If You Were A Grown Up, My Love

When I was very young I used to think that stories where everyone died, or stories where pointless but sad things happened were about the best thing ever. They were profound and so different from every other story I’d read till that time which were all boys-aventures or fairytales that ended well and with a moral.
If You Were A Dinosaur my Love’s win bothered me at a level I can’t begin to explain, and it still bothers me, like an aching tooth to which the tongue keeps returning.  It’s not just that could have been written by me at 12 and would have got, from my middle school teacher, exactly the sort of praise it got from science fiction professionals.
It’s the ideas packed into the story that are truly disturbing.
A story that reveals a total lack of knowledge of an entire class of people (manual laborers) and instead others them as sort of scary all purpose evil that will beat to death anyone who doesn’t look/act like them won an award voted on by – supposedly – adult professionals. Not only that, but adult professionals who keep claiming their tolerance and love of the “other.”  What’s more, adult professionals who would almost certainly embrace “Marxism” as a good or at least correct idea.  When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class?  And admitting it?
It made perfect sense for ten or twelve year old me to write and love that sort of thing.  The only working class people I knew were in the village and I’d seen movies like everyone else where working class LABORERS were sort of beasts unleashed.  But the movies aren’t real and every adult knows that, right?  Every adult knows that people are just people and that intellectual prowess is not an indicative of goodness or moral right, right?
The only way to think that all manual laborers are a sort of painted devil to scare readers with is to never have met any.  I rather like people who work with their hands and who do real, often difficult and dirty work.
I didn’t raise my kids in mixed (there was always some gentrification pushing in) neighborhoods by choice exactly.  It was a combination of what we could afford and the fact I don’t like driving and most of the older, walkable neighborhoods are a mixed bag.
Kids grew up with children who were the children of the local police chief, or the local chef at a greasy spoon (Robert’s best friend to his early teens), or the occasional child of a college professor.
We never found anyone less than polite or nice.  They might think we were weird as heck, with our paintings of dragons, our house groaning under the weight of books (though you know I once got a 20% discount on appliance purchases from Lowes because I wrote for Baen, which tells you workaday people read.  The clerks gathered around to shake my hand, not because of my writing – I hadn’t been published by Baen yet, I just mentioned I wrote for them – but because I knew Drake and Weber.)  But none of these people were even impolite to us – not even to the foreign chick with the accent.  And after the normal precaution of coming over a couple of times with the kids, they’d let the kids flit in and out of our house as though they’d known us all their lives, and would take our kids fishing and have them stay for dinner as though we were family.
We went to Lakeside (immortalized as riverside in Noah’s Boy) on our weekends off.  Lakeside is a low-rent amusement park and part of the reason we went there is that I don’t go on rides or at least not on most of them.  We wanted a place where I could get in for $5, we paid $15 a piece for the kids to have a full ride pass, Dan got $10 in tickets for the rides he liked, and we could spend the whole day having fun.  My fun was to read a book outside the rides the guys were on.
That park would have been a dead zone if you could have dropped a bomb that killed only manual laborers.  We’d have been the only survivors.  And if a bomb killed only Spanish speakers, only about one third of the park would still be alive.
It was a safe and fun place for the kids and – remember I understand Spanish, too – not once did anyone say “Hey, look at the dork chick reading a book,” much less “let’s beat her up.”
In fact, it wasn’t till we could afford as a treat, to go to Waterworld, a playground for children in our own “class” in terms of parental education that we found people were rude and made horrible remarks. (Not unexpected in feral children raised mostly in daycares, but a shock, nonetheless.)
Thinking about this, I figured that the people who write and vote awards for these sort of stories are people who have never come in contact with laborers or working class people and who never even deigned exchange three words with the clerk totting up their order.
They assume – since they assume they’re the most “evolved” of all people.  All their teachers told them they were closest to the progressive ideal, and they’ve learned all the right opinions, after all – that working class people must be stupid or a sort of less evolved form of themselves.
It would probably shock them to death how many phds do manual labor, either out of inability to deal with life or because they come to the same conclusion I did about relative politeness and decide they don’t want to deal with bullship office politics anymore.
Instead, they imagine everyone not a college professor as a sort of grown up feral highschool student crossed with the worst stereotypes from older books and movies.
They imagine beneath their enlightened selves a lumpen mass of troglodytes who hate anyone who is different, and particularly anyone who is LEARNED like them.  They think working class automatically means racist and sexist and anti-intellectual.
These people have had no experiences as adults with other adults.  They have never bothered wandering off the safe lighted path even enough to LOOK at how the other people live.  They probably mistake muttering mental homeless for members of the “working class.”  They were maybe called “lady” by a repairman and have been scarred ever since.
Maybe it’s that I had the advantage of my grandfathers being carpenters and of having been a curious little girl who grew up following repairmen around to see how things are done.  I can do most of the tradesman level work, except I won’t mess with electrical and plumbing.
I can tell you though, that when prepping houses for sale, the tradesmen that come in and see me work never say “Hey look it’s a chick doing men’s work. Let’s beat her.”  Instead, they go from amused to respectful and end up teaching me some stuff I didn’t know.  (And two have offered me jobs.)
No wonder they can’t interpret criticism of their choices as anything but “they’re afraid of women and gays writing science fiction.”  I mean, what else could it be, when these fine hothouse flowers of academia know for a fact they are the most enlightened human beings alive?
It’s not strange that they should think this.  After all, the aristocracy in every time period has tended to be a little isolated and make a lot of assumptions about other people.  They probably think we should eat cake and shut up already.
What is strange is that we’ve let such people dominate entire fields of mass entertainment, designed to appeal to the very masses they despise.  What is strange is that we allow them to turn entire classes of people off reading, and to preach their silly nonsense just enough to inspire civilizational self-hate.
It’s time this stops.
Read, write, buy decent books, and for grins and giggles vote on awards, too.
It’s time grown ups too over the business of entertainment.  The kids have left half melted pink crayons and chewed crackers everywhere.
Bring in the vacuum, roll up your sleeves.  It’s going to be time-consuming and tiring, but we, the grown-ups must take over.
For their own protection.
In the end, we win, they lose.  Be not afraid.

445 thoughts on “If You Were A Grown Up, My Love

  1. Sarah, bless your evil black heart, I suddenly had an idea for an urban fantasy story about a guy who hires werwolves as timber cruisers for the night shift, and his vampire business partner who does the limber grading and inspections. (cue jokes about “Mind the splinters, Hal.” “Rick, that’s so old it was dead before I was.”) And unicorns who do the environmental impact statements. I could hate you for this, you know. I really could.

    Which is kinda funny, because the next Azdhag novel starts with a bunch of loggers smacking down some wanna-be toughs.

      1. Clearly, undines would be the plumbing contractors. Dryads would be the carpenters. SJWs could be the roofers*.

        *Must I explain every gag?

          1. Which ones? the brownies, of course, are the live in servants. The others — well, I don’t think the Wild Hunt would live in a house, but I suspect they are doing the hiring, not the work.

          2. *cough* Definitely not the former. Who needs that sort of agita?

            So, the cleaners, especially for woodwork such as banisters and cabinets, areas where expert knob polishing counts.

    1. You taking orders in advance? I can do barter. I’ve still got three-quarters of an elk — well-aged.

        1. Hmmm, zombie elk trying to invade Yard Moose Mountain? Caused by some grant wielding professor’s attempts to restore the balance of nature gone very awry? Arrrrrgh! Plot bunnies! Run away, run away!

          1. Okay, I’m sold too, and I don’t really care for vampires or zombies. In fact, I WANT IT. Okay?

      1. The next Azdhag novel I hope to have out this fall. It’s written, it just needs polishing, edits and a cover. I’ll get to work on the UF soon. The WWI thing is kinda filling my hours right now.

      1. Quibble: it would be the basis for a great novel. Great novels also require plotz, characterz and long pointless exposition about the failurez of Western Civ and the evils of white male privilege.

        1. That last is only necessary if your audience is intellectuals or critics. You know, morons.

              1. My daughter bought it as a Christmas present for herself – it’s hilarious! Although … Silent Movie was pretty much a small sketch blown up to movie-length.

                  1. It’s not in the movie collection – I just went and checked. Wasn’t that more of a stand-up sketch, maybe on TV? I remember hearing audio recordings; I think that the AFRTS library had a version of it.

                    1. It was (is) a stand-up skit, based upon schtick they used to do at “after the show” parties. Imdb reports

                      2000 Year Old Man is an old Brooks-Reiner comedy routine turned into a half-hour animated TV special. Reiner, a TV reporter, interviews Brooks, a man claiming to be 2000 years old. The interview consists of a serious of questions regarding the history of the world. Brooks’ answers to Reiner’s questions are priceless.

                      that it was the basis for a half hour animated film but it doesn’t seem to be available on Youtube, unless this is it:

                      Amazon offers it as a 4-disk (audio) CD set and indicates there is a cassette edition as well, but with no indication of how many minutes are offered (although the set apparently includes all five albums ((vinyl)) that Reiner & Brooks produced — comedy albums in those days might run as few as thirty minutes although that would hardly justify putting it on four CDs.)

                      One of my favorite films from Brooks remains The Twelve Chairs, produced before he developed his Blazing Saddles burlesque.

                  2. It’s a record album. Someone did make an animated sketch for it, I think for the sonny and cher show, but I’m not sure.
                    Anyways, Amazon should have the album, probably an MP3 version as well.

            1. If someone doesn’t like Blazing Saddles it is a strong indicator that you can safely ignore their thoughts on anything else.

    2. OK, y’all are totally to blame for this:

      “One good thing about the EPA” Uncle Rich said. “They keep unicorns employed.” He tapped the latest stack of water quality requirements and watershed remediation regulations with one long finger.

      I nodded, mouth full of sandwich. We’d been running double shifts because of the full moon and some big orders from yards in the South restocking after the last hurricane season, and the bacon-bleu-burger was my first food in hours. Two of the werewolf timber-cruisers had brought in an elk along with their reports and the results made great burgers, with a little fat added for flavor. Bite finished, I swallowed and asked, “Are you going to be able to get that lumber graded tonight, or do I need to call Leon in?”

      “I’ll get ‘er done. A 50/50 blend of synthetic and real works just fine, and I’m over the crud I caught from that stoner. Some people should not be allowed into the woods without adult supervision.”

      And Uncle Rich should remember not to drink blood from New Agers camping in the woods, but I’m not going to be the one to tell him. “That’s great. I don’t like calling Leon in unless it’s really, really important.”

            1. Well, the gaslamp fantasy thing wasn’t supposed to get written in the middle of the WWI story, either, but it ambushed me.

              1. And from the “late to the party” contingent:

                So, now you have given the thought of a story where Plot Gremlins come along to ambush unsuspecting people who are working on something, throwing Plot Bunnies at them in order to distract them from what they are doing.

      1. That looks like it wants to grow up and be a heck of a good story. Hope I don’t offend, but is Dean Ing one of your influences?

          1. For some reason it reminds me of one of his stories. Maybe it’s just the logging aspect, but it reminds me of Malf, a story he wrote about a logging machine.

  2. So in the next book the Bad Guy should be the liberal Professor Uncertaingender. His victims the students who questioned the Truth. The hero, the plumber (White, male, Christian, republican, successful business owner) father of one of the victims. His wife is black, the daughter was killed because she was a race traitor.

  3. I’ve seen this story mentioned several times in the last couple of weeks. I’m pretty sure I read it at some point, but I can’t remember it for the life of me. It mustn’t have made much of an impression.

    As for working class neighborhood, yeah that’s what I grew up in. I was actually taken aback in High School when the friend of my best friends brother explained one day when we were playing football at the park that the reason he never came over to their house was because his father (the physician) considered our neighborhood the ‘rough area of town’.

  4. These people have had no experiences as adults with other adults. They have never bothered wandering off the safe lighted path even enough to LOOK at how the other people live.

    So many points, I kept bouncing back and re-reading little sections.

    This one ties in nicely for me, this morning. I just read John Norman’s open letter to PhilCon from 2001, somebody linked to it, and this intersects nicely in my brain.

    It’s been said before, here and elsewhere, their declarations of tolerance are shallow and narrow. Nothing more than learned mouth-shapes for signalling. But it still shocks my canted brain to see how sheltered and oblivious they really are. How isolated from the human experience, and how little they understand other people.

    I spent so much time just trying to figure out what in hell was going on inside the heads of these bipedal people wandering around me, so much time shocked and hurt at my missteps and my misunderstandings. I plunged into books and studied the characters, looking to gain insight into how other people (everyone insisted I was a people, must be true) worked.

    I learned of the phenomenal diversity of thought one thinking adult could encompass, and the limitless breadth of human imagination. Terrifying, often. Uncomfortable, more than once (I actually read the first couple of chapters in one of Norman’s books standing in the used book-store my family frequented. I was probably in 5th or 6th grade. Wow.) Thrilling — always.

    As I was figuring these things out, the beginnings of our modern mess were filtering to the surface. Just the tiny beginnings. And the mess it’s since become?

    Bring in the vacuum, roll up your sleeves. It’s going to be time-consuming and tiring, but we, the grown-ups must take over.

    I don’t know about protecting them, I’m not sure I care. But I grow tired of people trying to force us back into a child’s world, a limited world. I grow tired of the petty, playground taunts and the bullies standing around congratulating themselves for being such consummate dicks.

    Time to clean-up.

    1. Kinda like me cleaning under the beds yesterday, and dusting the blinds. I feel much better today, but ugh, the stuff that came out of the carpet. I think I found enough hair et cetera to make two cats, and a dust rhino.

        1. You cover the shipping, he’s free to any hone, good, bad, or indifferent. He killed the vacuum cleaner’s HEPA filter.

              1. At some point wouldn’t that become — a mud water buffalo? Inevitably?

                If so, yes. I know some people who desperately “need” those.

      1. We bought a carpet cleaner, because it cost the same as a rental for three days and without tempting fate into having one of the kids require constant attention during a deadline.

        I did the livingroom three times, without soap, before the water stopped looking like restaurant tea…..
        (Three kids, two cats.)

        1. We bought a carpet cleaner a few years ago when our daughter was born. I end up using it at least once a month. One of the best investments we ever made.

    2. … their declarations of tolerance are shallow and narrow.

      Tolerance, like any other virtue, exists most often in inverse relation to the degree of its declaration. Those who actually practice tolerance do not typically need to proclaim their virtuousness.

      1. Tolerance, like any other virtue, exists most often in inverse relation to the degree of its declaration.

        Can we stick this on a bumper sticker?


    3. There was a F&SF story a while back that delightfully skewered this. Some SJW aliens crash a 19th Century slave auction and implement what they see as an optimal solution. Whereupon the slaves basically say “Forget this,” take the spaceship, and leave the SJW aliens wondering what just happened.

    4. A creative writing teacher found out that I try to write and asked me to read something for his writing circle. Silly fellow didn’t ask to see the story first. It was a short ghost story about an SJW being hounded by the shades of some homeless who’d been passing a winter night in a half-finished house he and his friends torched to save the trees. The ghosts didn’t scare my host nearly as much as his failure to recognize me as “other.”

  5. “When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class? And admitting it?”

    When it became abundantly clear that the working class was more interested in material self-improvement than in providing cannon-fodder for Marxist revolution, of course. (Might have something to do with the fact that, After The Revolution(tm), the members of the working class who survived are reduced to working because they’re ordered to work, rather than because they’re paid to. Slavery, in other words. Except that unlike the varieties of slavery that are unashamed to be referred to by the proper term, in the slavery of Marxism, the slaves are not only compelled to _work_ on pain of death, they also have to spend their entire waking lives fervently pretending to love their masters and their condition.)

    I mean, how could anyone possibly choose a better life for himself and his family, when the alternative is as awesome as THAT? (Uhh……)

    There truly are some ideas so stupid that only an intellectual could possibly believe them.

    1. Seconded, but I’ll go back even further. When the working class made it very clear that they weren’t nearly as interested in class enemies as national ones.

    2. Well, the concerns of the working class are useful for gaining power, inconvenient afterwards.

    3. “When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class? And admitting it?”

      November 9th, 1989. That was the day the Berlin Wall finally fell and Western marxists finally had to confront the crushing failure of Marxism. Because that’s the day when everybody who could RAN out of East Germany. Mostly working class people who wanted nothing more than a roof that didn’t leak and a Trabant to drive to the store, where there would be food. Which they didn’t have in East Germany.

      Ever since, Big Labour has been a very uncertain ally of the Left and the Marxists have dropped The Noble Worker trope like a hot rock. The only Unionists left in the Socialist camp are government worker unions. And I use the term “worker” loosely.

      1. I’d say sometime in the 1950s, myself – when the working class made it abundantly clear that no, they wanted a nice house in the suburbs (and snobs like Malvina Reynolds called those houses ticky tacky boxes all the same) and a big powerful car with fins, and two weeks vacation at some place by the shore … the kind of thing Tom Wolfe wrote about in “From Bauhaus to Our House”.

        For myself, I’ve always moved rather comfortably back and forth across the class line. Blame it on being in the military for 20 years, I guess. My Dad missed being a PhD by a thin hair – but he was a genius auto mechanic, and did carpentry and household construction as a hobby. Living in a house with walls of bookshelves, and disemboweled automobiles out in the driveway will give one a kind of schizo outlook on life.

        1. Ha! You just described my house. Books inside, half-disemboweled cars outside. In my defense, all but one of them move under their own power right now. ~:)

          1. BBC 4 Extra was running a nonfiction series called The History of Private Life, by an academic named Amanda Vickery. Pretty decent show overall, because Vickery talks more about actual chores and houses and families than just social trends.

            The last episode of the show talks about working people moving out to the UK suburbs, and there are some very savage quotes from intellectuals about how the suburbs were ruining the countryside (including some poem asking for Slough to be bombed and all the newbies killed). But Vickery actually came out and said that there’s nothing wrong with people getting to own their own houses and have running water and heat, which was the kind of house in London that a lot of the new suburban people had moved out of. (Although she assumed that all her listeners despised suburbs, and that she was saying something unpopular and edgy. Which was depressing.)

          2. Once, when I was home on leave, I counted the motor vehicles around my parents’ house – and even counting the defunct ’52 Plymouth station wagon which was broken down into a shed of spare parts in order to keep the functioning ’52 Plymouth station wagon operational – there were nine vehicles. Of which only four moved reliably and under their own steam.

        2. Your Dad sounds like a lot of farmers I know. New barn? Yup, putting it up themselves. For the cows? Pigs? Farm machinery? Nope, finally moving all those old cars out of the tree row and rebuilding them when the weather sucks so much you can work in the fields.

      2. Funny thing, that. Powerline’s bloggers report that “a high school world history textbook … notes the “fantastic economic results” of Stalin’s management of the Soviet economy back in the glory days of the successive Five Year plans.” The textbook includes the observation

        Under Stalin’s totalitarian regime, the government controlled every aspect of the worker’s life. Officials chose the workers, assigned them jobs, and determined their working hours. Workers needed the police’s permission to move. The secrety police were ready to imprison or execute those who did not contribute to the Soviet economy. …

        Stalin’s grim methods, however, also produced fantastic economic results.

        Hey, make unemployment a crime and we’d see “fantastic economic results” in our here, too. Thanks to Obamacare, police permission is no longer required to prevent workers’ moving — the inability to change their medical insurance will keep them in their place!

        As a bonus, decadent writers who spread malicious libels about the State could be re-directed into trades — such as carpentry or furniture refinishing — that contribute more to Society’s well-being.

        “It is important that Workers know their limitations, remain in their assigned place and not trouble their minds with things too complex for them to fully comprehend,” not actually said by Jon Gruber, but it is what he meant.

        1. Well, they did have fantastic economic results.

          Fantastic famines, fantastic shortages, fantastic death tolls, and reports written by the local commissars that were pure fantasy.

          1. It did look fantastic for a time. Stalin quite impressed a US delegation, only one of which noticed some disconcerting things in the background.

            The problem is that the chicken always come home to roost. Always.

          1. There was even a Russian slang word for it: “tufta”, or “rubber”, which covered all the stuff allegedly produced for the Glorious Five-Year Plan.

        2. Toronto newspaper today has a story on how Cuba is poised to become Utopia with the embargo lifted. Best medical system in the hemisphere, fantastic education system etc. etc.
          The Cuban government statistics prove it.

          1. WRT the “best medical system in the hemisphere”, many have noted that when Dear Leader got sick himself, he imported doctors from Spain. Maybe he was just freeing up the top-tier Cuban doctors for the proletariate.

            1. Says a lot, yeah. I mean, he could already have the best doctors in Cuba. And even in the most craptastic systems there’s usually _some_ good people…I mean, counting on altruism to supply a large population with goods and services is lunacy, but it does occur in some individuals.

                1. And if they couldn’t scrounge up a competent MD for their von Braun equivalent, you wonder what kind of care the rest of the Soviet Union got.

        3. This is just wrong on so many levels I wouldn’t know where to start. The textbook is so far off the wall it’s ridiculous, but the book by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson cited by Hindraker is probably almost as naïve. The only reason the Soviet had any industrial growth before WW2 was that they sold the grain stolen from the people they starved and bought turnkey industrial plants with the money. The only reason there was any growth after WW2 was that they stole everything they could from the treasure chest that was the US through lend lease and everything that was in any way movable from Eastern Europe. The central planning did nothing but create terrible messes.

          1. This sort of propaganda has been going on for decades. It’s what prompted my 7th Grade teacher to bring in outside materials when the section on the USSR read like it came from Pravda.

            It did seem like the USSR was doing well prior to WWII. As with most things we need context. Industrialization was beginning to make inroads into agriculture, but was expensive and only large farm operations could afford it. The Soviet collectives all seemed to have tractors (whether they were actually working was an issue not addressed), and visitors didn’t seem to ask if whether they were seeing only what was meant for them to see. They came back impressed.

            If you look for it, you can see it in depression era writings bemoaning that farming wasn’t done on the collective level in the US. And the US tried some of it under FDR, with literal collectives made up of farmers who had to move off their land. The telling thing is that these collectives didn’t survive very long. I know of one that if you visit it today, you won’t find anything there but an old store building.

            It’s not surprising that the pseudo-intelligensia has never caught wise, and are still enamored by that early impression of the USSR. Or perhaps they have too much emotional investment to peek behind the curtain.

        4. Well, the industrialization under Stalin was rapid and impressive. Two reasons: (1) you can get a lot done if people think you’ll kill them, and (2) turns out just about any system works better than Romanov Russia.

      3. You do know that 99% of the people who went through the Wall then went back when they realized they still needed to sleep?

        Because they knew they could go back.

        True, right after, West Germany went to annex East, not vice versa, but they didn’t flood out.

  6. Heh. I have thought, most of my life, that those people who prefer the grey goo are ones who have gotten stuck around the teen level. Maybe just with their preferences, maybe otherwise too, mentally. Children are usually more or less protected, so when one first encounters stories which seem like real life – the way life often is – with no happy endings and meaningless meandering stories, it can seem quite… well, adult. That now you are shown reality, and now you can handle it, because now you are adult enough.

    And then some of us grow past that stage, and figure out that while yes, life often is like that, that doesn’t mean that stories like that are at all profound or wise or even particularly adult. That it’s way more adult to keep searching for what will allow the good guys to win, even if it is just in a story – grown up stories just tend to demand a bit more realistic solutions, even when it’s fantasy, and more realistic problems on the way to that solution. And that is a lot harder to tell than something where life sucks and nobody succeeds.

    Or we just stop caring about appearing adult – because we know we are – and can again just enjoy what we enjoy, whether it’s fairy tales or classics or even something like really quite bad Michael Bay movies… (hey, I like explosions 🙂 ).

    BTW, when it comes to working class people – how come something like third world farmers or house builders or almost any group of laborers are usually oh so wise and admirable, when their first world counterparts… 😀

    1. The real world is often like that. Yes, indeed. Aren’t we reading in the first place to go someplace nicer, if only mentally, if only for a while? If a book is as depressing as real life, what exactly is the point? Entertainment exists to allow you to mentally escape your troubles for a while, to give your mind a rest. Reading a tough slog of a book where nothing good happens is just a waste of time, to my way of thinking. Ah, sorry for the rant, not directed at you at all, just needed that someplace besides my head.

        1. If I’m thinking of the same book, I actually kind of enjoyed it. Depressing and pointless as hell, but the word choice that would show up from time to time was awesome. I’m a sucker for a well phrased line and that book had a fair number of them.

          1. Be the word choice ever so felicitous, how could you read an entire depressing, pointless novel?

            1. I had nothing else to do at the time and I like reading for its own sake sometimes.

              Besides, once I finished reading it I was free to go back and read my favorite bits without having to think of the rest of the book. I’m strange that way though. There are some books I can read again and again and some I just keep around because there are parts of them that I find relaxing to read. When i was in college I had a pile of books near my bed that I would read a choice few parts of to help me relax when I was feeling stressed.

      1. That. The teen-ish so called adults often seem to think that preferring entertaining entertainment means you can’t face reality. Maybe they haven’t face enough reality themselves. Enough of that kind of reality in your day to day life and you need to escape from time to time just so you can keep facing that reality without giving up.

        1. If you’ve got a hard life, you don’t need to read about it in a book. If your life is really not hard at all, you might want to read about how bad it is in a book, because that justifies your whining over your non-existent oppression.

          1. L. Jagi Lamplighter wrote of her daughter’s having to read Steinbeck’s The Pearl for just that reason.

            The daughter was adopted at the age of 13, from China. She knows hard knocks.

      2. I have always maintained that it is far easier to write a story that depresses people, and which is full of terrible things, than it is to write a book that makes people happy, and inspires them.
        Because in real life making people happy and joyful and inspired is hard work, but being a downer is always easy. So these literati write these depressing downer books because they’re hacks, not because they have any literary skill.

      3. If a book is as depressing as real life, what exactly is the point?

        What enrages me is when it’s more depressing than real life, with less worth. Sometimes it’s less cost to the actions, but the outcome is always worth less even inside of the story.

        Ick. Why on earth would one work harder for something that’s worse in every way?

    2. If you actually want an answer, it’s because the people doing the classifying are freaked out by the first world working class. Here there are these people who look like you, speak your language, share many of the premises of your worldview, are educated…and yet refuse, refuse, to acknowledge that you are their better and know what’s best for them, that the land of their birth is a monster, and the unfamiliar is always to be preferred over the familiar.
      Third worlders, however, are exotic and stuff, and are thus held to lower standards. Also, their mores of “sharing” and whatnot can be used as a club against the first world working class. Never mind that their sharing is borne out of the worst kinds of nationalism.

      1. That’s why Antonio Gramsci came up with his “cultural hegemony” hypothesis, to explain why the Italian peasants refused to be enlightened and made aware of their interests as a class for themselves. Instead they called the police and had his lazy rump tossed into the clink.

        1. How predicatable.

          As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
          I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
          Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
          And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

          We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
          That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
          But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
          So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

          We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
          Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
          But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
          That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

          With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
          They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
          They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
          So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

          When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
          They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
          But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
          And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

          On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
          (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
          Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
          And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

          In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
          By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
          But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
          And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

          Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
          And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
          That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
          And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

          . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

          As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
          There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: —
          That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
          And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

          And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
          When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
          As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
          The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

      2. Sharing across the third world is more often clan and family based than national, regional, or municipal – In the middle east and elsewhere, you may ‘share’ with your cousin, but with your unrelated neighbor you only sell.

          1. One difference between “tribalism” and “nationalism” is that tribal cultures saw other tribes as non-human. More often than not, even when a nation saw its interests as more important than other nations’ interests, they didn’t see the people of the other nations as non-human.

            Also, tribal moral systems only dealt with “how you treat members of your tribe”. Anything went for members of other tribes unless the other tribes were powerful enough to destroy/harm your tribe.

            1. As I said, less respectable. There is a difference between the nationalism of, say, the UKIP and the BNP, and a difference between that of the BNP and the NSDAP.
              But, I take your meaning.

            2. Oh, so you have been to the Middle East! “Me against my brother. Me and my brother against my cousin. Me and my cousin against the world.” Of course, it’s not just the ME. Most of the world still works this way. Many (most?) countries aren’t really nations – they’re a state consisting of a ruling tribe or coalition, which exists (more or less, lies-to-children level) to oppress and exploit all the other tribes inside the state boundary. This is one of the reasons why civil wars are so vicious – it’s a winner take all gamble, pitting The Subhuman Masses against The Evil Oppressors.

      1. So is MacBeth. But the point of those stories is to point out how ridiculous such philosophies are and where they lead you.

    3. Oddly, by the same token a “Gentlemens’ Club” is nowadays a venue which, by entering, one disavows any legitimate claim to being a gentleman.

    4. CS Lewis said it far better than I:
      “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

      The sad thing is, so many of these people think they are grown up, when they really seem to be desiring to be grown up.

      1. … so many of these people think they are grown up, when they really seem to be desiring to be grown up.

        Great Gozer, NO! They have ZERO desire to be grown up!!! Their desire is to have the privileges of being a grown up without any of the attendant responsibilities!

        As pointed out in Lincoln’s parable of the dog’s tail, redefining a term does not alter the substance of the issue.

        1. Perhaps I should have said they desire to APPEAR grown up, which would also have been more in line with the original quote… but I think you’re in many ways making my point. Most teens look at the trappings of adulthood and don’t see the responsibilities the work. They see that they get to make their own rules and their own money (Often without thinking of how) that they then can do whatever they want with (Usually without thinking of bills).

  7. I live in California, and San Francisco has long been a place of “we’re for tolerance IF it’s our tolerance and all of the rest of you are horrible intolerant people.” I’m sure that it’s gotten much worse now that it’s unaffordable on a grand scale for those who theoretically live there. The pity is that it has the Exploratorium and the California Academy of Sciences, so I can’t swear off it entirely.

    1. To quote the bard (Lehrer, of course):
      “we’re all against poverty, war, and injustice
      unlike the rest of you squares!”


    2. Their support for tolerance essentially breaks down as “You should be tolerant of me, but it is unreasonable to expect my tolerance of you.”

      Simply put, “My bigotry is reasonable, yours is an affront to all that I hold holy.”

      Tolerance is a coin they toss, declaring “Heads we win, tails you lose.”

  8. I dunno Sarah, I think they understand us manual labor types pretty well. Having two degrees, one of them academic and one medical, I chose a life of house painting. Because you meet and work with a better class of people.

    I have seen many, many times in hospitals the kind of behavior by staff that would get you tossed out of any construction job filled with surly Mexicans (or worse, surly Canadians). Academia seems filled to the brim with supercilious assholes who would last a New York minute on any painting job I’ve ever been part of. I’ve had people in schools0 say things to me that would rate an automatic beating in any working class bar anywhere in the world.

    Because, oddly enough, you can’t be a dick when you’re trying to build something, or move something, or particularly when you’re demolishing something. You have to work together and you have to go fast or it takes forever and you don’t get paid.

    So when supercilious asshole academic hipster wankers write stories where The Workers Rise Up and attack them, I think they’ve got a fair grasp of the situation. The one thing that they consistently fail to understand is the rest of us proletariat types are too busy painting, plumbing, burning metal and blasting rock to give two shits about their wanky causes and bad attitudes. We laugh and move on, because “Rising Up” is not a profitable venture. Its a last resort that you do when your kids are starving.

      1. See, that there is the critical element: “because it’s REAL“. For intellectuals the important thing about an idea, concept or theory is not whether it is real, whether it accurately describes a thing or event. It is whether it ie “elegant,” whether it satisfies some deeply held concept of the world around them.

        The great burden of such people is that reality consistently fails to conform to their conception of it. Thus those intimately involved with Reality are despised for shaming the thinking classes. Very few of them, however, are willing to accept a plumber’s, electrician’s or cabinetmaker’s defense that, even though the toilet won’t flush, the outlets spark and everything rolls off the counters — the fundamental concept is valid.

      2. Cabinetmaker would be my dream job. Making beautiful things with your hands — and getting paid for it. The business part of it scares me. And I’m thinking of starting a writing business? How insane am I?


        1. Furniture maker. Chairs, tables, cabinetry — the whole bit (even upholstery). Would love it.

          Unfortunately, hand-built furniture is a high-end clientele sort of job. Done right, done well, unit cost is often prohibitive.

          Although, every time I wander through a furniture store and see what they’re charging and the shoddy crap they’re pushing…

          I’m still collecting a library, tools and skills. Aiming for a retirement gig, perhaps.

          1. I’ve made a few fairly nice pieces for friends and family, but no way would I try to make money. If you pay yourself a decent hourly rate, the prices will be sky high.

            1. Yep. Even if you pay yourself a crappy hourly rate…

              There are some ways to speed things along, but then your overhead climbs. And if you’re focused on one-offs or small series, design time has to be factored.

              It’s a narrow market, with thin margins.

              Fun, though.

            1. Yeah, there’s some time savings in there. But the narrowness of the market and the thinness of the margins still concern me…

    1. I have regretted many times not becoming a plumber (I used to work for one, I probably could still pass the test), as an engineer it isn’t as bad as some places, but these days I work with middle and upper management a lot, and it can be pretty bad.
      I haven’t met anyone in upper management at any company in the last decade plus who actually deserved the job that they had. I have no idea how most of them even GOT their jobs, because they were incapable and incompetent, and they weren’t the ones leading the progress, they were the ones holding up the work.
      The only way things get done is they leave and until the next idiot can start messing up, the work gets done.
      Its rather strange that they protect each other, even though it costs the company a lot of money.

      1. I second this. Most of the actually good mangers never get promoted to where they can actually do a good job.

        1. I once got a contract to build and manage a team of 25 workers. At the end of the first year, my boss, and the company that hired me (the company was fulfilling a state contract) hated me.
          Because I was the only manager who was a contractor, not an employee, and my team was 1)ahead of schedule, 2) WAY under budget, 3) LOVED by the unionized state workers, 4) had high morale. When I left the person they replaced me with (a BIG ‘wonderful’ manager from the company) lasted about 4 months, and the entire contract fell into a shambles and they got kicked off the job.
          I still remember on my last day there, how the new manager told everyone they were now required to file weekly status reports with her! What a waste of time, there was no way she could read all of those and still do her job. And if she needed to, to understand what her team was doing, then she wasn’t doing her job to start with.

          1. My previous manager was the type who gave us work and left us alone, but she did want status updates every week (just a list of what we had worked on, not something elaborate), and a larger one each month.

            Then she left, and our new manager wants a verbal status report three times a week, the weekly written report,and the monthly report.

      2. I remember reading elsewhere that the attempt to create managers via college classes only, AKA MBA, led to the creation of management that did not have a clue and could only interfere.

      3. This is why IBM is doing spring cleaning again and laying off the most people ever in the last 20 years. Bloat has filled the company up with middle management wankers, to the point where they can’t make any money. I remember being in upstate NY in the 1990’s, the last time IBM did this. Half the town of Armonk was out of work the same day.

        The difference between government and industry of course is that without shareholders, the government deadwood never, EVER gets cleaned out.

        1. I went through a couple of those. The problem was that the ones who were the biggest politicians found ways to keep their jobs, while the ones who were actually good took the opportunity to escape.

          1. Oh, my, yes. Last time I was laid off, I had a manager who dictated “You will work 50 hours per week; you will have a% meetings with internal clients, b% design, c% new development coding, d% maintenance coding (and on, and on…) which you will report on in a weekly summary, with bad things happening if you have a 5% variance in any one week.”

            Somehow, that didn’t work for me – over Labor Day, if the only internal manager left around was the guy who had no projects in the queue, I ignored him; if the production side needed some help in keeping the lines running at optimal efficiency, I’d drop design work for a while; if there was no new development, I’d refine a design or do some research on better testing; and as for maintenance – hah, I wrote things so that I had no maintenance. (You are right if you think that my weekly report was pure fiction – which helps to make me think I just might make it as a author if I’ll just get off my rear end. I know that I can produce at least a few hundred words a week, just have to ramp it up…)

            Sigh. You can guess who was invited to clean out their desk when the market for the company products tanked…

        2. Um, they do in the military. It’s called RIF (Reduction In Forces). Unfortunately, the results are usually exactly the same as Charlie Martin reports for industry.

      4. You want to take a look at The Dilbert Principle:

        The Dilbert principle refers to a 1990s theory by Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams stating that companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to management, in order to limit the amount of damage they are capable of doing.

        The obvious corollary is that by preferring incompetence in managers they encourage incompetence and ensuring the incompetence of the people who will next select whom to promote to management.

    2. My biggest mistake, in my whole life, was probably not giving up with trying for that geology degree way earlier, and learning something like maybe painting cars instead. I would probably have loved, or at least very much liked, being a geologist (if I had found work as one, which is of course a different question) because I was, and still am, quite interested in the subject.

      But I just couldn’t study in winters well enough to get there.

      So I ended as a blue collar. And it’s not bad. But there are blue collar jobs I probably could have done well enough which pay hell of a lot better than what I am doing. And cars, well, while my father was not the type to teach me much of anything – he didn’t like teaching, he preferred to just work in his own peace – he did teach a little about painting them (he had a garage, one of those does almost everything old type ones, up to the mid-80’s) when I got older because he could work a bit faster if I did some of the preliminary work when I was still home. Like sanding. And of course I observed him. Might not have been all that difficult for me to learn to do that (or something similar) if I had quit fighting for the university degree and had instead gone for that early enough. Later the SAD got bad enough that I might no longer have learned that either, but I would probably still have been able to work if I had already been doing it for a while. And I would probably have liked doing it – or something similar – well enough too.

  9. I’m waiting to see what my international and intercultural communications class gets to do (online master’s course through Jesuit school — don’t want to name here and have the comment get back) when we get to module three in 2 weeks about social class. I know the two-chapters of the book on class I’ve read (in advance) by the minority female already has me wanting to retch over her whiny tone.

    I’ve never figured out how I do social class. Growing up on a farm, where you do manual labor but are a full-fledged businessman, and going from that to college-educated newman and then banker. To me it seems most Americans don’t care about class unless someone above them insists that they should care.

    1. “Upper Class” is when people hang out with you because its to their monetary and social advantage to do so. Usually because your daddy is rich/influential/famous.

      “Working class” is when people hang out with you because they like you.

      “Lower class” is when you are a lazy asshole who people hang out with in case they might get a chance to steal your bottle of Lamb’s Navy Rum.

      1. You, Sir. You are so very right for America, and so very far off the mark for the rest of the world, that I salute you for your ingenious and oh, so very American explanation of why the future comes from the USA.

        1. Actually I’m a Canadian. 🙂

          But its the same general idea here in the Demented Dominion, with a much smaller and more incestuous Upper Class than in the USA.

          They literally all know each other. I’ve been introduced over the years, I’d sooner strip the paint off their houses than dine with them. They’re pretentious boors for the most part, although exceptions do exist.

          1. My apologies for misplacing the border. 🙂

            (Although I must admit, as an Alaskan, “illegal immigration” is our joking way of saying “Um, did people remember to bring their passports to get from Skagway to the video rental store in Whitehorse? No? Heck with it, too far to turn back now. We’re illegally immigrating in search of groceries!” And I often felt closer to BC than Washington DC, and not just geographically.)

      2. *looks for the ‘like’ button*

        Another variant is: Is your last name on the building you work in? Upper class. Is your last name on your desk? Middle class. On your shirt? Working class.

        1. Hilariously, my name -is- on the building where I work. In lights. I have a store, which shall remain nameless in case some SJW might decide to picket and throw rocks due to my refusal to sit down and shut up.

          I think it is a measure of our ideological opponents that I feel this to be the wisest course. Yet another reason why they wouldn’t last in manual labor, they’re backstabbing scum. People like that get discovered and punted into the street very quickly.

            1. Sadly I can’t say. Operational security. Too many of my customers are bleeding heart Liberals, they’d have a conniption if they knew what I actually think. It would be Expensive.

              On the bright side, I don’t talk to the customers. I pretend to be the janitor or the cable guy and let the employees do it, so I don’t have to pretend to like them or agree along with their idiotic twaddle. Just as well, I suck at pretending and agreeing along. Worst salesman ever, that’s me.

          1. And my father was a Southern Baptist preacher who ended up in insurance claims management; my mother was a schoolteacher of the last generation where it was one of the acceptable occupations for women so you actually got some intelligent people involved in it, unlike today.

        2. My father worked for the USDA in the Forest Service. He had his name both on his shirt and on his desk. We were kind of middle class, but not by much.

        3. Where IS that “like” button…

          Reminds me of how “validated” coworkers felt when the company put their names and titles up on their cubicles.

          Me, I just looked at them, and said “You realize that this is just so upper management can FIND you now?”

      3. I’m going to have to partially disagree with you.

        Methinks “Middle Class” is when people hang out with you because they like you.

        1. You know that song “I Had The Strangest Dream”? Well, my version of that ends with me conquering the world with a slingshot.

    1. What’s interesting in light of Wells’ socialism is that even though he intended the Eloi as the descendants of the ruling class and the Morlocks as descendants of the working class, the novel’s sympathies seem to lie somewhat more with the beautiful Eloi rather than the Morlocks, who are nasty, brutish and short.

        1. HG Wells was a freakin’ full-on Communist. Some of his views on the public life and the place of people in it are extremely repellent.

          My favorite treatment of HG Wells is the Warehouse 13 TV show. They make him a hot chick who only wants to be a suburban housewife. Bwaha!

      1. The most sympathetic character in the story, Weena (who dies in the book) is Eloi. And the implied romance is intentional … Wells was a huge horndog. Weena’s smart for an Eloi, and Wells loved smart women.

        1. Five gets you ten that Wells’ definition of a smart woman was “a woman smart enough to appreciate my cleverness.”

          Of course, that is how most men define a smart woman, ennit?

          1. I suspect HGW’s definition of a smart woman was “one who’s clever enough to see through all that old Victorian nonsense about chastity and so will sleep with me.”

        1. I vaguely remember a story from the POV of the Morlocks where what the Time Traveler saw and deduced was completely wrong. Oh, I seem to remember that the Elois were either children of the Morlocks or were otherwise well-liked by the Morlocks.

          1. If it was done right, that would be really awesome.

            (As opposed to done wrong, like the fad for the “retell it from the villain’s point of view” where they’re too lazy to come up with a way that they villain isn’t evil, they just make the good guy more evil. Ugh, both on the moral reasoning and how freaking lazy it is.)

              1. From the reviews I’ve seen of both, yes*; also untold piles of fan-fic that aims to justify someone’s attraction to this or that villain. (So common that it’s the primary attack on any story that has a disliked character in a sympathetic light, even if they actually do it right.)

                * I tried to read Wicked a couple of times, never could get into it, IIRC it felt whiny. There are ways to convey “I was done wrong” without hitting that threshold, but it’s crazy hard to do in first person….

                1. Personally I suspect Aristotle explained a good chunk of that. He thought that people liked characters as good as they were, or a bit better. Which included more than the moral, but did include the moral.

                  The fans who explain away the characters’ evil are, perhaps, just in denial; they don’t realize they like the characters because of their lack of character, and offer up the same excuses that we, alas, so often do.

                  1. I think you mean the same thing I do, but just in case….

                    Explaining it away in the “it wasn’t what it looked like” way, I could deal with, and sometimes it’s great; it’s the excusing it because the good guy is really bad, not so much.

                  2. For example, I thought Rowling did a good job with making Snape seem evil, and then showing he wasn’t; after book two, I was telling people that if she didn’t redeem him in the end, I wasn’t going to let my kids read it. (I thought she was pretty obviously sending those signals, although I’ve seen folks that said his “turn around” was out of left field.)

                    1. Yes, that was pretty clear.

                      Though on re-reading the first Girl Genius comics, it astounds me how straight-forwardedly evil Klaus looks.

                    2. I try to keep things generic for exactly that reason.

                      I really hope that by this time, ‘Snape isn’t the bad guy’ isn’t a spoiler, though. It’s like ‘the Scooby-Do monster is a guy in a mask’……

                    3. I think Klaus is a big part of how well done Girl Genius is. The actions of the saner less evil sparks make very credible how one chooses to relate to the others. If Klaus and Agatha had gotten off on the right foot together, and placed full trust in each other, I think the story would have been less interesting.

                      As for Harry Potter spoilers, fanfic indicates a variety of strange interpretations of canon. If those strong feelings about who is really evil translate into sources of spoilers, I’d be surprised if one could craft short spoilers into a coherent enough picture to ruin all the tension.

        2. Stephen Baxter’s The Time Ships could be a variant of this. In this version, which happens after the events of Wells’ novel, the time traveler goes forward again… and finds himself in a variant timeline, since his actions have changed the future possibilities. The Morlock is definitely the sympathetic character in this.

          1. Can’t remember how the Morlocks were shown in Egon Friedell’s sequel, though. Have to dig it out.

  10. “When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class? And admitting it?”

    The Marxists have ALWAYS loathed and feared the Working Class, and their writings have always betrayed this to anyone capable of adding two and two and getting a whole number. Oh, they talk a superficially good line of Proletarian Patter, but unlike the Fabians who (though they completely failed to understand him) seem to have had a real affection for the Working Man, the Marxists have always viewed him as bipedal cattle.

    As for why the are scared that the Working MAn will beat them into a red smear; that’s easy. They know the Working Man is opposed to everything they believe (largely because what they believe boils down to “The Working Man should do as I say”), and if their positions were reversed the Marxists would be lynching everything in sight. To understand why the Workers aren’t isolating individual Marxists, SJWs, Loudmouthed Transgendered Twits, etc, and treating them the way Chimps treat Colobus Monkeys, they would have to grasp how very little they really matter to anyone who actually has a life. And if they grasped that, they would shrivel up and die. They simply don’t have the inner resources to deal with such a revelation.

    1. I worked behind the counter at our local hardware store for ten years between engineering contracts. In my experience, the hard working types, the manual laborers and trades people were the best customers, with some of the established small business people a close second. the worst customers were the upper middle class and Martha Stewart, literally. I never met her personally, but stories.

      1. I used to be one of the guys at the hardware store, you know, the ones who show up ten minutes before opening, coffee cup in hand and say a bleary good morning. I was rebuilding our house before this from the bottom up to sell, so I dropped kids off at school and went to get materials for the day.
        Not only was I never treated discourteously — accent and sex notwithstanding — but after a while I was “one of the guys” with “Good morning Sarah” and “How goes the retiling” and “I meant to ask you what stain to use in this bitch of a paneling I’m refinishing.” I liked them and miss them though that store closed, so I don’t even know where they’re now.

        1. You bring up an interesting point;

          I remember the fuss the SJWs made about the “Big Chains” driving out the small local bookstores. My personal observation was that most of the small local bookstores they had their panties in a bunch over were A) worthless, because they carried whatever was in the New York Review of Books and little else and B) failing on their own quite nicely because see A).

          Now, small local stores that are frequented by working men are different. A local hardware store with a working clientele is head, shoulders, and most of the trunk over Home Despot. Local Pharmacies were a delight and a revelation to me after years in the Washington D.C. area dealing with chain store that apparently have a policy of hiring the bewildered.

          I’d say it was always divided along class lines, except that local record stores are also a vast improvement on what you find in a chain store, even when they mostly cater to the SJW class. I wonder why that is? It isn’t true of any other class of shop that I know of.

          1. My personal observation was that most of the small local bookstores they had their panties in a bunch over were A) worthless, because they carried whatever was in the New York Review of Books and little else and B) failing on their own quite nicely because see A).

            Also C) had the same or worse service for the same or higher price.

            I think it’s cool to support local businesses, but I’ve got zero tolerance for folks who think they’re entitled to my business just because they’re smaller.

            1. Bingo! Although, I must admit, I am getting a little tired of Big Box stores; the staff generally barely knows where the registers are, the selection is either thin of excessive, depending on the fad of he moment, and the acoustics give me a headache. It’s possible to make a public space quiet even when crowded; if you don’t believe me check out BWI Airport. But stores like Best Buy have NO sound damping. I seriously think that during the Christmas rush these places are in violation of OSHA standards for noise level in the workplace. One Christmas when I’m feeling unusually sour, I’ll call in a repot and see what happens.

              I’m willing to pay a little (or, in some cases, a lot) more for service. I’m even willing to pay the extra when I don’t need the service so it’s there when I do. I don’t know how much extra I pay every year because I get my prescriptions filled by a small local pharmacy, but I firmly believe I’ve saved that several times over on ulcer medication by NOT having to deal with CVS.

              And I would no more bypass my local appliance store to save a few sawbucks at Home Despot than I would saw my arm off for a fiver.

              1. And I would no more bypass my local appliance store to save a few sawbucks at Home Despot than I would saw my arm off for a fiver.

                Meanwhile, I actively avoid the local appliance place because they have a history of misrepresenting their products, and I can’t be sure I’ll always catch it– I just don’t know enough to tell when they’re blowing smoke on most stuff. (we gotcher used car salesmen right’ere!)

                At least the folks on base don’t pretend that their knowledge goes beyond “well, the one I have at home does this and that….”

              2. I and several friends are of the opinion that the big box stores have pain generators in the floor. After walking around on the cement slab that is the typical store one is usually in some degree of pain.

              3. I work PT, at Home Depot, got hired originally while the founders still ran it, and paid decent. Then- the businessmen took over…

                Dependent on the store, you’re going to get better advice at a HD then almost any appliance store. Sales force is hourly, not commissioned. No spiffs from a manufacturer, no need to push a particular appliance to increase our weekly wage. We know which appliances have the highest return rate, and steer you away from them. But if you insist that Consumer Reports says it’s good, we’ll sell it to you. If a customer comes in with their mind made up- I become an order taker rather then a salesperson. If someone wants my advice and guidance- I’ll become a salesperson.

                And I learned early on that if you’re lucky, what a customer asks for, what a customer wants, and what a customer needs are all the same thing. I’ve had customers ask for hammers, and then ask when we get there- “Where’s the nails?”, which they assume will be by the hammers….

                1. My experience of Home Despot has been that, at least on the East Coast, they hire mainly dolts. Maybe I’ve simply been consistently unlucky. My local appliance store, OTOH, needs to have favorable word of mouth and knows it.


        2. Oh, me too. Local quasi-chain hardware store I actually got a “Hey, we were wondering if anything happened to you” when I didn’t make my usual weekly visit. And an epic snark hunt where I got to go to ALL the “no customer” storage spaces, looking for a generator (we found it, eventually, but I am quite sure this place hired the same contractors that worked on the Weapons Shops of Isher.) And then there was the hardware store in Maine, when I was restoring my parents’ late Victorian monstrosity and showing up EVERY DAY for supplies. One day I forgot my money and the clerk said, oh, don’t bother driving home and back, just bring the money next time you come in, here’s your paint stripper. (!) (Small town Maine. The clerk knew where I lived and so did half the people in line with me, and I had a reputation for honesty …)

          And to conclude, I love hardware stores. 😉

          1. Hardware stores – and book stores.

            Two biggest consumers of time that I should be doing something else… (And money that I should be spending on something else.)

        3. For a while my dad would walk into Beebe Lumber (alas closed now) or Lowes and the sales guys would rub their hands and grin. “OK, Red, what are you looking for today?” Because it was usually something just off-beat enough to be a fun challenge. Or they’d grumble with him about projects that called for wood you can get in two shops on the East or West coast but that no one else carries. Dad’s a cabinet maker, among other things.

          1. My brother in law is one of the leading antique refinishers in the USA. He also makes cabinets and such (Refinishing antiques doesn’t pay well, because rich people are cheap SOBS most of the time). I’ve heard him talk (grumble) more than once about having to take two day trips (one day each way) to the only store on the east coast that sells the wood be needs nowadays.

            1. Wealthy people’s garage sales suck, too. Around here they ask 3/4 the price of a new item, and they’ve had it for 10 years. Go a couple of blocks over to the middle class neighborhood and they are selling stuff for 1/10 the price so they have room for the new stuff they want.

      2. The thing is, there are plenty of people who are, technically, upper-middle (by income), who don’t hit one’s radar as “Upper Middle” because they aren’t supercilious twits.

        My Father was a college professor, which by the late 1970’s (to his astonishment!) made him Upper Middle Class by income. He got along with and was respected by contractors and craftsmen, because he was genuinely interested in what they did, and listened to them. He was paying them for their experience and he respected it. He heartily enjoyed the last 15 years of his teaching career, which he spent at Iowa State, because it was a LAnd Grant college, set up to provide some of the best farmers in the world with the very latest on their profession. Iowa State listens attentively to farms, rather than trying to dictate to them, which is as it should be.

        1. during the Joe The Plumber brouhaha I recall some lady mentioning the two first millionaires she knew personally were both plumbers.
          The richest two guys I knew (both have since passed, one murdered, the other cancer) both still wore workmen’s clothes and were not afraid to help out with any job their corporations handled (and I wonder about the cancer stricken fellow, his biz was toxic waste cleanup.)

          1. The first millionaire that I knew of and met was one of my mom’s bosses. He was an accountant at the hospital my parents worked at and lived amazingly frugally. He wore exactly what you would expect a mid range accountant to wear and his car while nice wasn’t excessive. His home was typically upper middle class with one indulgence. He was an audiophile so he had a room with top of the line stereo equipment and custom soundproofing to listen to music in. But otherwise he looked and behaved like a typical middle class person.

            That kind of behavior I’ve noticed a lot in those I’ve met who are rich and self made. They usually got there by saving and working hard and just because they got rich doesn’t mean they changed their habits. Oh they might indulge in some whim that they otherwise might not be able to but usually they don’t behave like wealthy upper class.

            Now the children of these self made people they are another case.

            1. If you have not already read it, I recommend “The Millionaire Next Door”. It’s from the 1990s but a lot of the information is still relevant. When my youngest son got married, I gave him and his wife a copy. What you describe about self-made people features quite prominently in the book.

        2. The thing is, there are plenty of people who are, technically, upper-middle (by income), who don’t hit one’s radar as “Upper Middle” because they aren’t supercilious twits.

          This is a paradox only if you believe the Big Lie that class is determined solely by income. Actually, class is not at all determined by income, though in countries with strong class systems (of which the U.S. is not one), income can be largely determined by class.

          What most countries have is a small middle class of business managers, professionals, and the like, who are called ‘middle’ because they occupy a position in between the (vastly numerous) working classes and the (very few) independently wealthy. They are usually identifiable by their use of language, their degree of formal education, and their disdain for manual labour – but not by their money. Teachers, for instance, quite often come from middle-class families, but for a variety of reasons, have to enter that relatively low-paying profession because they can’t get the kinds of jobs their fathers had.

          What the U.S. has is a bloated middle class which includes all sorts of white-collar workers, plus a whole lot of the more prosperous blue-collar people, who think of themselves as ‘middle’ because they are somewhere near the 50th percentile of income. The alleged lack of upward mobility in the U.S. today is largely accounted for by the excess of fake upward mobility – people who were sold a bill of goods, bought a B.A. from a state diploma mill, believed that would be their ticket to a position among the genuine bourgeoisie, and wound up working at Starbucks. Their parents lied to themselves about being middle-class, and egged their kids on to get middle-class educations and develop middle-class tastes – but there were just too many of them, far more than the number of middle-class jobs.

          The kind of people you’re talking about, who have incomes well above the median, are the top of the working class, and make so much money because so many of their potential competitors were shunted off to college to get degrees in Underwater Basketweaving, Propaganda Spinning, and Pity-Me Studies. Plumbers get stone rich in the U.S. because the country is positively allergic to apprenticeship programs and thinks trade schools are only for idiots; and therefore there is a crying shortage of plumbers. But that doesn’t make plumbers ‘middle class’ by outlook, traditions, or education – which are the real class markers in any society.

          1. What does make plumbers middle class is that so many of them own their own businesses. Middle class is “in trade”, lower class works for wage.

            Upper class, at least by the definitions that held in society right up to WWII, is NOT “in trade”, and lives off of wealth generated by owning land.

            This broke down completely as the Victorian era moved into the Edwardian, and into the Modern. It isn’t possible to maintain a fortune simply by owning land. The attempts to create a true Upper Class in North America mostly ran aground on the uppity attitudes of the industrailists and the workers. The success enjoyed by would-be Upper Classes in South and Central America goes a long way to explain those regions’ endemic poverty.

            1. “The success enjoyed by would-be Upper Classes in South and Central America goes a long way to explain those regions’ endemic poverty.”

              I need to send P.J. O’Rourke a Ma Cobb hat. I don’t think I would have understood this sentence as well if I hadn’t gone and read several of his books here recently.

            2. That’s pretty much the way things go where I live, or at least used to. My parents were more or less considered lower middle class because my father owned a business, that garage, even if he was also the person who worked in it (with my mother, she did most of the paperwork). There were differences back then too in that the office types were sorta kinda a bit better even when they earned less and worked for somebody else, but working class was mostly considered as those people who did manual kind of work and worked for somebody else. I’m actually not quite sure how the younger generations here and now think of this. For one thing, if you go by the old definition the working class has shrunk a bit. Far fewer factory workers etc, while here too we get burger flippers or equivalent with years of formal education.

            3. What does make plumbers middle class is that so many of them own their own businesses. Middle class is “in trade”, lower class works for wage.

              Middle class is in business, not in trade. If you work with your hands you are working-class, by the traditional definition, even if you own your own business. The difference between ‘business’ and ‘trade’ is narrow but severe; quite a lot of twentieth-century English literature, for instance, turns on the social distinction between those who manage businesses for others and those who merely work for themselves.

            4. It isn’t possible to maintain a fortune simply by owning land

              Well, if the government would stop taxing it…

      1. Actually, it’s worse. The Marxists, and their ilk, are would-be aristocrats. They want to put Those Peasants in their Propoer Place, and see a lot of rugged forelocks.

        And never you mind that the vast majority of them are no more than three generations removed from the unwahsed herd.

        I really gotta look up plans for a guillotine.

        1. “Political tags–such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth–are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

          – Robert A. Heinlein

          “Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.”

          – Thomas Jefferson (Letter to Henry Lee, 1824)

          1. My favorite Jefferson quote on the topic is

            “All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride legitimately, by the grace of God.
            — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Roger C. Weightman, 1826

            Emphasis bloody well added! That there is the true division, those who think others exist to be their rides.

            Of course, Jefferson being a slaveholder his fundamental hypocrisy reveals itself at the same time as he makes a telling point. I disdain TJ as a fundamental weenie, full of high talk and low action, but he certainly could craft a good phrase.

            1. He was caught between a principle (anti-slavery) and the necessity of providing for his family. He wanted to free h slaves, or so we are told, but doing so would have ruined him. And it wasn’t just him.

              Not excusing him, a lot of the founders had clay feet (how not?).

              1. Not wishing to get into the weeds, so this is my only response on the topic, but Jefferson could have freed his slaves had it been important rather than a “gee, wouldn’t it be nice to …” item with him. He spent plenty on books, for example, which could have been used to provide for his slaves had that been his priority.

                He could also have learned from Washington how to diversify his plantation’s outputs in order to avoid the trap of selling tobacco to British merchants at their price while importing finished goods (also at the merchants’ price) on credit. Not that he was the only plantation owner to get caught in that trap.

                But my disdain for him is largely based on his actions as our first Secretary of State where he was an under-handed back-stabbing under-miner of the cabinet. Read Ron Chernow’s biographies of Hamilton and Washington, or Ellis’s biography of Jefferson, >I?American Sphinx. The man was a weasel who could have given John Kerry lessons in two-facedness — but he wrote some great phrases, that cannot be denied.

                1. If you are commenting here you should kniw that to a reader, which Jefferson was, books are not a luxury. They are an addiction. A damn demanding one.

                  1. There’s no doubt that Jefferson was addicted to books but that’s not a valid excuse.

                    Note, there are other areas where I believe that Jefferson wasn’t as “great” as the legend has him but I doubt Sarah would want us to have a fight over him here.

                    1. To paraphrase Gilbert Shelton: Books will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no books.

                    2. When you are going further into debt by buying books, it isn’t a good thing.

                      I speak from personal experience.

                    1. Jefferson was a shaved ape that put on his pants one leg at a time. I’m sure he wasn’t perfect. That said, he managed some fine accomplishments, and anyone should be proud to do half as much.

                    2. I suspect Heinlein’s approval was many things — admiration for another writer, affected by upbringing in an era when presidents were generally respected (and the Founders especially so), sparsity of in-depth historical documents, possible hold-over from his earlier political bent, and numerous other factors.

                      Most biographies do not so much paint TJ as black as encumbered by many shades of grey. He was a complex man living in a complex age when dueling was acceptable — he had no combat experience during the Revolution except to flee the British (see: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/123810) — and his actions often contradicted his expressed opinions. In some ways that is commendable, demonstrating a capacity to allow reality to over-rule theory.

                      OTOH, he created the two-party system, promoted yellow journalism and unleashed Aaron Burr. A complex man, in many ways the very embodiment of a modern politician.

                    3. And yeah, this is why I didn’t want to get into this particular discussion. Mostly irrelevant, as what TJ did is long passed and his writings continue to inspire, properly so. Digging through a corpse’s entrails is not an action for sensible people.

        2. Guillotine’s too good for them. A pump sprayer of diesel and a torch are more appropriate.

                1. What was that sound effect for a raspberry being blown again…?

                  I’m looking forward to having raw milk from animals I’ve raised, TMMV. Of course as far as I am aware (based on research done thus far) free range milk producers don’t have the problems that factory ones do. From what I’m finding, after I’ve gotten what I need for creme and butter separated, it just needs flash pasteurized.

                  Information (that’s been put through the scientific method and the evidence available for download and further reading) to the contrary is welcome. And appreciated actually….

                  1. At least two of the girls I grew up with had raw milk from their families’ own herds. As they’re healthy middle-aged mothers now, I’m thinking it turned out OK.

                  2. The pillocks treat the raw milk like it’s been pasteurized. From the bad results I’ve seen, adults usually survive it alright– it’s the kids who get hurt, especially their children’s friends, who haven’t been exposed to the bugs before.

                    There’s also a tendency in the health food “movement” to have way too many people who do exactly the same thing as normal, modern food production, but without the modern techniques that made it safe, such as vaccination, pasteurization, etc.
                    They also frequently don’t know about the old techniques to make the food production safer, like “remove the sick ones” or “burn to remove contamination” and “cycle things that can’t cross-contaminate frequently.” This is almost always the city people who are working on a philosophy and maybe vague memories of helping somewhere when they were a cute little kid. Good farmers and ranchers will try to foster the ones who are willing to listen, if only because it puts the neighbors’ crops and animals at risk, too.

                    1. I… have never had the pleasure of raw milk hun.

                      I can’t Cow right now. I can goat and sheep though. And I have to admit I’m jealous of folks who’ve gotten to have raw milk. Because I’m told, it tastes better.

                      I am looking forward to even having a small farm. Gods that’s going to be a hard blog post. The pagans are learning but… *sighs*

                    2. we boiled all our milk, of course, but I understand it’s still “raw” if not pasteurized. (We also harvested the cream for butter, not that we needed to, but I liked fresh butter.)

                    3. For those who are curious:
                      I would guess it was someone conflating the homogenization– the second one is what makes it possible to buy a jug of milk that isn’t skim milk and isn’t still warm from the cow.

                      About five minutes searching will bring up ‘fluoridated water is a plot to poison us all’ type information. Some of it rises to “BPA from bottled water” levels– that is, there’s at least SOME reasonable basis for worry, but it’s not as strong as proponents want it to be.

                      I tend to be rather jaundiced in my view of people whose supported arguments boil down to “I like this other stuff better” when the ones they make the most loudly are “you’re killing us all.” Double-plus if they make the “it’s a plot” argument.

                    4. The raw milk debate is an oddball hot topic.

                      As far as I’ve been able to discern the process boils down to;
                      Milk animal
                      Filter to get hair and skin etc out
                      Let separate for butter making solids
                      Set aside what you to use for cheese
                      Boil to kill bacteria
                      Set aside yogurt batch
                      Chill the rest immediately
                      Enjoy with much gusto.

                      Did I miss anything? 🙂 LOL

                    5. I think you want to boil before making cheese, and I’m not sure about butter, but looks fine to me…

                      Honestly, it’s a hot topic because of so many people who have their food choices as an “all must join” religion.

                    6. I think the biggest problem in the raw milk debate is that there are people who don’t think that boiling the milk is necessary.

                      Oh, and I’ll second Foxfier’s point about boiling before making cheese. If you look at the link I posted in response to Sarah above this comment, you’ll see that it says that HARD cheeses don’t need to be pasteurized, but soft ones do.

                    7. The milk does get heated to make cheese – either hard or soft, (I’ve made cheeses, in the interests of research, and because I like home-made…)
                      Anyway – straight out of the cow, they used to set the milk aside in a fairly cool place for the cream to rise. It also did this even when pasteurized; I’ve read accounts of the cream in the top of milk-bottles in the thirties and forties. I believe they homogenize the milk now to keep this separation from happening.
                      Skim the cream from the top of the pans of milk – use straight, or churn to make butter – the fat from the cream. There is some liquid left from this – don’t know what it would be good for, probably the same as the whey from cheese curds … which is done by heating milk to a certain point, adding rennet (natural or crushed rennet tablets … oh, natural rennet is developed from the stomach of a calf which has never been weaned…) and separating out the coagulated curds. The whey is basically the liquid left when the milk solids coagulate. Farmers used to feed it to pigs, as there was enough nutrient left in it to do good for the pigs. We would save whey to use in making bread and pizza dough, in place of water.
                      Soft cheeses are pretty much ready to eat as you finish making them – hard cheeses are aged, and some, like parmesan are soaked in a salt-water bath and aged some more.

                    8. According to my coworker who has a farm and makes several varieties of his own cheese, not all cheese is raised to a high enough temperature to pasteurize it in the process of separating it into curds and whey.

                    9. Pasteurizing milk before turning it into cheese is certainly not a _technical_ requirement of making cheese. Indeed, the whole reason that American foodies are willing to smuggle in contraband cheese from abroad is because we’re essentially the only country in the civilized world that makes it a _legal_ requirement (at least for cheese that’s not aged more than 90 days).

                      How’d this post’s comments end up being about cheese, anyway? 🙂

                    10. It’s a perfectly straight line from — over there. Somewhere. Anyway.

                      Perfectly straight line, like all our comment threads. 😐

                    11. Hmmmm … I don’t recall ever seeing a thread here go off topic. Perhaps it has something to do with your definition of “on topic”?

                    12. I am looking forward to even having a small farm. Gods that’s going to be a hard blog post. The pagans are learning but… *sighs*

                      Look around the online archives for RANGE magazine, Mother Earth News magazine, the Capital Press news paper. I know there are some others, but those are the ones my folks subscribe to that will give you a heads-up on dealing with predators of the two and four leg variety, tips and tricks, plus possible upcoming legal issues. Capital Press also helps keep you from getting drafted into political tricks by folks who are trying to use you with stuff that sounds really good but is actually step one to eliminating agriculture. (I seem to remember Mother Earth News is especially prone to that, of course, but it’s not so bad that my mom can’t stand it and she’s got a pretty low tolerance.)

                    13. Also Fox sweetie, much of what you say is *why* I’m doing so much research.

                      Do you know how many cross eyed look one gets from people when one says the term *husbandry*? I get it from just about everyone, regardless of politics. 😦

                    14. _GOOD_

                      Knowing that there’s stuff to know is a really major step that most of the really dangerous folks never reach– ‘s what makes the pillocks.

                      If you’re talking to someone and their reason for why milk pasteurization was picked up so completely is any variation of either “people are stupid” or “it was a plot,” don’t trust what they tell you unless you verify it. For heaven’s sake, do keep talking– even a horrible source can give you some handy pointers, especially if they’ve got enough money to go the experimental route and replace the whole herd when they screw up– but don’t trust their claims.

                      Even horribly dangerous things can turn out OK; my husband grew up eating rare pork. Because the US pork supply is so much safer, and his family hardly ever ate white meat, it turned out fine.

                    15. We kept ours in the fridge, put up with the funky taste when the cows found a weed patch, and never thought to do different. Of course, that was the sixties, so TB wasn’t much of a problem any more. Dad was running a Grade C dairy at the time, selling a can or two a day, about fifteen head IIRC.

                    16. Might I suggest Backwoods Home magazine. The how to is at least as good, and I think you’ll find the politics more digestible than TMEN.

                    17. There is some liquid left from this – don’t know what it would be good for, probably the same as the whey from cheese curds

                      that’s buttermilk. one drinks it. IIRC, Mary and Laura Ingalls regarded it as a treat.

                2. You know, people were buying, selling, and drinking milk for millennia before pasteurization. Raw milk isn’t THAT dangerous.

                  Keeping someone warm the rest of her life, on the other hand…

                  1. People were indeed buying, selling, and drinking raw milk for millennia … which is one of the major reasons why tuberculosis was one of the biggest killers for millennia. It was the combination of pasteurization and compulsory tuberculin testing of milch cows that finally broke the back of TB in the developed countries – even before the advent of antibiotics; and it is precisely in the countries where pasteurization and tuberculin testing are least available that antibiotic-resistant TB strains occur in epidemic proportions.

                    What do they teach them in these schools? Nothing about Chesterton’s Fence, I can tell.

                    1. Yeah. The United States staged a major campaign to test all milch cows. And TB rates plummeted. Took European nations decades to emulate them.

                    2. Flash pasteurization… you boil the milk to a *very* specific temp for a very specific time. This a problem among homesteaders because they are *scared* to even try. Getting them to realize this takes 20 minutes of the day and you can knit half or a third a pair of socks during that time is… yeah…

                    3. This, eaxactly. Raw milk will be a great moron eliminator. Smart and cautious people,candrink raw milk with only a slight risk. Dolts will die in unpleasant and instructive ways.

                    4. Some days I have fond dreams of running an organic free-range U-Pick mushroom farm, with special discounts for hipsters and back-to-nature wanna-bes. *fond, dreamy smile*

                    5. You realize, of course, that you would be held legally responsible for their inability to recognize toadstools, no matter what kind of waivers of liability you made them sign?

                      OTOH, there’d be ample bull manure for producing the crops.

            1. Wouldn’t it be simpler to put the diesel in a truck with a healthy brush bar and play Death Race 2000?

        3. There’s GOT to be money in a guilliotine rental service. “A basket for every budget.”

            1. Spring loaded, with pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders to raise the blade against the springs and past the locking lever. Step on the lever and release the blade when ready……..

              1. I was considering a powerful electromagnet embedded in the base, but really, I think laser guillotines would be the way to go.

                1. Well, remember that artist fellow who designed the mile-high roller coaster with the mathematically calculated loops at the bottom, designed to execute the riders with a sustained 10-G load? That could be far more simply done in a centrifuge.

                  And the suicide people like to recommend bagging one’s head and gassing oneself with Nitrogen as a peaceful way to go. Seems better than spending the cash on expensive drugs.

                  1. Suffocation is NOT a peaceful way to go. Not at all. The people who do that bag trick suffer horribly, that’s why they always tie their hands up so they can’t pull the bag off.

                    1. I think you’re thinking of just putting a bag over the head and tying it off. If you pump in Nitrogen, it’s supposedly not bad at all, and you just go to sleep.

                    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_bag
                      Apparently the use of Nitrogen or Helium allows Anoxia to happen almost immediately without the reaction to a build-up of CO2 that makes one feel like one is suffocating.

                      I would lean more toward a method of execution that would allow organ donation – as Niven-esque as that sounds – rather than current methods that ruin the corpse.

      2. You failed to employ appropriate Marxist terminology there. The term you wanted is “Useful Idiots.”

    2. The Marxists have ALWAYS loathed and feared the Working Class, and their writings have always betrayed this to anyone capable of adding two and two and getting a whole number. Oh, they talk a superficially good line of Proletarian Patter, but unlike the Fabians who (though they completely failed to understand him) seem to have had a real affection for the Working Man, the Marxists have always viewed him as bipedal cattle.

      *pokes this, trying to get it to spit out the other half of the idea*
      I got a flash of recognition…doesn’t the “working class” archetype kinda fit with the kind of person that’s a deliberate, third generation welfare liver? Not the ones who are getting back on their feet, the ones that see it as the world owes me…..

  11. “When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class? And admitting it?”

    I don’t come here for a week and when I show up I find you writing this. I am so glad I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee.

  12. Quite a switch from the older films where the noble working man taught the snobby upper class woman the error of her ways on some stranded island. Now – to find a generator I can fasten to rolling eyes…..

    1. Heh. That story has actually been done a few times during the last decades too. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Overboard, 1987, almost perfect example (not on deserted Island though, a rich b*tch loses her memory and because she owed him money he decides to make her work for him, and lies that she is his wife, and mother to a bunch of not very well behaved children. I quite like it 🙂 ). And Harrison Ford and Anne Heche, Six Days and Seven Nights, happens on a deserted island and was kind of, as far I can remember.

      1. Yes, it’s been done well on a few occasions. I was thinking of the communist-inspired barf material produced in Greece mumble-mumble years ago.

  13. This reminded me of an anecdote I read in Craig Shirley’s superb recounting of the 1976 Republican primary campaign, RESPONSES TO “Reagan’s Revolution (The untold story of the campaign that started it all):

    After Carter was elected President, he met with a longtime supporter, Chuck Morgan, who told him he thought Carter could be elected President in 1976 because the most popular show on television at the time was The Waltons and because of the near hero status of Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, a courtly Southern gentleman who chaired the Senate’s investigation into Watergate. In 1976, Carter had made much of his farmer credentials and as the populist who would clean up Washington.

    Morgan, who was originally from Alabama and was head of the Washington office of the ACLU, told his story years later to [Reagan staffer] David Keene. Morgan continued to relate to President Carter that he was in his hotel room one morning late in 1979, shaving and listening to a television show in the background. A guest was to appear who had written and sold 30 million books. “I told Carter any man who could sell 30 million books was worth listening to. The author was Louis L’Amour, but I’d never heard of him. So I went out and I bought a couple of his books and I read them. Thet were all about good, honest cowboys who always did the right and heroic thing. And damned if you didn’t know it — every one of those books was about Ronald Reagan. And that’s how I knew he was going to be the next president.” Carter and his people looked at Morgan like he had three heads.

    The parochialism of our intelligentsia is their only deep and profound characteristic. As Thomas Sowell points out,

    The way the word knowledge is used by many intellectuals often arbitrarily limits what verified information is to be considered knowledge. This arbitrary limitation of the scope of the word was expressed in a parody verse about Benjamin Jowett, master of Balliol College at Oxford University:

    My name is Benjamin Jowett,
    If it’s knowledge, I know it.
    I am the master of this college.
    What I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

    Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, Chapter 2

    The idea that the specialized knowledge of intellectuals, writers, academics and pontificators is more valuable to society that the knowledge held by electricians, plumbers and carpenters is an idea so dumb that only an intellectual could hold it.

    1. Yeah — no HTML tag failure!!!! The layoff hasn’t hurt!

      Sigh — copy/paste and punctuation failure. “campaign, RESPONSES TO “Reagan’s Revolution …” ought have read “campaign, Reagan’s Revolution …, absent the phrase RESPONSES TO and absent the gratuitous quote mark. Failure to post regularly has clearly deteriorated my compositiional skilz.

    2. “The idea that the specialized knowledge of intellectuals, writers, academics and pontificators is more valuable to society that the knowledge held by electricians, plumbers and carpenters is an idea so dumb that only an intellectual could hold it.”

      My father the Professor spent a great deal of time hammering home to his grad students and fellow academics that scholarship was a luxury good, and the very least the scholars owed the society that was supporting them was to PUBLISH!.

      It wasn’t a popular message; an awful lot of the intelligentsia are work shy bums. Fortunately they were scared to cross him, because they knew perfectly well that if they challenged him to any sort of debate, even if they had control of the setting, they would almost certainly lose and look like a right bunch of nitwits in the process.

      Once, many decades ago, university politics placed him on a building committee. The building in question was to be a dormitory for engineering students, and some bright Johnny had decided it would be swell to supply each suite of rooms with Direct Current, Oxygen, and Illuminating Gas (what they burn in bunsen burners). My Father put his foot down, since he didn’t want his name associated with the first college dormitory to achieve escape velocity. Turns out that if they could claim that the students could to experiments, they could get the building funded as “laboratory space” instead of living space, and the government would pick up more of the tab.

      My father wouldn’t budge. He had years of experience of engineering students, and didn’t feel like bilking the taxpayers for an incipient pile of rubble.

      Needless to say, he never got railroaded onto another building committee.

            1. As the son of a man who used to flush cherry bombs down toilets I understand it scares the living daylights out of the girls taking a seat the floor below (and makes a bit of a watery mess for the custodian to clean up).

      1. Did any of them say the magic words?

        “What could possibly go wrong?!”

        Sometimes I wonder if there’s some top secret eugenics experiment aimed at creating smart (or not dumb enough to play with that sort of lab equipment) and lucky (or managed to stay out of the blast radius created by not as smart folks) people. Though I suspect bureaucratic idiocy is the simpler explanation.

    3. “The parochialism of our intelligentsia is their only deep and profound characteristic. “

      Or: The shallowness of our intelligentsia is their only deep and profound characteristic.” 😉

  14. Well, of course you got along well with your neighbors, and other normal people– you weren’t different in an important way.
    You’re an American, and cool with that fact.
    You don’t try to force them to change into things they find abhorrent, and you’re not going to “help” their kids by doing something dreadful and/or damaging.
    You don’t radiate your disrespect while demanding validation of your every inclination.
    You don’t mistake “decency” for “do what I want.”

  15. Where’d you guys hide the pliers? I need for the stereotype tags that are left sticking out of my arm.

    Also, Sarah you missed a key point in why they hate folks like me of the Working Class: It’s the Working Class’s
    and various cousins and aunts and uncles
    who are wearing the uniform of the military. It’s our class who 8 times out of 10 if not 10 times out of 10 that rolls up their sleeves to get dirty like that. Because we know to get dirty and aren’t afraid of dirt.

    1. And ths is where the SJWs willl fail; unlike almost every previous clutch of would-be aristocrats, they signally failed to get the army or any significant portion of it on their side, and they flubbed disarming the peasants.

  16. They only think they are hothouse flowers, they are really orchids being grown by amateurs in their bathtubs.

    1. Y’know, the funny thing is, out of all the flowers I had in my garden back in the Philippines, orchids were, by far, the easiest things to grow. I tied the things to trees with a bit of coconut shell fiber and they multiplied like woah. Potted them with the same charcoal we used in the clay cookstove, and occasionally fertilized with eggshells. To get them to bloom, we would stick a single birth control pill into water.

      1. In my experience orchids are pretty bombproof as plants go, it’s just that the average house has air that’s a little too dry for them. Water them properly and do something to maintain humidity once in a while and they’re happy anywhere.

        Pitcher plants of the other hand…

        1. Oh yeah on the pitcher plants. I TRIED to keep some, living with the orchids. They needed something more that I couldn’t figure out. Wasn’t the lack of prey; I’d specifically bought them to feed on the flies that showed up everywhere. I think they need swamp-like conditions to survive…

          1. The water you keep them in must be totally devoid of any nutrients and trace elements, that’s what typically kills them. They need rainwater, melted snow, water from a dehumidifier, or any other situation where the water has pretty much nothing in it. That also helps keep the soil acid, which they need. They also need to be kept in standing water at all times, so they require a lot of water. They’re strange plants and not at all easy to take care of. At the college I went to even the guys running the greenhouse there had a hard time keeping carnivorous plants.

    2. The thing is, “Hothouse flowers” aren’t hard to grow in their natural habitat. Which begs the question; what is the natural habitat of the SJWs?

      I vote for a cesspit.

          1. As someone studying for his master’s in education online, I can assure you the curriculum is mostly SJW propaganda. We are constantly exhorted to be “change agents” in our classrooms, as if the criterion for being a successful teacher is that your students grow up to vote Democrat. The two things that keep me sane are the fact that its online; this makes it much easier to just parrot back the propaganda the professors spew in exchange for appropriate grades, and the other are the writings of the Mad Genius Club that provide me with a such wonderful escapist distractions. Let’s hear it for wish fulfillment! Sarah Hoyt for times of (real-world) stress; Rachel Swirsky for when things are easy, because, after all, reading the latter is just another form of work.

      1. Hothouses. They are not a natural breed; they exist solely in captive.

        Witness that they found that conservatives will react more swiftly to a dangerous or disgusting image than to any other one, but leftists treat ’em all the same. Leftists can not, therefore, be natural, because they would get eaten by lions.

        1. To console yourself, you might research how they keep hothouses warm in winter before discovering modern heating techniques.

  17. When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class?

    Since Herbert Marcuse realized the workers were both religious and patriotic. He steered Marxists toward Cultural Marxism, which allied itself with immigrants and homosexuals as the new revolutionary vanguard.

      1. I kinda figure there’s a difference between Americans who immigrated (Sarah), and folks who are immigrants even when they’re third-generation born here. (look around the activist groups) This is kind of adapted from how it seems to be popularly used on TV and such.

  18. I hadn’t actually gotten around to reading the Dinosaur My Love thing until just now. What a bizarre piece of prose. It starts as “If you give a mouse a cookie” and then suddenly turns into a beating and hatred of working guys.

    You remind me of that essay from a few years ago where the author talked about how a lot of upper-middle-class adults actually have no idea how to have a conversation with a working class (aka “normal”) person. He went on to talk about Ivy League college students as “really excellent sheep.” It’s an interesting essay and one that I thought described some things I’ve seen, though it’s hard to imaging being tongue-tied in the presence of the guy you hired to put in a new sink or whatever, as though he were an alien.

    1. I hadn’t either, but now that I have I’m unhappy at having been tricked into ingesting it. Bleah. NOW I understand the true nature of Sarah’s evil. Not only does it seem to cluelessly malign working class bar goers, it certainly also cluelessly maligns Palentologists! All the ones I’ve met have been what the author would probably call “outdoorsy” types. Not the sort of character I’d pick a barfight with expecting a nice relaxing hippy-beatdown to take the edge off the workweek:

      1. Yeah, your shrinking violet types wouldn’t generally be spending weeks out in the dry, dusty heat, in tents, digging with everything from pickaxes down to dental picks.

  19. When did Marxist start hating on the workers? One could look back to the Bolshevik/ Menshevik split where Lenin set down that the working classes needed to be shepherded into revolution by strong leaders, whether they wanted it or not. But I think you could probably go back and find a fair bit of that feeling in the original split between Marx and Bakunin.

  20. I’d read – and forgotten – that story. I sort of shrugged it off, reading it more as a free verse poem than a story. Didn’t know it had won any award at all.

    While I am mostly in agreement with your comments, I beg to differ on one point: it’s entirely possible to mingle and know those of us who’ve done blue collar work and still walk away with such opinions. As an example I give you (please, take him) Erskine Caldwell, author of both Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre, widely acclaimed by like-minded folk and cursed by those for whom Caldwell supposedly had “sympathy.” For although Caldwell grew up knowing hard working poor, he never did the same labor nor worked alongside them, and saw them through the lens of classism. Caldwell’s “sympathy” was to regard laborers as ignorant primitives incapable of helping themselves. While that went over quite well in certain circles, it brought only anger from the working poor. For whether Caldwell and his ilk realized it or not, yes, the working poor can and did read, and what they read angered them.

    For this reason my parents never sampled Caldwell, for their parents had, and reviled both Tobacco Road and the man who wrote it. I did, finally, read it, checking it out from the library, and found him to be worse than my parents imagined.

    That it was the SJW of the day who thought Caldwell was the greatest thing since quick grits says much about them and what they think of those they want to help. It’s nothing more than classism spun in a way that they can feel good about themselves.

    I’m sorry this ran long, but that attitude found in If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love touched nerve. I’ve encountered it first hand, and responded as politely as possible, but have never liked it. And invariable the persons who displayed it were neither as upper class or as smart as they thought.

      1. Only one person within earshot realized my use of “madam” to one of these birds had a double meaning.

  21. If it’s the story I think it is, it failed the suspension of disbelief test. I never knew a paleontologist (except the LDS one) who wouldn’t fit right in at a working class bar. I grew up with them. They’re pretty tough folks: fainting flowers don’t do well on dig sites.

    1. It is. I actively was gobsmacked at a supposed paleontologist who was portrayed as a limp-wristed, skinny and effette metrosexual who had never been out in the sun. What the hell was he supposedly a paleontologist of that he never did digs? I haven’t done any paleontological excavation myself but I’ve done gardening, and spades and pickaxes are part of the paleontologist kit, and I’ve used those, and you shed soft fat fast and get pretty hard muscle using those for extended periods of time – if you don’t cry at the blisters and sore hands and aching joints, which I would have expected the supposed ‘scientist’ to have done after just a few hours of swinging a pickaxe.

      1. And the rattlers and scorpions, cliffs, mud, sand, 70 mph winds . . . you don’t find bones in pleasant places where people want to live. You find them in places where no one wants to be. That’s why they’re findable.
        Also, your baby is very, very cute. Not quite as cute as mine, but I might be biased.

          1. Was just reading a book in which the author talked about her April baby, May baby, and June baby — born in successive years — and the youngest of whom was four.

            Then, it was written in the 19th century, before they invented “toddler” and all children were babies until about six.

      2. The story just takes for granted that the patrons of a standard working-class bar will leap on and beat nearly to death the paleontologist for no explicable reason save being in a bar. Notice, what’s described isn’t a bar fight — a whole bunch of them jump him, with no explanation given.

  22. “A story that reveals a total lack of knowledge of an entire class of people (manual laborers) …”

    And so we have white liberals snidely mocking a political candidate who as a child had to wear plastic bread bags to protect her shoes from rain.

      1. Funny, they never call Democrat politicians hypocritical for soliciting bribes campaign donations while making denunciation of such donations a primary component of their campaign. No, violating your principles (cough) by stooping to such practices in order to haul up the drawbridge after you ban such corruption once in office is considered noble.

        It is impossible to operate a farm in competition with those who accept subsidies. Possibly even illegal (certainly it is begging for enhanced inspection regimes by the local officialry.)

        1. Generally speaking, “farm subsidies” are an attempt to keep food production going after it’s been beaten into submission.

          And it is illegal to do some very necessary upgrades unless you do it through the gov’t program in place for it, which includes some subsidizing. Pretty much anything water related is going to involve at least two of the three possible gov’ts. (County, state, feds.)

          It’s like talking about how horrible the “drink subsidies” are, and trying to eliminate them one by one, in a state that has only state liquor stores. It works in part because, unlike liquor stores, most people don’t run into the background of the “subsidy.”

      2. Yeah, my response to that argument (you can’t be for smaller govt if you get anything from it) is invariably “Until NO ONE is getting (insert benefit here), I’m going to support getting back as much of my tax money from the thieves as possible.

  23. As someone with a Ph.D. who works in academia, you have hit the nail on the head.

    One of the things I like about some of L. Sprague de Camp’s early short stories (at least as I remember them) is that many of the characters were working class people. Intelligent, upstanding working class.

  24. Probably the most interesting thing I’ve learned all year, I’ve learned from the machinists in the Aero machine shop. I needed to construct a complicated fixture for a test, and my advisor didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Still, it needed to be built.

    So I showed up with some scrap metal and my head full of youtube tutorials, and asked to work with the equipment. One of the machinists walked me through how to use the vertical mill, the lathe, and a few different operations, and away I went. He helped me out when I managed to do stupid things like snap off a drill bit or a tap in my workpiece.

    Anyway, I’m probably a few months of experience short of being an apprentice machinist, because I don’t do that stuff all day. But if I need to make something out of metal, now I can.

    An important class of knowledge/power (one could say *real* knowledge/power) translates somehow/eventually into the ability to do things. It is a continuing project of mine to translate the rest of my academic knowledge according to that standard.

    1. PS – even though J. Random Student poking around with machine tools probably registered in their minds as a blood-spraying safety-disaster-and-associated-lawsuit waiting to happen, the machinists were extremely helpful, and even somewhat enthusiastic that I was interested in learning that stuff. They kept me supervised, but they always would walk me through how to do things, and I made sure to move slowly and carefully, ask for directions if I had any doubts about what I was doing, and try not to damage their stuff.

      1. Over the years, more than once I’d have a problem with a piece of hardware, and go out to my car, get my tools, and come inside to fix it. More than once I’ve heard tech people say ‘there goes my biggest nightmare, a software engineer with a screwdriver’.
        I’d just smiled and say, ‘I’m a double E’.
        I still wonder how I ended up in software. Money I guess.

        1. Well, you know me and what I can do. Yet I got weeded out of Electrical and Computer Engineering, switched to a glorified Liberal Arts/Language major, and ended up programming because of my co-op experience before I got weeded (Damned Linear Algebra and Physics 4). When it came to programming, I was basically self-trained, and I made a pretty good go of it for a decade or so.

          Of course, all that ended with the Tech crash, and I failed at a small woodworking business, got an extremely blue-collar job assembling furniture, and now I build airliners, a job that is both very blue collar and very high tech. (I use bolts that have chips in them, no lie.) Hopefully, in another year, I will catch up financially with where I was when it all fell apart. The Tech Crash cost me 15 years of progress.

        2. As a counterexample: On the ship I’m working on now some ET’s were supposed to replace a connector going into one of their magic boxes. The problem was that the connector was too long, it wouldn’t fit into the space available. So somebody got the bright idea to put it into a vise and bend it. Now it fit, but they had damaged the threads. So the grab a hacksaw blade – not a hacksaw, just the blade – and were working on the threads when they were discovered. The worst part was that this plan wasn’t dreamt up by the E-4’s and E-5’s – I expect that kind of dumb resourcefulness from them – this was the E-7’s bright idea.

          1. Could be worse, could be a Civil. Hot on the left, cold on the right, crap don’t flow uphill.

    2. PPS – It feels like a massive hole in my education as an engineer that I’ve never really worked with this stuff before now. All of undergrad was done on paper/viewgraphs/computer programs.

      It is a looooong long trip from abstract Platonic math land to the real world of specific materials/processes/methods.

      1. The local university has some shop experience opportunities for engineering undergrads. The ones that take advantage benefit tons.

        1. In my perfect world, “the ones who take advantage” of that offer would be precisely synonymous with “the ones who intend to graduate with a degree in engineering”, and the engineering department would enforce it as a requirement.

          1. I am glad for the hands on time I got in the shop in my aero eng ug. Let’s you get an idea how you can actually build things in meatworld and what space was needed for tools. Former job I had a number of times I touched base with the shop to make sure the design was workable.

            But even carpentry,home repair and auto mech can help with that

  25. In all this talk of social classes, there is one thing I noticed missing. Equality, as in all men are created equal, is still, despite the best efforts of SJW’s in schools, deeply embedded in the American soul. The rich guy in the mansion who hires a plumber to unclog his wastelines dares not to treat that plumber with disdain because he works with his hands. If he does, the plumber walks away, and rich guy cannot flush his toilets. The plumber probably has another job waiting. Good luck finding another plumber, especially if the word gets around…

    The butcher, the baker, the modern equivalent of candlestick maker all considers themselves equals with the captains of industry. Not as rich, obviously. But that’s superficial. Most middle class really don’t envy the rich. They see the problems that come about with big money, and while they might like it, they don’t have the drive to get it. And understand that. And when I say problems with big money, they exist. Middle income class children almost never see shrinks or therapists. Upper class kids may have their therapist on speed dial… The therapist’s advice substitutes for mommy and daddy, who are to busy doing what’s needed to get and stay rich rather then being with and bringing up their children. And children are a much huger lifestyle hindrance to upper class income people. They get in the way or social obligations. As a result, oft times a power couple (Clinton’s, for example) have but one offspring. The middle class have more. (And becasue the government subsidizes them, lower income people have even more… which is a social problem itself.)

    If you’ve dealt with immigrants from former Communist countries in any type of business or social transaction, you can feel them trying to determine if they’re above or below you in status- because no one is equal.

      1. Does anyme have any experience of Japan in this? Do the Japanese appear to have the (outside of North America) worldwide instinct for Class differences?

          1. And then there’s the genealogy books that “don’t exist,” but which keep careful track of who’s descended from the Japanese version of untouchables, or Koreans, or what have you. And then there’s the people who are descended from daimyo or samurai families, who either don’t particularly care about marrying people of the same ancestry or care a huge amount. And there are even versions of this for traditional craftsmen or people of old merchant families, not to mention the corporate types.

        1. Don’t know about class conscious. But from my experiences and observations in Asia, and reading about it in various and sundry places, Asians in Asia are racist to the extreme. Each group, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, all “know” they are superior to all the others, but all agree that Filipinos are the low men on the Asian totem pole. And their views on blacks, if you can get them to freely express them, are not suitable for printing in an American newspaper or magazine.

          1. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah, and from my own experiences and observations when it comes to the three, Koreans are the worst. It became really popular for Koreans to become an expat in the Philippines – either for business reasons or to have their children not do the mandatory military service, take your pick, but for a while before I immigrated, there were a lot of Koreans and Korean-owned businesses cropping up like mushrooms. A friend worked for a Korean company for a short while in the Philippines, and he was told that Filipino employees were allowed to use only one specific restroom in the company, because ‘Filipinos are disgusting and filthy.’ My friend quit because if something went wrong, it was the Filipino employees blamed even if it wasn’t their doing.

            By contrast, my youngest brother, who was hired by two different Japanese companies based in the Philippines, was actually surprised by the total lack of racism shown by the Japanese he dealt with. They dealt with him in a professional, civilized manner, praised him when he delivered exemplar work – ahead of time, which they liked very much, and gave him sterling performance reviews and feedback to the firm he was employed by.

            An American friend, who pays more attention to Korean and Japanese pop culture and cultural attitudes than I do made the shocked observation to me once over chat that when it came to being racist, Koreans outright prided themselves on being more racist, and when it came to being more invasive and unforgiving of their pop stars’ ‘indiscretions’ – which can include something like being friends or falling in love with someone the fandom does not approve of- they were VERY proud of how extreme and insane they were, over the Japanese.

            I had a Korean mother-in-law at one point (she married an American; her son is an American citizen born and bred), and she spent all her time trying to get her son to leave me and ‘get a proper Korean girl to marry.’ The marriage broke for other reasons, but I think my ex shielded me from quite a number of the reasons why his mother hated me sight unseen, but I was able to glean from the way he talked and his outrage that his interracial marriage with a ‘lowly Filipino’ was one of the reasons.

            Personally though, I kinda laugh at the whole ‘pride in one’s awfulness’ thing – it is not an uncommon attitude in Asia really, and one of the reasons I’d gathered over the years that Filipinos are looked ‘down’ on is because we’re… what was that interesting term I heard lately from an Asian doctor in the neonatal ward, referring to himself and myself… oh yeah, Filipinos are “‘bananas’ – yellow outside, white inside.” In a way, this is rather true – Filipinos absorbed a lot of attitudes from the Americans and the Spanish, though more from the Americans, I think, especially post WW2.

            It says something that both he and I laughed, and the white Aussies around us looked rather uncomfortable and smiled awkwardly about the whole ‘banana’ thing. He wasn’t being mean either, it was a response to my saying I grew up in Europe over growing up ‘in the home country’. I cheerfully admit that some of the stuff done by Asian cultures makes little sense to me but simply is “it just is”. Racism, classism, tribalism, is one of those ‘things that just are’, and it is illustrative, honestly, of the contrast in Western attitudes to that of the rest of the world that Westerners see ‘otherism’ as ‘socially unaccecptable’ or ‘wrong.’

            I really should write up that story from my mother’s home village. It’s an interesting description because there are two groups/tribes who live there and the rift is very deep, and there is also the social/class ranking of ‘those who live down-river’ and ‘those who live further upstream’.

            Oh, and it’s interesting that I found a book today called The Asian Mind Game – A Westerner’s Survival Manual for sale in the hospital book cart. It’s written by Chin-Ning Chu, and a quick flick through it makes for a fascinating read. (Yes, I bought it.) It seems to apply only to Chinese-Japanese-Koreans in scope however.

            1. yeah when i saw gospace’s comment, i was just waiting for you to chime in. Just like the worst looks i’ve gotten over my… mixed ancestry is from Asians.

              1. I have noticed in the past that the only mixed ancestry that seems to be somewhat ‘acceptable’ is that of Asian + White person. The reasons vary, but for the part of my parents, they were opposed to the cultural practices and norms of certain groups which would render me, the female in a relationship, as ‘lesser.’ They eliminated all of Africa, most of Central and Middle East Asia, Japan, Korea and China, for groups from which I should consider trying for when it came to looking for a husband.

                1. That’s part of why I find it so pathetic when Liberals try to treat Asians as one group, or even worse, cram them together under the term “People of Color.”

                  1. But how can they prove that it’s bigotry holding people back unless they can point to two different cities where “People of Color” are doing wildly different?

                  2. Trying to lump them under the “People of color” label is particularly funny when thinking of the Vietnamese woman I used to work with, who said she was derided for being a “ni**er lover” in high school (In the US).

                  3. I usually respond to such mindlessness by listing the various antithetical Peoples of the isle of Great Britain. They may all live together, but the descendants of the Scots, Irish, Welsh, Saxons, Picts, Angles, Devons, Cornish and other sub-groups tend to disdain the “honour” of being British.

                    Starts getting into major sub-groups of China, SE Asia, India and the like and you can go all day.

                    1. For that matter, look at how the Progtards have lumped multiple dissonant cultures under the heading “Hispanic” — excluding actual Spaniards but including Portuguese linguistic groups.

    1. One of the books I’ve bought (without thinking too hard ahead of time) and regretted giving the author the money afterwards was a nasty mean-spirited little rant by some guy called Fusseli. I think the book was called “Class”. Class was absent. Cartoonish stereotypes were present in abundance.

      On the other hand, if I ever want to get inside the head of someone who is really class obsessed and class conscious, maybe that book will serve as a window into that sort of thinking.

    2. My favorite plumber is also a guitarist and plays local music venues. Plus I’m reasonably sure he makes more money than I do. Only people (like academic SJWs) who don’t work have the weird idea that workers are poor and uncultured.

      1. *snort* I used to part-time at the local classical music station, until the management decided to let all the part-timers go. My shift was on Saturdays, and part of the year I was engineering a opera program created and hosted by another local part-timer (a retired diplomat and simply the most erudite person I ever met, face to face). One day my car broke down while I was on my way to the station, the Triple-A tow-truck had to come and tow my car to the station, and my retired diplomat friend had to do the show himself. It turned out the tow-truck driver was a HUGE OPERA FAN, and an avid listener of our program. He was no end impressed when I called up the station, and introduced him over the phone to the host.

  26. The line in “If You Were a Dinosaur etc.” that really made it clear to me that the author had no clue about real people was the casual description of the eeevil white dudes as “reeking of gin.”

    Seriously? Were they a bunch of hipsters drinking G&Ts? Or some time-shifted Georgian London dockworkers? It’s as out of place as if she had described them all using their malacca walking-sticks to beat their noble minority victim.

    Beer would be fine. Bourbon might even be appropriate, or better yet moonshine (as she implies the story is set in the southern USA). But gin? That indicates a lack of observation skills. Don’t write a story about drunks if you’ve never seen any.

    And by the way, if you’re going to take on a scientist in a bar fight, don’t pick on a paleontologist. Those scientists spend their summers breaking rocks with hammers.

      1. I’ll buy that theory. It makes more sense in terms of portrayal, because having actually READ the stupid thing, it’s clear that the … ‘author’, such as she is, has never ever met either blue collar workers, been in a bar that isn’t upscale/trendy/doubles as a club where the latest and most expensive recreational drugs feature as a common add-on to the ‘entertainment’, or ever met with any paleontologist outside of a Jurassic Park movie viewing.

    1. Does the scent of gin on a person really differ so much from the smell of whiskey or rum?

      1. One smells like a juniper– depending on the type and if someone knows junipers, someone might identify it as cedar or some other evergreen or cleaning supply, but it’s definitely different than the sharp, smokeish scent of whiskey, the kind of painful ashes scent of bourbon (similar to whiskey, in the same way that a pine board is similar to a heavy oak), and both are different from the sort of wet-sugar scent of white rum, or the molasses/brown sugar syrup smell of rum.

        They all smell different than beer, which makes folks smell kind of bitter.

        You can often even tell from how people smell the next day, sort of like you can tell if they had a lot of garlic.

  27. Am I a dinosaur, my love?

    Are my views backwards and palaeolithic to your eyes? Is my belief in a loving God, in civilization, order and tradition something of a misty lost world of another age? Are the ideas of objective reason condemned now by a meteoric holocaust of relative subjectivity?

    When I speak of the great philosophers that created our civilization in olden times, when I speak of law and order, do you hear my words? Or do your only hear angry nonsensical bellows? When I saw smaller minds, scurrying into darkness and underground to escape the light, squeaking in protest, did I know they would hold high positions later? When you hear my reasoning and conviction you only hear angry bellows. When I hear the new-speak of relativism, I hear only frightened squeaking of small minds at my feet. How can we speak, my love?

    Did you love a dinosaur, my love? You had protested my antiquated morals, yet thrilled as I defended your honor in the tavern. As I stood over the men who had assailed your honor, bloodied and bruised over their senseless bodies, how your eyes had shown, how you had loved me. Was my honor and courage you had loved, or the blood and violence?

    Is it the blood and the violence of the dinosaur you love, my love? How I have seen your eyes shine as you the barbarism and savagery of the modern barbarian and savage. My love, why have you defended the murderer, the brigand, and the terrorist? Can it be that the primitive savagery of the savage primitive excites you? Do you love the dinosaur, my love?

    So, then I have resolved to become the dinosaur my love, and become your love.

    The cloned tyrannosaurus towers over twenty feet high, a living death. Musculature able to crush cars, jaws that can engulf whole men, and scales that can reduce the power of small arms fire. A nightmare made flesh. When I transfer my mind to the beast, and become bestial, will you be my love at last?

    After I complete the transfer of my mind I look out upon the world with new eyes, my love. My vision is sharper, colors more bright, and shadows no longer can hide anything from my sight. I can scent the universe, the scents of each living thing, their fear, their sickness, and the path back to their dens and burrows. I am afire with a vitality I have never known, a strength and power and freedom unknown before. And hunger.

    I am a dinosaur, my love. I stare down from on high, and look upon you and your circle of cohorts, intellectuals and hangers-on. I finally realize how small you all really are. Now that I have become the monster you have all claimed me to be, now you all look upon me with love. I look back with hunger. Now, with the savage reptilian brain you love, I realize that you are not, and never were my love.

    As my great jaws part, slaver raining down, you look up at a living death with adoration. As I take a thunderous footfall forward, you and your circle step forward, drawn, with the same compulsion that freezes a mouse in front of a snake and drives small mammals to suicide. You come forward, drawn to your one true love, your only love: your destroyer.

      1. Thank you. As it is actually a science fiction story: with cloning and mind transfer, rather then a dream of crazed grief, it ought to be at least eligible… 🙂

  28. “A story that reveals a total lack of knowledge of an entire class of people (manual laborers) and instead others them as sort of scary all purpose evil that will beat to death anyone who doesn’t look/act like them won an award voted on by – supposedly – adult professionals. Not only that, but adult professionals who keep claiming their tolerance and love of the “other.” What’s more, adult professionals who would almost certainly embrace “Marxism” as a good or at least correct idea. When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class? And admitting it?”

    When they started being a riff on medieval Chinese/Korean neo-confucianism?

    (The Irony really comes in when one realizes that China runs its country with de-jure communist propaganda but the de-facto social system of medieval Venice.)

  29. As usual, I’m late to the party and don’t feel like wading through the currently 376 comments ahead of me, so I beg forgiveness if this has already been asked.

    What made you assume this was about “manual laborers”? The only description of the target of the angst seems to be this:

    “A T-Rex, even a small one, would never have to stand against five blustering men soaked in gin and malice. A T-Rex would bare its fangs and they would cower. They’d hide beneath the tables instead of knocking them over. They’d grasp each other for comfort instead of seizing the pool cues with which they beat you, calling you a fag, a towel-head, a shemale, a sissy, a spic, every epithet they could think of, regardless of whether it had anything to do with you or not, shouting and shouting as you slid to the floor in the slick of your own blood.”

    Nothing in that seems to indicate “manual laborers” to me, unless you are operating under the assumption (ironically bigoted, eh?) that all “blustering men soaked in gin and malice” are from that socio-economic class. Which I’ve found to not be true by any stretch of exaggeration.

    What am I missing (in my pre-coffee-ed state)?

    1. Do you really want to try to make a case that drunk, blustering men in a bar, flipping tables and using pool cues as they call their target a series of nonsensical-in-combination epithets is not a rather nasty stereotype of blue collar workers? Perhaps it needed a mention of NASCAR and someone smashing a PBR– or is it Bud Light these days– can on their forehead?

      The only part that isn’t out of a bad movie is the gin.

      1. Yeah, and, as others have mentioned, the gin is out of an older stereotype — with the same implications.

        For the sake of honesty, I still haven’t read the piece, nothing I’ve heard has encouraged me to correct the lapse. So my impressions are second-hand at best.


      2. In fairness, the description does better fit a group of hipsters or university professors … sorta the same way in which their description of the TEA Party better fit the Occupiers and their hailing of the Wall Street Occupants was more accurately descriptive of the TEA Partiers.

        1. Not to confuse “better” with “good” or “accurate” in any way, agreed.

          I was trying to build an example that was similarly obvious, then realized that almost all the examples that came to mind were from news stories that accused exactly this same stereotype of doing a single one!

        1. *tilts head* Are you seriously that blind to an incredibly popular stereotype?

          That’s on par with arguing that the Quick-E-Mart guy on the Simpsons isn’t supposed to be Indian because he’s never been said to be from there, and when someone suggests that if it’s such a weak case as all that you might make another, you try to pretend that it’s all on them.

          Good grief, it’s even been in at least one comic book movie…..

          (Where Wolverine gets in a bar fight, while pre-blue Beast is on TV.)

          1. Foxfier, no. He missed the whole point. He’s arguing that’s not how any blue collar men would behave. DUH. Give the man a cigar. He just repeated the point of my post.

    2. That it’s an extremely short story and this paragraph is the whole reveal as to what actually happened, and it packs as many blue-collar men are brutes cliches as possible into such a short length of verbiage.

        1. OF COURSE IT DIDN’T. That’s the whole point of my article. It’s like no blue collar men that ever lived, but it’s like the stereotype of blue collar men that college professors and THEIR circle believe exists.
          Go back and read what I wrote. You missed the point.

        2. Pavepusher, of course the characters in *that* story aren’t real blue-collar workers.

          But they reflect the stereotype of “blue-collar workers” held by the writer of the story as well as the stereotype held by too many SJWs.

          That’s part of the point of people here who dislike that story. The “bad guys” aren’t real blue-collar workers but the writer believes that they are.

    3. Am I the only one who thinks if you reduced a T-Rex to being only 5′ tall that it actually would still get it’s @$$ kicked by five bar-fighters armed with pool cues? Not only does this story under-rate the toughness required to be a paleontologist, I think it also under-rates the general combat effectiveness of a small group of men with long pointy sticks. The only possible mitigating factor is the ‘gin’. How much is ‘soaked’?

      Perhaps I should write my own version too… I’ve got a start:
      “Hey Luke… what’s that big critter o’er in the corner?”
      “It’s one a them thangs from Swamp People! I hear you can get a bunch o’ money for one o’ them skins.”
      “Hold ma gin and watch this…”

        1. Maybe… I had been thinking of changing it to either “gimlet” or “champagne fizz” to keep as close to canon as possible.

      1. Assuming the brain would retain the same size relative to the 5′ T-Rex, it would still be more thoughtful than the author of that stupid story.

        Of course, a 5′ T-Rex (should that be “t-rex”?) would be unable to type up such a story, considering its virtually vestigial arms.

        1. *pictures a T-Rex in a headset that has a little, green flame logo on it; he is going “Roar, raw, rrrrraaaaaaaaahhhh….*

          Now there’s a new twist on “Dragon Naturally Speaking.”

  30. There’s no neighborhood in Colorado more diverse than one within driving distance of the military bases. And I think the few liberals who still exist the The Springs are appalled by that fact. And having worked in the area for several years doing maintenance/construction work, I can say from experience that this post speaks the absolute truth about these people. White, Black, Hispanic, Asian… I never got even the slightest hint of disrespect or unfriendliness aside from the lady who made it quite clear that her six months working in a construction office meant she was fully qualified to critique everything we did… Or another gal who was very upset about my use of the (communal) spigot to clean up a paint spill.

  31. A lot of readers here have probably already seen “the best TED talk ever,” given by Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe. http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_rowe_celebrates_dirty_jobs?language=en
    Mike makes a lot of great points and emphasizes the cultural “war on work” that’s been going on over recent decades. He got me with his anagnoresis & peripetia example (he should get everybody with that – even if they take a year to “get” what those two words mean in addition to a couple of sheep balls on your chin). Anyway, Mike is saying something similar to Sarah and it’s well worth watching if you haven’t seen it.

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