Requires Abasement

*This post is unusually typo-ey because author is finishing novel.  Deal.  And say a prayer for my copyeditors.*

In yesterday’s post, Jason didn’t openly point out what was absolutely weird about the fisked post. Yes, it was part of invoking Zombie Heinlein to come scold us.  (They are so wrong.  Even as a Zombie the man would get what’s going on better than they do.)

I’m going to post the two/three points of weirdness below.  The first, is the normal accusation of what the Sad Puppies want is a return to the pulps (forget that no one on the sad puppies side said that, ever) this time with a side of “pulps just like Heinlein wrote.”

Finally, let’s consider one of the deities the Puppies claim to idolize: Robert Heinlein, who wrote a lot of terrific pulpy action adventure back in the day. One of the Puppies’ major goals is to get more of that kind of stuff and less preachy message fiction in the Hugos, after all.

Hello.  There it is.  Apparently Heinlein wrote a lot of terrific “pulpy” action adventure back in the day.  And our goal is to get more of that kind of stuff.  (That would be nice on that kind of stuff.  Does anyone know how to find someone of Heinlein’s caliber?  No?  Yeah, me neither.  Because we’ve been eating our seed corn and giving the benes to the PREACHY* Message fiction.)  As to the claim that Heinlein didn’t write message fiction, this is when they bring Heinlein out to scold us:

Except the Puppies are kind of forgetting something. Heinlein was no stranger to “preachy message fiction” himself. In fact, he had some pretty harsh words for critics who wanted all adventure and no message:

He will permit any speculation at all” as long as it is about gadgets only and doesn’ touch people. He doesn’t care what mayhem you commit on physics, astronomy, or chemistry with your gadgets but the people must be the same plain old wonderful jerks that live in his Home Town. Give him a good ole adventure story any time, with lots of Gee-Whiz in it and space ships blasting off and maybe the Good Guys (in white space ships) chasing the Bad Guys (in black space ships) but, brother, don’t you say anything about the Methodist Church, or the Flag, or incest, or homosexuality, or teleology, or theology, or the sacredness of marriage, or anything philosophical! Because you are just an entertainer, see? That sort of Heavy Thinking is reserved for C. P. Snow or Graham Greene. You are a pulp writer, Bud, and you will always be a pulp writer even though your trivia is now bound in boards and sells for just as much as Grace Metalious stories and you are not permitted to have Heavy Thoughts. Space Ships and Heavy Thinking do not mix ” so shut up and sit down!

The rule is: Science Fiction by its nature must be trivial.

This of course rules out a large fraction of my work” and all my future work, I think.

Now, read those two quotes.  Consider they were in close proximity in the essay.  He tells us that Heinlein wrote some terrific pulpy stuff in the day, but also that Heinlein wrote message fic.

This has been happening all month, for those keeping score at home.  The indoctrinated drones of the establishment have been spinning by here in high dudgeon and sure they have a killing argument and telling us both that we want “pulpy stuff like Heinlein” and that Heinlein was often “preachy.  And messagy.”

They’re d*mn right Heinlein had message in his fiction.  Or at least he had a purpose, which isn’t the same as a message. I can’t right now — look to where I’m actually working again — find his quote on the reasons he wrote, but I know at the very bottom of those reasons, after “to feed my family” was “to make the reader think” though that was qualified with something like “if I can.”

A lot of the EXPLICIT (aka preachy) messages these people think they see in his books are not really the message of the book, but a way to make you think.  Again, if Starship Troopers world were an utopia, they wouldn’t be so desperate to send out colonies.  (Yes, yes, population pressure, but weirdly this is one of those books where it’s not really shown.)

A lot of his other “messages” are not really.  They’re the way he saw the world and the way his characters acted.  Some of them are dead wrong, but were thought rational and logical at the time, and are still believed on the left side of the tree.  This includes the “we’re all going to die from overpopulation” which is normal in all the juveniles.  It includes “put not your faith in princes” (and priests and shamans)  from a lot of his characters.

But each book ponders at least one serious question, which usually relates not to “tech, wow!” which a lot of people before him wrote, but to “how will this tech change us” which is of course the important question.  Simak labored in the same vine, though he was less transgressive.  Because Heinlein was transgressive.  Not as offensive if you think about what material he was dealing with and what he was doing, but in a way he predicted stuff like “A superabundant society will become obsessed with sex and gender” which we are seeing in the West right now.  And for those who are going to bleat “but incest” — do you have any idea how you’d feel if you time traveled to see your mother when you were a few thousand years old?  Do you have any idea how it would work?

Here is the thing — he wanted to shock people into thinking, not give them answers.  And most of the time he succeeded brilliantly which is why we still have panels in conventions that could be headed Robert A. Heinlein, Threat or Menace.  Curiously, even those on the left side of the isle that claim to admire him hate those later books.  They claim to hate them because of politics (perhaps because in things like Friday he shows the silliness of their schemes — women’s bathroom?  Are you discriminating — because honestly, where does he show the perfect libertarian society anywhere in the last books?  Nowhere) and “rampant sex” but given what they write (and also that any romance has way more sex, way more explicit) I’m going to guess they hate it for that itch at the back of the brain that makes them think.

And thinking is their enemy.

Look at those quotes above.  Heinlein wrote some “terrific pulpy” stuff.  Yeah.  Even his juveniles — arguably particularly his juveniles, at a level, before he got into “how will man change himself” — have such terrific pulpy action as in Red Planet pondering the utility of the right to bear arms/submission to authority versus rebellion/that man might not be the big boy in space, and that some species might be so unimaginably more advanced than us, we don’t even comprehend them/colonialism versus the rights of the original inhabitants/what is “maturity” in a political sense.

Wonderful action pulpy stuff, innit?  It’s like Tarzan of the Apes or something.  (Which in itself had a subtext, but to be fair had a lot more emphasis on the action and pulpy adventure — I have a theory Burroughs prospered by plugging directly into the collective unconscious, or the favored myths of mankind, or something but that’s a post for another time.)

They know it.  If they didn’t know it, they wouldn’t bring the quote from Zombie Heinlein saying he wrote message or at least meaning to scold us.

However, the party line requires them to hold two thoughts in their head at the same time: that the sad puppies side wants “meaningless” action adventure**. AND Heinlein, whom we “idolize” (guys, you do know that “genuflect” and PBOH are sort of fond jokes on our side, right?  No, never mind.  you don’t.  Humor ablated when you went over to the cool kids’ table.  You only laugh on command anymore.) wrote some “wonderful pulpy stuff” but Heinlein also wrote message.

It’s not just this post, it’s the seminar poster after seminar poster in my comments going on about how “Heinlein was preachy” and “Heinlein wrote message” while at the same time claiming Heinlein was pulp and “all manly men doing manly things.”

How is it possible to even hold those two thoughts in your head at the same time?  Even if you have never read Heinlein?  (And I have reason to believe the author of that post has at least HEARD about Heinlein from non adversarial people.)

This is not the only place their views do this, either.  You also get the “Peaceful planet of women” and “we have always fought.”  (Which is it going to be, guys?  Women are inherently peaceful, or women have always been warriors?  And no special begging about women only fighting against men.  If women are such awesome warriors, there’s native aggressiveness there.)

Then there is the super wonderful super state, and their dislike of “authority” (unless it’s them, but that’s a long story.)

I think since the fall of the USSR, and since it became obvious just how busted and corrupt that country was despite its appearance of success, the left has not only been running scared of itself (which is why they continue to deny the real conditions in places like Cuba) but has also become — like all messianic beliefs under attack by reality — a bit cultish.

Because they had already captured the bullhorns of culture when the USSR fell, they’ve managed to hide just the extent of the debacle communism was in the one country that managed superpower status despite it.  (China is a more complex question.)

But the people at the top know.  And they will take no lackeys they can’t trust.  And so, like all doomsday cults, they require that their followers perform acts of self-abasement, so the top can be sure of their loyalty.

We should be lucky it’s not something like cutting out their mother’s hearts.  It’s more the proclaiming of contradictory ideas in the same breath with seeming lack of awareness they are contradictory, even though no one capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time could fail to see the lack of logic.

This ritual self-abasement earns many a place on the left side of the table.

But I have to believe — because I believe in humanity — they get up in the morning and look in the mirror and see what they’ve become.

And now you know why the nomination of a counter-slate to their “already sure to win” (and yes, they were proclaiming on blogs last year that Ancillary Sword was sure to win this year — even though most of them can’t have read it yet, and certainly hadn’t read the competition) whispered slate caused such unbridled fury that they descend to character assassination, to baseless twitter-calumny, to a storm of false comments on books they haven’t read.

Those who sold their soul for a place at the cool table, and now see the coolness of the table threatened, must fight with all their strength to keep it the cool table.  Even to the point of descending to despicable, unimaginable vileness.

Why not?  They already knowingly contradicted themselves, and refused to think about it for coolness and status, demonstrating in public there’s nothing they won’t do for a positional good.

Status is all they have.

Not excellence, not craft, not ability.  Just status.

And we’re threatening that.

Put on your seat belts.  this is going to get rough.  But you know how it ends.

In the end, we win, they lose.

In the end we win, they lose because we can read everything and think everything, and enjoy and not enjoy whatever we want, while they’ve restricted themselves to approved thoughts, approved ideas, the narrow path of those books and thoughts that are “safe” and “not hateful.***”  And thereby they’ve become (yes, you knew that) Heinlein’s definition of unfree men, shackled to a tyranny:

I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy…censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him. -RAH

We are free men (and yes, women, for those philologically challenged) and you can’t take that from us, and arguably even if we all die, we still win.  Because we will never be controlled.  You can’t have us.  You can only have the loneliness of your shriveled and forfeited souls.

*I don’t even object to preachy message as such, though if the story can’t carry it, then to heck with it.  I’ve read and enjoyed some relatively preachy stuff (what you think Left Hand of Darkness isn’t?  How quaint of you.)  I just object to preachy message that reinforces the same “accepted” establishment messages that we’ve been getting all along since elementary, at least if we’re fifty or younger.  You know things like “Men violent, women peaceful” and “women are better than men” and “a non-capitalist society would be better and more equitable” “a career for women is more important than a family” and other preachiness that I’m sure was daring and mind-breaking at the dawn of the twentieth century, but which is now old and in many cases busted (you can’t argue that a non-capitalist society is better at anything unless you’re ignorant of history.) Science fiction, if it is anything is a literature of thought.  You take some big idea/thought and explore it and extrapolate its future.  You don’t just read from the hymnal.

**Which means they’ve read precisely zero of Larry, or Brad, or for that matter me.  I don’t blame them so much for not having read other people on our side, like Kate, or Amanda, or Cedar but oh, yes h*ll I do.  If you’re going to war against someone, the least you can do is read them.  At least Larry.

*** Not only has the other side publicly declared they wouldn’t read anyone nominated by Sad Puppies because they have bad-thought cooties, but those who claim to have read Larry have CLEARLY not done it (like, they missed all the women in the book: strong, and powerful women at that) and they certainly haven’t read Brad.  And then there was, (and I wish I had the link but no time to look, and doubtless one of you can find it), the precious flower having hysterics, because what if one of us wrote a book under a pen name and she unknowingly read it and became tainted with wrong-thought?  This is a very real worry, and the buttercups SHOULD be worried.  Because some of us have plans.

251 responses to “Requires Abasement

  1. <loucostello>I been a baaaaaaaad guest blogger!</loucostello>

    Sorry, boss. I got so weary and disgusted with how he was wrong about every single thing he said that I did a swing and a miss on the reason you asked for the fisking to begin with. ‘Twas not intentional. 🙂

  2. Let’s just state: the object of the Sad Puppies campaign is place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we [were] compelled to take.

    Sad Puppies comes not to demand “Message Fic” be driven from the Hugo Awards but that “terrific pulpy” fiction be allowed to compete for the awards. We have left the era of Miss America only allowing White contestants, surely SF Awards can tolerate diversity too?

  3. I think next year I’ll join and nominate J.D. Robb’s “Dallas” as a series entry, hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

    • You know, it’s insane that they’re so afraid of “romance writers” coming over. WHY would they want to do that? They have their own awards which mean a lot more money when won (because they reflect readers’ tastes.)

      • What’s funny is that they think we would get bent out of shape about romance writers winning Hugos. Hell, as long as SF/F elements are key components to the stories, I’m fine with it.

        I might not particularly care for the book, but I’ve also said before that I have no belief that I should love every Hugo winner. I just think I should love some of them.

        • I’ve read some SF that worked as Romance – Bujold’s A CIVIL CAMPAIGN, or Miller and Lee’s CONFLICT OF HONORS. When I run into Romances that have, or try to have, SF or Fantasy elements, they have tended to be awful

          • (Didn’t mean to post comment then)

            ….and I like some of the Romance authors in question. Not totally sure why this is so.

            • because you’re used to a different set of conventions. It’s the same irritation native Portuguese speakers get on encountering Brazilian “slang”. I have the same problem.

              • So it’s related to the reason people who try to write in the first person noir style, without enough background, produce such miserable tripe.

                It can be done, but there are more failures then successes, and I’m convinced that the failures are the people who’ve seen a couple of films but haven’t read Hammett or Chandler.

                • CS, have mercy on me. Don’t mention noir first person. I’m haunted by a haunted gun. First person, seductive little girl voice. The spirit of the moll killed by that gun is in love with the detective who carries the gun.
                  SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE me. I’ve been telling it “NO.”

                  • I’m sorry. .. it was only a trilogy, and i never meant it. Besides, it was because of reading too much Spillane.

                    • Stephen St. Onge

                              Cedar Sanderson wrote:

                      Besides, it was because of reading too much Spillane.

                              The words appear to be English, but I can’t parse any meaning from the phrase “too much Spillane.”

                  • At least you, as the Beautiful and Terrible Space Princess, have disciplined professional l33t writer skills with which to bludgeon the unruly stories into line – I keep trying to work on the one I have in progress (FTL colonies, vast space battles, AI space fighter pilots, spy missions, interned civilians, and an enemy who founded their home colony basically based on ST fandom, with all the progressive utopian baggage thereof – imagine what my “ships couselors” really do on board) and this whole darn other story that involves singing swords/talking guns/etc.. – because of nanotech in meteoric metals – keeps poking it’s head up.

                    I’m just a tyro dabbler, trying to get the first one done. I have no such story disciplining skills. I am doomed.

                  • Heh, I shot a little noir piece in college.

                  • Stephen St. Onge

                            Sarah wrote:

                    I’m haunted by a haunted gun. First person, seductive little girl voice. The spirit of the moll killed by that gun is in love with the detective who carries the gun.
                    SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE me. I’ve been telling it “NO.”

                            That sounds like a story I want to read!

          • Yeah, but in and of itself, we don’t have an issue with the concept. They seem to think we do.

          • They have different “clueing in mechanisms” — drives me nuts, too, it’s like they’re reinventing the wheel, but it’s actually different conventions.

            • I am damned if I can say where, but I seem to recall somewhere reading that a big part of Heinlein’s success came from effectively adapting the conventions of another genre to SF. It might have been Gaiman’s introduction to the audio book of James Branch Cabell’s Figures of Earth but that is merely a guess.

        • How could Romance writers winning the Yugos possibly be more annoying than the tripe currently receiving the award?

          Our complaint hasn’t been that “wrong people” are winning nominations, it is that other people are being excluded unfairly. Given the range of genre cross-overs routinely occurring the distinctions are essentially that employed by Justice Stewart in identifying pornography.

          Bujold has blended the detective and SF genres effectively, as have Stephanie Osborn’s Displaced Detective books and I cannot find any clear demarcation between SF/F and Horror for at least the last eighty years. How are Conan and Soloman Kane SF/F while Cornwell’s Saxon Tales are not?

          The OCD about genre evident among the anal retentive strongly suggests they’ve got their heads up their genres.

          As Sarah has said, they have different conventions and memes, but that is a non-essential distinction, easily blurred and maintained primarily for the convenience of the book sellers.

    • Maybe we should put her on the Sad Puppy slate, just so we can sit back with popcorn and watch them eat some more of their own.

  4. Zombie Heinlein? S. Weasel did a great Zombie Reagan, so maybe she’d enjoy doing a Zombie Heinlein for you.

  5. Christopher M. Chupik

    I eagerly await your post on Burroughs, Sarah.

    I sometimes say that when I read Burroughs, I much prefer Edgar Rice to William S. Of course, there are folks like Philip Jose Farmer who like both.

    • Those condemning ERB for racism are overlooking the fact that the only race Burroughs criticized was the Germans. His depictions of African natives distinguished between tribal cultures, recognizing many as savage (which they were) and some, such as the Waziri, as noble:

      In The Return of Tarzan Tarzan returns from civilization to his beloved jungle. But he has changed: when he meets a black warrior, instead of killing him he saves him from Numa, the lion. The warrior is a member of the Waziri tribe. Tarzan discovers they are cultured and despise cannibals like the tribe he had intermittently warred against in his youth.

      Well, besides the Germans there is another race ERB regularly depicted negatively: his many portraits of Arab slave and ivory traders.

      So condemnation of ERB for racism is tacit endorsement of the Nazis (whose tendencies were inherent in his depictions of Germans) and the plundering of natural and human resources.

      • Well, besides the Germans there is another race ERB regularly depicted negatively: his many portraits of Arab slave and ivory traders.

        This is, of course, because ERB would have researched the history and ethnography of Africa for his books; and if one does this, one is bound to notice the villainous role played by Arab slave and ivory traders. One has to be on the modern Left not to possess the degree of doublethink required to despise the Arab slave traders.

      •         If you read some of the later Tarzan novels, especially Tarzan and the Foreign Legion, you’ll find explicit anti-racism.  The man grew, and learned, gradually overcoming the racism fed to him in his youth.

      • I always thought that “race” signified one of the following 3 categories: Black, White, & Asian. Now I hear that “race” includes Hispanic, German, Arab, etc. and thus the charge of ERB’s racism descends from his deprecations of white Germans & Arabs with his praise of black Waziri notwithstanding. I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods about “racism.”

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Well, historically “race” also had an element of “tribe” involved. Thus you’ll find mention of “the German race”, “the French race”, “the English race”, etc.

          For that matter, the “Irish race” was seen in as bad terms as “blacks” in certain periods of American and English history.

        • That is because when discussing race, one must discuss the terms and divisions that he would actually use. Certainly the era divided humanity much more finely than most people would today.

      • Well, ERB didn’t seem to fond of civilized whites, particularly those of the peerage. He did seem to like the French.

        Still there’s plenty of stuff about Africans, Jews and others, particularly in the early books, that there’s something to the accusation.

        Otoh, in Tarzan And the Ant Man there’s a tricycle little discussion of tax policy that is still relevant today.

      • (Nods) I think a lot of the racism criticism is from people who only read the first few books, where you can’t find any Africans who aren’t cannibals.
        While the overall series is arguably colonialist–i.e., the only not-psycho Africans end up working for Tarzan and other Europeans–it’s not particularly racist. Well, except against Russians and Germans in which case–ethnicist, I guess?

        • Eh, from the Africans I have talked to, their opinion of colonialism is, the only thing worse than Africa under rule by the French, Dutch, etc.; is Africa under the rule of Africans.

        • You are more optimistic than am I; I think the criticism about racism is from people who’ve only seen the movies.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        And he did introduce a heroic German in his later Pellucidar books, Wilhelm Von Horst . . . just in time for WW2. But how could he have known?

      • ERB was also anti communist (see his Mood Maid and Moon Men.

  6. Part of the problem with the SJW preferred MFic is that the messaging is about as subtle as a boot stamping on a human face. Their inability to understand that the objection to their oh! so precioussss favorites is not that they have message but that they have nothing but message, and usually message so un-nuanced, so banal, so jejune, so bumper-stickery as to be painful.


    A thought barely sufficient for a song ain’t enough for a book.

  7. “We are free men (and yes, women, for those philological challenged) and you can’t take that from us, and arguably even if we all die, we still win. Because we will never be controlled. You can’t have us. You can only have the loneliness of your shriveled and forfeited souls.”

    THAT wins the Intarwebz… 🙂

    In a nutshell, that IS what we are, free to read what we choose, write what we choose, and believe what we choose. We are also capable of having RATIONAL discussions with those with whom we disagree, and are willing to listen to those with different points of view.

    As a kid growing up on SF and Westerns, I didn’t give a rat’s ass about messages, I wanted stories that entertained me and took me out of time and place.

    • Old NFO, wouldn’t it be great if they could carry on RATIONAL discussions as well, rather than spitting, defaming, and grossly mischaracterising us?

  8. Personally, I wonder if the guy who wrote that post ever read any Heinlein stories at all. I notice that they’re all passing around the same ideas/quotes. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that he lifted them from another blog.

  9. Yes, Heinlein did message; but other than For Us the Living (which he hated precisely because he intended it to be primarily message and he felt the story suffered because of it), he was largely subtle about it. Except maybe The Notebooks of Lazarus Long – it was the point to preach in those, after all.

    • FUTL is the reason I told my kids if they publish my first book (no, seriously) I’ll come back and haunt them. BTW had to tear several copies out of older son’s hands and toss them in trash while packing. Not sure he didn’t use his unsupervised time at the other house as a chance to find/stash more (why in heck did I print so many?)
      My only hope to avoid this is to remain obscure. So far so good.

  10. And for those who are going to bleat “but incest”

    … I ask “So ‘afflicting the comfortable’ is only good as long as it afflicts someone else?”

    • Which Heinlein dealt with scientifically in TEFL. Woodie Smith was a sport, a mutation above and beyond what could have been expected from the Howard Families breeding program. He apparently had no bad genes, (other than his tendency to out stubborn a cat) and was by all accounts a rather randy and prolific gentleman. So after a few thousand years most Howards were some form of relative to him. So medically, particularly given the level of medicine in the book, incest was not much of a problem. Socially, that’s up for debate, but as a consideration in a work of fiction how exactly is going back in time to kill your grandfather that much different from sleeping with his wife?

    • … I ask “So ‘afflicting the comfortable’ is only good as long as it afflicts someone else?”

      I’m intimately familiar with the discomforts of my own life. The discomforts of another’s are incredibly easy to miss, and that’s if you’re looking.

    • No matter how easy their situations they are never comfortable because they are not comfortable within themselves.

      The holder of ill-gotten gains sleeps fitfully on the quietest night.

  11. I very much want that quote about “what if they write under a pseudonym?”

  12. And for those who are going to bleat “but incest” — do you have any idea how you’d feel if you time traveled to see your mother when you were a few thousand years old? Do you have any idea how it would work?

    I truly don’t know. What’s more, Lazarus met Maureen when she was a young woman — younger than he’d ever known her in life before. Given that he loved her to begin with, the affair was actually not that implausible.

    • Now the time travel part, we’re unlikely to have to confront. The “coming unglued due to superabundance” which yes, the west has relative to any other place/time we already have. And the “what happens if we even double our lifespan” is at least plausible. Here’s the thing — right now grandparents usually only meet great grandchildren at the end of their lives. What happens when you’re as “young” functionally as your great granddaughter/greatgreat grandaughter and you fall in love with her? I haven’t done this transition, yet, and I suspect that children are always children even when they move out, but I know I’m already a ton less protective towards them than I was when they were two (while the protectiveness is still very high.) What happens when you’re dealing with this at three or four removes. How do we feel about the incest taboo then? I don’t know, and neither do you, and it’s the sort of idea that SF can (not must, but can) explore ahead of us running headfirst into it.

      • You know, something like one person in ten has Genghis Khan as a common ancestor. At *some* point it stops being incest.

        • Yep. Actually it’s great great grandchildren, I think, shared genetic material wise. Might be one more grand. But when does the taboo stop activating. (Which is what I think Heinlein wanted to point out.) I could write it both ways. A society of long-lived people in which you bring your genetic table with you to first dates, and one where no one cares. BUT it will be one or the other.

          • Or neither. Your children might not even possess any of your genetic material – look at what’s being done with the three-parent embryos in an attempt to stamp out mitochondrial disease. It won’t be much longer before a certain class of people can and will tinker wholesale with any embryo before allowing it to be carried to term.

            • Stephen St. Onge

                      Go reread Beyond This Horizon.  Over seventy years old and all the issues we’re going to face are in there.

            • If someone wrote a space opera series about this and its consequences … and weren’t by any means the first…

            • The other point about incest is that both kids and adults developmentally and psychologically need “parents” and “family” who aren’t trying to have sex with them, who will never try to have sex with them, and whom one will never try to have sex with, either. Doesn’t matter so much if it’s blood family or adopted, but there have to be some people who are definitively off the meat market.

              If everybody you ever meet is trying to have sex with you, you are always going to be thinking of yourself in relationship to having sex, as opposed to yourself sitting around the house watching TV and picking your nose (or whatever human frailties and quirks you have).

              That makes it a lot harder to learn how to have a family relationship with a spouse or children, because the whole relationship is starting from scratch instead of a sourdough starter.

              • Of course, I always thought Lazarus Long was pretty far around the bend, albeit in a survival-oriented way. But the kind of guy who gets through tight places okay is not always the neighbor or friend you want during ordinary life.

                Granted, he’s immortal and got used to people dying on him. But otherwise, the books show him going through marriages and relationships like James Bond, albeit on a scale of decades instead of days, weeks, and months.

                One is obliged to point out that a lot of Navy guys are like that, so it’s not totally off the wall for either character.

                • PS – The Age of Adaline features a situation with someone who seems like a Heinlein immortal… except it’s a pretty nice romantic sf movie instead, with a happy ending.

                  One law from Leviticus does get broken, but not any of the ones you’re thinking of. Think “wow, that’s awkward” more than “squicky” or “bound to lead to bloodshed.”

              • This is the point I was looking to see made: the reason for incest taboos is not consanguinity it is the matter of the parent’s fiduciary responsibility. Incest (in the ordinary course) violates the trust of the child and the responsibility of the guardian to act in the child’s best interests.

                Make all parties adults of comparable maturity (not age) as Heinlein does (and assume effective birth control) and the taboo has no rational basis.

                Heck, Heinlein even gave us the first (and so far only?) story of a man not only told to go f-ck himself but doing so.

                • In what way does it violate fiduciary responsibility? (And parent-child, of course, is not the only form banned.)

                  Anyway, this makes me think, Chesterton’s Fence. Incest taboos exist in every known culture. While consanguinity is the commonest, very few, if any, make it the only obstacle. Many are between people with no fiduciary responsibility for each other. I would be very, very, very wary about removing something so widespread.

                  • Fiduciary is not solely, nor even principally, financial.

                    You could look it up:

                    adjective
                    2. Law. of or relating to the relation between a fiduciary and his or her principal
                    Dictionary[DOT}com

                    adjectiveLAW
                    1. involving trust, especially with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary.
                    Merriam-Webster

                    An individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money. The relationship wherein one person has an obligation to act for another’s benefit.
                    [SNIP]
                    A fiduciary is held to a standard of conduct and trust above that of a stranger or of a casual business person. He/she/it must avoid “self-dealing” or “conflicts of interests” in which the potential benefit to the fiduciary is in conflict with what is best for the person who trusts him/her/it.
                    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fiduciary

                    A fiduciary duty is a legal duty to act solely in another party’s interests. Parties owing this duty are called fiduciaries. The individuals to whom they owe a duty are called principals. Fiduciaries may not profit from their relationship with their principals unless they have the principals’ express informed consent. They also have a duty to avoid any conflicts of interest between themselves and their principals or between their principals and the fiduciaries’ other clients. A fiduciary duty is the strictest duty of care recognized by the US legal system.
                    Cornell University Law School — Legal Information Institute

                    • I repeat, in what way does it violate fiduciary duty? It only does if you assume that incestuous relations are not acting in another’s interest, and it is circular logic to declare them wrong because they violate that duty, and violations of that duty because they are wrong.

                    • It violates fiduciary responsibility to subordinate the fiduciary’s interests to the principal’s, creating a conflict of interest possibility. Because the fiduciary benefits from the relationship — and the two are not equal — it requires a higher standard of scrutiny.

                      This applies primarily, of course, to intergenerational incest. Sibling or close cousin incest does not generally entail such duties.

                      One might note that siblings, contra Game of Thrones, are not typically sexually attracted one to the other, rendering that issue somewhat moot.

                    • BTW under “every society” — Portugal, like other cultures — cough — of middle Eastern origin (well, the Moors and in the North a good dosage of their cousins) FAVORS first cousin marriage. There are several proverbs to the extent of “look first to your first cousin.” Though it’s generally agreed three of those in a row are bad. (Or at least it’s agreed in mom’s family, where family reunions were GREAT ways to meet a future mate. Weirdly, none of them plays the banjo. OTOH very musical.) And among Arab cultures uncle-niece marriages are preferred.

                    • From memory, maternal line cousin marriage has some additional risks compared to paternal ones. So if you marry “cousins,” and wives leave their parent’s house, there is a slightly lower risk than if you favor all shared-a-grandparent groups.

                    • “It violates fiduciary responsibility to subordinate the fiduciary’s interests to the principal’s, creating a conflict of interest possibility.”

                      That is not explaining how it violates, it is just repeating that it does in different words. It presupposes that incest is a violation, which would require that incest is wrong as a premise.

                      “This applies primarily, of course, to intergenerational incest. Sibling or close cousin incest does not generally entail such duties.”

                      Which, incidentally, entirely undermines your case. Sibling and parent-child incest are both prohibited virtually universally. If so, fiduciary responsibility can not possible explain incest. (Ockham’s Razor says that since both are prohibited, we should be very wary of an explanation for one that doesn’t cover the other.)

                    • It presupposes that incest is a violation, which would require that incest is wrong as a premise.

                      What element of “conflict of interest” has you confused? Parent/child interest is inherently exploitative. That you perceive this as tautological does not make it so. To quote Samuel Johnson:”I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.”

                      Which, incidentally, entirely undermines your case.”

                      Entirely? Entirely? I distinguish between two similar instances because one entails a much greater responsibility between the two parties. That both examples you cite are “universally” prohibited does not mean that their prohibition arises from the same basis. Further, if you will look back at my original employment of fiduciary duty you will notice I state it would no longer hold under the conditions Heinlein defines.

                      As for Chesterton’s Fence, surely there can be more than the one fence? Different if similar forms of incest can be abjured for many reasons, some of them over-lapping, if only because of the certain elements distinguishing between them.

                    • Parent/child interest incest is inherently exploitative.

                      that is what you are arguing FOR. You can’t use it as a premise.

                      That you perceive this as tautological does not make it so.

                      Ad hominem. The problem is not what I perceive it as, but what you have established it as. Since you are trying to establish it on a basis of fiduciary responsibility — that is, incest is wrong because it violates fiduciary responsibility– you must establish that it violates it without presupposing that it’s wrong, which would show that its reason is not fiduciary responsibility

                      Entirely? Entirely? I distinguish between two similar instances because one entails a much greater responsibility between the two parties.

                      Yup. Entirely. You admit that they entail differing degrees of responsibility, and therefore incest taboos can not be based on the degree of responsibility.

                      That both examples you cite are “universally” prohibited does not mean that their prohibition arises from the same basis.

                      Violates Ockham’s Razor. People do not treat them as two different things but as one thing.

                    • Parent/Child relationship involves a fiduciary duty on the part of the parent. That is argument from definition. Is your disagreement based on the idea a parent owes no fiduciary duty to a child?

                      My original point had been that in a world such as Heinlein postulates this duty would have concluded with both parties as relatively equally vigorous adults (which is not the case in our present reality) and there would be no conflict of interest in the relationship.

                      As to the rest … no, not ad hominem. Simple disagreement, expressed as a lack of interest in the exertion required to get you to see my point. It says nothing about your character to suggest you are not ultimate arbiter of whether an argument is valid. That you might think it ad hominem does say something about your character (that, my dear, is an illustration of argumentum ad hominem.)

                      As simply as it can be expressed:
                      A fiduciary duty exists for the parent in relation to the child.

                      This fiduciary duty precludes the parent using that relationship for the parent’s own interest.

                      An incestuous relationship provides something of value to the parent, hence is in the parent’s interest.

                      Whether the child believes this is also in the child’s interest is irrelevant; it is inherent in the status of being a child.

                      This conflict of interest breaches the fiduciary duty owed the principal (child) by the fiduciary (parent.)

                      Your disagreement with any of the terms of that syllogism does not make the argument invalid, it makes the definitions of the terms in dispute. Some may see this as a distinction without a difference. Your rejection of any of those terms does not require my sharing that rejection.

                      As to other points: not all incest taboos are created equal, nor all derive from the same basis. If you want to insist otherwise that would be your own personal restriction and I do not think myself bound to use terms only in the way in which you comprehend them to the exclusion of the broader understandings I learned in the long ago days of my anthropology minor.

                      I reiterate: some incest taboos are not the same as others.

                      As for your use of that Razor of William of Ockham, I suggest you review the terminology. It does not mandate that I adhere to popular but incorrect usage. For many centuries, it is believed, people had no term for the colour blue and failed to distinguish it as different; this does not require I follow their mode. Parent/child relationships are different from sibling relationships and this is so regardless of people treating them as the same thing.

                      On this and all other matters, Mary, I trust we can agree to disagree without boring others receiving these as email.

                    • “Parent/Child relationship involves a fiduciary duty on the part of the parent. That is argument from definition.”

                      If you define incest as violation of a fiduciary duty on the part of the parent, it’s not an argument. It is mere circularity.

                      It is also, come to think of it, nonsense. If there is one thing obvious about the history of humanity, it is that parent-child incest can not be forbidden because of the violation of fiduciary. While the incest is universally banned, such a fiduciary duty is not universally recognized; cultures are more likely to give the parent untrampled authority — to allow them to put their children to death — than to regard their duty as fiduciary. A culture that bans parent-child incest and allows parents to sell children to brothels — and there have been a lot of them — is obviously one in which the taboo does not spring from fiduciary duty.

                      ” Is your disagreement based on the idea a parent owes no fiduciary duty to a child?”

                      Ad hominem. Again. Imputing things to me is not simple disagreement.

                    • Having just asserted that the parent/child fiduciary duty is not universal and that therefore a parent owes no fiduciary duty to a child, your complaint that questioning whether you believe a parent owes no fiduciary duty to a child constitutes an ad hominem argument seems absurd.

                      Perhaps ad hominem does not mean what you think it does?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Well, incest was generally about banning sexual relationships between *close* relatives. Even in RAH’s juvenile Time For The Stars, it wasn’t seen as incest for a man to marry the great-great granddaughter of his brother. (I may be off on the number of greats).

      • Also, consanguinity lessens with each generation. If you met your great-great … (insert a dozen or so generations) … great-great grandfather, there’d be no good genetic reason not to have children with him; he’d be the equivalent of a distant cousin, unless the intervening generations were very incestuous. Besides, the biological technology required for immortality or sufficient longevity to meet him would be such that avoiding any bad crossed recessives would be child’s play. Your only reason for not having sex with him would be either lack of interest, or normal moral self-restraint.

        • Consider something here: What you’re saying really only applies to a situation where you are meeting and mating with your genetic ancestors in person. What happens when you include the idea of stored gametes?

          If, for example, a society were to choose a course of action where traditional mating/breeding behavior was supplemented by a program of what amounted to planned breeding, what then? Depending on what traits they were trying to spread across a general population, you might see a case where several successive generations were crossed with the same line that had the desirable traits they were looking for. Or, they might give a particular set of genes a “second chance” due to something like having been killed by misadventure or accident before that set of promising genes had a chance to pass its traits on.

          Would it be incest if your great-grandfather was cloned, and raised as a peer to you? Not in a family situation, but say in a separate creche or household? What constitutes incest, in that situation? Is it the family relationship, or the genetic one?

          • “Would it be incest if your great-grandfather was cloned, and raised as a peer to you?”

            Not unless you had sex with him, then yes, it would be incest.

            As to the planned breeding, I do this with dogs, it has been done in the past with humans, the problem* is that you need somebody doing the planning and making the breeding choices, who are you going to give the power to do that, the government?

            *Ignoring the various religious taboos against it, and dealing strictly with the genetic issues. Even when I breed dogs, a father/daughter cross or grandmother/grandson is still inbreeding/incest, no matter if the results are positive or negative, the definition of the words are the same, just at least in animal breeding, with a scientific breeding program and rigorous culling the results can be skewed to the positive, rather than the commonly associated negative.

            • Incest as a term carries a whole load of societal taboos, does it not? We don’t speak of incest when we’re breeding animals, even if what we’re doing fits the textbook definition of the term. When you do it deliberately as a part of a program of intentional breeding, we term it “inbreeding”. Variations on this are referred to as “line breeding”, and neither term carries the emotional weighting of the term “incest”.

              Granted, the entire idea of planned breeding as applied to people is distasteful to us, based mostly on the associations that there are from the Progressive agenda and the Nazis, but the facts are fairly clear: Any attempt at space colonization will require a couple of things happen to the people taking part in the endeavor. First, there’s going to have to be rapid adaptation to the new environment, and, second, we’re going to have to compensate for drastically reduced gene pools due to the probable constraints put upon environment size in the habitats, at least at first.

              So, odds are, this is going to be a reality for our descendents, and a necessary one. Given that fact, I strongly suspect that they’re going to be sorely tempted to take advantage of the opportunity to conduct at least experimental breeding programs on themselves and their descendents. What form those will take, I hesitate to guess. Their priorities will likely be things we don’t even consider, and if there is some truth to the idea that a strong component of what makes us who we are is indeed genetically based, I’m going to presume that a lot of these breeding programs are going to be aimed at optimizing for cooperation, self-sacrifice, and self-discipline. An artificial environment is going to select for those traits no matter what, but I suspect that there will be motivation to enhance them as much as they can manage.

          • “Courtship Rite” by Donald F Kingsbury…
            A feasible-with-current technology way of stacking the meiotic deck. All reproduction occurs post-humously. Stored gametes are selected according to how much /kalothi/ their phenotypes accumulated in life. Hijinx ensue.

          • “What constitutes incest, in that situation? Is it the family relationship, or the genetic one?”

            And Heinlein addressed that in TEFL: Secundus and Tertius defined it in terms of genetic hazard, and basically told couples that “you cannot have children by one another, because defects are assured.” Didn’t mean they couldn’t have sex, but they had to use birth control and abortion as needed.

      •         Explored in Time for the Stars, when the narrator marries his great-grand-niece (who is, genetically, his great-grand-daughter, since she’s descended from his identical twin).  Hinted at in passing in Methuselah’s Children, where one of Lazarus’s descendants has the hots for him.

                Funny all these things people missed over the years.

        • There’s a lot to miss, with Heinlein. The man threw off ideas like he was writing with a grinding wheel on steel plate, and the sparks were ideas nobody had ever published before. It’s worth remembering that the first guy to bring the waterbed to market had his patent denied because Heinlein wrote about it in a book years earlier…

          On that struck me on a recent re-read of Podkayne: He off-handedly invents the idea of time-displacing raising children from their birth, enabling parents to have kids while they are healthy and young, but still be able to establish their careers. Idea was, have kids in your twenties, put them on ice in suspended animation until you were older and better able to afford raising them.

          Consider the world-warping ideas consequential to that one single concept. You could write a whole series of novels just exploring the full ramifications of just that one idea, and he uses it simply to set the scene and make the background of his world seem alien and exotic. You go through his books, and they are full of that sort of thing, which most readers mistake for merest background material, stage settings.

          • I will confess that I haven’t read any of David Gerrold’s stuff for some time now, but I did read his first half dozen or so and was struck that it seemed to me to be very apparent that each of those books was based on some idea or concept that Heinlein had introduces years earlier.

            • ‘Chess with a Dragon’ was pretty original, IIRC, and ‘Deathbeast’ looks more like a Simak time-travel tourism story with dinosaur safaris, but War against the Chtorr and the Dingiliad were both based on Heinlein to some extent, anyway. And HARLIE {from the novel he was in, not the later use) was sort of Mycrofty, too, sometimes.

          • As noted in Expanded Universe, the first to bring the waterbed to market not only did not attempt to patent it, but sent the first one off the line the Heinlein himself (who could not use it as his floors were not robust enough). It was a Johnny-Come-Lately who subsequently attempted to patent it after it had ganed popularity.

            • Yeesh… I wonder if I need to go back and re-read that, because I don’t remember those particular details. It has been about twenty years since I last saw my copy of that book, sooo… I may have mis-remembered.

      • I’m trying to remember the name of the set of stories – I believe Baen gathered and published them – where earth forces were hired s mercenaries for a race that conquered them. Over time, you discover the deadly threat that the terrains are fighting for their conquerors is a natural mutation that occurs when life gets too easy for the conquering race, and they employ too many shortcuts.

        • Foreign Legions. Created by David Drake, and then had stories by Weber, Flint, Stirling, and somebody else I can’t recall. Weber went back later and wrote a novel where the humans came out on top in the future.

        • Have you tried Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade?

          Great fun and a lesson to all who think “we’re far more advanced.”

  13. I have two complaints about Heinlein, one is that I find his ‘free love’ meme of his later books with everybody having sex with everybody and nobody getting jealous; inheritly unrealistic. It simply goes against human nature. Of course many of those on the left, especially modern feminists, disagree with me on that; but most of those would never admit to agreeing with Heinlein.

    The second complaint, and the reason that this quote; ” Robert Heinlein, who wrote a lot of terrific pulpy action adventure back in the day.” blows my mind, is THERE ISN’T ENOUGH ACTION IN HEINLEIN’S BOOKS! Not to say he didn’t write some good books, but I certainly wouldn’t qualify them as ” terrific pulpy action adventure”. For example, Starship Troopers is a decent read, but at least to me it reads like an outline of what could be an absolutely great story, if he would go back and write the action scenes. I had some other problems with Friday, but it is one of my favorite Heinlein novels, because he didn’t completely gloss over the action scenes, and I certainly wouldn’t call it action-packed.

    • I find his ‘free love’ meme of his later books with everybody having sex with everybody and nobody getting jealous; inheritly unrealistic. It simply goes against human nature.

      I agree. I think there’d be rampant jealousy, broken marriages and friendships, and possibly extreme violence. Even the polygamous marriages, which aren’t “free love,” would tend to fission unless everyoneinvolved loved everyone else fairly deeply. I’ve heard of this working okay in real life with three people, but rarely more.

      THERE ISN’T ENOUGH ACTION IN HEINLEIN’S BOOKS! Not to say he didn’t write some good books, but I certainly wouldn’t qualify them as ” terrific pulpy action adventure”

      What’s more common is characterization, then a Big Idea, then some told-rather-than-shown action scene, then more characerization, another Big Idea, etc. etc. Heinlein wrote very intellectual science fiction; he was a lot like Asimov and Clarke in that regard.

      • “Heinlein wrote very intellectual science fiction; he was a lot like Asimov and Clarke in that regard.”

        Yes, that isn’t necessarily bad, it isn’t my favorite type of science fiction, but that is a personal preference, and he was good at ‘intellectual science fiction.’ My problem is with the false classification, if you wanted ‘pulpy action adventure’ type science fiction, you went with Burroughs, not Heinlein.

        It really is too bad that coauthoring books wasn’t popular back then, could you imagine a book coauthored by Burroughs and Heinlein?

        • I wonder how one could go about computing the amount of action in a novel? Ignoring Heinlein’s juveniles (although some, such as Have Spacesuit … have surprisingly little action, and I think most would find the action in Citizen of the Galaxy rather tame by today’s standards; the bulk of the novel focuses on societal differences and Thorby’s assimilations to them.

          Puppet Masters has a fair amount of action, but the plot pretty much requires it. But Double Star has next to no action, nor have Moon, Stranger or, despite what his critics claim, has Starship Troopers very much action. Heck, Glory Road‘s action sequences probably occupy less than 20% of the novel.

          Imagine any of Heinlein’s essential novels (pick five) as written by Correia, Drake, Ringo, Weber or even Flint and you’d have to double the word counts.

      • Question is, just how much the syndromes you list are cultural artifacts vs. actual hard-wired human nature. I would agree that they certainly appear to be, in some people, but… I can also think of more than a few cases where they appear not to be.

        Some people manage their personal lives with a degree of rationality that I’m not certain I could ever manage. An acquaintance of mine became rendered sterile due to an unfortunate accident as a teenager. He’s married with three or four kids, all born after the marriage. He’s perfectly fine with the whole thing, has participated with his wife in selecting the fathers, and loves all the kids to death, despite not being biologically related at all. If you asked me to point to someone as an example of a good father, he’s someone I’d likely think of.

        People like him are what makes me wonder where the line is between cultural programming and inherent nature. You also have such subcultures as the Hakka, in China, to look at. I’m really dubious of the whole idea that how we’ve arranged things in the majority cultures that are prevalent today are necessarily the only way humans could do it.

    • bearcat — the first probably pending whatever the heck happens as we process “effective contraceptives” through society.
      The second — I realized something while showering (shut up. It’s where I get my best ideas) — to these people any action is “action” and “non stop action.” Remember they think Ancillary Justice is “action adventure space opera.
      Does something happen? Then they class it as action.

      • Ha. You’re obviously a more evolved species of writer. I get most of my ideas whilst shoveling out the kennel!

        • When passing through the shower head, the water partially ionizes, and breathing the air provides fresh new ideas. (at least that is the claim.) Now, the same process could occur in your environment. Ionization is due to the mechanical separation of water into the little streams; if you are asserting your shovel with sufficient enthusiasm, then you would be producing the same ionized atmosphere conducive to new ideas.

          • ^^^^ This. Though I also get good ideas while ironing. Of course, I steam iron, so…

          • huh. I always figured it was because the application of great quantities of hot water to the head, if not solving, at least alleviates the symptoms of a great many of life’s ills. This allows the brain to unknot and the subconscious to flow thoughts to the surface.

            • Actually, the brain generates great ideas in inverse proportion to the proximity of something to record them on.

              (I’m still beating my brains out trying to remember something incredibly funny I thought of on Friday.)

            • Then how do you explain Ringo who if I recall writes outside in winter to keep from overheating? Is it that he is a hothead as I suspect many SJW’s claim?

          • Now you’re just being silly. We all know that it’s the motion that does it. Sitting still is like having a tray of ideas just sitting there. Moving about knocks about and jostles them and gets them into new positions.

      • Captain Comic

        Heinlein had lots of action in his short stories.

        Usually it was “we need to do something or we’ll die” action, but it was there.

        Of course, the CHORFs decry that, too. They much prefer the BETTER (read: them) to come in and do the rescuing…

        • Stephen St. Onge

                  Why, Heinlein stories are full of non-stop action.  A man with fear of heights trying to save a cat on a ledge, an on-call pilot trying to hold his marriage together, a soldier sitting in a room preparing to trigger a bomb if necessary — it’s just like Doc Smith or Robert E. Howard!

          • Isn’t there a Heinlein story (been a very long time since I read many of his shorts) in which the action literally consists of a guy sitting in one place? Sure, he’s using his butt to plug a hole in the craft caused by a small asteroid piercing the ship’s skin …

            • Yep. He sat there and talked to his shipmate until blood loss made him lose consciousness.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              I think that was an Arthur Clarke story. For some reason the title “Gentlemen sit down” comes to mind, but I couldn’t find that title.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard
              • Ain’t that a kick in the butt!

                I must have read that one over forty years ago and It would not have been the first time I attributed a story to a wrong author.

                There’s this one story about a human landing party consisting of two men and a woman. The inhabitants of the planet find humans utterly beneath their notice until the woman (sexist pig author!!! hmmm, to express proper indignation I probably need the full five exclzmztiion points !!) figures out that the humans can fill the function of cats to those aliens … still can’t track that one down The texture doesn’t feel Sheckley, the idea seems like Mack Reynolds or Frederick Brown but neither seems to be the culprit.

      • Given effective immortality the possibility certainly seems reasonable that marital fidelity would be viewed as needlessly restrictive. Heck, plenty of pop intellectuals are saying as much now, with lifespans of a mere eighty-odd years. If you were immortal would you pledge to live your life with one person only?

        Add in the clear fact that marital fidelity has long been a virtue honored more in the breech(es) than in fact.

        I don’t claim to agree with Heinlein on this, but I recognize it may just be me (and a few other weirdos) and our particular preferences.

        • I don’t know. Seems too much trouble to get to know someone else in the breeches, as it were.

          • Given the effort some folk expend about getting into other people’s breeches, you would think there’s a prize inside.

        • Heck, plenty of pop intellectuals are saying as much now, with lifespans of a mere eighty-odd years.

          What a pop intellectual says has more to do with what will gratify their current impulse, rather than rational arguments.

          Add in the clear fact that marital fidelity has long been a virtue honored more in the breech(es) than in fact.

          Rhetorically powerful, but hardly a clear fact that more people cheat than stay loyal to their spouse. Too damn many, yeah, I’ll agree there– but even the most biased selections folks can find aren’t more than 50%.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Yep, “Everybody does it” is one of the favorite lines of people who violate “social norms”. [Frown]

          • One notices that the people who are the most likely to actually have those lifespans — as opposed to the theoretically-thousands-of-years, actually-dies-at-thirty people — are going to be weighed toward the content, rather than the novelty-seeking. There are only so many novelties out there, and a lot of them are dangerous.

          • I trust my use of the pejorative “pop” as modifier of “intellectual” adequately expressed my disdain. To assert “pop intellectuals” are to real intellectuals as military music is to real music would be a grievous insult to military music.

    • Some of us are old enough to have tried out the “Sharing Water” sort of stuff in the sixties, and yeah, it didn’t work all that well. My better half and I have gotten some laughs out of the recent polyamory TV series. As an old Jubal Harshaw family friend said to me, “You can’t fight twenty five years of conditioning.”

      • Heinlein appears to have been very very very lucky in Virginia. The evolutionary psychology people seem to agree that polyamory will rarely work.

      • Is it conditioning, or inherent to the species?
        If I recall Stranger in a Strange Land correctly, wasn’t the first Mars expedition, the one that left Valentine Micheal Smith behind as sole survivor, a deal where everything failed due to one partner in the two couples sent on the mission getting the other partner’s mate pregnant?

        With Heinlein, it’s always damned hard to tell what he’s throwing up for “Make you think”, and what he really believes in. And, given how influential his wives appear to have been on his politics, I have to also wonder what he truly believed vs. what he espoused to make them happy. If his sexual mores were as influenced as his political choices were, what was his real “default” state of mind? Not to mention, what were his attitudes/values before his illness? I know that my grandfather, who had similar vascular issues with his cerebral processes, went through tremendous changes that made his personality virtually unrecognizable from his younger years.

  14. Ran across a factoid recently that some 90% of Democratic politicians were lawyers while the ratio was only 50% on the Republican side. The bulk of the rest were business folk, generally very successful business folk.
    Makes sense when you think about it, and helps explain how the left can hold two mutually exclusive ideas at the same time. To a lawyer reality is whatever he can convince a jury or judge to believe. Everything is subject to debate, and no fact is so firm or obvious that it cannot be overturned with a bit of skilled rhetoric.
    Heinlein wrote pulp vs Heinlein wrote message.
    Sad Puppy instigators are all white Mormon male vs the truth.
    The Hugos represent the best of all fandom vs they belong just to Worldcon.
    See, whatever comes out of their mouths at a given moment must support the narrative, and if the next string of words contradicts what was just spoken, well that’s too bad. Was it consistent with the narrative? If so it must be gospel.
    You cannot change the mind of a True Believer ™ all you can do is point out their logical inconsistencies and outright lies to the majority watching the whole business. Believers count on the public having a very short attention span so resort to sound bites and simplistic drive by attacks, counting on no one looking past the surface to find the truth of the matter in question. As they become more frantic they are less careful in their attacks, more easy to mock and counter with truth. They will collapse under the weight of their lying narrative. Soon I hope. It will not be pretty, but as Sarah likes to say, in the end we win, they lose.

    • That was probably my post from a week or two back, somewhere on one or another of this family of blogs. 90% lawyers and journalists (I think it’s important to note the second type). My point was that their professions depend primarily on the misfortunes of others (legal woes or disputes, and “if it bleeds it leads”).

      But I think your point goes to this same effect, that their life-view can readily encompass contradictions so long as those contradictions further their goals, which are getting a court to see things their way or getting the public glued to the TV/newspaper/blog. Truth and justice are far less important than furthering their own goals. It’s fundamentally selfish and self-serving; quite the contradiction to their usual battle-cry of equality for all.

  15. I think Heinlein was wrong about tyranny– the thing is, knowledge is power, and the more “expensive” the more powerful. The things he identifies as inherently bad are means to induce an imbalance of power– especially when they’re used to promote false information, make the truth extremely expensive.

    When the secondary cost is very low, the inherent value of the information determines the value– think kinda like the “an OK plan executed right now is better than a perfect plan in two weeks” thing in a military fight, because the cost of waiting outweighs the mistakes.

    But it’s not “secrecy” that’s the root– it’s just a method to gain power, to gain an advantage.

    Example: the claims of censorship when someone challenges some factually false history book, or objects to their children being taught as fact a disputed claim. (If I didn’t like our van, I’d gt a bumpersticker that said something like “I’m not sheltering them, I’m keeping you from telling them abnormal things are normal.” But snappier.)

    • “I’m not sheltering them, I’m protecting them from YOU.”

    • Slightly better example:
      the Left’s obsession with spreading information that is not theirs to spread. Be it a truth that the rightful holder doesn’t want spread around (lawsuits to get lists of names and addresses of those who signed petitions to put Bad Thought on the ballot) or a “truth” that is not (the high school trick of claiming whoever isn’t sleeping around is homosexual).

      • “Information wants to be free.” Particularly if its information like how to circumvent the DRM on some video game/song/movie I pirated off the interwebz.

        Or the recent uproar where some Gannet Newspaper beeotch in upstate NY decided to release the names and addresses of all the concealed carry permit holders in the county. If I reall, everything was just peachy until some blogger released the news-beeotch’s name/address/phone number/picture and a Google Streetview of her house.

        That was a trangression, because the ID info of journalists DOES NOT want to be free. It wants to hide, and forcing it out of its comfy nest makes it all butt hurty.

      • Be it a truth that the rightful holder doesn’t want spread around

        Look at the shenanigans going on under the “John Doe” warrants in Wisconsin. Look at the Milwaukee DA’s response:

        Rogue DA Breaks His Silence; Threatens Critics with Prosecution
        By David French
        If a prosecutor wants to assure the public he’s not out of control, perhaps he shouldn’t suggest that critics could be prosecuted…

    • I have actually gotten a chiding letter from someone because I observed that someone had gotten a fact wrong — that was as good as calling someone a liar.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        But of course, anybody who mistakenly thought Saddam had nukes (or wanted to have nukes) was a liar because he was “mistaken”. [Very Big Sarcastic Grin]

        Seriously, one guy on Baen’s Bar still considered George W Bush a liar even when he accepted the idea that Saddam’s actions encouraged US & UK intelligence groups that he wanted (or had) nukes.

        His idea of “liar” included the idea that you were a liar if you thought something was true and it turned out to be not-true.

        Idiots. [Frown]

        • By that token, Teddy Chappaquiddick was lying when he went to the floor of the senate to warn of the vast swaths of American troops being sent to their deaths from Saddam’s WMD.

          Well, actually, in that instance …

      • /headdesk

        No, only if you say they reasonably had to have known it was wrong…..

        But feeeeeeelz.

        • Well, in ethics, deliberately misinforming yourself means you are lying, in a state of affected ignorance. That’s if anything worse than lying wittingly.

  16. Sarah Hoyt wrote:

            However, the party line requires them to hold two thoughts in their head at the same time: that the sad puppies side wants “meaningless” action adventure**. AND Heinlein, whom we “idolize” (guys, you do know that “genuflect” and PBOH are sort of fond jokes on our side, right? No, never mind. you don’t. Humor ablated when you went over to the cool kids’ table. You only laugh on command anymore.) wrote some “wonderful pulpy stuff” but Heinlein also wrote message.

            No, Sarah, it isn’t two thoughts at the same time.  It isn’t even two thoughts.  It’s two separate recordings.  First one is played, then the other.  Joan Didion writes of this in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, saying it’s like watching the juke box stop playing one record, and start playing another.

  17. Pingback: Here is the thing — he wanted to shock people into thinking, not give them answers. | Mars Is

  18. Sarah, I hate to disagree. I really do. I like you, and I respect you. But I think you managed to both make the right point and totally miss it when it comes to message fiction. Then again I am decidedly less than sober.

    https://marsascendant.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/here-is-the-thing-he-wanted-to-shock-people-into-thinking-not-give-them-answers/

  19. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    The “thing” about bringing up Heinlein is that it’s a “common feature” in discussions with “progressives”.

    Progressives seem to believe that others are “blind followers” of “important leaders”.

    I’ve seen it in discussions where “to prove a point”, some progressive will bring up some Republican (or close relative of a Republican) believing something so “of course” other conservatives will “fall in line” because “some” Republican supports a progressive idea.

    Heinlein is a big name in “past” SF/F so us “poor stuck in the past folks” will come over to the “proper side” if Heinlein said something that supports the “Good Men’s” position.

    Of course, this also explains why they “focus” on people like Vox Day or Larry.

    The “mass of people” are simply followers of “Great Evils”. Of course, the “mass of people” would support them if the “Great Evils” didn’t exist. [Sad Smile]

    • Progressives seem to believe that others are “blind followers” of “important leaders”.

      Good ol’ projection… truth is progressives generally hold more political power because they do tend to fall in line behind their leaders. If not precisely in lockstep, at least in all pointing in more or less the same direction.

      Meanwhile on the conservative side, trying to get everyone to follow a single leader is like herding cats in the woods, so political power tends to get dissipated.

  20. Something you touched on in a minor way is a major source of irritation for me. I detest people who tell me what I believe. The arrogance of it is overwhelming.
    I do not belong to any political group. My feels pretty much amount to “A pox on them all.” – Neither do I attend cons or belong to any groups such as serious gamers.
    Yet people feel free to categorize me from my writings, because – they are SURE whatever a writer’s character believe is what THEY believe.
    Similarly I had a reviewer go into a deep discussion of why he thought space travel would not progress upon the timeline as written in my books.
    It’s FICTION. It was not meant to be predictive. It’s meant to be pleasant and interesting to read.
    The idea fiction must serve reality is at the heart of this conflict of which we are speaking. To suggest a future that isn’t an extension of their political beliefs is treason to the socialistic. Everything must serve the revolution whether it is FUN or not. Look at communist countries. They all suffer from being too serious about themselves and having no damn sense of humor at all.
    To all of them I say go sit and do frightened self criticism with your comrades and denounce each other. People having a good time don’t need your dark reality.

    • Something you touched on in a minor way is a major source of irritation for me. I detest people who tell me what I believe.

      It’s especially bad when they’re not just wrong, or twisted, but so wrong that you can’t even tell how the heck they got to that conclusion.

  21. The literal phrasing of the SJWs’ pledge isn’t that they’ll not ever read a Puppy book. It’s that they won’t read it whilst the Hugo voting is going on, but they’ll totes mcgoats read it later. (If you can’t tell, I’m not believing that line, and neither are the Puppies’ nominees.)

    Link on my name to Lou Antonelli’s nasty, brutish and short interaction with Deirdre Moen on that topic.

  22. *small voice from under the copy-editor’s desk…* “Um, Sarah, I mean, Ms. Hoyt, ah, Mrs. Hoyt…about this opening line: ‘it was a dark and vacuum-y night…’?”

  23. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    I think that one reason the CHORF’s are so angry, aggressive and nasty about losing the Hugo nominations this year is that they have shrunk so much that they really don’t have any thing else left.

  24. Mr. Gerrold’s vast cry of butt hurt pissed me off today, so I wrote this:
    http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2015/04/sad-puppies-butthurt-ening.html

    I also wrote this armored-gauntlet-to-the-face for all the Hugo SJW Purists and other shitheads out there.
    http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2015/04/sad-puppies-logo-ening.html

    Sarah said above this whole thing is about status. It totally is, same as the death of Fine Art was all about status. Its also about destroying the wider culture and stealing money.

    I therefore nominate a painting called “Voice of Fire” as the graphic representation of Hugo SJW Purists. It represents power, cultural destruction and money perfectly. Check the picture on my blog or google it, you’ll see.

    • In the “everyone’s tastes are different” department, I absolutely loved The Man Who Folded Himself back when I read it in the local library in the seventies. I recently reread it and it mostly holds up quite well. In my opinion, of course.

      • I take “everyone’s tastes are different” as a given. The problem comes when things like Voice of Fire become the dominant form in a branch of art.

        It takes an advanced degree in Fine Art to appreciate a red racing stripe down a field of blue. The number of people who will see that painting and experience anything other than shock at the pricetag ($1.7 -million- bucks) can probably be counted on your fingers and toes. It does not take an advanced degree to appreciate Da Vinci. Or M.C. Escher.

        When all you’ve got to look at in the art museum is paintings like Voice of Fire, nobody goes there. Because its fucking boring and stupid without five years of university telling you the racing stripe is Important.

        Too much of modern Art and Lit is “Transgression” for its own sake. My values and culture have been transgressed against quite enough at this point. I’d like to see some Inspiration instead.

        • There was a comment on someone’s blog where a person escorted a group of early elementary children to a modern art exhibit. The comment from more than one of them ran to “this is ugly” and “this is art?”. The emperor indeed has no clothes.

        • I found the Voice of Fire interesting. When I took the tour, the guide pointed out that the colours (Canadian museum) were picked to cause exhaustion of certain receptors in the eyes giving an interesting effect when you stared at it then shifted your gaze a bit. (still not worth 1.7 mil though).

  25. Another thought. I wonder if what we are seeing isn’t a result of the corporatation(I think I made this word up, but I think the meaning should be clear) of the publishing industry. Big corporations are, inevitably, caught up in Pournelle’s Iron Law, part B and the people in them are more likely caught up in the same bureaucratic crap that happen in Socialist countries. Since big companies lose the feedback mechanisms and dedication of the founders, and they are not democracies, if they don’t promote from within they lose their focus. They start to look and act more like Communist countries. This is especially the case if senior management comes from the Ivy Covered Snob Factory ideologies.

    • That’s certainly part of the explanation. Back in the day, a publisher got into it starting with a grubby office and hired motivated young people to train up — some had degrees, some didn’t, but the owner looked for the spark and ability to read and write clearly. Now the Big 5 are part of media conglomerates, and seen by upper management as small parts best used to groom up properties that can be leveraged into movies and TV. New hires are in accordance with HR policies, with academic certification which today means anti-free-enterprise programming, especially in the humanities. Decisions about what to publish are based on similarity to what has done well recently, with copies of copies of copies getting the greenlight. The investment a publisher makes is small compared to a movie production, but the evaluation process is becoming similar. Since the Big 5 dominate markets, they put out the same politically-screened pablum and are puzzled when sales decline and people stop reading to enjoy other media.

    • Oh, yes. It’s undoubtedly a part of it. It’s what the push model of distribution is all about. Books can get bought and published and probably awarded without a single person but the copyeditor reading it. You don’t find that in small companies like baen.

    • ..and throwing another log on the fire, the two major wealth-generating industries left in California despite the severely anti-business environment are Tech (Bay Area) and Hollywood (LA.) Both are reliant on small companies and fluid teams of freelancers to create their new products. These teams and tiny startups escape scrutiny of the diversity warriors and avoid the curse of bureaucracy — they come together based on merit and creative spark, not degrees and diversity checklists. As the HR and diversity warriors get more powerful, they are trying to reach down and control even these teams, and you see tech companies (which tried to get diversity numbers by staffing HR with women and minorities, then discovered HR was killing their ability to manage by productivity) being attacked by jesse Jackson et al., and soon there will be efforts to reduce the role of the Indian and Chinese in-migrants in favor of blacks and Latinos. There’s never been a more color-unconscious group than tech people, but that doesn’t matter when there’s booty to be distributed. Of course the competitiveness of companies that knuckle under will decline, and overseas firms will benefit. That doesn’t matter so long as the right people get the loot.

      • It’s amazing that EEOC makes people unequal.

      • “soon there will be efforts to reduce the role of the Indian and Chinese in-migrants in favor of blacks and Latinos.”

        Soon? Got news for you, it’s been going on since the 90s.

        The State and Local manager for a Fortune 5 IT company showed up then before the “Information Technology” sub committee of the AL legislature and was asked by their answer to Jesse, Rep Alvin Holmes, how many “minorities” the company employed, “and Indians don’t count.”

        I expect that to really take off now that Bobby Jindal is politically rising.

  26. “If you’re going to war against someone, the least you can do is read them. At least Larry.”

    “Correia you magnificent b@st@rd, I read your book! “

  27. We should be lucky it’s not something like cutting out their mother’s hearts.

    About a month ago I read a book I’d gotten in the “freebie” bag at the San Diego World Fantasy Conference a few years ago. The book was Mayan December. In it, global warming is solved (in the past, anyway) by cutting out the heart of the corrupt Aztec leader. The modern characters are also worried about global warming, but don’t do anything to stop it, at least before the last page of the book. (The global warming fears themselves were almost literally grafted on; the story would be going on, and then someone would have a one-line thought about global warming, and then the author returned to the story.)

    • So, in that universe, the Mayans are responsible for the end of the Medieval Warm Period, then.
      In which case, by SJW logic, the Spanish were justified in subjugating them.

      • But the Evil Spanish aggressed on the poor, innocent, misunderstood Aztecs. The rumors of them offering human sacrifice and cutting out hearts were grossly exaggerated. Colonialism! Cultural interference!

  28. Friday was one of the first Heinlein I read and I haven’t re-read it. What I remember so clearly is that the book was about “What happens if we define some people as not-people?” If he provided an answer to that it was, “Bad stuff happens if you do that, don’t do it, the whole idea is absurd.”

    • Friday was an assassin/spy/merc/whatever, that was “made” for a purpose rather than being born. Much of the story was her learning to be a person, rather than a tool. Did it have a message? Oh heck yeah, but there was a story there, not just a preachy message.

      I’ve got something of a soft spot for Friday, because she tends to emulate some characters in my head (from long before I ever read the book) even if their reactions to similar stimuli aren’t the same.

      • I didn’t like Friday. I didn’t like a lot of Heinlein.

        I think the problem was that I was a teenager when I read them. However, when I reread The Cat Who Walks Through Walls last year, I still didn’t like it, though I think I get it now. Farnham’s Freehold, which I reread maybe three years ago, however, was definitely much more likable. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress has always been on my favorites list. So I’m hesitating on rereading Heinlein.

        • Cat who walks through walls is NOT one of my favorites, and never will be.
          Try The Door Into Summer, Puppet Masters, Methuselah Children, Revolt in 2100.

        • Oh, and Friday grows on you. Like fungus. No, trust me.

          • Friday is a good warning for those of us living in fannish society – ie, you cannot trust that liking people and knowing them for along time, or doing them favors, makes them trustworthy, or sharers of your ethics.

          • Stephen St. Onge

                    With Friday, I always had the feeling that there were things going on off-stage and under the surface that I wasn’t getting, but which were clearly influencing the plot.

                    Have to reread it sometime.

        • I would suggest eschewing anything of his before 1948 and after Moon. There undeniably are good works outside this range but pretty much nothing bad or even weak within it. While some of the juveniles may have dated poorly (although I recently re-read Rocketship Galileo via audiobook and found much of the earlier tarnish had worn off) nothing here requires great investment and all has a certain enjoyment to it.

          Once you’ve consumed that segment of Heinlein’s work you will find many of the later material more enjoyable because your understanding of him as an author will provide insights, perspectives and connections. For example, as you liked Moon you should probably try The Rolling Stones for a look at some of the characters and developments post-independence (even though the book was published fourteen years prior.)

          Of his juveniles the two essential ones are Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and Citizen of the Galaxy, although The Star Beast has strong arguments as a close third.

          A review of his bibliography suggests that (unlike these days) a Hugo nomination is a good indicator of a book (of Heinlein’s) being worth reading.

    • Ah, but “What happens if…” is pretty much the basis for any Science Fiction story. The concern I have in the SF marketplace, at least before Amazon and e-pub, was that the stories sucked. Just getting beat over the head with “see, this is a bad thng; bad things happening make everyone bad; since we are all bad, we should all die and make everything better” without one whit of enteraining story just doesn’t float my boat.

      That is why I ended up pretty much exclusively reading Baen before I even realized Jim Baen’s mark of excellence was on the books I was buying. Now there’s epub, and lots more choices, and guess what’s selling best over on Amazon? Not the remaining big name house crap, but lots of stuff that reads to me as if it would be at home at Baen.

      “What happens if debt service becomes heritable, leading to indentured servitude in an advanced society” or “What happens if it turns out the Moon is a sentient warship?” or “What happens if rulers grow clones so they can transplant their brains and be immortal?” or any of several versions (including Mad Mike’s latest, which is very nicely done) of “What happens if a modern military unit gets transported back in time / to an alternate Earth / to a distant planet as slave soldiers?” are all of interest to me IF THEY HAVE A GOOD STORY!

      Ahem. Sorry for shouting, there, but I think you get my drift.

    • The experiment has of course been done before, and many times. “Slavery.” There’s no reason to think that it will turn out much better with engineered slaves.

  29. “We should be lucky it’s not something like cutting out their mother’s hearts.”

    Not at all. If they cut out their mothers hearts we would get rid of both their mothers (who raised them that way) and them (when they were jailed or executed for the act). A double win.

    • Now that’s unfair. I’m sure many of them had perfectly good mothers who were stunned at how brainwashed they came back from the leftist seminaries (aka universities).

  30. I have a problem with your ***footnote–It should have a MWAH HA HA HA (rubs hands over and over and over) at the end. After all, you ARE The Evil Princess of Evil.

  31. MadRocketSci

    Have the Hugos been voted on yet? It seems like it’s been all Hugos, all the time, since January.

    • Well, certainly for a month. And you’re not the only one tired of this.

    • One problem is that because of all the media coverage we’ve been playing defense. I just realized that I hadn’t seen a glittery hoo haw in months. Have we lost our nerves. I mean these people are a bunch of fat ugly middle ages toads and do nothing but tromp around bellowing galumph, galumph. We need to take back the initiative

  32. Even if in the end, we win, I’m dreadfully afraid about what kind of country my three year old son (& any of the much hoped-for others) will inherit. That’s the thing about having children: Unless you were an utterly worthless person before, it burns a certain kind of silliness and selfishness right out of you. That’s probably a large part of the left so hates motherhood and wants to either get rid of it or deform it (a la Melissa “All your child are belong to us” Harris-Perry. Their ideology is so fundamentally silly that it’s difficult for it to survive something like that…unless of course you get them dependent on government cheese. Many people (maybe even me) would sign onto whatever ideas you need them to if it was a requirement to feed their kids.

    Unfortunately, that end could be a good ways away. What will my son suffer in the meantime? I’m already a major thoughtcriminal, in idea if not stature, for having this crazy belief consistent with every society on Earth up until the late twentieth century that marriage is between men and women. What will he suffer because of that alone?

    • Teach him kung fu and shooting, logic and science, it won’t matter a damn what kind crap he inherits. He’ll kick it into shape.

      We inherited the Cold War didn’t we?

    • My thinking also, Zaklog – but you can counter a lot of it. Remember – the ‘reality-based community’ depends on ignoring reality as much as possible. So what you need to show your son (and other children) IS that reality.

      Take your kid(s) on road trips when they’re old enough to manage it – overnights to points of historic interest, things like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, or the Grand Canyon, the Kennedy Space Center and the like, depending where you are. Heck, run them through car plant tours, power plant tours, dairy tours (see where milk REALLY comes from!) dam tours, brewery tours, plant tours and the like, and tell them how everything’s interconnected.

      http://www.factorytour.com/ is a good resource for that.

      Talk about what it took to get this country where it is. And while you’re driving, don’t let them stick their face in a book or an IPad all the time. Tell them stories of the settlers crossing the plains, or history of what you’re going to go see.

      This is very effective on a midwinter morning crossing Illinois headed to St. Louis. We were on a short time-frame, so it was a case of pick up at school, drive until I couldn’t, find cheap motel in middle of nowhere, sleep 6 hours, and drive on again…) We watched the land change, and I told him how it would take settlers a whole day to cover a distance we drove in 15 minutes, and all they had waiting for them at the end of the day was a space to graze their cattle and horses – everything else (fire and food and bedding) they carried with them. And they had to do it day after day…

      Encourage their passions. Son liked flying, so we spent time watching planes at a local airport. When he got old enough (10), we spent some money on ‘flying lessons’ every so often – emphasizing that flying was fun, but extremely, EXTREMELY unforgiving of mistakes. Pretty much every active small airport’s got a flight school of some sort. (Plus, I got to ride along in the back. Win-win!) The instructors seem to love kids who are REALLY interested in the subject – and my son is rather proud of the headset he got for Christmas one year (Aircraft Spruce and Specialty has a lot of them, and they’re not terribly expensive) and his logbook. Total overall was maybe $600 over a couple of years – and something like that gave him a lot of self-confidence. He’s not a pilot by any stretch (our finances simply wouldn’t allow training so he could solo…) but he knows how to read a map and use a GPS to navigate – and those are real accomplishments that build real self-esteem, not the ‘everyone wins!’ stuff.

      Now he’s 16. He’s doing better in school than I ever did, and wants to be (for some reason) a pharmacist. He’s looking at getting basic college work out of the way locally, and then possibly using a Navy program for the post-grad work.

      http://www.navy.com/joining/college-options/hscp.html

      Knowledge is power, after all!

  33. The water table is too high here for a basement, how about a gazebo instead?

  34. I want “In the end, we win, they lose” on a coffee cup. And as far as entertainment goes, *this* here nerd just wants to be entertained. I’m too old and crotchety to be “improved” by those SJW dorks (though sadly I work in an industry where they have pretty much taken over). So rock on, Sarah, and thanks for expressing things that some of us can’t easily articulate anymore.

  35. Completely Off Topic:
    I notice that the Tribeca Film Festival is honoring the 40th Anniversary of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    Pause a moment to contemplate the results of a Monty Python Life of Brian treatment of a certain 6th Century Middle Eastern prophet.

    • Nobody is brave enough to do that today. We’d need to find a group of totally crazy people. Especially for the actors, after all the production crew and director might be able to keep their identities hidden (well, they’d probably get doxxed in no time even if they tried, but maybe they could be duped – or manage to dupe themselves – into thinking that), some of them anyway. An open challenge online? No, with that movie its production would have to remain a big secret as long as possible or it would surely be stopped by some authority or another. Er, maybe criminals? Bikers, gangs, any group which might want to show off how tough they are by openly challenging a group everybody is scared of and wouldn’t be too worried of possible jail time or death threats… 😀

  36. And for those who are going to bleat “but incest” — do you have any idea how you’d feel if you time traveled to see your mother when you were a few thousand years old?

    Don’t forget, a couple thousand years old, but looking about 30 and feeling about 20. Plus, the fact that she was pregnant, which is the only reason either one of them allowed themselves to go for it.

    Looking at old photos of my mother, she doesn’t appear to be my type, physically, with a rather sharp-featured face. Although the reddish mahogany hair she had may have changed my opinion.

    • My mom, by her HS graduation pic from the mid-30s, and her wedding picture with Father in 1942, was a real hottie, and very stylish.

      We forget that our parents were also young at one point. As were our grandparents… and so on.

      • I grew up with pictures of my parents all over the place*– still didn’t convey the whole idea that they were young, I think you have to have enough of a difference to recognize there’s a qualitative difference between “how I am” and “how I was” for that– but on looks my dad is definitely not my type, and I don’t know how mom thought herself unfeminine.

        Several very important personality traits as expressed in adulthood, yes, dad showed those to be attractive, but…. let’s just say dad’s grandchildren come by their being little toots quite honestly!

        * Both grandfathers were their generation’s version of tech-geeks on a budget. Did you know it’s possible for guys whose technical training consisted of Army Basic to repair cameras, and keep them working, with no spare parts?

        • If you understand the mechanism, and it’s not all that difficult once you see it in operation and take them apart a time or two, they’re fairly easy to repair. Tech-geeks love to tech, after all!

          And cannibalization of equipment is a time-honored military tradition. In the late ’70s where I was stationed there was one aircraft called the ‘Can Bird’ – parts were always being taken off it to keep others operational. The ordered part would eventually arrive, be put on the Can bird, then… yanked again as need be.

          • Which is why them not having seen the mechanism except for after it was broken, and managing to restore it to working order, with only one unit, is so awe-inspiring to me.

            Even if I figure one of them was given a “broken” one as stealth charity, it’s unlikely that both did and it’s still impressive.

            • Wow. That is impressive…

              • The one that could have possibly gotten a “broken” one was also the guy who regularly fixed the xerox machine at his job…where he was the janitor. It was such new technology that he got permission to make a copy of a paper and take it home to show his kids. One of them tried to describe how awesome it was to have the original and the copy that had been printed right there in town….

                Man, we’ve gotten a lot of tech in the last century.

                • That we have – and a whole lot of it is unappreciated or ignored as ‘background’. Power to pretty much every house in the nation? Telephones, likewise? We live a life that would be SF 50 years ago, and only dimly forecast maybe 30 years ago. (I remember early on-line services – we’ve really come a long way from The Source and Compuserve in the early 80s…)

                  And then to go from computers and cell phones being fairly expensive to ubiquitous and almost disposable in less than thirty years? Didn’t see THAT coming…

                  And what my son will be seeing/doing/using in 30 years I can’t imagine…

                  • And on the computer front, consider that historically, it takes about 20 years for a computer’s processing power to go from supercomputer to desktop, and ten more to go from desktop to phone. While the current processor tech seems to be bumping against a hard limit, some new tech, such as laying out patterns of carbon nanotubes to make the processors, appear able to continue this trend for a while longer, so how does everything change when your PHONE can hold intelligent conversations, identify things you’ve never seen before, diagnose most illnesses, help you read other languages, and more things we can’t even think of right now? This is only 25-30 years away.

          • aka “Hanger Queen”.