Be the Bojum! -Charlie Martin

Be the Boojum -Charlie Martin

For the last couple of days, there’s been a bunch of discussion prompted by a tweet by John Scalzi to the effect of:

Scalzi's tweet

I normally ignore Scalzi and the other SJWs. They’re clearly the sort of penny-ante fascists who congregate in the elective posts in community theatre, school boards, and homeowners’ associations, who like being able to lord it over a bunch of other people but don’t have the balls to actually run for something important. In any case, I no longer aspire to be an SFWA member, and I no longer think writers are somehow special, except perhaps in the sense employed in “special education” or the “special bus.”

I mean, I’m a writer; how special could they be?

But what has started to gall me is the arrogant ignorance of some of these damn kids.

Not to long ago, Sarah did a piece in Book Plug Friday that had its start in the somewhat silly notion that science fiction or fantasy hadn’t had many female writers until very recently. My reaction was basically “sure, kids, whatever”, but Sarah and one of the Diner-zens did the research and discovered that in fact the majority of award-winning writers for the last 20 or 30 years had actually been women. People of vaginitude. Oppressed womyn under the heel of the patriarchal publishing establishment.

Thinking about people I’d known personally: Connie Willis. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Karen Joy Fowler. Joanna Russ. Other big names, like Ursula K LeGuin, C. L. Moore, Leigh for Gods’ sakes Brackett, who not only wrote SF but wrote what I think may be the best screenplay of all time, Rio Bravo.

Ah, but they didn’t address sexual roles — well, no, Joanna Russ’s The Female Man. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness — except that wasn’t, somehow, really “groundbreaking” enough. (Hey kids: I was there. If you don’t think LHoD was groundbreaking, it’s because you’ve been plowing and replowing that same patch of ground that LeGuin took the arrows for breaking.) Marion Bradley’s Darkover books, especially the later ones, that have everything from gay and lesbian relationships to group-sex sex magic.

Or, of course, John Varley’s Nine Worlds stories, where characters change sex more or less on a whim — and subtly change their behavior to match.

The thing is, these kids think there really wasn’t a “past” — everything they might read was written, essentially, now, in a world with exactly their sensibilities. This is creeping in, I think, from the outside world of politically-driven literary criticism.

The paradigm for this is criticism of the most vehemently anti-racism and anti-slavery novel of the 19th century, in which the main character literally resigns himself to eternal damnation — and not in some cute, ironic, hipster sense, these people believed with all their hearts in a literal place of eternal torment — in order to help his friend escape slavery.

Only this book is now condemned as “racist”.

Why? Because one of the main characters is named, consistent with practices in the antebellum South, and in contrast with the continuing goodness and loving kindness of the character, “Nigger Jim.”

Well, get a clue kids. In another 120 years, Mark Twain will still live, and your great-grandchildren will need a genealogy to know your names.

So now we hear that old SF was “sexist”. The women do make a lot of sandwiches in The Skylark of Space, and Dorothy Vaneman Seaton is the damsel in distress at the start of the book.

Now go read the copyright page, kids. Or Wikipedia. Skylark was written between 1915 and 1921, basically a hundred years ago — and still Dorothy Vaneman pulls a gun on a murderer and is not just a musician, but has a Doctorate.

Go look up some other novels written during the First World War. Find me another one that was more “feminist”.

Along the same lines, it was a point of some controversy that apparently at some point shortly after LeGuin’s marriage to Charles LeGuin, Robert Heinlein said to Professor LeGuin that since they were married and he had a job, if she didn’t want to continue writing, she didn’t have to.

In all honesty, given Heinlein’s own troubles with stopping writing — it produced an effect he compared to “another attack of pulmonary tuberculosis” — I suspect this was not a serious suggestion. But grant, for the sake of argument, that it is. Then we have a man who was born in 1907, advising a young married couple sometime in the late 1950’s, that if the woman doesn’t want to work she doesn’t have to.

For Gods’ sakes, kids, have you never watched even one episode of I Love Lucy? As silly as it sometimes was, Ricky goes to his job, while Lucy stays home and cooks, wasn’t just a sitcom setup. It was the goal to which most adults of either sex aspired. If mom “had to work” is was a shame and a sad thing.

(And another little aside. This is about the time Atlas Shrugged was written. We read it now and think nothing of it, but Dagny Taggart being an engineer and a railroad executive was immensely unusual. Transgressive, even. It was probably more shocking than her having multiple lovers and being a little kinky.)

The point is, to judge the attitudes and morés of 100 years ago by what you think now is childish and silly and ignorant.

The problem now is that the silly children have taken over the fifth grade class and are trying to duct tape the teacher to his chair. (Yes, his. Remember when there were male grade-school teachers?) The solution is for the adults to say, “Isn’t that cute?” and then exert control again. But how?

It’s actually pretty easy.

Number one. Don’t buy dumb books. The last time — or was it the time before — the new upstarts were called “New Wave writers” and the “old wave” writers were eventually having trouble, not because their books didn’t sell, but because editors didn’t buy. Now, go pick up the Dangerous Visions books. There are some absolutely stellar stories there, like “Gonna Roll Them Bones”. There’s also a lot of pretentious crap. The New Wave writers made fun of Star Wars and Star Trek. Well, Star Wars is still around, and a lot of those writers ended up writing Star Trek novels for the money. Or getting fellowships. (Obligatory Harshaw quote: “A government-supported artist is an incompetent whore.”)

Number two. Do buy good books. Unlike during previous academic-publishing fads, this is easier now, because publishing no longer has gatekeepers. As hard as the gatekeepers are fighting to regain their supremacy, e-publishing has made it impossible. So write for indie, read from indie, find the books you like and tell others. This is a really new industry and we don’t quite know how to do it, but eventually someone with some funding is going to find a way to promote indie effectively.

That’s the boojum the trad pub world is worried about, anyway. They know that when people can reliably find and buy fiction they want — instead of the fiction they’re supposed to take like good little boys and girls, grimacing at the taste — the trad-pub writers and editors will softly and silently vanish away.

Number three. Make more Sad Puppies. But let me suggest one addition: Nominate indie.

Be the boojum.

356 thoughts on “Be the Bojum! -Charlie Martin

  1. Reblogged this on Cedar Writes and commented:
    Celebrate the history of women in fiction. Don’t let the past be obscured. We must not forget the contributions of those who came before us, and we must look to the future of fiction. Read books, and tell people about them. Look to Indie for the wave of the future: entertaining, well-written fiction.

      1. Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: According To HoytSent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 4:08 PMTo: heather@dreaminginplot.comReply To: According To HoytSubject: [New comment] Be the Bojum! -Charlie Martin

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        Foxfier commented: “c4c”

    1. I’ve been trying to do a little of that. I’ve been blogging about C. L. Moore, particularly her Northwest Smith character. Earlier in the week, I started a series of posts on Jirel of Joiry. I’m going to tackle Leigh Brackett later this year.

      I’m late to this discussion, so someone may have mentioned this downthread and I didn’t see it. Apologies, if so. The book Partners in Wonder is a history of women in science fiction in which the author (Eric Lief Davin) discusses 203 women writers who wrote under feminine names between 1926 and 1965. I’ve not read it but do have it on my wish list.

  2. I haven’t been around because I’m in the middle of an Army course for becoming a senior NCO, Charlie, and then I start reading THIS at 0500! Couldn’t stop, had to comment.
    Fifth graders duct-taping the teacher to his chair is the perfect metaphor for these dumba… uh, people. You’re spot on, Charlie. These are the kind of people who would accuse Jane Austen of being a sell-out and a misogynist because Elizabeth Bennett didn’t buzz her head, dye her crew cut deep scarlet (and match the carpets to the drapes), parade around her hometown in something that would have made Madonna proud in the 80’s, get a piercing in her nether regions, and have a lesbian fling with Jane before telling Mr. Darcy to get bent and running off to establish an Amazonian empire with her oppressed sistas in South America.
    They are the kinds of political hacks that think Lizzie Bennett is a wimp and Lizzie Borden was a good starting point. They’re the worst kind of intellectual midgets.
    The last time I talked to a woman who thought like this, I flat-out asked her, “Have you ever actually TALKED to anyone who lived through the 50’s? I have, and none of them felt like they were slaves. The women WANTED to be full-time moms, because they knew that’s what’s best for kids; to have a mom at home full-time. It’s called being an adult. When you have kids, you work your butt off to do what’s best for your kids. Were there bad men back then? Sure. But you’re sold on this idea that the actions of a few bad men represent the attitudes of all men everywhere. Our society has WAY overreacted to the point that they push this idea actively that the worst woman is better than the best man. Do women like Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem speak for you? Or are you your own woman?” She had to concede my point. I think it may have had to do with the fact that she had actually been a stay-at-home mom, and had simply never questioned the third-wave feminist bullcrap being fed to her. We also discussed how her grandsons are now approaching high school age, and will soon go to colleges where the word of any female on a whim can get them jailed, or at best, get their reputations and careers ended. And it took a few go-arounds about THAT to get her to see that we’re overreacting to life with this whole ‘rape culture’ thing.
    Heaven save us from do-gooders who don’t want to dig in and get their hands dirty fixing the world, and would rather just dictate to everyone how to live their lives and how much money they should be allowed to have!

    Anyway, I’ll be back fully in a couple of weeks, guys! It’s too good for the soul to hang out with the Huns!

    1. parade around her hometown in something that would have made Madonna proud in the 80’s

      Just to clarify… do you mean the 1980s, or Madonna in the age range of 80 – 89?

      Never mind… there’s probably not much difference in the wardrobe.

        1. I guess this is one of those times when women not being as visual is a good thing… all I picture is Gollum in a really ugly, uncomfortable bra.

          Which is disturbing, but not sick-making.

          Not even intended as a slam against Madonna; the human body ages. It’s an is, though she keeps trying to fight it, and it backfires when she can’t air-brush the results. The sort of outfits she’s known for just display the short-falls, because they’re designed to show off the characteristic-of-youth features that, being grandmother-age, she lacks.

      1. Charlie! You just had to go there didn’t you? Even though most of these whipper snappers will have no idea what that acronym stands for.
        As the very old saying goes, light em if you got em.

          1. Sigh. I miss some of my characters from the old City of Heroes/ Villains MMO, like MOUT, SERE, and of course Charlie Foxtrot.

            And I never did create the villain DFAS, whose very name would make military-themed characters hesitant to even want to deal with him.

      1. Most of those aren’t acronyms.

        ATM is not an acronym. NASA is. CIA is not, Radar is.

        1. So, what is an acronym?
          Are the rest just abbreviations? Or do we call them something else?

          1. There are purists who insist an acronym not pronounced as a word is an initialism. CIA, pronounced “see-aye-ey”, is an initialism; should the pronunciation become “seeya” they would allow it to be an acronym.

  3. Whatever happens, they ain’t gonna “softly and silently vanish away”. The best we can hope for is probably “Loudly and churlishly”.

    Given the level of their talent, though, “never be heard from again” is pretty much a given.

    1. Or “screechingly and whiningly”, maybe. Because when it’s YOUR ox that’s being gored by life…

  4. LIke any other literature, the spec fic that gives us sympathetic characters fighting for timeless values will endure, long after the current wave of politically correct sermonizing fades away.

  5. Since I’m writing human wave sf with a strong female kick-ass American chick protagonist, does that make me a stealth boojum? How about Cedar, with her ~n…noir protag?


  6. The worst part is that the same people trying to judge past writers by current social mores are the same people that tell us that we can’t judge other cultures by our mores. F*ing hypocrites.

    1. My understanding (which may be flawed) is that “Multiculturalism” started out as a mental exercise for archaeologists; the idea being that you will not be able to decipher the social dynamics of a society that practices, say, human sacrifice, if you are busy be revolted by them.

      Like most memes that escape their natural habitat into the broader culture, Multiculturalism doesn’t make any goddamned sense if you bother to look at it. Amid the SJWs it basically boils down to carefully celebrating the folk dances, costumes, and cuisine of a culture while carefully ignoring, for example, the way it treats Gays.

      I suspect but cannot, of course, prove that the Left seized on Multiculturalism as a way to deflect invidious (and accurate) comparisons between the U.S. and various Communist countries.

      1. To be a multiculturist requires the idea of relative absolutes and, paradoxically, an absolute conviction in the superiority of “correct” views, among which is an intense loathing for Western civilization. A multiculturist would bring bring marshmallows to a suttee.

        1. My guess is that most of them _would_ be appalled, but then start talking about how women are really equally oppressed in the West, and condemning this habit, however bad it may appear to us, would just be hypocritical because… add a long list of both real, imaginary and most times grossly exaggerated sins of the ‘Western patriarchy’.

          I guess at times it can mostly be just a good _excuse_ not to do anything. Because doing something might be dangerous, and would at least be a great inconvenience… they may feel a bit bad, but if they can find good enough an excuse they will feel much less bad. And look less bad.

          1. And come to think of it, that is probably one of the big draws of the left as a whole: they offer you all these ways to feel good about yourself, and think you are a good person, without you having to much of anything actual for that. Just vote them. And pay a bit more in taxes. And voila! A good pillar of community, with all the excuses one might want not to do anything in person.

            1. No,you just vote for them, serenely in the knowlege that they will tax that man behind that tree. Or more likely, that baby behind that tree, who doesn’t get to vote.

              1. That too. 🙂 But even the little bit of smarter ones do fall for it. I have friends who admit the problem of higher taxes, then claim that they are, well, maybe not happy to pay them, but willing, because the money is needed to look after the poor and old and children and etc.

                1. I’ve actually read someone who claimed that it has to be taxes because otherwise she would lose out in status through having less money, and we’re all told that’s very important.

  7. Rio Bravo, great movie… though my primary reason for watching it repeatedly is Dean Martin singing. Ricky Nelson is good, but… Dean Martin!

    As for the fifth graders… the get some what stymied when I look at them and tell them their existence bores me. (Note, that doesn’t mean I ignore the brats, but rolling your eyes at how pedantic they are as you take their ducttape away and tell them to come up with some INVENTIVE mischief if they must make mischief. At least gets through to some of them that there’s something not as it should be. It takes time but you can get through to some of these folk… and they tend to drag a fraction of their associates with them.)

    1. One of my favorite dil watching exercises is watching Rio Bravo and then El Dorado. Same director, same lead Star, basically the same setup; but both films work on their own merits.

      Then, for an encore, you can watch Yojimbo, Fist Full Of Dollars, and Last Man Standing and try to figure out why the first shift works and the second one doesn’t.

        1. Personally, I think that where Last Man Standing failed is by not transposing the tale to rain-slick city streets. The “two prohibition era gangs” idea could have worked, but they fed the audience the wrong set of visual signals.

          Yes, Prohibition was in effect all over, but the Prohibition Gangster is a mythological figure, and he exists in the city.

    2. LB sets up the major conficts of the movie and gets us all the way to plot point one, in one scene, with no dialogue at all. Dean Martin establishes himself as town drunk, John Wayne estabishes himself as Martin’s tough friend, Claude Akins establishes himself as the psychopath killer, they have the murder that moves the whole plot, and not a single word of dialogue. It’s amazing.

          1. Set the torque wrench to 22 inch-pounds for the first tightening, then 56 for the second. Remember to torque in the proper pattern – bolt 1, then bolt 40, bolt 2 and 41, and so on around the circumference.

            And for Ghu’s sake, use your flippin’ lanyards. Drop the torque wrench down the launch tube and not only will PMEL have your ass, so will the team chief.

            1. At least the damn thing’s not liquid fueled any more – “Large Falling Socket” and “Pressurized Thin Walled Autocatalyzing Propellant Tank” equal “Silo Cover Propelled Large Distances, No Survivors in Maintenance Crew” back in the Titan days.

  8. Skylark of Space’s original version was co-written by a neighbor woman, because Smith was concerned that he couldn’t do the romance right. The original version is the one with some race stuff that Smith felt bad about later, so he rewrote it for its re-release. Voluntarily.

    (They had a cowardly black lab assistant or janitor, I forget which, and a Japanese houseboy who talked in a velly stupid way, although I think he helped out with martial arts. He got changed to some other nationality in the second version and spoke more normally. IIRC, that is.)

    1. In the second book, the Japanese houseboy had a conversation in which they discuss how he can’t learn English properly because he started too late, and it’s too different. Then the inventor invents something that allows them to exchange linguistic knowledge, so that he speaks perfect English, and the inventer perfect Japanese.

      1. Oh, good, you remembered!

        And it was a lab assistant, but he wasn’t cowardly but he did talk some dialect and feel fear. Although this stood out in a book where Dorothy does not panic when stranded light years away on a strange planet.

        The co-author’s name was Lee Hawkins Garby, and she helped on the first part of the original novel.

        1. You know what would be fun? A critical edition of Skylark, with the two main versions on facing pages so you could compare the cuts and rewrites. Won’t happen for at least fifty years, though.

    2. He took out reference to the race of “Blackie” Duquesne, where the original specified him as black and included a couple of somewhat derogatory references. You can find the original that was published in Analog(?) on Gutenberg.

      I generally think the book version is superior, anyway, even without considering the racial changes, though there were a couple of details that wound up getting glossed over from the original.

      1. And then there’s Clio Marsden Costigan in Triplanetary. She puts on space armor and does a ton of stuff in the face of danger – kills a bunch of aliens, drags the captain into the speedster while he’s unconscious, stuff like that.

      2. The best, and perhaps funniest part of the entire Skylark series is in the final volume, Skylark DuQuesne: Dot and Blackie’s big moment…and its denouement. “Well, this is…awkward….”

        And no, in regard to spoilers, I am not going to tell you what their big scene is…

      3. I always figured Blackie had black hair and possibly Mediterranean coloring. (You know, like redheaded guys are usually nicknamed ‘Red’ and the like…)

        But black? (Shrug.) Doesn’t much change his villainous ways.

        1. He changed it to remove any reference in the book version, so you can imagine any reason you like (including, I suppose, it was from his “black” heart, to be poetic).

          On the other hand, my father was known as Blackie for many years, but that was mostly because of our surname, though he did have black hair.

          1. Blackie Duquesne wasn’t black in the original. He was French Canadian, hence “swarthy.” Because if you asked most English-descended people back in the day, French people are swarthy.

            (And possibly because some Quebec people have Native American ancestors, but I don’t think that even entered Smith’s head.)

            Welsh people are also described in many older works as swarthy. And Black Irish too, which to the rest of us are best described as “dark hair and slightly less pale than the average Irish.” Medieval Irish works describe their skin as “brown,” which means, “able to take a tan instead of just burning and freckling like everyone else.”

              1. If Amazing Stories 1928 was the first publication of Skylark, then Blackie was described thus: “Dr. Marc DuQuesne… was a striking figure. Well over six feet tall, unusually broad-shouldered even for his height, he was plainly a man of enormous physical strength. His thick, slightly wavy hair was black. His eyes, only a trifle lighter in shade, were surmounted by heavy black eyebrows which grew together above his aquiline nose.”

                So pretty much a darker French-American version of Sherlock and Mycroft, other than the unibrow.

                Anyway, Blackie was a pretty common nickname, as witness the detective “Boston Blackie.”

            1. I was going by this line, from the version on Gutenberg:

              “”Yes. DuQuesne. I have heard of him. He’s the big black fellow, about your own size? He has the brains, the ability, and the inclination, has he not?””

              1. E.E. Doc Smith didn’t mean that Duquesne was racially black, or even that he looked racially black. A hundred years ago, among white English-speakers, “black” didn’t always mean “having black skin color.” Just as often, especially in Britain or in other places where there were few people with black skin, it could simply mean “has black or dark brown hair” (and often, black or dark brown eyes). The antonym was “fair,” meaning “has blonde hair” (and, often blue, grey or green eyes.) In 19th-century romances, girls often ask when a new boy is being described, “Black or fair?”

                This is also the sense in which the word is used in the old sobriquet “Black Irish” — meaning not Irish families with an admixture of Negro blood, but Irish families who run to black hair rather than red.

                  1. I’ve seen the “black Irish” thing supposedly debunked, but they always trace it to internet rumors or rumors of it being slang way of being rude to later, darker groups– but my uncle got a history of the Irish from his dad that very definitely predates the internet that mentions the “Black Irish,” and my family isn’t from the areas that it’s attributed to.

                    1. Black Irish lineage has the same problems I do when I tell people that there is Black Dutch in my family.

                      “You don’t look African…”

                      I used to punch people when I was a teen for that one.

                1. The reason Black Irish tend towards black hair and not so easily sunburned skin is the infusion of shipwrecked Spaniards from the Armada. You can look it up. Then there are the more modern Black Irish, descended from Irish fathers and Hispanic moms. Only in America! 😉

                  1. Shud up. (Sons actually SHOULD have Irish from both sides possibly making them majority-Irish — you know, if they were a voting block. Which they aren’t

              2. A black PhD physical chemist in Washington DC 10 years after Woodrow Wilson but be pretty durn transgressive in itself. But if he’s meant what we call black, he would have said “colored.”

                    1. Government, like colleges, is economically insulated from the results of its discrimination. It therefore discriminates a lot more than for-profit business.

    3. No, Shiro’s still there. They eventually hook him up to an Osnomian Educator and he says fromthing to the effect of “Oh thank you’ it’s so nice to finally be really fluent.”

  9. I so love Connie Willis. Just finished my probably-10th re-reading of To Say Nothing of the Dog, a jewel of comedy that I love.

    Anyway. One of the odder reasons that I homeschool is this fallacious historical assumption that seems to be endemic and that is only getting worse–the idea that before about 1960, everybody was stupid. (With some folks, it seems to have updated to a cut-off date of about 1999.) I sort of hoped to get around it with my own kids by doing a lot of history; give me a few years to complete the experiment and we’ll see how it goes. 🙂 But it drives me absolutely bonkers that most of us assume that people in the past were uniformly stupid and unable to think properly (as if we can!). How do they think we got here??

    I can also rant about how this plays out in bad historical fiction, where the protagonist is a 21st-century woman set down in a historical setting, which she promptly sets about conquering with her own superior sensibilities. (Hey, that’s colonization of the past! That’s racist! Well, timist!) It’s like we think that people couldn’t face up to or tackle their own problems in the past; they just had to wallow in their misery until we showed up to rescue them. *Especially* women. I bet a lot of 16th-century women would be pretty ticked off by that. $5 says your average 16th-century housewife was a lot tougher than we are.

    I don’t really think that this is a modern phenomenon, though. It might just be a bug in human nature. The Edwardians decided that the Victorians were stupid and threw them under the bus, which the Victorians had done in their day to the Georgians (such embarrassing people, the Georgians). Renaissance people did it to the medievals, fooling us into thinking that Renaissance people were smarter and more enlightened than those poor superstitious, filthy medieval folks (whose scholarly advances were buried by the Ren guys). So maybe it’s a societal-level thing where the younger generation decides their parents are stupid, no matter who they are.

    1. In one of Eric Flint’s 163X books, there’s a scene where one of the up-timers learns that some of the military practices of the down-timers were quite realistic.

      Fortunately, it was in a war game situation so he survived. [Grin]

      Going along with this, there were very good reasons that rifles were not seen as valid weapons for the line of battle.

      Compared to the muskets of the times, rifles took much longer to reload. [Evil Grin]

    2. To Say Nothing of the Dog is awesome!
      I’ve gone round and round with the sort of feminist SJW who firmly believes that pre-1920s (when women got the right to vote in federal elections in the US) that women had no legal, economic rights or social freedom whatsoever and were ground down under the weight of the patriarchy blahblahblah … and I know that simply isn’t true. Through research for my own books and out of general curiosity, I’ve simply found too many instances of 19th century women who exercised all kinds of freedom; earning a living of their own, owning companies and property, taking a leading role in their communities … but nope, that particular SJW could not be convinced. I finally got tired and exasperated arguing with her.
      BTW – apropos of this; I am starting another book/adventure, with a heroine who signs on to be a Harvey Girl, working in the railroad restaurant chain set up by a very forward-thinking entrepreneur in the mid 1880s. He recruited women between 18 and 30, paid them generously and offered all kinds of perks, once they had proved themselves capable. It’s a fascinating story. Of course, many of the ladies chose to marry within a year or so, but a good few remained with the company and moved into management.
      The past is a much more complicated and interesting place than most people think. I see my own job as a writer of HF is to get readers to see and understand this.

      1. As my advisor and others put it “The past is another country – it is NOT a different planet!” The day he was talking about the Wounded Knee massacre and explained what the Army soldiers had been told and trained, and how that contributed to the mess and deaths, left some of the undergrads rather stunned. (Advisor has read all the US Army and BIA records on the event.) Gee, the soldiers were not all eeeevil, hardened professional killers intent on murdering innocent women and children. Who knew? Because everyone knows that OF COURSE the men in the Army in the 1800s were totally different from soldiers in the 1900s. Totally. *eye roll, sigh*

        1. The other thing that these academic knuckleheads often leave out is the surrounding cultural context. The people dealing with the Indian issue in the West were recipients and participants in a tradition that included Indian-led massacres and kidnappings going back to the Deerfield Massacre and beyond. Modern-day people discussing the issue completely miss that context, and fail to understand why on earth people on the Western edge of settlement regarded the Indian not as some quaint stone-age tribesman who couldn’t adapt to the modern world, but as an actual existential threat. We’ve got well over a hundred years in between the Western settler and ourselves, where the only threat posed by an Indian is the strong chance there will be an Indian drunk driver that hits our car near some reservation. The difference in thinking that this generates is remarkable.

          We did an exercise in a history class where the instructor took a set of incidents and actual historic events, subtracted all the identifying markers like names and locations, and then asked the class to come up with solutions to the problems identified. He did it in the context of a sort of back-and-forth thing where he’d describe an event/issue, and then ask for a response. It went kind of like this “The Zenonians raid your village and take hostages–What do you do?” “OK, we send diplomats to talk to them, after we conduct a raid to try to recover the hostages” “They negotiate, but individual members of the Zenon society still continue to harass and raid isolated farms and homes of your people…”.

          It being a mostly military student body, the results were a little bloody-minded, but it did point out how much the Indian problem actually had in common with things like the Palestinian issues in Israel. You can’t live next door to a society that teaches its members that things your society relies on are either irrelevant or inimical, especially when that society is prone to violence. When you actually get down to it, the real wonder isn’t that the various Indian tribes were victims of what amounted to a genocide, it is that any of them survived, at all.

          1. Nod, plus too many people think of an Indian Tribe as a “nation-state” but they weren’t.

            In most (if not all) Indian Tribes, there was no group that could speak for or control the entire Tribe.

            You make an agreement with one group of the tribe, other groups would not necessarily feel bound by that agreement.

            An Indian Tribe could be seen as a large group of families that considered themselves related but were not otherwise “united”.

            1. Exactly – one could do a treaty with one tribal division, as the German settlers did with the Penateka Comanche – which was honored and observed by the Penateka … but they were only one of about fourteen other Comanche divisions, who did not feel particularly bound. As far as the situation in the Hill Country was concerned, the treaty only bought peace for about fifteen years.

              The other thing was that many of the native Tribes hated each other and warred enthusiastically on them at least as enthusiastically as they warred on the whites. The Sioux were traditional enemies of the Crow and the Pawnee – so guess what? Crow and Pawnee were happy to sign up as scouts with the US Army. In Texas, the Lipan Apache and the Tonkawa were warred on so bitterly by the Comanche, that they were happy enough to serve as scouts, guides and allies with the Texans in the fight against the Comanches.

      2. The Chicago World’s Fair bigwigs invited a European princess to attend, and put on big sumptuous evening affairs to try and prove that Chicago was civilized. The princess kept sneaking out to go incognito to the World’s Fair Beer Garden. She was amazed at how American young women could go anywhere, by themselves, could hold jobs (the standard office girl’s uniform was a black skirt and a white blouse), live by themselves, and she said how envious she was.

        1. IIRC, she was a Spanish princess, invited because the affair was officially a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage. Hence the fair had recreations of Columbus’ ships (though I think they were towed across Lake Michigan by a steam tug). Also, the local Chicago bigwigs didn’t appreciate her sneaking out.

      3. Re Harvey Girls – I picked this up on a vacation out west a few years back…

        I’m sure you’ve already seen it… but it was something I’d never heard of.

    3. Renaissance people did it to the medievals, fooling us into thinking that Renaissance people were smarter and more enlightened than those poor superstitious, filthy medieval folks (whose scholarly advances were buried by the Ren guys).

      This becomes really obvious when you look at the architecture, especially the Gothic cathedrals vs the Renaissance cathedrals – Renaissance architects deliberately stepped backwards in the development of arches and vaults, abandoning the ribbed vaults and pointed arches (which are better at carrying the load of the building down) in favor of the barrel vault (which tends to direct the building load out)

      1. Don’t be silly. The barbaric Goths could hardly improve on the perfection of Rome.

        You might enjoy Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths by Régine Pernoud. Apparently France is even more stuck on the notion than America.

        1. I read one history of Medievial Europe that suggested that it was Catholic Monks that accomplished the discoveries and advancement in the Dark Ages. When the Protestants took over writing history, they didn’t want to credit any accomplishments to Catholics.
          As for Scalzi… What exactly is his definition of harass? Is it like the no due process ‘rape tribunals’ in our Colleges? Whatever the Socialist Justice Warrior says is harassment must be true? Very low level of justice there. Most SJWs would consider any debate or arguing about their point of view offensive harassment. Frankly, it is the last dollar of my money he will ever see… The man has a closed mind and way too prejudicial to expect anything good.

    4. But it drives me absolutely bonkers that most of us assume that people in the past were uniformly stupid and unable to think properly (as if we can!).

      Does it help any to know that this has been an issue for at least a hundred years, judging from Chesterton’s Parable of the Fence? (Condensed: don’t get rid of a limit if you don’t know why they put it there.)

    5. It’s like we think that people couldn’t face up to or tackle their own problems in the past; they just had to wallow in their misery until we showed up to rescue them. *Especially* women. I bet a lot of 16th-century women would be pretty ticked off by that. $5 says your average 16th-century housewife was a lot tougher than we are.

      I’ll guarantee you that that 16th-Century housewife was probably a hell of a lot tougher than the average denizen of these sadly diminished times. Consider just the fact that she usually bought her poultry on the hoof, so to speak, and it wasn’t like those birds killed and cleaned themselves for the dinner table, either. It wasn’t that long ago that the average American country housewife dealt with things like that on a routine basis, either.

      I knew an old country farmers wife when I was a kid, and I’ll tell you this much–That woman’s approach to life was epic. Not only did she have no qualms about being the angel of death to about anything in her barnyard, she faced down all sorts of malefactors throughout her life with equal aplomb. The stories that got around about her were pretty frightening–As a young woman in Depression-era Oregon, she’d had to cope with keeping the dairy farm running while her equally young husband was off trying to make some money with the WPA. This was a known fact, and some bright light amongst the local hoodlumry decided it was something worth taking advantage of. Things didn’t quite go the way they planned, and five men wound up being marched down the old logging road towards the nearest phone, ahead of a rather angry woman with a shotgun and a Winchester Model 1894. Two of them had gunshot wounds, and one died before the sheriff got out to the scene of the crime. Counseling? Ha. She threatened the survivors that if she ever saw them around her farm again, she was going to shoot to kill, and bury them in the dung heap.

      When I met her in the 1970s, she was the one in her family that did collections for their dairy farm. Didn’t pay her husband or sons? Yeah, good idea, dumbass–Mom will be at your door collecting the money, with interest. She was charged with assault and battery in her late sixties, when some idiot hippy that they’d let ride for milk and butter to the tune of around a hundred bucks told her to get screwed, he wasn’t paying her a dime. This happened in the parking lot of the local grocery store, and she pulled his stupid ass out of his VW bus and commenced to beating his ass in front of his wife, kids, and fellow commune members. Do you have any idea how strong the average milkmaid is, that does daily milkings? Yeah, I thought not–Woman had a grip on her like a damn vice. Don’t piss one off.

      Another one of those “helpless” housewives we knew in those days was one hell of a character. She lived alone into her eighties, with her kids insisting on having a live-in caretaker on her farm with her. Now, I thought she was cool as hell, because she used to deal with her mole/gopher/nutria problem by the simple expedient of sneaking up on them with her Browning Auto-5 12-gauge, and blasting them with it. You might drive up to her house out on the dykes on the Columbia River, and she’d be out there in her gardening outfit, patiently waiting. She’d impatiently wave at you to stay put in the car, while she waited for the rodent du jour to come to the surface, and then it would be time for her to huddle over the shotgun and pull the trigger. You’d hear this “BANG”, and then watch her rise off the ground a bit, and she’d come to the garden gate cheerfully saying “Got the bastard…”.

      Daughter failed to vet the caretakers, there towards the end. They were 1970’s meth heads, ahead of their time. They decided to rob the “helpless little old lady living out in the country by herself”. I guess they didn’t notice the old girl still kept the Browning Auto-5 behind the kitchen door, and when they went to break down her door one dusky evening, they found out a couple of things: One, she wasn’t quite as far gone as they thought, and two, that she still had a bit of the old championship skeet shooter in her. She took out their planned getaway car, and ran them off her property. When the sheriff showed up, there were three hoodlum types cowering out in the blueberry bushes, certain that they were being hunted down and about to be murdered by the old lady they were supposed to be taking care of.

      Over eighty years old. 12 gauge Browning Auto-5. Full-house loads.

      Tell me again, O Enlightened Genii of the 21st Century how all these women of yore were helpless victims of the patriarchy? Yeah, I need a laugh, which is precisely what they probably gave any male stupid enough to try to get them to do something they didn’t want to. That “helpless old lady” only ever met one opponent she couldn’t handle, and that was the Federal government that stole a lot of her family land for the Beaver Ammunition Dump. She was still fighting them into the 1960s from a pre-WWII land condemnation deal, and they finally had to settle with her for what the land was worth in 1968, not 1940. Ask anyone who’s dealt with similar issues, and they’ll tell you that that was unheard of.

      Helpless. Oppressed. Victims of the patriarchy…


      I don’t think so, McGee…

      1. “It wasn’t that long ago that the average American country housewife dealt with things like that on a routine basis, either.”

        Try 1967 Arkansas, my maternal grandmother.

        Speaking of 80 with a 12 gauge, my 83 year old maternal grandfather was getting deer with one loaded with slugs out the front door from his recliner in the living room.

      2. As for being the angel of death to farm animals, I believe my dad was talking about his mother when he said she had been known to go out to the chicken pen and walk through to get dinner. She would grab a chicken, twist its neck, and hang it from her belt (apron, whatever), without pausing: grab, twist, hang. Step, step, grab, twist, hang.

        She would get three or four (ten kids to feed), then go back and clean them. But usually she made one of the kids go get them and bring them back ready to be plucked.

        1. What I was trying to get at with that was the disconnect these jackasses have, both male and female, that describe these women of those times as being some sort of shrinking violets, unable to assert themselves.

          Half of these idiots would likely starve to death before they were able to nerve themselves up to even kill one chicken, and then prepare it for the table. Yet, they think themselves somehow tougher, more assertive? Yeah… The bare-bones routine of those times, just daily housekeeping, would likely kill most of these SJW types, and they think that the women who lived that life were somehow kept there because they were “oppressed by the patriarchy”?

          Uhm, no. Just no. I’ve known some of those women, and am related to a few. The idea that they were somehow “kept down by the man” is just ‘effing ludicrous. If the “man” had dared, they’d have likely dealt with him about as expeditiously as they dealt with the chickens. As one of them once pointed out to me, when someone asked her if she’d ever been hit by her husband, “You have to sleep, sometime… You don’t have to wake up.”.

          If there was any oppressing going on, back in the old days, it was mostly circumstantial, and everybody was a victim of it. Hell, if you really want to start making something of it, how about we start talking about the unfair and unequal expectations that were placed on the men of that era? Or, are we going to forget the incredibly high mortality rate that existed in the workforce, while the wives stayed at home where it was (relatively, very relatively) safer? Go back, do the research, and you’ll find that men died young from accidents and misadventure, while women mostly died young from childbirth and illness. The causes of death were gendered, mostly, but the rates were entirely equal-opportunity.

          1. Oh, I did actually understand that. How many of these Shrinking Violet types would be able to make themselves even go out and kill a chicken in order to eat. Yet it was just another part of the job at the time.

  10. “The past is a foreign country: They do things differently there.” – L.P. Hartley

    The SJWs can be a source of amusement, though. Give them appropriate text from historical figures they admire, and watch the fun.

  11. Bear in mind it wasn’t always a case of a woman *choosing* to stay at home back in the ’50s. My mother trained to be a technical writer, was good at it, but nobody would hire her because “you’ll just get married and leave.” So she had to get a lower paying job she didn’t enjoy…and got married and left 😉 My great-aunt was a professional woman (in the 1930’s!) but she never married. To the women of the times the “choice” appeared to be celibate professional, or marry and stay home. I like modern times much better 😉

    1. Or a few didn’t marry because they would be discriminated against and went ahead and shacked up on their own terms. That could be politely ignored so the mores of the time worked against themselves by punishing marriage. I knew a Polish lady who moved to the US and never married despite being much asked. She had two daughters and raised them just fine on her own. She simply said she didn’t need some man telling her what to do. Which apparently was assumed as part of the package then.

    2. Yeah. My great aunt was a reporter for the Hearst paper in Atlanta in the 30’s, interviewer Martha Mitchell. I certainly don’t mean to say that things haven’t changed, and for the better.

  12. I spent $51 Canadian for the opportunity to nominate stories the Hugos, an award I haven’t given a shit about for twenty years because the winners are always -horrible-. Even though I am a cheap Scottish SOB, I spent the money. Not for any noble reason, I hasten to add.

    No, its because I want to spit in the SJW’s collective eye. Give them a slap upside their friggin’ heads that they’ll feel. I will hazard a guess that I am not alone in this.

    Dear SJWs: Having had things all your own way for such a loooong time, I bet the appearance of determined opposition is going to be rather shocking and painful. You have sown the wind. Behold the whirlwind.

  13. Ya know, if some SF/F writer decides to harass a woman at, oh, LibertyCon, say, or any other Hun-rich gathering, I suspect there would not be enough left of said writer for Scalzi to need to deign to get involved. Unless Larry C. and Dan Hoyt managed to intervene before their ladies finished reducing the miscreant to small puffs of lint and chromosome. With Kate P. offering suggestions.

    1. You’ll notice that harassment seems to happen mostly at cons dominated by SJWs. Curious, that.

        1. Alas, “No, thanks, I’m married/not interested/already have plans for lunch, maybe dinner?” has been replaced by “Don’t look at me or I’ll sue!”

      1. You must remember that by being SJWs, they have filled their daily quote of Being Good. This gives them license to engage in other behaviors.

        It’s been produced in the lab. Give people a chance to buy “green” products and they are subsequently more likely to lie and cheat in a game for money afterward.

        1. Paraphrasing a caller to a radio show yesterday where the topic was ‘renewable energy’ subsidies: “You’re not telling both sides of the story. I may be getting someone else’s money, but I’M not paying as much.”

    2. At Libertycon a couple years back a very well known female writer/editor was quite abusive to a fellow female panel member. To this day I believe that she owes her life to the seating arrangement. Dan was sitting between her and Sarah, who got very quiet. The sort of calm stillness you sense just before the volcano blows. Dan managed somehow to defuse the situation, bless him, as it would have gotten ugly very fast. Instead Ms. abuser was given just enough rope to prove herself a thoroughly nasty witch in front of all assembled.
      The lady being picked on was a first time newbie writer, and the situation obviously brought out Sarah’s mama kitty instincts.

      1. *shiver* What could have been… *chair-shaking shiver*

        I’m torn. I’m always torn in these situations. Polite civilization and the continuation thereof requires certain restraints, I’m aware.

        But I find I so want to ensure that those who blithely tread upon those restraints in pursuit of their own little cruel-gasms be faced with consequences. Immediate and definitive consequences.

        Civil restraint wins — eventually. It’s a nasty tug-o-war, but restraint has a minor edge.

    3. Here’s what I find really disgusting about the majority of these SJW types: When you get right down to it, these people are cowardly little shits that will refuse to lift so much as a finger, when confronted with actual evil and wrongdoing.

      I was at a civilian educational event with a bunch of other military folks once, where we walked into what amounted to a mugging/sexual assault on a complete stranger. When we came up on it, there was this little cluster of ineffectual little girly-men and women, wringing their hands and observing from a distance, as this girl is rolling on the ground with this oversized thug in the twilight. Immediately on figuring out what was going on, there’s this spontaneous rush of Neanderthal male military types to run down and kick the ever-loving snot out of the guy that was attacking the woman, and to help her out.

      Now, I came up on this little tableau after it all happened, having seen the fact that something was going on. What I saw when I got up on the scene was about four guys off in the distance giving the business to some poor bastard, and a couple more helping the victim out by picking up the contents of her purse and comforting her. The little cluster of ineffectual girly-men was still standing there, tch-tching, and criticizing the “thugs” who’d taken action.

      Frankly, if I was a woman being assaulted and/or raped, I would prefer to have a bunch of random truck drivers and/or blue collar types happen upon the scene than some mob of hipster SJW types–If it’s the blue collared group, I might actually get rescued. The other sort? Yeah, they might call the cops, but they’re never going to actually do a damn thing physically about my situation.

      1. But those blue-collar/truck driver/mil-neaderthals might be awkward and rough-around-the-edges! They might be assertive!


        1. I think what irritates me the most about these types is the sheer effrontery of their projections onto we who they consider “other”. In actual fact, I would be willing to bet good money that investigation and testing would reveal that the average “Assumed to be Neanderthalic” white working-class male is far less likely to do the sort of thing that is attributed to them by the soi disant “Enlightened Class” than they like to insinuate. In fact, I’d further gamble that the odds are better that the average member of that class is far more likely to perpetrate such harassment and assaults than we of the dirty-fingernail set. The majority of their insinuations and assumptions are pure projection, because that’s precisely what they would do themselves, were they able to. Witness the treatment of Sarah Palin, as an example. If she weren’t the exact antithesis of what they regard as the anointed Ivy-league governing class, she’d have gotten far better treatment and much more respect. But, because she didn’t go to the “right college”, and dared to put her name forth for national office when she wasn’t a member of the right clubs, she was mocked, ridiculed and harassed out of office, lest the “wrong sort” get into power. And, ladies and gentlemen, do allow me to point out that the “wrong sort” apparently consists of people like us, the “non-elite”.

          Classism is alive and well, here in America. And, there is anything more likely to result in an actual American Civil War II, it’s that issue more than anything else that is going to trigger it. The anointed ones seem to think that they have a God-given right and obligation to run our country, while allowing us not even a speaking voice in how it is ran. This isn’t going to end well, at all–I could easily see a situation where we automatically put anyone with an Ivy-league education up against the wall, as national traitors, because that’s what most of them have become. They see us as the enemy, and it won’t be too long before we see them in the same light. Hell, look at the numbers–Something like a clear 60% of the electorate didn’t want Obamacare, and yet they still shoved it down our throats. Same with the immigration issues, same with the wars and Islamic BS. The elites are going to keep pushing and pushing, and the day is going to come when the “unwashed masses” turn on them and turn them out. How that happens is going to be an interesting question, but you cannot have a nation such as ours with such a huge disconnect between the people running the place and the majority of the people living here.

          1. Absolutely, on your first paragraph. Despite the ignorance and idiocy of the “elite,” American culture resides right there in the maligned population.

            It’s why the “elites” throw so much hate.

            But — it’s not classism. Not really. It’s a presumption on the part of the “elites,” sure. Their presumptions carry about as much real weight as their lofty ideals.

            Not to say they can’t be destructive, you understand. Just that the destruction will be self-inflicted, insofar as we accept their delusions.

            In general, they’re treated with disregard. I think the key to winning is to turn disregard into mockery. No need to stand anybody up against the wall. Just make sure they understand how the “unwashed” really see them.

            Deflating egos will handle the rest.

          2. Exactly – it’s going to be a showdown between what Angelo Codevilla calls the ‘Ruling Class’ and the ‘Country Class.’
            Seriously, I am getting increasingly disinclined to cut the Ruling Class any slack at all. I saw how Sarah Palin was treated by the Ruling Class. I also saw how the Tea Party was treated — again, by the Ruling Class. A more earnest, knowledgeable, responsible group of Middle Americans can hardly be imagined … and yet, the Ruling Class saw fit to pour scorn, derision and calumny on them – as racists, as tools of whomever was the boogy of the moment, and as terrorists.
            For the latest installment of Ruling Class vs Country Class, look at how infuriated our so-called bettors are with how successful American Sniper has been at the box-office. Those vicious little sh*ts can hardly contain themselves.

            1. And they’re doing as much battlespace prep as they can.

              The new DSM-5 has expanded the definition of ODD to include adults who exemplify “paranoid ideation” about the government and frequently express these delusional ideations on the internet. This Oppositional Defiant Disorder as redefined in DSM-5 is now destined to become the newest weapon against political dissent.

              1. I expect that the moment they make use of that to rid the public spaces of people like myself will also be the moment that the shooting starts.

                The thing that just absolutely baffles me about these people is how they keep antagonizing and alienating the most dangerous (to them) parts of the population, like the veterans they keep typifying as “potential domestic terrorists”. To paraphrase Archer, you shouldn’t do that, because “…that’s how you get terrorists.”.

                Dude, if I wanted to be a terrorist, and felt like that was the only option left to me, the amount of damage I could do to their institutions, facilities and persons would stagger you. And, I’m not like some kind of expert at it, either–There are SF guys out there whose depredations would likely enter the level of “unrivaled in the history of the race”. I’m not sure what would be left, even. I knew SF guys in the service that used to use the mission of “depopulate New York City and render it uninhabitable using conventional means only” as napkin exercises over lunch. And, the plans they came up with? Would have worked.

                That’s all I’m gonna say. Would. Have. Worked. Greater New York area, rendered essentially uninhabitable. No nukes. One SF team. Think about it.

                And, they’re actively engaged in pissing us off. What are they, stupid?

                  1. Well, obviously they don’t believe it. The poor little victims, under relentless assault, go into shock when anyone stands up to them, because it’s so novel.

                1. Yes. Yes, they are.
                  Food is something that spontaneously generates at the store.
                  Water magically appears when you open the tap.
                  Electricity naturally exists within the house, you just have to poke holes in the walls to access it.
                  They know these things like they know the sun will rise in the morning, or that a dropped apple will fall.
                  And they’ve put about exactly the same amount of thought into it.

                  Remember a few years back, when there was a blackout in NYC?
                  Much of the reaction was one of utter incomprehension. It lasted a couple of hours, and then the rest of the country had to hear about this stunning betrayal of the natural order for weeks.

                2. No, they are the uber-protected of society. Never once in a fist fight, probably never punched or slapped in the face. The world has been made so supremely safe for them that they simply cannot imagine that, pushed too far, there are those that would give them an “ass whooping” or worse. To them a snarky comment is about as much devastation as they can imagine.

                1. Don’t make the mistake of confusing the psychological profession with the APA. Like the AMA or ABA, it doesn’t represent even a majority of the profession. However, the leftists in government are happy to use it.

          3. “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” has the mean blue-collar guys who battered the narrator’s fiance drink gin. What is this, the Victorian age?

            1. Georgian – Hogarth’s “Gin Lane” was issued in 1751. By the Victorian era it would have been whisk(e)y, at least in the States. Cheaper and made locally, but especially cheaper. But yeah, she didn’t even get that right.

            2. oh, yeah. And they called him gay, because … what? It’s part of the stupid incoherent bathos of the story. Do yourself a favor and publicize John C. Wright’s alternative instead.

                1. and d*mn it, it’s one of the best shorts I’ve read in years. I’d like to bring It Came Upon A Midnight Clear to your consideration, but I have no expectations of WINNING just maybe of being nominated.

                  1. I have no expection of either, but for the curious:

                    “The Book of Bone” is eligible as a novelette.

                    “Dragon Slayer”, “Mermaids’ Song”, “Witch-Prince Ways”, “Sword and Shadow”, “Eyes of the Sorceress”, “Fever and Snow” and “The Emperor’s Clothes” are eligible as short stories.

            3. If they were first-half-of-last-century sheepherders in the Northern California area, maybe– decent Basque influence, there, so gin is about as common as Scotch; don’t know where whiskey came into it, although if I remember right wine is more common than both. (I now think that’s because it’s easier to make than just about anything, but it’s Just That Way when I was a kid.)

              Of course, those guys would just use a knife if someone pissed them off enough to try to kill……

      2. Actual event: A friend of the family, who ran tech at the local state college, came upon a tableau during a cheerleading gathering—a girl, on the ground, who had been stung by a bee and had not gotten her dpi-pen in her arm fast enough, her fellow cheerleaders, who didn’t know what to do, and her advisor, who was wringing her hands and afraid to do anything lest she be sued. FotF picked up the pen, administered the epinephrine, and stayed by the girl as he sent the advisor off to bring in the EMTs.

        The girl regained consciousness fairly quickly, and was apparently muttering darkly about “I’ll never go anywhere with *her* again…”

        (BTW, every so often I think about how FotF would have fit RIGHT in here, had he not died some time back. Amongst other reasons, he got permission from Doc Smith to use Gharlane of Eddore to refer to himself…)

        1. Wait… THAT Gharlane of Eddore? I ran into a fellow who used that name back on Usenet on He sent me a copy of the Wizard of Speed and time because Jittlov encouraged people to pirate it because of how he got screwed.

          1. Yes. That one. I still have one of the laserdisc versions of WoSaT tucked in a box somewhere because he had about a dozen. (My mom was his executor, so I got that and a t-shirt—as in, “A friend of the family died and all I got is this lousy t-shirt.”) There are a few stories that he wrote that are out in print under the name E.K. Grant—he died of a known heart condition. My favorite is one that, alas, didn’t make it to publication before he died: “The Hollywood Hills of Madness.”

            He’s the bearded gentleman who is NOT Terry Pratchett in this photo. Incidentally, he is the older of the two, despite Pterry’s gray hair.

            Incidentally, he’s why I know who K.J. Parker is (mutual friends), so it weirds me out that Parker’s identity is a huge secret. (Can’t tell you, because it’s not my secret to tell. I *can* say that there are works out under the author’s real name, but so stylistically different that a pen name is completely warranted.)

            1. Sorry about the overuse of “incidentally.” I went back and inserted a paragraph and repeated myself.

    4. I’ll ask what may be a stupid question, but I’ll accept mockery if an answer comes along with it: In Mr. Scalzi’s original post, when he says “harass”, does he mean “sexually harass in person” or “refuse to stop disagreeing when asked or told to do so”? The former we can universally agree to be a Bad Thing; the latter is a little vague.

  14. “Childish and silly and ignorant.” Charlie is exact right, but I’d go with third graders rather than fifth… I’m an old fart (63), and grew up in the country, so I did a LOT of reading as a youngster. There were are are good authors of every specification out there, contrary to Scalzi et al. I hear a lot of bloviation from the SJWs but I don’t believe any of them would actually DO something that required a face-to-face confrontation. I don’t write SF, but if I did, I sure as hell would NOT be joining that organization, regardless of what it could do for me… Although I must admit reading here, Peter’s, Cedar’s, and Larry’s stuff gives me plenty of chuckles 🙂

  15. There are very few sites that will-or even can- have an in-depth discussion of E.E. “Doc” Smith’s works. I’d offer my own opinions on the topic, but I have to get back to dexitroboping.

    1. I need to read more of his work. His ideas seem interesting, even if his writing style is . . . eccentric.

  16. I once dreamed of the day I could join the SFWA. Now the question is why would anyone want to? Really: What’s the last positive thing the SFWA has done for writers? From the outside looking it, it seems more like Napoleon from Animal Farm.

    1. Same here. I no longer have that dream, having seen how they treat those who are not ‘worthy’.

      It’s like the old joke in the Society for Creative Anacronism – the political infighting is so vicious because the stakes are so very small…

  17. This might sound like a crud dis, but until today, I’d never heard of John Scalzi. I had to do a web search. Don’t know if that’s significant or not.

      1. Eh! He’s okay, I guess.
        But then, I’ve read a lot of horrible drek in my time. Perspective can mean a lot. If a reader has never actually read a decent author, they would think he was pretty good.

    1. I think, unless you read a lot of mil-sci-fi, or are in the approved writers circles and are among the twitteratti, John Scalzi is not that well known. *shrug* I knew of “Old Man’s War” and have read part of it, but it didn’t grab me. YMMV.

    2. ‘s OK.

      First I heard was some fellow-fan excitement about how there was a Star Trek fan book, sort of like how Galaxy Quest is a Star Trek fan book, coming out.

      Called “Red Shirts.”

      I was really, really, really disappointed. (Going off the book, it was less a fan book than “Avatar: The Abridged Series” is a fan show of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Considerably less clever and funny, too.)

      1. I liked it in a “cute” sort of way. It’s very hipster ironic/self-aware, which can be tiring.

        If you like that episode that almost every long-running TV series does where the show turns in on itself (e.g. Bones film noir episode, Star Gate’s Worm Hole Extreme, and Supernatural did one, too) you’ll probably like it.

        Hardly ground breaking, though.

        1. f you like that episode that almost every long-running TV series does where the show turns in on itself (e.g. Bones film noir episode, Star Gate’s Worm Hole Extreme, and Supernatural did one, too) you’ll probably like it.

          The only one of those I am familiar with is the Stargate one, and that one was done with lots of love.

          I got no impression of love being involved in Red Shirt.

          1. “I got no impression of love being involved in Red Shirts.”

            That’s why IMO it is *NOT* fan-fic of Star Trek.

            From everything I’ve heard, the makers of “Galaxy Quest” had fun making it and made it as a “love poem” toward TV science fiction especially Star Trek.

            Oh, Scalzi’s “Fuzzy Nation” isn’t fan-fic of Piper’s “Little Fuzzy”. IMO it was Scalzi showing how “Piper got it all wrong”. [Frown]

            1. “I’d love you if only….” fic.

              Contrast with, oh, that agent in the Captain America movie who was a Captain America fan before they ever defrosted him.
              That was a total poke at the fanboys… but not with disdain, but in a “…yeah, guys, admit it, you would TOTALLY do this, and we would, too” thing.

                1. Thank you!

                  I always mess up his last name, and realized I’d have to explain who he was and why I was mentioning it anyways…..

            2. I’m a big Spock fan, and AR’s parody-Spock was funny, but also caught the essence of Spock and mirrored the development of LN’s relation with his alter-ego. He is the guy who wrote both “I am not Spock” and “I am not Spock.”
              (Yes, I have them both. Yes, I read them both to bits, in high school. They’re still here, somewhere.)

            3. Good Lord no it is not fan-fic of Piper. Scalzi has a copy of Little Fuzzy he uses for toilet paper.

    3. His first published work was “Old Man’s War”. It was actually pretty good. But it was also the highlight of his career. After that, he produced a couple fairly decent pieces, and then a whole lot of dreck.
      In between, he’s posted some inflammatory blog posts about white males, started a pissing contest with Vox Day that hasn’t gone so well for him, and served as President of the SFWA–where his major achievement was reincorporating in California, instead of New York.

      The thing I’ve found most annoying about him is how he and his publisher chose to publicize him as heir to Heinlein’s mantle.
      He’s really pretty insignificant. But he thinks highly of himself, and isn’t bashful about sharing that opinion.

  18. “Then we have a man who was born in 1907, advising a young married couple sometime in the late 1950’s, that if the woman doesn’t want to work she doesn’t have to.”
    I am morally certain that Robert did not mean that statement the way we read it today. When he spoke it I am sure there was the implied qualifier, outside the home.
    If a cohabiting couple should choose for one to work for pay and the other to work in the home: cook, clean, care for any children, all of the never ending tasks that combined serve to make a residence into a place of comfort and refuge, well then that is their business and no one else’s. And gender matters not except as it impacts the ability to generate income.
    But by the same token, if one member of that couple simply chooses not to work, with no regard for making that residence into a home, then that person is nothing more than a lazy bum and a grifter, no matter the gender.
    Old fashioned I know, but then I am older than dirt.

    1. “There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.”

      “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”

      If he said it he was almost certainly simply joking, considering the way he seems to have talked about writing in general.

      1. I’d look more at the “have to” part– that’s one heck of a complement to pay a guy, that you’re so sure of his earning ability that there’s no way his wife will NEED to bring in extra money.

          1. *spreads hands* I know that the trope of the just-married couple where she has to bring in laundry or do other work-for-pay things, especially if she wanted anything nice, is quite well established. “Pin money” and all.

            Not “have to” like today, to keep the house, but “have to” like “she won’t even have to bring in extra for fripperies.”

  19. “Leigh for Gods’ sakes Brackett, who not only wrote SF but wrote what I think may be the best screenplay of all time, Rio Bravo.”
    I like you

  20. One thing I will point out, as Devil’s Advocate, is that the female authors of “ye Olde Dayes” often disguised their genders. That’s an actual fact, but why they did it, I don’t know. Would Andre Norton have sold as well if she’d written as Anne Norton? Did she chose Andre, deliberately, or was it urged on her by prejudiced publishers/agents?

    I don’t know if it was prejudice of the reading public, the publishers, or what, but an awful lot of the female authors back in the day used either emphatically male bylines, or very ambivalent ones. Hell, why did C.J. Cherryh choose to use an ambivalent identity, until she was so well-established that she was untouchable? I can remember getting into arguments with fellow readers, back in the day, as to what gender she was.

    So, I think that despite the plethora of successful, high-quality female authors “back when”, the SJW types do have something of a point with regards to the apparent need/desire for those authors to hide their identities behind male or ambivalent pen names.

    1. Go look at the list we ran in the BPF article. Not in the last 30 years. I’ll more than happily grant that there was pressure that way in, say, the 50’s and before.

    2. It may be that the authors or publishers thought gender would be an issue to readers. Strictly hypothetical, if they thought their demographic was adolescent boys and that adolescent boys only read male authors, they might have thought they’d do better to hide gender. For whatever reason, while fans knew J.K. Rowling was a woman, the use of the first two initials of her name disguises that aspect. Was something similar at play here?

      Whether or not this was a valid assumption is another question. I don’t think it was. If there was a poll of SF and F readers, I doubt many gave it a thought. Yet back in the day of Tin Pan Alley, publishers required songs to have elaborate verse when it was the chorus selling the music, so assumption vs. reality is nothing new.

    3. Agents, editors, and publishers have always been gatekeepers. The primary change has been that in olden days their goal was to maximize their profits. It was their opinion that male authors sold better, so masculine pen names were adopted for that reason.
      Somewhere along the way that goal mutated into one where the driver was to be socially relevant and correct. Profit became somehow icky. Or so one must assume given the way they’ve decimated the business of late.

    4. A lot of men wrote under female pen-names also, and still do. Yet nobody ever thinks that, say, male romance writers with female pen-names are being oppressed.

      Some women wrote under male or ambiguous pen-names because they just thought it was cool. You have to admit that a Cleveland girl calling herself Andre is adding a bit of swashbuckle, and Norton’s first books were swashbuckly adventure stories.

      I’m using M.S. O’Brien because there are at least five other Maureen O’Brien professional writers out there, and one of them is also a Dr. Who actress.

      1. I know a male author who writes romance under a female pen name. He also has a fantasy series out under his own name (and happened to be a coworker of my husband, which is how I came to read his stuff.) People looked at me funny when he stopped by the bookstore where I worked to sign things—because his name, his actual name, is Mark Anthony.

        Don’t know what his parents were thinking…

          1. That’s the one. The Last Rune. I like how it’s “people go to a magical world” and then come BACK, bringing attendant problems along.

            1. I read quite a lot and don’t remember half of them after a few years, so the fact that I remember at least reading it means I probably liked it. 🙂 (or sometimes it’s the ones which infuriated me, but that I would remember, and I no longer force myself to finish the just ‘meh’ ones).

      2. Request from a friend: know where we can get a decent translation of “De temporum ratione” by Bede?

        He’s considering the V. Bede for his confirmation saint. (Already have your Bede translation for him to get an idea of the style, but the reckoning of time is up his alley for non-Catholic reasons.)

          1. *puts in future resource area*

            Pretty sure he can’t read Latin, but that is *awesome* for next time I write up the whole “Easter” name origin thing. Thank you!

    5. Were they “disguising their genders,” or market signaling? I know that all sorts of actors and authors advertised their work with a different name, because it’s hard to sell a hard-boiled detective book by “Alice Airth.” Much easier to sell if it’s “Dick Bain.”

      That would be a male Scotsman, by the way– had male cousins named Alice, though they’d be contemporaries of Heinlein rather than myself.

      Now, imagine the plight of poor Charles Monroe XII, who writes really sweet, contemporary romances…. Or Jane Jones-Packer, who writes westerns.

      That author’s slot is prime real-estate to do some market signaling, and it takes some consideration about what kind of a signal you’re sending.

    6. “Hell, why did C.J. Cherryh choose to use an ambivalent identity, until she was so well-established that she was untouchable?”

      Probably for the exact same reason she added the impossible “h” to the end of Cherry.

      What occurs to me is… using initials and a last name to hide one’s female status only works if using initials that way is a common enough habit of male authors. Has anyone gone to see how many male authors went by their first initials too? If nothing else it means your name can be printed on the cover in larger type.

      Was it necessary to pretend to be male? Probably less than most people thought it was. But think of the different benefits for marketing various genres… for science fiction I’d most certainly, absolutely, without fail… use my married name which is Julie A. Pascal… middle initial included. Very practical sounding. For romance I might just use my real name anyway or I might flower it up a bit… Juliette or Julianna… skip the middle initial thing. If I wrote erotica I wouldn’t let my real name anywhere near it just in case my mom tried an internet search.

      And that’s the other thing… if there is some other reason to use a pseudonym at all, such as hiding your dirty little secret from your academic peers or your family (even *reading* novels was suspect among many people in my grandmother’s generation, so I can easily imagine disapproval of writing them in some quarters) then switching genders might be an extremely minor consideration tacked on top of that.

    7. Joanna Russ’s book How to Suppress Women’s Writing is actually a pretty good look at the period it was written. There were in fact a lot of mossybacks mouthing the clichés of the day about how women couldn’t write action, women should stick to fantasy, women weren’t disciplined enough to sustain a career, etc.

      Of course there were also women who said “Well, bless your heart” to the mossybacks and went on writing anyway, thank God.

      1. You know, I heard all of these things too from PROGRESSIVE editors and agents. Do you know why? Well, stereotypes exist because they have a tendency to be true. Not always, but a good guide. As a professional in this field, let me tell you most women are not good at writing action or plot (I’ve mentored dozens of women. this is something I HAVE to watch for.) Now men need help writing character, so it balances. THIS IS IN GENERAL. I know men who do character instinctively, too (Dave Freer.) Most women SHOULD stick to fantasy. And most women AREN’T disciplined enough to sustain a career (the judge is still out on my own case in the later.) Mostly because women lack a wife as a support system. (Even those that otherwise have wives.)
        The HONEST woman writer admits this and tries to fight it in herself, instead of pointing fingers outward and saying it’s everyone else’s fault. For her to think this was just “cliches” means she didn’t know any other women writers. Either that or she was enamored of victimhood, buck passing and obfuscation.

        1. I think that progressives are often the worst… look at Hollywood, for example. And I don’t know if it’s because they secretly believe the opposite of what they say they believe or if they are just blindingly convinced that *those people* won’t buy, read, or watch anything with the wrong sort of author or characters in it.

          Look how blindingly convinced the SJW wing of science fiction and fantasy is that *those people* will melt if a story has speculative identities or relationships in it, or heaven help us, a gay guy.

          I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, except that someone obviously has.

          1. Oh, I’d like to point out that most men also don’t have the discipline needed to maintain a career in SF/F. the muse is a fickle thing and when the payment sucks, the incentives aren’t there (see my post today, in a few minutes.)

  21. Charlie, I agree with you about Scalzi. It’s ironic that Glenn Reynolds was key (not the ONLY key, but certainly one of a handful) in getting him his start. I wonder if Glenn is as enamored of him today. (This is a nice blog, BTW. Sarah is lucky you could pitch in and keep it going while she’s indisposed. Had a hell of a time logging in with Twitter or FB to post this, tho. WordPress plug-in issues. Just FYI.)

    1. When Reynolds posted a link to Scalzi’s latest on his blog a while back, his comments were full of people bashing Scalzi.

  22. There are SJWs self-aware enough to see what’s wrong with their whole approach. This writer noticed the seminar folk who would take “courageous” stands in discussion with other SJWs were completely useless when an actual neo-nazi showed up. His diagnosis:

    Ironically, I suspect that we engage in social justice elitism for the same reason an otherwise reasonable man became a Neo-Nazi: out of a desire to construct and perform an identity. While the SJWs really do care about social justice, they are also invested in constructing a heroic self-narrative. This often entails a Quixotic project of creating villains by casting whoever is around them as the forces of oppression. As a teaching assistant, an undergraduate asked me about a paper she wanted to write on the Bible and gay rights. She explained that she was very pro-gay but knew “by word of mouth” that the professor opposed gay rights. In essence, she wanted to know if she would be punished for defending gay rights against an intolerant authority figure. The problem with this narrative was that there was no such authority figure. The professor was an arch-progressive and the victim of malicious gossip. At its worst, the move to create villains where none exist can amount to “weaponizing” the values of social justice. I have even seen cases where undergraduates have used the rhetoric of tolerance to punish faculty for giving them low grades. There has probably never been a religion professor who “hates other cultures,” but this accusation has been made on teaching evaluations.

    Rest here:

  23. I did an informal “study” of the current state of sci-fi publishing when I was at Barnes and Noble. I counted all the women and all the men on the covers of the front-facing “New in Science Fiction” paperbacks. I counted the two text-only anthology volumes that had the word “Women” as part of the title since they most certainly had a “woman” on the cover. If there was a man and a woman pictured, I counted them each separately. There were 28 women and 15 men on the covers of the current “New SF” display.

    (The hardcovers were more evenly divided between male representation and female representation. The hardcovers also had far more illustrations that simply didn’t include people at all, maybe up to a third of them.)

      1. I didn’t notice any newly released “Chicks in Chain Mail” novels. This was just the one section for whatever is “new”.

        Over in magazines (my husband was looking for a machining fix) I noticed a huge, fat, glossy volume on creating digital fantasy art. The cover would make Frazetta quake and Boris drool…. and SJW’s heads explode. The tiny plate bikini would have done it. The artist clearly used women body builders as the model and Frazetta would have been sad about the rather normal breasts but he’d have approved the substance. It was a beautiful picture. Nothing realistic about it. Total fantasy.

        From what I remember none of the actual SF book covers, despite 2/3 of them having women as the or a main figure, violated any “OMG objectification” standard. They were nice, most of them, but I wonder if maybe they weren’t all a little bit… careful.

        And that’s sort of sad.

  24. Just ran across a link to this page (h/t Ace of Spades):

    It’s a discussion of the book “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” and quotes an excerpt from the book:
    One pernicious effect of literacy has gone largely unnoticed: writing subliminally fosters a patriarchal outlook. Writing of any kind, but especially its alphabetic form, diminishes feminine values and with them, women’s power in the culture.

    I’m sure Scalzi will acknowledge that by using the written word he has been harassing women, and will therefore destroy his own career… for free.

    I would apologize to the women reading this for the patriarchal aggression inherent in written communication, but let’s face it… as a male, I rejoice in things like this. I’m even going to say I hope you all read more.

    1. So… being illiterate is required to be feminine?

      And logic is male, too.

      And self control, that’s thumbing-under to the patriarchy….

      Oh, and having kids, too, as is loyalty to your mate. That’s non-feminine.

      You know, I think you just helped kill off the last little bit of annoyance I get from these kind of folks claiming I’m not really a woman.

      If that’s what they mean by someone being a real woman, I don’t even want to live near her, let alone be one.

      1. The thing that makes me want to reach for a weapon is that the women most likely to be damaged by believing this bullshit are those who don’t belong to the Trustafarian class and are going to have to go out and make a living that doesn’t involve sitting around contemplating the whichness of the why.

    2. One pernicious effect of literacy has gone largely unnoticed: writing subliminally fosters a patriarchal outlook. Writing of any kind, but especially its alphabetic form, diminishes feminine values and with them, women’s power in the culture.

      Oh, dear God… The stupid, it burns, it burns…

      I’m just kinda curious, here–Did these idiots ever do any sort of reading about ancient times, y’know, back before writing was really a “thing”?

      In all of that, who was more likely to be the storytellers, the bards, the people making a living by going around and passing on the oral histories? How many Celtic bards were there, in real history? Which of the two genders were more likely to be doing this sort of thing?

      Do we even have any preserved records of female storytellers, from those days? Is there a feminine Ulysses that I’ve missed, pray tell? And, how about in the primitive tribes we still have? I will be damned if I can recall ever hearing about any grand feminine oral traditions from those, either. Which, of course, is not to say they didn’t exist, but they sure as hell didn’t get recorded very well. Most of the reading I’ve done about such peoples, the women are working too damn hard to be wasting their time telling stories around the fires late at night. They’ve got kids to raise, and garden plots to be tilling. The only types with time to be professional storytellers in that kind of economy are the males. And, even if there are female-unique oral traditions, those aren’t particularly well-documented in the literature, period. I’m sure that women are telling stories in these pre-literate societies, but they’re not telling them in front of crowds for the sheer entertainment of it, either. From what I’ve read of the issue, most of the female-unique storytelling was going on while the women worked at monotonous tasks with other women in the village or tribe. Or, they were telling their kids bedtime stories, as part of the oral tradition–They weren’t doing it the same way male storytellers were doing it around the fires, at night.

      So, tell me again how the written word oppresses women especially hard? I’m waiting…

      1. The only traditions of lady story-tellers I can think of are along the lines of 1001 Nights– guys did the “wander around being at physical risk from animals and bandits” thing and women remembered the stuff for their own family, and sharing it if they married into a different one, to generalize very loosely.

      2. The only place I have heard of it as a significant number is Russia where it was the old women who told the lore to the family in the winter after the boisterous fun was done. (Russian traditional dances, otherwise known as ‘wear everyone out before they kill each other from being cooped up inside’)

      3. I see I did an absolutely crappy job of expressing myself, when I wrote this.

        What I was trying to get at was the utter lack of any real proof, one way or the other, of this supposed grand oral tradition of the female side of the house. There’s nothing out there that I’m aware of, aside from supposition and what we remember via folktales. Hell, there may have been places and times where storytelling was an entirely female thing, before the horrors of literacy. But, where the hell is the actual proof of this? What are they basing this fairy tale on, precisely? Wishful thinking and extrapolation from Anne McCaffrey?

        Hell, do we even have a set of documented archeological proofs that men were storytellers? How the hell would you know? Is there some sort of esoteric signs left in skeletal remains that would tell us that this buried person was someone who talked a lot, and thus had hypertrophied vocal cords, or something? How the hell would you know?

        I’m pretty sure that women were probably storytellers as much as men were, but I’d be willing to wager that the differences were that women mostly told stories within the family to pass on history and tradition to the kids they were raising, and that men were probably playing the raconteur around the campfires at night, with some of the better ones doing it on a “professional” basis. Thing is, how the hell do you prove that? It’s just as likely as that whole “Golden Age of Feminine Oral Tradition”–The whole thing is built on a foundation of fantasy and theory, with no actual proof that that’s what our ancestors did before writing came in.

        The entire concept reminds me of the absolutely abysmal fairy-tale building that took that archaeological study that the originators said showed that there were more Scandinavian women buried in Viking settlements around Europe, and the enthusiasts somehow conflated that into “THE VIKINGS HAD WARRIOR WOMYN!!”. WTF? You go look at the original papers, and about all they’re claiming is that, hey, some of these remains we presumed were male are actually female. And, that’s it–Nothing else that would even begin to corroborate the “Warrior Womyn” theory, like hypertrophied bone structure showing a lifetime of sword practice and a plethora of nicks and cuts indicating that those women actually had injuries consonant with a lifetime on the front lines of combat.

        So far as I know from the anthropology reading I’ve done over the years, there weren’t any women we can confirm making a living at storytelling and passing on oral traditions. Just as we don’t have the actual evidence that any men were doing the same, either. I mean, what the hell would we use as a marker? It’s not like there were tools of the trade to be buried with that were unique to the storytelling trade. A lyre or a drumset could just as well be grave goods for someone who made music or danced for the tribe, as they could be tools for the bard. A scribe at least had likely things in his grave like stylii and inkpots, so we can presume to identify their remains and roles in their society. Pre-literate storytellers? What the hell are they presuming shows that?

        [shakes head] The state of modern scholarship, where wishful thinking and fantasy trumps any real thought and/or evidence.

      1. I’m reading the linked article (toughens the brain). There’s some gems:

        Anthropological studies of non-literate agricultural societies show that, for the majority, relations between men and women have been more egalitarian than in more developed societies. Researchers have never proven beyond dispute that there were ever societies in which women had power and influence greater than or even equal to that of men. Yet, a diverse variety of preliterate agrarian cultures—the Iroquois and the Hopi in North America, the inhabitants of Polynesia, the African !Kung, and numerous others around the world—had and continue to have considerable harmony between the sexes.

        Literacy has promoted the subjugation of women by men throughout all but the very recent history of the West. Misogyny and patriarchy rise and fall with the fortunes of the alphabetic written word.

        To perceive things such as trees and buildings through images delivered to the eye, the brain uses wholeness, simultaneity, and synthesis. To ferret out the meaning of alphabetic writing, the brain relies instead on sequence, analysis, and abstraction. Custom and language associate the former characteristics with the feminine, the latter, with the masculine. As we examine the myths of different cultures, we will see that these linkages are consistent.

        Goddess worship, feminine values, and women’s power depend on the ubiquity of the image . God worship, masculine values, and men’s domination of women are bound to the written word. Word and image, like masculine and feminine, are complementary opposites. Whenever a culture elevates the written word at the expense of the image, patriarchy dominates. When the importance of the image supersedes the written word, feminine values and egalitarianism flourish.

        I’ve got to stop there for the moment. The absurdity threatens to swamp.

        1. “…the inhabitants of Polynesia…”
          I spent six years in American Samoa. No American woman would put up with the way women are treated there.

          1. It’s ’cause American women are corrupted by the Patriarchy, therefore being unable to enjoy the full fruits of matriarchal power in beautiful primitive societies.


              1. You should try throwing up on a page. Apparently there’s a lot of money in it, judging by the morass I’m wading through.

              2. Just an example for ya, regarding the EEG differences seen between reading (beta) and watching TV (alpha, theta):

                Task-oriented beta waves activate the hunter/killer side of the brain as alpha and theta waves emanate more from the gatherer/nurturer side. Perhaps Western civilization has for far too long been stuck in a beta mode due to literacy, and striking a balance with a little more alpha and theta, regardless of the source, will serve to soothe humankind’s savage beast.


                Television, being a flickering image-based medium, derails the masculine-left-linear strategy, just as in parallel, the written word had earlier disoriented the gestalt-feminine-right one.

                  1. Check your ground. Might be a bad connection. If so, pour coffee on it.

                    Upon consideration, TV as the feminine adds nuance to the silly phrase “boob tube.”

                    Retreating to the bunker now.

                  2. I — can’t — stop —:

                    The computer … converted the television screen from a monologue to a dialogue by making it interactive. And features peculiar to computers shifted the collective cultural consciousness of the men and women who used them toward a right-hemispheric mode, which in turn has further diminished male dominance.

                    The computer was originally designed to aid scientists, most of whom were male. Since the 1970s, therefore, males have rushed in droves to learn what their fathers and grandfathers contemptuously dismissed as a skill for women and sissies — typing. Unlike all the scribes of past cultures, men now routinely write using both hands instead of only the dominant one. The entry into the communication equation of millions of men’s left hands, directed by millions of male right brains tapping out one half of every computer-generated written message, is, I believe, an unrecognized factor in the diminution of patriarchy.

                    —Emphasis mine.

                    1. Fortunately, I have overload kick-ins. They’re just a little slow to engage at first.

                      I’m having to work awfully hard to stifle the howling laughter, here at work, though.

                      This has to be the result of someone sitting down (possibly with friends) and trying to find every possible way they can twist everything possible into a male oppression. Then having to come up with some way to imply that their side is winning. If it were written as a parody, it would be brilliant. As it is, I think it signals someone who needs a serious dose of reality.

                    2. Me, I’m just glad computers came along to put paid to all that logic, linear processing and symbolic representation.

                      Oh, and giving men something to do with their left hands. Really important, that. Big blow to the Patriarchy.

                      I keep reading these things with the niggling feeling that I’m being trolled and somebody’s eventually going to own up to the parody. It keeps not happening.

                    3. I wonder how she would react to left-handed men doing highly left brained things like getting PhDs in hard sciences (ala my dad.) Or highly logical left handed women like his mother who would have taken them all out to the verbal woodshed without so much as raising her voice or uttering the mildest of profanity.

                1. Congratulations!! Expect your decoder ring and secret handshake diagrams by registered mail.

    3. “Writing of any kind, but especially its alphabetic form, ”

      Ummm, what other forms of writing are we talking about that aren’t alphabetic?

        1. Reading the article, I suspect those are guilty, too.

          They still require linear processing of subsequent characters to gather meaning, rather than the ability to take it all in with a glance, downloading the full gestalt.

          It’s not just the alphabet. It’s words gathered into sentences piled into paragraphs, one following dutifully behind the other. All very linear, and thus male.


          1. IF they don’t like linear languages then the Far Eastern ones are the ones they’ll most like. I doubt they’ll be happy with any language though. And they don’t seem clever enough to make their own. Perhaps we should suggest pantomime to them?

            1. I’d love to see them abandon language in favor of pantomine.

              One wonders if their clarity might improve.

            2. I think that they are neurotic globs of dislike. They don’t like anything. Also they’re so cocooned that they wouldn’t recognize reality if it bit them on the ass. Lastly, any intrusions of reality on their fever dreams, is always someone else’s fault.

    4. Dear Mr. Randy Wilde,

      In this modern day, patriarchal forms of communication are frowned upon. Thus, your comment is being purged from all records.

      Addendum-The collective insists that from now on you submit all forms of communication through the matriarchy approved language of interpretive dance.

      1. Trust me, if I were to dance (interpretive or otherwise) it would be much more horrifying than the patriarchal written word ever could be.

        1. Now you make me want to suggest that a group of the scariest-looking men we can find, get together and do a video of an interpretive dance response to that article.

          Of course, now that I have written that, I will put on my straw hat and await the carp-aggeddon likely to fall upon my head.

          1. I should clarify – I don’t mean men who look like scary characters. I mean, “Oh, my lord, who ever let that guy think he could dance??? My eyes!” kind of scary.

              1. You just wanna hunker under your hat so you don’t see it coming. Too bad there’s a shadow…

            1. I think you missed my follow-on comment clarifying what I meant by “scary-looking”.

              I’m talking about guys who look like ME (6’1″, 350lbs), in shorts, without shirts, all pretending to be able to dance, but looking like epileptic drunken orangutans trying to catch a batch of freshly-released mice.

  25. If self-publishing is a means to bypass the elites control of all media, they will start making self-publishing as difficult as possible to do for those people who publish things they don’t like. Controlling the press has always been the key to managing the populace.

    1. And holding our middle fingers at them has always been our way to revolt. It worked from the first broadsheets to (more recently) the USSR’s samizdat movement. Screw the elites. Carry on conveying information and entertainment. And yes, this is why they hate Amazon with a purple passion.

  26. Darkover. Pern. Deryni. Deverry. Cherryh, cos I can’t pick a fav world. Valdemar. Cordelia Naismith. Wyoh. Friday. P. C. Hodgell. Joy Chant. Mary Stewart (Merlin Books). Andre Norton. Telzey Amberdon and Trigger Argee.
    Hope Mirrlees. Evangeline Walton. Want more? WB

    1. Yes, he does. We’re not allowed to call ya’ll lady or woman or female, since you claim they’re all demeaning. Charlie is using the term I chose for you. Why not? Ya’ll dress in vulva outfits and dance around while thinking you’re being socially relevant. Darling, we couldn’t MAKE you as ridiculous as you are.

    2. No, no one expects you to keep reading. We know how the game (skim) is played (until offended).

      If this mild descriptor throws you off your feed, I strongly recommend you call someone to come unplug your internet. Really.

          1. What might I be doing wrong? I copy-paste into Notepad and I see — the checkmarks. I’m assuming the checkmarks are a function of Unicode, yeah?

              1. I’m missing something. My notepad paste looks very much like the HTML comment. Minus the colors.

                No Unicode.

                I’m searching W’pedia for the code, at the moment.

                  1. Hm. My Misread. I thought copying to see how it’s done would reveal the coding.


                    1. That is how it’s done—just as WP replaces :​) (that’s colon+close paren, in case my coding doesn’t come through) with 🙂 , it also replaces the character encoded as U+2611 with the picture ☑.

                    2. Okay. I get that. I suspect there’s a communication break down, somewhere. I was looking for the code, the U and the + I knew, the 2611 I did not.

                      I mistakenly believed sticking the text in Notepad would strip the “formatting” and show the actual code. If there’s a way to derive the code from the symbols in Notepad, I don’t know it.

                      Anyroad, you’ve provided the info and I’ve found (long) lists of other codes for future use.


        1. That’s a tactic, sure, but it’s not on Larry’s Checklist.

          And while the Checklist needs updating (Justify the Moon Ferrets! does not have a canonical number), I think drive-by commenting is a poor fit for the Internet Arguing Checklist. You can have an argument with simple contradiction (“No, that’s not an argument.” “Yes, it is. Time!” “That was never five minutes.”) but you need to stick around.

    3. Just to make myself perfectly clear.

      (1) Yes, I am making fun of you. Yes, you. And people of your ilk.
      (2) It ain’t because of what’s between your legs, it’s because of what’s between your ears.
      (3) Contrary to current SJW dogma, you don’t think with your ovaries, you don’t think with your vagina, you don’t think with your vulva (NB and your vulva is not your vagina; you need to talk to your costome designers)
      (4) But observational evidence suggests you ain’t using the organ at the other end much for that stuff either.

    4. And you expect people to keep reading after that?

      Depends on what you mean by that question.

      People of the sort it’s referring to? Of course not– they’re here to find something they can twist into an attack, and that will do. Basic manners is an “attack.”

      People who are actually reading for content? Generally, yes– other than the ones who are sick to death of hearing about how horrible it is to call a female “lady,” and so’s “female,” and…well, absolutely anything, other than engaging the actual point.

  27. Is it just me or is there a missing paragraph between these sentences:

    This is creeping in, I think, from the outside world of politically-driven literary criticism.

    The paradigm for this is criticism of the most vehemently anti-racism and anti-slavery novel of the 19th century

  28. Very well put, Charlie.
    I know why they have no historical perspective. Love serendipity. Just before dropping by here I read this piece:

    Middle School Reading Lists 100 Years Ago vs. Today Show How Far American Educational Standards Have Declined. –

    SJW, they haven’t got a chance—-or a clue.

    (Catching up on Instapundit)

    1. Two things to keep in mind with even verified curriculum of 100+ years ago: they didn’t have as many grades as we do (I can’t remember what was standard, and there wasn’t a THE standard, but I vaguely remember that 6th grade was roughly equivalent to high school graduate of today– so this would be low-level college stuff.) and they weren’t required to “teach” people who simply can’t be taught. Not just folks who are disabled, or don’t even speak the flippin’ language, but the ones who stand at the stream and refuse to take a sip.

    2. Flag on the play!

      That would have been a better article if they had shown a complete list of the 1904 reading materials. Seriously.

      (May or may not have to do with the homeschooling curriculum I’m working on already.

  29. Ah, but they didn’t address sexual roles

    Bwahaha. Connie Willis was so ticked by the SJW-attack of her time that she wasn’t really a female SF writer because she didn’t do “women’s issue” that she wrote Even the Queen in retaliation.

    It’s hilarious and is, as far as I know, the ONLY science fiction story specifically about getting your period.

    “Women’s issue” for the win 🙂

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