of those and often, for a truly contradictory stew, both of them together (evil rich, who live in trailer parks, and….)

The truth is that the Aristo class are a little fuzzy and contradictory on the unenlightened, because, of course, they like to think they are for the “downtrodden” which means they actually can’t look down on the poor.

But the truth of the matter is they don’t (by and large.  I’m sure there are exceptions) know any poor.  Their ideas of the poor come from ill-digested eighteenth century (truly, not debased) liberal ideas combined with what they see about other classes/races/professions on tv shows and movies.  Which are… bad.

Look, stereotypes are a tool of my trade.  You have to round out your world with stereotypes or EVERY pulp SF would be the size of War and Peace and about as interesting.

If I have to bring in an eight year old for one scene, she’s going to fall into one of two stereotypes: either she’s going to be all in pink, like dolls and plastic horses with multicolored tails, or she’s going to be in jeans and a torn t-shirt and carry a football under her arm.

No real little girls falls into one of these stereotypes, no matter how close they come.  I was closer to the second, but I loved my dolls, spent a great portion of my time playing house (I must admit too I was very unenlightened in those days.  I beat up the neighbor boy because he wanted to be the mommy, which I found just “dumb”.  For the record, he didn’t grow up to be gay, (that was the OTHER neighbor boy who never – at least while playing with me – wanted to be the mommy.  Mostly he wanted to build go-carts, so we might never have played house) he grew up to be a wife-abuser.  I probably shouldn’t have pounded him 😉 )

However, if the kid is only there for a scene, and maybe featuring as a dead body later, you don’t have time to explain that yeah, she likes to play games with the boys, and play with trains and cars, but she also likes to play at being the mommy.

So, we use stereotypes, of course.  And to an extent they reinforce the stereotypes other people have written.

However, good writers, or writers who try to be good try not to use stereotypes for the IMPORTANT things.  And certainly we try not to stereotype entire economic/professional classes.

In fact, I stopped reading a particular mystery series, because the murderer was ALWAYS the entrepreneur.  And more and more I can’t watch TV – sitcoms and dramas – because all the characters, good and bad are stereotypes.

It wasn’t always this way.  Yesterday we were watching the first episode of Columbo, and what got me was how well drawn the characters were.  The bimbo actress has unexpected depths, the murdered wife is NOT a victim of male oppression, but a woman embittered by life in a marriage gone sour (and probably entered into for the wrong reasons on both sides.)  The husband too, yes, is a murderer, but you can sort of see what he saw and how he got there.

I challenge you to find me a mystery episode like that today.  It always ends up defaulting to the stereotypes of “abusing” husband and “helpless” (or saintly) wife, the “right wing” intolerant man, the open minded intellectual, the rebellious (and ultimately right) teen and on and on and on.

That’s not art.  That’s speak-and-spell.

And the problem has its roots in the eighteenth century, when liberalism deserved that name.  In the eighteenth century, to believe that everyone had the right to equal treatment before the law was as heretical as most of the things you guys and I say here today.

But anyone who believes that, (and I do) inevitably comes across the fact that all men are created equal but (who was it who said it?) “differ greatly in the sequel.”  And most people immediately try to justify this by going on about how all men could be equal if just: they had proper nutrition, they had proper education, they had–  whatever.  (What got us in the housing crisis was the idea that all men would be equal if they just lived in the “right” neighborhood.)

The most popular belief in the eighteenth century was that all men would be “enlightened” if they just had enough of the right kind of education.

It’s a naïve belief, and one that continued through to the idea that if you just indoctrinate the kids in communism, you’ll do away with greed and private property.

It doesn’t – to put it bluntly – work.  In many cases it backfired spectacularly.  There is no reason that knowing a lot makes you good.  (My favorite con-seen t-shirt is “Knowledge is power; power corrupts; study hard, be evil.”)  Education helped the underclasses, of course.  In fact it often helped them overtake the upper classes, which led to little unpleasantnesses like the French Revolution.

What it didn’t do was make everyone angels, which is something that SOMEHOW keeps managing to surprise humans.  (That we can’t be made over into angels.)

Our Aristos are descended from the eighteenth century liberals (sorry but they are.)   We are too.  We are the liberals who decided you had to endure some human imperfections, while trying to be as good as possible, and trying to give others the same opportunity.  (I think the founding fathers were our kind of liberals.  You give the opportunity, but you can’t enforce the results.)

The “liberals” of today are descended via the wrong side of the blanket, bastard sons (and daughters) of communism, by way of the French revolution.  They think this time men can be made perfect, if JUST—

One of the justs remains “they’re educated right.”  Only because real education results in a varying array of opinions, with sub-opinions differing greatly within the opinions (just the words abortion and “gay marriage” suffice for me to pick a fight with most of you, and not in the way you’d expect either.  And then within each of the sub-opinions on that, if I give vent to my full beliefs, I can get both sides to hate me too.  Not to say I can’t do business with most of you.  Of course I can.  If you believe in a small government that stays out of most people’s private life, and if you believe in local control over federal control, you’re a brother or sister of mine, and we’re going the same way.)  When you think, and when you analyze history, your opinions will vary.  You won’t be “enlightened in the right way.”

So… Because our Aristos REALLY want the masses to be enlightened, because this will lead to of course universal peace, brotherhood and rainbow-farting unicorns, they have given up on real education in favor of indoctrination and teaching the “right” conclusions.

On top of that, because pesky humans still insist on coming up with different ideas, once out of the control of the school, (or learn to double think, which I did, early) they reinforce this through entertainment.  Which means the only movies/series/books the gatekeepers will bless are those that enforce the stereotypes they want.

Which is why these days, if you watch practically anything, anyone who disagrees with the Aristos is either evil, rich and greedy (weirdly greed for power never makes their lexicon of sins.  At least not greed for political power.  It’s always greed for money – rolls eyes) or an ignorant gun totting redneck living in a mobile home and talking only in Bible phrases.  (Or, as someone said “clinging to their guns and religion.”)

This is because the only reason these poor children raised with stereotypes can imagine for anyone not to agree with “but teacher says!” is that you are either personally invested in saying the “wrong” things because you get paid for it (let me say right now that I’m FURIOUS I’m not getting checks from Haliburton, the Zionist conspiracy, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, the Koch brothers and all these other people who are supposed to be paying us [I’m particularly mad at the Kochs since they’re libertarians who support the arts, because well, this art could use some support, guys.]  I guess they can’t get my address?) or because you aren’t “enlightened” – hence, poor, living in a mobile home (I have no clue what they have against mobile homes, except as a mark of poverty) and indoctrinated into the religion they disapprove of.  (Note these people must be white and male, and non-muslim, because otherwise you tread on the toes of protected minorities.)  And in the case of those poor and unenlightened, they think the only reason is that you have been traumatized, you lost your job, you don’t get enough from welfare and therefore you “cling to hatred of those who aren’t like you.”

Because apparently the idea that societies organized on redistributionist lines have not only never worked but resulted in misery and death, and the fact that every time the Aristos take over fully misery and death is exponentially increased HAS NEVER OCCURRED TO THESE PEOPLE.  Because after all “teacher says” these ideas are right, therefore they MUST be.

The truth is that, for the whole time I’ve lived in this country, the best way to climb the ladder of wealth is to be “liberal”.  This is because by the eighties the liberals were already in control of not just entertainment but the boards of most corporations.  Even entrepreneurs who make it, immediately acquire a veneer of lefty opinions (often ill digested) in order to fit in at the country club and network and get ahead.  (No?  Bill Gates.  Steve Jobs.  Major Republicans, right?  Pfui.)

As for the trailer park?  Well, I have nothing against trailer parks or people who live in them – I want to make that clear.  The way life goes, up and down, I might well eventually find myself in one (if I’m lucky.  There’s always the appliance box under the bridge!) – but it is usually a “lower income” neighborhood.  And like most lower income neighborhoods, while it might have some socially conservative people with morally inflexible judgements, these days mostly what it has are people who ran aground while imitating the (no need for marriage, do sleep around with everyone, no need for a job either – the state will provide) “morals” and definitely the manners of the Aristos.

Study after study has proven that if you have the bourgeois virtues: you marry early and stay married, you work as much as you can, you save and defer gratification, you’ll still do pretty well – for a definition of pretty well, in relation to current economy and to where you started.

So while you might live in a small house, you’re unlikely to live to in the kind of trailer park that the “liberals” have resort to for their stereotypes.  In that kind of trailer park most people will in fact vote for the Aristo agenda, under the impression that garantees mo’ government cheese.

Indie, both in writing (and in film – which scares them even more, and which is coming down the pike at torpedo speed, mark my words) scares these people spitless, because it will cease to reinforce the stereotypes.

The bursting of the education bubble (lower and higher) scares them even more because people will get “the wrong” kind of education.

The desperate power grab we’re seeing from the Aristos is complicated by their fear of this, which they can sense only dimly.  Because they think in stereotypes, they really think all homeschooled kids learn ONLY the Bible.  Because they think only in stereotypes they really think that books that don’t obey their blueprint are bad.

And I think, because they think only in stereotypes, they will ultimate be blindsided and left behind by the future.

Aristocracies that grow too divorced from reality ultimately can’t survive.  At best people learn to work around them and they lose all power.  At worst… there comes the guillotine.

I’d prefer the first to the last, but if we don’t manage the first, the last will surely come.

Sometimes it’s hard — and thankless — work saving the clueless from the consequences of their lack of clue.  (And I still don’t get any checks.)

232 thoughts on “Educating the Benighted

    1. Bret, the problem with all stereotypes is that they contain elements of truth — otherwise they wouldn’t be stereotypes. Sarah’s “Aristos” are linked by one specific characteristic: they think that they know what’s good for you better than you do yourself. But that’s it. The Aristos could be government functionaries, journalists, academia, or even social bluebloods.

    2. Kind of — sort of — except I was on the other side by stealth for a long time. Yes, most of them don’t have these motives, because they don’t know why they think this. BUT in general…

  1. Then opnly serious difference I have with what you’ve written, Sarah, is the Law & Order spinoffs (Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent) which always seem to have stereotype-busting good guys AND bad guys (and the shows rocked mostly because of the brilliant Mariska Hargitay and astonishing Vincent D’Onofrio respectively).

    But yeah, otherwise, I agree. Most of the Left still cling bitterly to outdated (and discredited) Marxist theory and stereotypes, not to mention other idiocies like “all colonialism was eeeevil” etc.

          1. Maybe.

            If I can get past my long-standing distaste for the Big Three broadcast channels.

            About the only things I watch on “broadcast” channels are Cops, NASCAR races, baseball games, and the Olympics… and 3 of those 4 are typically on Fox, rather than one of the Big Three.

                  1. Anyplace but here, I’d have to ask “Before or after you looked beyond the emotional manipulation they put in?”

                    Here, I know that while it’s not 100%, folks are at least aware of the crazy “bad laws” type situations the TV comes up with….although the misplacement of responsibility still gets me, as well as the selective editing.

                    Reality TV has had selective editing and setting up situations in “documentaries” since my mom was young; I can’t remember the nature show, but it was Wild Something, and the lead was always saving animals. Pretty standard late 60s/all 70s stuff.
                    They came to Lakeview, Oregon, and everybody was utterly enthused– until they saw them throwing a baby antelope back into the river so they could get a better shot of saving him.

                    Everybody there would gladly shoot an adult antelope, but that kind of…treating a baby animal like a prop, no more than a thing, killed off any viewership the entire county had for the blankers.

                    1. Do you remember the photo opportunity for the Clintons? They tore down some trees around the Grand Canyon so they could get a better shot with them (I think it was them– during the 1990s)–

            1. I bought Elementary through Amazon Video and watch it on my Roku box when ever I like without ads!!

    1. SPOILER for ‘Castle’ if you haven’t seen this:

      I recently saw one episode where a bomb exploded in an Occupy Wall Street event (well, it had some other name in the series, but no guessing what it stood for) and one of the first suspects was a stereotypical right wing guy who had been on the scene handing out pamphlets against the movement. But for once I got surprised, the actual culprit was a member of the movement who had been trying to get media attention for them, in concert with a TV reporter who was trying to advance her career. They still downplayed the evil – the poor guy had been an idealist who had not meant to kill anyone, only a thief had moved the bag with the bomb from a place where it could have exploded without hurting anyone into middle of a crowd, and then the bomber had died while trying to get his bag away from the people – but anyway.

      And the saddest thing is that this showed me how goddamn used I have gotten to the usual narrative, since this quite surprised me. I had fully expected that the bomber would have turned out to be some sort of stereotypical right wing or something like a pissed off shopkeeper (or maybe a serial killer, or trying to kill some single individual in the crowd if it would not have been connected to the protest), and all the members of the movement idealists who had been struck down in the middle of trying to do good.

    2. Kim, I also liked CI when they brought back Chris Noth and his redheaded partners. Somehow — perhaps because Noth’s character was supposed to be a workingman’s kid stereotype — they managed to get some right perspective on some of the stories. Stereotyped, nonetheless, but still right.


  2. “Enlightened” usually equates to “shares my prejudices” — ecept my prejudices are just plain simple common sense, unlike your prejudices, which are expressions of seething resentments and long simmering hatreds.

  3. Sometimes it’s hard — and thankless — work saving the clueless from the consequences of their lack of clue. (And I still don’t get any checks.)

    Kinda where I’m at

    1. aaargh….

      *continues as if nothing happened*

      – when it comes to folks who give us crud for having too many kids, too close together.

        1. Just don’t mention which writer, or they’ll stick their Aristo noses (I always want to type Aristoi, after Walter Jon Williams’ book of the same name — I recommend it if you’re looking for something to read, but fair warning, it leaves you hanging at the end and he hasn’t yet written a sequel) in the air and say, “Oh, HER. She’s just a science-fiction writer, what does SHE know?”

          The only writers who merit attention in their minds are those that write leftist articles/books/screenplays.

            1. They just dismiss Mamet as a formerly talented writer trying to resuscitate a career gone flat by pandering to the uneducated. And they ignore (or trash) his plays and then point to that as evidence of his artistic collapse.

              And he no longer gets invited to their parties or on their talk shows. I think we can all suppose that Mamet is doing much in the way of NPR appearances.

  4. Stereotypes are merely shallowly drawn characters; what you are seeing is the surface because that is all that is necessary for the telling of the story. It becomes a problem when the storyteller proves incapable of creating more depth in more important characters.

  5. I think they are against mobile homes because they are just that, mobile. If people are constantly moving, or even just potentially moving, it’s a lot harder to keep accurate track of who is doing what and where.

    1. Mobile homes are generally cheaply built because the stigma they carry for being cheaply built makes folks reluctant to pay much money for them.

      Ayup, chicken / egg.

      I don’t want to get into the dirt on this one just now, but constructing housing components in factories allows for far better quality control in both materials and their assembly. Given the way that housing developments use a limited number of templates it hardly seems fair to disparage the repetitive aspects of modular homes.

      1. YES. YES. Two minds that beat like one. I was driving past our local mobile home sales place recently and let’s say they’ve come a long way baby. They look like any other starter homes, and I understand the Amish built ones are actually energy efficient.

        So, why the stigma? Well, it keeps the building industry safe…

        1. Why the stigma? The three rules of real estate: Location, location, location. Every desirable neighbourhood has architectural restrictions which make it illegal to put mobile homes there; most jurisdictions have building codes that make it impossible to use mobile homes except as, well, cheap ‘temporary’ housing for people who are locked out of the real housing market.

          My uncle was lucky enough to live in a jurisdiction that (in 1974) allowed him to replace his crumbling old farmhouse with a double-wide, and put it on a concrete foundation with a full basement. It’s as good a house as any conventionally-built structure in the district. But you couldn’t do that now, most places.

          That means that if you have a mobile home, you have to live in a trailer park — that is, in a deliberately zoned and designated slum, complete with a slumlord who charges extortionate rent for the miserable patch of waste ground that he allows you to park your house on. You can’t go anywhere else; the trailer park operators, the conventional building industry, and the so-called community associations (which are all about driving up the price of housing so that existing homeowners can reap unearned capital gains, and the hell with young people trying to buy a house for the first time) are all on the same side.

          So — you can be as prejudiced as you like against ‘trailer trash’, because unlike that other kind of modern slum, the urban housing project, nobody will call you racist for being prejudiced against poor people who are forced to live in trailer parks. If their mobile homes were actually allowed to be mobile, a good many of them could actually afford to buy a vacant lot in a decent location and move their houses there. And that would destroy the property value of the conventionally (read: expensively) built house next door, so you can trust that next-door neighbour to move heaven and earth to prevent it. Maybe that same neighbour gives a shekel now and then to Habitat for Humanity and cries out about the shortage of affordable housing for the poor. He just doesn’t want anything meaningful done about it, because that would cost him too much money; or rather, it would leave him unable to find another sucker on whom to lay off the swindle that his builder perpetrated on him.

          1. Thanks, Tom, for making the point I was too much in haste (yeah, that’s the reason) to full articulate this morning.

            In essence it is like so many other Aristo projects: they cripple their victims then use the inability of their victims to run as justification for crippling them.

            1. STRIKE the full and INSERT fully.

              Sigh. I think there is something wrong with this keyboard, it only types what I tell it to.

      2. Maybe so, but I bought a not-bottom-of-barrel manufactured home and even so, the quality blows chunks. If I could get investors, I would start a competing company just because I’m ticked off at them.

        1. When I did the stint installing DirecTv (2004) I was appalled at the quality in the homes being built in all the developing areas here in DFW. I was a carpenter in renovations a long time back (mostly in the Uptown N.O. area) and knew what garbage I was looking at. We had one crew that did work like some of that (came from Texas from what I remember) and we ended up ripping out 99% of it and doing it right. Those guys would be considered one of the betters for one of the builders here, the others likely would keep them as well, but the rest were not all that much better
          I’d not buy one of those places. If given one for free, I’d sell and go elsewhere. The rest of the guys I worked with learned to hate them for their own reasons (not just crappy build, they made the installers life horrid as well) and several of the homebuilders had whole developments the guys tried to get out of working in.
          Manufactured is spotty. Even those of the same brand vary place to place. But I haven’t seen any as bad as some of these major company built homes in the ‘burbs.

          1. The standard (not mobile) highly expensive subdivisions going in here in my city (Canada, but the dollars are currently roughly equal) are also poorly built. They are asking 250,000 minimum for houses where if you drive by night after night you see the trusses waiting to go up aremade of wood still leaking sap.I saw one supposedly finished one where the door knob on the front had been put on crooked. If it was supposed to be diamond shaped it was off, and if it was supposed to be square, it was REALLY off. The driveways not even three years later have started to cave in to the point where if it’s brick you have bricks moving under your feet and if it’s tarmack, it has potholes all over, or the water main/sewer overflow sticking 2-3 inches up out of the driveway. (I have a delivery job filling in for other deliverers, so I wil be there for a bit when the house is going up, back maybe a year later, and then a year later again and see the changes.)

            1. Oh, there are plenty of developers who do shoddy construction nowadays, even in fairly expensive homes. The builders hire cheap (read: inexperienced) labor and throw the houses up quickly, then move on. But people let them get by with it, so they keep doing it.

    2. That and let’s face it, the earliest mobile homes did not last well and started looking rather worn pretty quickly. And since most mobile home parks or lots with trailers on them were outside the city limits, and outside zoning, the places got a little cluttered.

        1. True. And now there is a geographic aspect, since the older trailers had minimal insulation, so more were sold in the South, mostly to blue-collar workers, and thus was born yet another stereotype and assumption.

            1. Aha! It’s your fault!

              The little ‘hood in Florida my Aunt and Uncle have an old trailer is like that. Most folks are Retirees, and of those, many are Snowbirds.

          1. the Southern ones were really cheaply built. I grew up in one in Michigan, built in ’70 it is still there and holding up fine. It was built with the knowledge some folks are not going to go up there and shovel off the snow.
            In the mid 80’s, a cousin bought one on a deal that was made in southern Arkansas. My Uncle told him he should have gotten a Yankee one used instead but that one was the only new one he could afford and thought it’d be fine … that “New” lasted him two years before needing replacement. Winters kill the things made down south back then. Now most states have higher codes for them and windproofing them makes them just about as strong as snowland built.

        2. Look at the history of Levittown, the brainchild of Abraham Levitt and sons, who applied mass manufacturing and logistics techniques developed for constructing barracks for suddenly mobilized troops during WWII. Disdained (“Little Boxes: and they’re all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same) by the purveyors of “authenticity” and sneered at as the very epitome of Fifties suburbia, these houses provided employment and homes at a time when both were desperately needed after almost two decades of Depression and War.

          Levittown was the forerunner of the modern housing development,

          As the first and one of the largest mass-produced suburbs, Levittown quickly became a symbol of postwar suburbia. Although Levittown provided affordable houses in what many residents felt to be a congenial community, critics decried its homogeneity, blandness, and racial exclusivity (the initial lease prohibited rental to non-whites). Today, “Levittown” is used as a term to describe overly sanitized suburbs consisting largely of identical housing. Similarly, places have earned names like “Levittown-of-X” or “Levittown-on-the-X” as seen in Long Island’s Bayville “Levittown on the Sound” and Fire Island’s Dunewood “Levittown on the Bay.” Oddly enough, although Levittown is remembered largely for its homogeneity, the majority of houses in Levittown have by now been so thoroughly expanded and modified by their owners that their original architectural form can be somewhat difficult to see; however, with diligent observation, several original examples can still be seen today.

          It is a measure of how successful this nation has become that we have so readily forgotten the circumstances that gave rise to such developments as Levittown. It also says more than a little about Boomer ignorance, smugness and arrogance that they so little appreciate such developments. The suburbs gave families a chance to own a home of their own, however modest, rather than share their parents’ housing or pay rent for a tenement apartment.

      1. Actually not all the early ones were crap. I have a 1952 Spartan made by the Spartan Aircraft Co. (J. Paul Getty needed to keep the plant running after the war) that has held up quite nicely. I’m going to convert it into a travel trailer at some point.
        It was the ones made in the late ’50s thur the ’70s which caused the stigma…

    3. Most mobile homes aren’t really very “mobile”, especially the double-wides. There’s one company that makes very elegant homes of decent size for under 100K. My wife and I are looking into moving into a modular home because they’re built all on one level. The only problem is that for some reason, they’re tornado magnets. We lived in a mobile home during the early years of our marriage. Missed one tornado by less than a mile.

      1. TINS: Saw a cold air funnel form and hover over the trailer park beside the airport where I used to work. The twister never touched ground, just rose and sank a couple hundred feet in the air. Only funnel cloud in the state that day, and it was over a trailer park. Apparently some people cable or chain their “trailers” to the ground, as a way of making them less prone to wandering off to Oz. That and to reduce the damage the usual spring winds (50 gusting 75 mph) can cause.

      2. The only problem is that for some reason, they’re tornado magnets.

        Well, of course. Tornadoes are relatively predictable: you can’t tell when one will touch down in any given place, but the storms that give rise to them follow fairly well-defined paths. Nobody wants to build anything permanent on those paths — which means the land is cheap enough, and undesirable enough, for the swindlers who run trailer parks to buy up and rent out.

        1. well, the one I used to live in is sorta sheltered and has never had a tornado pass through. I’m no longer in a park, but I am in a “modular” still, but it is on a small horse ranch.

    4. Mobile homes are not necessarily mobile. You can’t get a mortgage on one unless it’s on a foundation and the wheels are removed. At least not in California. They don’t want you hooking it up to a semi and taking off with it.

      1. in Texas they are not on even piers, they just set blocks on the ground.
        To get a VA loan for one (and possibly one from FHA) it needs to be on a slab. All must be strapped to the ground for code. The really old ones have the straps outside the structure, the newer ones it is built in.
        Down in Cajun Country (especially in and around Dulac) I saw them set on beams run across telephone poles, usually high enough to park under the house, and many would add more beams across the roof as well.
        A worker at one of my Houma customers hadn’t enough money to beam the top of his place and Hurricane Andrew pulled the roof off for him.
        The place next door was fine, and it was an older, cheaper trailer.
        On the other hand, even a brand new brick facade house isn’t worth spit in a tornado if it is hit right.

  6. I “discovered” Country Music back in the Eighties when artists like Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakum and others were reinventing the genre, reinvigorating it with the sounds that had helped invent Rock back in the Fifties, echoing through the music of Presley, Cash, Perkins and the rest.

    I was working nights and we played the radio to make the quiet less. I found a few hours of Rock would leave me irritable, while I could stand a whole night of Country with good humour. It helped that I was far more likely to hear The Eagles or The Byrds on the Country stations. I maintain there is more Rock’N’Roll to be heard on the Country stations than the Rock.

    Of course, given my druthers I listen to Celtic, Norteno, Klezmer and Zydeco, so anybody is well warned against taking my musical tastes as their own. Yes, I admit it: I love accordion music!!!!

    Keep in mind that the Beatles did a Buck Owens cover.

    1. I’ve been told and think I read somewhere most people’s musical tastes stop evolving some time around one’s 27th year. I think mine really started evolving about that time. I used to listen to a small Classic Rock station that played album cuts and not the ones you always hear. They changed to Cajun (more fitting with the larger portion of their listening area and not a competetor in their area), and the two competing CR stations were poor in comparison. I changed to a New Rock station that had a no repeat clause and limited commercials. It always ranked well for over all listening numbers. I hear it got bought out and the new owners went New Country with it and promtly started losing $$ as N.O. has one of the most powerful C/W stations that tossed in classics with the garbage new stuff (and always ranked #1 for listeners in N.O.).

      I can’t take most of what passes as “Country” now-days. Worse is being forced to put up with it on a station so bad I’d not listen if they played everything I like. It’s a version of the old 70’s pop stations that stick an annoying call sign in between every song, before and after the interminable commercials and often enough once in the middle of the commercial breaks (so long it seems the music is the break and it is a commercial radio) and at the beginning and end of the DJ interruptions … Okay it does drive me to distraction, why do you ask? The local New Rock station isn’t a whole lot better lately, playing the same songs every 2 hourse or less fat too often, and then tossing in songs that are A: not NEW, and B: Not Rock (the same 5 Beastie Boys songs3 all but one from the first album) and once a band is not very new any longer (say Silversun Pickups), they play only the first breakthrough song even though they have had many more hits, some better than that first (Lazy Eye is a great tune … not 4 times a day)
      Online I listen to Radio Paradise, and if I had a better phone I’d listen most of the time.
      (sample playlist from just now from
      5:06 pm – Dave Matthews Band – Broken Things
      5:02 pm – The Blue Hawaiians – Deadman’s
      4:58 pm – Tom McRae – For The Restless
      4:55 pm – Laura Veirs – I Can See Your Tracks
      4:52 pm – Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
      4:46 pm – Alejandro Escovedo – Wave
      4:40 pm – Eric Bibb – Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down
      4:36 pm – James McMurtry – Walk Between the Raindrops
      4:32 pm – Angus & Julia Stone – Black Crow
      4:29 pm – Aimee Mann – Charmer
      4:21 pm – The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection
      4:15 pm – Supergrass – Tales Of Endurance
      4:09 pm – Neil Halstead – Full Moon Rising
      4:05 pm – Wilco – How to Fight Loneliness
      4:01 pm – Yo La Tengo – Our Way to Fall)
      There is everything from Willy Nelson to Bach played on RP.
      I forget where I learned of RP but since then I more and more dislike commercial radio. The only thing Bill plays I hate is Michael Franti & Spearhead but mostly for M.F.’s stupid political views. though they ain’t a great band in talent either, they at least seem to be able to play Otherwise my dislikes on there are either really bad versions (Leo Kottke is VERY talented, but his version of Oh Well is painful) or songs I’ve learned to really hate (like anything by Madonna).

      In those rare occasions I am in my truck, or when at work (often on headphones but the others are listening more and more), I listen to a music NPR station. Closest station to RP I’ve heard. I bet some of the DJs listen to Bill’s station for Ideas.

      I’ve pretty much stopped listening to talk radio.
      Mark Davis is now on AM here, but I changed to working nights so I sleep through part of his show and am busy doing other things for the rest, and I ride a motorcycle 99% of the time so I don’t listen to Rush either as WBAP fm is too weak for my earphone radio so I go silent most of my riding time. Afternoons post Rush we get Hannity and he raves on and on about the same things, so even when on days and I was listening to talk most of the day, I’d only listen once or twice a week. Levin is as grumpy as I am and I’m usually busy doing things at that time where I cannot listen to most of the show.

      So my music I have on mp3 on my phone is even more eclectic than RP.
      Red Elvises (russians doing Surf Music)
      Art Of Noise
      Vivaldi (The Four Seasons)
      Bach (Toccata et Fugue)
      Bela Fleck (keeping it classical I got Moonlight Sonata on there)
      Richard Cheese
      Foo Fighters (the cover songs like Have A Cigar)
      Liquid Tension Experiment (Metal Prog rock)
      and a bunch of others.
      Time to rearrange it again.

      1. Gosh jpkalishek I hope you are wrong. When I was 27 I was listening to the Buzzc**ks and Souixie and the Banshees.
        Ah, the memories.

        1. Souxie gets RP play time (Kiss Them For Me of course)
          Buzzc##ks not so much.
          Got some Dead Milkmen in my collection. (Camaro, Punk Rock Girl, & somewhere a video of The Thing That Only Eats Hippies)
          Actually started to like them after I was 27.

        2. I think I still have one tape by Siouxie and the Banshees somewhere, but it’s been years since I last played it. Don’t remember which of their recordings, and no working tape player anymore… well, they are still sold, and I do have several tapes in a box somewhere, so perhaps I should buy something I can play them with. And then throw most of those tapes out. I think I may even have something by Gary Glitter and some other disco type stuff there (shudder… in my defense, I was a teen in that era, and I have always had a weakness for picking both books and music I’m not familiar with but which might just be okay from sales, if the price is low enough. Has given me some nice surprises, and lots of meh plus several lemons. Unfortunately I also have problems throwing something like a book or a cd into trash if it’s in a good shape even if the content is lousy, so I still have several of those lemons I could not give away for free. I suppose I should cart them to some charity flea market and let them do the throwing away part… most take anything you take to them, as long as it’s not obvious trash. Only not very nice to do that).

      2. I’m still fond of sixties music because it’s what I grew up with — i.e. what my brother had on tapes (for people younger than 30 those were things you chipped from rocks. Trust me.)
        But after I had #1 son I conceived a wild pash for classical. go figure.

        1. I grew up with C/W and my Dad played guitar with friends at parties and it was old old C/W, and the few albums were Sons of the Pioneers and Johnny Cash with an old Ben Colder(Sheb Wooley) album I wore out for him (he was a C/W version of Weird Al … before Al was around, so Al is a Rock version of Ben Colder) It was not the Flying Purple People Eater.

      3. I suspect musical taste stops “evolving” at age 27 for several reasons.

        1. You acquire a life and spend more of your off work time attending PTA meetings and Parent-Teacher conferences than concerts, Rock or otherwise.

        2. You have less time and money for hanging out in bars, and when you do, listening to some nearly talentless kids learning how to tune their instruments at high volume isn’t your entertainment preference.

        3. Related to item #1, your music purchases are dominated by Raffi, Sharon, Lois & Bram or whoever the current “occupy the kids so dinner can get made” act might be.

        4. Your tolerance for badly derivative music rehashing thoughts you’ve been hearing for the last fifteen years finally maxes out.

        5. Your circle of friends has solidified so that new music rarely gets played.

        6. You were 27 when Jerry Garcia died.

        1. Well:
          1. I have no life, in relation to most people that is … a sister once called me a Social Hermit. So not being married or having kids I don’t go to PTA or whatnot.
          2. the one Bar I ever hung in and only a few time nver had a band when I was there, but the juke box often was loaded full time, but for one song, with metal of some sort with even the headbangers singing along with Crazy by Patsy Cline.
          3. see 1. no kids
          4. For me this pretty much describes C/W and Pop as well.
          5. My old buddy in N.O. had a massive collection of music and was much like me in having an eclectic taste that still is evolving.
          6. (wanders off to see when Jerry croaked) 29 (never was a big Dead fan. not that I hate them, just not what I ever listened to very much)

          Guess that explains why I’m not set in my ways…music-wise at least

      4. Thanks for the tip about I’ll have to check them out, and see how they compare to Pandora and Slacker.

    2. My father used to call Country “chicken rock”. It was part snark (he was a virtuoso bluegrass picker) and part affectionate, because he used to maintain that modern rock is noise and that Country was the real heir to classic rock and roll.

      He challenged me once to find modern rock that was actually pretty to listen to. Unfortunately, I did not find any until after he passed. (BTW, it was “Elegia” by _New World Order_. Yes, Id heard it frequently much earlier, but I couldn’t’ figure out who it was by, until much later– being an instrumental. There is other stuff too, but again, it did not really hit the air waves until the 1990s. And, I was still obsessed with techno.)

      1. Aurora Borealis by Meat Puppets would be my pick for him.
        Maybe Tears For Fears instrumental (Revel iirc) as well.
        everything else I can think of could be argued off as another genre

        1. I forgot to mention he was specifically talking about electronic rock music… He thought that using electronics in music was the worst thing ever, but he also had a fairly low opinion of rock in general. But it was he who introduced me to Tom Lehrer– and Timothy Leary lest anyone think he was “narrow and hide bound”. 😉 Though the way he introduced me to the latter hardly lead to my being impressed with following his methods.

          But then, this was the same man who thought he could avoid my becoming an alcoholic by feeding me a small taste of wine every year on my birthday. Though I’m not what you’d call an alcoholic (maybe 1 glass per week– going up to three if I’m at a party with more than one varietal), I did, eventually come to enjoy the taste of wine, well into adulthood.

          1. All the world seems in tune on a spring afternoon while we’re poisoning pigeons in the park!

            Well The Puppets tune is electric guitars….
            1984 by Van Halen is pretty good but is only 1:07 or so.

            When I sent a few Lehrer CDs to my dad he was shocked I knew who he was and that I found anything by him.

          2. Ok, if you want pretty electric, you’re looking for Imogen Heap. I recommend “Speeding Cars”. “Glittering Cloud” is fun too, and might be a better demonstration of how electronic can be pretty.

            Though I will admit, some of her stuff makes you wonder, what the beep happened to inspire that one.

  7. Oh, dear – your post rather reminds me of how I tried to enlighten some of the other Open Saloners in about mid-2009 about the Tea Party. (This was when I had a frequently updated OS blog, until I stopped posting there out of exasperation). I went round and around in comments with another OSer, who was absolutely convinced that the Tea Parties were funded by Koch, or the Republican Party. No, I said – our group was self-funded – we passed the hat at meetings. The person who started it was a houswife with a facebook page, and other people just got interested because of the deficit in Obama’s proposed budget scared the heck out of them. Our website was built and hosted by one of our members, all of us had day jobs and none had been involved politically ever before, and a fair number were college-educated professionals … and I knew this because I was one of the early board members … to no avail. She kept insisting that it was all fake, all astroturf and funded by Koch or whomever – and finally accused me of being either a liar or as dumb as a post. And then she closed the comment thread. The astroturf-raaaaaacist-red-neck-stupid-tea-ba**er meme was so entrenched among the other OSers (and among the good aristos and wanna-be aristos in the larger world) that there wasn’t much hope of talking them out of it. Although I did try. This was my final F-U post on the matter –

      1. I know. My parents thought it was a religious, fundamentalist, racist movement — in Portugal. Also, that it was led by Sarah Palin. I had to say “she more sort of aggregated to it.”

      2. No surprrise — they surely wouldn’t want that sort of thing catching on across the globe, would they? Lower taxes, less corrupt government, holding politicians accountable? What if something like that became acceptable?

        Now, the Occutards, that was their idea of a responsible protest movement, worthy of emulation!

  8. Someone once informed me that I was one of eleven intellectuals in a city of 15,000 people. Given the politics/social philosophy/economic circumstances/ life choices of the other folks referred to, I don’t think the speaker had a clue. They meant well, but, um, if you see a pick-up driven by a redhead wearing cowboy hat and a pilot’s uniform, and the truck stereo alternates between Finnish death metal, Ian Tyson’s cowboy and folk music, and the symphonies of Ralph Vaughn Williams, the first thing that comes to mind is not going to be “intellectual,” is it?

    1. Ooh! I haven’t listened to R. V. Williams in ages, and he has long been one of my favorites. Thanks for the reminder.

      I don’t find music preferences a good indicator of intellectualism. Pretension, maybe.

      1. Depending on my mood and what’s playing on the various XM channels, if you drive by my car when I have the windows down, you could hear:

        * Christian rock/pop
        * Hard-rockin’ hair bands
        * 80’s boy (or, for that matter, girl) bands
        * Classical
        * Fox News
        * Conservative talk-radio
        * Baseball game

        Basing an opinion of me based on just one of those stations would be a gross error — but that’s what leftists do all the time, categorize people based on surface impressions. All black people must support Democrats, or they’re “Oreos,” Uncle Toms, or worse, for example. There’s no consideration that a black business owner from Dallas may have a different take on things from a black welfare recipient in Detroit.

        1. Heh. I’m a middle aged low income blue collar worker, who is also a neopagan and science fiction and fantasy fan. But since blue collar workers in my country most of the time vote socialist – the normal assumption seems to be that at least the very low income group are politically socialist, even though they may be unenlightened in one way for being social conservatives – and that goes for fantasy fans and neopagans too although that group is most often assumed to be socially very liberal – usually not many questions where I get put. When it comes to social assumptions ‘neopagan’ seems to trump ‘blue collar’ so liberal and socialist. Unless I open my mouth, that is. In which case I do usually seem to get put into the ‘badly informed’ or ‘badly educated’ or ‘just plain stupid’ classification.

            1. Of course. They know your interests better than you do. As a “latina” with an artistic profession and a college degree I hear that all the time.
              The polite answer is “no, ma’am, I’m voting not to rob Peter to pay Paul. I’m against theft.”

              The impolite answer is more entertaining, but mostly confined to my mind.

                1. I know Beloved Spouse is better than I, because when Tommy Franks was shown giving one of his talks on CSPAN’s Book TV, Beloved Spouse watched the whole thing (albeit with much caustic rejoinders) while I declared I just can’t make out what a person is saying when he sticks his head up his bum and went elsewhere about a quarter of the way through the spiel.

                    1. I was younger and more indulgent then, willing to grant him ample opportunity to construct his argument. I no longer am so spendthrift of my time.

        2. Re: XM: Conservative radio

          Bryan Suits has a show on there, somewhere; listen to him! He’s a hoot, and you get some very good information. Especially good since he’s in my area. (Plus, he’s trying to kickstart a book: “A Werewolf Stole My Cigarettes
          The plot hook? The war on terror has jump-started some recessive traits in the folks who had the nastier sort of conflicts…. He’s horrible at doing a synopsis, but the sample he posted a while back was pretty impressive.

      1. Especially after you found the books of cowboy poetry and sci-fi short stories stuffed into my headset bag (for layover reading).

    2. You had me at “redhead”. Redheads are good. Sometimes they’re dumb as a post, sometimes they’re as intellectual as they are beautiful (I’ve known both kinds). It doesn’t matter — I LIKE Redheads. 8^) The redhead I married will help me celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary this Tuesday.

  9. Aristos, “progressives,” or whatever one calls them, you can expect these reactionaries to become more and more shrill, because they are facing their Gotterdamerung. The explosion of the internet and the fruits of the 21st century (Khan Academy will be “yawn” material in twenty years) make it not only impossible for the “elites” to steer “the people,” but indeed, to define the elites, except insofar as one stays in one’s bubble and worships NPR, Fox, and other pseudo-authorities.

  10. I don’t know why you’re so sanguine that “indy” publishing or film production will break any of the current ideological strangleholds. Look at the Web: liberals read liberal Web sites, conservatives read conservative ones, and the links between them are all of the “can you believe the crazy stuff these crazy people are saying?” variety.

    In twenty years libs and conserves will live in entirely separate mental universes, learning different history, different science, watching different films, reading different literature. In time they may even begin to speak different languages.

    1. Because come the crash, the liberal universe can’t hold up without the conservative one. And because ANYONE who starts reality-testing won’t have to go it alone as we did.

    2. Because indy publishing allows a way for conservative ideas to sneak into leftist households by stealth, if the writer is good enough.

      An indy fiction book that sneaks in conservative principles won’t be marketed as “The Next Great Conservative Book,” it’ll just be marketed as “a good read,” and thus be purchased by leftists looking for something good to read.

      As an example (even though it wasn’t indy published, work with me here), take Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy. It’s not marketed as a Christian or conservative trilogy, and to be honest, you could read most of the first book and not catch those messages, but instead would be drawn into the story and the characters, and then have those messages sneak up on you. Even a New York Times reviewer said of the trilogy, “Weeks creates a rich blend of politics, culture and character in the Night Angel Trilogy… then throws in magic-using assassins. Brent Weeks is so good it’s starting to tick me off.”

      That’s how indy publishing can break the logjam… by sneaking conservative ideas into the leftist bubble through fiction.

    3. Entertainment is perhaps one of the few things which may be able to break through the ideological barrier, if it doesn’t obviously push for some ideology and it’s good enough as entertainment. And it can change the way people look at things.

        1. I’d say “Not” in the Warren Zevon definition of “Excitable” but reading your books I’m not so sure (ducks and covers)

          1. I have no idea what Warren Zevon’s definition was. My husband starts calling me “excitable” when I want to kill someone, set fire to something, or blow up something. (Example, when our previous house wouldn’t sell, I just wanted to burn it. We’d pay for it the rest of our lives, but totally worth it. Dan wouldn’t let me. He says I’m excitable. Then he sends me up stairs to kill someone in a book. “There, darling, go murder someone in a horrible way. You’ll feel better.”) Sometimes I get the feeling no one else would put up with me for going on twenty eight years.

            1. Heh! One of the favorate sayings around our house is: “Now you know how you get when you get het up!”

      1. Exactly – it’s why I write ripping good yards set in American history. I’m hoping that people read them for the fun, and pick up a little accurate history on the side – the stuff that gets left out of history classes today.

    4. I don’t know why you’re so sanguine that “indy” publishing or film production will break any of the current ideological strangleholds.

      Because we think that, given a chance, most folks will recognize good ideas. Eventually. When other options run out.

      Apparently, the folks picking who gets to be published agree– because they’ll refuse really good books that don’t have the right “message.”

    5. You say that like it’s a bad thing.

      Most Conservatives are culturally bilingual, as is common of oppressed classes. Most Liberals are not, which is common of oppressor classes. If a societal schism occurs, it is only because the oppressor class has refused to stop otherizing Conservatives.

      End Intolerant Liberalism Now!
      What Do We Want? We Want A Voice!
      When Do We Want It? We Want It Now!
      2-4-6-8, Liberals must appreciate: Conservatives!

    1. Try the red door next to the place where we climate science and history people are picking up our checks from Big Oil, Inc.

  11. (weirdly greed for power never makes their lexicon of sins. At least not greed for political power.

    A reasonably wise person I’ve read, once wrote, “All murders (and wars) are about either sex or power.” I agree.

    It would seem that the war being waged by the aristos is to continue their reach for power.

  12. “The bursting of the education bubble (lower and higher) scares them…”

    This is deliciously ironic. The biggest problem with higher education is that the costs are high while the benefits are low. And who cranked up the costs? No, it wasn’t evil capitalists. It was greedy educators and administrators who had no qualms about their students acquiring massive debts. And who decreased the benefits: the greedy liberal educators who admitted zillions of less qualified students to grab their tuition dollars and then lowered academic standards so they wouldn’t flunk out.

    The situation in public schools is worse: administrators padded their payrolls (often with no-show jobs to please local politicians), teachers’ unions demanded more pay and benefits and earlier retirements (from their 9-month-per-year jobs), textbooks (in an effort to please every possible interest group) became boring propaganda tracts, trade education (wood and metal shop, mechanics, cooking, construction, agriculture and horticulture) was discontinued, and “educators” told all the kids (even those with sub-85 IQs) that they should go to college.

    If these problems weren’t so devastating, I would be laughing at how the liberals/progressives/left-wingers screwed up after gaining nearly complete control over education.

  13. Our Aristos are descended from the eighteenth century liberals (sorry but they are.) We are too. We are the liberals who decided you had to endure some human imperfections, while trying to be as good as possible, and trying to give others the same opportunity. (I think the founding fathers were our kind of liberals. You give the opportunity, but you can’t enforce the results.)

    I don’t call our collective of leftists “Liberals”. I stick with Leftoids when it needs to be printable and it degrades quickly. As a whole they are most illiberal and are the old stereotypical version of conservative (clinging to status quo, fight hard to preserve it, and rejecting reality even when it slaps them in the face) and while preaching “tolerance” are attacking other for the ridiculous. See the difference in coverage of Rubio and Menendez. Rubio’s career supposedly over for sipping water on tv while Menendez is ignored for using underage prostitutes.
    An example I use to explain this to self proclaimed liberals who are Statist/Leftist(and to their denial but the proof is all to often there Fascist) is gun laws. Our most liberal gun laws are Alaska and Vermont. Liberal meaning (as it should) they have the least restrictions. iirc Vermont’s gun laws cover less than a 8.5×11 sheet of paper. Alaska’s less so. If these benighted people were actually Liberal they’d be for less gov’t, not tons more. Pointing that out gets one called all sorts of names.

            1. That’s toward me, Wayne, and I’m in Colorado, too. 8^) I don’t throw dictionaries, though, or dead fish. Rocks, yes. I want to learn how to go to the moon in my Caravan, so I can find larger rocks to throw… 8^)

      1. I don’t even give them Progressive. Regressive would be more like it.
        If they get insulting I might trot out Leftard. Idiots is often muttered (along with the more earthy biological euphemisms)

          1. They tend to Godwin the term Leftist and claim victory, often acting like it is an insult anyhow. Leftoid seems to annoy them more and unless I’m just describing them here, in conversation with one it is meant to be an insult, and as they tend to go Alinsky every time I converse with them I never get to use “polite” terms for their thoughts and stances so I toss the tactics back at them while including the vital points they avoid at the same time.

            1. Which is why I call them out for the racists they are. The trouble with being condescending and arrogant toward your inferiors is that it usually finds a way to express your racial prejudice.

              The more they defend their views as not racist, the more racist their arguments are wont to become.

              1. I got a good round of that on a blog a long time ago in website far far away. Arguing the “merits” of Affirmative Action and lowered standards for certain groups. One of my bugaboos that ranks right up with “Hate Crimes” (I’ll save that rant for some other time)

                One of the maroni’s finally POed me by calling me, and three Vietnamese I knew, liars for saying the Reeducation camps were not good places to be locked up and John Effing Kerry was at best Wrong about those who suffered through them.
                Two of those suffered through them, got over here and had to live hand to mouth style while every penny went to bribe the right folks so Wives or Sons could be brought here, and the third was a General who got his family out on the choppers but himself was left behind and needed to evade the commies as he mostly walked out of the area until he got to Thailand and flew here to search out his now scattered family.
                I don’t think I ever went back to that board, even though it was run by a online buddy who agreed with me most all the time. His libtrolls were just too stupid for my health.

  14. If I get married and have children (fingers crossed!), I’m going to devote A LOT of my material resources to my kids’ education so the Aristos can’t get their hands on them. Funny thing is, I’ve considered taking up residence in a trailer park to save money for precisely that purpose.

    1. One of my objectives with my own education project (shameless self-promotion!) is to produce quality primary education at an affordable price. Heck, that was one of the things that got me started on it! I shouldn’t need to shell out tens of thousands per year to get my kids a decent understanding of the world. Normally trying to compete on price and quality is a sucker’s bet, but given the high price (in tax dollars) and horrible quality of modern education, I think it’s doable. Once the cartel’s back is broken, let a thousand flowers bloom!

        1. You can find it at the link in my name. I have been sorely lax in the last few weeks/months at posting developments, as I’ve been launching two smaller businesses and trying to keep my family afloat. You know the deal, I imagine. But there is a substantial amount of information there already. Feedback hungrily sought: I’m looking for flaws before I try to implement anything.

    2. If I had one thing to do over again, I’d homeschool both boys. I was just dumb and young. (The two often go together.) As is, I spent much time teaching them around their school hours.

      1. Homeschooling is currently my preference, but my brother and I are both the products of public schooling plus parental “teach arounds,” and I’d like to think we turned out okay. 😉

        1. except — depending on how old you are — you might not know how much worse the schools have got. Just between my two kids — 3 years apart, there was a noticeable difference.

          1. Minion Number One is seven right now, and I’m already having to deprogram. Well, deprogram might be overstating it. He relays things like “My teacher taught us that using electricity hurts the environment.” Hoo boy he set off a rant with that one, he did. Fortunately I have amazingly bright children who can keep up when I start explaining reality to them. The sad thing is that the teacher in question is not a bad teacher at all – he’s well ahead of the other overlords’ minions, and she’s still helping him progress (don’t get me started on the kindergarten year the locust ate). But she’s at best been co-opted by the progs.

                1. And is less polluting: all the leachables are cooked out in processing and it does not break down to decomposition products like steel and plastics do. The only thing less polluting is basalt. Used as a packaging for food you have far less concerns about the container reacting badly with food.

                  1. Which is why the “green” companies are now going back to glass, which was at one point denigrated as “not biodegradable” if memory serves.

                    If it didn’t have such dire consequences for our nation and our society, it might be amusing to watch the leftists go around in circles with their policies.

                    1. I laughed so hard when the green wanted to go back to paperbags. I remember when plastic bags were started so that we could “save the trees.” Another green idea–

                    2. Yep– they need to wash to bags but don’t– I don’t use cloth bags for groceries because as you said they are too easy to spread infection–

                    3. Paper bags are known as providing a transmission vector for cockroach eggs.

                      In many ways this is merely a repeat of the diaper wars of the Eighties. Cloth make sense if you have ample water available but are tight on landfill space (say, NY City) while disposable are eminently sensible for areas short on water but long on landfill area, (such as Phoenix.)

                      Whichever side you are on you are investing far more energy and concern than the issue merits, while ignoring much more important matters, such as the impending demographic avalanche as the Boomers reach retirement and find the Social Security cupboard is bare.

                1. The problem is that stupid isn’t supposed to hurt you, it should hurt the stupid… and doesn’t.

                  Most Leftists (you aren’t a Leftist) who claim they believe in Evolution are exactly the ones who want to be protected from its’ mechanism: stupid as “the only universal capital crime.”

                  1. They also believe in spontaneous generation of order in biology (at least, claim to) but deny it in economics.

    3. when I lived in New Orleans everyone wanted their kids in a private school whether they were leftoid or on the right. iirc pre-Katrina there were more Private schools than Public. Even my old Girlfriend, a ward of the state at the time, was going to a private school, and her schooling, considered top line for the city, was so far behind my Public schooling from Michigan.
      Her senior year Advanced Lit text book was my 7th grade English text book.

  15. Sarah Hoyt (quoting her husband being sarcastic) wrote: “But they are all white and all male, this is very important, because otherwise instead of unenlightened they would be a downtrodden minority and their opinions would have immediate moral authority. As is, it’s a wonder they reproduce.”

    Every good leftist should know that white males reproduce purely by rape.

  16. Are these ‘Aristo’s’ the same as Vox Day’s rabbit people (or gammas)?

    It’s just I have similar views to the Aristos (or rabbits) and yet don’t necessarily see myself as the high and mighty sort with a superiority complex. Rather I like to expose myself to the opinions of others – even those contrary to what I think, in fact especially those contrary to what I think – because I think understanding opposing views is the only way you can have true dialogue.

    But when you describe these people as Aristos I don’t get a true feel as to who this is. It’s not a person I can point too. I mea would commentators like Scalzi or Doctorow or Stross be Aristos? Or is it some other type?

      1. And they think that they, as the self-anointed Elite of America, have the God-given (okay, maybe Gaia-given, since most of them don’t believe in the Christian God) right to tell the non-Elite or non-Aristos how to live their lives… like telling us how much water our toilets or shower heads must use, or what kind of light bulbs we’ll be permitted to buy.

      2. I suppose that would make me an Aristo then.

        I blame my Jewish upbriging that’s taught that people are entitled to live off the work of others – whether it’s the priestly cast living off a 10% tithe or the farmer who keeps the four corners of his field for the poor or the money lender who is forbidden to charge another Jew interest. And all this is covered under the Torah which sets a strict regulatory framework for how to live your life.

        I’m not religious anymore… but there you go

              1. Ian, I beg you to consider two aspects of your argument.

                Just because you have abandoned your religious faith does not make it appropriate to force others to adhere to your bizarre cultish ways. If you want to tithe or allow the gleaning of your fields I very much doubt any participant in this forum would prevent your so doing. In fact, I, our revered* hostess, and I daresay almost everybody here would protest anybody’s attempt to stop you from such practice. But it is rather a bit much, don’t you think, for you to use the power and authority of government to impose that on the rest of us.

                Further, the government of these United States is forbidden to use its taxing authority to establish any religion, so tithing for the priesthood is outside its purview. Gleaning of the fields is one thing, requiring us to harvest those corners, grind the wheat, bake the bread and hand-feed it to the lazy is something else entirely. The Judaic precept mandates that those without may get those gleanings ONLY by exerting themselves; our modern system is currently bending over backward to avoid any effort by the beneficiaries.

                As well, the Torah only applies to Jews. Which brings us back to the original point: where do you get off trying to impose your religious superstitions on the rest of the world, especially as you have abandoned them? You seem to think that having a reason for your prejudice justifies your prejudice … which is admittedly a common aristo delusion.

                *Revered not as in highly esteemed, although she is, but as in the horse-riding patriot of whom Longfellow wrote.

                1. Oh, and while I am not an Orthodox Jew nor a Talmudic scholar, I am compelled to point out that in exchange for the tithes the priestly caste provided significant services to the Jewish people and thus the requirement is more a matter of setting their fees than of “entitling them to live off the work of others.”

                  As for your inquiry about “the cudgel”, in this instance it is your jawbone. By thy own words do I condemn thee as biased and sanctimonious.

                  1. I did mention upbringing, didn’t I? I was just putting into context as to where my Aristo tendencies were coming from. Our dear hostess refers to her upbringing quite often so I thought I’d do the same. And while I’m not religous – I still take inspiration from my faith.

                    All that said, my Aristo tendencies aren’t as hardcore as you make them out to be. I’m happy to pay my tithe here in Australia but I reserve judgement as to where it ends up. And that, I agree, is a matter of debate. For example, I think it’s good that the Government supports road safety campaigns here in Australia. I don’t support the government giving money to public school to ‘prop them up.’

                    And I’d like to think I was being polite in both my questions and response. I’m not taking the piss or trying to start a fight. I read Sarah’s blog with interest. Just like I read other blogs posing opinions I don’t believe in. Because (a) it’s how you learn and (b) while I might not support everything said I’m a free speech advocate. But if you read that as sanctimonious then I apologise. I think the worst thing anyone can do is come to someone else blog and be rude.

                    1. Wait — you’re not religious but you take comfort from your faith.
                      You need the government to tell you that you should take road safety seriously
                      You’re happy to pay tithe but don’t want to have a say on where it goes.
                      Honey, you’re not an Aristo. (And I’ve never read Vox Day, so I have no idea what the rabbit reference is) … but you are a pants-bunny. You live in your own underwear and will never find your way out.

                    2. As I noted, Ian, “upbringing” does not justify bad habits, nor demanding others practice them.

                      Moreover, as several of us have noted, you have either misunderstood or misrepresented the values you learned in the Faith you rejected.

                      Your apologia fails on the basis of merely wanting to limit the government to things of which you approve. Your willingness to pay your “tithe” (I suspect it is rather more than one tenth your income) to the government so long as you approve where it goes merely makes you more of a selfish git.

                      As for being “polite” — I do not think that word means what you think it means.

                    3. Mond. You live in Australia. You’re an aristocrat. You are forced, by some group or other, to tithe (which assumes they have access to your personal information in order to compute this tithe). You have no religion, yet you are God-breathed (inspiration – literal translation) by what you don’t have.

                      You think it’s the worst thing anyone can do – to come to someone else’s blog and be rude. Except for you, obviously. You don’t count you as being “anyone” – which, btw, is the definition of an Aristo: “Other people may do things that are rude, I never do because I’m me and I’m special.”

                      May I suggest, Mond, that if you really want to learn something here, you lurk and not post? Because every time your stuff shows up, the estimation of your IQ takes a nosedive. Right now, I think it’s a close run thing between your IQ and your shoe size.

        1. the difference there is the preistly don’t demand their tith at gun point or via the Law, and the farmer isn’t required to give his four corners against his will, and oh by the way we are going to skim off to some people you don’t believe should get any largess as well while we’re at it.
          Voluntarily given it is Charity.
          any other way is at best a tax, and more often in this gov’t outright theft.

        2. Dear me. For someone trying to be superior, you’re making a hell of a mess of it, Mr Mond. I’ll even be charitable and ignore the homophone error.

          First and perhaps most important, being a religious Jew is a choice. You’ve made the choice not to be one, which implies that you’d rather not have the priestly caste and others living off your work – but you state openly you don’t object to someone living off another’s work in principle. Simple deduction indicates that this means you are quite happy to leech off others with no effort or risk on your part.

          Second, the last time I heard, the Jewish priestly caste do in fact contribute in return for the tithes. They are intended to be the intermediaries between G_d and man, and as such are subject to much stricter rules of diet and behavior in order to remain ritually pure. They are also subject to higher risk in terms of G_d’s wrath should they fail to maintain their side of affairs. By definition this is not a case of living off someone else.

          Third, perhaps you’d like to explain precisely what your perceived Jewishness has to do with whether or not you are an Aristo. If you’d actually read and comprehended the blog and discussion it would have been quite obvious that the kind of person being discussed here is a human leech using the powers of government to force others to consume, believe, use and provide what the Aristo/leech believes is ‘right’, usually without said Aristo ever having more than a nominal personal stake in the matter. After all, if you believe the right things, then it’s perfectly fine for you to keep your wealth in tax havens and to screw your employees (numerous leftist politicians). If you believe the right things, then it’s perfectly fine for you to reject any novel submissions that don’t meet your beliefs. After all, you’re not in this for the money, you’re there to “enlighten” people (Yes, I have heard editors say this. To an audience. I was too flabbergasted to give that observation the response it deserved. And yes, the editor in question is still in the business). None of this has diddly to do with whether or not someone is Jewish.

          Kindly stop trying to race-bait. Being an ass is an equal-opportunity occupation and you’ve demonstrated ample assitude. Trying to justify it by claiming Jewishness is an insult to religious Jews and others of Jewish ancestry.

          1. It’s the message I got from my upbringing. Others, with the same upbringing, took a different message. My intent was not to be superior or to race-bait. Simply to provide context as to why I’m the person I am.

            And yes, I’m quite happy for the Government to support certain people in certain situations from the taxes they recoup from people like myself who work. Who those people are, how much they should get and in what situation is a matter for debate.

            You’re right. The priests did a service for the people. A service that was dictated through a set of strict regulations. Essentially they were Gods bureaucrats, providing guidance on the Laws. I admit I didn’t state this clearly above.

            1. I’m afraid I fail utterly to understand how you got that message. Unless you made no effort to understand the difference in the culture between the time that was written and now.

              When those laws were written down, the basic understanding was that a person worked to provide what he could for his family, but if it wasn’t enough, then he was allowed to DO MORE WORK in order to feed his family from the spoils of the more successful. The farmer wasn’t told to go out and harvest the crops he was setting aside for the poor, he was letting them gather what they could, from the worst parts of the field.

              That’s not what is done today. Today, we GIVE money and things to those who either can’t or won’t support themselves. And because it’s so easy, if someone is either don’t mind living in less-than-ideal surroundings, or else willing to cheat, so that the “single” mother’s various support pathways go to aid in the family’s lifestyle, while their
              live in boyfriend” contributes as well, but whose income is not counted against her.

              This is the disconnect. You’re conflating the religious dictate of helping other Jews, with a modern belief that everyone is entitled to a certain standard of living, and if they can’t support that, on paper, we’ll give them the means to do so. Back then, there was a stigma attached to having to glean from the farmer’s fields. Today, there is no stigma attached to sucking up any and all support that one can, so no one is motivated to get off support, unless they see that they can do considerably better on their own. And since the human animal is more often than not lazy, they aren’t often motivated.

              I’m not going to address the part about the priesthood, because you’ve already admitted that they performed a vital service for their compensation, and if that’s living off the work of others, then so is the Farmer living off the work of others, who pay him for the fruits of his labor. And I don’t even understand the thing about money lenders.

              1. is either don’t mind GAH. I hate it when I change wording in the middle of writing a sentence and forget to go back and fix it.

              2. Wayne, I heard an old-time radio commercial a while back that solidified the problem for me. They were talking about the benefits of attending the church of your choice, and how supporting it would “help those less able to help themselves”.

                How long has it been since you’ve heard charity described like that? The modern term of art is “those less fortunate” — no mention of them doing for themselves, it’s just “fortune”.

                Apparently the difference between someone who studies hard, works hard, keeps themselves healthy and clean, and does well and someone who goofs off, does drugs, and can’t scrape together cash to feed themselves is just luck…

                1. I know, Rob. I was just making a (possibly pointless) attempt at getting this guy to re-examine the assumptions he was making to reach the conclusions he did.

                  Basically, it usually comes down to: Someone evaluates historical information based on a modern viewpoint, not considering that this is so fantastically dumb that it warps space with the gravity of dumbness being exerted. Since I sometimes tend toward Don Quixote-ism when it comes to trying to explain things to people, I frequently bash my head on the brick walls of windmill towers.

        3. Geez,
          You are obviously not religious because you have no clue what the bleep you are talking about. People are not entitled to live off others. The priestly caste is not an idle caste. It was originally meant to represent each and every family through the first born. After the golden calf it went to the sons of Aaron but these people are not idle. They are the teachers, those who do the sacrifices, those who do the important work of Israel.

          Jews can charge another Jew interest. This is a prohibition against making money on small exchanges. If it is a measurable purchase and a risk to the lender normal market rates can and should be charged.

          Most importantly leaving things in the field for the poor is a far cry from a centralized state taking money and deciding to take more for all and sundry activities. What the state does is far more akin to Pharaoh who during a time of famine did not pay fair market rates for food (and being a time of shortage they would have been sky high) but instead enslaved all who came along with their now and future offspring.

          You are not an Aristo because you obviously can’t see the game that is being played. You are the common household ignoramus. STOP CHERRYPICKING YOUR OWN BIBLE!!! LEARN IT!!!!!!

          1. OOPS…meant Pharoah didn’t not Pharoah didn’t pay. Pharoah nevers pays for anything except for the army to keep him in power and they mostly provided their own animals so he probably didn’t pay for anything but his own loyal higher officers.

            1. Oops again meant — Pharoah didn’t charge fair market for food. Not my own computer. Having trouble typing on the keyboard.

          2. Samuel said, “This will be the right of the king, that shall reign over you: He will take your sons and put them in his chariots, and will make them his horsemen and his running footmen… And he will appoint of them to be his tribunes, and centurions, and to plough his fields, and to reap his corn, and to make him arms and chariots. Your daughters also he will take to make him ointments, and to be his cooks, and bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best oliveyards, and give them to his servants. Moreover he will take the tenth of your corn, and of the revenues of your vineyards, to give his eunuchs and servants… Your flocks also he will tithe, and you shall be his servants.

            “And you shall cry out in that day from the face of the king, whom you have chosen to yourselves; and the Lord will not hear you in that day, because you desired unto yourselves a king.”

    1. You mean that a semi-literate adult does not what an American Aristocrat is? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. Or are you searching for damning “bites” to pull?

        1. Mond. Australia has aristocrats – and wannabe aristocrats — none of the breeding, all of the fake pretensions . I’d say you’re a wannabe. You’re a pants-bunny. You’re Basil Fawlty’s dimwitted kid brother.

    2. (Aside: I leave to do research and I manage to miss a perfectly good cudgeling.)

      Sir Mond, I simply must question your motives in dropping such “storied” names into our pot of discussion. Day, Scalzi, Doctorow, Stross, “rabbit people”, so many things which up until now have had no relation to this commentary, yet here they are in your post. I must ask you sir, for whom do you work for, and for what work have they sent you here? If your aim is to extend the front of the Day-Scalzi conflict into this arena, you’ll find blessed little purchase here.

      And, to answer your question, if the authors you so unceremoniously namedropped are not Aristos proper, then they are at least courtiers, all too eager to please the party in power and none too eager to think for themselves.

      1. I suppose this “cudgeling” has been borne out from a number of interlopers like myself coming to this place to comment. I have no agenda. Though I admit that my question wasn’t specific to this blog post, but rather something that’s been on mind for the last few weeks. While I understand that there are different flavour of liberterianism, I was curious to know what the differences were and I find it interesting that both Sarah and Day use a title for what could be argued is a similar type of a person.

        1. Ian, surely even in Australia you have had opportunity to observe that many people use the term a**hole as a title for very dissimilar types of person?

          1. I’m more curious on why he calls himself an “interloper.” — I mean if he wanted to argue in good faith, and were capable of rational argument (i.e. if he WEREN’T a pants-bunny), why “interloper” — does he think we all have the same party affiliation? Or even A party affiliation? By itself, his assumption, beyond the panty-bunnyism — is interesting.

        2. To attempt to quantify the differences in ideology between libertarians is of equal utility as to trying to derive the reasons behind the shapes in the clouds. As befits an individualist ideology, both frame the same debate (that of individualists vs. collectivists) in different terms. Vox Day identifies the opposition as “gammas” in line with the tenets of his “game”, Ms Hoyt identifies them as “aristos” in line with, no doubt (and much presumption on my part), her own experience with Europe and it’s history of feudalism.

          I repeat what I’ve said earlier, I see no categorical imperative from your comparision forthcoming, unless your intent is to link one to the other and summon forth the rabbit-y hordes to do your bidding. My question as to your aims thus stands.

        3. Mond. So you read someone’s blog, make asinine comments about something totally off topic because you see a connection between something and something else and you expect the award winning author to try to explain the world to you? Really? Pants-bunny can’t figure out Basil Fawlty’s dimwitted little brother needs help with Breathing 101? Get a life. Yes, we’re all paying attention to you. I bet that’s got you so excited you could just wet yourself, like a an un-housebroken puppy. Pants-bunny has a wet!

  17. “It’s always greed for money”

    “Greed” in their mouths means “possessing goods which I covet.” Which of course makes them the greedy.

    1. funny how the OWS protesters are somehow not greedy for DEMANDING everyone else pay for their bad decisions. I’ll be polite in what I think of folks like Fluke (but will point out Rush was wrong. That isn’t what one calls a female who demands others pay for sexual activity she is having)

      1. While you are undoubtedly correct in your assessment of Rush’s characterization of Sandra Fluke, I would submit that he probably is fully aware of what the term should have been, but eschewed it in favor of the less offensive term, which offended quite enough as it is.

      2. I believe he arrived at the term he used after calculating the number of times she must copulate in order to incur the cost she claimed for birth control.

  18. Anytime someone’s Idea includes the words “just” or “simply”, said idea can be immediately dismissed, as it will inevitably prove impractical and unworkable.

  19. In “WKRP in Cincinnati,” the character Johnny Fever (played by a talented communist) says “God must hate trailer parks. Tornados head straight for them.” He was still traumatised by a tornado that hit the trailer park he grew up in. The only movie or TV line I ever heard to come up with an explanation for the anti-trailer park prejudice.

  20. Scratch a Libtard, get a racist; because they know themselves racist and believe themselves morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us, of course we must be racist.

    Alec fast & slur-ious
    Blasts Post fotog in a ‘racist’ rant
    Actor Alec Baldwin allegedly called a black Post photographer a racial epithet, a “crackhead” and a “drug dealer” during a confrontation on an East Village street yesterday morning, prompting police to intervene.


    The “30 Rock’’ star grabbed the reporter, Tara Palmeri, by her arm and told her, “I want you to choke to death,” Palmeri told police, for whom she played an audiotape of the conversation.

    He then called G.N. Miller — a decorated retired detective with the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau and a staff photographer for The Post — a “coon, a drug dealer,’’ Miller’s police statement said.

    At one point, Miller showed Baldwin ID to prove he’s a retired NYPD cop, which Baldwin dismissed as “fake.”

    Cops were called, and Miller, 56, and Baldwin, 54, both filed harassment claims against each other.

    Minutes later, Baldwin ranted on Twitter.


    As oblivious pedestrians walked by, Baldwin told him to “suck my d–k,” Miller said.

    Baldwin also walked up to random people — including a dad pushing his child in a stroller — and told them Miller was an ex-con and drug dealer, Miller said.

    “He was saying some serious racist stuff,” Miller said. “He said some choice words about my mother, and he was telling people in the street that I’m a drug dealer.

    “He could have said a lot of other stuff. But he used all of the stereotypes associated with black people.”

    Miller worked for the NYPD for nearly 15 years, spending most of his time in narcotics.
    [MORE: ]

  21. Discussing Argentina’s attack on its retirement funds in the other thread, I found this piece on Argentina’s economic crisis that I found just perfectly typical of left-of-center economic thinking.
    From this piece on an left-of-center foreign affairs blog came the following two paragraphs …

    Argentina is heading toward its second economic crisis in just over a decade and national leaders are unwilling to publicly acknowledge that the country’s growth is unsustainable. Since the country’s economic collapse a decade ago, President Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) and President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner (2007 – present) have allowed the national economy to function without interference or direction. Senior officials have refused to dictate economic policy because domestic markets have been expanding and strengthening independently. They defend their position by citing the nation’s cheap currency and continual trade surpluses.

    bold added by me. Immediately following are these two paragraphs:

    The reason for Argentina’s economic success is due to self-deception on the part of the national leadership. The international community has vocalized concern that it would be in Argentina’s best interest to slow down economic progress; however, these concerns were met with increased transportation and energy subsidies, as well as more funding being allocated for social programs. These policies were initially subsidized by the nationalization of private pensions, but, as spending continued to grow, the Central Bank began printing money.

    Subsidies and spending increases are causing the Argentinian economy to lose nearly $2 billion per month and, unless the country’s export portfolio is diversified and strong relations are built with other countries, the only way in which Argentina’s economy will be able to grow is through stimulus spending, which will only create more inflation.

    How could anyone write in successive paragraphs the completely contradictory statements I bolded?

    That’s left wing thinking.

  22. I’m late to the party on this thread–I’m on vacation, so sue me–but I wanted to comment on your notion of little girl stereotypes in fiction. My wife’s novel ( features a heroine who is a woman and a scientist, neither a bimbo nor an action hero but a heroine none-the-less, and a precocious child who is not a Wesley Crusher, just precocious in ways an 8 year old might be, but still obviously an 8 year old little girl. Just FYI for anyone out there who prefers real characters to stereotype stand-ins.

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