So I sent my poor husband off to deal with electrician. I have a good reason. Electrician has a Russian accent. Imagine us trying to communicate. Now stop laughing. Yeah. Like that. So I have maybe an hour before other electrician comes by to give us his estimate and who knows how long before appliance movers (could be a few minutes.)
This brings me to something I was musing about this morning, right after I figured out what it meant that the lack-brains at File 770 (henceforth club 770) linked back to my post with “the hydrophobia that falls on you from nowhere” because apparently my saying something about “arrangements that must be made for people of different orientations as reproduction and sex become more divorced from each other” means I’m homophobic. This despite the fact that you don’t need to scratch very deep in this blog to figure out I was pro gay marriage well (WELL) before their sainted president evolved.
Apparently not wanting to get lost — in an unrelated post — in the weeds of “no, I don’t think even temporary or multiple marriage are out of the question, but I don’t think we should force churches or people of different beliefs to ENDORSE any such accommodations, provided they’re legal.” makes me homophobic.
I know of course that part of this is the moral superiority stakes from the other side. They must be better, more open, more tolerant. And if they’re not, they’ll calumny you to feel superior.
Which would be fine, if for some reason their estimation of themselves and the rest of the human race weren’t so grimdark.
I.e. if these were reasonable people who think that human beings are normally fairly decent, but of course have a dark side too.
These are not reasonable people.
Look, I’m by disposition an introvert. I can “flip” to a public persona and pass for extrovert, but if I’ve been sick (like now) or am not up to snuff, you can see me engage in championship marathons of avoiding human contact, to the point someone meeting me for the first time will think I hate them.
And like most people of a bookish and Odd disposition I went through some time periods of being considered a social pariah by most of my peers. (like, being a libertarian professional sf/f writer. No, I joke. Like Middle School.) Particularly when you’re young and not outgoing it’s easier to conflate this with “humanity is horrible and lives to hurt others.” Particularly when one is exposed to the peaceful interaction of an all-girls’ school, of course.
But those are time periods (most of them in my teens.)
There is a reality check. One doesn’t need to know much about the world, history or how grim things get some places and time to know that even in the middle of all that darkness there is unexpected kindness and love from humans who have nothing to gain by doing it. One doesn’t need to be an angel to know that one’s worst impulses are checked by one’s best.
So — how can a whole swath of political opinion assume that unless tightly restricted by government individual humans are the scum of the Earth? They clearly do. It speaks loud and clear from their work, their entertainment choices, and assuming their entire opposition OVER A SCIENCE FICTION AWARD are “neo nazis” or “racist, sexist, homophobic” even in the face of blatant proof to the contrary.
Dorothy Grant in an unrelated post talked about what she found in a “fan” site:
I had occasion recently to go to a site that I rarely frequent, and skimmed the first three articles to get a feel for the place. The first was praising the gory dehumanizing of a show named Hannibal, which stars the eponymous serial killer. The second was a review of a season of Game of Thrones, lusting for more rape and murder. The third article was a book review praising a “dark fantasy” where a woman is traded by her people to a dark wizard.
I won’t be back, because the very tone was dreary and debased. No amount of top-end design or beautiful visuals can make up for content like that. This is what happens when people focus for too long on the darkness they strain to see in every human heart, so that they might declare themselves superior. There is no joy there, no sense of wonder, no hope, no celebration of mercy, charity, hard work, or moral principles. These people do not laugh, except to cover themselves in case someone attacks their attack as insufficient or overreaching: “It was just a joke!” is their defense as they scuttle away.
There can be no celebration of achievement, only open season to attack in the cleverest way upon its announcement. This is moral bankruptcy, and that the knives came out in comments is absolutely unsurprising. The knives are always out, and they’re always circling to see who’s got the best cut, and praise them while planning a more clever cut or backstab.
I had nothing to contribute there.
And it’s not that there isn’t a place for that kind of fiction, mind. The same way it’s not that there isn’t a place for assuming someone is an homophobe. It’s the fact that they assume these things by default, sight unseen, and that most of the “serious” fiction, SF/F and not has become this parade of small minds and outright mean opinions of humanity as a whole.
I run into this in mystery too, where no character will be good, admirable, or even have a spark of human kindness. These people are not even evil. They’re “petty nasty” all the time.
Dave Freer at Mad Genius Club today talks about book printruns falling steadily and tries to figure out why. Well, as someone who HAD walked away from reading new fiction (largely. There were exceptions) until Amazon made it easier to read stuff that wasn’t pushed, I had done so because I was tired of the soul-sloughing POINTLESS darkness pushed at me everywhere.
Note I’m not for polyanna happy go lucky. Well, at least I also don’t believe it and can’t write it. My worlds tend to be grim, but even in them there’s decent people. And most people in them are decent, for a value.
It’s just that I don’t think everyone goes around tainted with all the venal sins and with a good swath of mortal sin too.
I don’t believe, in other words, that a poor young couple straying into a rough bar would get beat up for no reason. Not in the states, not unless racial factors intrude, by which I mean they end up in a neighborhood that’s solid new immigrant or minority and think they’re under attack. And even then, there would need to be serious issues to cause a lethal, unprovoked attack on strangers. There would need to be aggravating factors of a serious and unremitting order.
But they believe it, because to one reader, the “other side” (for lack of a better term) thought If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love was brilliant fiction and plausible.
Realizing this, realizing they’re stuck in that very adolescent fear of “the other” defined as “someone not in my social group” makes it easier to understand why they are so desperately interested not just in a strong government, but in a government that intrudes into every little minutia of the human life and regulates EVERYTHING. And it stops anyone even SAYING anything not approved of by the group, because — gasp, squeak, “they could be mean.”
It’s not a grown up nor balanced perspective, but it is one that one can see from someone who is terrified of all of the human race whom they view as evil ogres ready to thump their poor little selves into oblivion.
I remember my 11 year old self, and wishing someone would intervene on my behalf (I was physically brave, but it was all too easy to kill me with unkindness) and I can imagine wanting a government powerful enough to “stop those evil people I’m sure are out to get me.”
The thing I don’t understand is how supposed adults (some much older than I) who have lived in the world and have such a horror of their own species and every single person in it, think that giving power to the government to intervene and stop humans being so evil is better.
Are they perhaps convinced that government is run by angels?
If not, how can they imagine that giving some humans unchecked power that those over whom they reign can’t stop or control would lead to anything but tyranny and horror? How can they not see the advantages of limiting the power of government? How can they not realize that most of the true evil of humanity comes not from individuals but from organized groups given power over other — not very well known — groups? How can they not see the only antidote to that is to empower not vast faceless ill defined classes, groupings or organizations, but individuals?
I understand they want government to come and protect them from evil people. BUT I don’t understand what they think government is composed of.