The Architecture of Fear

Years ago on this blog I talked about Technique of The Coup D’Etat by Giovanni Guareschi and I typed  the beginning in here.  I shall copy that. (Assume typos are mine.)

At ten o’clock on Tuesday evening, the village square was swept with wind and rain, but a crowd had been gathered there for three or four hours to listen to the election news coming out of a radio loudspeaker. Suddenly the lights went out and everything was plunged into darkness. Someone went to the control box but came back saying there was nothing to be done. The trouble must be up the line or at the power plant, miles away. People hung around for half an hour or so, and then, as the rain began to come down even harder than before, they scattered to their homes, leaving the village silent and deserted. Peppone shut himself up in the People’s Palace, along with Lungo, Brusco, Straziami, and Gigio, the same leader of the “Red Wing” squad from Molinetto. They sat around uneasily by the light of a candle stump and cursed the power and light monopoly as an enemy of the people, until Smilzo burst in. He had gone to Rocca Verde on his motorcycle to see if anyone had news and now his eyes were popping out of his head and he was waving a sheet of paper.

“The Front has won!” he panted. “Fifty-two seats out of a hundred in the senate and fifty-one in the chamber. The other side is done for. We must get hold of our people and have a celebration. If there’s no light, we can set fire to a couple of haystacks nearby.

 “Hurrah!” shouted Peppone. But Gigio grabbed hold of Smilzo’s jacket.

“Keep quiet and stay where you are!” he said grimly. It’s too early for anyone to be told. Let’s take care of our little list.”

“List? What list?” asked Peppone in astonishment.

“The list of reactionaries who are to be executed first thing. Let’s see now…”

Peppone stammered that he had made no such list, but the other only laughed.

“That doesn’t matter. I’ve a very complete one here all ready. Let’s look at it together, and once we’ve decided we can get to work.”

Gigio pulled a sheet of paper with some twenty names on it out of his pocket and laid it on the table.

“Looks to me as if al the reactionary pigs were here,” he said. “I put down the worst of them, and we can attend to the rest later.”

Peppone scanned the names and scratched his head.

“Well, what do you say?” Gigio asked him.

“Generally speaking, we agree,” said Peppone. “But what’s the hurry? We have plenty of time to do things in the proper style.”

Gigio brought his fist down on the table.

“We haven’t a minute to lose, that’s what I say,” he shouted harshly. “This is the time to put our hands on them, before they suspect us. If we wait until tomorrow, they may get wind of something and disappear.”

At this point Brusco came into the discussion.

“You must be crazy,” he said. “You can’t start out to kill people before you think it over.”

“I’m not crazy and you’re a very poor Communist, that’s what you are! These are all reactionary pigs; no one can dispute that, and if you don’t take advantage of this golden opportunity then you’re a traitor to the party!”

Brusco shook his head.

“Don’t you believe it! It’s jackasses that are traitors to the Party! And you’ll be a jackass if you make mistakes and slaughter innocent people.”

Gigio raised a threatening finger.

“It’s better to eliminate ten innocents than to spare one individual who may be dangerous to the cause. Dead men can do the party no harm. You’re a very poor Communist, as I’ve said before. In fact, you never were a good one. You’re as weak as a snowball in hell, I say. You’re just a bourgeois in disguise!”

Brusco grew pale, and Peppone intervened.

“That’s enough,” he said. “Comrade Gigio has the right idea and nobody can deny it. It’s part of the groundwork of Communist philosophy. Communism gives us the goal at which to aim and democratic discussion must be confined to the quickest and surest ways to attain it.”

Giggio nodded his head in satisfaction, while Peppone continued: “Once it’s been decided that these people are or may be dangerous to the cause and therefore we must eliminate them, the next thing is to work out the best method of elimination. Because if by our carelessness, we were to allow a a single reactionary to escape, then we should indeed be traitors to the Party. Is that clear?”

“Absolutely,” the others said in chorus. “You’re dead right.”

“There are six of us,” Peppone went on, “And twenty names on that list, among them the Filotti, who has a whole regiment in his house and a cache of arms in the cellar. If we were to attack these people one by one, at the first shot the rest would run away. We must call our forces together and divide them up into twenty squads, each one equipped to deal with a particular objective.”

“Very good,” said Gigio.

“Good, my foot!” shouted Peppone. “That’s not the half of it! We need a twenty first squad, equipped even better than the rest to hold off the police. And mobile squads to cover the roads and the river. If a fellow rushes into action in the way you proposed, without proper precautions, running the risk of botching it completely, then he’s not a good communist, he’s just a damn fool.”

It was Gigio’s turn to pale now, and he bit his lip in anger, while Peppone proceeded to give orders. Smilzo was to transmit word to the cell leaders in the outlying settlements and these were to call their men together. A green rocket would give the signal to meet in appointed places, where Falchetto, Brusco and Straziami would form the squads and assign the targets. A red rocket would bid them go into action. Smilzo went off on his motorcycle while Lungo, Brusco, Straziami and Gigio discussed the composition of the squads.

“You must do a faultless job,” Peppone told them. “I shall hold you personally responsible for its success. Meanwhile, I’ll see if the police are suspicious and find some way to put them off.

Don Camillo, later waiting in vain for the lights to go on and the radio to resume its mumble, decided to get ready for bed. Suddenly he heard a knock at the door and when he drew it open cautiously, he found Peppone before him.

“Get out of here in a hurry!” Peppone panted. “Pack a bag and go! Put on an ordinary suit of clothes, take your boat and row down the river.”

Don Camillo stared at him with curiosity.

“Comrade Mayor, have you been drinking?”

“Hurry,” said Peppone. “The people’s Front has won and the squads are getting ready. There’s a list of people to be executed and your name is the first one!”

Spoiler alert, though this is not one of the stories that you read for the denouement: by the end of the story, the entire cell except Gigio is crammed in Don Camillo’s closet, as each successive comrade shows up to try to save him and is shoved into the closet as the next one comes along.

Then it is revealed that they didn’t in fact win the election, but more importantly, the entire cell, which had lived in fear of the Stalinist *sshole who pulled book and fervor on them every time and made everyone of them live in terror of being denounced as insufficiently fervent, now knows who the enemy really is.  That is, each individual now knows he is not an isolated individual surrounded by good party members who will turn on him, but one in a collection of decent individuals kinda sorta following an ideology but not so far it blunts their humanity and ONE isolated *sshole turning them against each other for the power.

At the end of the story, Peppone finds Gigio proudly waiting to send up the red rocket and kicks him all the way to main street.

Gigio’s power is gone, because he’s revealed to be ONE individual working for himself and only that, and a hateful, little one at that.

It is worth noting that Gigio in Italian means mouse.  This was the mouse that roared, until they realized he was amplifying his squeaks through their fears to sound like roars.

This is not about the Hugo.  Or rather, this is not exclusively about the Hugo.

But it is about the Hugo as well.

My first encounter with what I’ll call the Gigio effect, was in a mailing list for writers, where I dared question the insanity of a well-respected pro who said that George Bush (personally) had raised the price of stamps to ruin her (personally) in her efforts to sell used books through Amazon.

There are levels of insanity I can’t tolerate and couldn’t even while in the political closet.  So I pointed out the sheer insanity of this, the inefficiencies of the post office and probable causes for it.

The list went silent.  I figured tons of people were cussing me behind my back (this was when GB’s name was after all like invoking the devil.)

So, I shrugged, figured I’d be kicked out of the list and went for a walk.  When I came back my email was full of “Oh, thank you, for saying…”  ALL OF IT IN PRIVATE MESSAGES.

The senders ranged from raw beginners to established pros, but no one would challenge this lady’s illusions to her face.  Only me.

So how did the private messages make me feel?  They made me roll my eyes.

I swear 2/3 of the list pmed me to say they stood with me, but in public, not a peep.  They were all so scared, you see, of the imagined disapproval of “all the rest of them.”

I didn’t say anything and I didn’t push them.  It wasn’t any of my business, and at any rate, I’d grown disillusioned with the list and the comradery (Meh) of my peers. I had gotten to see some people I’d respected prior to that in full silly mode.  (We all have one.  I try only to show it to the cats, and sometimes to my husband.)  I was tired.  I don’t know if I answered any of those messages, not now 12 years later.

And now, there’s the controversy over … more people voting in the Hugos and voting for a different slate than the entrenched group approves of.  There are many accusations flung at us, including that we’re pushing an all white slate (which would surprise some of those people) an all male slate (which transformed my friends Amanda and Cedar into guys and made Cedar’s fiance gay.  He’s still in shock) and that we’re pushing inferior taste (It bears reading this post apropos that) and that we’re buying votes for total strangers to vote our slate.  (No, we’re not.  Mary Robinette Kowal, OTOH IS, but yeah, I know, it’s different, after all leftists are good people)

I’m very tired.  VERY very tired.  Not of opposition.  I’m never a happy warrior, but I have had huge arguments (rational, non-attacking arguments) with some of my very best friends, Dave Freer and Kate Paulk included, and emerged from them energized, because we mobilized ideas and facts and our disagreement forged a stronger bond, rather than breaking us apart or making each of us feel small and isolated.

But I’m tired of answering the same senseless accusations over and over and over again.  It’s like fighting people under an enchantment that prevents them from thinking.

And all through this, there are pms on FB and emails to my old email registered with SFWA and not used much now.  “I am with you, but I don’t dare say anything.”  “I don’t agree with everything you say, but you have some damn good points.  But if I say anything, my career is done.”  “Your opponents are scary and are eating each other, but I can’t say how evil they are in public, because they’ll eat me.”

…”Get out of here in a hurry!” Peppone panted. “Pack a bag and go! Put on an ordinary suit of clothes, take your boat and row down the river.”

Don Camillo stared at him with curiosity.

“Comrade Mayor, have you been drinking?”

“Hurry,” said Peppone. “The people’s Front has won and the squads are getting ready. There’s a list of people to be executed and your name is the first one!”…

I’m not going to push ANYONE out of the political, or even the SF-political closet.  I lived in it too long and too fearfully to do that to anyone.  Your secret is safe with me.

But because it matters, I must beseech you, consider, please that you are not alone.  Consider that the sound and fury, the threats, the people pushing you to do things against your will and conscience because you’re so scared of them might be less than the full crowd.  It might be just a small mouse, full of him/herself, roaring up a storm.  Consider that the decent people who disagree with all this bs might actually be in the vast majority but not know it because none of you dares speak.

Yes, it is entirely possible that the publishing establishment will turn its back on you for a while at least, even if you are a loyal leftist, because you dissented from the lynch mob.  OTOH considering — eyes emails — maybe they too are in that closet with you, trembling for fear of the mouse.

But even if you were “blacklisted” — you do realize I know indie writers making six figures a year, right?  And that I myself made as much from Witchfinder as from my Baen books, right?  DO consider that being blacklisted by the establishment might mean less fear and fewer ulcers.  And being yourself.

Do consider how it would feel to come out of the closet and kick the mouse up and down main street, making him eat his Stalinist “guilt by association” cries.

I’m not going to force you.  I’m not going to out you.

But this Stalinist “I know everything you do and it’s all analyzed for deviationism” always leads to purges.  In SF/F those purges might mean not publishing traditional.  Or they might mean not winning awards.  Or getting kicked out of an organization.

But this type of mind-set is a cancer in the culture and sooner or later leads to gulags and graves.

I can’t push you and I won’t.  If you want to keep your opinions — left, right, moderate, libertarian, anarchist — hidden, it’s your job.  I am not the keeper of your soul.

However, I want you to think of the dark and dank place that fear and that suspicion and the constant spying lead.

And then I want you to think of how good it would feel to get off your knees, stand on two, look your tormentors in the face and say “No more.  I’m free. My thoughts and my opinions, my beliefs, my tastes, my friends are my own.  You have no power over me.  Not now, and not ever again.”

That’s all.  I just want you to think.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers and thank you to Glenn Reynolds for the link!

414 thoughts on “The Architecture of Fear

  1. …George Bush (personally) had raised the price of stamps to ruin her (personally) in her efforts to sell used books through Amazon.
    Talk about delusions of grandeur.

    I doubt I would have been so kind. “Why would George Bush wish to target you specifically? How could he come up with such a devious plan?” Or maybe, “So it’s because of you I have to pay more for stamps? What the hell did you do?!?”

    Anyway, thank you muchly — A little Don Camillo to start the day is ever so very nice.

              1. It is not impossible that Sabrina’s friends pant a lot when they see her not wearing pantaloons

          1. You mispelled it. They dance to the tune of Rush, the evil talk radio host who secretly runs the Republican Party, and controls all the key players through secret rays broadcast with his show.

                1. And if a girl likes pink and princesses, she’s the victim of tyrannical social conditioning, but if a boy does, that means he’s really a girl.

            1. Well, if he’s powerful enough to ensure that Katrina hit New Orleans, he could certainly raise postage rates to inconvenience one specific person.

              I’ve never gotten a straight answer from any of my leftie acquaintances when I’ve called them on rants about how GWB was the stupidest man ever to grace the planet and then described him as an evil genius in the next sentence. I think they honestly don’t know what they are talking about. It’s the talking points, and they don’t have to make sense if they are recieved doctrine.

              1. It is even more brilliant!

                If it is figured out by the general public that this one person has been so abberant as to cost them all then the demos, too, will turn upon the person and the misery they experience will only increase.

              2. I still remember the conspiracy theorist who insisted that AIDS was man-made — they could do anything — but could not explain why, in that case, they didn’t come up with one that was less expensive in the killing process.

                1. They could have come up with something less expensive (see: ebola) but the goal with AIDS was to make the victims suffer.

                  Geeze, they couldn’t come up with that? Whatta buncha maroons.

              3. Oh, that’s easy.

                Stupid means “disagrees with me” and “evil genius” means that he gets his agenda executed.

            2. }}}} Draven | April 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Reply
              Bush, who is simultaneously an idiot, and the most brilliant plotter evar.

              Yeah, that was always one of my own fav points, too. Chimpy McBoosh, the genius idiot… or was it idiot genius?

              I loved pointing out that, for someone that stupid, he sure kept making the Dems look like complete fools. How stupid did that make them?

              For those of you who never experienced the excellent long-form essays of Bill Whittle on Eject! Eject! Eject!, I’ll point you to a great piece he did as a subsection of Seeing The Unseen, Pt 1, his fisking of the “Village Idiot” meme, several paragraphs in:

              E! E! E! is no more but you can still find, and read, many of his essays thanks to The Wayback Machine… many are still accessible via the sidebar there at the above (Click on “Main” at the top). I particularly recommend “Tribes”.

              I also recomment “Rafts” (available HERE)

              And “The Web of Trust” (The precursor article of the Seeing the Unseen — look at the top, the “previous article” link)

              It’s all good, but those articles will get you to reading the man I consider to be the best damned long-form political essayist currently living. Whittle now does video for PJTV, and has his own sub-site there:
              The God of Reading is thoroughly bummed.

              1. Actually Eject^3 still exists, the links are valid. And thank goodness, it looks like he cleaned out the 100,000 SEO Spam comments.

    1. The range and silliness of Bush Derangement Syndrome outbreaks was a source of stunned amazement to me during those years, and it has only slightly abated since. And the thing is, most of it came down to “If America had gone a fascist as you claim, and Bush was as bad as you say, you wouldn’t be here, spouting drivel at me, you’d be in some basment interrogation room, dangling by your thumbs.”

      And as we go along, I fear me I am thinking more and more often “And, frankly, I rather wish you were.”

      1. The cognitive dissonance of progressives in general is breathtaking, at times. The same thing you mention can be found in spades in gun control arguments, impugning all sorts of wickedness to gun owners who, some how in spite of all those evil thoughts and mind-controlling guns, refrain from ballistically redecorating gun grabbers.

        1. Tangent; I finally stumbled over an attribution for one of my favorite quotes

          “If you accuse your adversary of being a Nazi, and you are not dead sixty seconds later, you have refuted yourself.”

          Andre Chamson

          Just came across it as a chapter heading in BADGER GAME, a decent murder mystery by Michael Bowen.

            1. Not to mention they played the long game perfectly well. I shudder to think what could have happened in central Europe post WWII had cooler heads in the Nazi party prevailed and instead of the aggressors in WWII that honor went to the Russians. Among other things, it means the Nazis would probably have had the bomb before anyone else.

              1. Actually, that’s a myth. The Nazis were much farther behind than has been “presumed” publicly, because, first off, they lost a lot of the brilliant German and Italian nuclear physicists before the war ever started, and Add to that all the Jewish ones, either escaped or sent to the camps.

                The Brits were closer to being able to build their own bomb than the Germans were. The Germans had focused on engineering feats — like rockets and jets. Because those weren’t mostly Jews.

      2. So much, this.

        I’ve been repeatedly accused of being “too literal” for pointing out when people make bombastic claims that are just freaking ridiculous.

        No, verifying someone’s identity before handing over property to them does not make you a “fascist demanding papers.”
        No, requiring something in return when doing a voluntary exchange of items is not “exploiting those worse off than you.”
        No, recognizing cause and effect is not “blaming the victim.” No, not even if the cause is rooted in a major lapse of judgement, like roofing while drinking whiskey, or building an expensive house in a dense forest with no fire break.
        No, similarity in argument form isn’t enough to dismiss an argument when you haven’t even tried to make a case that the subjects are similar.

    2. Well, according to “The Boss”, GWB was the reason Bruce wasn’t selling many albums in the early aughts. That they were not that well done and rather non-inspired had nothing to do with it. Also pointed out, GWB was asked what musicians he listened too and when he went down the list someone asked why so many who seemed to dislike him greatly, he said if he only listened to people who agreed with him all the time his playlist would be very short, (and iirc some older Springsteen was on the list) but GWB had it in personally for The Boss … because I guess all the executives at his label were not the leftoids they played but some super secret squirrel conservatives or easily cowed closet leftoids or something.
      I’ve run into one leftoid who claimed the he was a conservative until he voted Reagan and then lost his job …it was obviously all RR’s fault.
      In the related argument he gave us a time line … it was in a few weeks after the election that he lost his job … which meant Carter was still President, and RR had not yet even taken the Oath of Office … but it was his fault he was fired, and, just shut up, he explained.

          1. AND has a voice like three miles of bad road. Seriously, the SInger Songwriter meme has had some benefits …. I really think there has been a broad imorovement in the range of lyrics and subjects ….. but we have had damn few really good voices in the last several decades. Freddy Mercury’s voice was glorious. There are a few more with real range and power. Amd then there are soooooo many who basically have a half-octave range or sound like they are gargling broken glass.

            I’m looking at YOU, Bob Dylan.

            I don’t count the little teen idols, most of whom need serious electronic magic to be tolerable. They have always been with us, and my generation (Baby Boomers) were, if anything, slightly worse than average.

            1. Wait. Bob Dylan sings?
              my favorite voices … hmmm
              Freddy was a great one.
              I like Neko Case (solo and New Pornographers)
              Skye from Morcheba (I’d marry that woman for her voice, I swear)
              Poe (Anne Danielewski, Her brother wrote House of Leaves) currently arguing with her label so no solo stuff of late but works with Conjure One
              Sivert Høyem has a good baritone.
              Also I like Guy Garvey;s voice (the band Elbow)
              now there are a few who I should not like but do, Joe Newman of alt-j has a voice I think I’d find annoying in any other form but their stuff is pretty good. the other don’t pop to mind at the moment.

                1. I used to have Good Taste, but now I mostly listen to industrial, which is not always distinguishable from a locomotive. 😀

                  My long-ago music teachers would be appalled. 😉

                2. Yes. I too like LC. he just has no range.
                  Mark Knopfler is that way to (though he has WAY more range compared to Cohen, but them most people do) and with Knopfler you get that instantly identifiable guitar. His Privateering and So Far From The Clyde tend to stick in my head while riding.

                  1. Yah, I like Knopfler too, but make no claims to musical taste.

                    He almost always has several outstanding tracks on any album. I think the album cut of this piece may enjoy a superior mix, but … Emmylou! You might want to jump the initial 3’45” spent introducing the band.

                    Yeah, nobody with my fondness for accordion, bagpipes and clarinets has any grounds for sneering at other’s musical preferences.

                    1. Worked with a Jazz Clarinetist who one day walked in and asked “You ever hear anything by Shot Down In Equator Jr.?” I hadn’t heard them but heard of them (one of the many bands in the N.O. area at that time) another very young co-worker had heard a song or two. “Well, they’re a really good band” the young co-worker was shocked “You really like their music?” and even more shocked by “No. hate it. but they play it really well”
                      This was a foreign concept to the young mind

                    2. Ayup. I recall several artists whose music annoyed me quite a lot (Barry Manilow, Abba) but whose competence I could not deny — which is part of why they annoyed me. Man, I could see them set the hook and build the riff and toes tapped in spite of me. Paraphrasing Quigley, “Said I didn’t like them, never said they weren’t any good.”

                    3. For the last week or three I’ve been catching part of a really great 80s song that I’d never heard– couldn’t believe it, it’s perfect cheery 80s pop.

                      Turns out that I hadn’t heard it because it was only recorded in 2014:

                  1. So is Amen. Amen is the theme song for The Brave and the Free which if my health recovers, books are delivered, etc. will come out indie this fourth of July.

                1. he actually can sing pretty well. Just uses a style that to parody stuff hides it much of the time.
                  Axel Rose had a decent voice if he wasn’t screaming, last time I heard him attempt some of his milder stuff it was gone …cigs and whiskey plus his stupid screaming killed it

                2. Dude has major skills– it’s one thing to have a style all your own that you’re good at. It’s another to be able to do a whole range of styles, do it well, and sound comfortable doing it.

                  1. Every time I go down my mental list of favorite songs by him, they’re almost entirely his originals. Like “Hardware Store.” I can’t listen to that song without being cheered up. And since my husband is a Frank Zappa fan*, “Genius in France” is an impressive pastiche accomplishment.

                    *We don’t listen to it often, because we have over 60 consecutive days’ worth of music in our system. Sixteen years of acquisitions, including the time when I worked at a bookstore and could “only” take home five CDs of overhead play a week. (That’s where most of the classical came from—nobody else was grabbing it…)

              1. }}} Poe (Anne Danielewski, Her brother wrote House of Leaves) currently arguing with her label so no solo stuff of late but works with Conjure One
                Sivert Høyem has a good baritone.
                Also I like Guy Garvey;s voice (the band Elbow)

                Wow, nice list, dude, though I’d’ve mentioned Hoyem’s “late” band, Madrugada.

                And if you like Conjure One, you might check out Rhys Fulber’s other main works, as Delirium — that man can charm a female singer like few others. In addition to Poe, he’s also gotten Sinead O’Connor, Chemda, Tiff Lacey, Joanna Stevens, and Marie-Claire D’Ubaldo on C1 stuff, and, with Delerium, also worked with Sarah MacLachlan and Leigh Nash, of Six Pence None The Richer.

                If you like Trip-Hop at all, you might also check out Kosheen. I recommend their first three albums, Particularly Kokopelli but also Resist and Damage.
                P.S., the Poe issue is actually more complex. The label she signed under sort of went out of business, and her contract got sold to some jerkoff that literally suppressed her performing for money for close to a decade. After years of legal wrangling, she finally got back the right to perform about 4 years ago, and has been trying to do more ever since. If you hunt for the story, it’s pretty much an example of contractual obligations gone horribly wrong.

                1. Ah. OT Madrugada that time before Dawn which inexplicably has no name in English. As in my mom “your brother came dragging over in the madrugada.”

                  1. Yup. The funny thing is they aren’t Portuguese, they’re Norwegian…

                    Best damned band that ever came out of Norway… Not saying much, but it’s true.

                2. I have some Delirium, and I musta hashed the reference to Madrugada (I had it in a parenthetical like the others. The cats … I’ll blame the cats)
                  Poe I heard had performed a show or two, but I understood she was still unable to record … well. was unwilling to record because the crapweasle would still get the money,
                  Aldo Nova had issues with his label and moved to making music for commercials as the label had no sway over him getting paid there, and his contract was X years, so he just was able to wait it out. I thought Poe still had time or albums on hers. (got crossing info on that and really hadn’t looked closely myself)

                  1. I may be mistaken, but that was what was in an article/interview I read. She supposedly regained the ability to perform in public as Poe sometime in 2010 or thereabouts. But when you’re out of things for 10 years, that definitely hurts your exposure. and you pretty much have to re-establish yourself from scratch with the public. Freaking pr*** bastard.

                    BTW, don’t confuse Trip Hop with Hip Hop. The latter has Gangsta associations. The former usually uses a number of complex rhythm techniques — notably “Breakbeats”, syncopation, and polyrhythms — to produce a very complex kind of sound which is still quite danceable.

                    Here are three from Kokopelli:
                    Suzy May
                    Blue Eyed Boy The twang of the guitar on this one has such a great wistfulness that fits with the song it’s … just wow.

                    No promises you’ll agree with my very eclectic and varied tastes, but I think Kosheen, along with Madrugada are two of the most underrecognized and underappreciated bands of the last 15 years….

                    1. when I read Avalance, I thought:

                      But yeah, that is some good stuff. I too am quite eclectic. Beats Antique, Spongle etc all have stuff I like. Guess I need to add some Kosheen to the list.

            2. I didn’t grow up with much focus on pop… “the” Singer/Songwriter thing? Some minor poking around suggests that somebody thought it was new for the hippies?

              I can still remember my mom and dad arguing about various western singers, and pointing out how “even though” they didn’t write all their own stuff, they were still really good. Further back you go, the stronger it is, and there’s a sizable current good group that won’t do anything that isn’t classic if they didn’t help write it…..

              1. Pop country was more concerned with looks and voice and hang the rest for far too long. Some were good at it all and still were forced to do other’s songs

              2. but I think too, for so long, you sang the classics and that everyone got used to singing other’s works so some folks couldn’t write squat, so they needed the Hoyts, Krisses, Willies and Townes to write anything close to worth listening

              1. Storm, not Wind. I have an odd form of dyslexia – I don’t mis-type, I mis-word. Thought, Storm, typed Wind, read it back to myself and read Storm.

      1. Well, some lefties only have a career when a Republican occupies the Oval Office. Prime example: Michael Moore. Notice how quiet he’s been since Obama was elected?

        I’ll bet you anything he votes Republican.

      2. I hated “Darkness at the Edge of Town” and never bought another Springsteen album, this after attending two of his arena concerts. My explanation was always that I discovered I was a David Sancious fan rather than a Bruce Springsteen fan, and his contribution became painfully obvious when he went off on his own.

        1. And after I had not listened to him for a few years, I brought up a cut on You Tube and went, he doesn’t sing, he gargles.

    3. To assume that the leader of 330,000,000 million people on a globe of 6,000,000,000 has personally taken the time interest to put you on his own private “screw with” list requires a superhuman degree of self-involvement…or that you work for CBS News…

      1. Paranoiacs, if successfully treated, often then have to be treated for depression. They have just learned that the world is not, after all, fascinated with their every move.

  2. I remember when you published something Toni wrote about fandom. At the time, I was over at Absolute Write’s forum, and a huge discussion broke out about it. At the same time, another thread popped up about what to be done at cons.

    The truth is, I was never in any closet. Too many years as a political blogger has made that impossible. Like Larry Correia, I couldn’t hid my affiliations if I wanted to. Instead, I announced it proudly.

    For any of you not familiar with the culture of Absolute Write, let’s just say it probably should be called Absolute Left because of the affiliations of so many of the key players. (I didn’t know until I left there that TNH was a moderator there.) Now, I want to start off being fair and saying that I never experienced any of the bullying that people have apparently reported. After “outting” myself as a libertarian, I did tread very carefully. I was the token “right winger” there, and felt it.

    However, I also experienced a number of private messages and “reps” (an odd system to tell people they contributed to a thread) from people who agreed with me, but dare not speak out. No, it would never be a majority of people by any stretch of the imagination, but enough that perhaps no one was as alone as they felt. After all, this whole discussion just took place on the Science Fiction/Fantasy board, not a place frequented by everyone.

    It’s funny. You and I have experienced this phenomenon. Larry’s mentioned it as well. I need to ask Brad if he’s experiencing it as well. If so, it’s just a damn shame that so many people feel like they have to hide their own affiliations or else they’ll be destroyed professionally.

    It’s like I wrote in that blog post you shared recently. Some people need to get their priorities straight.

    1. I have experienced this as well, in a completely different ‘fandom’ one that is a subset of SciFi fandom (and much maligned – sometimes deservedly so) but I won’t mention its name here.
      In that fandom I was once -very- well known (and still am, but to a lessor degree as I really don’t have as much to do with it anymore) because I contributed a few important things to it, and also because I knew nearly all of the name artists rather well, and many had even been to my house.
      I never, ever, once hid my political viewpoints from anyone, and the amount of grief (and occasional death threats) were constant. Of course being a rather large and strong man (and often an armed one as well) I developed a certain reputation that kept those making the threats from ever getting physical.
      But what did happen overtime was that others with my point of view were able to voice it, because I had deflected most of the heat.
      Overtime, much of what I had said or put forward got adopted by a lot more people than I ever would have expected, but because many of these people wanted to make money (so they could eat, pay bills, doctors, etc) my words and observations eventually found soil and took root.
      It’s funny now when I hear many of the things I used to be held in contempt for saying being parroted back at me by many of the ‘rank and file’. I’ve only just realized what a large effect I had.

      1. I’m kind of jealous, I used to be a bigger name in that fandom, and I never got any death threats, just a lot of crap from that fandom’s version of Clammy.

    2. Oh, now I remember who you are — we exchanged a few PMs on AW, being rather like-minded on a great deal of this stuff. 😀

      1. YES! I thought your name looked familiar.

        Needless to say, it was a rather tense time for me over there. It wasn’t pretty, but I have to give most of them credit as they did try to be polite to me…and the one person who didn’t got a temp ban. Got to give them credit on that. Several of “them” said that they didn’t like what I was saying, but appreciated the good faith discussion.

    3. Oh, hi Tom, now I remember who you are — we exchanged a few PMs on AW, being rather like-minded on a great deal of this stuff. 😀

      As I said the other day, here in SPville I feel like I can speak my mind, even if we disagree. There, I have to self-censor lest the mice of war come down on my head.

      1. Yeah, it could get ugly. They treated me decently enough, but it was very tense. In part, that was me trying to be a good “face” for our side and in part because I didn’t want to give an opening to anyone to drop the hammer on me.

        The mods were decent enough to me during that though. I have to give them credit for that.

        1. Sorry about the not-quite-dupe post above, my internet was being stupid….

          Me, I’m on the mods’ shit list over yonder… during the present debacle I’ve called for fairness, and that was deemed a “personal attack”.

          Truth is, the mice don’t dare hear the words of c/a/t/s/ puppies, cuz they might feel eaten. 😉

          1. There’s a very public perception of AW, and while I didn’t run into it myself, I’ve heard it enough and from enough places that I don’t doubt it. That sounds like what you’re running into now.

            When I put myself in the crosshairs, the situation was tense from my perspective, but it wasn’t from anyone else’s. It was fairly calm, all things considered. Now? It’s not a calm time. I don’t think any of us are particularly calm right now. And your calls for calm and fairness during a tense time for them means the courtesy I was given may not be in abundance anymore…if it even exists right now.

            However, I’m not going back either, so… 😀

    4. Now, I want to start off being fair and saying that I never experienced any of the bullying that people have apparently reported.

      However, I also experienced a number of private messages and “reps” (an odd system to tell people they contributed to a thread) from people who agreed with me, but dare not speak out.

      They were probably right– people tend to do the bullying junk when they feel betrayed. It challenges their idea of what someone “is like,” so they challenge back.

      It can be right, it can be wrong; it’s very human.

      I observed it by watching my sister– she’s sweet, and quiet, and gives and gives and gives with just the slightest but of urging… until you run up against something she will not do, and then you could slice her apart and she’s not budging.
      And I’ve seen people do that, time after time after time. Folks she’s sometimes literally given the shirt off of her back attacking her for not giving them the next thing they wanted, because that’s their notion of her.

      Since trying to do the “speak up”/”someone should do something, and I’m someone” thing, I noticed that right at first it was really rough. When I run into people who haven’t been around me since I started trying it, it’s rough. But since I made the point? It’s gotten easier. The trouble is trying to make sure I’m still polite…

      1. That’s possible.

        I won’t get into the issues I’ve heard with Absolute Write, mostly because my experiences are limited and I don’t want to run on about second and third hand accounts. However, I will say that I don’t think that’s all of what it is over there.

        1. *shrug* It’s just a misfire of the “polite” impulse– that it exists at all suggests that folks are trying to be polite.

      2. We’ve discussed this before, under the sobriquet of “the drunk at the party/drunk uncle at the wedding reception” problem.

        Everybody can see that the person is out of line, but everybody fears causing a scene by telling Uncle Rubin he can’t wash his feet in the punch bowl, or Cousin Trixie that demonstrating twerking for grandpa is excessive. So everybody sits quietly and seethes. hoping the drunken one will leave or pass out or that the earth will open up and swallow someone.

        The time to intervene is sooner than most people can get their rectitude together in, so we all tend to give thanks when Larry or Sarah or Vox or anybody steps forward to do the necessary.

        And then some will complain about the disproportionate actions taken to resolve the problem.

        1. And the longer one waits to intervene, the more harsh the intervention needs to be if it’s to do any good, and then whoever intervened may well get painted as the bad guy.

      3. Yes, remaining polite is a struggle.
        Speaking out, however, is needed. It really helps others, as well as those who are on the sidelines.

        1. I never have a bit of difficulty remaining polite, it is my normal and reflexive condition.

          Being “polite” as they define it, ain’t polite. Their idea of “polite” owes more to “knowing your place” than it does to “having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.”

  3. I love argument. I even love losing arguments because I learned something. If I win or lose I want the truth to be celebrated even the hard and brutal truths.

      1. No, I believe you. I hate arguing and fighting. Spent most of my life running from it. But I’m a badger. Corner me and you’ll rue the day. And I, you, our culture are cornered now.

      2. I hate arguing, because I’m really bad at it unless I concentrate. (Not easy with two kids in the continual interruption phase and an infant.) I’m a total intuitive, which surprises a lot of people because, among other things, I’m good at math and academics, but that happens to be the result of years of training, starting a a child. My engineer father* had done the job so well that it took a year and a half of college coursework before I realized that while I could be an engineer, I’d hate it. (And my dad pointed it out—”if you were enjoying it, you’d be getting As.”)

        Things that are i>blindingly obvious to me are apparently not that way to other people, because my reasoning works through other paths. (Note that “logical” has such a strong positive connotation that there isn’t a good term to oppose it that doesn’t have a negative value—even “intuitive” is slightly down in most cases.) Forcing myself to build a path for other people is often tedious, especially because if I do it, I’m going to do it right.

        *He didn’t work as an engineer, but that was his method of approaching the world, and it rubbed off strongly.

      3. I confess I enjoy a good argument. Tossing my ideas into a conceptual cockpit and seeing how they stand up against other ideas is my idea of glory.

        One rarely gets a good argument from the Proglodytes, however. What one gets from them is a tedious lecture about my failure to meet their standard of “a good person.”

        As if that was a standard any good person would want to meet.

        Long long ago a girlfriend would repeatedly advise me that I was “not normal,” a charge which invariably elicited my response of “so what?”

        1. Long long ago a girlfriend would repeatedly advise me that I was “not normal,” a charge which invariably elicited my response of “so what?”

          Funny; Husband and I have a similar observation, but it’s responded to with either “thank goodness” or “looks aren’t everything.”

        2. Long long ago a girlfriend would repeatedly advise me that I was “not normal,” a charge which invariably elicited my response of “so what?”

          …and thank goodness for it!

  4. Bravo and Amen. And tomorrow on MGC I will need some people not afraid to confront them, because I am going to kick over a hornet nest.

          1. Well done, sir. I had a jape i was considering but feared I would muddle it — and this is not a group supportive of the muddle of the woad.

    1. You’d better not do that too often, or I’m going to run out of your books to buy!

      (A word of explanation for people who may not have read all the way to the bottom of the comments on Dave Freer’s previous post on MGC: I told him I liked what he’d written so much that I wanted to give him the kind of “thank you” that really meant something: cold, hard cash. So I bought one of his books, that I hadn’t previously read, on Amazon. Problem is, I’ve been buying most of Baen’s monthly bundles just as soon as they become available, and so I already own most things that Dave has written. So if he doesn’t stop writing excellent articles, pretty soon I’m going to run out of books of his to buy!)

  5. I’m probably also pigeonholed as a conservative, or at least a non-conformist, through about a decade of being a mil-blogger myself. I don’t go out there looking for a fight on political grounds, but I certainly don’t make a big thing of it.
    But yes, there is a very large and quiet contingent who do feel they must be quiet. Finding out that they are not alone, and are, in fact, very much the majority and act openly on their convictions, is what some political bloggers (Wretchard at Belmond Club?) calls a preference cascade.

    1. I think preference cascade is exactly what it is. Everyone thinks they are the only dissenter until someone speaks up. But then they still only know of one other…so.

      And while it may be that while you all who are professionals and the kinds of fans who have the opportunity to go to cons and workshops and such can meet others, someone like me who just bought the books and magazines had no idea what was going on behind the scenes.

      I just noticed a trend toward depressing, no fun, message fiction and stopped buying.

      If nothing else this whole SP business will now get the message out to the casual fan. Maybe a good thing maybe bad. Depends on what one thinks about fans who just want to read a good book and will probably never go to a con or vote on any award.

      1. Precisely so.
        If nothing else this entire kerfuffle has outed the dirty little secret that what an exclusionary little clique of elitists had been touting as the best of the best in SF&F was really a very tightly controlled award system for rewarding what that clique considered to be the “right” people. And drunk on their own ink and the perception that they were in possession of real power their choices more and more reflected ideas far from those of interest to main stream fandom.
        That “I used to consider the Hugo nominations a recommended reading list, but these past few years not so much” seems to be endemic. I certainly thought it and heard it from others long before any of this became public. Prima facia evidence of the severe damage that these ass-hats who apparently assumed they owned all of fandom, or at least the part that mattered, have really done to our culture.

        1. I think we are hopefully seeing a cascade of cascades. First off, the SJW dreaded gamergate. There, just saying the name means shut-up. Then, there is the recent Rolling Stone rape fraud. Homophobia at the pizza shop came next. Now, all these groups have some carryover into SF/F fans:
          Gamers: SF/F games, want to read books.
          College: Some of them do read, and some are STEM majors.
          Pizza: While this seems aimed at Christians, there is a growing general irritation with the fact that a hypothetical question inflames the media while some NYC cabbie, Mohammed Dahbi, who insulted a pair of women passengers who were kissing in the back seat; I hear only crickets.

          1. Over the course of 63 years it has been my observation that in the main, once a chithead always a chithead. A precious few may eventually see the sweet light of reason, but mostly they just jump to the latest cause du jour and screech the newest narrative buzzwords.

      2. I just noticed a trend toward depressing, no fun, message fiction and stopped buying.


        1. I didn’t notice any trend, I just never ended up finding anything that I actually wanted to read on the stacks at the store– originally at the grocery store, then at the department store, then finally at the book store. But when we’d do trips to the second hand book store with my family, we had to take two trips to get all of the brown paper grocery bags full of books out to the car. I can’t remember if it was five or eight, but they were properly packed paperback books.
          (It kind of freaked me out when I read Sarah’s mysteries, because Dyce’s dad could be that book seller’s brother. If they were into cats, Sarah’s character is a cat hoarder, and this guy is the one who has a crate of kittens all year round and will press them on anyone who’s not fast enough. Obvious mental issue, probably some kind of autism, but wow what a store.)

  6. I’m in the position of having been banned (unfriended or erased from contacts with two family members, for not toeing their presumed line. One sister, a Republican, unfriended me because she said I was too strident in attacking liberals. Another sister stopped emailing me when I rejected her Paulite religion. Oddly, the sister who is a liberal still chats with me, and we get along fine. I guess because we’re both upfront about our convictions.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that while physical bravery is fairly common, moral bravery is uncommonly rare. Reminds me of the Kipling poem, IF.

    1. Moral bravery first requires moral clarity, something which the powers of this world do their best to confound.

      1. Reminds me of something I read of Mr. John C. Wright’s recently – not new on his blog, but it was new to me.

        “We need not pause to ponder in what why they are interrelated, or whether the chicken of reality-o-phobia comes before or after the rotten egg of aversion to morality and faith. Let us merely for now proceed on the assumption that the elite in the West today accept a moral code, or antimoral code, which in some way encourages and in some way is encouraged by their code of aesthetics.

        They have bad taste because they have bad morals.”

    2. Clauswitz had a line about that – there being two kinds of bravery – first physical bravery, and secondly moral. “Here, we speak only of the first.”

    3. Back after one of the elections there was a spate of broken windows in democrat offices and maybe some government places.

      My sister made a comparison between that an Krystalnacht.

      I pointed out that there’s just a little bit of difference between the ruling party engaging in a systematic campaign of terror against a minority group and people on the outside engaging in a bit of property damage against the ruling party. Not to condone the property damage but the comparison to Krystalnacht was preposterous.

      Got unfriended and blocked for my pains.

      1. If it was the same one that I heard about, there were even some windows shot out– and they did catch the folks who did it.

        They were Dem staffers….

      2. yeah, like Foxfier said, I recall several of those and they were false flag attacks by volunteers and staffers of dems, the others were like that recent attack that turned out to be on an accountant who was dead (that would be why he wasn’t answering the emails buddy)

    4. I’m of the opinion, when it comes to Facebook, that politics don’t belong on the “family” channel and that unfriending a relative is often the way to maintain peace. I want to see what someone’s kids are up to… hear about their job… see pictures of their garden or vacation. I do NOT want to have every crabby political post or “like” or comment elsewhere copied to Facebook to show up on my page.

      1. You can “unfollow” a person while still remaining friends. That way their crap doesn’t show in your feed.

  7. “I’ve come to the conclusion that while physical bravery is fairly common, moral bravery is uncommonly rare. Reminds me of the Kipling poem, IF.”

    And isn’t that the sad truth?

    1. I love Kipling, and like “If”, but here’s a good deal of truth to the parody “If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, maybe you don’t understand the situation.”

      I was cheered to be told, in one Kipling bio or another, that he was somewhat apalled to be told that “If” was being required reading in schools during his lifetime.

      1. Under what circumstances is losing your head possibly a good thing to do? One does not wish to sit calmly in your seat while the theater burns down, but one has a better chance to escape doing it calmly — if those losing their heads don’t trample you.

        1. I always took it as “Keeping your cool is alll very well, but it isn’t an end in itself. If everybody is freaking out and you don’t understand why, it’s time to ask.”

  8. *SIGH* Of all the times to need to start being a little more careful about what I post and say (work situation in the process of changing in a potentially very good way) . . . And the Irish side of my ancestry does love a good fight, too.

    1. Ha! I wish you good luck with that. :o)

      (and since I like to read what you say, I hope you don’t.)

      1. Thanks. FYI – the post about Original Sin and the Founding of the Republic will be up at my place a week from today.

      1. What the heck kind of pentacle do you use to restrain a summoned Kratman or a DuToit? Perhaps one drawn in the blood of moonbats? And negotiating with summoned beings never ends well.

        1. I don’t know about Du Toit, but I suspect Kratman might break containment by licking up the blood.

            1. He certainly seems genteel in interviews.

              But I like to think of him as Colonel Scaryeyes, because he is the summoned demon to the left.

            2. He really is pretty awesome to chat with.

              But when he gets into his warrior mode, all bets are off. And if someone questions his military credentials, well…it gets ugly then.

  9. “They were all so scared, you see, of the imagined disapproval of ‘all the rest of them.'”

    “I’ve come to the conclusion that while physical bravery is fairly common, moral bravery is uncommonly rare.”

    I don’t think it’s entirely courage or bravery being revealed in these behaviors. I think often these behaviors result in part from a habit of thinking about purely factual issues, even morally uncharged nonpolitical issues: roughly, how much weight you place on conformist rules of thumb like “things seem to be working OK for people who do this, so I should do this too.” You can see this on display in episodes like bubbly real estate markets: there is no particular moral pressure or political intimidation aspect, but still it is very common for people to feel a strong psychological pressure and intuition that so many successful people *must* know what they’re doing.

    It’s fairly close to the “social proof” concept (from marketing and “Game”, and perhaps other fields too), and it can be pretty powerful. I’m not sure it as much as 33% of what’s going on in the current sf political/blacklist/backscratching/propaganda wars, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than 10%.

    “My thoughts and my opinions, my beliefs, my tastes, my friends are my own. You have no power over me.”

    That declaration from the OP is in the spirit of the OP and the comment that I replied to. An analogous declaration of freedom w.r.t. “social proof” I am talking about would be less like “you have no power over me” and more like “if I go over a cliff, it will be because I make my own damfool mistake, not because I instinctively stampede with y’all.”

    “That’s all. I just want you to think.”

    And *that* declaration concluding the OP sounds like it covers both issues (but maybe sounds even more like the social proof issue than the intimidation issue).

    1. “You can see this on display in episodes like bubbly real estate markets.”

      Oh, can’t you just. Back in 2005, I was looking around for buying a house and wondering why “everybody else” could afford to buy a house while we obviously couldn’t. I started looking up affordability metrics, found that yes, the traditional “3X income” was still supposed to be true, and kept digging. Finding blogs about the housing bubble was a HUGE relief.

      And… just for anyone keeping score… they used the adjustable-rate loan interest reset tables to do a fairly accurate prediction of when the bubble was going to pop. So anytime I see “nobody predicted this” in relation to the big housing bubble, I think “People did, but you weren’t listening.”

      (Incidentally, we started looking for a house based on that schedule and purchased one near what turned out to be the local bottom. It pays to do your research.)

      1. There are tons of “Who coulda predicted” that have the answer “Well … a TON of people, but we were called racists/terrorists/misogynists/evil capitalists/elitists/haters{insert whatever else they derogatorily called us here}.”

      2. Personally, the moment I heard of the interest-only mortgage I was aghast. I was a junior in high school, and I knew that was a bad idea.

      3. The thing about bubbles is that opportunity costs mean that playing in the bubble is the rational thing to do, right up until the bubble bursts. The problem is that nobody knows exactly when that will happen. The blogs you found were more likely lucky than anything else, there were sources predicting pretty much every date possible.

        That’s the source of the prog complaint that investment banks were cheating people by selling off real estate securities while encouraging others to invest. Some account managers thought that the bubble was going to pop soon, while others thought there would be a couple more rounds to make money. Previously the latter group had been right, this time it was the former.

        1. Their rationale went something like this: These are the published dates when a whole lot of mortgages will have to start paying principle, so the chances of a whole lot of people suddenly getting cold feet goes way up. And once that happens, there will be a cascade of people starting to balk.

          The chances of having such a mass predictor *again* isn’t much likely, but since they basically called the high in late 2005 and the panic in 2008, I’d say they knew whereof they spoke. (NB: I’m near ground zero for the bubble, so it started moving here first.)

          1. I’m not saying they didn’t have a good rationale behind their call, but ~2006 wasn’t the first time the balloon payments came around en masse in the bubble. Previously, homeowners who were getting hit by the balloon payment could either refi into a more traditional mortgage or sell for a profit and move on. That time, for whatever reason (and I cannot exclude someone recognizing the ’08 elections were coming up) the balloon payments coincided with a marked drop in housing demand, which spiked prices, causing house-flippers to ditch their “investment” properties, slashing prices even more, putting all of those fancy mortgages underwater, which led to foreclosures, which strained balance sheets for the banks, who were then less likely to make home loans, which reduced housing demand, and we’re off to the races…

            1. I think the term you’re looking for is “saturated market.” There were only so many people who could be prospective homeowners, and once you start hitting those percentages, the demand WILL drop.

              Quick tip for spotting the end of a bubble: Condos start going for absurd prices. They’re the last to go up and the first to fall, since they have all the disadvantages of home owning AND apartment living. Near the end of the bubble, local apartment conversion condos—2 bed, 2 bath—were priced north of $260K. That’s way too high for an area where the median salary is around $60K (and I’m *not* Bay Area, either.)

  10. To be fair, Mary Robinette Kowal said this at Brad’s:

    “Mary Robinette Kowal says:
    April 11, 2015 at 11:34 pm
    Since I’ve been invoked… Yes. The drawing is completely random. I mean it when I say that ANYONE who wants one can apply and that I will not be selecting for politics. That’s not the way I roll.

    I believe that SFF should be more inclusive and diverse. Diversity is not just about race. It’s about different experiences and about valuing those different experiences.”

    I’m not completely convinced that her “Hugo scholarships” are a great idea, but she doesn’t appear to be using it to promote herself.

    Of course, if Larry or Brad did the same, the other side would cry foul.

    1. She has also recused herself from Hugo nominations next year, for the purposes of fairness.

      1. I didn’t even think about that aspect, but clearly she did.

        She’s being classy, so I’m going to encourage such behavior. We talk about boycotting those we disagree with so vehemently, which is each person’s right, but how about also supporting someone who isn’t acting like we’re the spawn of Satan? I just bought one of her books. I even plan on reading it. If I like it, I’ll review it on Amazon (since that can help sell more books). If not, I’ll just keep my mouth shut so I don’t hurt her sales.

        I’m not TELLING anyone to do this, but if you appreciate her class during this time (and no, she may not be perfect, but she’s acting like someone I can work with), I urge you to show it by picking up an ebook or something.

        1. Yeah, I’m giving her the benefit of a doubt as well on this, so long as she sticks to this “totally random” selection process for who gets the supporting memberships. In some ways it sounds like the old AFF (Atlantic Fan Funds) or DUFF (Down Under Fan Funds) to get European & Australian fans to US Worldcons. Maybe they should call it the IFF (Internet Fan Fund)?

          1. Well, it’s totally random people who happen to read her blog or have friends who read her blog, so logically a preponderance of SJWs. (And there are a lot of conservatives and libertarians and middleists out there who would rather starve than admit they need a present, so that cuts it down also.)

            1. Well I certainly won’t starve, but I can’t justify the expense from my budget, either. So I’ll take a gift freely given by way of a random drawing, no problem. In my flusher days, I was the one giving. I’m going to go look at it.

            2. I’ve put my name in the drawing too. I’ve been unemployed for 18 months and we’re relying on my retired parents to keep the household going (as well as pay my college tuition for yet another set of degrees for yet another career). Given that my parents supported the PPACA and that’s a major factor in why I lost my job, I’m not feeling too bad about it. But I can’t really ask them to fork over another $40 for an associate membership in a non-new career or school related organization.

    2. Well, she may be promoting herself, but not in any way I find objectionable. She’s giving away supporting memberships to WorldCon, not t-shirts or ball point pens, but I can still see a promotional aspect there.

      It’s a giveaway, and if everyone is eligible, I have nothing to object to.

        1. She has been one of the few people on the other side urging calm and coming down hard on the more idiotic trolls on the anti-SP side (she was the first to comment on the death threats, for instance). So while I disagree with many of her opinions on this, she’s been wiling to extend the olive branch and at least listen to our side’s concerns & complaints. That’s a lot more than some have done.

          1. There seems to be three schools here:

            Those who think the award should only go to “Rightfen” and all others should be driven from the (mid)lists.

            Those who think the other side thinks the award should only go to “Rightfen” and all others should be driven from the (mid)lists.

            Those who think all fans should be encouraged to spend their money buying enjoyable SF and the more (truly) diverse the better — a bigger pot of money benefits all.

            1. The third group almost completely contains the second group. (I say, “almost”, because I’m sure there must be *someone* who is in the second group but not the third… although I’ve seen no evidence of such a person yet)

              So, I think you could logically trim it to two – the first and last, with the first group being an extremist minority.

      1. OTOH, could you imagine the shrieking if Larry or Brad had tried something like that? It would make a Saturn V launch seem like a quiet interlude.

        And it should be pointed out that there is a difference between saying that there is no political test and there not actually being a political test.

        1. No doubt. However, I’m not going to hold Mary responsible for the double standards of others.

          As for no political test, I’m willing to take her at her word until her actions show otherwise.

    3. Yes, but two things: a) if our side did it — and how tempted we are — what would it do? And frankly this is attempting to counter our people who SACRIFICED personally to vote. b) What if Vox gets the idea? What then?

        1. I think it has more to do with ‘having the courage of ones own convictions’. I think Vox is driven to do these things when he believes he is right, because he’s seen what happens when you don’t.
          I suspect he’d do much of what he already has, even if he was very very poor.

      1. To be truly Evil(tm), we should say “that is a GREAT idea! Let’s do it together.” And we do exactly the same thing she is doing. And when the predictable howls of protest start up, we start hitting hard on the point that they didn’t complain when *she* did it.

        Even more evil would be to persuade her to do a joint project. No applicant would know which side funded their membership. The true goal, more participation, would be supported. I think it would be worthwhile to provide a path for quieter, non-confrontational fans to take part.

          1. In the interest of inclusivity, I will suppress my instinctive hatred of the non-kilted. It will be hard, but I will do it for the Cause.

            I dunno, milady, I’m not in the executive branch. Ideally, Brad is already discussing with MRK that they have a joint project. Or we can go to her blog and make the offer. Oh! Since everyone seems to agree that the actual Hugo committee is fair and impartial, can we ask them to set up a scholarship fund? That way people can contribute..maybe even have it as an option on their membership application, “amount to donate to sponsored supporting memberships”. Like those donate-a-dollar things at grocery stores.

      2. That we would be attacked for doing the same is a point against the hypocrites who would attack us. MRK seems to be doing this out of a genuine desire to expand fandom (see her Twitter discussion with the Kilted Coon or her comments on Brad’s blog) and should be encouraged.

        (BTW: I posted, explicitly stating my Sad Puppies sympathies, and was welcomed on that thread.)

      3. That’s my chief objection, actually. Anything they do, Vox will do. Bigger.

    4. I signed up for the drawing. It’s up to 75 memberships in the pool, due to donations by other people.

    5. 1. They set a precedent. Now it’s okay to buy votes if you dress it up nice.
      2. Assumes a fact not in evidence: that conservative/libertarian readers in significant numbers will leap at a freebie rather than pay their own way.
      3. A disproportionate number of SJW’s WILL leap at the freebie, because, “entitlted,” “reparations”, “fairness”, whatever.
      4. It is doubtful Kowal would risk the proglodyte feedback if any conservative or libertarian voters stood up after Worldcon and announced: “I got an associate membership for free—and I VOTED!”

      And best this is another liberal “everyone should get to play” daydream that ends with reality biting Kowal in the posterior.

      At worst, she is being extremely disingenuous at the least. EVERY progressive thought leader in history has approved of lying to the opposition for advantage. There’s is no precedent for moral conduct in her belief system. Is there any reason to trust her now?

  11. Just admit you are a conservative among a group of librarians! Some years back at the annual luncheon for my state special librarians group the then president was giving his little talk, and started to tell a joke. He got the first word or two out and then said that maybe he better see if there were any conservatives in the room before he continued. Of over 40 people I was the only one who raised my hand. The awkward silence was rather deafening (though in my perverse way I enjoyed it). The thing is, that I know I wasn’t the only one to hold non-approved views on political and social matters. I was certainly never ostracized or treated badly over the next 7 or 8 years that I was a member. But as a librarian you are supposed to hold nice progressive views, so no one wants to admit they don’t fit the stereotype.

    But having been bullied as a child, I don’t stand for them these days, even if it means painting a nice huge bull’s eye on myself.

      1. oops, that didn’t work.
        What I meant to say was- ‘applause!!!!!!’

        A zombie librarian, how cool is that?

        1. Glad you like it. 8)

          As a member of the Lickspittle Nation/Zombie Horde (and if you don’t know what the former is, count yourself fortunate) I had the bully we’re dealing with take my headshot from LinkedIn and give me a bad Day of the Dead paintshop job. So the only logical response was to go out and find a really good one to use as an avatar.

            1. The short story is that a bunch of us are dealing with a cyberbully on the edge of the Kimberlin/Rauhauser axis of evil, who decided that he’d demean us by calling us “lickspittles”. We took it as a badge of honor, so he stopped. We’ve also got an anonymous bully hater on our side who goes by “Paul Krendler” who started a blog called The Thinking Man’s Zombie, so of course we now call ourselves the Zombie Horde too.

              For the long story, start with this post by Ken White at Popehat:

              Then go on to

              (Warning: the McCain piece has some direct quotes of Bill’s and they are NOT safe for work. Actually virtually nothing of Bill’s is safe for work or children. Some of the (what he claims to be “satire”) he’s produced borders on child pornography.)

              A year ago I did this one

              Last April he filed suit against several of us, dropping the suit almost before it was filed. He’s threatening to do it again this month.

              The kindest thing one can say about Bill is that he’s mentally ill. Sadly it’s more likely that he’s just plain evil. He tries to make this a political fight, he’s just keeping up the good work against all those evil right wing nut jobs, but most of the group he’s attacking are apolitical or somewhat left leaning.

              I just wish I could be in Maryland on Thursday for Bill’s court date for his nearly 400th violation of John Hoge’s restraining order. I’d have to go to Maryland anyway to file for a restraining order – he’s sent me 4 threatening emails in the last four months, two of them probably also meet the legal definition of extortion, not to mention posting a picture of one of my children which he pulled off an old photobucket site I’d forgotten about and using it to accuse me of child abuse. Said child’s reponse? “Wow he’s a moron.” Sadly I live in a state which doesn’t yet legally recognize cyberharassment and cyberstalking.

              1. xxxxx, is it really necessary for you to spread your poison in venues other than the usual? You mention nearly 400 violations of John Hoge’s peace order. That’s about 400 too high, since all of them were dismissed. When did I accuse you of child abuse? Other than never, I mean.

                I have never sent you a threatening e-mail xxxxx. Not my style.

                Edited by According to Hoyt — rest of comment deleted. Suffice to say that I AM totally inclined to believe a commenter has never sent a threatening email and it’s not his style, when he proceeds to dox someone immediately after. Yeah.

                1. Sarah:
                  I’ve no objection to an “attacked” person coming in here to defend his(her)self, but posting another commenter’s hometown is a touch too close to doxxing and I suggest you block this person from all further comments.

                    1. Nobody expects you to catch every such thing, and it is nice you can edit the posts rather than deleting them and busting the nesting.

                      Frankly, i would accept additional posts from the [Expletive Deleted] except that would likely lead us into a game of “I didn’t cross that line” of the sort I gave up playing after my fifth birthday.

                      Still, it would be best if librarygryffon eschewed further direct reference to the [E.D.] as he is denied rebuttal even if by his own provision of evidence in support of librarygryffon’s assertion.

                    2. Tom, much as I enjoy a good troll-thumpin’ it doesn’t work with vermin of this sort. Vermin you eradicate with full prejudice before they get word back to their nest and you’re facing a full-on infestation.

                      We don’t want the disruption a bug bomb would entail.

                    3. *nod*
                      If it’s the pack I think it is— frankly, don’t care enough to check, I’ve wasted more mental energy on them through reading on Truth Before Dishonor than they’re worth — then they’re not untrained dogs, they’re trained-to-be-vicious dogs.

                    1. A point, indeed. Even banning (especially banning) this guy from future posts will likely bring friends, followers, fellow-travelers and sock-puppets here like ants to a picnic.

                      But naming and locating another commenter seems like very inappropriate behaviour. Folk are free to self-identify but absent knowledge such a person has misrepresented who/where they are nobody should identify any other person.

                    2. You’ll note they tend to keep their lawfare in the leftoid dominated places, and work their attacks that way. Lower than lowlife scum. They look up with telescopes to see lowlife scum.

                    3. Well, his full name was there in one of the links she put up, and probably in at least one of the linked articles, and she did use his first name at least three times, thus invoking him (she says Beetlegeuse, he says Chrestomanci) so some of the onus falls upon librarygryffon — but his was the line-crossing with the doxification of librarygryffon.

                      Besides, she had been asked and he came across with a brimstoney whiff.

                    4. Minor correction – the gryffon did not invoke him as the portion of the name which was repeated is too unspecific to call in one of the lesser realms’ denizens.

                      I myself have been known to cry out “Bills, bills, bills” following the newest rounds of medical expenses only partially paid by insurance and it has never yet called forth such vermin as our recent intruder.

                    1. I’m just waiting to get the kids through high school and get my accounting degree, maybe two more years, and then we’re most likely out of here, someplace where a) that sort of behaviour is less tolerated and b) there is a functioning economy. The Dakota’s might be an option too, although I’m not sure my knee and shoulder can take much more global warming. My sister wants me to move to Ithaca where she lives, where at least the cost of living is lower and there is a decent SCA group, but the winters are worse than here.

                    2. The Northeast states seem to be dying, to this not-very-close observing observer. I know Ohio is considered midwest, but a visit there shocked me. Everything seemed to have frozen in the eighties, except for having decayed some.

                    3. There are some parts of the northeast which aren’t too bad, but certainly the areas with any population; CT, RI, the east half of MA, are doing their best to become Europe West. Before the latest BEA revisions, CT was listed as having negative GDP growth in 2013, the only state with a negative. And I live in the section with the worst economy in the state. /sigh

                      At least our unemployment stats haven’t reached Europe’s yet. I remember the early/mid 80s when the official figures out of Northern Ireland were around 20%, and everyone knew that the real figures were probably twice that.

                    4. the national admitted rate if about as false as those old Europe figures. the reason our rate has dropped is people have fallen off the unemployment rolls, not gotten jobs.

                    5. Oh yes. I don’t think even the U-6 is anywhere near close. I do note that I’m starting to see the U-6 mentioned again after it went into hiding as soon as the Evil GWB left office.

                    6. Sorry I raised your profile.
                      It’s nice everyone has your back here.
                      I was hoping it was a zombie forum. :o{
                      Anything you need taken care of up here in Maine, you let me know.

                    7. No problem, Fred. I should have better opsec anyway. Though I think we can actually blame it on Stacy. He tweeted about a commenter here mentioning the [ED] (a great way to refer to it, thanks Res!), which may have been what alerted the troll.

                  1. He’s already doxxed me all over twitter and put my complete street address along with my legal name in a selfpublished ebook. Which CreateSpace/Amazon won’t take down without a court order, though having had their poor customer service guy tell me this over the phone, they refuse to put it in writing.

                    It was just more than a bit of a shock finding him here. I don’t know whether he found me by my name, or because McCain tweeted something. Either way, I’m having to fight my initial impulse to go hide under a rock for a while. Just seeing his avatar makes the good old fight-or-flight response kick in. But damn it, I can NOT let him dictate where and what I post.

                    1. you invoked his name and the links. he and his pack of hyenas use multiple search engines to find things referring to themselves, and any aliases of victims. You need to learn to refer to him in more general terms. Just saying Popehat and Stacey were having issues with him and his ilk would be well enough for most of us here.
                      The Betelgeuse referance is pretty close actually.
                      We also have monitors who watch us, so you might not have said a word and he may have popped in.
                      Chlamydia is a wannabe of them, and might have run and told. It can’t post here, but it keeps trying, and keeps reading.

                    2. Sadly, CT only updated the harassment statute which involved threats of physical harm. Annoyance and/or non-physical threats don’t count. I talked to my local police department whose advice was “Just get offline, change all your emails and don’t read or comment anyplace”.


                      I see that as akin to telling a stalking victim to just stay home and never go outside. The baby officer I was talking to didn’t see it that way. Of course he also admitted to not knowing stuff about how email worked that I’ve known since he was probably in pre-school. (I’m feeling old and cranky right now. That I’m looking at shoulder surgery within the next six months isn’t helping.)

                      The way our legislature is set up, non-budget bills can only be introduced in odd years, and we’re almost at the end of the current year’s session. So I’ve got time to get ducks lined up for ’17.

                2. Let’s see…I can believe the guy who only links to his own site…
                  Or I can believe the person who links to multiple sites that have actual evidence.
                  Decisions, decisions…

                  1. actually it is believe the guy who is in league with a terrorist or believe one of their numerous online victims. I foresee this thread becoming detached soon.
                    Those attacking her do constant searches to find their victims and turn up everywhere and ruin things.

                3. And you just stop on by here – pure coincidence, I’m sure – to warn us of this person?

                  I didn’t give a flying flip about you or who you were. Now? Oh, please, do stay around. I haven’t smacked anyone around on the internet this morning yet, and you’re shaping up to be a fine candidate.

                  1. Heh, heh. Come join us Zombie Horde over at and you can make the monkey dance. It’s fun, and all we have is FUN! I’m not surprised he followed LG. He is exceedingly obsessed with her. Not as much as others, mind you, but enough to creep any sane person out.

              2. What people like Schmalzie and Clamps don’t seem to be able to figure out is that sooner or later they will annoy someone enough to actually decide to do something about them, since restraining orders are apparently as effective against them as they are against abusive husbands.

                1. I’m reminded of the biker gang that tried to take over a few bars and attacked a crippled guy … oh. the cripple guy shoots 300 yard varmit and 1000 yard rifle.
                  It didn’t get to the level of cooling bodies (to the disappointment of many) but there were several Harleys with ventilation holes in the tanks and engine cases before the gang decided a hideout in the sticks only works if the locals are not crazier than they are

                  1. My favorite such story is the one about the couple of punks who thought they could easily rob the septuagenarian restaurant owner as he was locking up and heading into the NY City night.

                    While Jack Dempsey may have lost some of his stamina in his 70s he still had far more than the muggers did.

                    1. happened out in Cali too, and I forget who the boxer was. The police showed up with an ambulance and mirandaed then cuffed unconscious thugs

                    2. There was some high level martial artist from Japan visiting the East Coast, to formally reognize some American martial artist the highest level in that art. Dude looked like Yoda, only Japanese, not green.

                      Got mugged on the NY subway. Passengers ran to other cars to find a help. Cop comes into car at next stop. Old dude is quietly sitting there next to a pile of disorganized (still breathing) meat that used to be three thugs…

                    3. A friend of mine from years ago used to work for a sword maker in the PNW (She was a sculptor, and would sculpt the custom hilts) this guy was old, 60’s or 70’s, I met him several times at different cons and ren fairs.
                      Well one night at a shari’s or a denny’s he comes out and some kids had broke into his car, and they attacked him with the swords they were stealing.

                      He beat the living tar out of all of them.

                    4. My grandfather was sparring partners with Jack Dempsey on ship. When my parents were dating, the neighbor down the road was hassling a couple of her younger brothers (she had eight brothers). Another neighbor was having a party one night, and couple of my older uncles were there, and my grandfather stopped by to talk to them. The neighbor had called the cops, who showed up, told everybody to keep it down to a dull roar and not to be driving after they had been drinking (everyone was over 21). The neighbor showed up with the cops. My grandfather was in his upper fifties at the time, he walked up to the neighbor who was standing between two cops and said, “I heard you been hassling my boys” and flattened him. Of course the cops told him, there wasn’t much they could do, they had to arrest him. So when my dad brought mom home from a date, they had to go in and bail her father out of jail. 🙂

                      The judge asked both my grandfather and the guy he hit to explain the charges (he was charged with Simple Assault, today that would be something like fourth degree). The neighbor had two pages of notes he read, my grandfather said, “Simple assault is when you are simple enough to hit a guy when he is standing between two cops.”

                      The judge said, “that sounds pretty good to me, that’ll be $250.” and hit his gavel. My grandfather complained for the rest of his life whenever the story came up, that for $250 it wasn’t even a very good punch.

                  2. Back in the late 70s, a group of high school punks harassed a(n admittedly already unstable) teacher into committing suicide. They replaced him with a 23 year old girl, kind of pretty, kind of short, fresh out of college. First day, one of the guys decides he’s going to scare her with a bit of knife work in front of the rest of the class… she disarms him in no time flat and informs him he can talk to her after class, then goes back to teaching.*

                    Mom grew up with her family being really into the “Black Powder”/Frontier clubs, and that includes knife fighting. Then her brothers started teaching her stuff when they came back from Vietnam. The guy was counting on the blade being scary.

                    She was really not impressed that the school hadn’t told her WHY the position opened up in the middle of the year, when she found out.

      1. Sadly I’m in the process of leaving the field. I spent too long as a medical librarian at a hospital with a jealous IT department, so I don’t have the IT chops for any of the jobs on the market right now, and I figure if I have to go back to school and get another masters to be employable, I might as well do it in a growing field, so I’m about 20 months out from an accounting degree.

  12. I lost a friendship a while back when someone proclaimed on Facebook that conservatives couldn’t be geeks. And this was even BEFORE I was a regular here.

    And I’m not looking forward to the inevitable Hugo debates to come in my local circle of SF writers. I don’t think I can keep quiet, but I’m afraid that defending Sad Puppies will lose me more friendships.

    1. I don’t think I can keep quiet, but I’m afraid that defending Sad Puppies will lose me more friendships.

      No it won’t. It might reveal some people you thought were friends, but aren’t.

        1. Keep this Louvin Brothers song in mind:

          My buddies tell me that I should’ve waited
          They say I’m missing a whole world of fun
          But I still love them and I sing with pride
          I like the Christian life

          I won’t lose a friend by heeding God’s call
          For what is a friend who’d want you to fall
          Others find pleasure in things I despise
          I like the Christian life

          My buddies shun me since I turned to Jesus
          They say I’m missing a whole world of fun
          I live without them and walk in the light
          I like the Christian life

          I won’t lose a friend by heeding God’s call
          For what is a friend who’d want you to fall
          Others find pleasure in things I despise

          I like the Christian life
          I like the Christian life

          1. had a cousin that said one of the reason’s he despised Alcoholic Anonymous was they wanted him to ignore his friends who still drank. He just became the perfect designated driver, for bar hopping dart tourneys and poker runs.

                  1. True, there is no one size fits all approach. But— everyone that I know that has quit drinking alcohol or quit using tobacco has done it the same way. They one day stopped. Period.Cold turkey. Never had another drink, never picked up another tobacco product. This sample includes famiily members for both. Don’t personally know anyone who’s been addicted to anything else. Seems someone actually has to want to stop using in order to stop using.

          2. I am SUCH a Byrds fanatic. Parsons rewrote the lyrics to remove “My family shunned me” because he was so hurt by issues in his own family.

            1. Well, now I can’t find those old lyrics. I’m sure I remember them from another recording.

      1. That too.

        But there is so much misinformation and outright lies I can’t stay silent.

    2. There are friends and there are acquaintances. A friend will remain so even when you disagree. You may have to agree to avoid certain topics, but will remain friends. Acquaintances will drop you like a hot rock for the simplest of conflicts.

      1. “I’ll be your best friend” is a fallacy. It was fallacious in the school yard, it is fallacious everywhere else. Friendship cannot be bought.

        If a person cannot tolerate me having certain principles, then they probably aren’t friend material for me.

  13. “One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain.

    “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”

    from a letter Lewis wrote a month before he died:
    I suppose your philosopher son–what a family you have been privileged to bring into the world!–means the chapter in which Puddleglum puts out the fire with his foot. He must thank Anselm and Descartes for it, not me. I have simply put the ‘Ontological Proof’ in a form suitable for children. (Barkman, p. 91).

  14. I think there’s a bit of a misconception of what certain labels mean. What I’m getting at is that a liberal is not the same as a prog is not the same as an SJW.

    Liberals tend to have progressive ideals, but they are capable of coherent thought processes to get there. They can discuss things logically and can sometimes even be swayed by logic. They are not your enemy, though they might hold different values.

    Progs {or progressives if you prefer} hold similar values on the surface as liberals. However, they’re not capable of critical thought, nor can they carry on a coherent conversation. In a difference of opinion, they can repeat talking points they’ve read or heard, but they can’t back them up with facts or references. When they seem to be losing an argument, they either yell louder or leave in a huff.

    SJW’s take progressive ideals to an extreme. These are the enforcers. They are not all “true believers” either, but are chamelions. They will attack a movement’s opponents, but they’ll also attack their own side. The have no capacity for critical thought, and definitely are incapable of a coherent conversation.

    Mary Kowal might be a good example of a liberal in action. George Martin is a prog in action. Anyone capable of critical thinking would know that starting a fight with Vox isn’t going to end well, and it looks like that’s what he just did.

    The Empress of Making Light is a good example of an SJW that has been unmasked.

  15. Liberal and Progressive have swapped back and forth for some time, and both have been appropriated by the leftoids to put a face on their agenda. When one is considered in a bad light they start using the other. Silly thing is neither actually matches their extremely backward, very illiberal agenda.

    1. What I want to know is, what’s so “progressive” about pushing 19th Century theories that universally failed every time they were tried for over 100 years?

      1. Because their implementations get larger and larger each time, with a higher death and misery count. They learn from each failure just WHAT is wrong in their approach, and smooth off the rough edges to make it more palatable in the initial stages – and rope in more gullible saps who think that maybe they’re jumping into something great and wonderful.

        (Until the whole edifice collapses and the screaming starts.)

        That, to them, is ‘progress’.

  16. “That’s all. I just want you to think.”
    And sadly, for most people that is the hardest thing to ask of them.
    They still taught a bit of that way back in the stone age when I first went to school, but that has long since gone the way of the Dodo bird.
    Our society does not want thinkers, they want empty vessels ready and willing to be told what to think. People who think, people who question, people who challenge the status quo, all are cast from the collective, ostracized, treated as odd.
    The thing is, if you have the ability to think, can train up to true critical thought, you have in your possession a skill of great power. Which of course threatens those currently in power, so you must either toe their line religiously or be treated as competition and put down as dangerous to the status quo. Or simply go with the flow, make no waves, kick up no fuss over the little things, bide your time and only unleash your true power when it really counts.

  17. Why are all those communists/SJW stories funny little cautionary tales that always end badly for the protagonists? Unfortunately the Communist/progressive true believers and SJWs never get exposed to the se stories and wouldn’t understand that the stories were about them if they did.

  18. Back when I was in grade school in the early-mid 1960s, there was a Roman Catholic notion that Sarah may have run into as well: “human respect.” It was supposedly a venial sin, and amounted to being afraid of human disapproval more than divine disapproval. Taking it out of the theological realm, it means being afraid to do the right thing for fear that others around you may disapprove. This is basically what we’re up against here. I dislike the term itself, as it implies that respecting human beings is a bad thing, but it perfectly describes the fear of being shunned for one’s political (or whatever) views. I literally haven’t heard the term spoken since sixth grade (1963) but damn, the nuns nailed it.
    –Jeff Duntemann K7JPD

    1. When Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai (ca. 30 BCE–90 CE) was on his deathbed, his students asked him, “Master, bless us.”
        His response surprised them: “May your fear of Heaven be as great as your fear of your fellow man.”
        “That’s all?” they asked.
        “If only that!” he said, and explained: People will sin when they know God is looking, but will refrain from what their fellow man sees and disapproves of.

    2. “Human respect” is a form of a translation of Paul; and the word “respect” has changed meanings since it was first used, and even in the last fifty years. That’s why it might be misleading to use today.

      The 1828 Webster dictionary lists the following meanings:

      “1. To regard; to have regard to in design or purpose. (In orchards and gardens, we do not so much respect beauty, as variety of ground for fruits, trees and herbs.)

      “2. To have regard to, in relation or connection; to relate to. (The treaty particularly respects our commerce.)”

      [Today we would say “The treaty is in respect to our commerce.”]

      “3. To view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth. (I always loved and respected Sir William.)

      “4. To look towards. (Palladius adviseth the front of his house should so respect the south.) Not in use.

      “To respect the person, to suffer the opinion or judgment to be influenced or biased by a regard to the outward circumstances of a person, to the prejudice of right and equity. (Neither doth God respect any person. 2 Samuel 14:14.)”

  19. Being crammed together in a dark closet as a team building exercise?? If this is being planned for Libertycon, won’t all the hardware pose a danger?

      1. Hah! That lot at Libertycon will in short order have any closet they’re in opened out, dismantled, rebuilt and greater than its containing structure.

      2. A closet achieving enlightenment before the self-proclaimed enlightened crowd……sounds like a story waiting to happen.

  20. Thank you Sarah for your stand. I’m gay, and I finally came of the conservative closet to my gay friends. I lost some, but the rest stayed. And guess what?! There are a lot more conservative gays than most people would think, but most are too afraid to come of the that closet.

    My boyfriend and I are of the old school, I’m 54 and he’s 57. We can hold a conversation with someone with radically different views and part friends. He’s very liberal and I’m conservative, and we discuss politics often. And we don’t yell and scream and call each other names and shut down the other person. I love even more because he is passionate about his beliefs and supports them with reasoned arguments.

    Too much today you have somone yelling “racist, homophobe, misoganist” so they can shut you up and not have to debate facts and issues

    This week I purchased my first WorldCon membership this week so I can vote. And if I can’t find a hotel room for Comic Con International, I’ll give up my volunteer spot there and attend the worldcon in Spokane in August.

    I gave up using the Hugo nominee and winner list years ago, because it generally meant that I would be reading something preachy and with a message and boring. I’m a SF/F fan since I was 10 and found my first Heinlein juvenile book. Then I couldn’t get enough books-Andre Norton, Asimov, Ray Bradbury, all of Heinlein, and so on.

    I’ve attended conventions, both local and National, but I stopped going years ago after I realized I was a wrongfan and hated most of the panel discussions. That’s when I to Comic Cons – you can be whatever and whomever you want there.

    Maybe we can recover ” literary” cons, so I can start attending those again and not be one of the younger persons there :). At Comic Con International, there were a bare handful of volunteers with grey hair, and I never had so much fun working hard in my life. No political or preachy discussions, just “I like xyz, what do you like to read, listen, watch, do”

    1. You sound like about half of my friends. I empathise with conservative gays because being Latin/in the arts and libertarian is about 1/2 has difficult as what you face.
      … I could/should totally send you a copy of A Few Good Men to celebrate your signing up for worldcon!

      1. Why thank you! I’ve been hoping to meet you sometime in person since I moved to Colorado, sadly my job is taking me back to Texas. Someday at a Con then. It’s so nice to have authors (like you) that can write AND have good stories, that sadly seems to be missing a lot these days.

        1. Denver? We’re still here, and should be coming up sometime this week to Pete’s Kitchen. (Yes, yes, I like low dives. Why?)
          If you want a signed copy send me snail mail to my two first initials and last name at hotmail dot com.

          1. Denver, but the packers come tomorrow and the moving van Tuesday. Again, thank you for speaking out, more writers and professionals in the field need to do that.

  21. I just want to say thank you for this post. It gives me a lot to chew on in regards to where and when *I* keep quiet vs. speaking out.

    Now I’m off to seek out Technique of The Coup D’Etat for myself.

        1. Dang — wish’t that would download as a file for my MP3 player, but this browser and youtube don’t play so well together. Thanky kindly.

          1. The BBC version is probably not super-accurate to the story, because… well, BBC can be uneven.

            I want to see the TV thing with Brian Blessed as Peppone, but I never have.

  22. I didn’t know anyone else had read Don Camillo stories! I first found him in a garage sale book sometime in the early 1970’s. Thank you for reminding me of an old friend.

    1. They’re now in ebook. My dad handed me The Little World when I was 8? When I came to the states I found them in library sales. I buy them where I find them because it’s one of those I evangelize.

  23. The sad part is that all of this is really reflexive on their parts. When I was a graduate student in computer science at USC, all first-year doctoral candidates were required to attend a weekly class at which various professors in the department would give an overview of their work. The idea was to help the candidates to familiarize themselves with the active research areas in the department to help them pick their thesis areas.

    One day, one of the professors came in and started into an immediate rant about how this was all George Bush’s fault, because of his cuts to the NSF budget, he (the professor) was having to cut back on his work that year, blah blah. blah.

    After suffering through about 10 minutes of this, I raised my hand and asked him what the fuck all this had to do with what he was studying, and that I was there to hear about his research, not to suffer under a political diatribe. He answered that if it bothered me so much, why didn’t I leave? I reminded him that I was REQUIRED to be there (they actually took roll) and that if I wasn’t there, I could be thrown out of the program.

    That actually calmed him down, and he got back on track to what we were there for. After he finished the lecture, I went down and apologized to him, because I had been a bit intemperate in my language. He had the decency to apologize also, admitting that he had forgotten that the class was compulsory for doctoral students.

    I think the other doctoral students thought that I was insane or incredibly brave for daring to stand up to the professor, when in actuality, it was just bad temper and being twenty years older than most of them.

    Bottom line, it didn’t even occur to him that his little rant was at all out of place in the classroom. They have a failure of imagination.

    1. Thing is… if no one ever says anything, why *should* it occur to him that his little rant was out of place?

      The older I get the more I come to realize that “speak sooner” would solve a whole lot of problems before they get out of hand.

      1. One of the English Language’s most useful phrases is: Jus’ hol’ on there a second, pard.”

        Along with “You don’t really believe all that, do you?”

    1. The more I learn about Wilson, the more I realize that nobody despises him enough. But like FDR, he both died and was a liberal; and so his historical reputation isn’t as horrible as it should be.

      A lot of Wilson-hate seems to have gotten displaced onto Harding, of all people, and Coolidge gets no love for doing almost everything right.

  24. To: Sarah Hoyt
    Re: Word Choices

    It has come to my attention that you have noted people writing differently about similar behavior or addressing of issues.

    The explanation is actually quite simple: different terms are routinely used for different groups. For instance, the defender of a net in hockey is called a “goalie”, while in soccer they would be called the “goal keeper”. In nature, a group of owls is called a “parliament”, while crows form in a “murder”.

    Thus, if people who support the traditional Hugo standards all speak or vote in the same fashion, they are “showing unity”, whereas the Sad Puppies movement would be “marching in lockstep”.

    Tor editor Teresa Nielson Hayden would be “specific” while you would more properly be considered “pedantic”.

    John Scalzi uses “strong” or “decisive” terms. Larry Correia uses “inflammatory” or “loaded” words.

    Editor K. Tempest Bradford shows a “nuanced” or “evolving” viewpoint, while Brad Torgerson should be labeled as “hypocritical” or “two-faced”.

    I hope this clears up any confusion you may have had. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Sincerely yours,

    S. J. Woreeahr
    President, Socialist Fiction Writers of America

      1. Indeed! Glad to see such understanding.

        The Democrats of congress are “steadfast”, while republicans are “obstinate”.


        S. J. Woreeahr

      2. (Snicker.)

        “I’d like to go to Agusta today for a round. Make it happen.”


  25. This reminds me of one of my favorite lines from David Eddings’ writings (a very funny, although somewhat repetitive, writer. He basically had one story to tell, which he proceeded to do about four times. Still, I like his stuff.) Two of the characters are talking about the upcoming conflict. The younger man looks at his grandfather and says, “So, really, it is good against evil?” The old man frowns and replies, “Good, evil, I prefer to sort of clear all that judgmental stuff out of the way. It just confuses the issue. Basically, it is us and them. And them is not going to win.”

    It’s a pretty funny line for a fantasy novel, but it is a shitty philosophy for life.

  26. Sarah, the progs we are dealing with would have taken the exact opposite message from that story. THEIR moral would have been, “Nobody can be trusted with a single unguarded moment. Always keep the masses under constant watch to prevent deviation.”

  27. “Mary Kowal might be a good example of a liberal in action.” Mary Kowal is a “liberal” but no liberal. She hides behind a mask of even-handedness while do exactly what we are falsely accused of doing. She is buying votes in broad daylight, even being subsidized to do so, and no one is calling her out on it because “civility”?

    Explain to me how what Mary is doing is in anyway different from handing out cartons of cigarettes to transients to get them into the polls on election day?

    1. Yeah, it is pretty funny that she’s buying votes and getting away with it. Because the overwhelming majority of people going to her site are those who agree with her, and who support the current way of doing things.
      So the overwhelming majority of people who get free memberships from her, will be the same.

    2. Because she’s recused herself from nominations, for one thing. She’s also promised to pick the recipients randomly, not by anticipated voting tendency, and I see no reason to doubt her word.

  28. I’m very tired. VERY very tired. Not of opposition. I’m never a happy warrior, but I have had huge arguments (rational, non-attacking arguments) with some of my very best friends, Dave Freer and Kate Paulk included, and emerged from them energized, because we mobilized ideas and facts and our disagreement forged a stronger bond, rather than breaking us apart or making each of us feel small and isolated.

    Add me to the “Annoyed Warrior” list.

    I like discussions. Intense debates, even– when it gets hot, it’s GOT to be heavy on facts and reason, not emotional targeting. It’s dangerous, but like many dangerous things that stay popular, the pay off is awesome. When you finally can figure out why someone believes what they say they do, it’s like staring into a well cut diamond.

    1. I don’t mind opposition; I just won’t tolerate liars any more. These people don’t seem to respond to logic, or facts, or anything other than being stopped by some variety of force, whether rules or laws or violence. If talking isn’t going to end or avoid the violence, why waste the time?

      1. It’s not the opposition that bugs me, it’s the dragging politics into a place they don’t belong– breaking the social rules. Especially if they then come down like a sack of hammers on anybody who speaks up.

          1. Well, there’s no place THEIR politics don’t belong.

            If I had a penny for every “how dare you bring politics into this” thing from someone who just did a political lecture…..

            1. As politics continues to bleed into everything, I keep thinking “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Which ended with millions dead, lampposts and piano wire, IIRC.

      2. What I find difficult to tolerate (and thus seldom bother) is people who have been winning by a,set,of rules who immediately want to change the rules when it looks like they might stop winning, or failing that loudly announce that they intend to take their ball and go home.

        This has always been my core problem with the American Comfederacy.

        It s also my core problem with those who prate about “getting the money out of politics”.

        Now, there are reasons to want to change the rules, always. But if you have been happy with the rules right up until it looks like you might lose, fuck you. Learn to lose gracefully, at least once, unless it’s a matter of life and death.

  29. Some of the labels being thrown around entirely obscure grades of opinion. There’s preference, and there’s prejudice, and there’s lies. There are some who seem to be genuinely convinced that anyone who supports Sad Puppies is Rabid and should be put down, that anyone who doesn’t actively promote the work of black authors belongs to the KKK, that anyone who doesn’t agree with the more extreme feminists is a rapist, that anyone who believes that homosexual acts are morally wrong is indistinguishable from the Spanish Inquisition. Surely whose who freely hurl around terms of “racist” and “sexist” and “homophobic” are blind to their own prejudice, but then most of us are.
    Pity the miseducated who don’t know anything more about real diversity of belief than what their liberal atheist professors told them or what professionally aggrieved activists have managed to convince half the country is the Absolute Truth. The way to combat bigotry is not to punch back twice as hard. To borrow a metaphor (which I’m positive Tolkien intended) this is why Gandalf, Aragorn, Elrond, Galadriel, and Faramir refused the Ring.

      1. You can’t always tell, when you’re facing a mob, who the leaders are and who is just going along with what they have been told. Almost certainly the leaders and the professional activists know they are lying and don’t care: Anything that gives them praise, prestige, and power is good. Those they can’t convert, they will attempt to intimidate, daunt, confuse, or disperse.

        But many of the followers who repeat their cries can be persuaded, if you can get them to calm down and not inflame their fears with angry denunciations and bigotry of your own. (And a few of those on the anti-Sad Puppies side are saying the same thing we are: Read the works, and then make up your own mind. They are NOT the enemy.)

        For instance, from the comments in response to GRRM, and those I’ve seen in other places, there seem to be a lot of people who afraid the Sad Puppies are all groupthinkers who have mindlessly voted a slate because their leaders have put one forth, not freewilled, independent readers (like themselves) who just happen to see things somewhat differently.

        1. Many of us older folk have seen Westerns where a lynch mob approaches the jail and demands the prisoner, and the sheriff walks out with a shotgun, asking “who wants to die first?”

          1. This sawed off is loaded with buckshot, and I have two pistols loaded full up. I may not get you all, but I’ll do my best to put lead into fourteen of you. Who’s first?

            1. In one of Bujold’s novels two characters were discussing the contrast between two different handguns.

              The female character preferred the “civilized” stun weapon while the male character preferred the “uncivilized” neural blaster.

              He explained that if a crowd saw a soldier/policeman with a stun weapon, they would know that they could kill the soldier/policeman without any of them being killed.

              While when they saw a soldier/policeman with a neural blaster, each individual in the crowd knew that they might be the one killed (or worse) if they attacked the soldier/policeman. [Evil Grin]

              1. That would have been in one of the first two Vorkosigan novels, published Shards of Honor and Barrayar, republished jointly asCordelia’s Honor.

              2. Recurring theme in many Heinlein novels. Lead character in Beyond This Horizon preferred an antique 1911 pistol rather than an energy weapon. Oscar in Glory Road was very fond of the Lady Vivamus, his sword, over newer battle implements. And Woodrow Wilson Smith, aka Lasarus Long, aka the Senior was known to favor cold steel over a vibro blade.

  30. Don Camillo!
    Thank you very much for the reminder, I inhaled all of them as a kid.
    I have to look for them now, and Simak too.

  31. BTW, in all these internet fights, old Don Camillo (Guareschi’s usual protagonist) is an excellent guide. Our little world isn’t all that different from his little world. Especially when he gets perfectly practical advice from Christ.

  32. “No, no, anything but that! For the love of all that is holy, not that! Please, don’t make me THINK ! ” … and yet they read and write science fiction. 😦

    1. That’s because most people, when they say, “I like to make people think,” forget that the tacit conclusion of that sentence is, “that they might be wrong.” And the even more tacit codicil is, “and that I’m right.”

      Even the more broadminded sorts who say, “I like having my assumptions challenged,” almost always prefer the assumptions to be challenged to be the ones they’re not personally invested in believing to be true.

  33. Larry Correia says that argument is a spectator sport. Your goal is not to convince the true-believer on the other side. They’re probably unpersuadable anyway. Your goal is twofold, to convince spectators who are persuadable, and to show the people on your side that they are not alone.

    So thank the gods for people like Larry with the cussedness to show people that they are not alone.

  34. Oh, and this post just brought to mind my favorite (so far) song by Blackmore’s Night (Normally, when I quote from a song, I use either the beginning or a chorus, but here I think the end part is what brings it all together):

    On our own
    In a World of Stone
    We are not alone

    Bring me mead and bring me ale
    To help us face this fight again
    Good fortune will shine down on us
    Together we will win

    And they will never break our spirit
    We will never turn and run
    And we will rise stronger still
    When we stand as one!

    Bring to me all of my arrows
    Bring to me my crossbow to
    I fear we might need them both
    Before the night is through.

    1. I wonder what it would take to persuade the Hugo’s to follow Major League Baseball’s example and allow award recipients to select their own walk-up music. It would certainly add to the head-popping quality of the competition.

  35. One thing- you don’t kick the bad guy around the square once he’s exposed.

    You kill him.

  36. This whole SJW/SP fracas is actually a good illustration of the difference between a positive-sum game and a zero-sum game.
    To the Sad Puppies camp, writing sci-fi is a positive sum game. You have more writers of varying political stripes (or of no discernible stripe at all), you have more and more diverse fiction, which will appeal to a broader range of people, which will get more people to read and buy sci-fi, and everybody is happy.
    To the SJWs, however, what they truly care about is a positional good, namely intellectual and moral superior status over others. (Cf. the “Virtue signaling” in the article you linked .) Like for any positional good, the competition for it is a zero-sum game, and the more people participate the less is there to go around. So for them, throwing up barriers to entry and ostracizing people are rational strategies (in pursuit of an irrational goal).
    And as the causes they ostensibly champion actually gain some acceptance, their response will of course be to become ever more shrill and radical — because if suddenly everybody at least pays lip service to that particular cause or mascot group (or simply accepts it as part of the landscape) then there is no longer any virtue to be gotten in doing so, except by drastically escalating demands.
    The end game, of course, is ten people and a dog buying the latest 99.4% pure LGBTQWERTYZ-friendly SJW novel, and them congratulating themselves on being the only people sophisticated enough to understand this transgressive piece of dreck. And then another group comes along saying that 99.4% isn’t pure enough, and ostracizes the first…
    There are actually virtue inflation cycles in organized religions as well, with one believer trying to outdo the other in piety. Closest to home in that regard: there were the most extreme ultra-Orthodox who during the recent Passover would not rely on the municipal water supply because somebody MIGHT have dropped some bread in the Sea of Galilee and thus contaminated the water with some ppb quantity of leaven (consumption of which is strictly forbidden during Passover). In a country where the majority of people (including yours truly) already keeps kosher to some degree and still more respect the additional stringencies during the week of Passover, simply keeping kosher for Passover (or, if you are that strict, one or two “safety margins” beyond the letter of the Law) may be enough for those who observe these commandments for their own sake — but this will not satisfy the status seekers (which exist in every culture and every field of human endeavor) as they will only be ‘special’ by going to ever greater extremes precisely when more people adopt the basic strictures.
    Coming back to sci-fi: the fact that SP not only includes women and minorities (and is politically much more diverse than the ingroup) — and that you yourself even use sympathetic homosexual characters as protagonists — actually means PRECISELY that the SJWs have to become that much shriller to continue to be the ultra-precious moral snowflakes. So expect the more inclusive that our side will become, the more hysterical and outré will be the escalation in demands from the SJWs. State-financed species reassignment surgery anyone? (“I am a dinosaur trapped in a human body”)

  37. DARVO — Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender:
    DARVO refers to a reaction that perpetrators of wrong doing . . . may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender. . . .
    We have discussed DARVO syndrome before. It is most typical of sexual perverts, who make accusations of wrongdoing against others in an effort to discredit their accusers and elicit sympathy for themselves.
    People engaged in DARVO are “abusive . . . indignant, self-righteous and manipulative,” they typically “threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior. This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of lawsuits.”

    A friend happened upon this…and here I post it.

  38. You should reply to all of those people, and ask them if you can put them in touch with someone else who wrote the same thing to you, so they’ll know they aren’t alone.

    If you daisy-chain the replies, A to B, B to C, C to D, and so forth, only putting one person in touch with one other, but linearly… eventually they can backtrace it on their own and discover that they’re actually part of a huge collection of people who feel the same way.

      1. That’s… not surprising. Fear can strip you of reason, especially when it seems like doing anything other than what ‘everyone else is doing’ might cause you real problems…

  39. Reblogged this on Spin, strangeness, and charm and commented:
    his whole SJW/SP fracas is actually a good illustration of the difference between a positive-sum game and a zero-sum game.
    To the Sad Puppies camp, writing sci-fi is a positive sum game. You have more writers of varying political stripes (or of no discernible stripe at all), you have more and more diverse fiction, which will appeal to a broader range of people, which will get more people to read and buy sci-fi, and everybody is happy.
    To the SJWs, however, what they truly care about is a positional good, namely intellectual and moral superior status over others. (Cf. the “Virtue signaling” in the article you linked .) Like for any positional good, the competition for it is a zero-sum game, and the more people participate the less is there to go around. So for them, throwing up barriers to entry and ostracizing people are rational strategies (in pursuit of an irrational goal).
    And as the causes they ostensibly champion actually gain some acceptance, their response will of course be to become ever more shrill and radical — because if suddenly everybody at least pays lip service to that particular cause or mascot group (or simply accepts it as part of the landscape) then there is no longer any virtue to be gotten in doing so, except by drastically escalating demands.
    The end game, of course, is ten people and a dog buying the latest 99.4% pure LGBTQWERTYZ-friendly SJW novel, and them congratulating themselves on being the only people sophisticated enough to understand this transgressive piece of dreck. And then another group comes along saying that 99.4% isn’t pure enough, and ostracizes the first…
    There are actually virtue inflation cycles in organized religions as well, with one believer trying to outdo the other in piety. Closest to home in that regard: there were the most extreme ultra-Orthodox who during the recent Passover would not rely on the municipal water supply because somebody MIGHT have dropped some bread in the Sea of Galilee and thus contaminated the water with some ppb quantity of leaven (consumption of which is strictly forbidden during Passover). In a country where the majority of people (including yours truly) already keeps kosher to some degree and still more respect the additional stringencies during the week of Passover, simply keeping kosher for Passover (or, if you are that strict, one or two “safety margins” beyond the letter of the Law) may be enough for those who observe these commandments for their own sake — but this will not satisfy the status seekers (which exist in every culture and every field of human endeavor) as they will only be ‘special’ by going to ever greater extremes precisely when more people adopt the basic strictures.
    Coming back to sci-fi: the fact that SP not only includes women and minorities (and is politically much more diverse than the ingroup) — and that you yourself even use sympathetic homosexual characters as protagonists — actually means PRECISELY that the SJWs have to become that much shriller to continue to be the ultra-precious moral snowflakes. So expect the more inclusive that our side will become, the more hysterical and outré will be the escalation in demands from the SJWs. State-financed species reassignment surgery anyone? (“I am a dinosaur trapped in a human body”)

  40. This article seems appropriate.

    Rather than ruffle feathers—or worse—Republicans who work there often just keep quiet.

    As I said, I fully expect to be Eiched at some point.

  41. }}} It’s like fighting people under an enchantment that prevents them from thinking.

    This enchantment exists…
    They call it “PostModern Liberalism”

  42. I found this whole issue interesting and saddening. It shows, essentially, how liberals have infiltrated a historically fairly conservative group — Nerds and SF types — and subverted their preferred fiction to produce and reward mostly dreck masquerading as SF. And, when challenged, go into full-on character assassination mode to attack and devalue the opposition. Truth? Who needs that when you can make up all kinds of scurrilous lies and calumnies and spread them around using a whisper campaign? Sooooo much easier…

    You can argue all you want with that assertion — that SF is inherently conservative — but engineering types generally ARE conservative, and the central base of SF is, at its heart, always engineers and variants thereof (i.e., programmers, for example)

    I also found THIS article interesting. This is clearly not the first time others have set to challenge the hegemony in the artistic world of a small clique of self-appointed gatekeepers about what is “right and proper” in a field of art.

    It’s a nice little 1988 American Heritage “history of art” piece about George Luks, one of the members of The Eight (akin to the Sad Puppy people) , The Ashcan School, who challenged the imprimatur of the “National Academy of Design”:

    Today Luks is chiefly remembered as one of The Eight, unconventional painters who effectively broke the stranglehold on American taste in art exerted for decades by custodians of the genteel tradition in the ranks of the National Academy of Design.

    Sound familiar?

    I find reading old issues of AH both interesting and amusing. Not only are you reading an informative article about history, but you’re also getting a window into the worldview of 20,30,40 or more years ago, as you observe inherent assumptions built-into the article. Nowhere is this more telling than 80s articles about the history of the USSR and the Cold War … they had no idea at all that the USSR had only a short while to live. 90s articles about the post-breakup and the “what now” are equally interesting.

    1. Ellsworth Toohey had personified that trend well before the Eighties.

      Gatekeeper status is eminently exploitable, as History has demonstrated time and again.

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