Glamor and Fairy Gold

One of my friends recently pointed out I write really well about fairies. I’m not sure I write really well about them, but I do write about them. And my fairies/elves are not exactly according to legend. Well, they sort of are. Before you tell me I stole my first book’s plot wholesale from Tam Lin, let me point out no I didn’t, I stole it wholesale from Diana Wynne Jones’ Fire and Hemlock which in turn harked back to Tam Lin. So. There. (And before anyone gets up in arms, what I stole was actually the legend-structure, not the story.)

But most of what I write about fairies and elves is based on the current world and the structure of glamor, of “cool” of “positional good.”

After all, the one thing I gleaned from fairy tales is that fairies have glamor. They’re dangerous, inscrutable, often evil, but humans keep jumping through their hoops, regardless of experience, because they want to be “beautiful” and “cool” like elves.

I don’t write to lecture. (I write blogs for that occasionally, but even that is too much effort just to lecture.) Writing for me is a process of identifying one thread of thoughts going on in my head and to isolate it and figure out what my beliefs/thoughts/conclusions are in isolation. In other words and simpler, I usually write to find out what I think. (That is, my subconscious is way smarter than I am and attached to an idiot.)

So I don’t write my novels/short stories to “reflect the situation today.” But it occurs to me that I do write to try to digest what I see in a form that I can think of more clearly or differently. Or in yet other words, this is sort of like lighting an object differently before you draw it.

I was wondering – because friend asked – from where I draw inspiration for my stories about elves. And it occurred to me that it comes from me: from life. And that I who grew up without fairy tales until I was 16 or so (when I made a conscious point of reading them) keep coming back to elves for a reason.

It occurred to me I’m trying to figure out something in the real world. And that maybe that thing in the real world is the same thing that originated the early stories and legends about fairies, which perhaps speak to something about the human condition. (Bear with me.)

In the stories fairies are glamorous. They can make humans see, hear, believe things that aren’t there. You need magic or some other supernatural force to see them as they really are. They can trick you – almost always do – and pay you with dirt and rocks that you think are gold. And they are incapable of doing some basic things humans do. Humans under their influence also become very odd.

If you substitute “cool kids” or “elite” or “went to the best colleges” or other social markers of the sort for elves, the story is entirely too familiar.

My friend Cedar, today, posted about one of those lies that “everybody knows” and that are absolutely not true. Not only not true, but risible on their face. The lie is that Heinlein was a misogynist, which is not only a lie but a whole construct, an artifact of lies. And one that humans, nonetheless seem to buy wholesale.

I’m not going to repeat the argument. Cedar made it. But I’m going to quote what she said:

When the woman who had first made the titular accusation was questioned by multiple voices in startlement, she finally admitted that she knew it to be so, because she had read it in Asimov’s biography. Wait a minute, was my reply, you mean that man that Eric Leif Davin in his recent book Partners in Wonder wrote this about? ” Isaac Asimov is on record for stating that male fans didn’t want females invading their space.  According to the letter columns of the time, it seems that the only fan who held that opinion was… Isaac Asimov.  A number of males fans welcomed their female counterparts.  As did the editors, something Davin goes to great lengths to document.” (You can read more on the women that other women ignore here at Keith West’s blog) So this woman has taken a known misogynist’s claim that another man is a misogynist without questioning and swallowed it whole.

I run into this again and again. In a panel, once, questioning accusations of misogyny directed at Heinlein I got back “Well, obviously he was. His women wear aprons.” I then got really cold and explained that in Portugal, growing up, when clothes were expensive (how expensive. People stole the wash from the line. Imagine that happening here. People stealing clothes. Just clothes. Not designers, not leather, just clothes, including much-washed-and-mended pajamas.) we always wore aprons in the kitchen. And Heinlein was writing when clothes were way more expensive, relatively. (I buy my clothes at thrift stores. So unless it’s a favorite pair of jeans or something, I don’t wear aprons.) The difference is not “putting women in their place.” The difference is the cost of clothes.

And this is why I don’t get put on the “Heinlein, threat or menace” panels any more.

But 90% of the women who make the accusation that Heinlein hated women or couldn’t write women have never read him. They’ve just heard it repeated by people with “authority.” The cool kids. And so they can’t be reasoned out of this assumption, because it’s not an assumption. It’s glamor. (The other ten percent, usually, were primed to think he was a misogynist and read the beginning of a book and didn’t “get” some inside joke. Like, you know, the getting married after a tango. Which was pure fan fodder. They wouldn’t have thought anything of it if they hadn’t been primed. But they’d been primed. They were under a glamor to see what wasn’t there.)

We’ve seen the same effect over and over again with people who comment on blogs (clears throat) both cultural and political, and even historical and that, no matter how often they’re proven wrong, keep coming back and stating the same thing they said in different words, as though that would make it true. They seem incapable of processing challenges, doubts, or even factual disproof of their charges.

Glamor. They’re under an enchantment. Something has affected them so hard, they can’t think, but can only repeat what they were told.

It’s not true, of course. Or not quite.

The enchantment of the “cool kids” is the glamor of social approbation and of opinions as positional goods.

People who have bought into an hierarchy of opinions, with some of the opinions “politically correct” no matter how factually wrong, have agreed to put themselves under the arbitrary power of others, and to subsume their reason and thought to them.

In other words, they have agreed not to think or see for themselves, because if they do they will be cast out of the “cool kids” and treated as pariahs or the enemy. And they’ve seen what happens to those (us) the calumnies, the big lies, the personal character destruction.

They’re so scared of it, that they’ll do anything and say anything and believe anything. Including changing their opinions on a dime, as the opinions of the “in crowd” change.

It’s hard to break enchantments. Particularly enchantments as ambitious as this, which attempts to make an entire culture see what isn’t there and ignore what is.

To cast it, it required tight control of mass media and gate keeping of culture, both powers that are fast running out on the gatekeepers, as the internet replaces their magic.

Some magic remains. Those organs of mass media that still have whatever power like their sources to have credentials: “editor at—” or even better “won prestigious award.”

Those awards, those positions are things to conjure with. Which is why the fight over the awards matters to the establishment, the “cool kids”. No matter how debased in the real world, those awards help them cast glamor over the unwary.

Which is why the screaming and the moaning, the gnashing of teeth and the politics of personal destruction over an award that has no monetary benefit.

Because it’s an aid to a glamor that’s fast fading.

Those involved would do well to keep their minds clear on two things: the instruments of the glamor are fading. You can’t keep them from fading, short of the sort of cataclysm that plunges the world into a medieval reenactment. And that too will take their instruments away.

They’re fading because once the genii of tech is out of the bottle you can’t shove it back in, wish or legislate you ever so hard.

For those caught in their glamor, aware that they’re not seeing quite the truth but echoing the stories because they’re so afraid of falling from grace and being cast in the outer darkness where they become “non human” and can be attacked and reviled with impunity, I say “Remember the old fairytales.”

The elves never deal straight. A lot of you are hangers-on who will never, ever, ever be rewarded for your loyalty. You might not be attacked, but you also will never be taken into the seats of power.

This much is true: hangers on and lickspittles trade their birthright for nothing. In a highly hierarchical society (which theirs is) abasing yourself buys you nothing but more abasement.

And even the rewards they seem to give you are nothing but rocks and mud they disguise with glamor.

You’re fighting a war on the side of the establishment who has convinced you that they’re the underdog. Everything you think you know about the opponents is a lie. But you’re so afraid of falling from grace that you won’t think for yourself, because that might make you an unperson.

Only you can free yourself.

Only you can think, reason, and see for yourself, without glamour.

And all you need is courage.

Open your eyes.

458 responses to “Glamor and Fairy Gold

  1. Fairies??? You can’t use that term anymore. The currently approved phrase (subject to change, without notice and retroactively as necessary) is “mortality-impaired.”

    Please get with the double-think.

    • Wait, don’t you mean ‘differently-eared?’ or perhaps ‘wing-endowed.’

      • I say you and RES are bad people. I owe you some fishies….

        • “Alive without breath; As cold as death; Never thirsting, ever drinking; Clad in mail never clinking. Drowns on dry land, Thinks an Island Is a mountain; Thinks a fountain Is a puff of air. So sleek, so fair! What a joy to meet! We only wish To catch a fish, So juicy-sweet!”

          • …I AM MURLOC!

            …wait, no, that was literature, not a gaming reference. ^^;;

            • Oh L-rd. Now I’m going to hear that noise in my head all day. ICK!!!

              • Sara the Red

                MRGLMRGLMRGL!

                I still wish an acquaintance of mine had gotten around to dressing her twins as murlocs before they got too old. Would have been adorable…

                • That’s the sound on my phone for “alert I really really need to respond to ASAP.”

                  Amazing how it’s hard to ignore.

                • And she goes and makes it worse. That does it. THAT DOES IT!!!

                  Nobody like me
                  Everybody hates me
                  I’m gonna eat some worms…

                  • No, no, no…
                    Nobody likes me,
                    Everybody hates me,
                    THINK I’LL GO EAT WORMS!
                    Big fat juicy ones,
                    Little teeny scrawny ones,
                    Mix’m all together and eat’m like that.

                    That’s how I learned it, and it must be right, because we all sang it just like that. Not “I’m gonna eat some worms…” That’s perverse.

                    • Birthday girl

                      No, no, no, no, no, it’s this:

                      Everybody hates me
                      Nobody likes me
                      Guess I’ll go eat wo-o-orms
                      Big fat juicy ones
                      Teeny tiny squirmy ones
                      Down by the garden ga-a-ate

                      First you bite the heads off
                      Then you bite the tails off
                      Then you throw the skins aw-a-ay
                      Big fat juicy ones
                      Teeny tiny squirmy ones
                      Down by the garden ga-a-ate

                  • Sara the Red

                    Yes, well, a woman with as many younger siblings as I’ve got, and no children of my own as yet to torment, I just couldn’t resist…

              • This should help:

          • Sounds like a scene from the hobbit

        • Did you take G’kar’s fishies?

          • “This is G’Kar’s door. This is G’Kar’s room. This is G’Kar’s dinner. What part of this progression escapes you?”

      • “Differently-eared” is a crass stereotype, demeaning and othering — typical of the slurs employed by the fairophobic. In reality (well, not reality reality) the Fair Folk have ears little different than do mortals (especially with some of the lobecraft being practiced by your plastic surgeons) and should not have such minor cosmetic distinctions pointed out as if some mark of difference.

        Fairies have the same sort of ears as (so-called) normal people, only better: more acute, much cuter and with wider audible range.

      • Aren’t most renditions of Faeries also vertically challenged?

        • Depends on the version of Fae. Some are tall and regal. Others are tiny.

          • And some are terrifying: the Bean Sidhe, the Calliach ban, the Wild Hunt (depends on legend).

            • Yes, and I’ve enjoyed incorporating that into my stories, that it’s not a monolithic society.

              • Part of the problem of being familiar with legends is that I can’t really correct my kids when they call mermaids “fairies,” and the much longer “well, yes, they are fay, but the special name for their group is mermaid” gets ignored as too long.

                Amusingly, they do not consider “Bubble Guppies” to be the same group as Princess Ariel.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              And their “gifts” have a sting attached as the Main Character of The Perilous Gard found out, fortunately after she rejected the gift. [Grin]

            • Why do I have this image of an exquisitely dressed man, 6′ 6″, well muscled, kicking down the door and announcing, “I’m here to redecorate. Any questions?”

            • Highlander

              The Irish countryside, tranquil and tame during the day, can be unsettling at night. There are not the lamps and lights we have in the States. The folds and furrows in the landscape, the copses and groves and wild woods, the running waters and pools, the winds and rustlings and clouds and squalls all combine to take the land back hundreds of years.

              Yup. Terrifying.

              • Maybe your neck of America. We don’t have much light pollution in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and our twilight barking is the weird wailing of the coyote pack in the back 40.

                America is HUGE. And diverse ( real diversity, not the useless intersectional feminist variety )

                • I take your point. I live in a city in the high desert and its lights fill the night — which effectively ruins my astronomy hobby.

                  But Ireland has an overlay of ruins and fallen walls and obscured paths that go back a couple thousand years. There is a sense, in some, of folks and Folks having just been there. But the wild is still and always there.

                  And I do love me the crying of los coyotes at night. Let’s you know that something is afoot.

            • The Wild Hunt can be terrifying, but they could be a lot of fun to hunt with too. Check out Karen Myers books.

            • Banshees are your friends!

              Okay, we’re not your party friends… unless it’s a wake party….

          • What’s more, some of them are capable of size-shifting. so they can be both.

        • Joe Wooten

          Some swish along….

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Actually, according to Puck (as reported by Kipling), the Good Folk don’t like being called Fairies.

      I’m more concerned with what Puck thinks than I am concerned about what the Politically Correct people think. [Wink]

      • You’re trying to say you give a Puck?

      • I will admit to not having gotten around to reading Pook’s Hill yet. Add another to the stack. Darn, I’ll just have to read more Kipling. 😉

        • You know my three year old memorized Kipling by playing it end to end on tape? My cleaning lady (I was recovering from pneumonia, so I HAD to have one) got the tapes for him (at the time a considerable expense). Then the tapes, ah, mysteriously disappeared.
          At nineteen Speaker to Lab Animals gave our boy a leather bound Kipling collection. quoth the child “I don’t know why these seem so familiar. I love them” 😛

          • Highlander

            You must. You absolutely must. It is the most human of Kipling’s novels.

            • Highlander

              Sorry, thought I was replying to McChuck.

              • Who’s singing on the vid? Leslie Fish?

                • Yep, la belle Fish.

                • Yes. I really need to update my collection of her albums. After the copyright tiff with Firebird Arts and Music, I kinda lost track of her stuff. Apparently she’s got a third Kipling collection out, plus a 2nd Amendment album. (I also forgot that her voice takes a little to get used to if you’ve been away for a while.)

                  • snelson134

                    “Lock and Load” 2A
                    “Avalon is Risen” general pagan, some Kipling.
                    “Smoked Fish and Friends” (has some Kipling, and someone else with one of Patton’s poems)

                    Pretty sure Avalon is the latest one.

    • I think the two groups she’s talking about – the fey and the “cool” – can both be summed up as morality impaired.

    • Fairies? See http://www.gocomics.com/pibgorn (Warning: Includes demons, djinns, and various nasty characters.)

    • Patrick Chester

      The fairies killed Fritz, so I don’t care about any objections to the use of that term. 😉

  2. I usually write to find out what I think.

    See, that’s why you don’t get to sit with the cool kids in the lunchroom (where you get served the same crappy food as the kids at the other tables.)

    They don’t write to find out what they think, they write to a) tell others what to think and.or b) demonstrate that they right-think. Social positioning, social status, are only of any particular value in a structured (the more highly structured, the better) society. Theirs is the coin of external validation. They have no use for internal validation — worse, it is the anti-thesis of their coin, dissipating its perceived value.

    When your goal is to play the tuba, all you need is a tuba. When your ambition is to lead a parade you need a parade.

  3. Terry Sanders

    Beautiful and true.

    And besides the life-lesson, it could be useful to me in another way. One of the (many) stories I’m trying to write is a retelling of CINDERELLA in which (among other twists) the Godmother really is of Faerie. Thus a very different feel to the magic (which is indeed glamour, and therefore lies), and a distinct sense of discomfort on the Lady’s part (she really is a godmother–that church *hurt* to walk into, and fullfilling her vow is turning out to be almost as uncomfortable…).

    You’ve helped me adjust my headspace on that story, I think. Thanks.

    • One premise of Cinderella is that lies — glamour — are required to reveal Truth. Ella’s beauty is hidden under the accumulation of cinders (strike extended stolen discourse on the metaphor of the cinders representing sin, stains upon the human soul which can only be rinsed by the Prince of Peace and his intermediary, the Church/Godmother) and is only recognized when enhanced, illuminated by the godmother’s glamour.

      We are conditioned to see beauty only in certain guises and settings, and those can be used either to reveal beauty or present an impression thereof — thus for either good or evil purpose. For every Cinderella there are numerous vile step-sisters, corseted, rouged, mascaraed and primped to give an illusion of grace.

      • Another idea that might be interesting, is not that the lie reveals a truth, but that people would rather believe a lie (a glamour) if it’s familiar, rather than the truth, if it comes in a shape they weren’t expecting (fellow Christians can fill in the rest about the Messiah we want vs. the one we need at their leisure).

        In Cinderella to put the idea in its simplest form, would be that beauty is only beautiful if it comes in the trappings of the nobility. Otherwise it’s invisible at best, or judged as ugly (yes, you can have class war fun with fairy tales. You can do almost anything with them, which you’d think would be a clue to writers about the relative staying power of stories about current politico-social fads. But I digress.

        There’s a nice morality play to be had in the fairy godmother giving her the glamour that the cool kids can recognize, vs. the sort they can (or will) not.

    • I like that idea. And it makes you reconsider how Fairies operate in our world.. But what about theirs?

      • Terry Sanders

        Depends on what “their” world is, I guess. Gotta work on that part, too…

    • the fun thing about Cinderella is that the fairy godmother is in fact a literary tradition. Most Cinderella figures are helped by the ghosts of their dead mothers. Admittedly, usually in tree or calf or fish or something form. . . .

      The fairy godmothers of the precieux tradition were very much not of Faerie. They were godmothers that could do a bit of magic. (And Perrault’s own moral was that beauty and goodness were all very well, but what you really needed was connections.)

      • This is just my understanding, and it may be total bad info….

        In Germany, your godparents gave you goodies three times a year and lots of good advice. Often they were relatives or neighbors, or both.

        In France, they were more likely to be folks with a little more social status than your parents, and thus were expected to come through with some pulling of strings. They might also live a little further away.

        Re: whether fairies were Christian or not – As Poul Anderson, Tolkien, and many other writers have pointed out, the main question is whether fairy creatures are basically just rational creatures with material bodies and immortal souls (ie, basically just like humans even if there’s a weird shape and different biology, like aliens), immortal spirits that have spirits instead of souls and just look like they have bodies (ie, angels and demons), non-rational animals or plants or rocks with mortal souls; or beings of some other kind entirely.

        Obviously there’s nothing stopping a critter with no immortal soul from acknowledging God, since obviously the wind and the waves followed Christ’s command. The question is whether one could become a member of Christ’s Body (through baptism, or whatever one’s church’s mechanism is), if one’s fate goes with the fate of the rest of Creation, or with the various groups of angels. (Or another mechanism.)

        Tolkien’s elves seem to be supposed to be mostly spirits or reincarnating nano-critters with bodies, and with some kind of homing instinct that shunts them back to the Halls to wait for new bodies. It’s purposefully not clear whether their spirits are immortal or will die when Middle Earth does, although of course he provides some hope in the various backstory notes. Their association with Varda and Manwe would suggest that they are basically embodied air or wind spirits (as opposed to embodied water spirits like the River Daughter and Old Man Willow, or embodied earth spirits like Tom Bombadil).

        • I wonder whether godparents predate feudal culture? The relationships you describe seem remarkably similar to the rites of binding one to the liege. Of course, it might be that the feudal relationship developed from the godparent one or both derive from similar root.

          • And in Portugal the feudal relationship (which still exists places) is referred as “godfathering”/”Mothering.” “He who has no godfathers dies in jail” is a proverb. It’s not JUST a Sicilian mob thing.

          • Well, we do have ancient records of “sponsors” for baptism. Hmm. . . the one I am most familiar with, however, it’s for underage children, and the sponsors are their parents, as those bringing them and being responsible for seeing that they lived up to the grave responsibilities.

            • I don’t know how old the tradition is, but adults going through confirmation have to have an observant Catholic sponsor, too. (They prefer it not be the spouse, for obvious reasons.) The sponsor gives their oath to fulfill the parent-role, basically, raising the child in the faith.

              Sadly, godparenting is frequently a social thing, rather than one where people actually fulfill their word to raise the child in the faith. (In my husband’s case, it’s darkly funny– neither of his Godparents were Catholic by the time he decided that there really was something to this Catholic thing and he wanted to be confirmed.)

        • There’s an interesting Scottish ballad, “Lady Mary of Craignethan,” that says, “An’ dinnae curse the Seelie Court,/Bid Him them save and sain”. The general point is that it’s extremely unhealthy to curse the Seelie Court because you’ll die, but the general presentation isn’t that it’s impossible for fairies to be saved, or that blessing them makes them suffer. So it’s interesting.

          • OT — I was singing a ballad mom sang to me that opens with “it was midnight when the beggar came, knocked trice on the middle door.” And older son said “he’s death.” I sang the rest of it and he analyzed and he might be right.
            I searched for it online and found that the Southern version of the ballad (yeah, I’m from the North, land of mists and fogs and half crazy people) strips out all the creepiness and makes the beggar a king come to marry a shepherdess. It also feels “not right” like someone defanged it.

            • Sara the Red

              Having it be death is *much* cooler. Can the lyrics to this ballad be found somewhere online? It sounds good…

          • That’s the area where the fae are angels who didn’t choose a side, isn’t it?

        • In Lord Dunsany’s Elfland, Elves exist outside of time and have no souls. They are barred from heaven and are utterly repugnant to the Freer. (Not Dave Freer, the other Freer. Dave’s cool with elves.)

          In Anderson’s stories, Christianity is antithetical to elves and other mythical creatures. Christian prayers and rituals are perfect defenses against them. In fact, the D&D alignment spectrum of Law and Chaos derives from the conflict between Christendom and Elves.

          In Tolkien’s stories, it is the mortal men that have the better deal. But men destroy entire swaths of the mythic past in their foolhardy attempts to gain the immortality that is not theirs to claim. Tolkien was too modest to come right out and explain some of this stuff– especially in his novels, but in my reading, he’s closer to Dunsany in his thinking. Elves have their place… and heaven is not it.

          And if that sounds crazy… ask a gamer sometime about what happens if you cast “raise dead” on an elf. (If you figure that out, please explain it to me. Because I still haven’t wrapped my head around it!)

          • VD (the Evil Overlord who seems to be taking a camping vacation in the SJWs’ minds) has a bunch of stuff about elves, salvation, and the Church. ‘Tis an interesting take on the argument.

          • Yes, but there’s supposed to be a new heaven and a new earth. All Creation fell with Adam, all Creation is groaning to be saved. If Christ redeemed humanity (which He did), He also redeemed Creation (which is arguably what the new earth and the “holy mountain” peaceable kingdom stuff is about).

            The question, then, is whether particular critters will get to be part of a redeemed Creation, or whether God just starts from scratch, or something inbetween. The Thomist viewpoint is that things will be more general (not particular bears, but bearness or new bears), or that any critter without an immortal soul couldn’t be exactly recreated as himself. Of course, I think it could be done other ways (teleportation/time travel directed by God of the mortal animal soul at the instant of death; God just having a darned good memory; God said so). My feeling is that however it works out, it’ll be good, so I don’t necessarily have to know the details.

            • God’s ultimate plan for, say, trolls is never addressed in The King of Elfland’s daughter. Most trolls thought that if they went to heaven, they’d be beaten up by angels for eternity. In Anderson and Dunsany both, troll and elf-kind are so alien, they may not even be a part of creation. This degree of alien-ness seems fairly uncommon today. I suspect it was the norm during the middle ages. But I think even thinking of them as being creatures is a recent conceit. It comes (I think) from a poor reading Tolkien filtered through way too many D&D sessions.

              If your view of elves is that one of their big pastimes is to rape trolls so that the resulting changeling can be used to substitute for unbaptized human babies, then it makes perfect sense that the development of a religion centered on the White Christ would be utterly inimical to them.

              • Flynn’s Eifelheim and some articles he wrote deal with some of the medieval theories about nonhuman “humans,” like the dogheaded men and the monopods. (Whom you may recall from C.S. Lewis or from Pliny et al.) Since St. Christopher was commonly believed to have been a dogheaded man, obviously salvation was seen as accessible for these folks.

                The main special case is that in some countries, elves and fairies got sacrificial worship, which is a no-no. But in places where the Church didn’t feel it had a problem, you get things like legends of mermaid saints or fairy saints. (Like St. Muirgen, which means something like “seaborn,” or like the Children of Lir. Of course, both cases are usually described as choosing to die and go to heaven immediately, but that’s the Irish for you. The Cornish St. Senara, who gradually changed from a man into a woman and then into a mermaid via a lot of legend change, didn’t die, but lived, settled, and gave her name to Zennor.)

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  In Poul Anderson’s _The Merman’s Children_, an entire “tribe” of merfolks converted to Christianity and by doing so “lost” their vulnerability to religious items (including the sound of Church bells).

                  They still had their ability to live underwater but chose to live on land.

                  Note, these were Danish merfolks who could walk on land.

                • St. Augustine’s theory was that since there are monstrous births among normal humans — he mentions conjoined twins — there might prove to be a race of monstrous humans. However, what matters is their rational souls.

                  He also, by the bye, observed that they were, if human, descended from the same stock as the rest of us.

                • The main special case is that in some countries, elves and fairies got sacrificial worship, which is a no-no. But in places where the Church didn’t feel it had a problem,

                  There are sacrifices and then there are sacrifices. Tossing a pinch of salt over the left shoulder or putting out a bowl of milk “fer th’ wee people” may fit the requirement of ritual sacrifice (remember, salt used to be so valuable as to constitute a class dividing line) without drawing the Irae of the Deus.

                  • *looks at cat* Ours get offerings of tuna-juice. That’s pretty expensive, by the container, but the bribe pays off rather well and their fur gets all silky…..

                    Great, now I’m trying to decide if Brownie-type elves are humanoid barn cats, or if cats are fluffy little thugs.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      According to the late Tanith Lee, cats are descended from snakes transformed by the Prince of Demons. [Evil Grin]

                    • snelson134

                      “Great, now I’m trying to decide if Brownie-type elves are humanoid barn cats, or if cats are fluffy little thugs.”

                      Yes.

                • Elves are more dangerous that vampires, more cruel than trolls, and more alien than Lovecraft’s most mind blowing horrors. We have a lot of stories and fables designed to cover up that fact and in most fantasy of today they are merely some sort of Mary Sue race. But the Church was dead wrong about this stuff if they thought these things were redeemable. They only had the luxury to make such pronouncements because people before them actually dealt with the threat. It’s easy to be magnanimous when the things you fear have largely been eradicated.

                  • Shucks, now I want a story about an elf who hunts vampires. It ain’t as if vampires can drink an elf’s blood … or can they?????

                    Perhaps the charisma possessed by certain individuals is evidence of half-elven bloodlines?

                  • Well, it was disputed. After all, within a century of Shakespeare’s time, a woman was burned at the stake for witchcraft, for consorting with the Queen of Fairies. Fairies, of course, were demons. Witches also did the changeling thing on behalf of fairies, to get them the babies.

          • I think by “Anderson”, you just mean Three Heart and Three Lions. The Good Folk come off rather better in A Midsummer’s Tempest.

          • Randy Wilde

            ask a gamer sometime about what happens if you cast “raise dead” on an elf

            That kind of depends on what edition you’re playing, doesn’t it?

            If I remember right, it fails (in the early editions of AD&D) because Raise Dead reunites the soul with the body, and Elves don’t have souls (they have spirits instead). Resurrection works, IIRC, because it’s more powerful magic which works on both souls and spirits.

            • RealityObserver

              You remember correctly (about the early editions, I dunno about the new stuff).

      • Sara the Red

        Well, and considering the time period, connections *would* be of far greater value than mere beauty. Especially when–as in Cinderella’s case–it was beauty without fortune or rank accompanying it. (Because she was, at best, the daughter of a minor nobleman, and most versions seem to indicate he was, in fact, a merchant of some kind.)

    • That sounds like a fascinating story, and I wish to read it when it exists.

    • Sara the Red

      I was kicking around a “What if the shoe actually fit one of the stepsisters” idea (in this case, the stepsisters not being utter hags/monsters), and decided that the most plausible reason for it would be “Godmother is a fairy. Fairies are jerks, and Ella wasn’t clever enough to make sure she got a, hah, iron-clad deal, so the fairies screwed her over.” As fairies do, given any opportunity.

      • Well, that’s why she’s a godmother. Godparents have responsibilities, especially when your parents are dead. (Although apparently this one wasn’t doing it real well at first, or as fairies do, she was a little loose on understanding mortal time.)

        • Perhaps the stepmother had Ways to Keep Her Out until she left to go to the ball.

          • I suppose one of the risks of selecting an actual fairy godmother is that if there are ways to keep off fairies, they could be used to deprive the child of assistance.

            Granted, there are methods to stand in the way of one’s fellow mortals as well….

          • Sara the Red

            Hmmm. Here’s an intriguing twist: what if Stepmother wasn’t abusive, but trying to fix (albeit hamhandedly) and/or save a child who had been targeted by the fairies…? That has some possibilities.

            After all, having a fairy godmother is not always a Good Thing. Just ask Harry Dresden! (Sure, Lea has proven not as awful as originally painted, but having her as one’s godmother is about as safe as keeping a grumpy rattlesnake in one’s bed…)

        • She is a libertarian godmother, committed to the idea that the best way to help poor Ella is to leave her alone. But on the night of the ball she’d been hitting the Tullamore Dew a little too hard …

        • Terry Sanders

          In mine, she was incognito. And she was hoping the mortals would deal with this for her–her being so uncomfortable in this world. But they got intimidated out of doing their duty. And she just found out.

          “Three others stood beside me that day, and it cost them far less to do so. Have they ALL deserted you?”

          Part of the young lady’s struggle is trying to keep her newly-discovered benefactor from bringing Faerie justice down on *everyone* responsible.

          (It’s almost as much fun as watching a Lady of the Seelie Court trying to teach a teenager her catechism…)

  4. glamour, n:
    archaic
    enchantment; magic.
    “that maiden, made by glamour out of flowers”

    • And behind that lies grammar, which was vaguely regarded as synonymous with “book learnin'”.

    • Sara the Red

      Chasrmartin–have you ever read Rose Daughter, by Robin McKinley? That has a *very* interesting take on the idea of a glamour-maiden made of flowers. (Albeit in a Beauty & the Beast retelling, rather than Cinderella)

  5. “Did you think you ever summoned me and struck a bargain? No, you were led astray; that was another. Mortals never sell me their souls. They give them away.” — the Dark Lord from Poul Anderson’s THE BROKEN SWORD

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Hey! I thought you were going to talk about the origins of the beings of Fairie!

    Seriously, I read speculations that the “Fairy”, especially the more powerful ones, were former gods that were no longer worshiped.

    How many Fairy Tales could be read as cautionary tales about dealing with these “former gods”?

    Of course, they were often called the “Fair Folk” or “Good Folk” in order to “not get them mad”. I’d also note that many of the old gods had a “real” name that wasn’t often used but there was a “polite” name by which the old gods were called by.

    Now, to get to the rest of your article, how often do we refer to LibProgs as the “Good People” or the “Good Men”?

    If the Fair Folk were former gods, we can also see the LibProgs as would-be gods.

    So what’s the difference between the “Good Folk” and the “Good People”? [Evil Grin]

    • The Fair Folk were pleasant to look at, or intriguingly ugly, and they never whined.

    • Some very old folk-tale collections refer to them as the Pharisees. Which would fit Drak’s assessment of the LibProg (using the popular connotation of Pharisee rather than the historically accurate meaning).

      • Actually, speaking of the popular meaning of pharisees [rather than the historical perushim ], when looking up translations for “self-righteous”, French and German dictionaries listed pharisaique and pharisäisch, respectively. The perushim’s own language has “tzadkan”, which is close to the English in literal meaning.

    • Somewhere around here in my collections of oddities I have a books whose thesis is that the fae are actually how earlier humans explained interactions with aliens…there is also one that contends modern humans are doing the opposite but I didn’t add that one to my collection.

      As to the difference between the “Good Folk” and the “Good People” that book explains it. “Good Folk” are alien as in, not human, and thus have drives and goals that while possibly parallel to human drives and goals are not the same. As a result in pursuing them they may do harm not out of malice but alienness and thus a lack of understanding.

      “Good People”, on the other hand, are human. It is much harder to attribute the harm they do to a lack of understanding. In fact, using the APs as an example, it is quite clear their harm is often due to malice.

      • Given the great gaps of open space between us and any aliens, I suspect it’s more likely that aliens are how modern humans explain interactions with the Fair Folk.

        • There are indications that the UFO craze shares a bunch of features with sightings of the fairfolk.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Some of the stories about Alien Abductions have similarities with stories about Being Abducted by the Good Folks and even stories about being “Hag Ridden”.

          • Sara the Red

            I vaguely recall reading about this idea somewhere. And the writer pointed out that the old descriptions of pixies share an uncanny similarity to modern description of the grey aliens…

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Off Topic

              The funny thing about the Grey Aliens is that they are “Johnny-Come-Lately” in Alien sightings.

              If you study Alien sightings, you’ll find that the Aliens differ according to where they are sighted and when they are sighted.

              There were lizard-like aliens, furry aliens, aliens who looked like blond humans, etc.

              While Greys may now be the “most commonly sighted now”, that may be more because of their popularity in the US and their popularity has spread worldwide. [Smile]

              On the other hand, maybe Earth has had hundreds of different types of Aliens visiting and the Greys are preventing the others from visiting now. [Evil Grin]

              • I think there was a Frederick Brown story — Martians, Go Home — in which a martian invasion consists of little green trolls:

                Fredric Brown reprises the popular image of Martians as little green men, who … consider the human race inferior and are both interested and amused by human behaviour. Unlike most fictional Martian invaders, the Martians that Brown writes of don’t intend to invade Earth by violence; instead, they spend their wakeful hours calling everyone ‘Mack’ or ‘Toots’ (or some regional variation thereof), revealing embarrassing secrets, heckling theatre productions, lampooning political speeches, even providing cynical colour commentary to honeymooners’ frustrated attempts at consummating their marriage. This nonstop acerbic criticism stops most human activity and renders many people insane …
                Wiki


                Published in 1954, giving the lie to all claims that SF in that era was only about white cismales.

                Apparently this was made into a film in 1989, starring Randy Quaid.

              • I know dwarves were common during the Airship siting craze of the late 19th century (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_airship) which are arguably the precursor of modern UFOs.

                • Sara the Red

                  Holy crap, I’d never even heard of that one. How very steampunk of them…

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    I was “into UFO stuff” at one time and I heard about those “airships”. For that matter, reportedly there were earlier stories about flying ships (ie the type that normally operate on seas) but were seen flying with unusual appearing crews.

                    • UFO stuff functions on me like internet porn. No, I don’t mean I get hot and bothered. I mean I can spend days (usually while ill) tracking down increasingly nuttier theories.
                      At least it’s fodder for stories.

                    • I’m still trying to work out how to write the one where the main character believes that UFO stories are false, because the number of stories, even if only 1% are true, combined with the likely tech and reliability of same by anyone who could make it here, would imply that there are so many that the Earth is ringed in cloaked ships many layers deep.

                      It ends with the reader finding out that this is the actual case.

                  • Once again, I have to blame Ken Hite’s Suppressed Transmission column from the old Pyramid Online.

                    If you get the first collected volume (I reference it above) it has an entire article on the topic.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                I think there was a novel Nighteyes which had the explanation that the Greys deliberately created contradictions and confusion to make people think their activities were fictitious. I seem to recall a scene where a hanger bay is filled with every type of UFO reported.

                • Sara the Red

                  One of the funniest moments in the Babylon 5 tv series was a brief scene in which we saw a judge on the station dealing with a lawsuit–a human was suing a Grey for damages regarding the kidnapping of the human’s great-grandfather, and the fact that afterwards everyone thought great-grandfather was insane and so could not get anything but menial jobs, etc. Even better: the alien indicates that *his* species considered it perfectly kosher scientific research, to which the judge (who happens to be human) exasperatedly replies that this is entirely beside the point–and that since the Grey admitted to doing it, he could now cough up the damages.

                  It was only a passing joke of sorts, but it was gloriously funny.

          • “There are indications that the UFO craze shares a bunch of features with sightings of the fairfolk.”

            Like the tenuous connection to reality of the abductees?

    • I’ve got the impression that the theory has the same source as the “all the Folk Ways are really old religions that the peasants kept in a new form” theories. (which has a nasty habit of falling apart with even slight research…)

      *turns on the Mary signal and starts looking for a handy cloud*

      In some cases, it’s probably true, but I think it’s much more common that they share a source– the way that it’s much easier to deal with personifications than with systems– and with over-simplification of stories or symbols. (Kind of like SuburbanBanshee’s mini-series on dragons that are not demon stand-ins, and are actually Christian, which annoys the “all dragons are satan” folks).

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Well if we define the Fair Folk as “non-human beings with strange powers”, we would find various examples of them all over the world and there would be little commonality between the various types.

        So it would be impossible to have a “simple” explanation of their origins. [Smile]

        • Unless one is willing to hit the facts hard enough to make them fit the story!

          (Kind of like the “Jesus is just like Osirus” thing… which works, if you define the same so broadly that Buffy the Vampire Slayer and anyone who “comes back to life” because of CPR are also examples.)

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Nod.

            Feist’s Faire Tale tried to “lump” all the Fairie critters into a single explanation but that works mainly as Fiction.

            On the other hand, Feist’s Fairie were masters of Illusion so they could appear differently to different cultures. [Smile]

            • I rather like the “fay as non-religious dimigod” catch all, myself. It avoids a lot of trouble that people have with any term that involves the word “god”– not top level problems, but basic level understanding. I know I don’t have a good grasp on the difference between “a god” as, say, the Romans understood it, and “a god” as it’s used now.

              So much easier to just say “fay” and figure “non-human being who has access to power I don’t.”

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Nod.

                I can’t recommend Grey Keyes as a writer but his two Changeling books “The Waterborn” and “The Blackgod” have an interesting look at how humans might fare in a world with thousands of “nonhuman beings with power that I don’t have”.

                That world is one with thousands of “godlings and gods” (of various levels of power) any one of which can be big trouble for a human or tribe of humans.

                Oh, one of the “godlings” had a dual personality, one personality you might trust but the other you better not trust.

                Of course, you never knew if you were dealing with Crow (don’t trust) or with Raven (might trust). [Evil Grin]

              • Sara the Red

                My personal (*as in, for the purposes of writing fiction) theory for such creatures is that they were born of human dreams and stories (because humans have always told stories) and resent the fact that they are bound to these stories…and gain or lose power by them. So, naturally, it is in their interests to convince as many humans as possible that they are incredibly puissant beings of ineffable power who should be feared and placated as much as possible. 😀

                • Well, they have managed to convince us that they are independent of our thoughts.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  A few years back, I read a “UFO” novel (fictional) where the beings behind the UFO sightings were the same beings behind Fay sightings.

                  They were “native” to Earth and “feed” on our “belief” so they created the various sightings so they could survive.

                  I think the author called them “Brotherkin” and while they “needed” us to survive, they really didn’t like us.

            • Sara the Red

              Vorlons. They were Vorlons!

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Nonsense. Vorlons appear as Angels. [Wink]

                • Or as G’kar’s father, or… the way the Vorlons appeared as whoever each viewer “expected” them to appear as is a perfect example of glamour.

          • Wait a minute. You mean laying on of hands isn’t CPR? But you gotta sing “Staying Alive” while you do it…

            • Ravenshrike

              Aaand I’m now imagining Travolta as a pally singing Staying Alive in shining plate while healing someone. Thank you sooo much for that image.

  7. “And this is why I don’t get put on the “Heinlein, threat or menace” panels any more.”
    “Neither, there’s no Hoyt on the panel…”

    When I teach a firearms class, part of my opening is a discussion of my credentials and experience. So the first question that any panel on Heinlein, or any other author, should have to answer is how many of that author’s books they have read, and when and what was the last one read. “But I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night” is not a valid answer.

    • Back in the day, when I worked in a movie theatre, people would often come up to the box office and ask me “What’s good?”

      Knowing that my tastes were unlikely to be reflective of the common movie attendee (much less the kind of person who walked in not already knowing what they wanted to see) I learned to ask two questions that invariably assisted my recommendation: “What was the last movie you really liked?” and “What was the last movie you really hated?”

      By bracketing their preferences I was usually able to suggest something from our current bill of fare that would be more similar to the first category than the second.

      Anyone on a Heinlein panel — or any other con panel — should preface their comment by expressing their preferences openly and clearly. Siskel & Ebert succeeded in large part because viewers learned how to adjust the reviews for the reviewers biases, whether one had simply already seen his lifetime’s worth of action-thrillers and would not like a new one no matter how well executed or whether the other was a sucker for any kind of verbose pretentiously intellectual film, laden with symbolism and nods to foreign film directors like Fellini and Bergman.

    • I’ve been on ConCom. A lot of times, about half the panels are staffed with care, and then the rest can tend to get kinda random unless the concom is very good at staffing and knows a lot about the panelists.

      (But of course, the old Midwest style of “audience is part of the discussion, panel are the moderators and discussion leaders” makes the panel composition less important. East Coast and West Coast panelists have to work a lot harder.)

  8. At present I own two aprons. A leather one that I wear when blacksmithing or for silversmithing torch work, and an insulated denim number that I put on for grilling or cooking in a wok. All of those occasions can get bloody hot and my big belly and parts beneath need the protection.
    Worked my way through high school in a bakery. All of us from the owner on down wore aprons while making product. Since I worked before and after school the apron kept me from having to change before class. Still smelled of baked goods, drove the other kids wild.
    So, as you eloquently point out, it’s a matter of practicality. Though I expect it did not change the mind of that idiot commenter. She knew what she knew and no amount of reason or logic was about to sway her.

    • Feather Blade

      Yeah, aprons (or rather the denigration and dismissal of aprons as oppressive garments inflicted upon women by their evil patriarchal overlords *eye-roll*), it turns out, are one of those things that can send me into a frothing rage.

      Aprons are wonderful, practical garments and I wish I had more of them.
      …*adds “unearthing the sewing machine” to the to-do list*

      • Yeah, that sounds like something I could add to the list of things to make while I’m making some new SCA Garb for the wife, while using our manly pink sewing machine.

        • Remembering, of course, that pink is another name for light red, and therefore is actually a boyish color, while hot pink is clearly appropriate for teen males, with red reserved for men.
          (Credit Eldest and Second Sons.)

          • Feather Blade

            Absolutely! Light blues are far more suitable for girls, being calming and retiring colors. (credit to early 20th (late 19th?) century women’s magazines, which ~actually discussed this subject~)

            • Hmph. You two are totally ruining my “only a man who is secure in his masculinity will use a pink sewing machine” schtick. 😛

              • My boot camp company (Orlando, 1986) was the first company anyone could remember that got pink company t-shirts.

                The other male companies in our training group also lost badly to us on the intercompany athletic competition day.

              • Feather Blade

                *mischeivous grin* Glad to be of service! *curtseys*

          • Simmons: How do I put this? Your armor is, um… It’s a little, um… Grif, you wanna help me out here?
            Grif: It’s pink! Your armor is freakin’ pink!

            Simmons: How’d he get pink armor,anyway?
            Grif: Don’t ask, don’t tell…
            Donut: Look at it, it’s not pink. It’s like, uhhh, a lightish-red.
            Grif: Guess what? They already have a color for lightish-red. You know what it’s called? Pink!

            • Anybody who is anybody knows that “pink” in menswear is called “coral”… don’t take my word for it, check out the Haband catalogue.

              • What is purple called because I have the devil of a time finding more purple menswear.

                • well… that’s probably because older son buys all of it. He has… ah… Latin taste in colors.

                  • So I have Latin taste in colors? Can I claim to be transethnic and claim minority status? (don’t laugh, I first saw transethnic at least five years ago).

                    • Highlander

                      Ah, how language is invented … and subverted … for ideology.

                      My older, who obstinately listed Celtic as his race during his school years, was once assigned to write a paper on an “oppressed indigenous people”. He chose the Irish. And was told that the Irish could not be indigenous as they were not of color. And could not be oppressed as they were European. He went to the dean and argued successfully that the Irish were indigenous to Ireland. I suspect that his success was achieved so he would go away.

                      Or my wife, a middle school teacher, who had a complaint filed against her because she was not teaching required Hispanic history. Seems she had started the semester teaching about Spanish history.

                      Similarly, some Asians are more Asian than other Asians. When it comes to preferential advantage.

                    • The Irish are not of color???? Balderdash! Look at that red hair! Look at that freckled skin! The Erse are piebald!

                      And I strongly advise against arguing they were never oppressed, given that the IRA probably constitutes the single longest continuing independence movement since Masada* fell.

                      *A reference which opens up a whole new can of oppression narrative.

                    • I had some libprog net friends who were going on and on about the burning times, and I said: What about the persecution of the Jews?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Do I want to know their response?

                    • In view of the current popularity of anti-Semitism anti-Zionism, probably: “The Jews must have done something to deserve it.”

                    • Not Really.

                    • And of course the Desecration of the Host charges and blood libels are fairly well documented—so someone explain why the authorities would have covered up 99% of the supposed witch burnings?

                    • American judges refused to naturalize Irish on the grounds they did not fit the requirement: “free white person.”

                    • William O. B'Livion

                      Res: Ginger.

                    • (Checks carefully in The Mammoth Book of Ethnic Slurs) Ginger works.

                      I’m embarrassed to have not thought of it myself, except that I have the bad habit of thinking in terms of individuals rather than ethnic groups and thus have to look such things up.

                      Of course, I cannot fully consent to the use of ginger in this contexxt without reviewing it in the new edition of the Larousse Guide to Racist Remarks (the bigot’s essential companion), due for release this summer.

                    • The Irish are not of color???? Balderdash! Look at that red hair! Look at that freckled skin! The Erse are piebald!

                      Anyone who says I am not of color has obviously never seen me angry, sad, cold, hot or in the sun. ESPECIALLY in the sun as my rather pasty behind had a tendency to turn red rather quickly.

                    • Not really a visual I needed today…

                    • What Jim McCoy said.

                    • Personally, my pasty behind hasn’t seen the sun since it outgrew diapers.
                      But I lean more to the Black Irish side (not totally, my hair isn’t black, but the longer it gets, and the more sun it gets, the darker it becomes). And any idiot knows that Black Irish are of color, they even have Black in their name.

                  • Or medieval taste! Or Irish taste!

                  • I thought that was the Southern Exception: Southern men can wear more colors without being considered gay. In NYC I think that men have the choice of white or blue.

                • Eggplant, generally. And you have to shop in the right neighborhoods. All the menswear shops near my apartment have more purple than anything else because it’s a preferred hue for the males in the area.

                  • So you live in Midtown Atlanta? 🙂

                    • lol ghetto Aurora, CO, actually. Same basic demographic, though.

                    • is it a gang color then?

                    • Not that I know of. Flamboyant Hispanics (not gay, just…latin) and darker black men tend to look reeeeeeally good in purple and they make up about 60-70% of my neighborhood.

                    • We’re considering this as a potential place to move to. Well, not the ghetto areas.

                    • Aurora isn’t bad but yeah, stay out of the ghetto. They’ve worked really hard at cleaning it up so it’s not as bad as it was when I was in high school but it’s still pretty sketchy.

                      We’re working very, very hard to get to Ken Caryl because my parents are near there and they’re getting to the age where they’re going to need us around.

                    • I may be a little grumpy about the area because they’re building the light rail right by our apartment and the construction crews keep randomly blocking the only way in or out of the apartment complex.

                    • William O. B'Livion

                      North or South of the big ass golf balls?

                    • William O. B'Livion

                      RE: Aurora, I live over by Buckley (close enough to hear Taps and Reveille if the windows are open), and it’s not a bad neighborhood–no bars on the windows, no graffiti to speak of. And we’ve had one break in (probably kids).

                      However the sketchy areas seem to be almost block by block.

                      My ideas of “bad” and “sketchy” are partially formed by living in the cheapest possible neighborhoods in Chicago, so YMMV.

                • Aubergine, Grape, Violet or Lilac. You want to be careful in some parts of the country with that last one, as “Y’all lilac a dog” constitute fighting words.

                • Try “Royal blue” or “air force blue.”

                  (…really, the ones on the AF base that I did my C-school at were grape colored. They INSISTED it was proper Air Force blue…..)

                  • Next time, they shouldn’t let the colorblind guys pick the T-shirts. (Although maybe it’s a “don’t pick shirts unless there’s sunlight” problem.)

                    • The Other Sean

                      Beware magical color-changing materials. I have a pair of green shorts – except when they decide to be brown. They’re always green under entirely natural light, but under artificial light the color varies.

                    • Ah, was the dress white and gold or blue and black?

                    • That &@%# dress. Gahhh.

              • I had a polo shirt once with the color “Gemstone.”

                Light green, if you were wondering.

                • I was recently somewhat stunned by encountering the colors Space Oracle (deep blue-purple, reasonable enough) and Silent Soul (pale aqua). According to the same retailer, Pristine, curiously, is a pale off-white.

              • I thought the hue of choice is called “salmon” — I think that’s what Land’s End calls it.

                Coral or salmon, it’s still fishy.

              • William O. B'Livion

                Coral is *slightly* orangish compared to pink. Just *slightly*.

                • Ravenshrike

                  Not slightly. You’re just being deceived by various marketing assholes trying to pass pink hues off as coral. #FF7F50 is very different from #FFC0CB. Interesting fact, the color pink is literally your brain going “WTF, where’d the green go?”. It doesn’t actually exist as electromagnetic light.

            • Of course, prior to the 17th century, pink meant “to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern”. (The transition came through pinks, which flowers have a jagged edge. And often are pink.)

            • I can actually hear that conversation reading it. And it was the first thing I thought of, too.

        • What a BEAU-TEE!

          • Words of Wisdom: Never mess with a cook. First, they have knives. Sharp knives. And the knowledge for using them. Not to mention what they might do to your food…if they don’t do it to you.

            • You can never be sure that the cook won’t turn out to be a Navy S.E.A.L.

              • I love everything about that movie except the black hole in the center named Steven Segal. (They would NOT have allowed him to cook in that black kung fu suit on a Navy ship!)

                • As I was selecting the clip for posting I commented to Beloved Spouse that there are three good reasons to watch that film: Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey and Colm Meany (okay, there are a couple more for those who like that sort of boob bait, but they make only a very brief appearance) — all of whose scenery chewing is required to offset the … very restrained … acting of Segal. His supporters may argue he is acting in the style of Eastwood and Cooper but there is one big difference: their restraint was a choice.

              • The Other Sean

                Nice view of the Harpoon launchers.

            • Yeah. Or they could be me, and said sharp knives are more of a spousal, “Oh, Lord, not again. Do we need to go to the emergency room?”

              “No, I think I can tape this up.”

              I’ve got a better one: Don’t torque off the cook, because all those OMG that tastes so amazing I can. Not. Believe it!

              That goes away.

              • I can beat your knife thing. I once stopped a blender with my finger. In my defense, it was supposed to be off (I forgot to unplug it, though) and it was VERY early morning. Like 6 am.

      • I really need some nice, water resistant ones. Keep soaking my clothes while I’m doing the dishes.

      • RE: Feather Blade. I have an apron with a Skull&Crossbones over an Army mess kit lid with crossed fork&knife; text is “HEAD CHEF: Death From Within”. Don’t wear that one. Got a green one with some Scout patches given to me for helping with a banquet (and many since), and a clear plastic one for working the wash line. Wife’s got a bunch.

    • I wore an apron in high school in metals shop. Kept my ROTC uniform clean even when I was messing with the casting sand. Still use one when I’m welding or doing woodwork at home.

    • Chem lab? Apron. Cooking with something that spatters? Apron. Polishing silver or brass? Apron. Using the hand-mixer or *gulp* the big stand mixer at Sib’s place? Apron. (A beater runaway on a big Kitchen*Aid mixer is a terrifying thing. I had no idea it could sling batter THAT far and high.)

    • Something I learned recently, in food prep, the main purpose of the apron is not to protect your clothes from the food, it is to protect the food from your clothes. In other words, it is a sanitation measure the same as hats and beard nets.

      • …okay. That seems a bit counterintuitive, but I’m sure there’s a reason for that explanation that’s currently beyond my imagining.

        • You wear your clothes in some very unsanitary places (like public transportation) on the way to the kitchen, so your clothes are anything but sanitary. Thus you don’t want your clothes touching the food, thus you put an apron between your clothes and the food. I didn’t get it either until a professional explained it to me.

          • ah, but the causes of apron-wearing can be overdetermined.

            • Yes, but he’s not wrong. And you can bleach canvas-y aprons in a more heavy duty way than you can bleach clothes.

              • What I mean is that it does both things: protects the clothes while helping keep food sanitary. It’s just that the second purpose wasn’t actually the one people meant, originally. 🙂

                Apron, like orange, used to have an N up front, which the English language in its wisdom has made away with. (From French “naperon” – small tablecloth, cloth; from Latin “mappa” – white cloth, handkerchief, napkin.)

                • Yes, it’s overdetermined. Either purpose would justify it. Both together are more than is needed — but you got ’em.

    • When I ran a Dominos as soon as I walked in the door I donned an apron and didn’t remove it until I went into the office to do paperwork after closing.

      I have two in my kitchen right now that I wear when cooking because I’m not the most graceful person. One even has bows (I needed a new apron, I bought what Walmart had, sue me).

      Guess that means I’m an oppressed women. Call me Tina or something.

        • That carp is like three days old, so you really want it back? 🙂

          • sigh. Okay, okay, I apologize.

            • Is okay…I originally was going to say, “Call me Caitlin” but decided that was in poor taste.

              And Herbie is the one that will drive me crazy…that’s not me, it’s an awesome VW Bug.

              • Over on facebook I was chastised for remarking that I thought the media was a tad “in your face” about the whole Caitlin thing.
                Silly me, I purely forgot that one must not only accept, one must celebrate the new improved status quo.

                • I think she spells it different.

                  I’m very mixed on reacting to things like that. I understand for a lot of the right the insisting on not treating trans people as anything but their genetic self is a backlash against how after the right mostly surrendered on gay marriage gay activists have decided to shoot the survivors.

                  That said, I’m not about to insist on referring to Wendy Carlos as Walter and I will continue to use ‘her’ when discussing her. What’s the point except to be an ass. She hates to discuss it and doesn’t bring it up. Why should we make it instead of her music an issue? Really, is her choice in how she presents her physical self to the world that much more interesting than her music.

                  That, of course, is a strong contract to Jenner who is on Vanity Fair because of her “brave” stance (when national magazines affirm you on their cover your bravery is suspect) as opposed the late 70s when Bruce Jenner was everywhere for having actually achieved something. Bruce Jenner the decathlete was interesting for a reason. Caitlyn Jenner the woman is interesting why?

                  Still, I skipped the Kaitlyn joke (even though I would have used a different spelling) because I see no gain to making fun of Jenner. Of course, such figuring out what is polite among reasonable adults isn’t allowed when one of the left’s current hobby horses is involved.

                  • As far as the kill them after the surrender, read Kratman for instructions about what to do about that.

                    As far as the sex of trans types, as long as we segregate by sex in some areas (think washrooms) there needs to be some objective standard that can be quickly met for who goes in which group. I choose that one is not acceptable (especially to the girls’ group). You are the sex you are born is simple, standard and acceptable to almost everyone. The few special snowflakes that freak out about not being able to override everyone else’s wishes can hold it until they get home.

                    • Where are adults are concerned I don’t give a personally damn about washroom privacy although I’ll freely admit that’s a learned behavior from being in submarines too long (your sense of personal space gets radically altered as I learned my first few month in college after the Navy). I understand other may vary.

                      For a general rule I’d go with what you’re packing (or not packing as the case may be). If you can stand (even if you prefer not to) you go in the room for people who can stand. If you can’t stand you go to the room for people who can’t stand. I suspect in all but < 1% of cases that the same as your rule but has, IMHO, the advantage of if anyone gets a glance you look like you're in the right place.

                      As for pronouns and all that, if you look like a woman and are introduced with a female name I use her and similar with he. I don't see the point in being rude but by the same token if you look like a guy and are introduced with a male name I don't expect a lecture on why you are a 'her'. As for the weirder made-up pronouns they are right out. If you get pushy you get it-ed.

                    • Problem.

                      “Alice” is a male name.

                      So’s Marion.

                      And I know a mother of two who’s named Robby. (Directly for her grandfather.)

                      Then there’s all the diminutives that can go both ways, like “Pat” or anything ending in the “i/ie/y” sound.

                  • The whole “Courage” thing is one of my beefs too.

                    And why is it that in this day and age, the only people encouraged to act and dress feminine are men?

    • Birthday girl

      I suspect that commenter lives in the same headspace as our beloved eternal candidate — scorning baking cookies for one’s children as wasted time rather than a wholesome family activity.

      • Of course it is wasted time. If you brought them up right by the time they are 4-5 they should be baking cookies for you instead.

      • Joe in PNG

        Proper, liberated Womyn don’t wear aprons or bake cookies. That’s what the servants are for!

    • I wear a heavy denim apron in the machine shop. I have a lighter one I wear in the kitchen. Somewhere I have a very heavy apron for pouring metal. I used to wear an apron when sandblasting, but now I use a poncho.

      Aprons are sexist? Women wear our trousers, our neckties, and now our aprons?!

    • As far as aprons go, talk to this guy:

      When you’ve reached his skill level then you can sneer at what he wears.

    • I have a heavy cotton apron, burgundy, with three chevrons on the front and the words GRILL SERGEANT.

      • carlton mckenney

        My wife has one that is a source of contention between us. It is a full length denim with pockets and loops. Very useful design. It also has a crest on the bib that says “Ladies Terrorist and Sewing Society”. I calim that since she never wears and apron for anything I should have it. Her contention is that since it says “Ladies” she should have it. This has provided 32 years of argument.
        I think I’ll go start it up again.

    • Sara the Red

      I totally wear aprons in the kitchen (when I remember to) because trying to get dried flour + something liquid off one’s clothes is a pain in the hindquarters. Also trying to remove preserves, or grease, or…

  9. I own four aprons. Big black, masculine, oppressive aprons.

  10. I must confess that I’ve never felt the same about elves after reading Larry Correia’s “Tanya the Elf Princess.”
    He really is a very bad man.

  11. carlton mckenney

    Gee! Why does it seem like you are describing Germany in the lat 20s and early 30s?

    • Even though I’m more up to date. Yeah, I know.

    • Highlander

      Germany, yes. But the Soviet Union, based upon its application of Marxism and the concept of the creation of the New Communist (Soviet) Man, had a more incisive and nuanced ideology that did National Socialism.

      We could argue that we see it today in the figure of the New Feminist Woman. Which includes the New Feminist Man. But in his proper place.

  12. But all of this has happened before.

    For a time, I was fascinated by the Stalinist period is Russia. I asked myself, “How could otherwise relatively rational beings participate so obsessively and enthusiastically in getting others and then, ultimately, themselves sent to the Lubyanka?”

    As pointed out, it starts with the idea that one is entitled to be cool, but that one must perform the rituals that the coolest appear to be demanding for entry. So, the wanting-to-be-cool frenziedly ape and shout slogans and become even more illogical and malicious and, ultimately, cannibalistic. With absolutely no need to provide proof or defend a belief or feel any remorse for the damage they do.

    And a strange, but powerful, new logic appears. If you question, or even comment, upon the latest truth — be it from Pravda or the Great Soviet Encyclopedia or the Department of Diversity and Student Indoctrination — you are, de facto and de jure, guilty without trial and without recourse. Unless it is a show trial. They didn’t call it the party line for nothing.

    I hold that what we are seeing is the proles trying desperately to be chosen for the Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’. And believing that, because of their unique gifts and ability to feel, that they will soon be a Party member. And get a dacha.

    And that only they should be able to vote for the Hugos.

    • I have long thought that no politician would wear the “Emperor’s New Clothes and wondered how a realistic telling of that story would run. That kid would probably have been grabbed, diagnosed, medicated and sent for special education before two people expressed agreement (especially if people secretly shared his view.)

      • Highlander

        You’re spot on. Nice example of an allegory that reveals a phenomenon common across human cultures.

        The Emperor’s courtiers (or, in the Stalinist case, the apparatchiks) who fall over themselves to praise the rainment (or the New Five Year Plan or the purge of the counter-revolutionaries) do it for various reasons. Advancement, preference, acceptance are several. But so are survival, avoidance of pain, and fear. But the common element in these motivations is some level of knowledge that the Emperor is naked or that Trotsky and Bukharin were really good Communists.

        What becomes alarming is when the fawning acolytes begin to believe that the Emperor has beautiful clothes or that the wreckers are the reason that the factory quota was not met … or that misogyny is the reason that Jane Smith wasn’t elected to student senate.

        With results like boycotting the Hugos because the right candidates did not win. In the interest, of course, of democracy. And, victimhood.

  13. Ah, the Good Folk. They’re fun to write about. Got two stories out with two extremes taking from folklore, and then there’s the works in progress. (In one of them, you don’t have fairies. You have lords and ladies.)

  14. There’s a nice line in one of Kenneth Hite’s old “Suppressed Transmissions” essays from Pyramid Online: whenever an old song or folk tale mentions “fairies,” you should mentally replace it with “Orc” to get the full effect.

  15. One of the most amazing scenes for me in Almost Famous was Philip Seymour Hoffman telling Patrick Fugit, who was very much falling under the glamor, that he and Patrick will never be cool. “Friendship is the booze they feed you… they make you feel cool! We are uncool.” He then goes into the coolness of uncool, but it was still pretty smart.

    “I’m glad you were home.”
    “I’m always home, I’m uncool.”

  16. From the OP:
    “This much is true: hangers on and lickspittles trade their birthright for nothing. In a highly hierarchical society (which theirs is) abasing yourself buys you nothing but more abasement.”

    I’m not so sure they see it that way. Totalitarians need petty functionaries and too many people have the mindset that “I can’t tyrannize *everyone* but I can certainly tyrannize *someone*”. Convincing them that their reward is better described as ‘hell-ish’ than ‘heaven-ish’ is the real trick. You know, before you are kneeling before them as they audit you 🙂

  17. William O. B'Livion

    We real cool. We
    Left school. We

    Lurk late. We
    Strike straight. We

    Sing sin. We
    Thin gin. We

    Jazz June. We
    Die soon.

    –Gwendolyn Brooks

  18. I really want to do an intelligent post here about history and glamors and what the left has done to one using the other. I really don’t think I’m capable of not just screaming like a three year old at this point though. Suffice it to say that if you read something about class struggle, misoginy, racism, etc take it with a grain of salt. Oh, and since this is my peeve du jour, if someone tells you that a unit made up of dark skinned individuals was sent off to die because racism EVEN THOUGH they fought to be included in the Armed Forces and have the right to fight, feel free to tell them where to stick their comment.

    • Highlander

      Well, you see, if they volunteered to serve a racist society, it was because they didn’t realize it was racist. And, since they didn’t realize it was racist, that proves it was racist.

      There. That settles it.

      BTW, if you disagree —– racist!

      • Sara the Red

        And they never see their own racist filter in their implication that the poor darker-skinned people were, of course, too weak-witted to KNOW that it was racist… ::facepalm::

        • YES. And this is the sort of thing that p*sses me off when applied to me. Second only to people speaking very loudly and very slowly at me. (Yeah, I know I have an accent. I also don’t think anyone can hear two sentences out of me and think I need the slow and loud treatment.)

        • BTW, if you agree — racist!

          God, how I love politically correct logic.

  19. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    One interesting story about the “Fair Folks” is The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope.

  20. I grew up hearing the unexpurgated Irish folk tales and the Childe Ballads sung as lullabies. Which probably explains my ability to catch the edge of the glamour before some folks do. And gets me fussed at by Sib . . .
    Sib-in-Law: “I do not know what’s gotten into Little Bit! It’s like your Sib brought home the wrong child.”
    Me: “Have you made a brewery of eggshells yet?”
    Sib-ib-Law: “A what? Will that calm her down?”
    Sib [from off screen]: “That’s not funny, Tex.”
    Sib-in-Law: “Did I miss something?”
    Me: [evil grin that breaks through attempt to look innocent] “Just trying to be helpful.”

  21. Christopher M. Chupik

    So, here’s one of these things that’s bugged me for a while: how did the idea that supernatural beings were afraid of iron come about? It’s pretty widespread but I can’t figure out why.

    • It’s older than recorded history, which makes it hard to work out.

      • Perhaps it stems from the observation that a well-employed pry-bar resolves most conflicts quickly?

        Or it have just been a rumour spread by the Iron-mongers’ Guild in order to boost sales of their cheap, shoddy (compared to bronze) weaponry?

    • I wonder if it came about because of the Bronze Age to Iron Age shift. Let’s say you have bronze tools and weapons. You get overrun by people with iron weapons and tools, or you observe from a wary distance that their tools are better. Case #1, you might be informed that their deities are stronger than yours, and you come to the conclusion that perhaps the iron was the difference (because your gods had always been there before). Case #2, you might decide that if your deities did not make iron available, perhaps it was because they could not tolerate it for some reason. *shrug* Smiths always seem to have had one foot in the uncanny, be it Bronze Age or later.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Well, in several cultures “smith” and “sorcerer” are synonymous. Michael Scott Rohan’s Winter of the World series runs with that idea.

        • Sara the Red

          Also Robin McKinley’s Spindle, and Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising. Makes me want to read up on the mythology of smiths more…

      • Folklore is not that stable.

        Victorian folklorists were of the opinion that fairy tales and other folklore crawled out of the primordial ooze with the first creatures, but having collected folklore for decades (thus allowing cross-time comparisons) folklorists now know that it shifts a lot. Preserving a notion from the switchover to iron is rather implausible.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I’m pretty sure it is partly a matter of cost, rarity, special knowledge and so forth.

          Look at how some modern sources talk about Carbon Fiber and other things. Like F.E.A.R., which isn’t the only example I’ve seen of supersoldiers with carbon fiber bones. I know enough biology, and have been around enough people using Carbon Fiber for real world applications that I don’t buy that.

          Iron was magic before industrialization made steel stupid cheap. Cold Iron was, I think, a modification of that, to say that stuff made by cheaper processes didn’t matter.

          Compare also gold, silver, and modern synthetic substances in different eras.

          Likewise, when a plant was magic, it is never some generic plant. One isn’t told to grab whatever, but something specific that requires searching. Or more bizarre measures.

          • > stupid cheap

            That was Abraham Darby in 1707. Everyone knew iron could do great things, but it was simply too expensive to be practical for most things. Darby’s process for making affordable iron is what kicked off the Industrial Revolution.

            As often happens, few people have ever heard of him.

        • Sara the Red

          I’ve always found it rather intriguing, though, how certain stories (or story themes) seem to crop up everywhere, even in wildly different cultures. Also some symbols (for example, they have found the Green Man as far out as Thailand…and it doesn’t seem to have been an import from points further west, either.). It seems like everyone has a Cinderella tale, and a variation of Beauty and the Beast.

          Heh. Just goes to show that, really, none of us are all THAT alien to each other: we end up telling the same stories in the end.

          • Joseph Campbell.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Or hagriding.

            There seem to be four possible explanations.

            1) The similarity is faked. I think not, we can see how poorly the feminists have managed.
            2) There really is magic underlying things. I’ve a weaker case against this, because I put together the taxonomy for arguing with an atheist, and was relying on them not arguing this angle.
            3) Common origin. I really think this can’t be it, as the mutation rates seem wrong.
            4) Humans are simply wired to favor certain conclusions.

            • In re Option #2: the fact that we operate in just over three dimensions leaves at least (by recent count) seven more in which science may safely operate under the guise of magic.

              For example, in Faerie there is no Fourth Dimension, or at least movement through it is not simply a matter of duration.

          • The publication of Grimms’ Fairy Tales produced a noticeable change in the folk tales told in Japan.

            In — Uganda, I think, definitely Africa — one folklorist did an impressive collection except that those who came after found slews of Cinderella stories, and he hadn’t found one. Finally they concluded that he had told his informants stories in exchange, and one must have been Cinderella.

            • Any place where traders congregate, such as sea ports and caravan crossings, is a likely locus for exchange of myths and folk legends. This likely applies to military campaigns as well — think of the Crusades with armies from across Europe and the Arab Peninsula commingling. Slaves, as well, are likely transmission vectors.

              Basically, any place where folk sit around a campfire, at a bar or in a bedroom and play “Can you top this?

              Also, any scouts for armies traversing foreign lands are likely to hear warnings from locals about not crossing the moor where the Old Kirk stood for fear of being lead astray by a will o’ the wisp.

              • Feather Blade

                Basically, any place where folk sit around a campfire, at a bar or in a bedroom and play “Can you top this?

                My step-father figures that this is where the Lasceaux(?) cave paintings and other petroglyphs came from.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Iron-using cultures won over non-Iron-using cultures thus causing the belief that Iron had special powers?

      • The Other Sean

        I’ve heard that the “great issues of the day will be decided by blood and iron,” so perhaps Iron does have special powers.

        • Now, I have no source for this – it came to me whole cloth as I read your comment, but consider this: One way to make iron magnetic is to beat it with a hammer while it is oriented with an existing magnetic field. It doesn’t make for a strong magnet, but if some of the new iron swords turned out to have magnetism, it could be seen as being a magical property. This, in fact, could explain the frequent reference to “cold” iron, since heating it to a glowing heat would do away with the magnetic alignment that had been imparted while the smith was hammering it, while doing the finish work while the metal was cold would not.

  22. The Other Sean

    I don’t give too much thought to elves and fairies, because I was told they’re gone. Several people told me that “Elves has left the building.”

  23. Birthday girl

    OT: Don’t you think spelling it as “glamour” just looks more glamourous?
    *duck-n-run*

    • I had it as Glamour because my understanding is that that means “magic” then I decided to change since this is a “real world” post. 😛

      • Don’t you mean “magik”? Sorry. I just got used to that spelling on books in the new age store.

  24. “One of my friends recently pointed out I write really well about fairies.”
    That is no way to talk about Luce Keeva. I feel microaggressed.

  25. Randy Wilde

    Life is an illusion. Make your saving throw.

  26. No one’s mentioned this yet, so I will: if the concept of “glamor,” particularly how it plays out in the modern day world, interests you, Virginia Postrel’s The Power of Glamor: longing and the art of visual persuasion is likely to be of interest. Her Substance of Style is also very good, and covers similar, overlapping ground.

    Here’s one blog post/essay on the intersection of horror and glamor that is fairly representative: http://www.deepglamour.net/deep_glamour/2008/09/from-glamour-to.html#more

    • I haven’t read it yet — I think — unless i read it while I was so ill I don’t remember, but one of my best friends is mentioned in the acknowledgements. (Small world, etc.)

  27. They seem incapable of processing challenges, doubts, or even factual disproof of their charges.

    I need to get a bigger laptop, so I can put in HUGE letters across the top:
    Remember: a lot of people say “I don’t understand” when they mean “I do not agree” or “I will not accept any explanation.”

    I keep forgetting this, and wasting my time.

    Although it does explain why so many annoying people use the phrase “you don’t understand” when I do not agree with them, and have explained in detail why I don’t agree…….

    • For a certain coterie of people, understanding compels agreement. I admit I do not understand such people.

      • (rimshot)

        I know it’s got to have something to do with the fish recognizing that there’s a difference between water and air, different assumptions, different starting points…but it’s very, very hard to understand where someone is coming from when they insist that not only did they not come from anywhere, neither did anyone else…..

  28. Christopher M. Chupik

    Among the Sea Peoples who invaded ancient Egypt were the Dananoi. One theory is that they were Greek, another the Tribe of Dan. But my favorite is that they were the Tuatha de Danaan, the faerie folk of Irish legend who were among the first tribes to live in Ireland.

    That’s right: Egypt got invaded by elves!

  29. MadRocketSci

    I’ve noticed that a lot of Fantasy seems to be going through a “fairy” phase, maybe like horror is going through a “zombie” phase. I’ve noticed that your fantasy deals with them also.

    Whose mythology is all this stuff drawing from? Where did it come from? (Not Greek/Roman mythology, though Shakespeare plunked fairies down in Greece.) Elves sort of originated in Norse mythology, though I’m unaware of them ever having much screen time there.

    PS: I’ve noticed with some amusement that the Canadian civil engineers swear by their “cold iron rings”. A sort of no-bullshit the-buck-stops-here pledge to see the world as it is and always deal with the truth. I wonder if this refers, however tangentially, back to fairy-myths about either they or their glamour not liking it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritual_of_the_Calling_of_an_Engineer

    • I can envision a Harry Dresden-type character wearing glasses in iron-rims, just to defeat glamours.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Northern Europe appears to be the source. British folklore (English, Scots, Welsh) contains them. France has some of them. There are German stories about them. Irish folklore has them.

    • My fairy fantasy is 15 years old.

    • Sara the Red

      Well, one *could* make the argument that modern engineers are the logical progression of the mythical Dark Ages smith with mystic powers…so I suppose it only makes sense that they would have such rituals…

      I am sooo sending that link to my engineer brain twin. She will curse me for giving her story ideas…

    • The Canadians use (or used to use) wrought iron; the ring I’m wearing is steel, but then the Order of the Engineer were prevented by copyright concerns from using Kipling’s text.

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