Take Your Nose Off My Fist

Some time ago I wrote a blog post called Of Fists And Noses. It referred to a phrase often repeated in Portugal (at least in my school) after the revolution. It was “your right to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose.”
Like every other of those pseudo-profound pronouncements of the seventies, like “we’re all naked under our clothes” and “People weren’t born with scissors to cut their hair” it sounds like the result of long and deep thought, but it really isn’t. In fact, it’s the sort of sentence that would only convince someone who has been toking all day and it should automatically be ended in “man.” As in “We’re all naked under our clothes, man.”
Looked at one way that sort of pronouncement is obvious. Yep, we’re naked under our clothes, duh. And yep, for whatever reason our primitive ancestors must have had really long hair, duh. And yep, your right to swing your fist is not the right to run around punching people, duh.
But looked at from the practical point, all of those declarations are completely beside the point and the only appropriate answer to it is “And what?”
Because we’re naked under our clothes doesn’t mean it’s a jolly good idea to expose yourself to children, make restaurant chairs unsanitary and scare the horses by removing those clothes obscuring your nudity. And if our distant ancestors went about with hair to their waist, and tangled and matted and full of lice (they also weren’t born with soap and/or combs) it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a public health hazard for you to go around that way now.
Now, if you wish to keep your hair long and clean, (or dirty, provided I’m not forced to socialize with you) or go around naked, it’s none of my business, but the sentence used to justify it doesn’t, has nothing to do with it and taken to its extreme would set all sorts of crazy precedents. Like, you know, “Humans weren’t born in houses, man.” (No construction is needed) And “We’re all hungry before we eat” (So, why mitigate hunger.)
However, the fist and nose thing is possibly the worst ever. If your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose, what if I move my nose and rest it on your fist, so you can’t move.
Oh, come on, Sarah, now you’re just being silly!
Well, if you had told me that objection when I was eleven or twelve, and though that a perfectly reasonable pronouncement, I’d have told you that the objection was silly.
It’s just that over the last thirty years I’ve seen that objection playing up.
In effect what it means is that no right is absolute.
Just yesterday I was talking to mom, whose house got broken into, thank heavens while no one was home (home invasion is rife in Portugal) and talking about the right to your property, which involves the right of defense.
She was appalled at my statement that if anyone breaks into your house in Colorado you can shoot them and not be tried for murder. Apparently a neighbor, tired of having his business broken into, constructed an elaborate trap to catch the burglar. Part of the trap was a noose. It somehow mis-fired and got the burglar around the neck, killing him.
Keep in mind this was the same burglar that had cleaned out this small craftsman TWICE before. The business owner was arrested, tried and convicted of murder.
His right to protect his livelihood ended at the end of the burglar’s nose. And the burglar brought his nose right into the craftsman’s property.
What right do you have to your property when anyone can break in and you can do nothing, lest you hurt them?
In the same way, take the right of owning guns for said self defense. Even in the US, arguably one of the most free gun-owning country in the world, we keep getting hemmed in with regulations demanded by loud people who imagine their nose is being touched by our fist (I.e. they imagine we want guns for offense, not defense, and it never occurs to them that those who do want guns for offense are not law abiding and get them anyway) so that depending on the area of the country you can’t own guns at all; you must lock them up so securely you can’t access them in an emergency; you can only own the guns the say you can own, etc.
Or let’s go with the most basic of all rights, the right of free speech. This is the one where touching someone’s “nose” is all the easiest. As two luminaries of science fiction found out when they used the word “ladies” to refer to women they admired, it’s always easy for the perpetually inflamed noses of those seeking to take offense at something, anything, to claim to have been punched.
As we found out in Sad Puppies, when we tried to break the stranglehold of a small clique on what was until two weeks ago claimed to be the most prestigious award in the field, the perpetually offended can claim you are racist, sexist and homophobic, because they “feel” you punched those noses, not even theirs. They can claim this even if it’s completely countered by the reality of the slate proposed. They can claim this because who is to judge whether their nose felt a punch except themselves? How can you counter it?
We’ve seen way too much of this, including that famous case in which a statue of a sleep walking male terrorized a whole college full of supposedly rational women; and the sad fact that literature professors now have to give trigger warnings before advocating the reading of anything even vaguely controversial.
And just recently, the Honey Badgers, the same nice people who interviewed Brad and Mike and I last week, got kicked out of a con in Calgary for “engaging in harassment of panelists.” Their recording of the panel is here and here. Judge for yourselves.
It reminded me of that quote of Moshe Feder over the Sad Puppies thing, you know: “starve them out: stop inviting them and theirs to conventions. That means authors, editors, cover artists, even whole publishers. ”
This because the perpetually offended can’t help but feel they’ve been punched when someone disagrees with them. Note that Larry Correia called for NOT punishing all of Tor for the actions of some of their editors. The other side, though? Yeah. Their feelings have been hurt. And they have no morals. Mostly because their right to hurt others has never been questioned, and when it is they try to shut down the questioners. (And, oh, Moshe, darling, you guys have been trying to do that to us for … my entire career. The only difference now is that we’re not afraid anymore. I don’t think it will be easier for you at this point than when we cowered in fear of losing our livelihood. There’s Amazon, there’s indie, and I’d like you to contemplate my middle fingers.)
In fact, when it comes to the right of free speech, it should be the most patently obvious that the whole noses and fists thing is insane. Because speech is not a physical action.
Sure it can have a physical consequence. Entertainment Weekly, the Grauniad, and lately the New Republic knew very well what they were doing when they painted Sad Puppies as racist, homophobic and sexist. They were trying to get the aggrieved-nose brigades to take action on their behalf. The fact that the articles were easily proven lies doesn’t matter unless people who read those outlets check the facts, something that so far they’ve proven notoriously averse to doing.
Now those three might have/probably have crossed the line into libel. I don’t know where the consideration is on legal action at the moment. It’s more difficult than it seems. Those are big publications, with legal teams, and we’re a rag tag of normal people with … normal to small resources.
The power to stop libelous or lying or hurtful speech is always a theoretical one. The power to stop your speech-fist by claiming it hurts my “nose” whether it really does or not is a power vested in those that already have societal power.
It requires amplification in the media, an ability to play the victim, and the approval of the ruling “elite.” Stopping speech, no matter who does it, supposed private parties or the government, is always a tool of power, an act of punching down. It requires the approval of the powers that be.
The entire libel against Sad Puppies is an act of the clique, allied to a larger cultural self-proclaimed “elite” to keep power. They deny the right of free speech of those who paid $40 for the right to vote on the best novel/short story/movie/associated post, etc. of the year, by claiming that speech is somehow “wrong speech.”
In the same way the bureaucracy in charge of the largest association of writers of sf/f punched down by declaring that “ladies” was somehow hateful and hurt people.
We won’t even go into the other craziness from that association.
And now of course, it’s wrong and evil for our side of things to defend itself and to set the record straight on attempts to suppress us. Having been self-defined from above as haters, our speech touches everyone’s metaphorical noses, even when it doesn’t.
The right of free speech is meaningless when you only have the right to say that which society approves of.
No one has ever tried to ban speech that lauds mother and apple pie (well, maybe now, but that’s a long story.) No one has ever had a fit over your complimenting their lawn.
The right of free speech is by necessity a protection for unpleasant, unpalatable speech. It is the right to call someone in power a right son of a b*tch. It is the right to say things that are hurtful, whether they’re true or not. It is the right to proclaim that the king goes naked, even if it hurts the self esteem of everyone who has been lying to herself and telling herself he wears clothes of the finest silk.
Sometimes the metaphorical nose of the listener needs to be pounded with the metaphorical fist of mean words. Because it’s the only thing that can stop tyrannical actions or misguided but widely accepted ones.
Absent the right to say what hurts others, a society can careen head first into an abyss. Because it’s always easy to claim you’re offended at something you don’t want to hear, and that therefore the speaker shouldn’t be allowed to say it.
And that speech-stopping power is never evenly distributed. It’s always higher on the part of those who have connections in the press, friends in the bureaucracy, and who can amplify their teary cries and stop what they want stopped.
The right to stop speech you don’t like is ALWAYS an act of punching down, an act of speaking power to truth. (Or lies, but it’s amazing how often it is the truth that those self-selected, connected elites want stopped.)
Which is why the idea that my right to speak is stopped by your right to take offense is an open door to totalitarianism and censorship. If claiming that speech “offends” someone is enough to stop it, you’re giving those who already have the power to defame, destroy and character-assassinate more power and preventing those who would talk against them from speaking.
Yes, words can hurt you, despite the old ditty. But the only way to equalize your ability to hurt with words is to remove all penalty for “wrong words” and “wrong thought.”
If I can’t tell you when your nose is pushing into my fist, how will you know you’ve become overbearing.
If you take away a civil society’s way to correct wrongs, you leave only an uncivil way. That way lies war, real violence, and far more things getting hurt than feelings.
Take your nose out of my fist, pull your pants up. Learn to interact in civil society. Before you lose it.

389 responses to “Take Your Nose Off My Fist

  1. If I can’t tell you when your nose is pushing into my fist, how will you know you’ve become overbearing.

    If I can’t tell you when your nose is pushing into my fist, you’ve already become overbearing.

  2. Jeff Duntemann

    Bravo! I had not heard of that Moshe Feder quote before. Definitely adding it to my notefile on this issue. The first thing that came to my mind was this: “Anger is a telltale of fear.” Calm confidence does not show anger. And calm confidence ultimately wins.

    • Keep in mind that the next stage (next? It is already — at least in part — ongoing; see Honey Badger Banning and various events of prior year, esp. w/regard Larry Correia) will be for SJW-writers/editors/aholes to refuse to be guests at cons in which certain “dangerous” persons may similarly be guests, under pretext that “I wouldn’t feel safe” in a con which had [non-person of the moment] attending.

      They will force third parties to join them in their reindeer games in order to further marginalize those striving to make the field more inclusive. What’s the point of being “Elite” if you can’t exclude those not worshipping at your shrine?

      • Jeff Duntemann

        Yes. This: Fandom is in the process of forking itself (you can take it both ways I meant it) just as it did in the 70s and 80s, when despised media fandom split away, ultimately spawning DragonCon and ComicCon. I’m writing an essay on this right now. I think over the next ten years there will be whole conventions devoted to Sarah’s Human Wave concept, and if my analysis is correct, Human Wave fandom could dwarf what remains of traditional and increasingly literary fandom today.

        • I think so too. I have NOTHING against lit fic. I like some of it. BUT I don’t think it should rule SF/F or all things.

          • Jeff Duntemann

            Having ingested what seems like hundreds of thousands of words on the SP issue in recent months, my conclusion is this: LitFic doesn’t like to share the spotlight with anyone. ESR’s essay on literary status envy is pertinent here: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6085

            • The LitFic bunch have decided that Sad Puppies are Low Class Boors, and as such the fact that we DARED to show up at the Hugos is a world class disaster in their eyes.

              Accordingly, I will be voting the Hugos until they find a way to kick me out. I am not only going to claim my place at the table, I’m going to lean back in my chair, put my work boots on the table and light up a really cheap cigar.

              If my mere presence is a disaster, my presence is going to be a freaking permanent fixture.

            • I’ve mentioned it before, I believe, but Tom Wolfe’s take on how the American Novelists turned their backs on their strengths (the Novel of Reporting, like THE GRAPES OF WRATH) and tried to go all Literary like the European Lit. Elite, is an eye opener. It’s in HOOKING UP.

              • Oh, yes – he held up the principle of writing a great sprawling narrative, based in real places, real events, real people – something readable for chrissake – rather than some precious bit of miniature in lapidary prose.

            • ESR wrote:
              “The likes of Correia, on the other hand, churn out primitive prose, simplistic plotting, at best serviceable characterization – and vastly more ability to engage the average reader.”

              Sounds like damning with faint praise or maybe vice versa. What is wrong with the way Correia et al. write?

              He called Weber a competent hack.

              I know that this was only a small point in his essay but it bugs me. I don’t like literary, stylistically praiseworthy, SF. I prefer clear stylistically invisible SF.

              Does plainly written prose mean that the writer isn’t as good as the superior stylist?

              • I don’t think it’s damning with faint praise. His overall point in that piece is how literary SF is killing the genre, whereas the things that literary SF adores are weaknesses for Larry (not an assessment I necessarily agree with), yet because he engages readers he sells better.

                In my own stuff, I’ve seen this too. My novelette has sold better than everything else I’ve published, but I personally think the writing is weakest in that work. However, the story seems to grab people better than everything else for some reason. Go figure.

                • Technique or craft is something you can control. Story is mysterious.

                  There’s a famous essay by a Spanish-speaking writer where he talks about the sort of enchanted, fascinating, magical quality that stuff like flamenco has, and that some writing also has. In a lesser way, Dan Brown sucks like a black hole, but he does have that spellbinder potboiler thing that keeps the pages turning. That is real power, right there.

                  Contrariwise, I know somebody who’s a quite technically good musician in her style, but somehow she can’t sing a song and put it over as strongly as the average drunk guy in a karaoke bar with an average drunk guy repertoire. That is a lack of power.

                  At some point, you have to catch hold of that connection between you and the audience, or between your heart and mind and everybody else’s. You can do it by hook or by crook or by blind instinct, but you have to do it or nobody will give a dang about turning that page.

                  Technique serves story. It’s darned useful, and it should also help you be professional and a bunch of other things. It can be fun and a lagniappe once you’ve got really masterful with it. You can even use it to sneak in connections to the audience that wouldn’t be there. But nobody (except an overeducated idiot trained to ignore all instinct and enjoyment) wants to read technique instead of a story.

                  • Hey, I’d rather tell a good story in a rudimentary style than to be a master of prose but be unable to tell a story to save my life.

                    • The problem I have is that I don’t think that Weber is a hack writer. Also I don’t think that Larry’s writing style is primitive.

                    • It depends on your point of reference. If you compare Larry’s stuff to John C. Wright, for example, it certainly looks primitive by comparison.

                      I don’t see it as primitive either, but I won’t get bent out of shape because someone else did.

                      As for the term “hack”, I don’t remember seeing Weber described as such, so I can’t comment except to say I enjoy his work too. I’d gladly be a hack if it will yield me a similar following and similar sales.

                    • Er, put all of this down to being a little too sensitive.

                    • The term Kevin uses is “transparent prose.”

                    • Larry is “deceptively simple.” Until you start re-reading.

                    • Yup. Most writers nowadays have at least workman-like prose, but past that, it doesn’t really matter.

                    • If the writing is too beautiful, it can get in the way of the story. I thought that when reading “The Life of Pi”. And the movie was worse. It was absolutely gorgeous, with great special effects. You spent the movie going “wow”, and not paying attention to the story.

                    • Patricia McKillip. She’s the favorite of a very dear friend and I LOVE her words, but I can’t follow the story.

                    • Her Riddle Master series is among my favorites.

                    • There have been points in Patricia McKillip novels where I couldn’t figure out what was going on — though, to be just, usually when she was indicating that something strange and uncanny and extremely extraordinary was happening.

                    • Isn’t there some rule of thumb which says that non-technical work should aim towards being at 9th-grade reading level?

                      I know, I know, the other side thinks that writing to that level is polluting their noble prose, but if I’m writing a story I’d rather know that it is more accessible to a wider audience than to try to cater to an exclusive group whose members typically have their heads up their rectums.

                    • I still remember Clamps trying to argue against that rule of thumb a while back. It was amusing.

                    • You mean his standard of “beautifully crafted prose” as an end in itself?

                      Completely ignoring the concept that such prose must be in service of telling a story. As was his habit, Clamps was focusing on trees and ignoring forests.

                    • Well, he’s one of those who honestly seems to think that the prose is all that matters. He talked about how some books he read, the prose is all that sticks with him afterward, like that’s a feature, not a bug.

                      He’s welcome to it. I’d rather sell.

                    • I don’t care if he honestly thinks himself Queen Marie of Rumania. Focusing on the prose outside the context of story is akin to focusing on a symphony orchestra’s performance of individual chords without recognizing how those chords act in service of a larger performance. No matter how beautifully the orchestra plays the scales it is likely audiences will find it unsatisfactory.

                      At the debut of Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du printemps” it was not the chords played that initiated riots, it was the work they were serving.

                      Only a person who is tone deaf can think that the “beautiful prose” is the critical measure of a story, and only a person who is insane can strive so hard to impose their standards on the world.

                      I daresay there several dozen folk here who could crank out twenty pages of gloriously beautiful prose which amounted to absolutely nothing.

                      Sigh. Preaching to the choir, I know. Clamps is such a traffic wreck (on his good days when he isn’t playing demolition derby with others) that it boggles the imagination anybody could invest so much, so pointlessly.

                    • I don’t care if he honestly thinks himself Queen Marie of Rumania.

                      It’s Clamps. He just might.😉

                    • I don’t care if he honestly thinks himself Queen Marie of Rumania.

                      Clamps couldn’t think honestly if he tried.

                    • “Isn’t there some rule of thumb which says that non-technical work should aim towards being at 9th-grade reading level?”

                      Permit me to offer C.J. Cherryh’s famous advice: ” Never follow any rule off a cliff.”

                      Part of McKillip’s charm, like Lord Dunsany’s, is the style.

                    • That would be why I referred to it as a “rule of thumb”, which, as far as I understand, means it’s not written in stone.

                    • Yes! McKillip reminds me a lot of Dunsany. When she tells a good story in that lovely prose, it’s wonderful. But some of her books do wander aimlessly.

                  • Thought, admittedly, given my druthers, I’d rather be both.

                  • Sara the Red

                    Story trumps style about 90% of the time, in my opinion. If you tell a rip-roaring good story, it doesn’t matter if your style sucks. (There are a few whose style has been so bad that I couldn’t get into the story–but I would argue that, in those rare cases, the story itself wasn’t good enough to support the awful style.)

                    Case in point: Edgar Rice Burroughs. The man was, technically speaking, an absolutely atrocious writer in terms of style (purple prose, among other things) but damn if he didn’t tell hugely exciting stories–enough so that, even a 100 years later, people still love his stuff. (Though the middle years of the Tarzan run did get rather repetitive. Still, overall the series is awesome.) Even if nowadays I’m sure the SJWs lump him under “racist/evil.”

                • What is the point of story-selling? Brief admiration of critics or long-lasting effect upon the public mind?

                  Every year there are thousands of “well-written” tales that disappear with scarcely a ripple. On the gripping hand, however, we can look at numerous tales told prosaically which linger in the public mind for generations. Look back at critical best-of-year lists from thirty, fifty, eighty years ago and you will likely have to use Wiki to find out the story’s subject. Same with best-seller lists, too: hardly anyone today could tell you a single thing about authors who once ruled the book roosts (e.g., Edna Ferber.)

                  Not to stir pots, but the Harry Potter books would benefit greatly from professional writing. So would Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Last of the Mohicans. There are doubtless numerous other examples of compelling stories and characters told with adequate, at best, writing skillz.

                  • After you mentioned “The Last of the Mohicans”, I had to go read Mark Twain’s “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses”.
                    Twain talks about the “nineteen rules governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction” and how “The Deerslayer” violates eighteen of them including:
                    “1. That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the “Deerslayer” tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.

                    2. They require that the episodes in a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it. But as the “Deerslayer” tale is not a tale, and accomplishes nothing and arrives nowhere, the episodes have no rightful place in the work, since there was nothing for them to develop.

                    3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others. But this detail has often been overlooked in the “Deerslayer” tale.”

                    It’s pretty hilarious.

              • Primitivism is a stylistic choice, as is simplistic plotting (of which Correia is not guilty). Mickey Spillane, Jim Thompson and Ernie Hemingway proved the effectiveness of primitive prose. ESR is confusing an authorial election with an inability, an assumption whose validity has not been demonstrated. Because Correia is writing Horror/Thriller fiction it is a valid style option.

              • I haven’t gone back and reread the ESR thing, but I think I remember him defining “hack” in that essay in a very specific way which was not necessarily as pejorative as some folks here have taken it to be. As always when reading folks like ESR – and Vox, for that matter – “define your terms” is the first order of the day.

              • He’s not right about Larry. I think he misses the layering.

              • See also
                for a little more context.

              • Only Mandarins read Mandarin poetry. It is offered not as art but as a gesture of recognition and beg for inclusion.

          • I have a collection of movie reviews by John Simon from 1966 or so in which he says that a movie is as plotless as a New Yorker short story. The lit guys destroyed the market for short stories a long time ago, and destroyed the readability of fiction from the approved markets.

            • The thing is, Harold Ross decided that would, in general, be the New Yorker style,because he wanted the magazine to be light and airy. He didn’t want or expect that style to take over everything. He probably didn’t expect it to last beyond his lifetme, but Shawn turned to New Yorker into a mumified tribute to Ross,,which might have infuriated Ross had he known.

        • funny how they think we can’t arrange a con…

          • I’m still hoping to make HunCon happen at some point, but given all the craziness that has beset Our Beloved Hostess, my coconspirators colleagues, and the Huns in general in the last few months, it’s probably for the best we didn’t try for this spring as I had not-so-secretly intended. We’ll see what happens when we all find something resembling a new normal in our chaos here. I still have pie-in-the-sky plans for what might yet be. For now, I’m trying to find a way to make an appearance at LibertyCon this year, a.k.a. the Hun Family Reunion. Gotta line up some more contract work on the side in a hurry – plane fare ain’t cheap.

            • Come on Thurs. night. See the renewal of vows.

              • I really want to go, but getting there looks almost impossible. I’m looking at 8 to 12 plus hours of flying, each way, and close to a grand for airfare.
                I had no idea that Chattanooga was such a hard place to get to😛

            • Jeff Duntemann

              I’ve been away from the con scene for some years, and had never heard of LibertyCon until a few months ago. Is it a steampunk con? The art banner on their site sure looks that way. Can’t make it this year but I’ll do my damndest to get there in 2016.

              I think that there is easily one good con (or perhaps several) to be gathered from people on the SP side of the street. Not sure how you’d position it, precisely (and “PuppyCon” is already an anime con) but I doubt you’d have trouble getting a critical mass of attendees. DexterCon? Half of my circle would go like a shot.

      • We’re already seeing this down in Australia with Supernova where folks (at least it seemed to be mostly potential attendees, not other featured guests. Yet.) were trying to get Adam Baldwin uninvited because of his stance on GamerGate. Well, that and folks were holding him accountable for comments made by others on videos he linked to.

        • Which is more or less what’s going on on the echo of my post on FB right now. I’ve been informed the reason I don’t like the Dinosaur abomination is because I identify with the “white aggressors.” A trial balloon was floated that it is I who despises the working class and projected it on the story, then when that became untenable, the idea was floated that this is not a working class bar at all, because the story never says it. I’m rather tired of the craziness. No, you don’t get to psychoanalyze me according to your own internal rules, then tell me I’m racist/sexist/homophobic. However someone (nominally on our side politically — as much as Statist Josh is) — thinks this is a reason to reject Sad Puppies. I got nothing, and I have walls to paint.

          • I saw that, and there was just too much stupid being thrown at you for me to decipher.

            She kept saying that our primary issue was the class of the thugs, etc. All this time, I thought our primary issue was that it wasn’t science fiction or fantasy.

            At all.

            • No, my post saying that it was an attack on the working class, convinced her I’m racist/sexist/homophobic because I “identify with the aggressors” It’s the type of pseudo psychological bullcrap you can’t disprove. If she said I am in love with my dad and want to kill my mom, I couldn’t disprove it either. Doesn’t make it true, but only I know the truth and it can’t be disproven.

              • There’s a lot of that pseudo-psychoanalysis going on these days, I’ve noticed.

                Of course, it’s also apparently a SFF story simply because a SFF mag ran it. That’s kind of a silly reason to just accept it, but it’s awfully telling about this person.

                • Some idiocy can only be responded to with the tools granted us by the great Lewis Carroll. The only reason that FB attacker could conceive of such motivations is that she secretly harbors them herself and is projecting them unto Sarah. It is her own hatred of the working classes which makes her so resentful of her dependency upon them, a dependency which she misrepresents as them oppressing her.

                • By that logic, Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival was folk music.

                • I think a stronger argument can be made about Wakulla Springs. Because that was a good story, a very good story, in fact… and I, as a voter, put it on the bottom of my ranking because it wasn’t science fiction or fantasy.

                  My definition of F&SF is that the magical or technological element must be integral to the story (or that the setting itself counts as the element.) WS was set in recognizably 20th-century Florida and had precisely two non-realistic elements—a retired movie chimpanzee monologuing, which was presented in such a way that it could have been a hallucination (and would not have changed the story at all if it were), and a cameo appearance by an unnamed creature of the Springs, easily amputated. That was it. Was it award-worthy? Quite probably. But that award? Why? I could have read that story in Harper’s magazine and not felt as though it were in the least bit out of place.

                  It was a weird read for me, because in each section I was wondering when we were going to get the fantastical element. We got to the chimp… yes, yes… no? And then came the last page, and I thought, Finally… and that was it. Story over.

                  We’re not even talking sensawunda here. We’re talking genre fundamentals.

                  So… I liked it. It was very well-written. But it wasn’t the genre. Sorry, nominators. You lost me on that one.

            • “All this time, I thought our primary issue was that it wasn’t science fiction or fantasy. ”

              Can’t be. Doesn’t give grounds for you to be attacked.

              • And yet, I was still attacked over it.

                Go figure. *shrugs*

                • Well, of course, you REALLY did it for the reasons they gave, so they could attack.

                  • Oh, I was accused of trying to force MY definition of fantasy on her.

                    I wasn’t aware that expecting something fantastical to happen in an alleged fantasy story was forcing a definition on someone. Hell, I thought that was kind of generally accepted as a requirement for the genre. Nope. Apparently, it’s just me.

                    And then when she trotted out the sexism card (later claimed to be “ribbing”), I lost any respect I’d have had for her.

          • I didn’t like the dinosour story either, mostly because it bored me; I’m just not interested in that sort of thing. I get what it’s saying; it does that pretty well. But it’s not SF/F, it’s litfic (or maybe shrinkfic, given its topic). Pretty good litfic, but not SF/F. It could have made the exact same point using “potted plant” instead of “dinosaur”, tho it wouldn’t have flowed as well.

            (To be fair, I didn’t like Annie Bellet’s story either.)

            • You didn’t like Annie’s story?

              You may be the first person to say that where I could hear/read it.

              Of course, the difference is that I believe we can agree that Annie’s was at least SF.

          • I’ve been informed the reason I don’t like the Dinosaur abomination is because I identify with the “white aggressors.”

            You can’t fix stupid.

      • It’s way further than that: what they plan, as shown in Calgary, is to show up and demand that people they disapprove of be kicked out, and if the venue / con / etc. doesn’t oblige, they will be perfectly happy to file whatever false criminal charges the legal code will support. I’m guessing the next step when it comes to males will be false rape claims.

        I am SO tired of these people.

        • Con committees should be developing awareness of these ploys and coming up with responses — the people playing these reindeer games don’t care if the con attendance fades away.

          • That’d be a plus as far as they’re concerned – because the lower the attendance the more influence they’ll have.

            Until the Con dies – which it will.

        • I think you are right — because by the time the furor dies down and the charge is dropped, reputations will be ruined beyond recall. It might be wise for high-profile males to be discreetly chaperoned at such events.

          Oh, the irony…

          • keep at least a digital audio recorder on and active at all times.

            • AKA, an audio recording app for your smartphone.

            • What was that nifty little wearable camera someone mentioned recently? I’ve forgotten the name.

              Also, test in the same kind of noisy environment, and wearing the clothes you’ll be wearing, before committing yourself to any audio recording device.

              • Jeff Duntemann

                Perhaps the Atronis USB Pen Cam? Looks like a pen, contains a thumb drive with a camera in it, and enough memory to store 75 minutes of video. Stick it in your pocket with the clip out, and the camera lens faces forward. $60 from Avanquest. http://www.retailmail.com/e/a6bf69307a

        • Sadly, I think this is correct and serious precautions need to be made for it.

    • Fear leads to anger, anger to hate…. wait, that sounds familiar.

      Does that mean there’s a Sith in the SFWA?

    • Anger is a natural response to a perceived wrong. Fear can be part of it.

      Letting anger RULE you is wrong. Not putting it back in its place. Not double checking to make sure your anger is justified and not just hurt feelings.

      but in a just and righteous cause, anger is a driving force to be harnessed.

      In either case – use the anger, don’t let it use you.

    • This Moshe Feder seems to be a real piece of work. The main emotion I feel reading his behavior (also directly from his own keyboard) is what the Dutch call “vicarious shame”.

      • Ah yes. Fremdschämen. One of my two new favorite German words. Along with kummerspeck (weight gained from emotional overeating – literally translated as “grief bacon”).

        They give us fremdschämen. Let’s hope that we give them plenty of kummerspeck.

  3. This is something that has been addressed before, but the SJWs just don’t seem to get it. After Charlie Hedbo the truly despicable Tanya Cohen wrote a piece about the need for hate speech laws, and then doubled down on the stupid when it was pointed out how ignorant and infantile she was. Until it comes back around to bite them in the ass I don’t see them changing their tune. But, since they are always moving the goalposts and redefining words it’s probably going to take awhile before they do get bit.

    • Aren’t demands for “Hate-Speech” laws a form of “Hate-Speech”? Such laws are intended to otherize and delegitimize certain speakers and constitute a use of power against those weaker than those demanding such laws.

      • SJWs can’t be bothered to think about consequences. They have to get stuff passed to see what’s in it, and if there are problems they’ll deal with those later, assuming said problems weren’t their intentions in the first place.

        • that’s why even when it comes around to bite them in the arse, they still do not change. The answer to something causing a chew to the nether regions is of course more of what they put in place to cause said mastication.

        • Don’t be so sure. The “animal rights” subspecies of SJW is all about “unintended consequences” — those are their real goals and they know exactly what they’re doing, the fact that they sucker others into believing their “intended” goals notwithstanding.

  4. A few brief comments:
    Re: Self Defense requires an imminent threat to a person being injured or killed (not property in most states). Thus, ability, opportunity, and jeopardy of an individual to harm you must be fulfilled (see Massad Ayoob’s In the Gravest Extreme and his newer Truth about Self Protection). A person must be able to harm you, they must have a means to harm you (even bare fists), and there must be some sort jeopardy in that they will harm you such as pointing a handgun at you and threatening to kill you. Common law and statutory law have significantly changed from the 19th Century to extend protection of felons and thieves so that deadly force is not warranted to protect property.

    I am a First Amendment absolutist and I loathe petty commissars of thought. Like Justice Holmes, I believe the cure to “bad” speech is more speech and people should be judged by their observable actions and not their thoughts. I also believe that free speech is the great feedback mechanism necessary for any democracy. One must have the right to critique because how else will one discover newer and better ideas or the failure of the current ones. Censorship in general seeks to freeze society and impose the conformity of the present into the future. It is a futile, idiotic, and self-defeating task to try to kill ideas, especially if the ideas have utility in the real world. Reality always has a way of leaking through whatever utopian walls of silence are built.

    Bravo for supporting free speech.

    • Since you spoke of this devil: http://www.pjtv.com/video/NRA_2015_Annual_Meeting/Massad_Ayoob%3A_When_Its_Okay_to_Shoot_Someone/10868/

      May require PJMedia Membership. Suck it up and buy one — it is well worth the pittance asked.

      • If it’s two in the morning and someone’s broken into my house, I’m not going to stop and ask them if they’re planning to hurt me or my family, or just steal my stuff, before I take action. I won’t go chasing them down, but if they’re coming up the one flight of stairs, tant pis pour lui. For that matter, I don’t think I should have to ask at two in the afternoon. I do not understand this insistance on making B&E a safe “job”. I suspect those pushing for OSHA standards to benefit criminals have never been burgled themselves.

        B&E, especially if there is someone on the premises, should be an extremely risky proposition. If the law routinely allowed people to defend their property as well as their persons, it would be riskier, and fewer criminals would do it, since even criminals do a rudimentary cost/benefit analysis.

        • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

          B&E, while my wife or I were at home, wouldn’t be a risky proposition when it comes to my house. I would do my best to make it a career ending proposition.

          • Sadly, I live in Connecticut. It makes having the means to make such behaviour career ending, and having the recognized right so to do, shall we say, difficult?

            You’d think after the Petit case in Cheshire folks would be more tolerant of those who want to protect themselves. You’d be wrong. I’ve had a woman tell me that since the odds of it happening are really small, you don’t need a gun (or any other weapon) to protect yourself. I asked her if she had home insurance in case there was a fire even though the odds were fairly small she’d ever need it. She said yes. But when asked what the difference was, she just repeated that no one needs a weapon to protect themselves. /smh

            • Everybody talks about Sandy Hill. Nobody seems to remember the Petits for some strange reason. I guess that deep in their hearts our SJW’s think that they deserved to be assaulted by monsters.

            • Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

              Took me a minute and google to remember the Petit’s myself. And I try to keep up with these things from a self defense standpoint. By that I mean, to remind myself to be as aware as I can of what’s going on around me.

              • It’s been almost 8 years, and since the trials ended nearly 4 years ago, even around here, people are sticking their heads in the sand again. “It would never happen here.” “It could never happen to my family.” And of course having had juries award the death penalty, our legislature promptly decided to pass legislation banning capital punishment. It’s supposedly not retroactive, but functionally it is, and we’ll be paying to house these monsters until they die of old age.

                • I live in CT too, for the moment. I remember the legislature doing that after all those news stories about the horrors that family was put through. And the monsters did not use guns.

        • The basic idea behind the Castle Doctrine is that an intruder can be assumed to be intent on causing you harm. You don’t have to ask them anything.

          • It’s interesting that there are four states which don’t have Castle Doctrine, and only allow it as an affirmative defense or other limitations. Nebraska, South Dakota, New Mexico, Vermont, and of course, DC.

            So for now I guess they’re off my list of relocation possibilities.

          • This was one of the refreshing things about living in Texas. Someone trying to break into your house? Their bad intent is assumed. I don’t know how many times we have read of some dirtbag trying to bust down the door of some relatively innocent home-owner. The first time we read this story it was an 80-something granny, who warned said dirtbag as he was splintering her front door, that she had a gun (revolver, if memory serves) and she would shoot unless he stopped. He didn’t, and she dropped him on the welcome mat. Under these circumstances, usually the only official reaction from the law is muted thanks for having taken out the trash.
            Harsh? Yes, but the rates for breaking and entering in Texas when residents are present are relatively low. Unlike places like Great Britain, which usually and smugly pride themselves on being oh-so-civilized.

            • I’m afraid I can’t agree with you.

              Someone who is breaking down a door and keeps doing it, after it’s clear that there are people inside, is clearly not in any situation where it can be justified as something besides intent to do debilitating harm. About the only licit reasons I can think of for busting down a door vanish when there’s someone on the other side who could open it, so there are only illicit ones left– and humans are a lot less materially resilient than most exterior doors.

              So it’s not brutal, it’s preventing brutality on innocents; kind of like how vivisection is bad, but c-sections aren’t.

            • I live seven or eight miles out of town in Texas. Anyone who comes all this way to commit a crime has already demonstrated a pretty extreme commitment to unlawful action and may be regarded accordingly.

          • I make the argument that a crook who just wants your stuff comes during the day when your aren’t home.

            If they are in your home at night when you are there, they ain’t there for stuff.

            • Even if they’re coming for your stuff, they’ve demonstrated AT BEST an indifference to what happens to you in the process. Quite plausibly they want you at home to threaten or hurt you until convinced you’ve revealed whatever hiding places you have; this is standard procedure in England.

              • In Portugal too, according to mom. Elderly people are often left bound and gagged and often die as a result.

              • The USA has half the burglary rate of the UK, and on top of that, while half of all burglaries in the UK are “hot” — people are home — only one seventh of those in the USA are.

                Amazing what guns will do.

    • Eamon J. Cole

      While the use of deadly force to defend property is not available in all states, neither is it prohibited in all states.

      There’s some interesting philosophical questions surrounding the issue, f’instance the purchase of any sort of property reflects a portion of someone’s life exchanged for purchasing power. Stealing such property is akin to stealing that time from someone’s life. Questions of insurance and such sow complications. It is a topic easily fit to derail the discussion with no hope of resolution in sight.

      Nevertheless: threat of force, force, threat of deadly force and deadly force are still permissible in defense of property in some states.

      *IANAL, this ain’t advice, I’m some random dude on the internet, if you fail to understand the applicable statutes in your locale expect the legal authorities to take exception. I gurantee they know more about it than I do.

      • ” Stealing such property is akin to stealing that time from someone’s life. ”

        Said that myself, but you left out the last step, which is that if I can’t stop someone from stealing my time, then slavery is legal.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          As a philosophical point, I might have no argument.

          As a practical matter — there’s a great deal more nuance involved.

        • Of course slavery is legal as long as taxation is legal. It’s supposed to be “voluntary”, but not so much,

          • Oh, no, not this go around again.

            Paying taxes is not the same as being held prisoner and forced to work, with your very life being at someone else’s whim. At least with the stealing thing, the time and effort has already been expended so it’s closer, and it’s not like there’s an expectation of “paying” robbery, unlike taxes.

            If you can leave, taxes =/= slavery.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Sigh, Foxfier, I thought if I ignored the nonsense it would go away. [Sad Smile]

              • You know that hasn’t worked the last 50 or so times.

              • Well, you know, either way you’re shoving around little old ladies.

                And slapping a new born baby on the bottom is a form of child abuse.

                An ability to make fundamental distinctions is a mark of an educated mind. A proclivity for making irrelevant distinctions is a mark of an over-educated mind.

                • An ability to make fundamental distinctions is a mark of an educated mind. A proclivity for making irrelevant distinctions is a mark of an over-educated mind.

                  And telling them apart is the making of a zillion 500+ comment articles.

          • Taxation is the consideration exchanged as part of the contract between myself as a citizen and the government. If I feel that I am getting inadequate value, I can renegotiate by election, jury, or revolt, or I can leave. The robber isn’t giving me that option, and I didn’t accept or want anything from it anyway.

      • Insurance isn’t that much of a complication. The premiums are paid with money you earn sacrificing a portion of your one and only life doing what your boss wants instead of what you want. Increases in premiums mean you spend less time doing what you want.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          Insurance costs are spread over the pool, how much of the total cost of item x covered by insurance you have paid through premiums is a rolling target.

          Additionally, if doing a straight financial calculation, the legal costs incurred must be stuck in the equation.

          The use of force or deadly force to protect property, with multitudinous jurisdictional variations, can easily incur legal costs in excess of the value of the protected property.

          Conversely, there are social considerations in allowing thieves free reign. There are individual concerns in defense of individual rights. There are moral complications on both sides.

          It’s not a issue clearly illuminated with stark contrast between black and white.

          • One generally overlooked consequence of refusing to defend property values is that it affects the property in which people will invest.

            This was observable in what were termed “ghetto” neighborhoods where people invested very little money, time or effort in their (rented) houses but took lavish care of their cars.

            • I’ve often wondered if you can determine the economic health of an area by what proportion of the average car’s value is due to aftermarket parts.

    • It’s been a long time since British companies manufactured traps intended to cripple poachers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantrap_(snare)
      And I don’t think mantrapping has ever been legal in the U.S. Too much danger of hurting firemen, cops, landlords, etc.

      • The U.S. is one of the few countries left allowing self-defense in the case of threat to life and limb. Someone was imprisoned for many years in Britain for shooting an armed burglar with a shotgun.

        • William O. B'Livion

          He was imprisoned for *lying in wait* with the shotgun.

          Even in Britain self-defense is allowed, you’re just not allowed to use weapons.

          • Doesn’t “ethnicity” of the assailant factor into it somehow? I am pretty sure that in certain districts “being Jewish” is viewed as an argument invalidating self-defense.

            I am fairly sure that in certain areas in the USA “being white in a black neighborhood” voids any self-defense claim, just as its inverse used to hold true in states tending to elect Democrats prior to 1970.

            • No, being white in a black neighborhood doesn’t invalidate a self defense claim, but most cities where things are bad enough that it might still have draconian anti-gun laws. I shall be interested to watch what happens in DC. I understand that the Judge involved is developing something of a case of the arse with the city government over their foot-dragging.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Not generally.

              As stated somewhere above, in the US there is a 3 part test for the use of self-defense (proximity, means, threat).

              The thing is that you can’t be the one to have caused the proximity or triggered the threat.

              If I break in to YOUR house in the middle of the night and you come out with a baseball bat I can’t shoot you and claim SD. If go walking through Ferguson yelling about N*r this and N*r that and then shoot a bunch of folk who “threatened” me, I’m going to jail.

              Self Defense isn’t a get out of jail free card.

              Now, in some areas the courts/cops/DA might not follow the law, or might refuse to prosecute based on things other than the law.

          • So the 80-year-old with the bum ticker and the arther-itis is legally allowed to box with the 20-something thug who spends his jail time on the weight bench?

      • Not certain as to the legal issues, but I have seen (in museums), shotgun caliber booby traps meant to be fired by a trip wire, with explanations that they were marketed to deter burglars.

      • Yes, firemen have a difficult enough job without having to avoid man traps too.

  5. Damn it Sarah! Every time you post something it exposes the inadequacy of my own attempts at writing. Why are you so cruel? Don’t you realize that you are engaging in ableism? How dare you write to the best of your ability when that ability is greater than mine? Check your privilege!

      • Sunday dinner slows even the best of minds. Especially when Sunday dinner is preempted by a charity chili cook-off. (Elk or three-meat. Elk or three-meat? Elk or three-meat? Dang, I hate it when people up their game and I have to have thirds in order to decide who I’ll vote for.😉 )

      • One of the things I muss most about living in America is the food. Especially the food festivals. Chilliiiiiii

  6. There is an amazing indifference some of the haters demonstrate to their own words. It’s rather sick, for them to say things to persuade others, when it is clear that they do not believe the words themselves. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of misunderstanding the concept that the rules of logic extend beyond the point that they stop saying, or writing things. Here’s the clear, simple, straightforward truth: If we were the people they describe us as being, the argument would be over, because they would be dead, because we would have killed them. This is perhaps more apparent among the American political circles seeking overturning of the Second Amendment. but it is no less the case with the whiners-about-Hugo. If we really were the racist misogynists they claim we are, do they fantasize that somehow we would ignore THEM? No; they would be gunned down in their offices and hallways. But, we are NOT who they proclaim us to be, and I think they know it. Why? Because those people do exist, and yet nothing is heard from the precious snowflake division about that.

  7. wg – Some states still cling to the old “require to retreat law”; the more enlightened ones have the castle doctrine, with the best having extended that idea to one’s vehicle(s).
    Sarah – In my younger days I used to say, “Joke ’em if they can’t take a f**k.” Now that I’m old and crotchety, I don’t bother inverting that remark…

    • Montana’s Castle Doctrine was recently clarified to include stand-your-ground — you have no duty to retreat if a person or property are threatened.

      • Well managed governments do not tend to make “water is wet” laws. The absence of a specific “stand-your-ground” doctrine may simply be because nobody imagines anybody would be expected to retreat.

        • Georgia didn’t have a Castle Doctrine or a Stand Your Ground law for much of my life. However, court precedent kicked in with what was established.

          The both laws here were passed in an effort to codify both before a liberal judge somewhere in the state (read Atlanta, probably) decided to overturn previous precedents.

        • Common sense is quite uncommon, and when everything not specified is forbidden, you need water is wet laws.

        • Texas only added Castle and Stand laws recently (since I moved here in ’04) and when they did it was to stop civil suits against those who had to resort to self defense, and short stop the few prosecutors in the leftoid enclaves that were starting to bring charges against folks for doing so.
          Otherwise it was mostly “Good Shootin’ Tex”.

        • Montana tends to make such laws only when 1) sued by morons who need everything laid out in hard numbers (this is actually why we have a state speed limit; the state’s preference was “reasonable and prudent”), and 2) when laws limiting a freedom are becoming the norm, so there’s a broad feeling that we need preemptive legislation to prevent morons from even introducing rights-restrictive legislation. People tend to forget that laws are a list of things you cannot do. Well, in this case you cannot restrict our rights.🙂

          It’s probably significant that our legislature has 90 days every two years to do all it must do (there’s no time for frivolity), and is composed mostly of farmers, ranchers, and small businessmen…. which is to say, people who actually have to deal with the consequences of any laws they pass.

  8. well, it was a long way around to get there, but YES. Minor note, the guy who set up a man trap would get charged with murder even here. In many States, (I would say most, but I’m going to have to research that) the Castle doctrine or variations of it, allow you to defend yourself and your property, how ever you have to be there to do it. Case back in the 70s is the precedent, homeboy set up a double barrel sawed off man trap. Caught the burglar, was in the house at the time but not at the trigger of the 12ga. went to prison for life.
    What pisses me off, and I may do a page on this, these idiots don’t seem to understand that creating precedent for limits on free speech, free assembly etc. can turn around and bite them, and it’s a black mamba. Politics is cyclic in this country, and the Right wing WILL end up on top again. Never create a law or a precedent that you would be afraid to hand to your worst enemy as a tool to hit you with. That’s what they’re doing, and they’re going to be terribly surprised and indignant when those tools are picked up (see also the “nuclear option” in the senate…)

    • … these idiots don’t seem to understand that creating precedent for limits on free speech, free assembly etc. can turn around and bite them, and it’s a black mamba.

      it is not by accident such idiots were deemed useful. But it is not The Right which will turn such arguments against these useful idiots, it is their own Left, which they view themselves as being the vanguard of (and which views them as cannon fodder and meat shields.)

      • oh it’s the right too. piss off a man long enough, then allow him to get power over you, you will regret it… Briefly

    • Yes. Yes. And Yes.

      Man traps are illegal. You can only use deadly force if you feel you are being threatened in some way (See Byron Smith), you can’t ambush them. Most SJWs can’t think far enough ahead to string a couple of coherent sentences together, there’s little chance they’ll think far enough ahead to envision someone else with a different ideology being in power and doing to them what they do to everyone else.

    • Yes, but in Portugal you can’t have/use a gun.

    • Ah, but I think they don’t truly believe, deep down in what passes for their hearts, that they ever will lose control of the wheel again. I’ve used exactly that arguement with family members, that if you don’t want the other side to be able to do something, you don’t want your’s because they won’t be in control forever. They looked at me like little brainless sheep whose puppies I kicked.

      • I need more caffeine. I really can write coherent sentences (mostly).
        “…you don’t want yours to either because…”

      • To be quite fair, there are a bunch of folks on both sides who can’t believe that the other side’s going to win sooner or later. If I had a buck for every minute I spent arguing with Republican family members that the Patriot Act was a really bad idea because sooner or later the Democrats would be in power again . . . well, I expect the IRS would be properly grateful, at least. (Note that said relatives were convinced that all Republicans would always follow the spirit and letter of the Constitution and therefore there was no need for worry.)

        • The first rule of a good law/bill is “Would I be totally happy for the opposition to have this power and could I trust them not to overly abuse it?”
          If ever the answer is “NO”, then it is a bad law. If the answer is “Maybe” it is probably a bad law, and if the answer is “yes”, go back and look closely again, because it just might still be a bad idea.

  9. Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)


  10. RealityObserver

    There are four things that should be absolutely banned from speech – libel, slander, fraud, and *plausible* threats of harm. Each of these has reasonable legal definitions. (In most ways – what is actionable libel or slander against a “private person” may not be when a “public person” is the target. Which is what concerns me about any lawsuit our side might file in these cases – they will try very hard to get a judge that defines Larry or Brad as “public persons.”)

    • They are public persons, unfortunately. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t win. Outright lies meant to defame is still libel.

      • Not even requiring they know it to be false–a wanton disregard for the truth suffices, IIRC. (IANAL.)

        • For something to qualify as libel (at least in New York state), the written/published material has to be proven to be:
          1. Materially false (in substance, not just in details)
          2. Substantially damaging
          3. If and only if the plaintiff is a “public figure”, that the paper/magazine/… either knowingly published a falsehood or published “with reckless disregard for the truth”.

          Typically, 3. is the hardest to prove.

          • However, considering even rudimentary research would have shown that the Sad Puppies put forth a number of women and non-whites (I hate the term “people of color”), a “reckless disregard for the truth” wouldn’t be as difficult as some might think.

            • In the case of Larry and Brad, it’s quite possible that #2 would be the most difficult to prove, especially since it may very well be untrue, with the nature of the denouncements actually driving people TO their work.

              • True, but if there’s even a slight dip in sales, they’ve got a point.

              • Harm doesn’t have to be economic. Larry’s wife can take the stand and testify about how people believing her own husband was a danger to her has Scarred Her For Life.

                • True enough, but the giggling (about the whole notion of Larry being a danger to her) might prove problematic to her credibility. 🙂

                  • I feel I should clarify: Yes, your point is valid. However, I made the joke because of remembering comments back when it first happened to the effect that he was more scared of her than vice versa.

                  • Tsk. As if a danger has to be credible to require a trigger warning or pose harm. Why, impose an absurd requirement of that sort and entire college campii will become sane and Women’s Studies departments will have nothing to justify their continuance.

                    As Dennis Prager has observed:

                    Building hysterias based on falsehoods is a primary modus operandi on the left. One can even say that without hysteria there is no left. First a lie or exaggeration is manufactured. Then it is repeated over and over by the mainstream media and myriad left-wing groups; academics hold conferences and write thoughtful-sounding op-ed pieces about the fake issue; meanwhile activists on its behalf demonstrate, taking over public buildings and highways, sometimes violently.

                    Such risks are the oxygen fueling their fires.

  11. This because the perpetually offended can’t help but feel they’ve been punched when someone disagrees with them.

    It’s rather complicated by the “how dare you hit me back” aspect of their reactions– their actions are justified, us responding to them isn’t. -.-

    • Well, it’s at least consistent for once.

      After all, it’s not like they seem to believe in the idea of self defense.

    • this is creeping into everything. The espn blonde who berated the clerk at the towing company is a case. We don’t hear what the girl behind the counter is saying to her, and from outside reports the whole company is a group of loathsome cretins and it is highly likely she started out being just as mean and possibly more so. People are busy berating the talking head but all evidence suggests the place gets that on a daily basis, as they are quasi legally stealing cars then being as unpleasant as possible to their victims. It’s a bit like the Wayans brothers’ skit about enraging Mother Teresa. then editing out the Wayans.

    • The only response they want from our kind is “Please, may I have another?”

    • “He was gonna hit me, so I hit him back first.” — Billy Martin

  12. It’s amusing to note that none of the thought leaders on the Sad Puppies side is calling for shunning of anyone. We have no issues with our opponents — the same ones who routinely seek to destroy our livelihoods if given half a chance — being at cons with us. Yet, they’ll claim they don’t feel “safe” near us because we commit the unforgivable sin of disagreeing with them.

    Contrary to what some think, we don’t want to stamp out the kinds of books they like to read and write. We simply argue that those books are why the genre is dying and want to see more of the fun stuff we all grew up loving. Do we think their stuff will survive? Not particularly, but we figure its best to leave it up to the market rather than seeking to kill it. Publish all of that you want. We really don’t care. Just don’t take away from the stuff we like.

    We don’t cower in fear, hiding from ideas we don’t like. We don’t need to shun people who think wrongly. We simply go about our way and read stuff we want to read and pay no attention to the stuff we dislike.

    There’s a lesson in that.

  13. Curt Thomson

    “I’m preparing to swing my fist, make sure you’re nose isn’t in the way.”
    “There’s a nose already there. And we’ve got a lot more noses where that one came from.”

    Fine. You might want to check to see if you’re getting punked. I’ve heard you don’t like getting laughed at.

  14. Concerning the Portuguese businessman who was convicted of murder for unintentionally killing a burglar: There was a similar case in Florida, about thirty-five years back. A bar owner who was tired of being burgled through his skylight rigged a trap that would electrocute anyone who dropped in to his bar that way. He, too, was arrested and tried for murder, though in his case the intention to kill whoever invaded his bar was unconcealed.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Yeah, read Branca on Legal Insurrection. There is a very decent chance of a homeowner being convicted for that here, as opposed to buying a gun, and using it only in accordance with best practice.

      • here where? I’m in Texas.(Collin County).

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          United States. If you know your jury pool will be drawn from folks likely to acquit for some sort of lethal device, they are very likely to acquit for a shooting.

          The more unusual the legal situation, the more uncertain the outcome. The potential harmful consequences of killing a home invader are such that it is worthwhile to pay close attention to the tried and proven. Best practice is often a firearm, and being very familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction.

          From a more technical perspective, firearms are a consumer item. Man traps, as far as I know, have so small a market that I think we would likely be talking about a homebrew one off. Which means doing your own design, fabrication, testing and maintenance. Hence probably having safety, reliability, and other issues as compared to a commercial or military firearm.

  15. And now I know how to answer that particularly smug asserton;

    “your right to swing your fist stops and the end of my nose.”

    “Kinda depends on what you’ve been doing with your nose, now, don’t it?”

  16. There is of course that infamous quote: “Free speech does not include the right to yell fire in a crowded theater.”
    To that I say, bovine excrement.
    I have a perfect right to yell fire in a theater or anywhere else. What I don’t have is the right to avoid responsibility for the consequences of my actions. If I yelled fire and there was one, I’m a hero. If there is no fire I am either told to shut up and sit down or if people foolishly panic and are injured I can be held liable for whatever harm I caused. Of course if we treated the First Amendment the way many jurisdictions treat the Second, everyone upon entering a theater would be fitted with a locked ball gag, perhaps not such a bad idea given current theater audience behavior, but it would certainly mess with popcorn consumption.
    Always amazes me the hypocrisy of the SJW. They are free to hurl any foul invective of their choosing because in their tiny little brains their cause is just. And the ends always justify the means. At the same time, often in the same breath, they clamor for silence on our parts for the terrible crime of answering their lies and innuendo with facts and truth. Seems that Alinsky taught them well.

    • It’s surprising how few people actually understand the whole “fire in a crowded theater” thing. It’s not the “speech” that’s the problem. It’s acting irresponsibly and causing endangerment to others that creates the problem.

      Like owning a gun is a right. Firing into a crowd that’s not threatening anyone or anything, however, isn’t.

    • It’s just a dangerous metaphor. The list of worst mass panics ever includes people shouting fire, and it’s never possible to establish who shouted.

    • RealityObserver

      Yup. You can say, or publish anything you want to. With the understanding that there may be legal consequences to saying or publishing certain things.

      This is unlike all other legal things – you can be arrested for *intent* to commit a felony, for instance.

  17. you mean I can’t scare the horses?
    but I like scaring the horses …
    stop looking at me that way

  18. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Just a thought about “rights ending at the tip of your nose”. The way I’ve always took it was “my rights end at the point of causing you harm”. The problems with the SJW types is that first they have a completely unrealistic idea about “what is harm” and second they don’t “apply” their definition of “what harm is” to their actions toward others. [Frown]

    As for the “setting traps to protect property”, there have been cases were the Judge was rightly concerned about “innocents” being caught in the traps. If I’m “lurking” inside my property in order to catch a burglar, I can control when the “deadly force” is used thus a possible innocent won’t be harmed. On the other hand, if I set up a trap inside my property, I could not control the use of “deadly force” in case of an innocent. Of course, even if the trespass isn’t so innocent, if I’m there, I’m in control so I can decide that “scaring their pants off” in the appropriate response rather than “killing the asshole”.

    Oh, I’m not arguing about the assholes who make it illegal for the person inside the home to use force to defend themselves.

  19. Captain Comic

    It’s been said by others, and I agree, that the celebration on the left at the election our current Jug Eared Freak as president wasn’t because of the “historical moment”, but rather the fact that they had an automatic “RACIST!” response to any criticism of his policies.

    And Chris Matthews has spent the last six and a half years proving it.

    • Perhaps true, but is has resulted in “racist” being somewhere between a null word and a compliment.

  20. Those who are in power and engaged in selfish, antisocial behavior hate being criticized for it and may go to any lengths to silence the offenders. This is an old story. It was well known to the founders of the US, and it is why they took such great care to avoid recreating a monarchy.

    The increasing tendency to criminalize hate speech is a preliminary to religious persecution using the force of law. When mere expression of religious belief regarding sexual activity is considered “hate speech”, we will see people jailed and not merely reviled for quoting the Bible. When (and I do mean when, not if) the twitterverse mobs come together in the flesh and their hatred crosses over into beatings and burnings, as rampant hatred has been documented to do, it is the most principled and least popular who will be the targets. If the law backs them, it will destroy the law, and then no one’s life, liberty, or property will be safe. (Anarchy turns into rule by the guy, yes guy, with the biggest club. (after the ammunition runs out). Xena and company are outweighed and, after the weakest are driven off, outnumbered. And, unless there are children to be protected, outferoced. (Yes that’s a word, I just made it up.))

    Or, taking a more political view, when opinions about possible criminal activity on the part of public officials are deemed “racist” or possibly in the future, “sexist”, and thus hate speech, and we could start seeing people jailed for merely quoting the Constitution. Similarly with the targeting. Attempts to enforce this kind of law will break it, and again, chaos.

    It’s looks like a race between anarchy and tyranny, But let’s not count truth and freedom and brotherly kindness out just yet.

    • Society is a funny thing, very unpredictable and subject to all sorts of unintended consequences. Kind of like herding cats, but think tigers instead, and you’re trying to herd them around R’lyeh, a place where the geometry is all wrong.
      Thus, policies which should be sending the herd in a nice, passive direction have often resulted in one getting eaten by tigers (ask Tsar Nick the duce about that one).

      • Tsar Nicholas and Emperor Charles had similar problems – basically decent human beings who tried to do what they thought was best for their people, but without the personalities, resources, and strength to do it. Althought of the two, I think Nicholas was the worse national leader, but OTOH Charles didn’t have as much time to either do good or to screw up. (and the Entente had already sandbagged him, to an extent, but that’s neither here nor there.)

  21. Or let’s go with the most basic of all rights, the right of free speech

    I realize that you are a writer, a wordsmith, and as such, bring a certain predisposition to one’s statements, and thus your error above is understandable. It is, nonetheless, an error.

    The most basic of all rights is the right of self defense, by which one secures the right to life itself.

    • Yes, you are right. I should say with the easiest to agree on in abstract.

    • Feather Blade

      the right to life itself.
      Plenty on the left do not believe that this right exists. It’s kind of part and parcel of being, fundamentally, a totalitarian death cult. I.e. you only have the right to live if you do it on their terms.

      • Apropos I remember being in a dinner at a posh restaurant (the bill for 3 came to over $500, all of it expense-account of the “eeeevil kkkorporation”) that a card-carrying member of the New Class invited me to. In between lots of prating about how everybody should live more simply (again, irony impairment à l’outrance) he spouted his theory about how to make China’s 1-child policy mandatory for the whole planet in order to bring back the population to Gaia’s alleged carrying capacity of about 500 million. He was clearly expecting admiration from a like-minded soul and disappointed that I kept veering to other subjects — all the while struggling to keep the horror off my face.
        It is such a pity we cannot raise George Orwell from the grave.

        • Such folk never show the leadership such a project would require, do they?

          I think your companion slipped a decimal point, I am sure the planetary carrying capacity can’t be more than 50 million. Sadly, such people rarely show their work (well, that and the fact I would rather extract my eyeballs with a spoon than read such twaddle.)

          Anytime such a topic comes up, ask about how they plan to keep the plumbing running. I recall a few years ago reading about the problems many European cities were having when sewage systems designed to handle much larger flows were becoming seriously clogged because not enough was running through them. Such savants as your dinner companion tend to be very weak on how to handle the really serious sh……

          • My quick response would be “Are you an only child? Were you born first, then?”

          • Yup. Berlin had to ask people to flush and run their sinks longer to get enough water to move the sludge, buildings with super-insulated panels slapped on the outside were falling apart inside from the trapped moisture and heat. Oh, and after the insulation covered (or the contractors destroyed) the historic building details, tourists left. And the municipal councils discovered the hard way that people who can no longer afford gas or electricity (because of the Green costs) will cut down “their” trees in city parks in winter rather than freeze. Other than that, the super-efficiency moves have worked perfectly.

        • “It is such a pity we cannot raise George Orwell from the grave.”

          Now there’s an arresting image: A zombie Orwell, eating the brains of Progressive fools.

  22. As far as defense of property goes, during disasters and subsequent recovery, it used to be standing orders to the troops- “Shoot all looters”. Didn’t matter the value of the property.

    As far as I’m concerned- still should be. But then, I think all felonies should come with a random chance of a death sentence. Spin the wheel, and if it comes up up black- to the noose for you. Set the ratio of white to black spots according to the severity of the crime. Maybe 100-1 for simple robbery or fraud. And 5-1 for assault with a deadly weapon. 2-1, or maybe 1-10 for anyone convicted of sending spam or distributing computer viruses….

    I’m pretty sure knowing that ANY criminal act could lead to a death sentence would make a lot of petty criminals think twice.

    • Sorry, not going there, not with the criminalization of life to the point where we are ALL felons. It just means that they have to look hard enough to discover what rule we have broken.


    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      There was a story about a Chinese rebellion got started when the troops realized that the punishment for “being late” and “being in rebellion” was the same. IE Death and they were late. [Evil Grin]

      I’m all for stronger punishment for major crimes but I want the burglar to know that he’d be in more trouble for killing the home-owner than he’d be for Breaking & Entering the home.

    • I’d go for “let the punishment fit the crime”. e.g. Murder gets the death penalty, assault gets whipping, fraud and theft get restitution, that kind of thing, instead of sentencing criminal offenders to advanced schooling in anti-social behavior. But that would take a major rewrite of the entire criminal code, as well as being too much barbaric for the effete who require trigger warnings for offensive speech. It would also require entirely rethinking the “better that nine guilty go free than one innocent be punished” ideal.

      • Feather Blade

        It would also require entirely rethinking the “better that nine guilty go free than one innocent be punished” ideal.

        Not really. Currently the screaming classes are working under the idea that it’s better to punish nine innocents than to let one of the guilty go free. And that the clearly guilty shouldn’t be punished because society made them do it.

        (…which… brings up an interesting thought: if society makes one do evil things then society is evil and must be punished. Allowing one who does evil to both remain unpunished and go free to commit evil again, is the just punishment on society for making the evildoer do evil in the first place.

        It’s the insane kind of logic that begets generational blood-feuds, but is it a kind of logic.)

        That aside, the “Better to let ten guilty men go free than to punish one innocent man” is applicable only to situations in which the perpetrator is one of several suspects, or when you’ve corraled a mob and are trying to figure out who is a leader, who is a follower and who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        It’s not applicable to situations in which the perpetrator is known.

      • As is so often the case,

        Gilbert & Sullivan have already superbly expressed the sentiment.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_(lawgiver) , hence “draconian”. I’ll pass.

      Just as effective (in my opinion, since for some people public shame is worse than death) and nonlethal, bring back the pillory (or its continental Euro variant, the “pole of shame”). Having people throw rotten fruit and offal at you won’t kill you, but you’ll remember the lesson.

  23. Some of this sounds exactly like grade school, right down to “He’s looking at me funny!” “Well, she’s acting funny.” “But you don’t have to look at me like that. Teacher, make him stop looking at me!” “I can’t see the board if I don’t look that direction.” “Well, make him move. See, he’s looking at me again!”

    The sound and fury reminds me of the time several years ago when a parent allowed a 6-8 year old girl to have a screaming tantrum in the apartment commons outside my apartment. I mean, the kid was going full voice for over half an hour. I could hear her through the closed door and windows at the other end of the apartment. And I should note that the adult was grilling on the patio a few yards from the kid the whole time. I almost filled a large bowl with warm water, went outside, and dumped it on her just to break the hysterics and make her stop. I didn’t, but boy-o-boy I thought about it.

    • I have a five-year-old daughter. Reasons for meltdowns in the past few months have included such gems as “I don’t know how to put my socks on!” (she does) and “[older brother] did [something trivial]!”

      It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the parents let her have her tantrum because there wasn’t a good other solution, especially while cooking. I probably would have welcomed the water dousing…

    • Ice cold water would have been much better. Its a good thing you didn’t douse her. You could have been charged with child abuse, even though that would have been ridiculous.

      My Mom told me when I was around 2 or 3 I would hold my breath until my face turned purple if I didn’t get my way. That lasted until our family doctor told her to throw a glass of cold water on my face.

  24. The first part of your post raises this question:

    How many bong hits does it take to get to the center of your completely shallow belief system?

    I’m sure for a quite a few of the aggrieved-nose brigade members “pseudo-profound pronouncements of the seventies” were formulated during an extreme number of bong smoking sessions.

    Which would make this video clip video clip somewhat relevant. Only in the sense it involves marijuana.

  25. Christopher M. Chupik

    I was just at the Calgary Comic Expo. I was hoping to meet with the Honey Badger Brigade to thank them and talk about Sad Puppies. But when I got there, I found they had been expelled. Now I find out why.

    Does make a mockery of the omnipresent “Expo Equality” signage, doesn’t it?

    • It most certainly does. I kind of hope that the Calgary Comic Expo will feel some heat about this,
      Maybe on the degree of Honey Badger feeling the same kind of support that Memories Pizza did, in the most recent occurrence of a social media lynch mob?
      (Note to self – find the HB website, find something I want to purchase…)

    • Do you live in Calgary? It’s nice.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Yes, I am a Calgarian. What’s really funny are all the signs touting their zero tolerance policies.

        Not quite what they intended, I know.

        • In my experience (and, I am sure, of many others), the best telltale sign of an ideological zealot (or an addict, but I repeat myself) is an utter lack of sense of humor or irony.

          • *Shrug* Hard to use, though– too many folks confuse not finding a thing funny with not having a sense of humor. The Irony part helps, but even then there’s the issue that too many folks think that “isn’t it ironic” song is accurate. (I can’t remember, was there a single thing that could be argued to be ironic in the entire song, besides the title?)

            • In fairness to that song, it kind of had to be “isn’t it ironic” because “list of things that just generally suck” doesn’t roll of the tongue quite as well.

              As for ironic things in that song, the closest is probably the dude that was scared to fly, but did it anyways and the plane crashed.

            • “Hard to use, though– too many folks confuse not finding a thing funny with not having a sense of humor.”

              True, and conversely, a lot of folks converse talking as if something has already been deemed ridiculous with the wit needed to make actual jokes about it. Vide Screwtape:

              “Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy: it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practise it.”

              I personally have never made any bones about not having much of a sense of humour as most folk seem to define it, having been the prolonged target of what all too many of my childhood peers thought “funny”. Ironically, my favourite quote on the topic was from the WoT character Galad: “I do have a sense of humour, Gawyn…. You only think I do not because I do not care to mock people.”

              • ❤ that quote.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I have a “thing” about mockery & ridicule being “considered” humor. [Frown]

                Note, I’ve mocked & ridiculed others but have no problem if they said “but that’s not funny” because I don’t intend to be “funny”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

            • CONFUSE, not converse. Argh. My kingdom for an edit function.

            • Now, Foxfier, there’s things even The Joker doesn’t find funny… and no one ever accused him of not having a sense of humor.😉

    • If you can come up with a credible argument that your attendance was in large part motivated by that hope of meeting the Honey Badgers you could try asking refund of your admission fee.

      Likely it would just get you banned from future events as a trouble-maker*.

      *Trouble-maker: a term frequently applied to those who don’t mind their own business and do what they’re told. Well behaved people rarely make history.

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  28. Is everybody taking the night off???

    Maybe this will liven up the place:

    I can’t quite see what, but there’s a thing about this that suggests it will be hot: it doesn’t seem a stretch to believe they will meet their doom.

    • Fourth time’s the charm, I guess… Looks pretty decent.

      • I don’t know.
        Isn’t Fantastic Four essentially about a family? And taking that aspect of it out is problematic for me.

        also, origin stories. So many fargin’ origin stories. At least we’re mostly past that on the Marvel movie slate.

        • This version may “family” — after all, the Huns are family, aren’t we? In the original comics Reed & Sue didn’t marry until, IIRC, the second annual, or was it the third? (Just checked Google and it was #3 — all I needed to type was “marriage of reed” and it prompted.) So at least at first they were an affinity group.

          OTOH, there really shouldn’t be much need for an origin story for them and there are serious continuity problems with doing one. The audience for the film should be almost as familiar with the FF’s origin as with Superman’s and an easily tossed off remark could have covered it handily. The continuity issues derive from their exposure to cosmic rays or transdimensional energy or whatever in a time in which we already have Thor and the Chitauri invaders of the first Avengers flick.

          Tell an FF story within an assumed continuity and give the origin in a flashback in a later movie, probably as a way of establishing the solution to a present challenge.

    • I thought they met their Doom in the previous movies, and defeated him.

  29. Perhaps an enterprising promoter will start something called a FreeCon, open to all.

  30. Geoff Withnell

    So your right to stick your nose in my business ends at the reach of my fist?

  31. I think the “nose/fist” quote – which I believe I first read in a Heinlein book, actually – grew out of a culture which was built on certain assumptions that are mostly no longer operating, one of the chief among them being “mind your own business.” Along with a general sense of which things in life were and were not anyone else’s business. In that pre-1970s shared moral culture, in which there was still such a thing as a difference between private and public, it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to say. It has only become objectionable in the last few decades, with the total breakdown of that common culture — not to mention common sense — and the ongoing efforts of the Perpetually Aggrieved to eliminate all boundaries which formerly constrained where it was appropriate for them to put their noses. Now they’ve gone all Alinsky on us and are trying to beat us by forcing us to live up to our own rules by sticking their noses further and further into our business and expecting not to get punched.

    @Geoff Withnell – I like yours better. And that’s pretty much the one we need to live by in order to reclaim this culture for rational, reasonable people. ‘Punch back, twice as hard.’

  32. Quoting Wayne Blackburn waaay up-thread: “Isn’t there some rule of thumb which says that non-technical work should aim towards being at 9th-grade reading level? ”

    It gets worse. A former NYC genre editor told a writers’ workshop that we should stay with 4th grade reading level, no matter what genre we wrote. That’s what the NYC publishers were looking for. [insert all sorts of jokes, curses, “well that explains a lot” here]

    • The Other Sean

      I’ve heard that has “always” been the standard for regular newspaper writing. That it is the standard for genre writing surprises me somewhat. An 8th or 9th grade level I could understand, but 4th grade is too low. OTOH, at one point just about everybody picked up novels and read them. Could this be a holdover of that? Or something introduced because the educational systems seems to be failing in this country?

      • In 1948, Bernard Feld did a study of every item and ad in the Birmingham News of 20 November 1947. He divided the items into those above the 8th-grade level and those at the 8th grade or below. He chose the 8th-grade breakpoint because that was the average reading level of adult readers. An 8th-grade text “will reach about 50 percent of all American grown-ups,” he wrote. Among the wire-service stories, the lower group got two-thirds more readers, and among local stories, 75 percent more readers. Feld also believed in drilling writers in Flesch’s clear-writing principles

        Feld, B. 1948. “Empirical test proves clarity adds readers.” Editor and publisher 81:38.


        But Reader’s Digest and TV Guide aim for 9.

        Folks supposedly prefer to read 2-ish grades below ability.

        • The Other Sean


        • Folks supposedly prefer to read 2-ish grades below ability.

          Maybe for “light reading”, but I would tend to prefer something at my level or a little higher. Having to work out what things mean every once in a while makes it more interesting. Now, if I have to slog through the entire thing, having to work to understand it every other paragraph, not so much, but some challenge is good.

          • I’m wading through one of those now (an essay on the linguistic analysis of the Koran as Aramo-Syriac rather than Arabic). Granted, I’m a language nerd but whoa, I can only handle one or two sections a day before my grey cells start protesting. (And if I ever meet the essay’s translator, I’m buying her or him a beer or other drink of choice.)

          • I prefer any work I have to do in reading be on account of the ideas/raw information, rather than formatting.

            I think we may not be the target audience, though– I really can’t remember what it was like to be unable to read stuff when I’m properly rested*. I may not know jargon or technical terms, or I may not have the background an author is depending on for understanding (figured crepe d’chine, what now?- in Gaudy Night), and I definitely don’t grasp any foreign language, but all the examples of issues with reading I can think of are either technique or content.

            *we’ve all been tired enough to read the same thing four times and not absorb it, yes?

      • other Sean wrote:
        ” Or something introduced because the educational systems seems to be failing in this country?”


    • That’s what grade level, graduates of government edumacation, read at.

    • That might be all right if 4th Grade level reading ability was what it used to be, a few decades back. These days I am not sure it includes words of three or more syllables.

  33. When I graduated HS in the 70’s a senior had a working vocabulary of 25,000 words.

    Today it’s under 10,000. Well under.

    • Is this why older son routinely gets accused of “using difficult words” — I didn’t trust the schools so I pounded learning into their skulls. Mostly not literally, though on occasion when interrupted while writing… well… let’s say mistakes were made, books were thrown (I might have hit ONCE. Lousy aim.)

    • Consider that as a percentage: the English language has roughly one million words (the most of any language on Earth). 10k words is just one percent.

      Consider also the drop from 25k to 10k as an indicator of knowledge lost from one generation to the next.

      (I’d guess that one generation further back, the average vocab was closer to 40k words.)

      • Apparently we’ve become more niggardly with our vocabularies. It is enough to cause the bright to snigger and the dim to glare.

        • I lost track of how many times Mad Mike’s been banned from Facebook because of both “niggardly” and “chigger”.

          Yes, our vocabulary skills as a nation are lacking beyond all reason.

          • Those words are not the reason Mad Mike was banned, they are just the justification for the ban.

            • My point still stands, however. An understanding of vocabulary would have prevented the bannings.

              Hell, how hard is it to google the word?

              • It is very hard — if you don’t want to know the answer.

                Dumbed down vocabulary is very useful when what you want to do is distract attention from an inconvenient truth.

                From Ed Driscoll:
                ‘Anger and Outrage Disguise Your Boastfulness’
                For the left, “Virtue signalling consists of saying you hate things,” as spotted by David Thompson:

                James Bartholomew on signalling one’s virtue:

                It’s noticeable how often virtue signalling consists of saying you hate things. It is camouflage. The emphasis on hate distracts from the fact you are really saying how good you are. If you were frank and said, ‘I care about the environment more than most people do’ or ‘I care about the poor more than others,’ your vanity and self-aggrandisement would be obvious. Anger and outrage disguise your boastfulness.

                Regarding anger, Thompson writes that it’s “the important thing, the marker of status, as opposed to, say, being coherent or truthful.” Coherent? That’s for squares who don’t understand nuance (and don’t need “trigger warnings” when confronted by a contrary thought.) Truthful? How bourgeois and reactionary!


            • That they thought they were good covers speaks for itself.

      • Two problems: the populations being compared aren’t the same (my grandfather “only” had a middle school education…because that was normal, back then; now, we graduate people who are medically incapable of living on their own due to mental limitations) and it’s awful hard to get a good measure of working vocabulary when there’s a very diverse population being measured– and using works people don’t know is likely to make them really angry with you.

  34. “It is the right to say things that are hurtful, whether they’re true or not.”
    I agree with everything you said except the part about whether it is true. Speech that is clearly not true, and I dont mean speech that some person thinks is not true, but speech that can be clearly proven to be not true, and the speaker should know is not true with a minimum of fact checking, is out of bounds. Of course that constraint does not seem to stop the left, but it should limit us.

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