The Heart of Darkness

Most of you know where I stand in the current and inane SFWA follies.  For those who don’t, I find, as my friend Amanda put it the other day, that a professional organization that devotes itself to the professional well-being of its members, should neither know nor care if its members profess doubleplusungood opinions.  And no organization that moves according to rational, representative norms, would spend its time expelling a life-time member for comments uttered in a private forum, comments that the other person chose to take public – and that the other person chose to take offense at.

But SFWA can not do anything about its members careers.  It never could.  I’ve written about it before – on why SFWA is not a union, on how its attempts to work as a union do not work.  Also on why this is a disaster for unions as a model for worker representation because the model of work of fiction writers is where most of the educated workers of the world are going – you can work anywhere, with your own (mental) tools and are free to enter into any contract you find advantageous to yourself.  If the union (SFWA in this case) tries to control the employers, the employers go around them and start hiring fresh workers, far away.  What are we going to do in response to unfair clauses, to contracts that take our copyright, to reductions in already minimal advances, all the while shrieking you have to act professional (Professionals can totally live and focus on their work on 3k a year, can’t they?  Nota bene that all the fields taken over by “progressives” end up with unpaid work where the exploited ones – interns, adjuncts, beginning writers – are told that to complain would be unprofessional and where the weak people are held to much higher standards of behaviors than their masters.)

This flaw in the design of SFWA has always been apparent, and therefore the people inside chose the other route.  “Act like we’re a big bad union, but co-opt the employers, make nice to them.  We can at least secure good deals for ourselves and our friends.”

Note that everyone they go after, and everyone they pound on are small presses or things their pet authors disapprove of: write for hire, Amazon.

I haven’t been as involved in the SFWA wars as my friend Kate.  Part of this is because it doesn’t interest me that much – I dropped them over their idiocy over Amazon – and part of it is because I’ve seen the spectacle SFWA has become often before.  I went to a village school, where bullies had full run, and where they were as likely to take aim at the aged teacher as at the first grader.  Long ago my reflex to meet them was to grab a desk and march in front of my cowing classmates and teacher, using the desk as a winnowing fan against the bullies.  Actually being a target of PHYSICAL bullies was never a problem for me.  Those who’ve met my family will understand when I say I am in proportion to my generation in Portugal as big and imposing as my son.  A problem for dating – being a giant at 5’6” and wearing a size 7, as I was back then – but oh, so useful to keep me unmolested except by the particularly large and dumb.

Psychological bullying, otoh…

So the spectacle of SFWA insiders acting like school yard bullies in a small and unenlightened village long ago gives me heart burn, and I don’t get involved unless they’re particularly stupid, or particularly funny.

I am not, regardless of what people say, of think, a happy warrior.  I’m a happy writer and left to my own, I would be writing novels and short stories and letting the world go by outside my door, heedless of their actions and their insanity except where they might provide story fodder.  But I mind me the fate of Archimedes, who at least according to some accounts, was so absorbed in his studies he failed to see his city was invaded, and when going out to go about his business was murdered by an ignorant soldier who didn’t know the great man and who saw only a peasant disobeying orders.

So I am aware of what is going on.  I just don’t talk about it much, since it’s a club I no longer belong to, trying to ingratiate themselves with publishers I wouldn’t submit to at this point if they paid me a lot of money.  (Yes, Baen is a member of SFWA, but I don’t need to be in SFWA to ingratiate myself to them.  I just need to write books that sell.)

Since the protest by members on the right the left and sideways against what is going on in SFWA, and SFWA’s response, which I think amounted to “Neener, neener boo boo, all these writers we used to like are dead to us” I’ve been sure that what they’re destroying is actually their own organization.  No skin off my nose, and SFWA hasn’t been useful for anything but as a directory of members since I joined in 1999.  And in the age of internet, there are other ways to get hold of a colleague.  For one, most of us belong to ten informal email lists.

On Thursday, on her blog at Mad Genius Club, Kate referenced the blogger known as Vox Day by no more than he’s referenced above.  She pointed out the current president of SFWA’s first action in office was to expel the one who’d lost the election to him.

Kate attracted a troll.  This was not surprising.  The surprise is how weak the troll sounded.  Dilute drink.

His first comment was as follows:

 

John Wesley Hardin

February 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm (Edit)

Having no other dog in this fight, I would just like to say that Vox Day is a reprehensible human being, and deserved to be forcefully ejected, not only from the SFWA, but from society in general. But that’s just my opinion.

I probably wouldn’t have answered at all, in a normal day – but having spent Friday cleaning and its having been a rather violent sport because of Havelock’s digestive issues, yesterday I felt what is popularly known as “sick as a dog.”  Not that I recognized it as such, of course.  No.  I thought of it as “a bit out of sorts.” And “My brain isn’t engaging.”  Feeling much better today, all I can say is that I came as close as makes no difference to catching the thing that has laid the rest of my family low for a week.  I don’t THINK I did.  I feel – as I said – much better today.  (Besides, having spent the evening with Mr. and Mrs. Vodkapundit and the person known at Baen as Speaker To Lab Animals, enough alcohol was consumed to kill anything trying to take hold.)

However, I was this peculiar combination of tired and revolted at his comment, so I answered this:

accordingtohoyt

February 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm (Edit)

Oh, how cool. So, you have been given license to decide who gets to live and who gets to die? Great.
Because 100 million dead is never enough. Let’s give it another try.

His reply left me breathless.  It also led to this post, because what is going on with SFWA is the sad and pathetic episode of a bunch of creative people destroying their standing in the world and losing touch with what they are supposed to be doing.  That is silly and sometimes amusing, and mostly revolting.

But it is also a microcosm of what is happening in society – of how uneducated, semi-literate people, encouraged to think of themselves as so smart and so “right” about everything (easy.  When you’ve been indoctrinated instead of educated, you’ll never disagree with received wisdom, and you now you’re “right” because you agree with all of those you think of as your betters.) think they can take on racism, sexism, any other ism you think of, and drive it from the world by shutting up those who have thoughts they think are wrong.  Except that the line for what is not permitted as thought or opinion keeps changing, and the number of the ones who should be “expelled from society” grows ever larger and more arbitrary.

Did this poor creature read anything – a biography of Mao, say, or any of the very good books on how Hitler came to power?  Or maybe about Lenin?  Stalin?

Apparently not.

This was the reply:

John Wesley Hardin Feb 15, 5:02 pm

Live and die? Hardly. I’m sure the ruff, tuff libertarian Vox Day could, if he were ejected from society, single-handedly hack a Randian utopia out of the wilderness and show the rest of us namby-pambys how to really go Galt.

And this is my reply to him –  written here because I needed room.  The post be linked there as soon as I put it up.

Little boy, I am fifty years old, but you make me feel like I am a thousand.  Little boy, how old are you, and who had the raising of you?

Did you ever read the horrors of the 20th century?  The first step is ALWAYS to expel the victim from “society” – which of course makes it a non-human, who can then be expropriated, killed or have all manner of evil perpetrated against it.

Little boy, I don’t have any particular interest in Vox Day – we’ve exchanged a few emails, some of them arguments – but I’ll tell you this: when you tell him he’s wrong he doesn’t seek to “expel” anyone from society.  Instead he says “I might be, but…”

Yes, I know the double plus ungood comments the honorable (and reading comprehension impaired) female author who started this leaked about him. None of them were as abusive as what you’ve done to him.  No, not even if you take them at face value.  (And with him you never should.)

Objectively, what has Vox Day done to you that you are so full of hatred for him: He expressed opinions you don’t like.  Yes, some of those might be objectively despicable, if taken at face value.  But then again, Little Boy, the opinions many members of SFWA express – say the ones who think we should give communism another try – are objectively despicable, because encouraging the return of a regime that has led to mass graves everywhere it was instituted is objectively despicable.  However, you don’t see anyone howling for the ejection of communists from SFWA.  EVER.

What has SFWA done to Vox Day: You have maligned him in public.  Your anger at him has spilled from blog to blog, magnifying his offenses and blackening his character.  Worse, you’ve expelled him from an organization in which he had a lifetime membership.

And now you’re saying he should be expelled from society – and in the way you mean it, you mean from human society.

Because he doesn’t think like you.  Because he has ideas people (yes, me too, with some of them) find offensive.  ALL THE WHILE embracing to your bosom people who think using state power to control what people say and how people think is a positive – and this last, btw, is far, far, more offensive than anything that Vox can have said.  (I don’t know.  I don’t read him every day or even every month – but I can’t imagine any rational human being, not blinded by ideology wanting someone expelled “from society” for having incorrect thoughts.)

Do you believe in evolution, child?  Because I do.  I know, it will totally blow your mind that someone who is self-avowedly religious believes in evolution – but I do.  This is because most of us don’t take our beliefs off a shelf like little indoctrinated sheep.  We evaluate, we choose and we take this and not that, and sometimes take that even though we know on its face it conflicts with this because we know our intelligence isn’t perfect and there might be a higher knowledge that reconciles the seemingly ireconciliable.

It is possible to think outside a group.  It is possible to form your own opinions.

 

Unfortunately the clay that humans are formed of makes this very difficult, particularly for the weak willed and insecure.  This is why it is so important to study simian group dynamics.  This is where we come from, and if you think we’ve got so far from it, you should look at kids (particularly girls) on the playground, bullying one of them who committed the unpardonable offense of sticking out.  Or look at SFWA.  (Now I understand why Kate has been so hot in pursuit of this.  I was never bullied, but she was.  I’m fairly sure that’s where her wish to fight back on behalf of anyone a group unreasoningly turns on comes from. Which makes her a hero because most bullied people just break.)

 

Any human society that says “you can’t belong to us because you think the wrong thoughts” is on a very dangerous path.  Particularly when “wrong thoughts” are no more wrong than those expressed freely in the association.

 

Any human association that listens to people who continuously shriek offense and hurt is on its way to expelling people for thoughts and words.  SFWA is already there.  The spectacle of the expulsion of  Vox was followed by the maligning of Resnick and Malzberg for using the horrible word “ladies” and talking about an editor they respected as having been beautiful.  Then there is the eruption of the blogger who thinks everyone should write “non gender binary characters” because science fiction is – apparently – a school and we need to choose the curriculum.  This is only marginally associated with SFWA (I don’t even know if the woman is a member.  Her credentials are thin enough) but it’s the type of thought that drives SFWA “writing is an instrument for education and our organization is the most important thing evah and therefore it can by itself root out the ancient evils of racism, sexism and the tendency of humans to turn on anyone who is different and outlier.”  (They’re apparently going to do this by turning on anyone who is different or an outlier in a way not approved of.)  And now we have the truly unedifying spectacle of SFWA turning on old members, (many of whom DO hold statist beliefs I consider reprehensible, but SFWA doesn’t) for standing up for freedom of the press in the form of the Bulletin.

And SFWA is forming committees to determine what its members may think and say…

Can self-denunciation sessions be far behind?

 

SFWA doesn’t have armies or enforcers.  Actually most of its nebbish core would run screaming when faced with most people getting tired of its antics.  All it’s doing is committing suicide.

 

But you Little Boy, with your wish to ingratiate yourself to the bully-group, your blithe inability to understand the group mechanics driving this, your running back to tell them how you showed those ungodly oh, sorry, those double plus ungood things… you Little Boy worry me.  Because there are many like you, and they are all ready to do anything to be in the “in group” and the “cool people” – follow any charismatic leader, ostracize anyone, denounce your neighbors, cheer at executions of “bad thinkers.”

 

While you confine your antics to SFWA you’re merely pathetic and ridiculous.  But there are a lot of you, willing tinder to a fire that threatens to consume civilization.

 

Little Boy, with your little toys – what you’re really playing with is death.

 

306 responses to “The Heart of Darkness

  1. I am strongly reminded of the Harper’s article, Who Goes Nazi?

    http://harpers.org/archive/1941/08/who-goes-nazi/?single=1

  2. Go get them Sarah!

  3. Because there are many like you, and they are all ready to do anything to be in the “in group” and the “cool people” – follow any charismatic leader, ostracize anyone, denounce your neighbors, cheer at executions of “bad thinkers.”

    I am strongly reminded of the 1941 Harper’s article, Who Goes Nazi?

    http://harpers.org/archive/1941/08/who-goes-nazi/?single=1

    • Yes. And his blithe and idiotic ignorance of what he was saying was particularly chilling.

      • Thanks, by the way, for getting my comments unstuck. Sorry about the double comment: I thought my first one had been completely swallowed, not just held up in moderation.

        • apparently if you use the word N a z i WP will not just moderate you, but put you in the spam folder.

          • Godwin’s much-misinterpreted “law”*, way too strongly applied? Somehow I’m not all that surprised.

            * Seriously, the original was “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving N*zis or H*tler approaches one.” Problem is, it’s now been distorted to mean “Thou shalt not mention N*zis ever, lest thou lose the argument.” Yes, if you’re blithely calling people N*zis for disagreeing with you, you should be considered to have lost the argument, but the distorted version would also forbid such useful debating points as “You know democracy isn’t a perfect safeguard of everyone’s rights: look at 1930’s Germany for a good example of how a canny politician can manipulate popular opinion, and get people to vote themselves into a tyranny.”

          • Well, how could we ever hope to repeat history if we attempt to learn from it?

  4. I haven’t much clue on Vox Day’s opinions, though I know he has been mentioned a few times as someone the SFWA doesn’t like, and that he’s supposedly openly racist. That’s the sum and total of what I know. Regardless of his opinions, as long as they stay that and he doesn’t try to kill people or have people killed (and from the sounds of things, he hasn’t done either) he’s quite entitled to his thoughts and opinions though I might not agree – or even be horrified by them. What he says on his blog is up to him, and if I don’t like what he says, I don’t have to read any of his stuff, blog or otherwise.

    But he damned well has the right to express them.

    Is it strange that I would prefer an honest racist who tells me to my face he hates me, so I can avoid him or her; than the two-faced, honey-tongued hater who pretends to be a good person but in truth would sabotage my advancement in any form or otherwise would indirectly hurt me or seek to harm me and mine?

    • Vox is an agent provocateur. He’s also at least 1/2 Mexican, so the entire racist thing is… mostly double talk.

      BUT yes, I agree with you. I’d much rather people say their “bad thoughts” out loud where they can be combated than have people ban others from public discourse.

    • not so much racist as very willing to openly state some (for those in the chattering classes) very uncomfortable truths or queries. Some I think are said just to rile up those fools. (can’t say I’ve read much of his stuff, but the stuff they seem to “view with alarm” has been not nearly as bad as what they claim it to be)

      • I could be wrong but the arguments I’ve seen Vox Day make that get taken as “racist” have more to do with culture and habit. You learn things like the value of education and your work ethic from those around you, particularly your parents; he says it will take some generations for some subpopulations to change their work ethics, habits, attitude towards education, etc. That gets taken — and purposefully slanted — to be about genetics.

        • My whole problem with the “dark enlightenment” (what, the first enlightenment wasn’t dark enough for ya?) people is that they appear to be trying to poison a discussion about culture that we need to be having by starting to talk about culture and then taking right-angle turns into talking about genetics.

          • One of the most successful tactics to make sure no discussion is made is to bring in so many different tangential issues that can also be discussed and pursued and jumped back and forth on, so that your opponent becomes disoriented or confused; if they put one fact wrong you can then call them stupid, confused, or that their arguments are invalid. One of the important things in dealing with these situations is to force focus on the important stuff and keep away from the tangentials. So of course any unwanted discussion on culture, Kultur, and reality should be steered into discussions on genetics and race so that there is a basis to scream terms like racist and hater and bigot at someone who is actually trying to resolve a question.
            Bang. Win.

            • So of course any unwanted discussion on culture, Kultur, and reality

              Pardon me for the tangent… but, if I may ask, what’s the difference between ‘culture’ and ‘Kultur’? Besides language, that is, and I am guessing that it has a subtextual meaning that I am not familiar with. This is the first time I’ve encountered them used in the same sentence. o_o

              • I’m being pretentious. To me culture is a bag of technologies, techniques and shared concepts that develop spontaneously to allow a society to function (whether it is Mousterian, Mycenaean, or a logging camp) Kultur is something that was developed by social engineers with deep degrees on how the world should be, and attempts to define what should be valued, but ignores the technology to keep it going in favor of focusing on the arts and philosophies that we are supposed to revere.

                I spent the afternoon yesterday with my sister, who has an advanced degree from a prestigious university, who is fully committed to Kultur and makes me insane. I hope I didn’t get any on you.

        • Oh, one more thing… and this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately… the left in the west _talks_ about their great ideal of racial equality, and racism and how they’re against it, the whole nine yards… but I think they doth protest waaaayyy too much. They not only believe in racial superiority and inferiority, they seem to believe strongly in collective punishment of ethnic groups that resist.

          • All you have to do is look at actually communist regimens. They ARE racist, sexist AND homophobic.

            • Were I less alarmed and disturbed by the situation, I could find amusement from how shocked, SHOCKED the establishment is at Putin and his policies and statements about homosexuals. You know, the “of course we tolerate them, just as long as they stop beating their wives!” ones.

          • If African-Americans are not intellectually inferior there is no justification of Affirmative Action, if there is no justification of Affirmative Action they relinquish one of their primary levers of power.

            Extend the argument at your leisure.

            • In fairness, the argument I’ve always heard for Affirmative Action was that these groups were the ones usually found in economic disadvantage. WHY it’s these ethnic groups in particular as opposed to well, why aren’t most East Asian / similar ethnicities in the slums is never addressed, nor is the question of ‘why can’t they be more like the Asians’ ever answered.

              A cultural stigma on poverty is probably one of the reasons why… BUT THAT’S RAAAAAAAAACIST (right? right?)

              …excuse me, I think I bit my tongue trying to keep it in my cheek.

              • And then the result is that the middle-class or upper-middle class members of that “disadvantaged” group actually take advantage of the preferences … ie., the ones that in fact should not need them.

              • Interestingly, Affirmative Action has been the operative rule for about half a century and its “beneficiaries” are performing worse than at the start.

                Some people might suggest that race/culture/discrimination have less to do with all of this than the preponderance of single-parent (PC-speak for fatherless) households. Such crazy, vicious, undoubtedly racist voices might also claim that because all of the “fixes” address symptoms rather than the root-cause the problems fester and the patent-medicine providers prosper. But that’s just crazy talk.

                Some people might alternatively point to the recent book Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr.

                From the Inside Flap

                The debate over affirmative action has raged for over four decades, with little give on either side. Most agree that it began as noble effort to jump-start racial integration; many believe it devolved into a patently unfair system of quotas and concealment. Now, with the Supreme Court set to rule on a case that could sharply curtail the use of racial preferences in American universities, law professor Richard Sander and legal journalist Stuart Taylor offer a definitive account of what affirmative action has become, showing that while the objective is laudable, the effects have been anything but.

                Sander and Taylor have long admired affirmative action’s original goals, but after many years of studying racial preferences, they have reached a controversial but undeniable conclusion: that preferences hurt underrepresented minorities far more than they help them. At the heart of affirmative action’s failure is a simple phenomenon called mismatch. Using dramatic new data and numerous interviews with affected former students and university officials of color, the authors show how racial preferences often put students in competition with far better-prepared classmates, dooming many to fall so far behind that they can never catch up. Mismatch largely explains why, even though black applicants are more likely to enter college than whites with similar backgrounds, they are far less likely to finish; why there are so few black and Hispanic professionals with science and engineering degrees and doctorates; why black law graduates fail bar exams at four times the rate of whites; and why universities accept relatively affluent minorities over working class and poor people of all races.

                Sander and Taylor believe it is possible to achieve the goal of racial equality in higher education, but they argue that alternative policies—such as full public disclosure of all preferential admission policies, a focused commitment to improving socioeconomic diversity on campuses, outreach to minority communities, and a renewed focus on K-12 schooling —will go farther in achieving that goal than preferences, while also allowing applicants to make informed decisions. Bold, controversial, and deeply researched, Mismatch calls for a renewed examination of this most divisive of social programs—and for reforms that will help realize the ultimate goal of racial equality.
                [Amazon]

                • “Sander and Taylor believe it is possible to achieve the goal of racial equality in higher education”

                  Given that practically every college and university in the country loudly proclaims that it does not discriminate by race in its admissions — except in favor of the races regarded as “disadvantaged” — Sander and Taylor can only mean that their goal is to see statistical perfect matches between admissions and the racial makeup of the country as a whole. Am I wrong here? Is there some third meaning I’ve missed?

                  And, if they believe this is achievable, they are fools. Not uncommon fools, which is what I was about to write, until I caught myself. But. Fools. The best we can hope for is admission that is blind to race. And even that won’t be easy, though I, personally, consider it well worth the effort to try. We can start by eliminating affirmative action, the noble contradiction which, in the end, remains an insoluble contradiction.

                  But that still won’t result in the statistically perfect match between demographics that Sander and Taylor appear to be seeking. Not until all genetic and memetic differences between cultural groups disappear, which will be Never. I, personally, believe the genetic differences (what is usually meant by “race”, though the idea that that actually means anything has long been debunked) are unimportant. The memetic differences are rather more important and surprisingly resistant to change. In part because humans like belonging to a distinctive memetic group, even when that puts them at certain disadvantages.

                  I know. Sander and Taylor appear to be among the good guys, at least in many respects. Perhaps they felt they had to say what they said to establish their bona fides as legitimate human beings. Still.

                • Interestingly, Affirmative Action has been the operative rule for about half a century and its “beneficiaries” are performing worse than at the start.

                  Might be some selection bias there.

                  At my high school, we had a pair of siblings; one is a thug, the other is brilliant and hard working. Their father was from Jamaica. Guess which one identified as “Mixed” vs “African American.”

                  Fast forward to boot camp: one of the gals was flaming mad about someone labeling her “African American” because she has sickle cell when she’s Puerto Rican, NOT black. For appearance? My first thought was “Wow, if she wore a white wig she’d be a great actress for Storm of the X-Men.”

                  • Y’know, the Sickle Cell gal puzzled me because I only vaguely remembered that a lot of Puerto Ricans were supposedly of African descent, so I went (…yeah, I know… it’s fast) and looked on Wikipedia

                    “The majority of Puerto Ricans regard themselves as being of mixed Spanish-European descent. Recent DNA sample studies have concluded that the three largest components of the Puerto Rican genetic profile are in fact indigenous Taíno, European, and African”.

                    Well, that was enlightening to me. More about the self-ID than the genetic profile.

              • When in California, the universities faced the law saying they couldn’t discriminate for blacks, they went, Aha! and discriminated for the poor.

                When they looked at all the Vietnamese and Eastern Europeans they got, they went back to the drawing board. Diversity is the newest excuse.

          • And the whole “white privilege” concept is just one memetic mutation away from being a re-statement of white male supremacy, since the basic claim is that white men are fundamentally different from everybody else — and if we look at history, we notice that the majority of major contributors to our civilization have been white males, so therefore, logically …?

        • Yes. So very much yes. And the plain truth that some cultures are truly better than others is completely unacceptable to the “sensitive” and “caring” Left, and so they try to destroy anyone who dares say so. No culture is perfect, mind you — I could point out many flaws in my own culture — but some cultures are truly worse than others and need to be changed, so that the people of those cultures will have their lives improved. Funny how the “sensitive” and “caring” Left is against that — there’s a reason why I put contempt-quotes around “sensitive” and “caring”.

          • Black ghetto culture is a pure parasite culture. It drains energy from and otherwise harms its parent society, and has zero ability to survive without a host. This is a truth which is considered “racist” to acknowledge, despite the fact that it is a culture rather than a “race.” It’s also so damn obvious that no sane employer will let someone manifesting the traits of that culture near any job in which there is much potential to do harm to the company.

            • Oh. That sort of ‘racism, class-ism and bigotry.’ The Pound Cake Speech ‘racism’. The daring to say that a person needs to have a brain, backbone, heart, morals and soul ‘evil.

              If that’s what is considered evil these days, I don’t think I’d be seen as a good guy, ‘ey?

              Come to think of it, I reckon most the folks here wouldn’t be.

              Is that why I feel like I’m in good company?

              • Nope, you’re here with a bunch of malcontents, cultural bigots, authors and readers, a couple of scripture-followers, and even a few people who have the gall to think for themselves and use logic and deductive reasoning. You’d better flee while you have the chance. 😉

                • Oh well, I’m one of those too! Every single one of ’em, tick in the box, though I’m a quiet Solitary pagan practitioner who is also a Marian Devotee. (And that is all one will ever hear about my religious beliefs! It’s personal, and private, and sacred, and I have no interest in converting anyone! Congregation of one. My kids are baptized Roman Catholic and I’m raising them with Christian values because I feel they’re good.)

                  Have it on the highest of the Idiot Authority too, well, at least in that person’s mind. You know who I mean.

                • “Think for myself”???!!!! In the words of Bartleby, the Scrivener: “I would prefer not to.”

                  No telling what kind of danger you can get into by thinking for yourself. Best to let certifiable experts do your thinking for you; that way you have somebody to lynch blame when it all hits the fan, goes belly-up, turns to ashes, goes cock-a-hoop, runs aground, …

            • Yes, and they don’t notice that the whites who acculturate into that culture run into the same problems. Because they have the same bad attitudes and bad ethics.

              • Thomas Sowell has argued, most notably in Black Rednecks and White Liberals, that the “Black Ghetto Culture” is in fact the White Trash or Cracker Culture … which means that in order for African-Americans to be “authentic” they must act out the role of Hillbilly Trash.

                Spider Robinson is right — G-D is an iron! (Although we might perhaps ought give the Devil his due on this inversion.)

            • You know the great tragedy is, that up until the Great Society programs the black ghettos were going the same way as the Italian ghettos, the Irish ghettos, the Jewish ghettos and all the other transition communities that the large cities have. The problem is that the all so well meaning liberal types took something that would have disappeared on it own, the transitory immigrant community and made it permanent.

        • This is why they conflate “race” with “culture” and declare Clarence Thomas (and Walter Williams and Tim Scott and Allen West and …) to be “White” and William Jefferson Clinton to have been “Black.”

          Their inability to explain it in any way that makes sense (without semantic buggery) is proof that we are too stupid and unsophisticated to buy that bag they’re selling.

    • Is it strange that I would prefer an honest racist who tells me to my face he hates me…

      Um… no, not strange at all?

    • Oh yes … he’s racist and sexist in some ways. Though not nearly as racist and sexist as some of the groups with which the SFWA would sympathize — or at least not criticize — because they make the right anti-Western noises. But he isn’t trying to force anyone to agree with him. The SFWA is. That’s where I see the moral difference, and I know you agree with me on this.

  5. Instead of the Troll Hammer, Mrs. Hoyt wields a rapier and handles with all the aplomb of Dread Pirate Roberts.

    • There will be no survivors. Thank you!

      • and for you the opponents seem to be the quality of Humperdinck instead of Inigo

      • You weren’t writing that letter to Mr. Hardin, who would stop reading at the first “Little Boy” phrase. If you were writing to those who oppose Mr. Hardin, an essay would have been more effective. But, it’s obvious you were writing for yourself and perhaps your fan base. There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you and your fans believe that the letter will have an impact on Hardin and others like him. It won’t, because complaints, arguments, evidence, proofs, etc. don’t matter to such people. They cannot be persuaded. They have to be removed or worked around. (We’ll leave assassinated off the list.)

        • No — the Little Boy is APPROPRIATE. I feel like an old, old, old woman compared to him.

        • Mingo, I’ve dealt with racists, and similar in real life. Like too many in SFWA and Dumbocratic party, they are so self absorbed that they can’t be offended. BTW, Sarah doesn’t write for “fan base,” but anyone intelligent enough to read her and think. We may, or may not agree, but she doesn’t require “group think.”

    • I wish there was a LIKE button for these comments. Some of them are fab.

    • It’s Dread Pirate Sarah!

  6. One of the conceptual traps in this is the idea of a person, or an organization, appointing itself to speak for “society,” and to expel people. Society is everybody; you are part of society if other people choose to deal with you.

    I’ve read Rand many times, and one of the key moments in plot is where Dagny Taggart, who has been increasingly isolated in the decaying socialist economy of the United States, lands in Galt’s Gulch—and finds herself among people who value her, who choose to deal with her, and who cooperative with each other rather than trying to drag each other down through political manipulation. That is, she finds herself leading an actual social existence, almost for the first time.

    Of course a person can be expelled from an organization. But the idea of an organization that can cut a person off from the entire human race is an inherently totalitarian one: The identification of “society” with a single organization where everyone takes orders. It’s entirely possible to value human society without valuing an organization that takes that kind of stance.

  7. And THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what an orbital cluestrike looks like.

  8. I haven’t much clue on Vox Day’s opinions, though I know he has been mentioned a few times as someone the SFWA doesn’t like, and that he’s supposedly openly racist.

    They say racist. I say scientifically and historically literate. But I don’t hate anyone on the basis of their group identity and I find it mildly amusing that people with IQs two standard deviations below mine get their knickers in a twist because I observe that there are groups with average IQs three and four standard deviations lower.

    I mean, from my perspective, they’re all effective retards anyhow. And, as Sarah has pointed out, I am a legitimate Man of Color, being tri-racial. The ironic thing is that genetically speaking, I am their postracial ideal.

    • Also, statistics aren’t reality and all the races are in fact very mixed, which means that you can have African geniuses and European morons.

      As I’ve pointed out though, I think what is wrong with Africa is that we exported socialism and communism to them. It’s not the genes, it’s the ideology.

      • Often overlooked is the fact that “intelligence” isn’t actually very important — what coults is knowledge, most specifically knowledge of pertinent facts. The foreign press is making much to do about a survey finding that 1/3 of Americans don’t know the Earth orbits the Sun* — to which I reply: Don’t matter to me if my mechanic doesn’t know orbital mechanics, so long as she knows auto mechanics.

        Wars — civilizations — have been lost because promotion was more determined by a candidate’s knowing which fork to use for the fish course than by how to manage a fighting retreat in the field.

        • ” … promotion was more determined by a candidate’s knowing which fork to use for the fish course than by how to manage a fighting retreat ”

          Oh, you’ve been reading Patrick O’brian again 🙂

          • Sharpe’s, girl.

            It is also a recurring theme in Thomas Sowell’s musings on intellectuals and their tendency to over estimate the importance of their knowledge.

            If ever I find where my copy of Master & Pommander got to (or find a copy on sale) I plan to read Mr. O’Brian.

            • OK – I absolutely HAVE to bring this up in the thread.

              I’m most of the way through “Antifragility” – and several things ran true.

              Background – mostly autodidactic here. Read 3-4 books a week, often in class, but nearly failed HS while acing tests and the SAT’s. Severely overvalued the value of education.

              Went into the nuke navy. Had an easy time learning much of it.

              Got out to sea – and had a very, VERY rough time at first. Why? Because the damn smart rednecks had a much easier time simply disassembling a pump/etc., whereas I – who had no issues drawing out the internals simply because I know how it worked, and how the whole plant interacted, took forever the first time doing a maintenance job because the actual, physical, practical details were something that took time for me to wrap my head around.

              Eventually, I figured out it doesn’t have to be perfect – that “good enough” really was “good enough”. That effectiveness trumps efficiency. That the ability to still be functional no matter what gets thrown your way trumps optimizing for the ideal and predicted.

              And over and over again, I had experiences that on reading Antifragility, echoed its core concepts.

              Among others – that education not only can be worthless, but can actively blind you to what we would call in other contexts “common sense.” – That choosing the path that gives you the most options tends to leave you more prepared for “luck” to fall in your lap. That mother nature is chaos incarnate, and not being ready to tackle whatever comes because it doesn’t fit your plan can get you killed.

              Hell – I know more than a few architects who’d RATHER take on the HS intern so that they don’t have to UNtrain them first – but can’t because certifications.

              So now we have a pending college education bubble where people spend tons of money on degrees that don’t actually teach anything, and far too many graduates who end up working at starbucks, and are miserable because they believe they deserve better, because college.

              • Education in the US is broken on a level that verges on fundamental. I’m not sure it can be saved, to be quite honest.

                There’s a fascinating little book out there about a German Jew named Gerhard Neumann. He’s a German Jew who grew up in pre-WWII Germany, who managed to still get an education in Engineering, and wound up working as an engineer for the Flying Tigers in China, before coming to the US and working for GE in one of their aircraft engine plants.

                What’s pertinent to this discussion is the path that he had to follow: Before even beginning his education as an engineer, he first had to become a qualified mechanic, which he studied under a master automotive mechanic named Schroth, before he could even think about entering the university. This is how the Germans ensured that their engineers remained grounded in reality, and similar practices were followed across the German educational system. Architects had to apprentice with builders, and so forth.

                We’re woefully lacking in this aspect. We send kids off to get four-year college degrees, and then move them laterally into jobs that really require a decent experience base in before they can function. This is why so many large construction projects managed by the newly-trained are almost guaranteed to lead to huge cost overruns, as the construction firms wind up spending huge money to correct things that never should have happened in the first place. Let’s not even get into the the number of construction-related idiocies that happen because architects and design engineers have no idea how things are actually fabricated and assembled in the field–My favorite story is from a friend of mine who works as a steel erector, and who had the signal honor of trying to explain to a young engineer that no, you cannot plan on having your welder weld himself into a steel compartment with no exit…

                We have a tyranny of academia in this country, and I fear that when they write our epitaph, a huge portion of it is going to be laid at that very door.

                • Have an architect client who’s told me that he loves his high school interns and wishes that they could hire them straight out of high school and train them. He can’t – if they ever realistically want to be board certified they have to have that degree (can’t just apprentice, get work signed off, and pass the test they have to take anyway) – but the ones they get out of college have to be, in his words, “de-trained”.

        • Went looking for it…ended up at the Discovery blog… apparently, anyone they disagree with should shut up. Because there “cannot be any debate.”

          Disturbing, but oddly fitting.

          Incidentally, looks like this is the pub, chapter 7, and questions are on page 23
          http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/

          US beat the EU by 8 points, btw.

          I’m sensing either a really high error rate, or people saying silly things to screw with the survey taker.

          • Given that all motion is relative, it is as accurate to say the Sun orbits the Earth as to say Earth orbits the Sun. The latter way just make the calculations much easier.

            Of course, talking about anything orbiting anything else is imposing a Sequentialist biased perspective on the Time/Space Continuum, restricting our view of Reality to a four-dimensional keyhole, as if the other six (for Branes) seven for the M-Theorists, or twenty-two for the Bosonic Stringests.don’t matter one whit!

          • How exactly are they defining the “size of the electron” in their survey? Coulomb-scattering-cross section? Because that depends on your velocity. “Hard-sphere” other-force scattering cross section? (I’ve had a bit of trouble finding data for that for electrons).

            Position moment of the electron shell? Because if you take the electron shell to be the electron’s “size” in its bound state, then the outermost electron is about the same “size” as the atom. 😛

            • I got into a debate with someone who _does_ know physics a lot better than I do and got pointed at some experimental results that put an upper limit on the size of the electron.

              Eventually, I came to suspect that the disagreement was definitional. I was thinking size as being the wavefunction of the electron but I think the current definition might be in terms of some irreducible minimum. Atoms, because of their structure and laws like the Pauli Exclusion Principle (which means your electrons can’t all occupy the lowest orbital) have a size that’s irreducible under ordinary circumstances. Electrons have no such structure so there’s no lower limit, given proper circumstances, on the “size.”

              But I suspect the survey didn’t go in even that far and the authors simply figured electrons are parts of atoms and, being parts, they have to be smaller than what they’re part of. That’s a logic fail, but that’s another story.

      • Also, I’ve pointed out that Africa over the last fifty years is more colonized than it ever was; it’s just not being done by Victorian or Edwardian or Second Republic settlers. All Mugabe’s ever been during his fifty year reign is a foreman for whatever communist or “post” communist fascist state he’s decided to rent Zimbobwe to.

      • Or as John Ringo put in The Last Centurion:
        It’s not the color, it’s culture.

      • all the races are in fact very mixed, which means that you can have African geniuses and European morons.

        Mixing is not required for that. Probability distribution would ensure that as long as there was some scatter and the baseline abilities weren’t that far apart.

        • No, of course it isn’t — I was starting to get feverish and got confused in expressing it — what I meant is “the races are in fact very mixed as to IQ” not mixed as to genetics.

    • *bows hello to Mr. Day*

      I’m not sure if it was clear, but I don’t buy the claims they put out about yourself.

      I’ve been called a bigot and such myself, especially for historical literacy (and I’m a Chinese-Filipino-Spanish-French-Italian mutt) – but I do believe the person who did so is held in negative esteem in these circles.

      • Not to poke at you too hard, but you’re falling for part of the big lie here when you point to your membership in non-white races as a shield against charges racism. “I’m not a racist because I’m part of race X” falls right in line with the non-sensical “black people can’t be racist” claim that has been espoused by pressure groups for years. Baloney. Baloney to the nth power. And you give it credence when you use it yourself. So stop it. 😉

        • Oh, no. Believe me, I’m well aware of the idiot claim that non-white people couldn’t possibly be racist – and it’s something I reject as politically correct obfuscation and stupidity. I meant it in tongue-in-cheek irony. The person who leveled the charge of bigotry at me (when the topic was historical literacy) is Chlamydia. I’m sorry it wasn’t clear. Forgive me but the explanation is a bit long.

          It happened on Jordan Bassior’s LJ – I said that for all the bad things that happened during the Philippine colonization by the Spaniards, the good thing they did was bring us Catholicism and its’ social structures. If that hadn’t happened, we’d probably be no different from Indonesia or Malaysia, and Muslim to boot. And then the Americans came along and decided everyone needed an education (something that most people did not get before) and well, that’s a great thing.

          Chlamydia spluttered over the fact I could ever believe SOME good ever possibly came out of colonization, instead of the purity of my people’s culture, or whatever that was. I’m not sure what purity he espouses, as even before colonization, the Philippines was a center of trade with the other areas of the region, and you know that pesky cultural cross-pollinization? Because I don’t condemn colonization as a 100% HORRIBLE THING AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN DONE AND THESE PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT TO FIND THEIR OWN DESTINY – I, a mutt born of that historical cross-pollinization… am a self-hating racist bigot instead of simply being a product of that history, according to Chlamydia. Someone who himself tries to espouse that he is half-Laotian (or something.) so he could never possibly be so gauche as to be racist.

          I’m sorry if it seemed like I propagate the ‘non-whites are never racist!’ lie. Any group is capable of it – even down to tribal differences.

  9. I think what is wrong with Africa is that we exported socialism and communism to them. It’s not the genes, it’s the ideology.

    It certainly didn’t help. But the main problem is that Africans simply haven’t had enough time or exposure to the sort of civilization that kills off those with short time preferences and a predilection for violence.

    It’s not like the Germans were entirely civilized after a mere 450 years of contact with Rome. Why do we expect Africans to do what the Germans and British could not?

    Of course, modernism and post-modernism are not helping reduce this time-to-civilization, they are prolonging it. It’s merely a hypothesis, but it is interesting how it panics practically everyone who stops and thinks about it. Because there is practically nothing that can be done about it in the short term, for good or for ill.

    • Doesn’t panic me — but it’s genetically dubious. I could agree with it for sub-saharan Africa, MAYBE — though then you have to ask the tough questions, like “was the Zulu empire better or worse than early Roman Empire?” (There are very odd similarities.)
      But the northern Africans and a lot of Asia were as exposed to the Roman Empire as Germany or England.
      The problem is I think certain types of beliefs — and Islam with its conversion by the sword, lack of questioning of the principles, etc, seems to be one of those. Communism too — MIGHT actually lower the IQ of the infected populations. (If you’re smart you’re going to be a target. So even if you are you learn to supress it.)
      OTOH I think you — and all of us — NEED to have this kind of discussion. The fact our very own racial minorities have been infected with Marxism makes this harder to distinguish. And if it’s Marxism, not genes, SOMETHING can be done, even if it’s not as simple a strike back as the end of Puppet Masters.
      Closing off argument on it by fiat, though, is the worst thing anyone on any side can do.

      • But if you allow the argument then people may discover that certain cultural traits tend towards negative outcomes. Then they’d start changing their culture and start assimilating into the proven-successful western culture. And it’s soo much more difficult to weild politican power in an integrated culture than a balkanized one.

      • I don’t know about “lower the IQ” — impair thought processing? Intellectual malware? Likely a semantic distinction of no real importance, but your phrase seems problematic, if only because more likely to be misunderstood, misrepresented, misappropriated..

        • And “higher IQ” seldom means that anyone is a better person for it. Society needs very very smart people (just like we need very rich people) but it certainly seems like there is a trade-off involved and the best neighbor is not necessarily the one with the highest IQ.

          • Some people have really high IQ tests and can’t function. And yes, you can fob an IQ test if you have… ah… intellectual malware. that’s what I meant.

            • I tend toward it’s religion that determines most if a society is successful or unsuccessful. If the prevalent religion promotes industry and individuality and honesty even when no one is watching and no one sees (the biggest difference between “honor” and an “honor culture”) then you’re going to do well because those values are going to be expressed throughout your society and will minimize both oppression from the top and a criminal sub-class on the bottom.

              Super smart people trying to “save” the ignorant from their ignorant dependence on superstition just shows they’re not particularly *smart* after all.

              But that wasn’t really my point. A healthy society that is going to experience any sort of progress needs everyone in it, including the extremely smart fellows who (might have, or not) traded off social skills or tact or reflexive non-confrontation and who might say things that are difficult to hear, be they right or wrong. Keeping within society, and expelling all others, only those who conform properly to happy-thoughts is long term destructive, just as much so as if we decided that some people weren’t allowed to be far richer than other people (another thing that doesn’t make someone either right or a better person.)

              I find it shocking, sometimes, that so few people seem to have any concept of their own long term self-interest.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                They appear to “think” that if they expel the “wrong thinkers”, they’ll have a perfect world. Of course, they don’t think about what would happen if a society had that power and decided to expel *them*. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                • A few weeks ago I ended up lecturing the high schoolers on what happened when Stalin took over the Soviet Union. They were impressed that Stalin would hunt people across the face of the Earth if he hated them enough.

                • Why, yes, that’s inherent. If you believe utopia is possible, you must have some factor that explains its absence — and this factor must be something that could change. Like free will. Or it’s impossible.

                  And then they move relentlessly outward, in search of new people, rather than admitting to chasing phantoms.

              • Some people have only two motivations:

                1. Feels good
                2. makes me fit in with the herd.

            • Call me cynical if you like, but I would not be surprised to learn that some IQ tests are calibrated to score higher for such intellectual malware. Helps keep out the riff-raff, if you know what I mean.

              Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

            • I always tell people that the navy née program takes not the top 5-10 % but actually the 90-95% range.

              Why? Most of the really, REALLY smart guys don’t have the common sense or real world skills to deal with hierarchies, the military, or working as a team.

              Hell, some of them have issues with basic stuff like showering, even WHEN they are ordered to do it every day.

              I credit my making it only to being raised in the marines – and only years later did I thank my Dad for it.

              • Most of the really, REALLY smart guys don’t have the common sense or real world skills to deal with hierarchies, the military, or working as a team.

                I knew someone like that. He was a student of quantum physics, studied where Stephen Hawking teaches. Very book smart, but seemed to take everyone as if they could never be possibly motivated by things like jealousy or malice, or manipulativeness. Unfortunately he could also be easily persuaded that someone was acting against someone’s ‘well being’ by using the word ‘fair’ – ergo, ‘that person is getting too much attention, that’s not fair’ – and he’d TRY SINCERELY to persuade the supposed oppressor to be nicer.

                Trying to argue or explain things to him regards social stuff just didn’t work. If I were trying to do so with him and trying to convince a flower it could sing, I’d have better luck with the flower.

                • Yup. I knew one of those in grad school. Brilliant academic mind, but we really did have to help him dress (as in, if there’s more holes than sweater, don’t wear it to teach in. Bob Marley was a great guy, but you need to retire that tee-shirt, Joe.) and learn table manners. Thanks be, Flat State offers a monthly “business dining and manners” session, and several of us signed up and brought him along “so we’d have an even number.”

                • Well, at least he was a nice guy projecting his own niceness onto the world. Those are MUCH more pleasant to deal with than the people who are convinced that because they’re smart, they would run things better than that uneducated fellow over there (who just happens, unbeknownst to Mr. Smarty-Pants, to have thirty years of experience doing that particular job). At least with people like your naive acquaintance, you don’t have to worry about their motives, and (if they’re a good friend, and they often make good friends) you just need to run interference for them occasionally to protect them from the harshness of the world they don’t understand.

          • It’s all about the time preferences. Civilization is basically extended time preferences + self-control. And it appears to take centuries to develop in population groups without them. A certain amount of IQ is necessary, but nothing spectacular.

            You just need a lot of it to have the self-confidence to speak clearly about it when everyone is pointing and shrieking at you….

            • Any more when I watch TV, I notice that advertising is designed these days to promote short time preferences and impulsiveness. And it worries me.

              • Short time preference means you do things like vote Democrat and take out a third mortgage with an adjustable rate.

                Longer time preferences mean you put aside for a rainy day, worry about the world your kids will grow up in, and don’t consider stopping at the store for milk and bread the night of a snowstorm as “being prepared”.

                • Yeah, but I saw this change in Portugal in my lifetime. I don’t think it’s genetic. I think it’s response to conditions.

                  • Which is why some of us get on so much about the need for people to be secure in their property as much as being secure in their persons. If any moment now someone is going to come along and take the surplus that you worked for and stored up (horded!) … it doesn’t matter a bit if it’s a criminal or the government who does it… we logically and rationally revert to the behavior of dogs who gorge themselves on a kill until the bits of unchewed meat are visible through the skin of our bellies…

                    Expecting people to respond with trust that they’ll be protected by the thieves themselves, that we will be given to according to our needs… that’s so irrational as to be insane.

              • Two observations:

                This is geared for the large number of folks who record and fast-forward through commercials, trying to embed at least some images in the subconscious.

                This is also largely derived from Sesame Street‘s formatting — presenting rapidly changing images to hold small kids’ attention. Some research has indicated this type of thing encourages ADD-type problems, causing such research to lose all funding.

                • This is also largely derived from Sesame Street‘s formatting — presenting rapidly changing images to hold small kids’ attention

                  The Sesame Street of today does not resemble very much the Sesame Street I grew up with. It’s why we didn’t have my son watch it after we watched a few episodes.

                  And Rhys put his foot down and packed away the DVDs when he watched an episode about a Quality Inspector Muppet ripping handmade clothes and other things off of other Muppets screaming that it wasn’t ‘up to standard’ or something like that. It still sticks in his head and he doesn’t understand how I have such fond memories of the show.

                  • Same reason I wouldn’t let the kids watch Dora the Explorer who, when bullied “shares her cookies with the monsters, and that makes them friendly.”

                    BTW your memory might be colored by nostalgia. I was — am I think — 10 years older than you, and having watched some sesame street with kids I babysat in the seventies, I found the tone consistent with that episode.

                    • Ignoring the propaganda content of the program, such typical videos as this —

                      — presented rapidly changing images with neural consequences we can only guess. But if Pokemon could induce seizures we must assume the effect is not non-existent.

                    • Thats entirely possible. I do remember not liking Cookie Monster. My favorite little sequence involved no muppets at all, but was a long close up pan-of-camera going up a sunflower, to some classical guitar music.

                      As someone who was bullied (and fought back when necessary) the idea that ‘sharing cookies’ – for whatever metaphor of surrender and appeasement one picks it represents – I can say for sure that is NOT the case. Also, trying to fit in doesn’t work, and is not worth the time OR the people trying to force conformity to transient, shallow trends.

                    • Funny story from my boot camp days.

                      We’d line up at our racks (beds) for inspection, clothes all folded neatly in our lockers, at attention, etc… and because everything was supposed to be so… uniform… (shirts and pants folded exactly the same way, placed in exactly the same spot, to the front edge of the locker, etc. etc.etc.) the Company commanded would wander around humming “One of these things is doing its own thing…… One of these things is not the same…”

                    • A key factor to consider is that the problem is not a few songs, skits and videos preaching a message that is “correct.” The problem is the ubiquity and uniformity of their preaching for “diversity.”

                      Superficiality — failing to recognize people as individuals rather than representatives of an abstract class — is a requisite of racism, sexism, whateveraphobia.

                    • First off, RES, I strongly doubt that sequence originated in the 1980s. It’s far too familiar, and I stopped watching Sesame Street around nineteen seventy-something. Besides, neither pinball nor funk were still hip by the 80’s.

                      As for the neural effects… hey, SQUIRREL!!

                    • I reckon ah ought have been more clear: Sesame Street is evil and has been since its inception. I in no way meant to imply that it only turned evil in the Eighties.

                      Like the best of Liberal programs, it (at best) achieves some slight good at great cost.

                    • I dunno. I sometimes got the impression that Jim Henson was a bit of a subversive at Sesame Street, more interested in entertaining kids while slyly entertaining their parents than in indoctrination. There are a number of Muppets songs and skits that are pure genius.

                      It all went to pot after Henson died. Two words: Elmo’s World.

                    • I dunno. I sometimes got the impression that Jim Henson was a bit of a subversive at Sesame Street, more interested in entertaining kids while slyly entertaining their parents than in indoctrination. There are a number of Muppets songs and skits that are pure genius.

                      This is my impression too, honestly. The concept that Sesame Street is indoctrination (of …?) is actually new to me. I’m actually still looking to find the book of where Mr. Hooper died to try explain death to my kids. (The ‘why isn’t your dad around’ has come up as a question and ‘death’ hasn’t been easy to explain.) I mean I remember there were songs and skits that I remember being good and useful teaching aids. I remember my parents sitting and watching with us and if we asked a question, they’d be there to direct us to either look it up or help us understand. If I could, I’d gather up the parts that helped teach and avoid the ones that don’t teach anything good.

                      It all went to pot after Henson died. Two words: Elmo’s World.

                      Such was my vast dislike of Elmo’s World that I flat out refused to have my children introduced to the annoying little eternal brat.

                    • This is my impression too, honestly. The concept that Sesame Street is indoctrination (of …?) is actually new to me.

                      That was the original purpose, although it was more “teach kids stuff like math, and basic manners” IIRC.

                      We watch mostly British kids’ shows these days.

                    • That’s… an entertaining way of putting ‘it’s okay to be me’ while throwing in a geometry lesson, and ‘there are people who look different from me, but we can all play together anyway.’ I’m not sure if I’m missing something… I mean, it doesn’t strike me as a bad clip, and feels like the edutainment I remember liking.

                    • I loved it– still enjoy it, since I know the song.

                      I don’t think it was made so much to send a message, as “Oh! I love Huey Lewis and the News! What song can we make an educational parody of?!?”

                      It’s not like they could use “I need a new drug.”

                    • Ooo okay!

                      I must ask now. Did they actually get the band to do the music for the Sesame Street version? Because one of the things I know my parents REALLY liked about the show was it introduced us to classical music, good musicians and singers and the concept of Parody. My dad, I remember, was particularly impressed with a rendition of singing the ABC song acapella, with a main singer (I think it was Kermit?) singing “A for apple…” after the intro.

                    • I don’t know– the Muppet show tonight did. That’s where I saw Alice Cooper first.

              • This was used to advantage to make a point.

                And yes, that IS being shown on TV over in Western Australia.

                (I love how they put in the cultural SYMBOL of the insane ‘free love, no rules’ 60’s…)

            • I have long opined that what we term civilization (I’m leery about that term, seeing as public perception often comes down to the Ancient Greek meaning = Us. So for example this JWH would consider himself and those he did not want subjected to ostracism as ‘civilized’– whereas I’d call them camp-following idiots, one grunt removed from Ug-the-caveman, where social exclusion = death.) in the sense of longer term thinking beyond narrow immediate self-gratification, is a direct consequence of harsh winters and an inability to up-sticks and move (which is what hunter-gatherer and even herder societies did when food ran out, not improve, move.)– and the inculcation of these traits into environments that were not-so-harsh, often by invasion. This was a repeated pattern if you think about it.
              I say this as a hunter-gatherer who upped sticks and moved when things got too harsh.

        • Intellectual malware’s an entirely appropriate term, I think. The individual may be very capable of being competent, but if they’ve been taught that actual learning is something to be despised and destruction rather than creation is praised, you’re not going to be getting anything useful out of them.

          Destruction’s far easier than creating something of value.

      • I think that this fits:
        http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2014/02/16/inheriting-the-earth/
        The Arab and Muslim cultures couldn’t build the things they have. Neither can the Communist and Marxist types. The problem with those types of culture is that they can’t deal with a creative society and it’s lack of respect for the conformity and power of the ones in charge so they repress and control the very creativity they depend on. The sons of Mary despise the sons of Martha because they need them and they don’t like that.

    • Bingo! As a person peripherally involved in trying to help relatives succeed in various capitalist ventures in Mali, I can tell you that the shakedown culture, from the government right down to the lowest employees, is very deeply imbedded in the culture. I have not heard the situation described as a time preference, but the description makes perfect sense. Honesty and a longer time preference is not an IQ thing or a genetic disposition, it is born of a culture that values the long time preference and rewards it. The greed and the “easy way out” of corruption are just human nature, when the opportunity and cultural tolerance of such behavior is provided.

    • I think that cold climates or dry sort of force people into long term thinking. If the environment is trying to kill you it focus’s your attention and when you have to scramble to eat, labor saving and ingenuity pay off big time.

  10. My knee jerk reaction is to try, as hard as I can, to view whatever someone says in the best possible light… that goes for everyone, too, on all sides. My knee jerk reaction, inculcated from the cradle, is to defuse confrontation.

    I’m starting to think, though, as I get older that even if it’s true that someone doesn’t quite realize the meaning of what they just said, that no one is served by not explaining to them *what they just said*.

    I excused myself from an exchange the other day after the guy used the terms “teabagger” and “kocksucker” and referred to them as liars. Clearly, I explained, you’re applying those words to people who disagree with you… and I disagree with you. Clearly… I know how you view me and I will not continue a conversation with a dick. Of course he said he didn’t call *me* those things but he did call me those things. And I discovered something… I can view any exchange in the best possible light, fail to hate someone, and *still* think that I (we, all of us) have an obligation to say… Do you hear yourself? Do you realize what you just said?

    So bravo, Sarah.

    • also these names come from those demanding “everyone” be civil in their discussions. “everyone” in this case being those they disagree with, not those they agree with.

      • It’s not uncivil if it’s the truth.

        *snort*

        • BTW – the terms used as dismissal both refer to actions commonly engaged in by homosexuals, so it is entirely appropriate to refuse to continue conversations with Homophobic Hatey McHaters. You can even loudly denounce their anti-gay hate speech with clean conscience.

        • Ah, but the truth is uncivil, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic … if you are of the wadded pantaloons class.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Actually, “it’s not uncivil if it’s the Truth” is the Lefties’ excuse for being uncivil to anybody else. [Sad Smile]

            • Interesting defense from a faction that denies the existence of Truth.

              Insert “Truth to Power” reference here, including prolonged argument about how it is the Publishers wielding power and suppressing Truth.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                That “excuse” was used by some in the News Media branch of the Left. Those types don’t openly talk about “There’s No Such Thing As Truth”.

                • Oh no, there’s Truth – the stuff they manufacture and feed as Truth with a side helping of Fact!

                  Kinda like how the East Germans born post WW2 were taught there had never been a World War II, there was only The War, and Hitler never existed, and that the Socialists had a much better life than those who followed Capitalism, because everyone in Socialism had a job, and there was no poverty, and there are *gasp* beggars and homeless. Also, America is technologically inferior – they’ve never sent a man into space! No, no, the life we lead is much more enlightened and superior, best we stay on this side of the Wall that protects us from their malign ways…

                  *drags self out of memory*

                  I always wondered how they took it later on, after the Wall came down.

            • But here it is manifestly not only not the truth (the Tea Party is not generally composed of male homosexuals) but even if it were the truth would be irrelevant unless the speaker believes that being a male homosexual disqualifies one from debate. (Which if he so believed would make him not merely hostile to male homosexuals, but also guilty of argument Ad Hominem).

            • I was thinking along the lines of what an Atlanta teacher said the kids in his class were wont to say … “Math is Racist” and what many of the loons I have argued with through the years have often said as well.

    • It can be problematic to view an exchange in the best possible light when the person you are arguing with is so undeniably a dim bulb.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        When I read this, I thought of David Weber’s line about “a battle of wits with an unarmed man”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

      • To expand on what Mark Twain said, it is important when arguing with idiots to make sure that the witnesses can tell the difference.

  11. There’s more than one game in town:

    The Society for the Advancement of Speculative Fiction (SASS) is a non-profit group dedicated to encouraging and mentoring aspiring and new authors of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction encompasses science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternate history and similar literary genres. It is not intended primarily as an organization for professional authors, although they are welcome as members.

    Instead SASS is geared towards anyone who has a serious interest in speculative fiction and wants to learn and grow as a author in a congenial atmosphere. Membership is open to unpublished, published and self-published authors. A mix of authors at different levels of achievement is intended to foster writing skills and stimulate creative talents among members. It is a group drawn together solely for furthering the common interest of its members in the love of authoring speculative fiction. Speculative fiction editors (and associated equivalents for other media) are also welcome to join.

    SASS expressly disavows any socio-political goals while asserting the right of its members to discuss and explore any and all subjects in speculative storytelling. Overt ideological or political proselytizing of any sort is discouraged, for the sake of organizational amity. SASS prohibits any discussion of politics, religion or any similar personal beliefs under its auspices, and membership is revocable for any such “breach of the peace”.

    • Checked out the SASS blog, looks like you guys wimped out on the PC issue. Seriously, given the political climate right now, if you’re not full tilt against the PC brigade, you are TWANLOC. The”peace” needs to be breached or it is the peace of the grave. Tell your speculative stories all you want, but God forbid any reality intrudes.

      • I’ve got no problem with limiting the purpose of a group to “polite company rules.” No politics, no religion, no obscenity… and no witch hunts for what people do on their own time in their own venues.

        The severe problems with PC is when certain (politically correct) people are allowed to hold forth on what is truly rude in polite company, but they don’t think so because they simply assume that *their* politics, *their* religion (or lack), or *their* feelings about obscenities (rubbing the prude’s faces in it), are all “correct” and others have no rights.

        Combine that with going after what people do and say *elsewhere* and moaning over how people who disagree, not only have to sit and take it quietly, but they have to be shunned so no one gets anti-PC cooties…

        There’s the difference.

        • Having read the posts on this blog and a few others I get the feeling that a lot of the SASS and SWFA people are like the inhabitants of Dante’s lake in which the victims are up to their chins in shit murmuring “Don’t make waves, don’t make waves”.

        • I recently ran across someone talking about how the “were-” in “werewolf” means “man” — or in modern English, “person.”

          Which is what being an arrogant bully does to you. She knew perfectly well that one meaning of “man” was “any human being.” She knew it so well that it never occurred to her that it might mean, as it does in this context, “adult male.”

  12. So that’s what it takes to get Sarah “in high dudgeon”. Always great to see Sarah plunging the dagger in to the hilt.

  13. Oh, yeah, Chlamydia is running around trying to get me to approve one of his usual, idiotic, poo-flinging answers. I won’t of course. In fact from now on I won’t even read them.
    I just find it interesting that he’s so obsessed with Vox. If he had a girlfriend he would make her dress in a Vox suit to whip him. (Sorry VD, but you must see the truth of this!)
    Also, of course, he hates any criticism of his beloved Marxists. In defense of all the brainwashed gits out there, I don’t think any of them is as bad as Chlamydia.

  14. It is curious how much ignorance the two comments express; I congratulate the troll on efficiency and compactness.

    In his first post “John Wesley Hardin” expresses it as “just my opinion” that people with different opinions should be denied the benefits of society. Must be a Swarthmore grad. I suppose they don’t teach the death of Socrates any more.

    In the second post “John Wesley Hardin” goes on to demonstrate an understanding of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of such depth and comprehensiveness that it must have come from reading critiques of Rand in The Nation or The Daily Worker. (N.B. – for those who think I repeat myself, The Nation is printed on better paper stock while TDW engages reality slightly more often.) Certainly JWH never read any Rand (not even the Classics Comics adaption.)

    Finally, it would be a shame to not credit “John Wesley Hardin” choosing for a nom de cyber the identity of a famous outlaw, scorner of societal rules and mad-dog of a killer. I would even call it ironic if I thought JWH knew the actual meaning of the term. (Hint for JWH: the only thing ironic about Alanis Morissette’s song is her thinking that she is being ironic.)

    • And the original J.W.H.’s family changed their name to Harding and disowned him.

    • “I suppose they don’t teach the death of Socrates any more.”

      Sure they do. Except they view it as a goal.

    • To be (slightly) fair, I haven’t read any Rand either, because I don’t like message fiction. If I’m reading fiction, I want a story, not a thinly-disguised political opinion piece — and from what everyone has told me (both those who love Rand and those who hate her), her novels are more opinion pieces than stories. I like reading opinion pieces, but not when I thought I was going to get a good story. Doesn’t matter if I agree with the opinions being expressed — I still don’t like being preached at in fiction.

      • To be (slightly) fair, all that is necessary is for you to refrain from extrapolating from source material you haven’t read. You, Robin, have exercised such restraint.

        I haven’t read any Rand, either, sharing your view based on the small samples I have attempted. I did, however, listen to an audiobook of “Shrugged” and it was sufficient to tell me that the descriptions of Rand’s work by her detractors is as if they were trying out to be characters in her next novel.

        • There are Cliff notes.

          • The problem – OK, one problem – with Atlas Shrugged is that she has the same lecture over and over again in greater and greater length .

            Reading one of the middle lectures – say half a chapter to chapter length, is definitely worthwhile once, because it is an excellent explanation of the free market vs. the takers.

            As fiction though? Meh.

            • Rand can be pretty dry, though there are poetic and well written parts in both Atlas Shrugged. and the Fountainhead. I read both in 1961 as a college freshman. I was raised on Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke, and her writing wasn’t any drier than Asimov, and her political ideas, radical then, are pertinent today.
              I re-read Atlas a couple of years ago, and it seemed almost like a manual now being used by Washington. Galt’s Gulch is fantasy, but her Looters are prophetic and all around us.
              The point is read it before you write it off.

            • Yon Anony Mouse

              Just read Anthem and call it good. It’s only about 70 pages (so half the length of Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged), and it’s not a bad story.

              It’s /also/ an anti-collectivist manifesto, but it’s short enough that you aren’t completely battered and bruised but her messaging club. You’ll also be able to say you’ve read Rand.

      • I read Anthem as an impressionable teenager and much liked it. But then I read The Ominous Parallels, a book by one of Rand’s disciples that, among other things, labelled Heisenbergian uncertainty as a statist plot and warned of the threat of Protestant fundamentalist theocracy.

        I had very little use for Rand or her disciples after that. “Randroids” is not too unkind a pejorative.

  15. Interesting “coincidence:” The scripture discussion this weekend has been about the fourth return from Babylon (Ezra and Nehemiah’s groups), and the problem of “who’s a real Jew.” Not Samaritans, even though they had the Pentatuch and the folks rebuilding the Temple only had Deuteronomy. Not the folks who didn’t get hauled off to Babylon, because only “real” Jews had been exiled. Then the group marched off to Qumram announced that the people in Jerusalem after the Macabees were not really Jews. Now it’s “You’re not really a scifi-writer/woman/minority/human if you don’t agree with” blah, blah, blah.

    • heh. Have you noticed that every time people start running around doing “whatever seemed right in their own eyes” the Hashem Hammer drops?

      • Oh yes! it shows that Hashem is involved with the world.

        • And now I’ve learned a new word! If my brief exercise of Google-Fu is correct, it sounds similar to the practice among some Christians (especially Mormons, I’ve noticed) of using “our Heavenly Father” or “the Savior” in place of the more direct “God” or “Jesus Christ”, respectively.

          • Hashem is a Hebrew word. It literally means: The Name. People often use so they won’t take Hashem’s name in vain.

        • I get the feeling at times that the Hashem looks at me much as the farmer looked at the mule that responded to voice commands. The farmer carried a large stick with him, which he sometimes used to get the mule’s attention before he gave the voice command. 🙂

          • THAT is me. And lately He’s been adding nails to the 2×4

          • For most of us, if He didn’t use the stick first, we’d assume He was talking to somebody else.

            I don’t know many who have that combination of experience and personality that lets them listen consistently. I made it a point to marry one when I found her.

    • Some of what you said I’d disagree with on religious grounds, and not bother to discuss because we’re starting from incompatible places; but some of the details you mention are debatable from a scholarly POV as well. (Confusion of Samaritans with the am haaretz, Jews who hadn’t gone into exile—there are two distinct groups mentioned—who had which books.) Is there a forum where we might engage in friendly discussion of these matters? Baen’s Bar’s Truth vs Pravda forum, perhaps?

      (Yes, I know thread drift happens & is tolerated here, but this is likely to become more of a hijack.)

      • I’d like to, but 1) I don’t participate in the Bar at the moment and 2) I was summarizing what the instructor said. He was drawing from Paul Johnson’s _History of the Jews_, Everett Ferguson’s _Background of Early Christianity_, and the _Jewish Study Bible_, as well as Josephus.

        I apologize if I repeated an error, and I agree that this could turn into a threadjack. Once things settle down I’ll see about joining the Bar, in which case I look forward to the opportunity to “talk” more about the topic. Again, I apologize for any misunderstanding on my part and repetitions of error.

        • Aww, c’mon, threadjack away! I want to learn something while being entertained, and watching you two debate would fit the bill!

        • OK; Dorothy talked me into this.

          The Samaritan version of the Pentateuch has been much more heavily edited than the “standard” Jewish one. To me the evidence reads that their version was adapted from the Masoretic (or proto-Masoretic) version; I can also accept the possibility that both descend differently from a common source. But anyone who claims that the “Samaritans … had the Pentatuch and the folks rebuilding the Temple only had Deuteronomy” (assuming you’ve understood the lecturer correctly) has made such a basic error that you’re quite safe ignoring anything he has to say on the subject.

  16. Christopher M. Chupik

    Voltaire said it best (he so often did): “Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”

  17. I just find it interesting that he’s so obsessed with Vox. If he had a girlfriend he would make her dress in a Vox suit to whip him. (Sorry VD, but you must see the truth of this!)

    I very much doubt he’s had a girlfriend. You should read his blog. It’s so lonely and full of longing that you’d feel sorry for him if you didn’t know how he behaved towards other people when he thought he was anonymous.

    If he was upset about my “following”, the success of the new publishing house is going to do him in. I’m tempted to offer him a book contract just to see what would happen.

    • Back in the Seventies Beloved Spouse & I knew a guy who pressed so hard for his wife to be more liberated that she finally liberated herself from him.

    • Vox, have you actually read any of Marston’s prose …? It’s literally indescribable. I can parody it, but no parody can truly do justice to its astonishing awfulness.

    • I think he HAD a girlfriend at one point, because I was told by my housemate that he accused that friend of being the reason why his girlfriend left him. It is ‘my friend’s fault that my friend’s network security is so good’ that s/hi/it had to spend all his time trying to find a weakness that he had no time to spend on his girlfriend.

      Cue IRC channel full of tech guys (who, I should note, routinely test each others’ network defenses because that’s what they ALSO do for a living) utterly stunned by this. I’m told that someone eventually was able to ask why S/hi/it needed so badly to break into our network, and the reply was ‘I must.’

      S/hi/it also said that my housemate was the sole reason for there being no intelligent girls left in the world to become his girlfriend, because housemate is knowledgeable about computers and plays MMOs with elves in them and talks to lots of girls and thus, they like him better and immediately become too stupid.

      This was followed up by S/hi/it saying housemate was a virgin slut.

      And the knowledge that housemate has no desire to have sex or a relationship or children is well known in the circles he runs in, so the channel was quite baffled with the idea of someone being a slut and a virgin at the same time. Or how one manages to achieve this state. Perhaps if one were one of the 72 virgin houris promised to suicide bombers (due to their ability to regain their virginity after a session of coitus) – I’m not entirely sure how a man is supposed to regain his virginity.

      In the interest of full disclosure: my move to the use of Linux based OS (I use Debian) was necessitated entirely by Chlamydia. Best. Firewall. Ever.

      The discovery it’s bloody the best thing ever for data and hardware integrity came later.

      • There is a stunning amount of pathology in that story … and not a little criminal harassment.

        • *tilts head in askance* Psychological pathology you mean?

          Also, an author Chlamydia had a run in with (as in, asked for critique and didn’t get the praise he was expecting) recently linked/gave to my housemate a Steam game called Serena as an example of ‘impact writing.’ Housemate had me play through it, listening to the dialogue with me (it’s a very short game with a rather unnerving psychological horror bent) and as the game progressed I asked if this was supposed to be an example of Chlamydia’s headspace, which I definitely did NOT want to be in (it succeeded in creeping me out for the rest of the night) and housemate being wide eyed horrified and saying at several points, ‘this guy, the narrator, is a SERIOUS headcase!’

          Interesting twist at the end of the game though, and a well told story. Moving around the house and poking at the things to see what has changed though was a little tedious after a while, but yeah, it was a short story with IMPACT.

          But it reminded me too much of being on the receiving end of Chlamydia’s insanity, even though that’s purely, wholly, online.

          • You need a lot of firewalls, and not just of the internet kind …

            These kinds of loons get their claws in you, they don’t let go. I’ve got friends who were involved in some of the more famous internet stalking episodes of the last decade. Believe me.

            • If you visit my LJ, you’ll find that there is a single post that is available to the general public. I summarize there the time he’s been stalking me. Almost five years now. He’s still doing it in the Public Places such as Deviantart and Livejournal (and if he could respond here, he would try here, and there’s nothing on my WordPress account since I’m using it only to reply to blogs), he’s attempted to harass me on the Affsdiary forums / NovaVita clan forums, and screamed at the administrator of said website and forums that the admin had no right to get in his way and that ‘this has NOTHING to do with the admin and that essentially the admin should lower the site and forum’s security SO HE COULD GET AT ME AND DRIVE ME OFF THE INTERNET.

              Not happening. Ever.

              Chlamydia fancies himself some kind of badass hacker so he is enraged by the work of a competent siteadmin and network security admin.

            • Luckily, there’s an ocean between them.

              Literally.

              • Also all of the continental United States.

                But I don’t believe he has the balls (remember he lacks the testicular fortitude to go to Palestine like his much worshipped St Pancake) nor the spine to come after me RL. He probably has the money, but he’s a huge coward. Why else would he like to just stalk people and make a huge pest of himself online? He believes that the anonymity of the Net keeps him safe, and quite frankly, as long as the nitwit stays home and rages from his computer, I don’t care. Eventually though, he’s likely to piss off someone else who HAS more balls, wit and spine and probably track him down to thrash him.

                Besides, there are lots of other people he hates. I’m just one of his long list. The list of people he doesn’t hate is probably easier to track.

                Housemate gave me an update to the ‘I lost my girlfriend and it’s YOUR fault’ story. The channel rumor is that the girlfriend moved to the other side of the country, literally, after the breakup. It’s rumor, he notes, but if true, wow. Just. Wow.

                • Rumor, but… if I knew him, I’d probably do the same.

                  Makes me glad one of the few things Washington hasn’t messed up is the shall issue CC licenses.

                • It’s the intrinsic plausibility that makes the rumor punch so far above its weight class.

                  • *giggle* I’m imagining now, a tiny, tiny representation of The Idiot of Many Names leaping up and punching Housemate’s main (female) elven character and hitting her in the knee. Doing no damage, but perhaps a slight reddish mark. While the tiny representation proceeds to dance and crow and celebrate his victory, Housemate’s character lifts her leg and crushes the little man under her sandaled foot.

        • Let me put it this way: since I knew Yama was from the Boston Area, I’ve seriously been wondering if he’d be one of the support-for-the-Marathon-bombers guys. (Material support, specifically.)

      • I think he HAD a girlfriend at one point, because I was told by my housemate that he accused that friend of being the reason why his girlfriend left him. It is ‘my friend’s fault that my friend’s network security is so good’ that s/hi/it had to spend all his time trying to find a weakness that he had no time to spend on his girlfriend.

        Wait, you’re saying that he had a girl fall out of love with him because he ignored her in order to waste his time on attempts to break into A’s system? Literally?

        (*mind boggles*)

        That’s genuinely sad, you know. Though I guess it’s also Evolution In Action, in the sense that he lost out in a fundamentally-reproductive competition because he displayed poor prioritization skills between displaying at the lek and actually mating with the female he’d attracted, to put it in animal-behavioral terms.

        S/hi/it also said that my housemate was the sole reason for there being no intelligent girls left in the world to become his girlfriend, because housemate is knowledgeable about computers and plays MMOs with elves in them and talks to lots of girls and thus, they like him better and immediately become too stupid.

        Wow — so A literally gets all the girls?

        I’m impressed.

        Um, what’s wrong with “MMO’s with elves in them”? Is this a “hating Cutelildrow” thing or was he always of this opnion? Does liking elves make one stupid? Was Tolkien therefore “stupid?”

        Eh, I guess A could date lots and lots of girls cheating on each of them without actually having sex with any of them, which would make him a “virgin slut” assuming he’s never had sex with anyone. But now my mind is hurting from trying to follow Yama-logic, so I’m going to stop 😉

        • Don’t worry, it hurt A’s mind too. And the rest of that channel’s. And as usual, they were supposedly all too stupid to understand.

          I honestly have no idea whether the hatred of all things elvish started with me. It seems to extend beyond me though, so perhaps an Elf woman = someone unattainable? I really would not try to guess!

          I know that the ‘hate of all things Filipino/Australian’ may have started with his ‘burning hatred’ of myself. Because the Philippines spawned me, thus all the nation has ‘nothing of value’ and because Australia accepted me, it too has now ‘nothing of value.’

          Whatever his headspace is like, all I know is, it’s creepy as all get out to be the target of it’s raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaage.

        • As for whether it’s really A’s fault, that’s what Idiot of a Thousand Names claimed. It’s not Idiot’s fault, it’s the guy who never wants a girlfriend’s fault!

  18. For example: “I blocked most of 7th grade out of my head. Around this time, Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, and Mobitu Sese Seko died. I got punched in the face for pointing this out.”

    On a scale of 1 to 100, how surprised are you?

    • I’m confused about that quote. I assume it’s a quote from “his blog” (though I’ve lost track of the referent: which “his” are we talking about?), but I don’t understand what he (whoever “he” is) is trying to say with that statement. You clearly do since your only comment is “how surprised are you?”, but I need a bit of explanation.

      • He is a persistent troll on vox’s blog and an old adversary in the blog that shall not be named. There he went under Yama The Spacefish. Now he uses Clamps and lately Daphnis. Colonel Kratman has nicknamed him Chlamydia. His persona online is … annoying. For instance, he’s a convert to Islam who thinks he’s fighting a fascist resurgence in the likes of this blog. One of his comments I didn’t let through said “We should have eliminated all of your kind in 1945.” Because you know, fascists were famously for small government and individual freedom. This is my charitable interpretation, btw. Given my genetic background and his Islamic sympathies, it could be something else entirely — but I think he’s two stupid to understand that.
        What Vox was saying was “how surprised are you he was bullied and hapless as a kid?” Or at least that’s how I read it. I’ll point out this is why I admire Kate. Most bullied become bullies. She didn’t.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          He’s also been on Larry Correia’s blog, under several names. He must not have much to do with his time, if he spends so much of it among people he doesn’t like.

          • A disagreeable twenty minutes were just spent skimming Chlamydia’s blog. No more.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              You lasted twenty minutes? You may qualify for hazzard pay.

              • He regularly still visits mine though he’s banned forever from commenting. He’s also been banned for good in the forums that we run – especially after he tried to get the data on all our female-named forum members.

                I pre-emptively banned The Idiot of Many Sockpuppet Names’ Deviantart account, which admittedly doesn’t stop him from looking at my devart gallery, and he does visit now and again. Probably shaking his fists in noodly impotent fury at the fact that someone gave me a paid subscription for two years after he said I should delete my account because it’s a waste of Deviantart space. I don’t know why he keeps visiting if he thinks it’s not even worth the bandwidth, do you?

              • Hazzard pay? Will it be delivered by Daisy, or will Bo and Luke have to jump the creek to get it there?

          • Oh Lord — that Chlamydia? The tw[buyavowell]t who tried to tell Correia that “real” authors focused on creating beautiful prose pictures instead of realistic, memorable characters and compelling plots? (I guess by Chlamydia’s standards Shakespeare was a hack, Jane Austen an incompetent and James Fenimore Cooper was brilliant.)

            Good grief, what a maroon! What a loser! What a waste of pixels!

            Chlamydia, Chlamydia, say have you read Chlamydia,
            Chlamydia the trolling blogger?
            It has arguments that will you bore so
            And its logic even more so.
            Chlamydia, Chlamydia, that fallacy-pedia
            Chlamydia the queen of buffoons …

            • “Beautiful prose pictures” … hmm, well actually Marston’s descriptions are among the least bad of his writing skills, so I see where he’s coming from. But he has no idea how to integrate his characters, dialogue or plot into his settings, and his settings aren’t all that logically-constructed even though they are well-described, creating an air of unintentional surrealism, so … well, he does describe things ok.

              • Marston is the Tommy Wiseau of SF writing. He thinks he’s writing profound stuff, but it’s only profound if you share his ah… highly unique mental furniture. Only Tommy, at least, loves America with the fervor of an immigrant. I won’t say there’s not anything wrong with Marston that some time in a 3rd world hell hole (or France as an illegal immigrant) wouldn’t cure, but it would go a long way to making him more palatable.

                • *claps in delight*

                  I must express my gratitude in learning new, delightful descriptive terms which bring forth entertaining flights of imagination. ‘Mental furniture’, and ‘intellectual malware’ (I believe it was? Correct me if I am wrong.) Thank you so much for letting me in here! It cheers me so!

                  • Thinking about the Chlammy one’s mental furniture I get a garrett, a thin mattress (with leaking batting), a few upturned milk crates — one of them broken — and a couple boards sitting unevenly on cinderblocks with a scattering of badly water-logged books. The single lamp has no shade and a three-way bulb with only one filament working.

                • won’t say there’s not anything wrong with Marston that some time in a 3rd world hell hole (or France as an illegal immigrant)

                  He wouldn’t survive, of this I am certain. It was horrible when I was in Paris, and I had PLENTY of fights there – usually after school – and it got so bad that I stopped going to school unarmed. That was in the late 1990s, and the arrondisment that I used to go to is now one of the Zones Urbaines Sensibles – do not go there unless you are Muslim. The fights I had in Germany were friendly punch-ups to see how tough I was (because the kids who learned I wasn’t a wuss stopped trying to beat me up, said ‘you’re not weak’ and later fought at my side when the high school kids heard about the tough little Asian who didn’t back down from her white superiors. That was seriously the reason – ‘She’s not weak like the rest of them!’) compared to the fights I got into while going to school in Paris. Those fights, I knew without a doubt that if I didn’t show myself to be capable of terrifying violence, I’d have ended up bleeding to death in an ally somewhere.

                  I’d typed up a short recounting of my last day of school there, but it’s rather violent, so I took it out.

                  Knowing how much of a coward Chlamydia is though, he’d probably stick to the well policed tourist spots.

              • Apparently he went into an IRC channel for folks who plan to publish via Lulu, where several authors there like to give feedback and critiques, point out weaknesses to be fixed, and so on. Housemate also happened to be there, discussing. At some point Chlamydia gave one of his chapters or short stories or books to be reviewed by one of the more prominent reviewers there. The response was much the same as you noted above. This was recently.

                To Housemate’s surprise, the fool actually did not explode immediately. Instead, he was silent throughout the whole very seriously given critique and advice, then logged out. He didn’t return for several days. When he did, reportedly, he had obtained some of the published works of the author who had given him the critique and then started mocking it, criticizing the author and generally calling the guy his usual rigamarole of being too unintelligent to understand true genius and artistry and thus unworthy of being listened to.

                You know, exactly like what he did with me, except that prior to that none of you guys knew I’d even written fanfiction, because… I never mentioned it. He dug it all up on his creepy own.

                A has since discovered that he does this a LOT. Goes to a community who has never heard of him before, submits his works for critique, expects praise, gets actual critique and advice and a helping of ‘where’s the plot and character motivation?!’ along with ‘learn the rules of the English language and ditch your thesaurus’; whereupon he will seek out the other person’s work and try to malign it in revenge.

                I’d almost wish he would find a group of like-minded individuals so he’d leave the rest of us alone, but he’s more likely to go back to every. single. place. that’s rejected his ‘style’ and crow about his validation.

                • Hmm. I wonder if he’s the soul who showed up on the Rumor Mill and later on Critters. But that writer succeeded in getting his novel published.

                  At PublishAmerica.

                  Those who have fought long and hard to persuade people out of signing there — rejoiced greatly.

                  • I doubt it. If he’d ever gotten anything published, he’d be CROWING about it, and shoving it in everyone’s faces and claiming that its’ well loved in Romania, because people whose native language is not English think whatever he claims them to be thinking…

          • …I found out that the people who made the game Serena all inhabit IRC channels on whom Chlamydia inflicts his presence on (There, oddly enough, he’s known as Syphilis.) It is entirely possible that the narrator, who I should not is Asshole Protagonist at best, may have been based ENTIRELY on The Idiot of Many Names.

        • he’s always come across and an even more pitiful version of Monty Python’s Black Knight. The kind of fool who would get in fisticuffs, and claim victory because his opponent left the ring …. after knocking him unconscious and his not getting back to this reality until some hours later…
          “He left .. so I win!”
          Dude, you were knocked out with one punch and didn’t wake for a day and a half.
          “But he ran away from me!”

  19. Did you ever read the horrors of the 20th century? The first step is ALWAYS to expel the victim from “society” – which of course makes it a non-human, who can then be expropriated, killed or have all manner of evil perpetrated against it.

    Perhaps Mr. Hardin (although for some reason I suspect that isn’t his real name) should consider the origin of the term “outlaw” and what it actually meant. What expelling someone from “society” leads to goes a lot farther back than the 20th century (of course, Sarah, you know that but Mr. Hardin or whoever he actually is, probably doesn’t).

    It’s people like this that are pushing us toward blood and they have no idea what kind of fire they’re playing with.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Correct. The “outlaw” was a person “expelled from his tribe and outside of the laws protecting him both from members of his tribe and from members of other tribes”.

    • I used to ask that from time to time — do they know what kind of world they’re build? — but in the last year I realized, well, they do. And they’re cool with it.

      They assume they’ll always have the whip hand, you see.

  20. BTW, some related thoughts in this general vein can be found at Ace of Spades HQ, in the following post:

    http://minx.cc/?post=346997

    Scroll down to the comment by Alex The Chick, it’s pretty good.

  21. Read the most famous pensman in all Karavarasparklia? Not only have I read it, I paid homage to it in my most recently published novel! It’s FANTASTIC. Only once have I ever laughed harder while reading something. The fact that the humor is unintentional only makes it better.

    • Which comment were you replying to? It’s impossible to tell, because you used the comment box at the bottom of the post (which creates a new comment, top-level threaded, at the bottom of the comments section). What you need to do to reply to someone’s comment is use the “Reply” link in the header of the comment you’re replying to (e.g., to reply to this comment, I clicked the “Reply” link of “VD | February 17, 2014 at 2:43 am | Reply”). That will thread your reply in with the other comments and make it clear who you’re replying to.

  22. Pingback: Speaking out — A guest post by Kate Paulk | According To Hoyt

  23. Just an interesting thought– I didn’t reach my height of 5’8″ until I was almost 21. I started my growth at 14 years old. So when I was in school from 1966-1974 I was under five feet. I was small and petite except for my head, feet, and hands.