Moo Like This

We’ve talked about group-think that consists of thinking in bumper stickers.  Believe it or not, after I went through all the trouble of writing a long post about the evils of letting mentally ill/drug addicted/otherwise alienated people overrun downtowns —  evils which include harm to poor families thrown into homelessness and having to share their space with truly dangerous people and harm to poor children who depend on libraries for books and learning materials – I got someone on facebook answering with “someone needs to take care of these poor homeless, and most of them are families, and it’s heartless not to want to face a little inconvenience to help them.”

… Even though we’re not in fact helping them and letting them run through cities with no restraints of law or even of “conditions to receive social services” put on their behavior is causing harm to a lot of people, particularly poor and marginal ones.

That is slogan thinking.  This woman learned that she should “Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” and she’s not going to stop and think for nobody.  Because as long as she holds on to this idea that anyone trying to curtail homeless services is heartless and hates the poor she doesn’t have to wonder if the way we’re (not) “helping” the chronic homeless is destroying families, and communities, and small businessmen, and the simple trust of citizens in a civilized society.

She doesn’t have to think about anything, because she has her slogan, and it’s a security blanket.  She can clutch it and sleep through the night in the certainty that she’s one of the good guys.

These slogan-thinkers, when you consider they vote and also scat all over public discourse with their unthinking affirmations are bad enough.  But there is worse.  Oh, man, is there ever worse.  Let’s call them the herd thinkers.

Wait!  Didn’t I identify as one of the slogan thinkers’ characteristics that they wanted to fit in?  Yeah, but the slogan thinkers tend to hold onto a magical set of words buckle and tongue, and are sometimes quaintly out of touch with the current cant.  Meanwhile, the herd thinkers will change on a dime and say they always thought this way.  They are the original “We were always at war with Eurasia” and they don’t even need the government to dictate it.  They do it to themselves, to fit in.

This allowed them to pivot from the seventies “pollution is going to make us all freeze” to the eighties/nineties “pollution is going to make us all burn” and now to “pollution is going to make some people burn and some people freeze” while the scientific evidence remained scant and not very conclusive.  But the herd moved and mooed in unison.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the SFWA “storm in a b cup” though what it’s displaying is the multiple pivots of feminism itself.  First, women were supposed to go into the working world, take it by storm and be tough grrrrls with nothing to fear.  They wanted all the rights of men and no quarter.  And they got them.  Good and hard.

Except men were used to treating women in business in a certain way.  It might not have been as bad as television portrays it, but I read Rex Stout.  Treating women in business as sweet young thangs or old scary dragoons was normal, both because that’s sort of how women fit into male hierarchy (They should argue with evolution) and because most women worked until they got married, which means most were sweet young things, and might have been open to wooing.

Was it terrible?  Well, I wouldn’t have liked to put up with it while trying to get work done, though I’ll point out that in every official interaction with men, letting old eve look through my eyes and smile at the old Adam in them gets things expedited wonderfully.  It’s not dangerous if you know where to draw the line.

Guilty?  Not a bit.  I am a woman.  I’ll use that as well as my brain to get what I want.  By which I don’t mean I’ll whore for the desired results.  I love my husband and I’m very monogamous… but flirt?  Oh, please.  Being two sexes and having the ability to interact along that tension line, and the endless possibilities of fun it provides are one of the reasons we know G-d loves us and wishes us to be happy.  People who want to behave as though they were genderless should have been born amoebas.  Sex is too good for the likes of them.

Unfortunately most American women – some Southern ladies excepted – have no clue how to draw the line, or even that they should.  Sometimes they seem to have no idea they’re flirting.  I’m not sure, since I came here at the time of second generation feminism, whether this was always so, or it’s a new thing.  In other words, I don’t know if our daughters are for some reason born without some essential component that allows them to understand how genders interact, or if they’ve been despoiled by an environment that tells them it’s wrong to work with nature, and that they must be some sort of genderless super-robots.

I suspect the second, because again I read Nero Wolfe, and early Heinlein, and…  other stuff written at that time.  American women then seemed as capable as any of knowing what to permit and what was a step too far; when a man was being agreeably complimentary and when he’d crossed that line.

Perhaps early feminists believed they could, by virtue of words on paper, redraw the old, old battle line that has been going on since before we were even humans.

Perhaps their daughters believed the words on paper and didn’t even know there WAS a battle line.

I can’t tell.  What I can tell is that the young ones have sold their birthright for a pot of message, and are wandering around like blind people, not only unaware of how men will react – INSTINCTIVELY – to certain signals, but also of how they, themselves, instinctively and without thought react to signals and/or what signals can be sent back.  (This is less of an issue with us, Odds, because, well… we don’t ever get signals very well and tend to process everything in word-thoughts.  Only… Only even our word thoughts get confused by the mooing of the herd.)

In this funny, funny world, women can dress as provocatively as they want to, because they’re empowered and they’re grrrrrls.  But it is evil of men and “lookism” to comment that one of them is beautiful as Resnick and Malzberg did.

Women can have as much sex as they want to – and often when they don’t want to —  because they’re just as empowered as men (forget that sex serves different evolutionary functions for male and female) but don’t you dare call them sluts.  But then, they have slut walks, in which they call themselves sluts.

And all of these coexist because they’re different slogans, mooed by the leaders of the herd, and repeated by a portion of it but not yet picked up by all.  (Oh, yeah, watch the shrieks of outrage that I’m calling them cows, in three, two, one.  I’d like to register for posterity, before the screaming starts that some of the worst mooers are steers. Also, I’m not using the metaphor to be offensive, but because it’s the one that best fits observed behavior.)

I got very – as opposed to a bit – worried in the eighties when women started claiming that men talking them into sex was “rape.”  The reasoning seemed to be that men had awesome talking skills and a mere woman could not defend herself against all those double-slick words.

I thought “OMG, they’re going Victorian.”

Since then we’ve gone to lookism (the ugly girl’s attempt to take attention from the pretty one) and to a man even looking at a woman too long, or asking for a date being considered “harassment.”

In fact, any man NOTICING another person is female is now harassment (witness the offense at “ladies” in Barry and Mike’s article.)

I feel for Barry and Mike.  I’m sure they were full supporters of the initial feminism which only wanted to give women access but assumed that evolution was not going to be reversed in a generation, and if women wanted to work alongside men, they’d have to endure men being… male.  And if they used a little of female wiles to get what they wanted… well, that’s how humans are and they go two by two.  This was a somewhat rational idea, and if it had stopped there…

It didn’t.

Their articles were salutes of the women who made it in (at that time) a very hostile male environment.

Barry and Mike had no idea that the herd had changed step and that the mooing signals from the top had changed.  Cattle are very stupid animals.  They identify their herd by a series of not very rational signals.  Fall out of step, and you risk being mistaken for an intruder and gored.  And people who didn’t realize there was herd behavior going on, and who got to their positions by rational thought, are more than likely to get that treatment.  I know, it’s happened to me.

And meanwhile the herd of tough grrrl Victorian maidens, “don’t call me slut” but “I’ll sleep with guys I’m not even interested in, and I’ll call myself slut,”  “asking me on a date is sexism” and “I can’t understand where all the good men have gone”, “we’re just as good as men”, “it’s rape if a man talks a woman into sex because men have awesome men neurons we can’t compete with” goes on its merry way changing directions as the leaders change rationals and demanding more government intervention to handicap men more, because otherwise, how can they compete with wonderful male superpowers?  They who are fragile flowers who get peristaltic disturbances because someone mentions most top scientists aren’t female?

Never mind that we all know where a herd ends up being led.

Moo like this!

 

NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: I did not put an update up last week, because our entire household was passing around “what is going around” and what it did to me was make me sleep a lot.  Since Dan slept, he recovered faster, but I have issues just lying there (I bore easily) so it took me till yesterday to fully shake the thing.  Now I must finish stories (one of them at least for sure for Baen.  I might have blown the deadline on the other two) and since these are under contract, I can’t share them.  I MIGHT do an update later today, but it won’t have free stuff.  Sorry.  I’ll get back to it by Friday.

 

275 responses to “Moo Like This

  1. > “storm in a b cup”

    BWAH! Awesome.

  2. So, being a man, I’ve sort of learned what female flirting signals are (some of them, at least)… but since I’m never on the receiving end of male flirting signals (not that I’m ever aware of, that is — if any gay guys have ever tried to make a pass at me in the past, I’ve been merrily oblivious), I have no clue what male flirting looks like. Any women care to give a few illustrative examples?

    • And yes, I’m an Odd and thus learn better by being told than by observing, at least when it comes to social behavior. I’m eternally grateful to the people (both men and women) in my life who’ve taken me aside and explained various rules of social attire to me, like not wearing white socks with black pants, because it’s allowed me to dress like I actually have a clue about clothes. (I don’t, but I was able to buy one). And since male flirting is a skill I should know how to display from time to time, as appropriate… well, then, I figure I’d better learn — and I learn best by explanation.

    • Run as fast as you can and read http://www.alphagameplan.blogspot.com …….your Welcome 😉

  3. One thing for sure is a good true southern woman knows how to get anything she wants without sacrificing much in the way of virtues and we love it. As for the above note how its “we” always have to do something for “them” The most you often find from a person is “I” will pray for you. Which that and a dollar might get you some gas station coffee. Just like “we” must save the world and there are plenty of ideas of how “we” can do it but I still have not found this we yet.

    • I still have not found this we yet.

      It is the puddle you’re standing in while they tell you it is raining.

  4. Over at Ace of Spades HQ, one of the regular posters asked for input from the Horde on what was the most purely stupid thing ever said to them by a liberal. It was kind of horrifying, the non-thinking repeating of cant thus enumerated; the wrap-up report is here: http://minx.cc/?post=340738

    I got so that I couldn’t stand liberal bumper-sticker thinking any more, which is why I bailed from Open Salon and began contributing at Chicagoboyz.net when they invited me.

    • My mind boggles at trying to determine what the stupidest comment a liberal ever said to me. There have been so many.

      • BTW one of my friends gave me the “The US is spending more than its GDP in the war in Iraq and putting Afghanistan on the credit card.” I haven’t been able to really talk to her since. I mean social “hi how are you” in passing, but OMG, there is no evidence of a thinking mind there.

        • My liberal sister (Wyoming) called me racist once, in an argument that resulted in her dropping me from facebook. It was the issue of illegal immigration and language usage.

        • First: RE

          “In fact, any man NOTICING another person is female is now harassment (witness the offense at “ladies” in Barry and Mike’s article.)”

          A minor correction. Add “Unless you’re one of the small percentage of really hot/alpha/dominant/jerkwad/rich guys they really want at the moment.(please note that only one or two traits are required but some degree of asshole, healthy or douche level, seems necessary)

          This is obvious when you sit back at a bar and watch young things throw themselves at guys after shutting down the last four that weren’t quite king of the world at the time. It’s so obvious that SNL even made a “sexual harassment video” sketch with Tom Brady, where Tom Brady does everything the “don’t” guy does, and worse.

          Watching the entitled delusionment of the comment thread for that is hysterical.

          It’s not scientific, but if I recall, one dating site had men and women rate each other on looks. Men rated 50% of women as below average. Women rated 80% of men as below average.

          As to something someone said that made me immediately think “You are nowhere near as smart, educated, and thoughtful as you think” – older woman at Trader Joes (I assure you – the demographic there has nearly as high a self-concept of their smarts and caring as whole foods/etc…) was talking to a pretty young thing with a ponytail who turned out to be in the area as a nuke trainee. PYT had graduated annapolis. Older woman had expressed concern over her son going in for officer training (I heard its hard and don’t know if he can handle it) which – to a total stranger rings a bit off….. So the young lady related to the older woman that she’d spent over a year on a ship, and of the first year had spent 9 months underway, to which the reply was an astonished “how could you do something like that”?

          All I could think was “have you ever been out of country as anything but a tourist? Have you ever had to work your ass off to make ends meet? Have you ever really looked at history beyond cute documentaries and THOUGHT about the implications and living conditions? Hell, have you ever been camping fora few days with just what you bring in your backpack? Do you have any idea that, while being a JO on a navy ship is not “easy” – it’s a bleedin’ pleasure cruise compared to how much of humanity lives today, even many non-poor, and to how almost all of humanity including royalty has lived period?

          And at her age, the attitude is likely not curable.

          • Regarding the assessment of average …

            Years back I recall reading in one of Molloy’s Dress For Success books of an experiment done at the behest of a young man asking how to dress “to attract the ladies.”

            Going through the usual Molloy process they first determined that, amongst the qualities women desired in men was “self-confidence”, so Molloy instructed their actors how to dress and to act in a self-confident manner. When the results indicated a lower than expected level of interest stimulated they made a slight change, instructing the actors in acting arrogantly. Voila! Harem City!

            Molloy’s conclusion was that either women (in the targeted demographic) either could not recognise arrogance as opposed to self-confidence OR they could not acknowledge the attraction of arrogance and therefore mislabeled it as self-confidence.

          • One the scariest days of my life and the biggest turnoff was the day that the Sexual harrasement guy from I think the labor relations people came down and spoke to us schlubs at the governemtn research lab. the way this little guy was salivating over his past “victories,” the ruined lives, destroyed people and the potential for further targets was truly terifying

    • masgramondou

      That AoS link is painful to read.

      Personally I believe that the sloganeers (and indeed the lowing herd) are either incapable of doing sums more complex than 2+2 or deliberately turn that ability off when confronted with questions involving government/politics/economics.

      The classic example of this is the response that Bjorm Lomborg got when he wrote his book “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, but there are many others. The economics of homelessness is one of them as is the whole social security thing.

      They say things like “I paid in to SS for 30 years, so they have to pay my pension” and are completey unable to grasp that that money they paid in was spent by the government (and that the SS trust fund is a legal fiction disguising a Ponzi scheme). You say things like “Yes you may have bene promised that but politicians lie” and they look at you as if you’ve sprouted a second head. And then a minute or two later spout the next conspiricy theory regarding Bush, Cheney and Big Oil. POinting out that Bush & Cheney are politicians who they, themselves, claim to have been liars doesn’t get them to recognize that it is possible that the pols who promise them social security benefits might also be lying.

      It’s a mental blind spot it really is

      • Ask them whether Maddox’s victims are entitled to their money back. Point out that they knew perfectly well that SS would go bust, the papers have announced it regularly for decades, and if they cared so much, they would have fixed it.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I blame drugs. Yes, yes, yes, I think recreational drug use contributes to all social ills. I have a fresh argument whose mechanism is focused at this.

        First, go look up some of Robert Hampson’s stuff. Specifically, some of the abstracts said something about marijuana impairing a specific type of learning. (I also seem to recall something about impairment of shorter term memory being transcribed to longer term memory.) Imagine someone who is a chronic user of that stuff during their formative years, when most are learning to think. The level of thinking they are likely to develop would seem to trend weaker and more distorted.

        But people say Marijuana is harmless. Suppose that people decided to believe that first, and then the ones that didn’t use didn’t train their thinking past what the marijuana users were capable of in order to support that view.

        • Except there are far too many liberals who have never used marijuana except experimentally, and far too many conservatives that have.

          • Exactly. I have friends who are to the right of me, and who lived on the stuff when young. So…
            Me? I dislike being out of control of my own mind. Like, with a vengeance. I don’t even take pain meds. I prefer the pain to the mental fog. I’m WEIRD.

            • The one time I was offered, I went to my room and Alta Vista’d (no wonder that search engine didn’t catch on, you can’t verb it) the effects. After learning it shuts down neurons forcing your brain to rewire, I decided that I like they way my brain is wired and declined.

              I don’t think I’ve ever had a painkiller stronger than 500mg Motrin. Even when I had my wisdom teeth out I left the percocet in my locker.

              You’re not that weird.

              • The only time I’ve taken painkillers (other than in childhood) was after I had my wisdom teeth out, and I only took two doses. (One at a time). I think it was 800mg Tylenol. The first time I took one, I threw up 15 minutes later. When I took my second one six hours later, I threw up after another 15 minutes. At that point I decided that 1) my body was reacting to the unaccustomed heavy dose of drugs as it would to poison and trying to get rid out it, and 2) I’d rather have the pain than the throwing up — so I stopped taking them. Besides, the pain was down to the level of a muscle ache (the kind you get after HEAVY exercise) anyway by that point (the day after the surgery), so it was plenty bearable.

                • Okay, I took megadoses of painkillers twice. Once, when I gave birth to Robert and I had a raging uterine infection. I took morphine while in the hospital, but decided to forego it when I got home, because it was bearable.
                  The second time was possibly the strongest pain I’ve ever had, and it was a tooth that went critical over Christmas seven years ago. I was literally zonked out of my mind for twenty four hours (doctor phoned a prescription) until I could have an extraction which involved surgery because it was messing with the ear-nerves.

                  • I took painkillers after my wisdom teeth were out. Indeed, I took them on a regular, eight-hour schedule. the first night, I woke at 2 am and lay abed, aching, until it was 3am. The second night I woke at 3 am and could take them at once.

                    The third night, I finally slept through and altered the schedule to one on arising, one midday, and one before bed.

                    • Different bodies work different; my dad gets loopy off of motrin, my mom is barely touched b high level pain killers.

                      (Before someone concludes that mom’s just a wimp: this is a woman that worked hard for nearly a week with a huge blood clot in her leg, because the nurse on the line made the same assumption; her doctor happened to walk through while the nurse was scolding her for whining when she called for the third time about it hurting and flipped out, ordered mom to get to a doctor’s immediately. Biggest clot any of the folks involved had ever seen, going from upper leg to foot. She also gave birth, three times, without pain killers- and walked roughly a mile after rolling her pickup and cracking her collar bone. Among other evidence of insanity.)

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Well, I AM a wimp, but my body is also highly resistant to medicines, so my default dosage of ibuprofen is 600mg, and when I had a badly infected tooth, it too 1000mg of vicodin to make it tolerable.

                    • Reflexive rant about Obamacare “standardizing” medical care at precisely the time we are accumulating the knowledge of individual biochemistry to enable customized care.

                      Idjits!

                    • We are not the droids they are training for.

            • I don’t and didn’t drink, either. I concluded long ago that I could act like a fool without chemical assistance. 😎

            • I don’t take painkillers either, not even over the counter ones. I got shingles last year, and the doctor looked at me like I was nuts when she asked what kind of painkillers I had, and I told her the only thing I had in the house was some baby aspirin I gave a dog with arthritis, I had been living her nine years and had never seen the need to buy any yet.
              On the other hand I gave frying my brain on drugs a good try as a teenager, (not marijuana, it made me sick as a dog whenever I tried it, and not hallucinogens, I never liked seeing stuff) which is I suspect a large part of why I refuse to take anything now, I won’t even take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Totally missed the point.

            Key item was in paragraph three. It isn’t who smoked what pot when, but that thinking norms might have been adjusted so that they didn’t come across as too stupid to be considered mentally competent adults. Like physically normal people training to be competitive in the Special Olympics. Valuing and cultivating the types of thinking that pot wrecks less, and discounting and ignoring the types of thinking that it appears to leave the worst long term impairments in.

            Second paragraph was more or less to establish that I do have some grounds for thinking it makes people stupid, because I sometimes expect a certain amount of “pot is mother’s milk”. I’d think just a ten-year-old’s knowledge of toxicology, psychiatry, and mental illness would be enough to see the insane suicidal stupid aspects of it, but apparently not.

      • For a long time I wrestled with the idea that liberalism was a mental disorder, but it never “felt” right. One day, walking into work, I had one of those epiphanies that caused the concept to click.

        Conservatism (and for this I include libertarianism) is a mental disorder characterized by an ability to understand concepts like opportunity cost and time value of money.

        Thus the story of civilization can be related as a series of madmen (and occasionally women) using their deeper understanding to create massive amounts of wealth that is later consumed by the ravening horde. Call it the Crazy Eddie model of history.

  5. There’s a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.
    Charles M. Schulz

    You know, I’d buy that if it were a bumper sticker.

    • I have long wanted a bumper sticker reading “Eschew any philosophy which can be expressed on a bumper sticker” but I believe the font (bumper) required would be inconveniently small (large).

  6. I got very – as opposed to a bit – worried in the eighties when women started claiming that men talking them into sex was “rape.” The reasoning seemed to be that men had awesome talking skills and a mere woman could not defend herself against all those double-slick words.

    I thought “OMG, they’re going Victorian.”

    Eh, if the headlong flight from Victorians leads back to the Victorians — perhaps the Victorians weren’t so dumb after all.

    Katie Rophie charged feminists with Victorians with great success in the opening chapter of The Morning After. What she neglected was to show that this was a problem. Heck, she objected that both of them observed that getting drunk might lead you to do things you would not have done while sober.

    • Well, there’s good Victorians and then there’s not, and unfortunately these folks are basically trying for all the stupid restrictions with none of the hard work, innovation, or moral reform.

  7. Interesting how the herd members react when you comment about koolaid drinking.
    NEVER HAPPEN!!
    As they sip their koolaid.

    • scott2harrison

      Oh how I wish that they did. Then they would no longer be a problem. Unfortunately, what they drink has them take us with them. (Perhaps it’s LSD???).

  8. Clark E Myers

    It is of course thoroughly dated but John Malloy’s old Dress for Success advice for women is a useful study in changing attitudes.

    Paraphrasing freely and putting words in his mouth the advice was for entry and lower level women on the way up to dress business formal and look professional. This I am not a typist look so as to project power as desired but not yet attained.

    At some point of being on the other side of the glass ceiling and having real power the advice is to switch and folks like e.g. Olive Beech whose name was on the building should dress traditional feminine and in no way ape the businessman’s power suit (dress much like the typical and not exactly wrong image of a Mormon wife being sweet) to meet expectations of femininity held by the old men who were otherwise her peers.

  9. I especially enjoy the hypocrisy of “we need to have a conversation about ${HotTopic}” and when someone says anything deviating from the party line (e.g. Resnick and Malzberg) it’s a reprise of Bambi meets Godzilla. And then the darlings wonder why it is so hard to have a conversation about controversial topics …

    It can be done, if everybody keeps their hair on. I had an interesting discussion with a repair guy during the time of the whole Shannon Falkner/Citadel kerfuffle. He saw me, rare woman in a science lab, and asked, pretty reasonably, why men couldn’t have a male-only school when there were women-only schools. I first stated a) I didn’t approve of male/female/white/black-only schools or institutions on the grounds that it created an artificial environment that was a poor preparation for real life, and b) the real issue for me was the Citadel got tax money–and it wasn’t fair to get tax money from women and then say they could not attend. Further, if the Citadel really wanted to be fem-free they could turn down the government money and the law would be satisfied. The guy got a really funny expression on his face, looked at me, and said, “Hey, you’re right! That’s not fair!”

    Nobody yelled at nobody, and we had…a discussion about a touchy topic. Can happen 😉

    (I know a lot of women-only/black-only schools were started when it was forbidden for them to attend regular institutions. This is not the case today, so I see no useful purpose for them. My opinion only, which does not have the force of law. Yet. Death Ray still acting wonky.)

    • “we need to have a conversation about ${HotTopic}” is always followed by “Shut up!”

      • Ori Pomerantz

        “Conversation” is often code for “lecture by your betters”.

        • Translate the phrase into common experience.

          When your boss invites you into his(her) private office for a conversation about surfing the porn for internet during work hour s…

          When your spouse says we need to have a conversation about the new dent in the car / the amount of funds in the checking account is not related to the number of checks in the checkbook / your hobby of tweeting pictures of your “junk” to unknown third parties / the way you were “dancing” with that hot neighbor at the barbecue …

          It is a pretty safe bet that your side of the conversation is going to consist of the phrases : I’m sorry, you’re right, I hadn’t considered, I did not mean to, I had not realized, of course now that you explain it that way and conclude with it will never happen again.

          • In the Navy we called those “One-way conversations” since your role consisted entirely of standing there and saying “Aye-aye Chief” at the end.

            I didn’t do too well in those, I could never keep my lines straight. I killed my career in one.

    • Clark E Myers

      Such trivial hazing as playing television (which has probably been driven away by technology – assume a front leaning rest position in front of the traditional TV set and using one hand only change channel and volume as directed until somebody tires of the game) take a different form in a co-ed setting. Likely enough some changes are appropriate and good and some are not but they are real changes.

    • All schools are artificial environments. They are made by art, to accomplish certain purposes. Generally, the purpose of X-only schools is to free up a certain group from paying so much attention to everybody else that they don’t study. Sometimes the attention is persecution; sometimes it’s just hormones. Most girls study harder in girl-only junior highs and high schools, and the same used to be true in all-female colleges. Most boys study harder in boys-only schools, too. Minority-only colleges certainly used to have the reputation of being very strict, although the Sixties put paid to that.

      Every college departmental program is “artificial,” because you do a year (or much less, if you took AP to get out of it) of core curriculum and then you study your subject. It’s not like the working world. And that’s the point. It’s an artificial start to your growing period, just like fertilizers and pesticides for plants are artificial. It’s supposed to help you concentrate.

      • Of course, if you don’t give kids in an X-only school _any_ outside social outlets, that can be unhealthy. Same-sex schools also sound like a very bad idea for teachers or students with same-sex attractions.

        But the general idea is sound enough for its purposes, and will continue to go in and out of fashion during human history.

    • To reiterate SPQR’s comment, “we need to have a conversation about…” X, does pretty much always then default to “so shut up and listen to me, because I’m about to tell you what to think.”

      It’s the same as calls for “unity.” No one ever calls for unity and then follows it up with “And so I shall now abandon MY position and join you in YOURS for the sake of unity.” (h/t Jonah Goldberg).

      In this context, conversation = lecture. And quite possibly a quiz.

  10. Clark E Myers

    Might even be a parallel to Stalinist purges in the not so long ago Scalzi and Doctorow EFF horror at using the SFWA name to hinder epiracy/free exchange of information. Sometimes as noted it’s hard to keep up with the party line but there is always a party line even if it’s late to the party.

    • It’s so funny to think that tose most upset about epiracy are losing market share, while Baen – which set up, I believe, the first Ebook Free Library – has gained by the practice. I know there have been a lot of Baen books I read first on their library, then acquired the printed work.

      • Clark E Myers

        Those most upset about ePiracy are Harlan Ellison – the rest is entirely debatable – see the decline of the free library chez Bane – though you may facts where the rest of us are limited to beliefs and opinions.

        • Actually, this just means you haven’t been to a lot of cons. I wish it were JUST Harlan Ellison. The library chez Baen is in transition due to deals with Amazon. That’s the “decline” you perceive.

          • Clark E Myers

            Actually I have from Dragon Con to Moscon and parts in between but I gafiated.

            The specific reference was

            (tongue in cheek given the references in these threads to forming an association of professional writers immune to Pournelle’s iron law of bureaucracies and doing for writers as a group what the writers found more difficult individually and intending to suggest that tempests in a cup of whatever size are ever with us and doubly so in membership organizations – see e.g. The United States Chess Federation from the Fisher Boom to the Polgar bust.)

            in the context of the aforementioned effort by the up and coming Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi along with the EFF and with the encouragement of and active participation by e.g. the Fluorosphere to purge SFWA of elements opposed to having their own books posted on line.

            For Harlan Ellison on the general topic I quote with some trepidation:
            “….” IF THAT DEMENTED, SELF-SERVING MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD “INFORMATION” PREVAILS, AND EVERY ZERO-ETHIC TOT WHO WANTS EVERYTHING FOR NOTHING, WHO EXISTS IN A TIME WHERE E-COMMERCE HUSTLERS HAVE CONVINCED HIM/HER THAT THEY’RE ENTITLED TO EVERYTHING FOR NOTHING PREVAILS, AND THEY ARE PERMITTED TO BELIEVE INFORMATION MUST BE FREE, WITH NO DIFFERENTIATION MADE BETWEEN RAW DATA AND THE CREATIVE PROPERTIES THAT PROVIDE ALL ARTISTS OF ANY KIND WITH AN ANNUITY, TO ALLOW THEM TO CONTINUE CREATING NEW WORK, THEN WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT IS THE EGREGIOUS INEVITABILITY OF NO ONE BUT AMATEURS GETTING THEIR WORK EXPOSED, WHILE THOSE WHO PRODUCE THE BULK OF ALL PROFESSIONAL-LEVEL ART FIND THEY CANNOT MAKE A DECENT LIVING.” Harlan restraining himself as he sought public support rather than telling us what he really thought :).

            Dr. Pournelle (past SFWA President himself and responsible in some part for Mr. Heinlein’s Grandmaster award) in a much more restrained fashion at the time mentioned wrote:

            “For my own part, I was horrified to find that everything Niven and I have ever written is available on the Internet in Microsoft Reader and other formats. Everything. And surely this is not “fair use”?

            Intellectual property is very much in danger, and this is a serious matter. Precisely what, if anything, can be done isn’t at all clear to me….”

            I’m even current on some of the specifics of the Amazon pricing issues. If you prefer that I not use the word decline with respect to your beloved Baen then let’s agree on a different word maybe petered out and then mostly taken down for rebooting? Prime Palaver was began and pretty much abandoned long ago. What was once believed and may will have been true as to the benefits of publicity and free on-line distribution with oddities of pricing may well be changing – see e.g. Kris and Dean on the distribution market changing under them faster than they could act – or maybe not.

            The free sample/piracy fight was intended as an example of changing attitudes within and around SFWA and the whole fan community. Sort of like the classical mathematician who said of the terminating 4 color algorithm “that’s not a mathematical proof” only to be told it would be as soon as he and his friends died off to be replaced by younger folks with different ideas. Jo Walton in Among Others and in person describes finding SF as a life changing experience. Folks in the same youthful golden age and older today are imagining the slash of or perhaps shipping Master Chief and his girl friend an AI – that’s going to impact publishing and making money as much as any other change in discriminatory pricing (discriminatory pricing meaning profit maximizing schemes not invidious discrimination)

            My point in contrast to any party line can be boiled down to you (for any value of you) may be right or not – and either way you may be right tomorrow or not. And my objection that folks are not taking a long view leads to my conclusion that they should.

            • Oh — I don’t think that “information wants to be free” in the sense that books are “information” is right. Our writing is craft, not “information” — but the mad chasing after pirates is counterproductive.
              Look, most sane people don’t go to download sites. You might as well hang up a shingle saying “Yep, I like trojans.”
              OTOH giving stuff away for free does bring in the customers: aka Baen Free Library.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Maybe it’s just me, but I really think you need to take a breath and break out your several different subjects that you include in your comments into separate ones, because by the time I get to the end of one of these long, rambling things, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Clark E Myers

            Never said it was just Harlan in fact I said it was NOT just Harlan but that Mr. Ellison appeared most upset – meaning even to the point of alienating folks who might have supported his position but not his expression of it. Certainly by my lights the rest really is at least debatable – though I once had an exchange with Steve Stirling on the side of there is nothing to debate.

            • For goodness sake. Saying “Mr. Ellison appeared most upset” is a statement on a par with “Water is wet, fire is hot, the Pope is Catholic and bears poop in the woods.”

              On that particular issue the horses have run off, the barn has burned and the only thing standing is the frame whose doors some folk are desperately trying to close.

              • I doubt the Pope has to bear much poop.

                On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 8:15 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                > ** > RES commented: “For goodness sake. Saying “Mr. Ellison appeared most > upset” is a statement on a par with “Water is wet, fire is hot, the Pope is > Catholic and bears poop in the woods.” On that particular issue the horses > have run off, the barn has burned and the only ” >

    • “Stalinist purges in the not so long ago Scalzi and Doctorow EFF horror at using the SFWA name to hinder epiracy”
      Details or links? Not familiar with this, and google didn’t help much.

      • Clark E Myers

        Your Google fu is weak grasshopper. See e.g. chez
        Boing Boing
        Science Fiction Writers of America abuses the DMCA
        Cory Doctorow at 11:44 pm Thu, Aug 30, 2007
        and read all the comments starting with the comment thread on that post but also chez the Fluorosphere for one version of a party line and for the old guard Harlan Ellison supra and remarks by Dr. Pournelle and posting at Chaos Manor where inter alia Dr. Pournelle wrote:

        ……………..
        The explosion was not confined to the general Internet. There was also an explosion within the closed SFWA Internet conferences. Some members waxed obscene in their condemnation of Dr. Burt and anyone who dared defend him. I was accused of caring only for my own rights, and indifferent or hostile to others. It went well beyond that. I won’t repeat some of the obscenities and scatological comments made about me, many by people you’ve heard of and possibly admire.
        ……………

        anything more needed?

  11. Rob Crawford

    “Perhaps early feminists believed they could, by virtue of words on paper, redraw the old, old battle line that has been going on since before we were even humans.”

    As in so many areas, I blame Marx. He apparently dipped deep into the well of insanity and proclaimed that it was “oppressive” for women to bear children when men did not. You dig around in the origins of the gender-war feminists beliefs and you’ll find Marx there, I’m sure.

  12. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    There’s a guy on another site who is “Stuck in the 70’s” regarding Civil Rights and race relationships. [Sad Smile]

  13. Birthday girl

    The little flirting thing, and as I experience it, it’s not even what I would call a sexual thing, something more ephemeral … yes. As man-like as I tend to be, being borderline Aspie, my husband tells me I get assistance at the hardware store like he never ever got … and I just try to ask sweetly, that’s all it takes. It doesn’t happen at home, though, lol.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      It does lose its effectiveness over time, used on the same person. It’s still generally appreciated, though.

    • Asking nicely in places like hardware stores works even for me, and with my current weight I’m well past my attractive phase. Maybe I remind the younger guys – and in most hardware stores and garages most of them are younger than me – of their moms, or something.

      • William O. B'Livion

        Nah. Generally speaking the sort of folks who work in hardware stores *like* to be helpful, and hardware stores tend to like to hire those types.

  14. masgramondou

    There are many problems in France but one thing I like about France is that the women aren’t afraid to flirt and in fact they enjoy it. And they are upset when you don’t respond to the push up bra or whatever. I mean they spent 30 minutes or more on make-up hairdo wardrobe that morning and you males should appreciate it and show your appreciation

  15. I don’t think I have the flirt gene. Really. Since I don’t get the signals, then I just try to be friendly. If you get on my enemies’ list, then I don’t even try. When the hubby points out the flirting– I am totally confused– still at my age. There is a possibility that what others see as flirting is just friendliness. Seriously– I don’t get it.

    • Thank you! I’m not the only one!

    • Birthday girl

      Yes. A nice smile seems to go a long way 🙂

      • You get more with a smile and boobs….I’m sorry, where was I?

        • Well, back then I was a hopeful B cup. It took having kids to acquire what could be termed boobs… So it must have been the smile.

          • To borrow a concept from Pratchett, the male mind is capable of tremendous filtering in pursuit of the Prime Directive.

            So don’t worry about not having boobs. If he’s interested and he figures out that you’re interested he’ll create them.

          • Sarah, all I am going to say is that I have at various times been attracted to ladies ranging the full gamut from A to DD, and no matter the size of the turret mounts the fire control is far more of a factor in hitting the target.

            • Huh? What exactly do you mean dear?

              • Given the way life’s events can cause breasts to change size over the course of a marriage and child-bearing (preferably in that order, but plans do not always go as desired) any man who bases his choice of wife on the dimensions of her breasts is indeed a boob.

              • My dear, you know Tracey, Would you say she’s over an A? At one point in my high school I was attracted to a young lady who had DDs at 17. I can only wince at how she must have felt being drooled over now that I’m older and wiser, but at the time the attraction was powerful. And then there’s you, who are somewhere in the middle.

                The one I’m still with is the one who had the combination of non-physical traits (that would be fire control) that made the relationship worth keeping, and loves me.

                Love you.

    • Ditto.

      I seem to “scan” as either mother or sister for most guys– and that works for me.

    • Arwen Riddle

      So it’s not just me then? Good to know.

  16. The bottom line for men is that expressing any sexual interest in any woman is very risky– in my opinion the risk isn’t worth the potential reward. So I’ve given up the whole idea of dating as a lost cause. At fifty, it isn’t a big deal for me, but I do feel bad for younger men.

  17. Well, there’s two factors here.

    1. Any unobservant male not used to any female being nice to him will tend to interpret any nice treatment from females as flirting, and possibly serious interest. (Unless you really really remind him of his sister, mom, or grandma.) Nowadays, it’s not just nerds who aren’t used to getting nice treatment from females.

    2. Any female who is secure, old enough to be interested, and in a good mood will tend to both treat any male (who’s not a jerk) nicely and flirt with him a bit. However, an observant female will observe the effects and moderate the dosage so that both have innocent fun, whereas an unobservant female will not.

    3. Unobservant females interacting with unobservant males does not create fun times for all. When neither side has a consistent code of conduct with consistent outward signals, things get even less fun.

    • Flirting or variants can be lots of fun in a structured environment. 😀 I used to do a lot of Scottish Country Dancing. The official style guide for instruction (laid down by Miss Milligan of sainted memory) for certain figures was “making eye contact with your partner”. To which we would all chorus, “FLIRTING!” Also encouraged by the fact that we would carry fans at balls (yes, even some of the men, the little fold up kind fit great in a sporran) for very practical reasons. You work up quite a sweat with that kind of dancing. BUT you can also flirt quite nicely with them. (Not to brag, but I can even do the full-fan-snap-unfurl. A skill sadly lacking in today’s society.) And nobody took it seriously, so we all had a good time.

      Maybe what we need are flirting seminars…because sometimes it does take training. (Shuffles feet, remembers going on a date without realizing it was one… He had to tell me later or I still wouldn’t know.)

      • Mind you my “flirting” tends to include what I call “kindness” — if a guy really WANTS to talk about his fish/plant/sister, you let him. Oh, not for hours, but you give him a few minutes. If he makes a joke, you smile, even if you heard it before. When I was a waitress, just THAT got me double the tips my peers got. They always wondered what I was doing. JUST that. In fact, older men, (and their wives, in which case they both wanted to talk about their “boy” and how they wished he’d find a nice girl like me) were my biggest tippers. Older guys alone felt a need to apologize in case I thought they’d been flirting by giving me a huge tip and saying “Buy something for your hope chest.” 😉

        • ** Strikes off talking about his tropical fish **

          • Well, a lot of guys are _interesting_ when they talk about their tropical fish. And many people are cuter/more confident/attractive when they’re talking about something they care about.

            The trick is to give yourself a little time limit, and then shift conversation to the other person’s interest.

            • I can recite the entire Wikipedia entry for Neolamprologus multifasciatus …

            • Enthusiasm is adorable and if well done, highly attractive– part of why I like geeks.

              Enthusiasm is passion that includes a vulnerability– part of why women go for “bad boys” is that they at least manage the passion part. (I find it a highly flawed selector because passion is easy, honest passion about something that makes you vulnerable is brave; it’s like charity with someone elses’ money.)

        • Birthday girl

          “Be excellent to each other.”

        • Wayne Blackburn

          You know, smiling at someone (in a not creepy way) is a near-universal way to raise people’s spirits. It’s no wonder older guys would give better tips to someone who smiles at them and treats them nicely. They’re probably not used to it any more.

          My friend and I were once told by a waitress that we had completely turned her life around, simply because every time we were there, we smiled and said thank you for whatever she did, whether it was bringing our food or topping off our coffee. She told us it changed her whole outlook, and now she had a much more positive way of thinking. That’s an extreme example, of course. Your mileage may very.

    • Fashion doesn’t help. My sister gets hit on A LOT, with guys getting quite pissed at her when she’s just being polite and helpful at work. She dresses fashionably– by which I mean too tight and too little for my taste, but inside of Target’s dress code– and simply having a genuine smile triggers some of the scuzzies.

      • I think there is a class of guy who follows the spaghetti strategy to mating. Hit on anything, something’s bound to stick

        My sister has similar complaints. Of course, she sees it as evidence for Male Privilege instead of selection bias and the non-zero number of jackholes in the male population.

  18. Speaking of the slogan thinking and security blankets, this driver must…well, the photo speaks for itself…

    http://inmycopiousfreetime.blogspot.com/2009/11/attention-must-be-paid.html

  19. Laura Runkle

    Male flirting body language – smile, open arms and lean slightly in, slight turn of head.
    As opposed to folks who do cross the line. Yes, my first summer job at a factory, I was given a pornographic greeting card by one of the men on the line. My response was simple. I got in his face when some other men were around who I knew had daughters, and asked him, “Really? What if someone gave this to your daughter? Really? Grow up!”
    It was certainly not an “all men are pigs” thing. Instead, once I asked the question loudly, the men did the social enforcing.

  20. I tried to teach my daughter–and any of her friends that I could rope in– that 99.9% of men will respect boundaries. But 1) they have to recognize it for a boundary–they’re not psychic–and 2) the boundary has to be drawn *before* you get to the point of being uncomfortable and nervous.

    • The tale, albeit possibly apocryphal, is told in Anthropology 101 … During WWII American troops stationed in Britain (“over-paid, over-sexed and over here”) were causing disruption in the local billets. Anthropologists were called in to discern the source of the friction.

      According to the tale, what these anthropologists found were two conflicting cultural norms. In America boys were expected to be polite but aggressive, girls were expected to tell the boys where the line was drawn: first base, second base, etc. In Britain, how far a boy went with a girl was an implied promise of acceptance of responsibility for the results.

      Much friction of a very personal nature was the result.

      You have to know there are rules to play by the rules. Even if (especially when) they tell you there are no rules, there are rules.

  21. It seems to me that what you have described is to flirting as anti-matter is to matter. Flirting allows a constructive ambiguity in relationships, it recognizes male and female are different (vive la!) and find one another interesting in ways that are situationally inappropriate so that this aspect, once acknowledged, can be relegated to subtext.

    Anti-flirting refuses to allow ambiguity, rejects sub-text and infers the lowest possible meaning. By demanding an unrealistic unachievable premise (that men are not sexually attracted to women, that women are not sexually attracted to men) it wrong-foots both parties, forcing awkwardness that need not occur and provoking friction. It is a power ploy, allowing one party to put the other on the defensive and forcing concessions which would not otherwise be given and which, once given, engender resentment.

    Flirting, properly performed (at least, so I am told; there is no evidence extant of my ever having successfully intentionally flirted with anything more substantial than an idea, and most occasions of deliberate attempts to flirt on my part have seemed to evoke such descriptions as “off-putting,” “creepy,” and comparison to Hannibal Lecter and Nurse Ratchett) is based on a presumption of mutual respect; anti-flirting is based on a need for one party to gain an upper hand. Is it any wonder that the primary objections to flirting come from the totalitarian-inclined?

  22. The consistent thing, the one thing that always seems to be true regardless of the shift in position, statement, belief, practice is this – a sense of being an outraged victim. Which is part and parcel of what Our Gracious Hostess mentioned above as a “pot of message.” And it effects more than just young women, and in more than just this situation.

    You are a victim. You are oppressed. This is always accepted as true, and so you must always be torqued off about it, complain about it, point it out, and “speak truth to power”, even in the face of contradictory facts.

    It’s almost like a Vile Prog isn’t happy unless their rear is puckered about something… which prevents them from being happy. Hence their typical joyless nature and their drive to remove good humor from all in their company.

    I think I’m getting closer to a Grand Unified Theory of Progs.

    • 1. The way they smile in groups, when not threatened or on the attack, gives me the creeps. I imagine the inclusive smiles turning into predatory feral snarls just like that.

      IMHO a GUToP must account for the bipolarity of their rage and their (artificial, afaic) joy.

      2. In fact, my Inner Curmudgeon points out, the whole country smiles too much. What is there to be constantly so happy about? I’m not urging a return to Life is real! Life is earnest!, but a dash of 19th Century sobriety and seriousness might encourage the Gods of the Copybook Headings to keep their distance.

      • The problem is that irony can feed on itself. Any attempts to escape into sincerity, honesty, and meaning can be fed back into the machine to avoid escape.

        sigh One can hope

        The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows.

        David Foster Wallace

        • Oh my stars and garters, yes. Save us all from the affectation of ennui, the bored cynicism of the culturati. Where’s the non-ironic enthusiasm for things? Where’s the joy</em? Or is that now a concept that's been subsumed into the grey goo of the culture?

          I want that word back.

          • I’d blame my keyboard for that tag closing, but you know what they say about carpenters and tools.

            • Sorry the only saying I can think of offhand about carpenters and tools is an old surveyor saying, “Only carpenters and whores use inches,” often followed with a question which I do NOT recommend asking if you are working with a woman, unless you know her well, and she can take a joke.

              • Yes, but old surveyors use chains and rods instead. Spare the rod and lose 16 feet 6 inches, is what I’ve always said.

            • Well of course a poor craftsman blames his tools. He’s poor! He can only afford crappy tools! *grin*

          • If you want to see two of them get their comeuppance, the arc in Rusty & Co starts here.

            Might be more intelligible if you started at the first story, to be sure, since there’s some continuing characters. (starts here)

          • Where’s the joy?

            I remain unreconciled to losing the word gay.

            I have no objection that homosexuals use it to describe themselves. My concern is that the mainstream culture went along and discarded the primary usage of a somewhat elemental word.

            • And then redefine it to mean “stupid”, or a general insult. Most of them without being aware it’s a sexual slur.

              • Thus demonstrating the PC folly. You change the word, you get a new word that rapidly picks up the connotations of the old, you do not get a change of mind. There’s even a term for it “euphemism treadmill.”

        • Point taken. Americans smile too much and sneer too much, and we jump over the territory between the extremes..

          • Bah. The sullen looks of Europeans are NOT an improvement.

            • The sentiment is not unknown in Europe, and not even new.

              Any man living in complete luxury and security who chooses to write a play or a novel which causes a flutter and exchange of compliments in Chelsea and Chiswick and a faint thrill in Streatham and Surbiton, is described as “daring,” though nobody on earth knows what danger it is that he dares. I speak, of course, of terrestrial dangers; or the only sort of dangers he believes in. To be extravagantly flattered by everybody he considers enlightened, and rather feebly rebuked by everybody he considers dated and dead, does not seem so appalling a peril that a man should be stared at as a heroic warrior and militant martyr because he has had the strength to endure it.

              G. K. Chesterton

            • 1. 😡 scowls

              😛

              2. Besides, my stereotype of Europeans is that they are trying to look supercilious. They would probably not be pleased to be described as sullen.

              • Not be pleased? This is a problem how?

                • It’s not a problem for me. In fact, speaking as the child of European refugees who, by definition, did not want to live in the USA (until they’d been here a very long time), I find it amusing. That is, I’ll find it amusing if we get our act together.

            • I was noticing yesterday that several of our teenage girls have worked hard on their sullen looks. Very disgraceful and it really bleaches the pretty out.

              • Too many people fail to realize that pouty and sullen only works for supermodels, and then only on magazine covers. In real life it wears thin almighty fast.

                From one of my favorite movies:

                Klara Novak: All my knowledge came from books, and I’d just finished a novel about a glamorous French actress from the Comedie Francaise. That’s a theater in France. When she wanted to arouse a man’s interest, she treated him like a dog.
                Alfred Kralik: Yes. Well… you treated me like a dog.
                Klara Novak: Yes. But instead of licking my hand… you barked. My mistake was I didn’t realize that the difference between this glamorous lady … and me was that she was with the Comédie Française … and I was with Matuschek and Company.
                http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/s/shop-around-the-corner-script.html

                • Heck, the pouty and sullen look doesn’t even work on magazine covers and advertising posters for me — my brain reads it as a real look, says “B*tchy personality – avoid!” and shuts down the attraction filters.

                  I still remember the time when I stumbled across the folder on a friend’s computer that contained his porn collection (this was back before video was easy to get online, so it was only still images). Again, the faces killed any attraction for me — the expressions on the women’s faces ranged from bored to predatory, NONE of which are looks I’d want to see on a woman I was sleeping with. (Which would, in such a case, be my wife — I’m quite firmly committed to following the Bible’s teachings on this subject.) It wasn’t hard at all for me to stop looking at those pictures, since the attraction factor (despite the assets on display) was effectively zero due to the facial expressions alone.

            • Or transplant New Yorkers …

              • Nyah – ALL Americans are USAians, all USAians are Americans. Not all who claim to be American (even those born here) are; some have had their souls occupied by the ideas of foreign devils. How is how you can tell the difference:

                It is a corny song, and if you cannot unironically sing along you are an Occupant

                And I’m proud to be an American,
                where at least I know I’m free.
                And I wont forget the men who died,
                who gave that right to me.

                And I gladly stand up,
                next to you and defend her still today.
                ‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
                God bless the USA.

                • That’s one of my favorite songs! Too many of my tranzi acquaintances don’t like the the term American and prefer USAian. Thus my preference for American.

                • Graduation song at Navy bootcamp.

                  Not the big dress uniform one– the one after you spend all night running around like a maniac doing the stuff you’ve trained for the last several months.

                  • The one where you stop being a Recruit.

                    I have two memories of that song. One is standing in formation, sweating, winded, and so tired my eyes can’t cross, fighting back tears as the RDC’s hand out NAVY ballcaps. The other is in the piano bar in downtown San Diego, drunk as I get, singing along with the bar filled with half of the department who are equally inebriated, if not more so.

                    I LIKE that song.

                    • I tell you, when that song first came out, I thought of it as kind of a gimme. Easy songwriting, heavily dependent on previous patriotic songs, and of course the subject matter was nothing that anybody’d ever disagree with. Who wouldn’t be patriotic? It was the 1980’s.

                      It’s aged very well, though, because people have put a lot of love into it; and so has Mr. Greenwood, to his credit. And so it’s actually grown since it first came out, or possibly I’ve learned to associate some powerful experiences of patriotism with it.

                    • IIRC, he did a lot of charity stuff with it– refused to make money off of it after 9/11.

                    • Makes my throat tight just thinking of it.

                • The ONLY issue I have with that song is that the second line is looking more and more like changing to “Where I used to know I’m free”. Which is why we need more of the standing up and defending.

            • Sullen? I just thought they looked constipated.

    • “You are a victim. You are oppressed. This is always accepted as true, and so you must always be torqued off about it, complain about it, point it out, and “speak truth to power”, even in the face of contradictory facts.”

      And so you need a Moses to lead you out of oppression.

      • Of course. Or as Greg Gutfeld said in The Joy of Hate (extreme paraphrasing here) all feminist rage eventually devolves to “my Daddy will take care of this,” be that the actual dad, or surrogate dad in the form of guvmint.

  23. They covered this over at Vox Day’s site a while back. He called them rabbits living in a warren. I kinda like that as it avoids them getting their knickers in a twist because they might think you are calling them heifers. Still, anyone who’s ever seen a herd in motion has no desire to be in front of a stampede, no matter how stupid the cows are.

    I’ve tried posting on the SFFW thing in a few places, both there and elsewhere, and was shut down every time. Even had the comment at the SFFW site deleted. I wont even try any more. The two cultures are too different; we no longer speak the same language. How long should a Russian spend on debating someone who speaks Mandarin?

    It would be nice though if I could make them understand that you can either have freedom of speech or the right to never be offended, but you can’t have both.

    • You mean there’s SOMETHING that doesn’t let them get their knickers in a twist. My kind dear man, as a male, you miss when they get their knickers in a twist and are quieter about, only doing it where women can hear.
      I have no such illusions.

  24. A mooving, er, essay, if you will. And I loved ‘tempest in a b cup’, I needed a good laugh. As an Odd myself I’ve always regarded popular culture with bemusement, perplexity and amusement. Just as well you didn’t recycle the old ‘sheeple’ term, else we’d have to reference sheep jokes.
    Exposure to Heinlein and Ayn Rand at an early age inoculated me to the various victimologies of the Left, even when I agreed with some of them- VietNam was a bloody mess we should have left to the French; but doesn’t excuse John (Traitor) Kerry, his disrespect of the services, and his fellow travelers.
    It’s sad to see SF-dom crumbling into the politically correct mess it seems to be. At least Baen and ebooks can break the barriers the new would be gatekeepers are setting. It’s strange seeing people who call themselves ‘liberal’ sliding into neo-Victorianism. And, thank goodness, I now know *why* so much of what I’ve picked up on a whim in the bookstores has been such unmitigated dreck. I had begun to suspect it was old age making me so curmudgeonly… but then I’d get one of yours or John Ringo, or… well, a few others at least, and realize they’re publishing dreck, but dreck with the ‘right’ signals, I guess. I wouldn’t mind the relentless leftism if they could wrap it around a good story, but haven’t seen much evidence of that.

  25. Cows aren’t stupid! They’re evil, Machiavellian, plotting, malicious escape artists!

  26. The thing that kills me is how these annoying people love to redefine stuff, just for their own amusement or to keep people on the hop.

    “Grimdark fic” has apparently been redefined by fiat of the Proper People to mean “hyperviolent and full of misogynist rape action,” and this is henceforth to be how it is taken by all proper sf/f fans. This, despite the fact that most users of the term ARE KIDS, and just mean “it is grim and dark fic, and hence will not be happy and sunny.”

    The Proper People love to ruin other people’s lives, and even other people’s jokes and customs.

    • 1. I gather that originally “grimdark” was a Warhammer 40K joke, which makes sense.

      2. Of course, the humorous connotation says, “I’m not taking your dark, gritty, edgy fiction as seriously as you are,” which is probably the real reason the Proper People want to redefine “grimdark” and assure everyone that they don’t write it, heavens no.

      • I don’t think it was a joke. The thing is, Warhammer 40000 is a game, not even RPG, but a WAR game. More fighting is better then. Morally equivalent is good because, like a battle between the Nazis and Soviet Union, it lets you concentrate solely on the pure intellectual side.

        • Tagline: “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.”

          • Warhammer itself is pretty grimdark, too– the god of insanity includes “love” in his portfolio, IIRC.

            I get tired of it quickly, because most of the time I can see the gears showing– I think a lot of the originators were either HUGE Tolkien fans, or got a lot of Catholic philosophy without knowing it, so when they want to be grim they just turn it around. I’m not describing it very well, but it started to creep my husband out that I was able to just know what twists were coming up next….

            Plus, I just have no tolerance for grim darkness of the dark, grim world building; I believe that things turn out OK in the long run, and the grim darkness is how much can go wrong in the meantime. Building a world where things just can’t go right is cheating, and for no dang good reason.

            • Oh yeah. In Warhammer 40,000, there is a god of hope. He’s evil.

              OTOH, in the fiction, the writers frequently opted for actually telling stories.
              “In the grim darkness of the far future there is more than war. There are real people there too.” Dan Abnett

            • Arwen Riddle

              The real world gives me enough grim darkness. I prefer my fiction have hope.

    • Is there a term for Mark Lawrence / Joe Abercrombie / Ari Marmell stuff?

      • The aforementioned Grimdark. Joe Abercrombie’s Twitter handle is actually @LordGrimdark, though I’m pretty sure he’s at least half joking. Seems like a pretty upstanding guy. I’ll report back should I get the opportunity to view the specimen at shorter distances.

    • I used to post over at Spacebattles until the mainstream sf orthodoxy combined with gamer bad behaviour got too much, and this is the first time I’ve heard of grimdark defined like this. Not saying people aren’t using that definition, but the guys using it on a daily basis wouldn’t recognize it as such.

      Ghost, by the definition of the Right People, would be grimdark. To the Warhammer/Spacebattles fans, it’s actually pretty sunny reading.

      • Well, in My Little Pony fanfic it often just means that sad things happen. Which isn’t to say that sometimes it isn’t really grimdark in the dystopian way (MLP:FIM fanfic is full of variety and mostly written by angsty college kids), but more often it just means the hero/ine has to deal with meanies at school who say mean things, or that emo things occur. 🙂

        Needless to say, I’ve seen discussions in that fandom of whether “grimdark” is overused as a tag. I would say… yeah, probably. But it’s yet another awfully cute thing about MLP fandom that I don’t want to see crushed like a bug.

    • Oddly enough, I was reviewing Poul Anderson’s Call Me Joe with the memory of a grimdark flap still lingering, and so I ended up with a warning that it was grim.

      Perhaps I should have said bleak instead.

      It’s not massacre and ugliness; it’s that — to quote the review: “But like J.R.R. Tolkien, he did much original research into Nordic myth. Tolkien tempered his admiration of the Norse myths with his Christian belief that hope is a virtue, and despair a sin. Anderson doesn’t show the tempering.”

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I’ve heard that “hyperviolent and full of misogynist rape action” can be pretty meh as far as WH40k fanfic goes. As in not shocking enough to be worth noting.

      I remember having a world I’d spent time building and patching together described as grimderp. Which is something like grimdark with less intellectual integrity. (Take some scores of decades of existential wars against aliens. Require the armies to field females. Do not include artificial wombs, or introduce them fairly late. Play fair, and don’t cater to the feminists.) I still don’t think it is necessarily qualitatively worse than history and prehistory, but I’ll grant the possibility of stupidity on my part.

      • Two possible routes:
        1, the “you have to field women” thing seemed forced, and the criticizer was basically going “if manpower is an issue, only a moron fields the baby-makers.”
        2, the critic finds recognizing that women are babymakers and treating them any differently is bad– ie, biology is derp.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Original formulation was posed significantly differently than how I’ve just written it. I think there were grounds for criticism, but the guy grimderp came from admitted to not being fully aware of where I was coming from, what some of the references meant. Doesn’t really matter.

          If I write stories in it, that is a test of my skills. If not, I can always strip mine bits for other settings. An important test of worldbuilding is whether I can write stories in it that I would want to read.

  27. My pickup is large and grey — I need to get decals so I can put on the back:

    “WE BRAKE FOR NOBODY.”

    >:)

    • My favorite is a gun blogger who – in parody of the stick figure families – put together a decal of a single Tusken Raider with the caption “My family walks in single file to conceal their numbers”

  28. I’ve never read any of your books but this post convinced me to go to Baen and order one.

  29. Ah, yes. Bumpersticker thinking;

    “Wouldn’t it be nice if the schools got all the money they need and the air force had to hold a bake sale to buy another bomber?” …because encouraging the military to seek funding outside of the control of Congress is SUCH a good idea!

    “A mind is like a parachute; it only functions when open!” A mind is like a parachute; if you leave it open all the time it will drag you through thorn bushes and off cliffs.

    “No blood for oil!” Actually, if we had KEPT the oil fields for our own use, I wouldn’t mind a bit.

    “Friends don’t let friends vote Republican” Because its PERFECTLY acceptable to interfere with somebody’s exercise of the franchise if they disagree with you.

    • “Free Mumia!”
      Tell you what, I can’t go so far as Free. How about 10%? We’ll just take that right off the top.

      (Dang, I commented on the next thread first, but it could have gone almost as well here.)

    • “A mind is like a parachute; it only functions when open!” A mind is like a parachute; if you leave it open all the time it will drag you through thorn bushes and off cliffs.

      Well… it works if you know how disastrous improper opening is– wrong time, place or fashion– and how much work it takes to make a ‘cute ready to open properly, and how much training it takes to KNOW when and how to open one…..

      • My favorite element of the mind = parachute argument is that the person sporting such a B.S. almost certainly does not have an open mind .. starting on a whole range of topics including but not limited to: gun control, public education*, government’s role in health insurance and pension planning and the labor market and …

        *A “favorite” B.S. is the “If you can read this, thank a teacher” injunction, when I consider the vast number of people I know who a) essentially are self-taught readers and b) have suffered impaired reading ability at the instructional hands of acolytes of the “Dewey Decimal System” insisting that they only learn to read in the approved manner and timing.

        N.B. – the “Dewey Decimal System” is a nod to Scout, of To Kill A Mockingbird, the literary exemplar of such autodidacts.

    • “Friends don’t let friends vote Republican” Because its PERFECTLY acceptable to interfere with somebody’s exercise of the franchise if they disagree with you.

      There’s a woman who I believe was brought up on charges because her Republican husband entrusted his absentee ballet to her, and she threw it away.

  30. Thank you for this reasonable, sane, wonderful post. I’m 50 years old, and I’ve considered myself [what I thought was a] feminist for years, but lately I keep looking around going, “Wait….wait…..WTF??!!! You’re kidding me, right?” This isn’t equality, this isn’t the strength of women, this is a bizarre fetishizing of victimhood, and a codifying of passive-aggressive dysfunction. Gone Victorian, indeed.