Sorry guys, but things just got serious. I’m going to need an underwater lair, piranhas and five trillion dollars in unmarked coins or I’ll destroy the entire world.
(Note that it’s very important to make sure that the lair is in an extinct volcano, not an extinct Vulcan. Because when you set the Vulcan on fire, he gets all upset, and when you try to douse him with water, someone is going to end up Vulcan nerve pinched and it ain’t gonna be him. Just saying. And I warn because I love. Also, because I also make that mistake. ALL the time. – Weirdly “The Vulcan is erupting!” just gets people looking at you funny. Probably the problem in Pompey.)
Here’s the thing, I love Larry Correia like a brother, but if he thinks I’m going to give him my world’s worst person trophy he’s got another thing coming. It’s bad enough I have to share it with Kate Paulk. I’ll spend my half of the week polishing it and shining it and getting it positioned just so on the mantelpiece and then I have to give it to Kate, and it comes back all encrusted and smelling fishy. I think she’s using it as a cat food dish. At least I hope that’s it.
So, if they think I’m going to share it three ways with Larry, they have another thing coming. He has small kids. Heaven knows what it would come back all encrusted with – Ovaltine, if I’m lucky.
But there goes some critter named Damien Walter, in this outmoded tabloid that Brits seem to think is a newspaper – something called Al The Guardian though heaven only knows what they’re guarding and if they think it’s the right to say who’s the world’s worst person, I want them to tell me they and whose army – calling Larry all sorts of things, accusing him of hate, and furthermore putting words in his mouth that Larry didn’t say.
Of course Larry doesn’t need me to defend him. Last I checked he was the Master of Fiskishness and High Lord of the Burn.
Even if he needed me to defend him he wouldn’t need me to defend him against someone so out of it as to proclaim that “The Future Is Queer.”
Even given that we have all sorts of reproductive assistance, most babies are born because they happen to be made. Make it absolutely volitional and not coming naturally from what people do for fun, and the future is mostly short. Beyond that, why in heck would the future be “Queer”? No, seriously. Why won’t the future be… Mediterranean? Or purple? I mean, if we’re just to randomly throw out “the future will be”. I say the future will be pointillist, and I say to h*ll with it.
Okay, I understand from Damien’s sniveling about how people used to tell him to cut his hair and man up (like he’s the only one who was ever told to man up. I was. Still am at times. Then I shrug and do it. It’s an expression, not an actual literal order. Maybe all these people are in the autism spectrum?) that it’s likely a reflection of what he thinks is his orientation No, I’m not saying he might not be gay. He can be whatever he wants. And I never question people’s self definition even when they start looking at the other flavor after three glasses of beer. I’m saying his concept of “Queer” is weird. I have friends of various sexual definitions and some who haven’t decided yet and not a single one of them would take offense to the injunction to “Man up” much less think it was some sort of heterosexual oppression. As for their hair, if anyone told them to cut it or grow it or do anything to it they didn’t want to, they would just give the advising entity the middle finger. Because that’s what my gay, straight and totally confused friends are like. To assume someone is a sissy for being gay is stupid, so Damien, poor chap, is already on my bad side.
But the fact that he then goes to say gender is entirely a social construct, puts him… No, okay, it doesn’t put him anywhere except on the side of the painfully ignorant. It puts me in the position of fixing my desk after I dent it with my forehead. And that doesn’t make me happy, because it’s a nice oak rolltop desk, and sooner or later the putty will show.
Yes, I know Damien is European, and I know this ridiculousness is taught in Europe, but for heaven’s sake, he can’t be in the fourth form. He actually is paid for writing for the Guardian. (At least I hope he is. Left Wing Publications and web sites tend to get funny about that, and heck, no one should spew this much goofiness without getting paid.) Presumably he has internet access. Presumably he can check out how boys born with crypto orchicism and raised as girls are profoundly unhappy, or he’s figured out why we no longer give babies sex changes at birth.
THE EXPRESSION of gender might be a social construct. To an extent. BUT gender is chromosomally determined.
What does this mean, exactly?
Well, it means if you’re a male in a certain class in the Western world, you’ll like fast cars and sports, while in tribal Africa you’ll like hunting lions. And if you’re a woman in a certain class in the Western world, you’ll like the shopping network, while if you’re a woman in the Amazonian jungles, you’ll like berry picking and gathering.
Now, is this a hundred percent iron clad? Well, no. Humans are individuals, which means you can’t make them into widgets. Some women probably like going hunting with the guys, and some men would probably be much happier berry picking. (And they’re both, in general, out of luck, since, unlike the dreams of the vile progs, tribal societies are usually a lot more rigid than anyone in the west can even imagine – though in extreme cases they might make accommodations, which are usualy both humiliating and restrictive.)
Does this invalidate gender? Oh, my no. Gender is a statistical distribution, not a box. (I still think a lot of these people’s issues are caused by never having sucked on an unsterilized spoon and never having eaten anything that came without a label. They literally think of “gender” as a label, and if you’re a girl, you’re supposed to like pink and play with dolls and if there’s any variation, that invalidates the entire concept. This is a lovely idea, except it fits nothing human, ever. They are Pratchett’s auditors, trying to understand people.) What your gender is is a major, blinking clue to where you’ll fall on the spectrum.
Pretty much everywhere in the world, if you were born with an outie (and aren’t some genetic freak) you get to do the risky, strenuous, outdoor labor. And if Western civilization has robbed you of this then you get to be obsessed with risk, strenuous, outdoor sports, mostly vicariously.
And if you were born with an innie (and it’s not a birth defect) you get to like detailed, often monotonous but also often social activities, which explains all my friends who are good housekeepers.
Now some people fall so far on the opposite end of the spectrum to where they should naturally be that they decide to surgically rectify the situation. It’s an imperfect solution, and it will be until we get a way to make the change real and fertile, instead of cosmetic. That’s life. I’m fairly sure that the peasant dying of consumption in the middle ages because there was no treatment for TB and no antibiotics had a harder lot. But what do I know? I’m not either of those cases. I just get to feel sorry for both, and wish we had better options for them. (Okay, for the peasant it would involve a time machine.)
BUT the extremes don’t invalidate the whole distribution. Sure, if all I know about you is that you’re a guy, I might be wrong in assuming you like fast cars. OTOH the way to bet is that you WILL like fast cars.
All of these are known facts. As I said, we used to think otherwise, which is why babies got sex change operations in the seventies. Now we know there is more to gender than social construct, that there are biological factors like the hormone baths in the uterus which depending on your gender change your brain, so that if you’re XX or XY determines how the thoughts behind the eyes go. (Even if there is a wide distribution and, again, you individually, might be closer to the other side.)
To pretend otherwise is vile, because parents who actively counter their kids natural inclinations or try to force them to be “gender neutral” are committing child abuse. They’re also going to reap interesting rewards, but that’s their lookout.
So, Larry doesn’t need to be defended from Damien Walter, even though Damien Walter put words in his mouth, like Larry saying if you write a book with a gay character, it will be less commercially viable.
I want to note right now that Larry helped me pimp both A Few Good Men and Witchfinder and never told me they’d be less commercial because one has gay main characters, and the other a strong secondary gay character. (I almost wrote that as a strong gay secondary character – but I don’t even know what “Strong gay” is – and no, I don’t want explanations. This comments section is enough of a mess, already.)
I read Larry’s post that set off this hissy fit, and here’s the thing, Larry said that science fiction books that are all about being gay are less commercially viable. DUH. People buy books because they want stories. If you let some part of your story become so overpowering that it consumes everything (say, because you were told to cut your hair and pull up your socks as a little boy – is this where I tell everyone that my brother (built like my kids. Picture that) in Portugal in the seventies, got told to cut his hair ALL the time. This didn’t make him feel queer or like people were gender intolerant. It made him feel superior and smug, because he matched the fashion abroad, and was therefore more enlightened. But that’s a conversation for another day, right? Also, he did it to get the foreign chicks.) and that part of the story isn’t an obsession of the majority of the population, your work will be less commercially viable.
I teach that in workshops all the time. Be aware of which of your obsessions are commercially viable. Take Larry’s. He likes guns. This means in the US (and much of the world) he has a built in market. Take me. I like Shakespeare. No, I REALLY like Shakespeare. If I let my obsession take over (cough, the Shakespeare trilogy, cough) I’m writing for the ten people in the world who are as crazy as I am. So I learned to control it, because I want to be a commercial writer. I don’t take to the pages of a newspaper to whine that the future is Shakespeare and that people should be forced to listen to my obscure jokes, like the page where Marlowe and Shakespeare talk exclusively in each other’s lines.
(Oh, sure, all ten of those people sent me gushing fan letters, but one can’t live on $5 a year.)
Allowing the mind to become clouded when one is defensive about one’s orientation is no excuse for saying that readers should be bored and like it.
Anyway, now that I’ve spent three pages not defending Larry, we get to the meat of the situation:
Why is it that when a vile prog disagrees with anyone they call the person a hater?
Note that Larry and I, or any of my friends when we dissect some piece of strangeness, don’t call the person a hater. We might call their thoughts silly or vile. We might call the person infantile (they so often are) but we cast no aspersions on their intentions and character. We don’t say “they’re evil” or “they are haters.” And we never say they should shut up. For one, how much fun would that be. No fisking fodder! For another, as strange as we find them, we don’t wish them to shut up because we know our ideas can trump theirs.
So, what is with the side that pins the “tolerant” medal on their own chest going around calling people “The worst person in the world.” I mean, seriously, I was awarded that for saying that wishing to kick someone out of the human race is a bad thing. Let’s suppose what I said is terrible (though I still don’t understand why, because well, common humanity is what keeps us from killing each other just because there’s nothing good on the telly. Well, keeps most of us.) Let’s suppose I’d said something really vile like “All witches should be burned, and that includes aunty Witchy Pooh who reads tarot and hangs her house with crystals.” How would SAYING it make me or anyone the worst person in the world. Or even a bad person? I have said all kinds of stupid things I didn’t mean in my time. Like yesterday, after I had a sneeze fit caused by cat hair up the nose, “I’m going to kill that cat.” Does this make me a cat hater?
Let’s suppose I meant what I said, or at least wish to burn Aunt Witchy Pooh for more than her really sucky taste in home decoration. Does that make me a bad person? Oh, h*ll no. Not unless I act on it, or form an association dedicated to burning people that hang crystals where they have no business being. And does it make me the world’s worst person? Kids… I think if you stack me up besides Maduro, my crimes are much smaller. And if you allow for all of history, I don’t even rate against Caligula, and he was a piker stacked up against Mao.
So why the desperate need to call us, not just wrong, but evil?
Well, we’re back to never having sucked on an unsterilized spoon. That’s part of it. These people are very up on the idea that if you say something they don’t like you’re a “bully” and therefore you’re in the wrong and you’re evil (possibly because the worst evil they ever faced was a playground bully. No unsterilized spoons, after all.)
But there is a world of difference between criticism and bullying. Bullying is running after you berating you with exaggerated claims about you (or outright made up ones.) Bullying is a tactic to make you fall in with the group.
Legitimate criticism is telling you that you’re being an infant, or an idiot, or a bully – if you really are being those things.
I don’t care how much Damien resented it. Maybe he really needed to pull up his socks and man up. Believe it or not some of us on being told that examine the claim and sometimes (about fifty percent of the time on this side of the screen) find that what we really need to do is pull up our socks and man up.
Telling a person that isn’t bullying.
On the other hand telling someone they’re the world’s worst person or a hater for an opinion that doesn’t involve setting fire to anyone, or beating anyone, or in fact hurting anyone or taking anyone’s stuff, just might be …. Bullying.
Because it’s a tactic designed to make the outlier fall in with what the speaker believes to be the group majority. And also, because it’s not designed to correct individual behavior but to enforce conformity with exaggerated or erroneous claims.
You don’t have to be a big hulking male to be a bully. Tiny girls can manage it with aplomb.
So if you’re screaming slurs on other people’s fundamental character (telling you to grow up is not a slur. It doesn’t mean your whole character is flawed. Calling someone a hater is a slur) and saying they should shut up or go away (or in the case of the SFWA kerfuffle, die) perhaps it’s time you looked in the mirror and realized you ARE the bully. And an ineffective one at that.
Now, pull up your socks and examine your assumptions. We’re not going to shut up. Learn to argue like an adult, or we’ll mock you again.*
*Well, I won’t. I have a book to finish and also I tend to go all serious and barely refrain from quoting Shakespeare at you. But Larry will. And then you’ll declare him the world’s worst person again, and then I’ll have to share the trophy. And I’m not having chocolate milk in my shiny trophy, so you’ll just have to learn to argue like an adult. Sorry.