The Condescension of the Elites

Growing up through successive revolutions and counter-revolutions gives you a finely honed sense of what is socially approved (particularly when it can change on a dime.) And I got pretty good at seeing the difference between what was said aloud “We’re all for democracy and we accept all different opinions” and what was real “if you don’t toe the socialist line, we’re going to destroy your school career, your job, your hopes of any sort of advancement.” It’s not hard to “read” if you stop listening to the words and instead pay attention to what actually happens.

The weird thing is that most people either don’t have that ability or subsume it because it’s easier to believe what they’re told.

When I applied to come to the US as an exchange student, I went to the consulate to get my visa fresh off my brother’s office and my brother had just given me six or seven tapes of French singers some of which were communist.

My brother warned me strenuously not to take the tapes with me because I’d probably get denied a visa. Even back then I had some idea this wasn’t quite true, but to an extent, logically, it made sense. After all, the US was the nexus of anti-communism in the world, so surely—

Of course the (youngish) consulate employee and I ended up talking about the singers and exchanging tips on the better songs/tapes.

As I said, I already had some idea that in the US communist authors and singers weren’t shunned. I’d listened to enough singers who sounded like the Portuguese communists and who were multimillionaires in the US. But that was the first time I met an on-the-street American (he was a new employee there) and realized that it not only wasn’t true that communism and socialism were looked down upon on the US, but that the “cultured” groups in the US were pretty much indistinguishable from cultured groups in Europe, where leftism was a positional good and saying things like “Stalin was a little harsh” was not a reason to recoil in horror but a reason to nod and know the speaker was on the vanguard of culture.

By the time I moved to the US in the mid eighties, leftism and posing as a leftist were very much a mark of the “educated” and the “smart.” While the popular idea was that the Republicans were “the party of the rich” in fact to move in the wealthy and “classy” sets you had to parrot opinions that were indistinguishable from the opinions of the left and even the extreme left in Europe.

It’s only got worse since then. In the last thirty years, the long march through the institutions was completed, and art, news and academia are all firmly in the hands of the left. Which means that parroting the right (left) opinions is not only the way to advance, it’s the ONLY way to advance. In fact you have to at least nod to them in order not to be sent to Coventry.

And yet, most people still talked as though the people with power in the culture were “right wingers” and the people who broke ranks with the left and went to the right, in addition to having their character shredded and personal insults hurled at them were said to be “Selling out.” Even though, usually, their career vanished into a black hole after that.

So, pardon me – I’m not approving these comments because usually they’re one line, seem to think they mean “your argument is invalid” and one of them might be a well known serial troll – for giggling hysterically when I get comments on my blog that say something like “This post is so condescending”. And I get these every time I post about the Hugo controversy, even sideways and backwards, or with a vague reference to it. I’m going to guess the word of the month for the armies of the hangers-on of Mordor is “condescending.”

The problem, as always, as it that “condescending” has a meaning. And the meaning of condescending refers to tone, not to the argument itself. Even if posts were condescending in tone, it wouldn’t invalidate the argument itself.

If I said: “Your hair looks like a bird’s nest” as a statement of fact, the content of the sentence would not be factually any different from “You’re such a dork. I can’t believe you got your hair done to look like a bird’s nest. You should know better.”

The second is patronizing, but if your hair looks like a bird’s nest, it’s still exactly the same whether I say it politely or not.

So when I say that weakly attached hangers-on and lickspittles are running out to act as trolls on any blog that even mentions the puppies, and keep repeating the same accusations (“slate”, “bought votes”, “bad writing”, “not true fans”) regardless of how many time those are disproven is not factually any different whether I say it condescendingly or not.

But my posts in fact, tend not to be condescending. They are rather trying to lay out an argument rationally. (The condescending ones are distinguished by a “I’ll beat you to death with my vocabulary” feel. They can also fairly be called “rants.”)

So the perception of “condescension” supposing that these people know what the word means, of course, and are not just repeating what they heard – as I said, it seems to be the word of the month – comes from the fact that I’m questioning the value of their positional good. I.e. the translation of “condescending” in this case is “I can’t believe you, peasant, dare to question me, one of the elites.”

In fact, if one wades into the Sad Puppy mess (here, wear galoshes. You’ll need it) the side that says things like “You’re not true fans” or “your tastes are just low” or “your writing is bad” or “Our opinion of what is good IS the maker of what is good” or “you’ll never work in this town again” or “for daring talk against us, you’ll never win a Hugo” is not the Puppy supporters.

This is because the “power” at least if understood as traditional publishing power, in this field is NOT from puppy supporters. The people opposing the puppies (not their lickspittles running around blogs shouting the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables) are powers in the field: well established editors with power of the purse; writers who get publicity campaigns and push and huge advances; critics who have for years been reviewing the “well regarded” stuff and establishing a taste that is Marxism with a mix of glitterati, or in other words, positional good leftism.

You’d think that people who have been extensively indoctrinated in Marxism would understand the difference between “establishment power” and “economic power” and the revolutionaries who come in saying “But you’ve been going wrong by alienating the reading public; we don’t give a hot damn what your political opinions are, but you need to tell stories people want to read, and if you don’t people should be able to participate in the intervention to make you see why your print runs keep falling.”

I.e. they would understand that they are in fact on the side that is being condescending by virtue of having all the power in the field, including power of the purse. (Well, almost all the power. I know three indie-only writers making six figures. Which, of course, is what has the establishment’s panties in a bunch.)

And they’d understand their bleats of “condescending” are all about “How dare you?”

Yeah. I have bad news. See where power is moving to indie. See how you’re being used as footsoldiers in a doomed effort by the establishment to keep their iron grip on what is “good” and “worthy of awards” or even “acceptable.” See how your masters can no longer guarantee you a good career or even A career.

The rest of us? You can object to our tone all you want. You can’t do anything to us. That rule that publishers had to be informed of our true names? Way out the window, now. Amazon doesn’t care. “Kill” our careers either by making sure we’re never traditionally accepted (and you’ll give orders to Baen, how?) or by destroying our reputations with your whisper campaigns, and we will simply come back under another name. There’s HUNDREDS of ways to do that legally if we want to go traditional. And we don’t even need those ways for indie.

So, Lords, and Ladies, and those who aspire to the favor of the “elites” this is to serve you notice: no matter how much you bellow and thrash around and send your hangers on to call us names, we will not bow, we will not apologize and we will NOT tug our forelocks at you.

If that’s being condescending to you, then we intend to continue being “condescending.”

The manor walls have fallen and the serfs have the liberty of newly-claimed lands.

There is no going back.

Ça Ira.

244 responses to “The Condescension of the Elites

  1. When I find myself engaging in debate with such lackwits i confess the condescension is awfully hard to hide. To quote Mae West, I’m doing my best to conceal it.

    How can you not be contemptuous of folk whose strongest argument is stylistic rather than substantive? It only seems I am stooping because they are themselves so low.

  2. The manor walls have fallen and the serfs have the liberty of newly-claimed lands.

    For the most part the serfs are just doing what they’ve always done: tend their fields, plant & harvest their crops. All that has changed is they no longer tithe the Laird (along with not tithing the Laird’s overseer, the Laird’s tax collector, the Laird’s butcher, baker nor candlestick maker.)

    Nor are they bending the knee, twisting the cap nor tugging the forelock; they’ve smelt the Laird’s privy and it’s no sweeter than their aine.

  3. I don’t think these trolls have any idea what condescension means. Although in the depth of their little black hearts, they would like to be the ones condescending.

  4. Lefties calling anyone else condescending… There are no words.

    Actually there are words, words equal parts angry and amused. Condescending distaste for the middle class is the primary characteristic of the libprog in his pupal state (ie college).

  5. You’d think that people who have been extensively indoctrinated in Marxism would understand the difference between “establishment power” and “economic power” …

    Most of them don’t understand anything beyond which table serves the cool kids.

    The ones that do understand more also understand that it is not in their political interest to acknowledge such distinctions when berating the unruly masses; whatever whip comes to hand is the one they will use. As they do not argue in good faith they are under no burden to allow their understanding to affect their arguments.

    We who argue in pursuit of enlightenment must not lose sight of the reality that their arguments are made in pursuit of darkness.

    • The one and only sentence I questioned when reading. Historically, Marxist seem to have little or no understanding of economics. Be it grand economic plans while the peasants are starving or bankrupting your publishing house you inherited from Daddy by choosing ‘substance’ over what sells. As Thatcher said about you run out of other people’s money, perhaps their ‘grand socialist schemes’ would be wonderful, but they never seem to be able to afford it.

      • No, but they understand the power of money. And they want it.

      • That fact was the Soviet Unions downfall. and the US Fed doesn’t seem to have any better understanding of economic reality. Money is a means of communication from ultimate consumer to original producer. Any attempt to control consumption or production or money supply distorts that communication and shortages, gluts, bubbles, inflation, depression and any other economic malaise imaginable are inevitable.

      • When you get past the rabid moral disapproval of the existence of “the capitalist mode of production,” Marx actually had some good economic insights. E.g., his understanding of the business cycle was close to Ludwig von Mises’s.

  6. Sarah writes:
    “If I said: “Your hair looks like a bird’s nest” as a statement of fact, the content of the sentence would not be factually any different from “You’re such a dork. I can’t believe you got your hair done to look like a bird’s nest. You should know better.”

    If I asked, pointing at said hairdo, “How much will you be charging your new avian tenants? And if they should be endangered owls, what is your plan to deal with the EPA? and the pellets?” would that be condescension too?

    • Possibly. But also funny.

      • I have found the safest sentence to say to a woman is:
        Oh, you have done something new to your hair!

        • LOOKIST!

          She does not need, she does not want, she does not have to suffer the indignity of your gaze. But never make the mistake of ignoring her, of denying her her rightful place in the community.

          It’s a Kobayashi Maru and anything you say (or if you fail to say anything) will be used to put you on the defensive.

          • Acting like it is, is, of course, an additional offense. Nothing offends a SJW more than your noticing you are in the position of someone caught in the middle of a park with neither buildings nor trees when the heavens open. You will get wet. You might as well not bother.

            • You remind that there came a point in my life when I was compelled to acknowledge that I was no longer thin enough and fast enough to dodge the raindrops — and indeed, had never been. Now, in my dotage, with excess mass and gamey knees, I plod patiently through the downpour, accepting that it is ever man’s fate to accept what befalls.

              • “The rain it falls upon the just
                And on the unjust fella’.
                But mostly on the just, because
                The unjust seals the just’s umbrella.”

            • Now, what I’ve seen is not always offense but basically “Well, that’s what it’s like for the underprivileged all the time, you deserve it.”

          • The only thing worse than not noticing a new hair style is to notice it? Which in turn makes it worse. Somehow.

            Cascading chains of misogyny!

            My hat hurts.

  7. In regard to this essay’s title, of course the elites condescend. How else would we recognise and hail their eliteness?

  8. I’m not convinced the puppy haters are that organized. Yes, they tend to show up in multiples, and yes, they tend to be annoying. There are two reasons for this.

    First, they can. The commenters have to rise to a pretty high level of abuse before they get spammed. I don’t know of a single instance of disemvowling taking place on a pro-puppy site. This is a feature, not a bug, because I’ve seen several commenters confess to becoming “puppy supporters” because they could simply compare/contrast the way two sides treated outsiders.

    Second, many are trying to impose “group order” using the techniques that work inside their own group. They don’t understand that another community can exist that does things a different way, despite all the “respect other cultures” messages they’ve had repeatedly drilled into their minds.

    I guess there is a third category: the true asshats.Yeah, doesn’t take long to recognize them.

    • I didn’t say they were organized. It’s all “i want to belong” and words and attitudes to make it seem they belong.

      • Kinda like the way a piece on our “favorite” three number blog lumps the (out-of-context) Sad Puppy/ libertarians in with an (apparently) off-the-wall (possibly) fundie book reviewer and then contrasts it with the reasonable, rational CHORFs.

        • Yeah. Like they call me fascist…

        • I’m pretty sure the “Sad Puppies Review ‹whatever›” posts which File 770 keeps linking to are supposed to be parodies of what their author imagines we believe.

          • Yeah, those are “parodies” becase the “individual” who writes them thinks that is how we think.

            S/h/it is a freaking idiot though.

            • Randy Wilde

              I don’t think I’d ever looked at that site before today… I think I only heard about recently, from comments here.

              I sent in the $40 to WorldCon because I wanted to counter one of the people advocating for “No Awards” with my ballot, and because some people on this site said that the contents of the download packet would be worth the money. And I’ve been enjoying reading the contents, wanting to vote for the nominees in each category I think deserve the award.

              But I swear, the more often I look at sites that are opposed to the Depressed Juvenile Canines, the more I want to just go vote for the “slate” without first reading the stories, just to annoy them.

      • They also see things that are attacking the foundations of their claims to being on the side of righteousness, so they are compelled to go out and defend it, or risk becoming lost at sea, when their anchor is uprooted and broken.

        And, given that the underlings of the Left don’t do much thinking of their own, they will take whatever is offered in their own domains and repeat it unto the unwashed masses, in hopes that they will see the light.

        • Oh, they’re already lost at sea, their anchor is just the tow rope for the scenic facade barge which allows them to believe themselves moored to reality.

        • Perhaps they should have read Nietzsche (instead of quoting one line of his very out of context), specifically The Gay Science, specifically #124, The Horizon of the Infinite, because they denied the existence of any objective truth:

          We have left the land and have embarked. We have burned our bridges behind us—indeed, we have gone farther and destroyed the land behind us. Now, little ship, look out! Beside you is the ocean: to be sure, it does not always roar, and at times it lies spread out like silk and gold and reveries of graciousness. But hours will come when you will realize that it is infinite and that there is nothing more awesome than infinity. Oh, the poor bird that felt free and now strikes the walls of this cage! Woe, when you feel homesick for the land as if it had offered more freedom—and there is no longer any “land.”

          Having destroyed the land they find they have no refuge when their sea is not all silk and gold.

      • Indeed. It isn’t organized any more than an ant hill is “organized”. Its a self-assembling mob of like-minded lackwits. It looks organized as long as everything remains within expected parameters.

        Let an external perturbation (Sad Puppies!) come along though, and they all start going in all directions.

        See any rant by TNH for elucidation. That woman goes in all directions simultaneously.

    • many are trying to impose ‘group order’ using the techniques that work inside their own group.

      You can’t shun people who don’t give a damn what your opinion might be.

    • > techniques that work inside their own group

      As Jeff Duntemann said, “You can’t shame a puppy.”

      They’re so focused on their group’s paradigms they can’t see that those paradigms are meaningless or invisible to people not in their group.

      • The Other Sean

        But you can end up with one peeing on your leg. A former neighbor’s young hunting dog had just completed a nearly-flawless performance during field trials, then came back and peed on my neighbor’s leg.

        • My 1year+ beagle pup is almost like that. Apparently when they smell a bunny their brain short circuits to: smell-bark-step-repeat… When they get back and are with you, they calm down enough for the bladder signals to reach the brain.

    • The best metaphor is “the Hive”, coined by Joe Sobran and Tom Bethel, iirc. Just as bees and ants act as if they were directed by a central intelligence, so do many leftists. And just as with social insects, there’s no general direction, only identical reactions to stimuli, and metaphoric pheromones to attract other members of the Hive.

  9. I need more tea. I glanced at the headline, saw it as “the Condensation of the Elites” and thought “eeeww, all I have is knee-boots, not waders.”

    After reading the piece, I see a medieval peasant on a long board on top of a breaking roller and the caption “Human Wave – Serfs Up!” Tee-shirt, anyone?

  10. So, Lords, and Ladies, and those who aspire to the favor of the “elites” this is to serve you notice: no matter how much you bellow and thrash around and send your hangers on to call us names, we will not bow, we will not apologize and we will NOT tug our forelocks at you.

    That’s what makes them mad-there’s nothing they can do,no writer has to pay attention to them,or have their books published by “their” publishers.

    I read indie writers books more often than I do the garbage that’s usually on the NY Times bestseller list. I buy indie writer’s books more often as well.

    • I would consciously avoid anything from the NYT bestseller list. I was looking at the used-book sale rack at the library yesterday, and thinking, ‘No, I won’t pay a dollar for any of those books — I wouldn’t even read them when I could check them out of the library for free!”

      And I like the “Serfs Up” t-shirt idea with the pitchfork.

      • I don’t think there’s been anything worth reading on the NYT list for at least 10 years.

        • There have been quite a few good things on the NYT lists — John Ringo, for example, has made it several times, as have Larry Correia (IIRC) and Rowling’s Harry Potter.

          Admittedly, the NYT has repeatedly attempted to change their algorithm to prevent such embarrassments …

          • It’s very rare that anything worth reading is on the NYT list-but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

          • Let me tell you how precise the NYT bestseller list is. I used to work at a science fiction bookshop that actually reported to the Times. Every week, the own would make his report by looking at the New Arrivals shelf, measuring the deepest dents in the stacks by eye, pulling a number out of his fundament and phoning it in.

            • I didn’t say it was accurate, I said sometimes good things get on that list in spite of their efforts.

              Like a stopped clock, y’know? You’re a fool to rely on it if only because it is not even consistently wrong.

        • If I remember right, they were forced by the success of his books to have at least one of Jonah Goldberg’s political books on their lists.

      • I figured out quite some time ago, that if I could easily find a copy of something on the NY Times bestseller list at least a decade after it appeared there, then possibly there might be some merit to the book, and it might well be worth my time, taking a look.

  11. I’d read that 1st as ‘condensation’.

  12. You are a bad bad woman. I read this: I’m going to guess the word of the month for the armies of the hangers-on of Mordor is “condescending.” I then flashed the gates of Mordor opening terrifyingly slowly in front of the army of the west, the evil army flounces out in drag and makeup, they declaim in unison “You are condesending.” with a limp wrist flip, turn around and flounce back in. The gates close to the tune of the armies of the west asking themselves “What just happened?” and “We mustered for this???”.

  13. Galoshes? Feh, full body condom is more like it.
    The anti puppies most recent meme seems to be to conflate us with the Rabid folks. We’re either in collusion with Vox or at a minimum fail to properly and vociferously enough denounce Vox and all he represents.
    I know from long experience that troll baiting is a frustrating and fruitless time waster, but damn it all they make it so easy. Seldom have I seen such vapid and devoid of logic accusations and arguments barely on a level with the efforts of poo flinging monkeys at the zoo.
    So, hi, I’m Uncle Lar. I’m addicted to whack-a-troll. Please help me to stop. I have books to review, and writers who require my wisdom. (Heh, wisdom, sometimes I crack myself up.)

    • They think that to be a good person you must shun the “bad of the week”. I’m starting to think they’re some sort of throw back to a primitive state, pre-thought? No? Then they have horribly maimed themselves by excising their power to think rationally.

      • They’re the intellectual equivalent of BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder), amputating elements of intellect in order to conform to their (delusional) self-identity? Would that make them IIIDiots?

        • No, they’re more advanced, they are BEIDs (pronounced beads) for “BEtter IDiots”. However, unlike their fore-bearers I’m not sure they are useful BEIDs.

    • They’d have created another Vox if he didn’t exist, just to disqualify us. After all, even before VD and Rabid Puppies, they were looking for the right word that would make Sad Puppies vanish into the air.

    • I was lurking over at Brad’s site after Shadowdancer was fussing about the trolls (good bashing btw) and somehow, found myself at VD’s blog for the second time. I noticed that he had a comment by Dave Freer, so he can’t be all bad, and while I though his own comments might be tainted with cliche in his response to being the resident evil of the SJW crowd, otherwise, he seemed to be rational explaining his reasons and criticisms of the anti-puppies. Particularly he was stressing to avoid the ‘no award’ category, due apparently to the bizarre way the votes are tallied. Now, I don’t really think he has a brain wave thought controller, but I got the sense that neither does he.

      • No, they tried to Tar & Feather him so he mocks them by doing the Quetzalcoatl Dance.

      • Even if all the slanders they wrote about VD (viz his purported racism, misogyny, homophobia, and all around Big Ole Meanie-ness) were true (and they’re not); No-one on the prog side gets to have one iota of “moral high-ground” about anyone until they publically denounce:
        –The communists
        — the union organizers who block school choice in ghettos
        –Muslim activists

        Real world mass graves, torture, grinding hopeless poverty, genital mutilation and the targeted killing of the sexually different trumps blog posts and twitter rants.

        It’s practically the defining characterization of an SJW that for them, it usually doesn’t

  14. BTW: James Taranto’s Best of the Web column today addresses the issue, as you can surmise from its title:

    Varsity Calvinball
    The “excesses” of political correctness are inevitable.
    By James Taranto
    One of our favorite tropes from Bill Watterson’s brilliant comic strip Calvin and Hobbes was “Calvinball.” The eponymous 6-year-old boy invented the game because he didn’t care for organized sports. The central feature of Calvinball is that the rules change all the time, at either player’s whim. That infinity of rules amounts to an absence of rules, making Calvinball a pure battle of determination—whoever is more willful in the imposition of rules wins.

    Of late progressive academics have been discovering that Calvinball is no fun when you’re not making the rules.

  15. I’ve been accused of talking to someone “like they’re a child” when I lay out a rational, well-supported argument.

    I think some people may take “I don’t assume that you think exactly the way I do, so I’ll lay out why I think what I do” to be an insult…..

    • They’ve invented a word for this: mansplaining. Once you have identified a microaggression it is best to give it a simple name so the ticket is easier to write.

      Don’t let the fact that you may, or may not be, a woman throw you. They have an airbrush for that.

      • Foxfier, I do believe you’ve just been declared a man… 🙂

        • Wait until her husband finds out… 🙂

        • Not the first time– not the first time while eight months pregnant, either. 😀

          • Hey, hey, whoa, fellow citizens. You can no longer assume a persons gender as it can spontaneously change at any moment. This is the kind of rookie mistake that gets you an invite to “Camp Free Thinking.”

            I only meant that ‘mansplaining’ can be applied regardless of the gender doing the offending. Since we can’t know what that is any longer. Unless the person in question has been on the cover of Vanity Fair. Err, that day, anyway.

            • I figure I’m in good company– in addition to many other good points, Mrs. Palin has very attractive taste in men.

            • Exactly — chromosomes are only about genetics; gender is a matter of how you feel yourself to be. Assigning a person’s gender according to any other criterion than how a person identifies is the sort of heteronormative oppression that this nation must end if we are to achieve our rightful leadership of an enlightened planet where everybody is free to be who they want to be (except males who refuse to engage their sensitive. empathic side, denying their connection to the goddess.)

              Women can manxplain if they want to, if only as a way of encouraging others to grasp how intolerant the practice is. It is not a man’s fault that he is incapable of correctly understanding things intuitively and homeopathicaly — but it is his fault if he rejects such means to knowledge and persists on insensitively using facts, logic and reason to deny a woman her right to just know a thing is true without any evidence at all. Men need to recognize and acknowledge their inferiority and be more respectful and sensitive.

              • Birthday girl

                Wha?? So is homeopathic understanding where the less you understand, the smarter you are … or something … ?

                • You take a liiiiiiittle bit of knowledge, and then dilute it, and take a bit of that into a different area, and dilute it again….

                  • Good Lord you Hun are on fire today. So. Birthday Girl, Foxifer, do you want credit if (okay, when: my husband is scribbling and chortling as I type, which bodes I’ll for my free time) “homeopathic knowledge” and “just keep on diluting it until you get an intersectional feminist” shows up in a comic strip?

              • I appreciate the distinction between gender and sex. Having a means to clearly and simply distinguish between biological reality and a person’s mental space and (betimes) rich interior fantasy space is quite useful. Frankly, I was shocked that some humanities academics used language to make a useful distinction rather than to obfuscate.

                Of course, being academics (or their idiot step-children in Hollywood) they immediately decided that the “I say it’s so therefore it happened” model should be applied. Aaaand it all went rapidly downhill from there.

                BTW, according to my father, who spent years working in the middle east (mostly with the Saudis and Pakistani) that model is dead common in tribal societies. Which should tell you something else about academia and the CHORFs in fandom.

              • Wow, RES, you channeled them perfectly. I am in awe.

        • The ‘man’ part of mansplaining is used in a pejorative sense. Since all things bad come from men (especially dead white men), the implication is that your explanation is seeped in white male privilege. In typical vileprog fashion, a single word that conveys ‘shut up’, ‘check your privilege’, ‘not part of the *right* crowd’, ‘misogynist’ and ‘mouth-breathing-cousin-marrying conservative.

          Their only problem is the similarity to ‘manspreading’ which is another 1st world social affront that only a society where the poor are obese would conceive.

          • Jerry Boyd

            I know they mean it as a pejorative, but the only picture in my head when I hear “mansplaining”, is Roy Underwood smoothing down a board.

            • I miss the Woodwright’s Shop, even if the puns could get pretty bad (the nadir may have been the half-hour shaggy dog about the French mathematician and the saw horse). The regional PBS doesn’t run it any more, alas.

              • We get it on PBS Create from time to time. Right now we’re in a dry spell, all they seem to be playing is cooking shows and “This Old House”. I would buy the DVDs, but they cost like crazy.

                • Michael Nesmith, bass player for The Monkees and generally acknowledged inventor of the music video (Elephant Parts), entered into a partnership with PBS to produce and commercially market DVDs and Videotapes of their programmes. This was eventually the basis of a long-running legal action (Nesmith ultimately prevailing) over a number of issues but most notably PBS’s absurd pricing. Nesmith was never able to convince them the key was lowering prices to generate volume sales; PBS apparently thought their programmes so esoteric that only a few connoisseurs would want them and be happy to shell out big bucks for them, and so demanded the product be priced accordingly.

                  There were enough other problems that PBS eventually paid Nesmith $49 million to settle the suit (the word “fraud” features prominently in the headlines you get when googling Mike Nesmith and PBS.)

    • It’s another troll trap. They willfully misunderstand and misinterpret everything you say, so when you step back to basics and lay out everything from first principles they can accuse you of being raciss or sexiss or whatever club they want to beat you over the head with.

    • That’s because kids expect reasoning, whereas progressive “adults” have been trained to accept screaming and insults by the proper people as sufficient justification for anything.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      You mean that they aren’t children? [Very Big Evil Grin]

    • “Yes. I’m not going over your head, am I?”

      • “Is the shoe comfortable, sweetie?”

        Which reminds me of the day Beloved Spouse & I realized that young Daughtorial Unit’s complaint that a proffered pair of shoes was “too tight!” meant merely that she did not like the shoe and had figured out that “too tight” was a no rebuttal possible argument against their purchase (we could have put her in clown shoes and that would have been her response.)

    • I’ve run into that before. Working the helpdesk for seven years DID help that, though. I learned a lot of how to read someone’s familiarity by listening to them talk. Doesn’t fix all of it, though.

      • I have yet to find a way to ask “Is it plugged in?” that doesn’t have the complainant going into a huff. Particularly when it isn’t plugged in.

        One memorable call had the guy swearing it was plugged in. “Does the plug work?” had him off in a huff. Because of course the breaker had popped.

        • The folks I know who did that sort of thing used to ask the person to unplug and then replug the device. The idea being that if it’s not actually plugged in, you’ll get a “it’s mysteriously working now” response.

          • There are Navy trouble shooting instructions that involve switching out the power cord for the same reason.

            • Same thing in military broadcasting, back in the day.

            • Jerry Boyd

              Dr. Pournelle often says 90% or better of any trouble is cables.

              • Oh, yeah, there was also the time it turned out the power cord rather than the modem had gone kaput — that was a relief. Much less expensive.

                • Had a case once where someone in the Staples store had run the printer over the network cable and broke at least one of the wires on the inside. That was a fun one. Especially since I had never seen one of these setups in person and didn’t even know there WAS a network cable where it could be run over.

                • snelson134

                  There were other ways to screw up involving a power supply…

                  Company called D-CAT made the power supply cable of their “high-speed” (9600 baud, whoo-whoo) modem with a 9-pin connector…. just like the early PC keyboard. The results of plugging in the power supply to the keyboard port were…. interesting. And noisy.

              • Tell that to Herr Zimmermann.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Then there’s the “fun” of the power cord plugged into the power strip but *not* plugged correctly into the Computer.

            Yes, it happened to me with a new computer. [Embarrassed Grin]

          • Either that, or perhaps, “Well, sometimes, when things get moved around, the plug can work itself out. Even if it looks plugged in, can you reseat it for me, just to eliminate that possibility?”

            • Then there’s also (when you suspect there’s a floppy disk in the drive, because of the error message), you say, “Well, I’ve had them think there was a disk in there when there wasn’t. Sometimes, if you put one in and take it back out, it will fix that problem.”

          • The REALLY hard ones to find out are the ones where the power strip is plugged into itself.

        • Ask them to re-seat the plug– at both ends. A phrase like “I don’t know why, but this sometimes works– unplug the cord, and plug it back in, at the back of the computer and at the outlet.”

          • As a bonus, I really sometimes have to do this to equipment that was working just fine a few minutes before and nobody’s gone near the cord…. (It doesn’t have a real power button.)

          • Yep, this accounted for many frantic calls to the engineers when I worked in broadcasting. “Yes, it’s plugged in and turned on.” Next?
            Phrasing it tactfully to someone calling out of the blue and all in a quiver … that often solves the basic problem.

          • I usually claim that part of the equipment (pc, printer sat-tv box) is always on, so unplug, count to 30, plug back in. A simple exercise that makes them check and not feel as stupid about it. (spinning in place while chanting olly-olly-oxen-free during the wait can be helpful for the ones that practice homeopathic treatments.)

            • RealityObserver

              Actually… that’s the *only* way to fix some things. They *are* always on (if they have power).

              I have to do that at least once a month to get the cable box / blue ray player / TV / sound system to talk to each other again. Then power them up again in just that sequence. (Now, what the family does to make them stop talking to each other, I have never been able to figure out.)

        • Randy Wilde

          “The printer stopped printing in the middle of the report.” – I go over to the section, and press the “on line” button, and it starts printing again.

          Which means that someone saw something was printing, pressed a button on the printer, and it stopped printing! Obviously, something wring with the computer.

        • We called it the Executive Polarity Test. “Sometimes the plugs become polarized and the computer stops working. Unplug it from the wall, turn it over, and plug it back in.”

          Somehow, no one ever mentioned that the plug doesn’t actually fit into the outlet the other way ’round.

          • I did enjoy the day I got a call from someone in the same building, and I went over to take a look myself, and when I got there, she took a piece of paper with “ID10T” written on it and laid it on the keyboard, and grinned at me.

  16. RealityObserver

    OK, the allergy meds have kicked in.

    I have this image of the typical Harvard grad on one side, with a limp noodle; Sarah on the other side, with a shillelagh, and Toni (Weisskopf, not the snowflake) in the middle.

    Excellent post.

  17. I’m confused. I wasn’t aware that it was physically possible for a condescending bag of wind like the average leftist to call someone else condescending. That’s like a tornado making fun of someone because they’re name is Windy.

    As someone who has faced down a seminar room full of leftists I can assure you that condescending is the polite option. Other options include mocking, sneering, disbelieving, pontificating or offended. Offended is the reaction you get one trying to engage one in a debate when they realize you’ve crushed their argument and that *GASP* they ACTUALLY NEEDED TO MAKE AN ARGUMENT BECAUSE YOU DARED TO DISAGREE WITH THEM.

    It’s also an attempt to destroy your freedom of speech. If you can’t say anything that’s offensive and they get to decide what is offensive you’ve effectively had your free speech rights removed.

  18. reddragonhawk

    They sling out nothing but contempt, why are they surprised when they get it back with interest?

    • Maybe it’s surprise that someone actually paid them any attention? They’re all about getting attention, but they are used to the faux, “That’s nice, Johnny,” as opposed to the correct, “What an utter, meaningless pile of drivel! We are all dumber for having listened to your incoherent, meandering, desperate search of a thought. That was so bad, I’m not even sure you were speaking in any language found on planet Earth, let alone English!”

    • But they are surprised. Every single time.

      I think its because they’re stupid.

      • The ones that learn stop doing it.

        • A liberal, -learning- from experience? That is something I have never witnessed.

          Sometimes you see them in the media, where they get mugged and turn from doves to hawks, but they are still liberals and they still think government solves everything.

          Look at Israel. Bombs falling on their towns every day, idiots STILL voting for Lefty parties. Liberals are -stupid-.

  19. snelson134

    c4c

  20. Christopher M. Chupik

    Man, considering how much they hate our posts when we’re lined to File 770, just imagine if they read the comments. The poor dears would be so traumatized they’d have to spend the rest of their lives in safe spaces to recover.

  21. Why did that fourth from the last paragraph make me hear Malcolm Reynolds saying, “I aim to misbehave”

  22. bretwallach

    Buying from amazon, how can I tell if the book (electronic format) is from an indie author or not? As a lowly reader/non-author, I’m just curious.

    • reddragonhawk

      That’s a great question, I’d love to know too.

      • Look at the publisher under the “Product Details” section. For example, mine either list no publisher, or IndieBookLauncher. Peter Grant’s shows Fynbos Press. If you do a quick search using your favorite search engine, you can pick up pretty quickly which ones are imprints of Ye Big Publisher and which are small press, tiny press, or self-squeezed.

        Or you can go to the author’s website and see if they list presses they work with.

        • bretwallach

          Ah. Thanks. Now I see it, “Publisher” under “Product Details”. Should’ve been obvious – it is now!

          • ….how often do you look at the product details for an ebook? *grin* Unless you’re looking for page count or date printed or something.

      • RealityObserver

        Publisher. If you’ve never heard of them, it’s probably indie (remember, an indie may be “publishing” under their own “company”).

        A definite indie if the “publisher” is their category.

        Although I look for Baen, one of the Mad Geniuses, one recommended by a Mad Genius (or Sad Puppy), or see if a trusted reviewer has rated it.

    • Check the publishers. Some are just from CreateSpace or such publishers.

      Others of us, however, jumped through more hoops. Mine, for instance, are from my own little publishing house, Wizard’s Wood Press. Google the publisher if you want to check — it will probably make things clear.

      It may, of course, be a small-house, not a full indie. That can have its advantages.

      • Mine too – a teeny local publishing house called Waterpress Press. Although we have done many other books than my one. Seriously, just look at the listed press on Amazon, do a search – and you should be able to figure it out.

    • There is also the ‘price set by publisher’ tagline under the price. Look for it whenever the ebook is priced the same as the paperback.

  23. The publisher is listed in the “Product Details.” You then look up the publisher to see if they fall into whatever definition of “independent” you prefer to use; there’s the “anything that isn’t the Big Five” version, the “any publisher that doesn’t have more than X authors” version, and the “any publisher that publishes more than one person” version, and the “doesn’t have a publisher listed” version.

    • Whups, was supposed to be a response to bretwallach and reddragonhawk .

      • RealityObserver

        Add, as above – definitely indie if the “publisher” is actually their category. (Ex., look up “The Atomic Sea”).

  24. The major concern for indies is whether your state lets you Do Business As another name without filing paperwork and paying money. In my state, it’s definitely cheaper than incorporation or LLC, but they do make you pay and file paperwork to DBA. So no cool self-publishing publisher names for me. (OTOH, pen names are specifically exempted from having to file. The state of Ohio doesn’t want to know your pen names.)

  25. Patrick Chester

    The manor walls have fallen and the serfs have the liberty of newly-claimed lands.

    There is no going back.

    “It has been said that the people are revolting.”
    “You said it, they stink on ice!”

  26. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    I think that the big reason “elites” are so condescending is that they are certain they will never face a backlash or consequences for what they say or do. They should remember two things. One, the revolution always eats it’s own and the worst enemies are the ones closest to you and two, karma is a bitch.

  27. Submitted for your bitter laugh of the day, the condescenti of the modern proglodyte Twitterverse see Marcus Luttrell standing behind Rick Perry and wonder “Who’s that sweaty guy?”

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/06/04/media-matters-exec-editor-for-the-nation-have-no-clue-who-marcus-luttrell-is/

    I guess that’s part of the problem of getting all your news from The Nation, Medea [sic] Matters, Think Progress, Huffington Post and Wonkette.

    • I saw the clip on Fox News and immediately thought “Thank God for Texas.”

    • Wow. I couldn’t have named the guy, but I did at least manage a “huh, looks familiar” and recognized the “Lone Survivor” movie.

      And I haven’t been to a movie that didn’t involve Disney Princesses for about five years.

  28. From Commentary’s Peter Wehner, who wrote last month in the NY Times that in the past two decades the Democratic party has pulled much further to the left than the Republican party has pulled to the right, this comment to Leftist attempts to rebut him:

    The reaction on the left to my Times column revealed how deeply and emotionally invested many progressives are in a particular self-conception and self-delusion. They have constructed a world in which they see themselves as hyper-rational, moderate, reasonable, and empirical. When those assumptions are challenged, and when their own extremism is revealed, they more or less freak out.
    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/2015/06/01/the-lefts-self-conception-and-self-delusion/

    RTWT

  29. gregm91436

    Hi Sarah. So, here from file 770. First off, as an ex-Shakespearean actor and current playwright, I’m very excited to read ‘Ill Met By Moonlight’–it looks awesome. I’m a fan of what Neil Gaiman did with his Sandman riff of Midsummer.

    Re: the post: “the side that says things like [1] “You’re not true fans” or [2] “your tastes are just low” or [3] “your writing is bad” or [4] “Our opinion of what is good IS the maker of what is good” or [5] ‘you’ll never work in this town again’ ” Set aside 3 for the moment. Can you point to any direct quotes–preferably with links– for 1,4, or 5? Has anyone specifically said ‘you’re not true fans,’ and if so, who? Same with 4. And particularly with 5, threats of not being able to work in sci-fi (which is ludicrous, since John C. Wright is published by Tor). I’ve been following this really closely on sites on both sides, and I see a lot of pro-Sad Puppies *claim* that other people have called them “not trufans,” but never with links. Let alone

    If no one’s actually said those things, it undermines your argument to suggest that they’ve been said, and it might be worth asking yourself how you got them from objections to slate voting.

    Re: Bad writing: I tried to read “Big Boys Don’t Cry” and “Pale Realms of Shade” last night. There is some really, really bad writing in both of them. I’m not going to clutter up your thread with direct quotes unless you want specifics, but… there are just some very poorly constructed sentences and paragraphs in there.

    tldr: direct citations request for threats of never

    • You know, I tried to read Ancillary Justice. There is some really amateurish writing in that book. De Gustibus, etc, unless you’re ten and think your taste is THE taste.
      Next — threats, etc — blog posts all over the net. Facebook posts. I’ll let the commenters hunt them down if you really need them. I think you’d have to be avoiding them on purpose to miss them.

      • Is there anything that doesn’t generate internet threats? I suspect expressed preference for vanilla ice cream would generate internet threats as well as a debate over what is true vanilla and how imitation vanilla is a crime against nature.

        Hunting down “proof” for some clown from File 770 strikes me as time thoroughly ill-spent.

      • Hi Sarah, I’m from File 666, and would like you to provide links to a couple of questions:
        Have you stopped beating your Husband?
        Have you stopped abusing your Children?
        Have you stopped making fur coats out of kittens?

        After you respond, don’t be surprised if I fail to believe you, ask the same questions over or post anything you might say out of context to make you look bad.

        Thanks!

    • Typically Puppies aren’t members of the Cult of the Sentence. While style is a consideration, previous winners of the Hugo have proved that a great SF novel con be written without great style. This observation has been noted elsewhere in the publishing world.

      http://www.salon.com/2001/08/16/novels/

      “Much of “A Reader’s Manifesto” is wasted on meticulous analysis of prose style — a choice that does seem at odds with Myers’ withering disdain for the sentence cult — when the truth is that you don’t need an excellent style to write a great novel. Any critic who begins an essay with the example of Theodore Dreiser’s “Sister Carrie” ought to know that. Dreiser wrote clunky, awkward, tone-deaf prose. His novels are notoriously hard to “get into,” but I still remember where I was and how I felt as I came to the conclusion of “An American Tragedy,” transfixed by the claustrophobic horror of Clyde Griffith’s impending execution. On the level of sentences (or paragraphs, for that matter), DeLillo can write circles around Dreiser, but when it comes to writing novels, Dreiser wipes the floor with the author of “Underworld.””

      • I love a well-turned sentence. I love writing them. Then I usually go back and chop them into two or three sentences.

        • well turned doesn’t mean long. I write sonorous prose naturally (See Ill Met By Moonlight.) Perhaps that’s why I’m so TOTALLY unimpressed by it. My struggle has been learning to touch people’s emotions with character and plot and getting the d*mn language out of the way.

      • considering that Myers was attacking the sentence cult by showing it didn’t even live up to its own standards, I think Salon missed the mark.

    • There are a couple of short stories on the ballot that I would expect to like if I read a blurb about them, (which is a nice change) but in their actual execution don’t strike me as very good.

      In addition, it seems to me like Wright’s story could be the “lost” 5th nominee from last year’s ballot. I wouldn’t read it aloud near a puppy.

      • Oh, good. Very Good. And I abhor “If you were a dinosaur–” Which has the disadvantage of NOT being a short story, being totally unresearched, and being an insult to the American working class (unless you’re one of those who will maintain that “rough bars” are attended by the Harvard faculty.)
        And the Ancillary cycle constitutes reader abuse in my opinion.
        Now, do I object to those being on the ballot? Sure, when talking from taste. My reaction is “What kind of drunken sots voted for this cr&p?” BUT my reaction is to sign up and get friends to sign up, not to run around saying the sacred Hugo has been besmirched.
        You know why? Because I’m not an infant or a provincial who thinks the taste of his little in-group is a law of nature.
        Grow up.

        • I’m not saying the sacred Hugo was besmirched; I nominated a couple of puppy items. I also hated the Dino story. I think “reader abuse” is hyperbolic, but I don’t care for the Ancillary cycle either.

          I was observing that if one seeks to demonstrate that the of the nominating process has been generating weak entries because any writer with a few friends can get anything nominated, and one wishes to respond by nominating stronger entries, it would help if the stronger entries were stronger. In fairness, two of the pieces I’m referring to were chosen by Vox, and I don’t why he picked them, aside from the fact that Castalia published them.

          • Sorry — it should have been clear I was responding to the person you were responding to, just too lazy to go up the response tree. I.e. I was piling on.
            Pardon if it wasn’t clear. I’m having allergy attack from Hades and probably not being very clear.
            And yeah, even when the puppies get involved, you’re not going to like everything. I’m still reading my packet. I figure more people better noms. Probably.

            • More people probably does make for better noms, but if they also primarily read and nominate novels, the shorts still may not get better.

              Ancillary Justice may not be a good example though; it crushed the competition in nominations, and it was marked as #1 on 42% of the final ballots. That isn’t just an artifact of the Hugo rules; a fair chunk of fandom really likes it.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                How many final ballots were there? A moderate rate of worldcon members voting, and a low rate of fans being members may mean that ballots cast is not a sample that reliably predicts the overall fan population.

                Short form is at least included in the packet, and can be easily tested to see if it is too dull to read.

                One could as easily say, who watches movies*? How are people going to watch all that and have opinions?

                If you pull in enough voters, even the unpopular categories will have enough to potentially be interesting.

                *Yeah, I’m not someone to ask about those. I watch little enough that the below is legitimately highly rated in what I’ve seen this year.

  30. “In the future, everybody will be a thought criminal for fifteen minutes” (Andy Warthog ;))

  31. Christopher M. Chupik

    From the File 770 comments:

    “The paranoia from Hoyt and the other Mad Geniuses about “the powers” going after their careers is fascinating. After all, one of the results of this sorry debacle is that the puppies are getting a lot of traffic from sff readers who had either not heard of them before or never previously visited their blogs. Set aside all the drama, shouldn’t this at least be seen as a professional opportunity?

    Shouldn’t they be trying to convince all these new visitors of the fun that might be had in reading their books? Shouldn’t they be welcoming? Entertaining? Shouldn’t they present themselves in a way likely to expand their readership?

    Instead, they post screed after screed barking contemptuously at those who don’t think just like them. When someone who is clearly not a regular posts a comment or question, the response is immediate rudeness followed by a pile on of mockery by the regulars.

    I think, “You do get it, right? The people you’re saying such nasty things to and about? You get that these are the people who BUY BOOKS in the genre you’re writing, right?”

    To swipe a phrase from Orgell over at Brad’s: “Projection Level: Motie Launching Laser”

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      And here’s one howler from our old pal, Nick Mamatas:

      “It’s actually the Puppies who are the Marxists.

      Their agent of change is a subaltern proletariat—those workaday beer-money fans who have gone unheard and who must be organized by an intellectual caste into a fighting force.

      Puppy Leaders take the form of an advance vanguard of leaders who use democratic centralism in the form of slates, and cadre-only decisions to compose the slates, to exercise political power to a greater extent than their numbers would otherwise suggest. Though a numerical minority, they are the practical majority—just like, literally, the Bolsheviks (“majority” faction).

      Their aesthetic is socialist realism—wary of experimental fiction, ambiguity, future pessimism, and all the “pink” stuff, the Puppies want meat-and-potato writing, clear and even didactic moralistic themes, and future optimism.

      Work is secondary, position is primary: thus Puppies frequently demand to know why writers like Jim Butcher and Kevin J. Anderson haven’t gotten Hugos before, since they are so popular. Actually explanations for why the particular books on the slates are important and award-worthy never seem to be made. It’s pure proletkult: what is liked by the masses is the best.

      A common Puppy theme is that writers who haven’t earned Hugo nominations previously should get them, and that a broader fandom should be able to enjoy seeing their favorite writers win awards. For a group of people who sniff at “participation medals”, this demand is essentially that: mass redistribution of wealth in a reputation economy.

      There’s a red star rising over Spokane, comrades! Forget the term puppy, we should be calling Brad and Larry Belka and Strelka!”

    • “Projection Level: Motie Launching Laser”

      Ooh, I like that one.

    • Puppies welcome honest questions. Puppy haters delete comments.
      Puppies engage in reasoned debate. Puppy haters disqualify.
      Puppies have superior mocking skills. Puppy haters disemvowel.

      Puppies have cookies, beer, excellent books, and a cartoon called Tempest in a Teardrop in their safe spaces.

      What do puppy haters have in theirs?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Safe spaces? We don’t need “safe spaces” to escape “bad thoughts”. We have comfortable places where we relax before doing battle again. [Very Big Grin]

        • Safe spaces are where bad thoughts go to escape me.

          • You’ve made me laugh so hard with your comment, RES, that you’ve put me in an awkward position. I’ve already awarded an “internet winner” today to a commenter on another blog… but you’ve surely earned one!

            What to do? As this thread was started yesterday, I’m awarding you the win for yesterday. That, and a hearty thank you, can surely be used to get you a race lecture at your nearest Starbucks.

            Assuming you pay them $5 first.

      • “Safe spaces”

        That means my living room, right? I mean, that’s where I keep my books and booze… (ok, the books are everywhere)

    • Perhaps one of them should post a request for rude comments… Then they would actually understand how polite the regulars here try to be. I noticed in the last File 770 invasion, after answering the same question 5 or 6 times, the regulars started posting in an exasperated-polite fashion… Short sentence structure, short germanic origin words.

    • We’re not paranoid about their powers to destroy our careers AT ALL. We are laughing at their threats. Which is what they hate. 😛

  32. c4c

  33. HT: Jack Fowler, at the NRO gangblog The Corner.


    Daniel Hannan explains it all. The Nazis were socialists.

    But he’s so condescending!