Passing Through The Eye Of The Culture

It occurred to me during the night that the problem is that we live in an age permeated by story and that all that story has a uniform voice.

“Is this another of your Human Wave rants Sarah?”  “Sort of but not really.”

I’d actually like to talk about the problems of a society in which the mass media goes through the same set of gatekeepers – like a camel through the eye of the needle – with roughly the same opinions and who went through the same colleges and to whom the others’ opinion of each of them is far more important than the opinion of the public.  Because they never see the public, the public doesn’t invite them to cocktail parties, and in general – grosso modo – the public won’t put out for them.  (Or perhaps will, bedazzled by the fame and the er… glory.)

You know, I think that is one situation that the Founders genuinely didn’t anticipate.  I think they knew, as do that most people were toadies, ready to abase themselves to appear to belong to the “in group.”  They had to, because they knew human nature and it hasn’t changed that much.

But the time they lived in – if I have it right (it’s entirely possible I have it wrong.  My interest in the founding of the country is less than ten years old, and most of you have been studying it your entire adult lives) – they lived in a time that was much like our own.

The press composed of newspapers, broadsheets and such was just coming into being and there were a million voices.  The official publications of the official organs might still have more imposing pedigree, but they were drowned out in the babble of voices.

It is now widely believed that the French Revolution turned into what it turned in, and the executions went on because of the broadsheet equivalent of  Thinkprogress.  (Or not, since that’s more or less co-opted by our authorities.  Oh, dear.  What a tangled web.  Because I can’t imagine anyone else, on the other side making up crazy lies about “let them eat cake.”  OTOH though the sovereigns were a bit gauche and perhaps mostly innocent, there is every reason to believe the court was every bit as debauched as the most lurid broadsheets.  Or at least had been a generation before.  Which brings me to highly recommend The Black Count – though I haven’t finished it yet.  I’m about halfway through, having got interrupted by work.

What they failed to imagine, and who can blame them, given the size of the country and the transportation available in their time, is that a free press, with no government interference, would choose to debase itself for …  the sake of a foreign and discredited ideal.

Partly they – at the dawning of the industrial age – failed to realize where it would take us, in terms of transportation, in terms of broadcast, in terms of communication.  They failed to understand that a few newspapers in decisive regions could control all the other newspapers both because those who failed to make the cut for them fanned out across the country, and because the other journalists aspired to working for the big coastal newspapers, which meant that they would have to fit well in the newsroom – i.e. speak with a single voice.

I have a friend who went almost all the way to employment with the Chicago Tribune and then, naively (how could he be that stupid? Well, better that than be fired a week in) sent them clippings from his work at PJM.  The offer was withdrawn because “you wouldn’t fit well in our newsroom.)

And of course J schools taught Marxism and Marxist analysis, because it was what all the cool kids believed.  Only those dumb people who didn’t go to J school believed in capitalism and all that crud.  You don’t want to be like them, do you?

No government on Earth ever could hold the leash that tightly, so tightly that otherwise intelligent people never examined the premises of what they learned, or – if they did – never spoke against it.

BUT that’s only half the problem.  Even though most people still keep an eye on the news, there is the growing feeling that they’re not particularly reliable.  Not reporting the Kermit Gosnell case, for instance, while giving the impression that roving gangs of maniacs are roving the countryside shooting down school kids with high capacity clips/magazines/rifles/whatever in hell they’re called, not that our representatives know, is one of the trickles, lodging somewhere in the back of people’s brain. They don’t QUITE distrust, but there’s that feeling that perhaps you should trust but verify.

No, the real problem is story.  Stories told for fun, most of them on TV, though the books too, until the advent of indie (and even now most of what’s being published) give a uniform view of society, for much the same reason newspapers and tv news give a uniform view of society.

Oh, no, writers didn’t all go to the same Marxism-spewing schools (though a good number of them did) but editors did.  To be an editor, you mostly live in New York City and your particular genre (and “literary” is a genre in publishing) tends to be sort of like an inbred village.  You’re likely to work down the hall from someone you went to college with, live across the street from the guy you first dated in college (and his new boyfriend – never mind.) Your boss got references on you from the person you did a summer internship with, who is her BFF, and that’s how you got hired.  A lot of the authors you really put push behind are either the children of fellow publishing professionals/were your roommates in college/slept with you.

You’re overworked, you’re underpaid, you live in substandard housing, and your only hope of advancing is to ape the manners and beliefs of your “betters” as quickly as possible.

This means you buy the “right” (left) kind of authors, and as vocal as possible.  Even if they fail, your boss will nod and say “it’s the ignorant people in fly over country.”  Take a chance on a dissenting voice, though and what you get is  “What were you thinking?” even if the book is a moderate success (perhaps particularly if the book is a moderate success.)  Because your “betters” confuse politics with religion, they’re likely to react as if you’d preached Satanism.

From the other side of the table, the writers also get the impression any non standard opinions they have better be kept VERY quite, and they’d better tout the standard opinions they have (opinions, I have a few!) as loudly as possible.

This means that, to quote Reiner Kunze, “to the wind they all speak the same.”

The viewing/reading/listening public on the other side – I’ve been there – starts thinking that if all these people, many of them highly gifted and artistic, believe this stuff, then it must be true.  It MUST.  There’s not other choice.  These people who tell these wonderful (some people have a low threshold for wonderful, m’kay) stories, must know something the receiver of story doesn’t.  The receivers countervailing experiences must be wrong.

I was stuck there for many many years, until the trickle of counter experiences pushed me out of that comfort zone and, alas, made me stop reading some of my favorite authors and reduced my movie/tv watching to maybe two hours a month.

But I’m not typical.  I’m an Odd.  I poke and prod behind the veil of seeming reality for who is cranking the show.  It is what it is.

Most people aren’t like that.  They have other interests.

I was reminded of this by one of the “patients” at Gosnell’s saying she first tried a Planned Parenthood but was afraid to go in because of all the protesters and what they might do to her.

The article I read (sorry, I can’t remember where now) pointed out that no user of abortion services has been attacked; that the number of abortion doctors killed is so vanishingly small that they might have better statistics than the rest of the population, and he thought this woman was afraid to go in past the messages that told her she would, in fact, be taking a human life.

I think he was wildly optimistic.  While he’s right about statistics, I’d bet you this woman never looked at statistics in her life.  What I bet she looked at was a never ending stream of chick-talk-shows and movies and soap operas, and sitcoms, where again and again, the crazed anti-abortionist who kills people comes up, as the murderer and central villain, or simply as inference.

You’d have to sit this woman down and talk to her for hours to pierce the veil of what she “just knows”.

And she does.  She saw it with her own eyes.  On TV.

This is what we face, not just electorally (and the way a war on women was conjured out of nowhere in the last election is itself immensely amusing.  If your taste in humor runs to the very sardonic and three steps from tears. The race war they tried to start flopped – which tells you who the most gullible media consumers are and puts paid to any ideas of racial superiority, doesn’t it?)   This is what we face as a culture.

The problem is not that our media and our entertainment were passing through a very tight ring of gatekeepers who had mostly echoing opinions.  The problem is that those opinions were in large part formed by our opponent in the (mostly) cold war.  The problem is that though their regime has proven completely unworkable and reprehensible, there was no shaming and no naming afterwards – partly because our intelligentsia wouldn’t let that happen.

And this is why this battle had to finally be fought here, on our soil, and the way it’s being fought.  Either we win or civilization goes down forever, for having allowed a central diffusion point for opinions and never having vetted the opinions that were in positions of power – not even in the name of the much vaunted diversity.

We never did that because of course, we believe in freedom of opinion, and once you start, where do you stop?

They say viruses can be highly targeted to the patient.

And like blogs are the anti virus for news, we – indie authors, those who refuse to bow to platitudes – are the anti-virus for entertainment.  We are small yet, and not very visual, but we’re here.  And once the tech goes a little further, we’ll be in visual too.  (Oh the screams, they shall be like smoke in the nostrils of the gods, shan’t they?)

Is it too late?  I don’t know.  I tend to believe in a G-d that won’t let freedom perish from this Earth.  But I could be wrong.  And it’s not like He’s going to do it without us.

Perhaps like the old Norse, we’re doomed to fight against evil and perish in the end.  Or perhaps we’ll win.  We’ll never know until we try!

(I just hope the writers’ bar in the afterlife has something other than mead.  I shall hope for single malt.)

347 thoughts on “Passing Through The Eye Of The Culture

  1. > I tend to believe in a G-d that won’t let freedom perish from this Earth. But I could be wrong. And it’s not like He’s going to do it without us.

    I tend to believe that too…but I also think that there’s no reason that He couldn’t let it go into deep hiding for 500 or 1,000 years.

    :-/

      1. > If you read my books

        On a related note, let me praise the marketing geniuses at Baen who put a busty young nearly-naked woman on the cover. Might have taken me a few years longer to stumble into it otherwise! 😉

        [ Although I suppose you made that easy for them by embedding that hook pretty deeply in the story! ]

            1. CAREful, bearcat, I almost got caught in the cross-fire!

              I learned a long time ago not to underestimate a woman’s intelligence. I seriously think my wife is smarter than I am. I sure do end up doing a lot of her work for her…

          1. Great cover, my question was why is she dressed like that? Great hook for reader curiosity.

      2. a little related tale I like even though I R atheist:
        A big flood is coming and a man, a “good Christian” and member of a Calvinist church, stands on his porch watching the waters rise. A boat comes along from the nearby Catholic Church and he refuses to get in, saying, “I trust in the Lord, the Lord shall provide”, and the boat continues on it’s way.
        Soon, the water has flooded the first floor and he is standing on the roof of the porch. Another boat being operated by folks from the Seventh Day Adventist group in town pulls up, then implores him to climb in and he refuses, again saying, “I trust in the Lord, the Lord shall provide”, and sits on the wet shingles, refusing to get in the boat. Not long after the water has gotten high enough to be flooding the floor of the attic and the man has moved to the highest peak of the roof, yet when a boat that came from the direction of the Synagog arrives, he again refuses to climb in and tells them, “I trust in the Lord, the Lord shall provide”, and keeps avoiding the hands trying to pull him into the boat.

        Sure enough, the water rises and the man cannot tread water and drowns. At the Gates he tells St. Peter, “I’m disappointed, I waited for the Lord to help me but the help never arrived”. St Peter looks at the man and shakes his head … “The Lord sent three boats to rescue you and you refused the Lords help”.

        Heard this parable twice and always like the many lessons it contains for everyone.

          1. Me, too. The only difference in the version I heard was that there was no particular identification of the origin of the boats, and one of them was a helicopter.

        1. It’s one of my favorite “parables.” The ending I learned has G-d say, “I sent the boat three times!”

          1. TXRed, if you haven’t read Giovanni Guarescchi’s the little world of Don Camilo (probably misspelled the author’s name. Not in the mood to google.) That parable always reminds me of the girl with the shotgun sending the boats away from her dying grandfather — and the reason being in the end good. 😉

            Though the stories are Catholic, I think most believers (and a lot of non believers) would enjoy them.

            1. No, I have not read those yet, but a copy is now enroute. Judging by what’s available, people do not turn loose of their copies all that often.

            2. I read his books some twenty-thirty years ago, IIRC. They were in a base library I frequented. It’s time to re-read them, if I can find them.

              I also heard the story above in a Baptist church, as a sermon, ages ago. The lesson I took away from it was not to be blinded by my own prejudices. I’ve tried to live that, more or less successfully.

              Oh, and there’s only one “C” in Guareschi. Don Camillo even has a blog:
              http://doncamilloblog.wordpress.com/

        2. In the version I heard, the punchline is the man asking God why He didn’t save him, and Himself goes “What?! I sent a two boats and a platoon of Marines!”

          Similar is the one with the guy begging the Lord to help him win the lotto, and at the end a Voice from Above says: “Come on, man, meet me half way– buy a ticket!”

          1. Best version of the lottery story I heard was from a visiting NYC rabbi. Imagine a booming voice with a thick Yiddish accent calling, “Verk virth me, Herschel. Buy a ticket!” He was talking about the problem of people who, of their own free will, become too dependent on others and won’t meet them halfway.

    1. He cannot preserve our Freedom, except from Him. If we would have Freedom, then we must be Free.

      Too many elect the chains of serfdom even while telling themselves they are Free men and women. Few who want Freedom give any thought to what Freedom actually is, much less what being Free entails.

      For an author, Freedom means foregoing the comforts of big publishing which bestows it favours on those who support its views. (If the author actually shares those views, does that mean they are Free even though they dine at the Publisher’s sufferance?) Even the Indie author is not free of the demands of the marketplace, so perhaps the proper admonition is the one found in this Gospel advisory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwkOdv443_o

      In the words of Alexander Pope “I am His Highness’ dog at Kew;: Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?”

  2. Vodka, neat, from potato, please.

    Used to be, if you were Odd, you’d only get to meet other Odd Tribe people in passing.
    Technology has changed that. We Odd are no less likely to spout our own conformisms, but at least now we have the option of Odd Community without doing weird things like mass-emigrating to Belize, as the Mennonites did.

    1. “without doing weird things like mass-emigrating to Belize, as the Mennonites did.”

      Really, I thought they were all immigrating to my county? Not that I mind that, they make excellent neighbors.

      1. Just writing what I know; there are a number of different groups, of course. For all I know, there’s a community making kick-ass furniture in Thailand, too.

    2. While I sing the praises of the Community of Odds, it is incumbent on me to observe that the encystment of various communities (Dem Underground, Odds, Devotees of Kali) is not without its dangers, especially as the interwebz readily facilitate living in an echo chamber, drinking your own ink.

  3. Can’t have mead – I’m allergic to honey (and milk, so I guess the Promised Land is out for me!).
    Wine gives me a headache.
    Beer is fattening.
    I guess I have to hold out for the Ambrosia of the Gods. (Wait! – is Ambrosia a drink or a meal?)

    Actually, today’s problems remind me a lot of Jonathon Swifts’ Gulliver. He had a type of person called a Flapper, who controlled the pronouncements of the mighty.

    1. Slight nit, the Flappers controlled access to the “Elites”. The “Elites” would ignore anybody that the Flappers didn’t indicate were “worth seeing/hearing”.

      1. Well, this IS Texas! And it’s already hot. And my wife does have left-over Vodka from tincture making ….

        1. Not hot here. I could chill your vodka on a window ledge (29F at the moment, not supposed to get much warmer). There was a trace of snow around 7:30AM. We may have more later. Typical Colorado spring weather. Stay-at-home-and-write weather.

          1. It’s coming back tomorrow. I’m out for a doctor’s appointment, but looking forward to going home and holing up in my office.

            Curse this freezing global warming…

          2. Wife’s cousin lives outside Denver and posted that she had 12 inches of snow a day or two ago.

            1. They got another 12 inches last night/this morning. This cold/snow/whatever is supposed to last through Friday. We pray for moisture, but the cold is getting old.

          3. And we’d appreciate it if y’all could just keep your global warming north of the Colorado – New Mexico border, thank you. I’m never going to get tomatoes in the ground if you keep dumping hard freezes and snow down here. We need rain, not frost.

        2. We had predictions of large snowfall but in my part of the metro area, unimpressive – maybe 3 inches. Another front due however.

  4. I think you’re dead on, Sarah, unfortunately. And I think it’s compounded by the fact that our “education” system has deliberately dumbed-down the general populace over the last two (at least) generations, resulting in “Low Information Voters” who don’t even know how ignorant they are (and have been made by their “betters”).

    1. I want to have bumper stickers made up with the circle slash and “Low Information Voter” that I can slap over O/B stickers….

      1. A proper and due respect for other people’s property precludes slapping such stickers on their bumpers … else I would have one made up with a picture of Antarctica under the caption: World Peace Visualized.

        1. I saw a bumper sticker a few months ago that said “Visualize Whirled Peas”. I’m sure it was a mockery. Funny thing, the car also had a CC (Colorado College) faculty sticker on it. CC is notoriously left-wing.

          1. A friend of mine used to go door to door to get donations for Earth First. (He’s Libertarian– big “L”) He said the “visualize whirled peas” bumper stickers were the worst givers on the planet. They believed that all you had to do was think happy thoughts and their favorite charities would get lots of money. Either that or they did not really believe in anything.

            1. Conservatives give more to charity than liberals do. Point that out, and they fudge up some definition that will still make them more generous.

              1. Of course. They equate collectivism with charity. When the fact of the matter is, the opposite is the case. Collectivism destroys charity, because those who are not helped who “fall between the cracks” are either too expensive to help because of all the oppressive taxes, or “don’t exist” because collectivism “absolves” everyone from helping their neighbor.

                This was a hard lesson for me to learn back when I was a nominal leftist. I thought you just helped people anyway, and that there were some things that government just can’t do– like care for people. But no, it turns out that made me an apostate. This naturally led to me becoming one in fact, because I then saw just how well the government breaks everything it touches.

                1. Taxes. Oh yes. Here, you are allowed to give 3999 euros to, say, family members, every three years, if the gifts go over that the receiver should pay taxes. Easy to figure out if it’s straight money, but not necessarily if you are trying to figure out the monetary value of something like an older car.

                  And mutual giving can get you into trouble also, since strictly speaking almost everything should be kept tabs of and reported to tax people. You change my tires and I give you a bottle of whiskey, and especially if we agreed beforehand that I’d pay with that whiskey bottle suddenly the whole thing is something which counts as paid work, which means taxable income for you. May happen even if it’s not a whiskey bottle but something like cutting your hair.

                  Which of course means people do a lot, probably most, of that kind of stuff under the counter. Which I don’t much like. Not the doing but what prompts us to do that – the rules have gotten pretty stupid, collecting taxes for every damn little transaction would not get that much in taxes even if people actually reported all of that stuff, but when most don’t when they, by law, should – well, Finns used to be pretty honest, that kind of people with whom you did not need written agreements, but simply talking the thing over was good enough were not exactly uncommon before, but that culture seems to have started to erode lately, and I suspect it may have something to with the increasing government mandated regulations. Once you get used to the idea that cheating, in any form and anybody or anything, is a good and acceptable idea it’s more likely you’ll start doing more of it.

                  And all this does make individuals helping each other kind of difficult too, if you think that your attempt to help somebody may actually leave them deeper in a pickle than staying out of it would have you are much less likely to do that, and just go with the idea that it’s the government’s job anyway.

                  1. Well, isolating people just makes the government’s job of corralling them easier. People with close ties just might… you know, defend one another or cry out at injustice. That’s so inconvenient for our fearless leaders.

                    Also, honestly is such a pain for tyrants. After all, they might point out those days when they wear nothing, or when things are unfair for the little people, the non persons or the trouble makers. So inconsiderate for fearless leader’s feelings…

              2. Conservatives only give their own money; Liberals give more of other peoples’ money. Sure, eventually you run out of other peoples’ money but it lasts longer than your own money.

                As a bonus, you can often get paid quite handsomely for redistributing other peoples’ money, making your own money last even longer.

                Conservatives probably need to get over this idea that their money of their property. Just like their children, it is the property of the community. After all, it is the community that gives money its value.

      2. Waay back when all those Kerry/Edwards “A Stronger America” yardsigns were popping all over the place, I was sooooo tempted to swipe one of the huge magic markers from work and go around writing a big ‘A’ over the o in stronger. I didn’t do it, but I really wanted to.

  5. So writing an indy novel is practically a revolutionary act at this point.

    The thought police have been that thorough.

      1. I just got done watching the BBC’s Midwives series episode 2. There was one solid character arc to it that I thought was very well executed… but the other two threads were appalling:

        1) Thanks to the all new *welfare* thing… this woman can have a child by cesarean when the previous three were all stillborn. It was a bit part of the arc that I liked, but it hit my like a sharp elbow to the ribs. (The lines… so transparently bad… such a slimy appeal to emotion. Agh!)

        2) The other arc was another on the theme of “isn’t it sad that prostitutes can’t always be with their children forever because they are incapable of providing for them” theme. (That was done hard core in Downton Abbey season three I think.) My, how bright the righteous indignation runs on this topic! (They took her BABY from her!)

        I couldn’t help but put these two threads together. I mean… wouldn’t it be great if all these prostitutes could get hooked up to the welfare state and then not even actually need to be married…? The answer was just right there…!

        I suspect that the picture of history they are painting has been, err, revised somewhat. Unfortunately… I can’t think of anything else to do with a story set in the past other than to make people feel good about their politics. I really can’t.

        (If anyone among your readers is doing this sort of thing right… please call them out and explain how they did it. I really would like to see it.)

        1. There are tons of things you can do with the past, rather than make people feel good about their politics. I love historical books with (that I detect, and I have a finely tuned ear) no political message. Say Lynda Robinson’s Egyptian mysteries, or even Jane Austen’s (though the series got odd after the love interest died) by a fellow Coloradan whose name evades me just now.
          You can mostly reflect on where we came from, contrast it with how we live now, reflect on the fundamental peopleness (Totally a word — btw, Cyn, this is code for “I just made it up”) of people through the ages, etc.
          Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael is another good historical. And once I revise and clean up the Magical British Empire there shall be sequel in which we examine how the first world war would have occurred, out of the all too tight (and defensive) confines of our own history 😉

          1. (And of course, when I objected to the aggressive talking points of the show, that was pima facie evidence that I am mean and that I don’t care about people. Wah, the narrative is so effective, I can’t even *discuss* it.)

            “Fundamental peopleness” — I can hang my hat on that. Ah… I recall one scene that captured that for me in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth that did that. It was when the farmer got so successful he took a second wife… and his first was devastated by it. All she could say was, “I bore you sons… I bore you sons.” Everything about that scene is seared into my consciousness.

          2. Totally a word — btw, Cyn, this is code for “I just made it up”

            Though a couple of times you reinvented existing words. ^.^

    1. heh, I made this argument during a job interview today after they asked me what I was passionate about. Never thought I’d be part of a revolution but, hey, viva la revolucion!

  6. On a somewhat related note, it seems that gun sales are off the charts these days, and it can’t all be the usual gun crowd adding to the armory. Lots of first time buyers who suddenly got an itch to be armed.
    Now the part that concerns me, everything these newbies know about firearms they’ve learned from the movies and TV. And that scares the holy crap out of me. Thankfully, there are a number of reality shows out there that demonstrate the responsible use of firearms. Sons of Guns comes to mind as do any of the gator or pig hunting reality shows, but those are definitely not pop culture, and I suspect your typical yuppie would never admit to watching them.
    So, what we have is a brand new crop of neophyte shooters, accidents waiting to happen. Where I am we are most fortunate to have an unsupervised public range close to hand that I and my friends shoot at regularly. Lately I find we spend more time as de facto range officers than we do actually shooting. Good news is that most folks are eager to learn. Bad news is the depth of their miseducation from the aforementioned sources.

    1. Those shows are some of the highest rated; someone’s watching them.

      From what I understand, introductory pistol courses, CCP courses, and the like are also swamped.

      1. Oh yeah. One of the local instructors has gone from doing a CCL class every six to eight weeks, to doing one every other weekend, and those are booked solid for the next four months, last time I checked (Texas Panhandle).

        1. the local range near here is packed every weekend for its ccw classes.it was for sale a while back, an annexation raised the taxes and the owner was looking to move I think. Then 0bama came along and the place got so busy you can hardly get in the parking lot on Saturdays.

          1. I have not verified the legislative information, so be aware …

            News reports on the proposed Senate Bill establishing a stronger background check regime advise that ameliorating language in the bill established possession of a CCW permit as prima facie background check: you show your CCW, your background is checked.

            This seems likely to produce even greater interest in obtaining CCW licensure and in providing forged CCW permits.

            1. From what I’ve read that depends on the state that issued the CCW. Some are issued with limited checks, and wouldn’t qualify.

              1. It has a long way to go and many amendments to cross, so there is no telling what the final act will be.

            2. The Toomey-Manchin bill is analysed by Dave Kopel here or at least what we currently know about it. It could change radically in minutes.

              1. Proponents of the bill keep saying that it specifies in the bill that it is illegal to create a national gun registry, so gun rights advocates fears are unfounded. Anyone who believes that is living in a fantasy world, as it is anybody who has to pass a background check to buy a gun now, must go through federal databases, anybody who doesn’t think that they can pull that up and compile a list in the future flat isn’t thinking. As for myself, any government, present or future, that wants to compile such a list, I want my name to appear as few times as possible. So why would I be willing to cede more transactions to going through such checks.

                By the way, where does it state that, “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, if the bearer passes a suitable background check”?

                PS They keep talking about making internet gun sales have background checks. Can anybody tell me how I can buy a gun off the internet and not go through a background check, now? I have bought guns off the internet before, they have to be shipped through a local FFL, and you have to go through the background check before picking it up.

                  1. No, what it does is make it illegal for the Attorney General to keep that database. It says nothing about say HHS keeping that database as part of the new intrusions of Obamacare.

                    1. RES, its more along the lines of lying by telling a very specific truth: pretending that the law preventing the AG from putting together a gun registry also prevents the entire government from doing so when it actually allows any other agency to do so and then backdoor the access to any gun-grabbers that want it.

                    2. Oh, so like when Billy Jeff said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” he was telling the truth, because “sexual relations” requires an intent to provide your partner sexual gratification and nobody can seriously believe that mattered to him?

                1. Internet includes many local nets – Armslist Firearms Marketplace like e.g. Craig’s List has many different local listings and so facilitates face to face transactions with a local community. Your question assumes shipping.

                  Currently it is possible to find something advertised locally and buy the item face to face. The proposal would make any transaction facilitated by a public medium the equivalent of an interstate transaction for record keeping purposes. Similarly newspaper or trading post ads that bring people together locally for a face to face transaction would go through a dealer for a 4473 or equivalent and a background check. Exceptions are within a family and such without public offering or notice.

                  1. Notice that the front page of the print Wednesday 17 April New York Times has a story on abuses associated with Armslist including an example from Colorado Springs of felons buying and selling intrastate. The article is continued inside and has many column inches – as reported some folks might be dealing without a license and other examples include felons bragging on facebook of their gun collections.

                    1. I am unsure which is more dubious: according the NYT more credibility than Wikipedia or accepting at face value what people post to their FB page.

                      I s’pose the NYT carries points for zeitgeist shaping.

    2. A couple of articles I’ve read indicated that a lot of the new purchasers are women – and that they are also flocking to training classes as well.

      1. My sister-in-law just got here CCW permit, and was a first-time firearm buyer. She turned 70 last November, and got her permit in March. She’s not typical, but she’s not an outlier, either.

      2. A lot of new archers, too, male and female both. Kids are archery-crazy these days; even one of the kids down the street from my parent has a target set up in the backyard. (Which luckily is backed up by unused lot space behind the fence.)

      3. My mom’s talking about getting hers. This is a woman who was terrified by guns as I was growing up. Suddenly, she’s grilling my brother about how he got his and wants to go with him to the gun range to practice. I think this is awesome and to be encouraged. The more women who are armed for their own protection, the fewer who will be uninformed about their rights and the second amendment.

      4. Women are the fastest growing segment of the gun market and have been for a good decade or more – in large part during the sweep of “shall-issue” concealed carry permit laws nationwide.

    3. This is long, for which I apologize in advance…

      I belong to a local gun forum and another member posted a thread last week about taking the two sons of an old college buddy to the range. He prefaced the story by explaining how he had reconnected with his friend and they had gone out to dinner. In the course of having dinner with the friend and his wife, the couple had explained that they did not allow their sons to play violent video games, didn’t have guns in their home and didn’t want the boys exposed to guns. He told them that while he honored their decision, realistically they couldn’t control what the boys were being exposed to when they went to friend’s homes and commented that he thought that some training in what to do if they ever found a real gun might not be such a bad thing. He was surprised when, after about a year, the father called him and asked if he would give the boys some training and range time. The couple had discovered that the boys were playing the very video games they had banned at friend’s homes and had discussed the conversation.

      There were two major points to his thread:
      1) both boys played video games but the son who enjoyed HALO type games had the most difficulty trying to reconcile what he “knew” from his game playing and the reality of actually shooting a gun. It took about all day before the boy could finally come to grips with that discrepancy.
      2) after spending some time letting them shoot .22 rifles, he took a 12 pound Boston butt that he had brought to the range and shot it with an AR type rifle and a varmint round. When the butt literally exploded both boys had trouble believing what their eyes were telling them.

      Which is a long winded way of saying that these newbies are going to need training or we’re going to have a rash of accidents.

      1. “both boys played video games but the son who enjoyed HALO type games had the most difficulty trying to reconcile what he “knew” from his game playing and the reality of actually shooting a gun. It took about all day before the boy could finally come to grips with that discrepancy”

        This is why I don’t think video games “cause” the mass shootings. The physical realities of real shooting versus video games is just too wide. You don’t aim a gun by twiddling your thumbs, and most video games provide some level of targeting assistance.

        1. I’ve been saying that for a long time. I keep hearing claims like, “Those video games taught him to shoot like that!”, and thinking, “Have you ever played a first-person shooter game? You don’t learn jack about shooting from one of those.”

          1. There’s the mechanics of shooting and moving (which is why I don’t spend a lot of time on those sorts of games), and then there’s the psychology of not only having a *plan* to kill everyone in the room, but the desire to.

            Now, given the number of gamers and the number of mass killings, I think the arrow of causality is, if it’s at all relevant, the other way around. The nutjobs are attracted to a game where they can exercise the demons in their heads until that’s not enough anymore.

            1. “Now, given the number of gamers and the number of mass killings, I think the arrow of causality is, if it’s at all relevant, the other way around. The nutjobs are attracted to a game where they can exercise the demons in their heads until that’s not enough anymore.”

              Which actually is an argument FOR violent video games, it is better to have nutjobs blasting people to gory bits on a video game than for them to be doing it at the local mall.

            2. First-person shooters aren’t really my cup of tea (I prefer strategy games, preferably turn-based so I can spend as much time as I want thinking through my options — Sid Meier’s Civilization is like crack to my brain), but a couple years ago at a friend’s house, I played Modern Warfare 3 for a couple hours. Right from the start — even from the tutorial level — the game was intense, chaotic, and noisy. And it occurred to me that while that game wouldn’t be any use in learning how to fire a real rifle, it certainly would teach you how to make rapid decisions amidst the chaos of a firefight. Even in the couple hours I played the game, I could feel my brain adapting to noise and chaos, and learning how to filter out the irrelevant details (explosions over to my right? Nowhere near me, ignore). I wouldn’t be surprised if that kind of mental training had some sort of impact on kids who play these games every day. Though what that impact would be… is a lot harder to guess.

              1. I have to work in a “team project space”. Being able to filter out noise and chaos would help.

              2. I overheard an Army officer talking to a chaplain, long before I retired. His comment was, basically, banning video games on an Army post would be counter-productive, as the training in several areas was as good as, and in some cases better, than what they received “downrange” (I.E., in simulated combat training). Besides, they spent their own hard-earned money doing it, so would retain the information longer.

                  1. Well, cheaply drunk, anyways.
                    (Being a geek means you can get yourself ill on less than the price of three drinks at a bar, and you don’t have to put up with other folks’ taste in music.)

                    1. Oh dear – I never get drunk. Between sleep apnea and being chronically underslept one drink knocks me out.

                    2. See, you open with something that you’ll really enjoy, get everyone relaxed, then settle down with something cheap– beer, mixed drinks, whatever– for during the gaming.

                      I don’t think we EVER had more than one or two really good drinks, total, but we also weren’t trying to get blotto.

                    3. “And said unto him, Every man at the beginning does set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but you have kept the good wine until now.” John 2:10

                    4. Thank you. My kid’s favorite giggle line is “What is it to me woman?” (though I’m probably not literal) and then going quietly and doing it. You can hear a kid mutter “the power of Jewish moms” and then they giggle some more.

                    5. My go-to answer for why Catholics honor Mary so much, after I explain that asking the saints to pray for you is at least as valid as asking me to do it:
                      “Jesus was a good Jewish boy; you think He wouldn’t listen to His mother?” (I generally avoid the first miracle part unless I’m sure they’re not one of those groups that gets all funny about alcohol. Baby steps.)

                    6. From a Protestant POV, that’s how the prayers to Mary sound like.

                      While, not wanting to get involved *here* in a religious discussion, It reminds me of many multi-god systems.

                      The more powerful gods only listened to high-ranking humans (kings & high priests), not to commoners.

                      The less powerful gods couldn’t do much but the more powerful gods would listen to the lower-ranking gods.

                      So if a commoner needed help, he would pray to a lower ranking god so the lower ranking god would pass the prayer “up the chain of command”.

                    7. If that held solid, then people would think I am a god, because they do ask me to pray for them.

                      Just because I’m harassing God doesn’t mean I don’t want help!

                      (More seriously, the purpose of prayer isn’t going “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie,” at least in Catholic theology, it’s about trying to…align your desires to God’s. To quote a third of the One, “not My will, but Thine be done.”)

                    8. And Protestants believe God doesn’t “need” saints to hear prayers. Our prayers for other people are part of our caring for other people.

                    9. Foxfier, my impression of the “cult of the saints” has always been that people pray to the Saints either because they don’t want to bother God or because they think God is “too busy” to hear them.

                      On the other hand, I can imagine a Catholic getting to Heaven and being politely told off by his patron saint for praying to him not God. [Wink]

                    10. I don’t think I can summarize the loads of stuff on prayer in this kind of context, even if I had really good grasp on it….

                    11. If we start establishing “having a good grasp” on a subject as a predicate for expounding on it at length, won’t none o’ us be able to say nothin’ ’bout nothin’.

                    12. Short form: none of the problems you have make sense if you see no problem with others praying for you; arguably, barring the self-improvement aspect, there’s no reason to pray at all— God already knows what you want. If you don’t bar the self-improvement aspect, then being willing to ask for help– ask others to pray for you, be they living or dead– likewise improves you. Humility is not to be underrated.

                    13. I learned something during the worst part of my illness that has stood me in good stead the last few years about prayer. It doesn’t matter who prays for you– Christian, or any religions sect — or any type of Christian sect– Prayers when you are at the rock bottom help. I have had all flavors of Christians pray for my health (and a few of other religions) and just the wishes, thoughts, and prayers has either led me to a supplement that will help me get better or actually see results. Some might think it is a placebo affect– I don’t know– I do know that I can feel something much larger than myself and it is enough.

                    14. They have done blind tests — as for a medicine. Yep. It helps. It improves your chances markedly.

                      I think the main reason I pulled through pneumonia is that ALL my friends: Jewish, Catholic, Mormon (sorry, those seem to be the main groups, and no, I don’t know why. It’s not like I pick them that way) Protestants of all stripes AND pagans were all praying.

                    15. My religious confusion being what it is, I don’t either.

                      BTW an evangelical friend, once, after a LONG discussion-argument said in an accusatory tone “What you are is a Methodist.”

                      I still have NO clue why he said that — what I know of Methodism could be written on the head of a pin — or why he was so disgusted. I thought Methodists were closer to what he believes than anything I could claim to be?

                    16. No clue– after I left the church I was born in, I really really really wanted to be an atheist. *sigh Nope, I cannot do it. Too many things have happened to me that prove there is a G-d (or at least a force more benevolent and terrible than myself). 😉

                    17. The thing is the “church triumphant” — Catholics don’t believe the dead have gone very far or are very different (which is a good thing. I’d miss Grandma even more) so you can ask a saint (or a dead relative) the same way you’d ask a living friend or someone you think very holy to pray for you.

                    18. And since they are people, it feels a lot less… like I’m imposing, for lack of a better word, if it’s in their area of interest.

                      I suspect that Saint Anthony (lost or stolen items) has a really wicked sense of humor, though, and He humors his faithful servant….

                    19. Humility is the most important virtue, which is why I have worked so hard to excel at it.

                      Removing tongue from cheekiness, too many people fail to recognise that Humility means not only not exaggerating our worth (next to Him we are all as nothing) but also entails not denigrating our talents and gifts received from Him. Humility is the steady understanding that what we are and what we have are not all our own doing.

                    20. Exactly, RES. Thank you – you’re the first person I’ve found in years that had the same understanding of the principle. To put it in the terms I used when I first understood it: humility is a perfect paradigm.

                    21. Sweetie, we’ll just say your impression was acquired from people who knew nothing about the religion, or had the knives out. This is always a bad idea.

                      And now, the religious discussion stops here, before it turns into blue on blue. (Or is that red on red?)

                    22. So going up with a clipboard and saying “You IS doing it wrong” is not the right approach?

                      Gets it out of system, anyway. I do get the impression I make Him laugh a lot.

                    23. I suspect that He spends a lot of time resisting the urge to pat me on the head and saying “it’s alright. You’ll be fine. Panic mode is just how you get into gear.”

                    24. It also reflects a culture where the male head of house has nominal dominance (Father makes the decisions) while the female head of house possesses the actual power (Mother is the gatekeeper, deciding what issues get to Father for his decision-making, and how they’re presented.)

                    25. “I am cheap– cheep, cheep– ;-)”

                      I am now, because I will at most have one drink (and very seldom that) and switch to coffee. But when I used drink the only way to make me a cheap drunk was to serve REALLY cheap alcohol. I had an abnormally high tolerance, as in with a fifth in me I would be noticeably buzzed, but still functioning fine. (unless it was tequila, I only need about have as much tequila as any other comparable proof alcohol)

                    26. I can’t drink tequila– the few times I drank it, I got migraines. Saki– I can drink all day 😉 It was amazing to me how fast it made every one around me drunk. Anything else– NOPE…

                    27. I like sweet, red, boxed wine.

                      I really don’t try to get drunk, or even buzzed, I just tend to get distracted and take too many sips.

                    28. So. Paul, what you are saying is that the saints in Heaven stop caring about other people?

                      Fortunately, you can be refuted:

                      When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.

                      Said holy ones are not the saints in Heaven, because:

                      Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne

                    29. Sorry Mary, it has nothing to do with the saints in heaven “not caring about” people on Earth.

                      It has more to do with “why are you praying to a middle-man not God Himself?”.

                      In any case, this isn’t the place to argue this.

                    30. If you can’t see the difference between “having somebody pray for you” and “praying to a saint (not God)” then there’s no point of talking with you.

                    31. Drak, you’re not getting it. It’s not “Praying to” it’s “asking to pray.” Catholics have issues believing dead people (even saints) aren’t immediately accessible and can’t do this for you. That’s all. The whole “praying to” and “praying to statues” was a reformation lie, that is still around. Did some medieval peasants get confused? Sure. But then these people also believed in the divine right of kings.

                      Enough. No more. It’s blue on blue.

                    32. One hopes you never go to court. Because if you go to court, you may find your lawyer saying, “My client prays the court. . . .”

                      To pray means to ask. If you have other people pray for you, you are praying to them, because you are asking them.

                      There is indeed no point in any discussion if you insist that everyone who uses the term “pray” means something that is fit only to be addressed to God.

                    33. I find myself rather more concerned that so many purporting to pray for people are preying on them instead.

                1. But you need to be specific about the game too. I recall a story one of my co-workers told about how when one of the Army bases was getting some tank game arcades installed, they contacted the developers, and got them to tweak things around a bit. I’m told that after that, the first shot hit at the tank range went up by 50%.

                2. Someone I know was told to get a specific video game to help identify aircraft and “know” how they move; LockOn: Flaming Clifts II by name. (Recommended by instructors, and it worked.)

                  My husband helped plan a training assault on a ship we were on, and used the layout from a video game to plan it. (Can’t remember what the game was, and don’t want to say the ship.)

                  In high school, there was a kid in the year ahead of me whose family didn’t have a car; his only real driving practice was in the driver’s ed class, and when he took the test. Other than that, he played the racing game at the local burger joint for about an hour a day. Passed with flying colors.

                  1. I could never get racing games, either; they don’t seem anything like driving a real car. (Maybe it’s an astigmatism thing.)

                    I learned to drive with extensive guided trial and error, just like my bike. I still haven’t gotten my license, though.

                  2. Sometimes it helps, and sometimes it hurts. When you’re in Fairbanks, AK in the dark depths of winter, and you realize the only sober person has never driven in winter before… well, someday he’ll live down saying “Everything I need to know about low-friction driving I learned from Grand Theft Auto!”

                    …it’s going to take a few more decades, though, because he crashed before he got out of the parking lot.

                    1. The game has to be accurate, and the person has to learn the right things from it. I know there ARE racing games that are accurate, but I don’t know the names or even much care….

                    2. I still remember the rainy day we were driving from work to another site on the Taconic Parkway, and the driver was saying that it was worse than Nintendo — and he crashed on Nintendo.

                  3. Apparently Xplane is so accurate in physics that most flight simulators use it as software. They also use it for simulating flights of new plane designs (even space faring vessels) over at NASA. I wonder if this is why Burt Rutan is so crazy about asymmetrical airfoil designs. 🙂

                    “Awesome” (for the Amiga) was one of the first dogfight flight simulators that had realistic reaction times and visuals– a friend in the air force swore that they used it to help trainees to stop getting sick in the plane. The soundtrack actually lived up to the video game’s name. I’d love to find a copy of it again– my brother is a freelance playtester for video games and he still talks about it.

                    My first game (outside of specialized game systems like the Atari) was the flight simulator they had on the Commodore 64. I think Windows bought it eventually, because theirs looks identical. The first game I ever saw in color or that attempted 3D. It was so difficult to fly, my friend and I would simply try to crash the thing in the most creative way possible. We actually hit the road on a bridge from the underside– which took a fair amount of skill. Dad said that for this reason I should never be a pilot. :/

                    I also can’t use most simulators. I too have astigmatism; I wonder if there’s a correlation. Most video game 3D simulations also make me sick– oddly the 3D glasses in movies rarely do. Transformers did; but the Avengers and a few others did not. However, my brother loves “3D” FPS and he gets sick as a dog wearing 3D glasses in movie theaters. Go figure.

              3. I’ve got a tiny little VM that’s got Windows 98SE and CivII installed on it.

                1. I no longer have CivIV + Fall From Heaven (a fantastic mod that changes the game into a dark-fantasy version of Civ) installed on my computer. Because, well, you know how I said it was like crack to my brain? I meant that in every way. When I recognized the signs of addiction (in the genuinely-addicted sense, not in the “Oh, this game is so addictive” sense), I realized that the only way to crack it was to go cold turkey.

                  Hi. My name is Robin, and I’m a gameaholic. 🙂

        2. It is an exercise in Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Juvenile delinquents read comic books, therefore comic books cause juvenile delinquency; mass shooters play violent video games, therefore …

    4. Uncle Lar: I will also point out that gun blogs, podcasts and YOUTube videos are also getting unprecedented hits. I’m even talking about the better ones, getting the more hits. Even our favorite gun shop (and the nearby Cabela’s) never has any shortage of people coming in for classes and the like– people as far away as Illinois and Wisconsin. Further on the positive side, the main culture is TERRIFIED of guns. This means that the average person knows they are dangerous. Most people will least go to a good friend/ or other trusted person who will take them to a range and show them how to shoot and will teach them the three rules.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a share of idiot teenagers who will get them illegally and what have you, but that’s also been true before the big spike. Two of the most popular reality shows on television are about gun shops, and they actually teach you about safety and so on. So it’s not like the inaccurately portrayed wild west out there. While I don’t have a bird’s eye view of the whole country– Chicago is a place where this interest is peaked after Posner put the hammer down on the flagrant unconstitutionality (well, ok, at least one that the Supreme Court is willing to back him up on). But, for what it’s worth is one reasonable bit of feedback, I hope.

      So there is some hope. I won’t say that it will be wrinkle and bump free, I think it will go better than you might think.

      1. I comment below on the power of gatekeepers to define “normal” — this is a superb example. Because of the MSM hissy fits people keep their opinions on guns to themselves because, well, who needs the arguments, the averted gazes, the onus of being “one of those people.” So they never realize what a majority they are and never exercise their power to assert their rights.

        Even when you see the crowds at gun shops, shows, ranges you don’t realize how, as many of you as there actually are means you are normal and the prissy gun avoiders are the outliers. That is why they work so hard to out lie you about what “normal” is.

        When they tell you that white undies are “normal” you are unlikely to realize 90% are wearing colors, because who is going to volunteer that information?

        1. Exactly. We self-censor around family who we know would disapprove and around other family who might just be uncomfortable but we’re not sure. Who needs the hassle … and hence loss of connection …

          1. This is how I lost contact with my former best friend — the person most responsible for my being a writer now, because she was the ONLY person to encourage my writing from six to about seventeen.
            She married a Frenchman. Too many topics became edged with “Oh, no, we’ll fight” — and we’ve lost all contact.

    5. MythBusters is VERY popular, though– and I suspect a lot of ladies are much more willing to get a gun because Kari (I believe that’s what the cute redhead’s name is spelled like?) is just like them, but thinks guns are cool and fun. She’s done some very nice basic gun safety stuff, too.

  7. “It is now widely believed that the French Revolution turned into what it turned in, and the executions went on because of the broadsheet equivalent of Thinkprogress. (Or not, since that’s more or less co-opted by our authorities. ”

    By the time the executions started, the authorities were running them. So, yeah, same thing.

  8. Last week someone asked why you never write out God’s name in full, and I started to think about the “golden age” science fiction writers.
    Heinlein and the rest who wrote for Campbell and Astounding/Analog never wrote about toilets, the sex was very muted, they never mentioned God unless specifically talking about Him, and so forth.
    I suspect that is both from anti-obscenity rules for the Post Office Department, (they could and did ban obscene materials from the post) but also that Campbell was very savvy on circulation and didn’t want to risk upsetting/alienating/being boycotted by his subscribers and readers. And because he cared about those readers, he published for them and they subscribed and Analog became successful.
    I also wonder how much Nehamiah Scudder was just a standard plot device bad guy (that popular culture would recognize) and how much he was a response to Heinlein’s frustration at being told, “re-write that, they’ll boycott us in Arkansas otherwise”

    1. Scudder was supposed to be elected in 2012.

      Thank God no one with a messiah complex ran last year, eh?

        1. which is what BLT is. A co-worker is always trying to tell that to his relatives that their pastor is preaching communism with god sprinkled in but they refuse to believe him.

            1. “Black Liberation Theology”, I believe. The peculiar nonsense pushed at Obama’s church of 20 years, and apparently what he prefers as when he does attend services, it seems to bubble up.

              Think racism and Marxism mixed and tuned to an African-American audience.

              1. Ok, I recognize the phrase, just couldn’t put that together with the acronym, because I was thinking it was referencing the comment above the one actually being replied to, and I thought it was a direct reference to Obama.

              1. And… Wayne just got a time on target deluge 🙂

                Just so you don’t feel bad Wayne, I didn’t figure out what it meant until reading your question either, I couldn’t figure out how LT stood for Hussein Obama.

                1. I’m beyond feeling bad for something like that – I’m generally acronym-dumb, so I ask.

                    1. the Bar stopped working for me a few “upgrades” ago. Forgot my log in and never was able to get re-registered so I gave up and wandered away

                    1. Yes! 🙂 I am astounded how many writers are Acronym blind like me. I had an ancient acronym book for many years, that fell apart in college. I’ve been bereft without it– until Google came along. Surely there’s an ap for that? Though the unlikely other hits are sometimes quite amusing…

              1. read that too, we can say for certain Father Fluger[sic?] (Wright’s white catholic cohort in racebaiting) is not held in high esteem by the current Pope.

  9. Stories told for fun, most of them on TV, though the books too, until the advent of indie… give a uniform view of society, for much the same reason newspapers and tv news give a uniform view of society.

    Something I noticed recently: since January, three shows have had “preppers” as plot elements. They were uniformly portrayed as crazy, potentially violent, suspect, and alien. I have no doubt the scriptwriters watched “Doomsday Preppers” and thought they were being original, but ended up being lock-step in their presentation.

    (Though, apparently “The Simpsons” ended their episode by showing a gigantic meteor headed for the Earth, apparently as a “are they REALLY that crazy” show-capper.)

      1. Do they really “believe” or have they just never confronted any alternatives? My impression of the scriptwriter universe is that it’s very, very small.

        1. A friend’s co-worker was vehement about how much he hated survivalists. I was never able to pin down what he meant by the word since Prepper was not in the lexicon back then.
          I wanted to shake him by the shoulders and ask, “have you ever met a non-survivalist?” (though I suspect he was one)

          1. There appears to be a strain of magical thinking that tells people that preparing for an event makes it more likely, or that you want it to happen. So people prepared for a major disaster appear to be hoping for it.

            1. Aboard ship, I made sure I had the appropriate “dress” uniform available every underway.

              I figured that, Murphy being who he is, the only time I’d need it for an “unexpected event” (read: Captains Mast, etc…) was if I did not have it.

              1. Some preppers and survivalists are Odd – and some are very weird – but mostly they don’t seem sinister. More like OCD. So yeah, I guess if you find Monk sinister, or if you find control freaks using their own money to buy groceries and tinker to be sinister, then I suppose you’ve got a rather low sinisterness threshold.

                1. I think WordPress ate my comment. Let’s try again.

                  I suspect this has to do with guns. Most preppers are pretty realistic about the value of guns (and ammunition) in any disaster scenario, so in addition to stockpiling food, they stockpile guns and ammo. But to the media, guns = evil, and guns + large stockpiles of ammo = someone planning to commit mass murder (they don’t know ANY other reason why someone would need that much ammo), hence the “sinister violent aliens” treatment.

                  No idea if I’m on-target here, but it certainly would explain a lot.

                  1. it also helps none that they are poorly portrayed on tv. No smart “prepper” is going to allow a goodly portion of the population know they got the goods needed if TSHTF/TEOTWAWKI so you get the noids who fit the stereotype the producers want to engender as they are going to get the lowest common denominator.

                    1. I hate to say it, but there are some few “survivalists” who fall down the mall ninja rabbit hole and do stupid things that become newsworthy and ruin the reputation for the majority of sane people.

                      Back where I came from a small group of them decided to mount an attack on a rural police station they felt was harassing them. Fortunately the police in question had a sufficiently good sense of humor… but they were too stupid to use good sense. They wound up having to sell their property to friends of mine– for cheap.

                      If you want to see well-portrayed preppers (back before preppers were a term) check out the “Tremors” horror series (the movies are great– can’t speak for the tv show), especially the first one. Honestly, no one comes out of that looking great, but the rednecks, geeky female scientist and the married preppers are the heros of the piece. Don’t look too hard at the special effects, but it is well written, funny, and awesomely incorrect– politically speaking.

          2. From what I remember there was a time in the late 80’s / early 90s when either there were links or the press claimed links between white supremacists and survivalists. So its possible that your friend believes that all survivalists are white supremacists.

            1. In the 70s and early 80s the supposed “white racists preparing for a race war” settlements thing got big in pop culture, and anybody prepared for disaster was obviously doing the same. (I wasn’t born until ’83, this is based off of reading pop culture.)

              1. Before that it was returning Vietnam Vets that everybody knew* were baby-killing myrmidons and simply not right in the head, that were the survivalists.

                *It shows the critical thinking skills of the Left that they spit on and jeered at people they knew were irrational killers hanging on to their sanity by a thread, and just looking for an excuse to snap and go to slaughtering people.

                1. Oy… video games have corrupted me… I read “myrmidons” and the first thing that comes to mind are naga from World of Warcraft, and I haven’t played in years.

                  (I think critical thinking had nothing to do with it– it’s just a figleaf to justify what they want to do anyways. Look at behavior when they REALLY DO believe someone will kill them.)

                2. re: Critical Thinking Skills

                  I experienced that same amusement at contradiction when, during the Nineties, I would see a sanctimonious Volvo bearing the bumper sticker “Thank-me, I Voted For Clinton” — driven by people whom you knew were sure the state highways were crawlin’ with ‘shine-swilling, ‘g-droppin’, gap-toothed Helms-votin’ inbred rednecks, drivin’ their gun-rack totin’ pick-up trucks just itshin’ to reenact the finale of Easy Rider.

                  It is the nature of the Liberalus Americanus to personally act in ways consistent with reality rather than with the “reality” expressed by their philosophy.

                1. Kind of freaky, isn’t it? My mom still hasn’t come to grasp with the idea that the sweet babies are her grandchildren.

  10. >>Perhaps like the old Norse, we’re doomed to fight against evil and perish in the end. Or perhaps we’ll win. We’ll never know until we try!<<

    Speaking of storytelling to advance tropes, memes, and themes…

    There's an exchange on NCIS in which Eli David, Director of Mossad, is on the phone with Leon Vance, Director of NCIS. And he says, "Tell me, Leon. Are we winning?"

    Every time I hear that, I say to the TV (shout if there's nobody around to look at me funny):

    "You can't win! Evil won't quit! Don't you quit either!"

    There is no "win." There is only the fight. Evil never sleeps. If we nod, we lose. Never forget that.

    M

    1. A Cliche Came Out of its Cage

      1

      You said ‘The world is going back to Paganism’. Oh bright Vision!
      I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House
      Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes,
      And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes,
      Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses
      To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem.
      Hestia’s fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before
      The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands
      Tended it. By the hearth the white-arm’d venerable mother
      Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. Duly at the hour
      Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave
      Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush
      Arose (it is the mark of freemen’s children) as they trooped,
      Gleaming with oil, demurely home for the palaestra or the dance.
      Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods,
      Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men,
      Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged
      Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die
      Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing.
      Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune
      Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions;
      Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears . . .
      You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop!

      2

      Or did you mean another kind of heathenry?
      Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth,
      Fortified Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm.
      Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll
      Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound;
      But the bond will break, the Beast run free. The weary gods,
      Scarred with old wounds, the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand,
      Will limp to their stations for the last defence. Make it your hope
      To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them;
      For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die
      His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong
      Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last,
      And every man of decent blood is on the losing side.
      Take as your model the tall women will yellow hair in plaits
      Who walked back into burning houses to die with men,
      Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals
      Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim.
      Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs;
      You that have Vichy-water in your veins and worship the event,
      Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).

      —C. S. Lewis

    2. Funny, I remember that– and my response is the opposite:
      YES, we’re winning, and we’ll win EVENTUALLY as long as we fight.

      It’s just not a game, that ends when you “win,” it’s like history– you win or lose a battle, and if you survive losing, then you keep fighting to win.

  11. ” … never ending stream of chick-talk-shows and movies and soap operas, and sitcoms, where again and again, the crazed anti-abortionist who kills people comes up, ”

    I read somewhere, can’t remember where, that there were more episodes of Law & Order with an abortion clinic bomber than there were abortion clinic bombers in real life. Anyone know if that’s true?

    1. I don’t know if it’s true, but I don’t doubt it. I mean, they have shown that there were more gunfights in Western movies than in the actual “Wild West”

    2. I occasionally come to the re-realization that the only reason I have any optimism in my life at all is because I don’t pay attention to pop culture…

    3. One (Failed) abortion clinic attack in real life– ever. No less than EIGHT abortion clinic bombings and two abortion clinic assassinations from pro-lifers in Law & Order.

      1. Wow where do you find detailed info like that? I’d like to look up a lot of things …

        1. LOL. I read LifeSite news, (I’d link the article, but I forget which one) and have been watching Law and Order and it’s various spin offs since it’s inception. I’ve kept count (or I should say, my husband of the eidetic memory has and reminds me from time to time). Also, I’m a practicing Catholic. *grin* I don’t always succeed, but I practice. 😉

  12. From, oh, the mid 1760s through the early 1900s (1920s, later in some areas), newspapers and broadsheets listed their affiliation on the masthead or the editorial page. You’d have dueling party papers, and if the county changed hands, the county business (notices and announcements for the most part) shifted to the other paper. So readers for the most part knew which party line would be spouted when they paid their nickle. The scandal pages of the Randolph Hearst kind were a little different, but most of them tended to attack whoever was in office, no matter which party they belonged to. And hey, if you were in NYC in the late 1800s, or Chicago, you know what party ran things. I can’t speak for the ethnic papers, although I know many of the German-language papers were Republican.

    1. Hearst mention reminds me. Maybe we ought to call the so-called (scorn quotes) “mainstream” legacy partisan press what they are — yellow journalists.

      In more ways than one.

      M

          1. Well, there is at least one around here that wears a kilt. Although he wears a ringed tail also, so he might be considered odd.

          2. I thought the House of Orange was from the Netherlands, so they’d be Journalists From The Nether Regions.

        1. Orange Journalists sounds like something you would buy in a cup at a food court with a straw in it.
          Mmmmm….whipped.

    2. Could be literally duelling. Mark Twain wrote a great story about late 19th century newspaper editors who shot at each other. And Ambrose Bierce, if I recall correctly, really got into duels as a newspaper writer.

      1. I remember Twain’s autobiography on how he almost was in a duel, but a quick search led me to the article he wrote in the Territorial Enterprise about the editors’ duel.
        A search on Twain and Duel turns them up.
        That man could write. He could write like an elemental force; or like a heavy rain-storm.

    3. “And hey, if you were in NYC in the late 1800s, or Chicago, you know what party ran things.”

      As opposed to now when we have *no* idea which party runs those sh*t holes.

  13. These culture gatekeepers deserve to be laughed and mocked because their results are ridiculous. They cannot survive a critical mass of derision and it is all of our jobs to supply it.

    1. Yep. And I will note the result of the explosion in SF is righties outing themselves. Some not in public yet — I’ve got emails! — but to each other. I’ve found more righties in the last week than in the ten years since. Keep it up, establishment! We’ll flow through your fingers like water. And then we’ll surround you, because I’m starting to believe there’s more of us than of you.

        1. I’m reminded of a series of panels from Odds Bodkins, a hip and ironic comic from the ’60s by a hard core leftist named Dan O’Neill. In it, one character said, “If you give a hippie a shave and a haircut and put him in a suit, how would you know the difference?” (Of course, the contra-point was, “Your average hippie would trade his pet monkey for a hit of acid,” but…) It was supposed to give the then-establishment the cold shivers.

          But now, the shoe’s on the other foot.

          The point being that protective coloration can cut two ways. And, with our having learned subversive ways from the best/worst of them, how do they think they can even see us, let alone prevent us, once we’re minded to take up arms against the sea of their troubles.

          M

          1. In it, one character said, “If you give a hippie a shave and a haircut and put him in a suit, how would you know the difference?”

            …. Were they actually that oblivious? (My home valley is– or was, they’re older than my PARENTS– full of surviving hippies. It’s usually pretty obvious, as is the difference between those who grew and those who didn’t.)
            I’ll tell you how: the last verse of the song “signs.”

            1. I remember a real estate agent talking about where he lived (NE WA, not sure if that is your ‘home valley’) He was saying he grew up there in 50’s and 60’s, and out of town a little ways a bunch of hippies started a commune in the 60’s. They wore beads and the women didn’t wear bras, and went around topless in the summer, and it was pretty cool,” he said. “The problem is that they still don’t wear bras or shirts in the summer, and its not so cool now.” (this was in the 90’s)

              1. Possible/probable; a lot of NE WA got that, because land was cheap and some of the area doesn’t have bad winters. (I grew up near a place called “Early Winters.” Every year or two we STILL end up bringing corpses of those who want to Live In Tune With Nature out of their all natural, unheated places.)

  14. Hate to quibble, but you used the wrong metaphor. The “very tight ring of gatekeepers” is not an eye but a sphincter. Which explains why what emerges is what it is.

  15. N.B. – I have it on excellent authority* the in Writers’ Valhalla they serve hard liquor. Mead is for bards, who need it to keep their voices well-lubricated. (They also have a tendency to slur their words while under the influence of hard liquor and, even worse, force their rhyme and meter.)

    *Employing the field-tested, heavily researched and highly evolved methodology of modern journalism, I made it up, fresh – how much more excellent and authoritative could you want?

    1. (They also have a tendency to slur their words while under the influence of hard liquor and, even worse, force their rhyme and meter.)

  16. Actually, Ben Franklin was a printer and a newspaper editor. The broadsheet/pamphlet was an exceptionally well-used device of the Revolution. The Federalist/Anti-Federalist papers were printed in the local newspapers of the times. I wish we could have such a debate these days! Unfortunately, all the newspapers, air time, and most of the video production that’s widely read/seen IS under the control of the Left. That’s why they continue to try to control the Internet — it’s the only bastion they DON’T control, and it’s killing them.

    1. Blogs are the current broadsheets.

      Says the gal who’s been blogging, with a pseudonym, and pointing out to those who call her cowardly that the Founders did the same for similar though more dire reasons. 🙂

  17. OK, a couple of things since your posts always hit more than I can say in one commnet. First the Pravda experience. Nobody believed all or even most that they read in Pravda, but still people couldn’t bring themselves to believe that it was all total lies until they were confronted with reality (paying an actual visit to this country for instance). Even though I thought the LSM constantly lied to me in the 90’s, I still thought Newt Gingrich was this scary crazy guy until I watched him on CSPAN in 94 and realized I’d been totally hoodwinked. So it seeps through unless you can relentlessly train yourself to remember that, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” is just the motto of smoke blowers.

    1. One of the most potent elements of control of the culture is the power to define “normal.” Even when we know the storyteller is a liar, the stories told have the ability to shape our perceptions of “normal.”

      It matters whether every TV sitcom features a “gay” friend who is cheerful and loving or one who is embittered and resentful. It matters whether every TV sitcom features a father who is dumb and incompetent or wise and a pillar of support.

      It matters whether every SF tale features a strong, independent strong woman or women who are victims of society, of men, of their own biology. It matters whether main characters stand for admirable principles or are simply trying to cheat a little better than the next guy.

      We see how much it matters when the illusion cracks and people say, haltingly, “I thought it was just me, but the Emperor isn’t wearing clothes. And he has a pot belly and knobby knees!”

      1. There’s a Victor Davis Hanson article at National Review Online that talks about the Left’s redefinition of language here. We’ve also let them get away with it for two generations. It’s time to change things. The term “politically correct” and what it stands for and attempts to do should become fighting words. We also need to take the language back from them, even if it means doing some really nasty, point-blank writing (I will NOT encourage any type of violence, as that will definitely be used against us all).

        1. Mike, when I first heard the phrase, “politically correct”, I was mystified. The speaker seemed to mean not offending somebody, but the phrase itself was the most pernicious combination of words I’d ever come across. Of course I should have realized immediately it was typical marxist, thought police crap, but I couldn’t understand that everybody else in the room seemed to not only understand but accept it.

            1. Social justice is at least a good second. Nobody who says it seems to recognize that it’s a non-sequitor. There is only Justice, and it by definition is individual. Social justice is the opposite of justice.

              1. Social Justice actually makes sense in the original, Catholic Theology meaning; remove it from that context, use the standard-English meaning of the words and spin in the way that it’s currently spun, and you’re quite right.

        2. I find it fascinating that David Brin, whose politics shine through his Uplift novels, also talks about the power of controlling the language, but in those books, it’s the “conservative, older races” who are the ones behind it.

  18. As regards TV and traditional publishing, a few gatekeepers are sufficient. See the article on Bonnie Hammer at http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/07/10/bonnie-hammer-s-hit-factory.html. For a few years, she was running the best stuff on TV. Now she’s moved on, and USA shows have gone into the crapper. That is why John Nolte’s faith in creating a conservative friendly creative community is misplaced. A few gatekeepers is all it takes to discredit and ruin everything. The commies know the value of the gatekeepers.

    1. I’m not so sure she “snuck past” as much as “got onto the radar”. She sounds like just what the current crop of gatekeepers are looking for.

  19. BUT that’s only half the problem. Even though most people still keep an eye on the news, there is the growing feeling that they’re not particularly reliable. Not reporting the Kermit Gosnell case, for instance, while giving the impression that roving gangs of maniacs are roving the countryside shooting down school kids with high capacity clips/magazines/rifles/whatever in hell they’re called, not that our representatives know, is one of the trickles, lodging somewhere in the back of people’s brain. They don’t QUITE distrust, but there’s that feeling that perhaps you should trust but verify.

    UNLESS it says something you like. Then it’s gospel, and only a lunitic would question it.
    And if you can find an ideological, popular or foreign source that supports the US news, but goes further, then it’s even better. Sources which contradict the US news aren’t allowed, unless it’s FOX because that’s obviously false.

  20. *little lightbulb*

    Here’s some amusing sorta ironic thing….
    I believe you’ve read the 500 Kingdoms fantasy romances from Mercedes Lackey?
    Know her version of “The Tradition”?
    Now imagine that it’s the culture, and the newspapers, editors, gatekeepers are the “fairy godmothers.”

    ^.^

        1. Did you see the Tenth Kingdom? We liked it so much that we got the DVDs. They are in our to watch when life gets too much. We have Red Dwarf for that too.

          1. I’m still upset with myself for liking the Wolf so much. I really shouldn’t, it’s such obvious manipulation… but… I’m a sucker.

              1. Honestly, they did a pretty good job metaphorically since his “bad boy” part is something he has to fight against, but can’t just remove or ignore, and he’s got the whole puppy dog thing going on to….

                  1. Bad boys — I WILL NEVER EVER EVER forgive Pratchett for making the vamp a chick in Monstrous regiment. He could have made “him” the exception and I’d have had SUCH a crush.

                    1. Monstrous Regiment is the one Pratchett I can’t reread. It comes across as dead boring and stupid. I couldn’t get in to The Long Earth with Baxter either.

          2. I discovered this just this afternoon and heartily recommend it:

            Among other tidbits is the news that original casting contemplated Albert Molina and Alan Rickman.

  21. Just found this blog after reading A) instapundit B) dark ship thieves and think this stuff way better then govt classes. I had a friend in college who was a libertarian and shared an office with a democrat. Hearing them debate did more then any of my classes. Now schools done and I’ve found this blog. Now to my question, where can I learn more of such topics? Out in the world I’m slowly coming to question things I’ve thought were true or at least make a different kind of sense. Again thank you all for providing me with such awesome comments to read over dinner.

    An aside: the 13 week novel posts on pjm, are they being tabulated or otherwise coming out once a week?
    Trav

    1. Once a week, Tuesday afternoon. Next week we actually START the novel. 😛

      As for learning more — stick around the comments. These people keep making me spend money on reference and study books. You shouldn’t be any different 😉

    2. Welcome, Trav. To learn more of such topics as these just keep coming back. The conversation is ongoing and people generally cite their sources, at least for the more esoteric stuff.

      Pop culture references, such as Princess Bride, Galaxy Quest, and the works of Terry Pratchett … you’re on your own.

  22. Oh goody. Been kinda half assinv wanting to write more then ‘poems’ for a bit now. And how can I register/not await moderation?

  23. Clearly typing othe tablet was too fast. Can we scratch that or the spelling mistakes /me glowers at tablet.

    1. WordPress and editing or removing posts doesn’t get along. Last time that was done was about a week ago, and if you really want to get confused go try and make sense of the comments now (totally broke the threading). So you and the rest of us will just have to live with the typos 🙂

        1. I do most of my commenting here while exhausted, juggling two kids and/or cats, distracted or a mixture of the above; folks are very understanding even about massive misreadings– and when we do get angry, we don’t STAY angry; it’s more like we can have passionate disagreements but still be decent folks when it’s done. (Or RES and I would be killing each other, at a minimum– not to pick on you, RES, just the most stubborn one I could think of ATM.)

          1. Yes, but you guys DO need to learn not to scare the noobs. 🙂 That said, this is family. We can yell at each other, but the next day we’re friends again.

            And heck, I write these while exhausted. Was trying to figure out how to write tomorrow’s, but ain’t happening. Instead, going to bed with Musketeer’s Seamstress final edits. (I work for myself. My boss is a slave driving… b word. [Why YES I did build that. That man hasn’t worked as hard in his entire life, as I do in a week])

              1. By making sure that “our” numbers are divisible by two. That’ll even things out.

                  1. Us. People who don’t quite fit in, and are tired of pretending. Look — me — woman, “Latina”, graduate degree in languages and literature. Science fiction and fantasy writer, sick to death of “feminism” and libertarian. ODD. 🙂

                    And proud of it.

  24. I was just recommended to this site by Vox Popoli, and you immediately grabbed me with the book title ‘A Few Good Men’. Yeah, I’m easy like that.

    Buying Book 1, now.

    (Enjoyed the post, too. Just read one of Ann Coulter’s “I Hate Liberals So Much For So Many Reasons You Wish I Was Joking” books, so I now know the horrible truth about cake.
    Just to wave at notion of being on-topic.)

  25. *Waves upscreen. Hi Travis, Welcome to the madhouse*

    Apologies for an OT. Has anyone here tried to upload something to KOBO in the past month or so? If you did, how long did it take to publish (get it on screen and available for sale)? Thanks.

      1. I did a full re-upload today (Fri 4/19, 0845 CDT) (with a better file of the cover art) and we’ll see what happens. Kobo says they did major database upgrades and got very behind in processing new books, so that may be part of the delay. If nothing happens by Sun. AM, I’ll fire off another unhappy e-mail.

  26. How can I reply to comments other then the last? Or a primer on using this thing? Wait that second might be a small book. However commenting on anything not the last one?- wait the reply button. Ok well off to work.

    1. The comments each have their own reply link until the nesting reaches 9 or 10 levels deep, then WordPress stops adding them (at least in the theme used here). After that, the easiest way to reply to a particular comment is using the Reply button that shows up in the email.

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