This is where Sarah slaps herself for forgetting the old injunction about wrestling a pig. Or, more importantly, about forgetting her own childhood.
I was thinking the other day that the defining characteristic of my childhood was “loneliness” and this is true. For various reasons, some of them because I caught everything that crossed the village or even entered the county and was therefore quarantined a lot, but also because I was the youngest of a large brood of cousins, and the next youngest was my brother almost 10 years older than I. I often say I learned to read early in self-defense because it was exasperating to hear my brother and cousin (who was raised with us) argue over books, and I couldn’t join in. Earlier than that, barely remembered, was the time I tried to talk about this book I’d “read” which I’d totally made up. I couldn’t figure out how they caught me. (Let’s say three year olds lack experience of life to make up westerns.)
Part of the problem is that I had the issue of all young kids raised with adults. I had no clue how to relate to kids my age. And there was a particular technique that infuriated me: this is where the kids would make oblique remarks and needle and push, until I finally lost and beat them. … and got punished because I could point at nothing specific. And even if I had, dad would say that beating was not proper return for teasing.
I grew up physically brave, but all too easy to kill with unkindness. It was part of the reason (beyond fear to my career, duh. And no, I don’t want former editors to assure me that no, they don’t discriminate on politics. If there’s something the puppy fight has shown is that they do, they have, and it’s so ingrained they don’t even notice) I was in the closet so long. I don’t like fights, and I hate the sort of needling tease the other side is so good at. The “What? Why are you looking at me? I didn’t do anything?” smirk in the face of a village urchin, in other words.
When I entered this fight, I knew it would get bad. I entered it because I was given no choice. I have kids. If I didn’t even have kids, I’d have stayed in the political closet, secure in the belief of “apres moi le deluge.” But I have kids. And the insanity of tearing Western civ apart out of some perceived longing for a utopia that doesn’t exist will affect them and any kids they might have.
So I came out of the political closet. And I knew there would be consequences. I’d like to claim I’m an innocent and thought the left would fight openly. I’m not stupid. Part of what kept me in the closet for years was seeing how they engaged to destroy anyone who disagreed with them. I knew the whisper campaigns and the “you don’t want to be seen with HER” to the point you knew nothing wrong about the person but you were sure they had committed abominable crimes. Too abominable to be mentioned.
It didn’t take long, either. All it took was some intimation I was less than happy with the results of the 12 election (ah — this is where “I told you so” comes in. I was never crazy for Romney (too statist for my tastes) but the man should run with that slogan.) The insane started pouring in. The German contingent posited that I came to the states to escape the revolution (at 11. Which is the age I was at the time. Shut up. I’m that precocious.) Mind you most of the people who did so came from Africa, the alternative being death. But apparently running in front of Soviet “consultants” and their Cuban shock troops makes you a fascist. There were others. There was more.
I knew things were thoroughly out of control when the Passive Voice linked me ON A POST ABOUT EDITING and my colleagues who had heard what a horrible person I was flocked in to blacken my name and talk about how I was a “fascist.” (Apparently libertarians are the same as fascists. Who knew?)
Among other things I’ve been called a white supremacist (blink), a fascist (blink), homophobic (blink, blink), racist (blink), a “fan of the Portuguese regime deposed in the seventies” (this by the German wonder who doesn’t get that one can oppose both a regime and its replacement. Ah, for a mind that simple), atheist (blink, blink, blink), Mormon (blink)… Well, let’s say and save time that I’ve been called everything but a good person.
It wears on me, not so much because they’re insults, but because they’re crazy insults. I am aware that at some level, permanently, my name is tainted with a large selection of the public. This doesn’t worry me perhaps as much as it should, because a) most people don’t play that much on the net, much less in our circles b) there’s always indie. I can duck out, go fully indie and write historical erotic romances, for all I care. (No, I didn’t write them. No, I don’t advise you to look, but while researching? Henry VIII Catherine of Aragon lactating erotica. I didn’t see anything past the title, and I don’t even.)
And then there’s the speshul that’s file 770. You guys aren’t at the controls and don’t see it — and to the members of the ELoE who pinged me to tell he is a good guy, you didn’t grow up in the same village I did — not only the crazy sh*t that gets linked, but the commenters who come over and who open with “You’re such an idiot” and therefore don’t get approved.
Mike Glyer is at least as smart as the cobbler’s son next door when I was growing up. He’s not stupid enough to openly call names, but there are his choices of what to link.
When I said that I couldn’t mention the letters “H-u-g- and o” in the same paragraph without getting linked, I was right. Or I might not mention the Hugos at all, or only in passing on the last paragraph. But if the post supports the narrative the puppy-kickers are building, sure as shooting it will get linked. Like my post about a new Golden Age, which got linked because in their blinkered little minds we’re calling for pulp. (Sometimes one wonders about the minds that build this narrative. You are aware someone who grew up on pulp would be 100, right? You are aware that Heinlein not only wasn’t pulp, but was in many ways the anti-pulp. I mean, I read Burroughs, but mostly Tarzan, and it wasn’t my favorite. I read him because grandad had him, so I read him by 5 or 6. Books were expensive and we had those. But his technique was outdated by then.)
But it supported the narrative, so it got linked. The same way that its subsequent “Oh, for the love of frack, no one wants pulp” follow up wasn’t. The same way my friend Sanford’s post over at Otherwhere Gazette, exploding their nonsense wasn’t. The same way my post pointing out that I felt they were linking me to homophobia and how stupid this was wasn’t.
Oh, it’s very carefully done. There is an image being built, and he links to those posts that support it. Then when caught it’s not his fault and he can’t control his commenters, and he can’t see everything.
And, as I said, I have been conversant with these techniques since dealing with the cobbler’s son next door, while growing up. (Weirdly he didn’t become a communist politician, and has instead racked up several jail terms.)
So Mike Glyer is smarter than the average bear, and much better at Alinsky techniques, and I’m an idiot to fall for them and come out swinging, which meant I had a spanking coming.
In my defense, but not as an excuse, I’m spending 10 to 12 hours a day painting/scraping and sanding, and by the time I get home can only see so far in comments, deal with a lot of the ones I don’t approve, and… I’m tired.
For whatever reason, my body has decided to be violently allergic to SOMETHING. If I knew what I would avoid it. We’ve now been over every inch of this house with a fine tooth comb and TRUST me there is no mold. There is dust, and I’m allergic to dust, but I’ve brought over my epa-filtered vacuum and the appropriate masks. I have no idea what is triggering an all-alarm auto-immune. The last time I had an attack this bad I spent two nights with feathers in my bed (the hotel kept swearing there were none, till I found the label in the middle of the night.) And now that the steroid prescription has run out, I’m heading downward again.
Beyond that there’s mere tiredness. We’ve all of us been working all our free time, including the boys in time from classes/jobs at violent physical labor, so we’re ALL stumbling tired. Which accounts for injuries, which in turn make the whole thing harder. Yes, we’re using money we don’t have to pay some people to do some of it, but see the “money we don’t have.” My last two years have emptied our savings, which come from my writing, mostly. So there’s a limit to what we can pay.
And up there you have an encapsulation of how the left wins/has won most cultural battles. First, because they don’t care if their narrative is true. They cast it in stone and then find anything, no matter how much they have to twist to support it. Second, the rest of us can’t defend ourselves from accusations so stupid they’re not even wrong. Accusing me of being a White Supremacist is roughly akin to accusing me of being an uplifted purple wombat. It’s so crazy that how the h*ll do you even combat that? Third, we have real lives. My blogging posting and commenting is right now squeezed into a few minutes morning and evening, around brutal manual labor. And when that is done, it will be squeezed around finally finishing books, so I can put up the sequel to Witchfinder, continue the third (Rogue Magic) and deliver Darkship Revenge and Bowl of Red. Because I’m not a dilettante and I have family depending on me.
Again, this is not an excuse. I’m smart enough to see the smirking trap, even while stumbling tired. Unfortunately I was tired enough not to care, because taking a swing at last felt so good. And it was dumb. And I knew it even while I did it.
This is their game. As I said, I knew when I came out of the political closet what I would get called. Fascist, of course, because not wanting a powerful state makes me just that. And racist because I disagree with dividing people by races and a system of spoils. Homophobic because, of course, not giving a really good hot d*mn about who people sleep with makes you homophobic. Even if you endorse SSM, (which I’m on record as doing back to 06) because, well, you don’t approve of the activists’ dirty pool tactics. So you are against them.
I knew all this because in the seventies in Portugal I dealt with the original, unadulterated, unapologetic communists. Yeah, yeah, yeah, over here they’ll say they’re not (except for their approval of every communist regime ever) and bring up stuff about not wanting to expropriate means of production. Only it works like a communist, it talks like a communist, and it goes “forward” like a communist. And their tactics haven’t changed in close on to 100 years.
I was surprised with the Sad Puppy fight. I shouldn’t have been, but I was. I was particularly surprised because Brad is several shades to the left of me, because the suggested list was of all political colors, shapes, ideologies. But the “racist, homophobic, sexist” came out again, and the “neo-nazi” and the smart operators shape the narrative and the truly abysmally dumb ones (and yes, from the lack of self-consciousness in saying it and the lack of butt-covering Irene Gallo is one, though perhaps not so much dumb as specialized dumb. Many artists and art directors are thick as cement with words, though brilliant with visuals.)
They brought everything to bear, because they always do. They started with the most extreme accusations because they always do.
The end result is that sane people, working people, people who give a d*mn about life and don’t think everything is politics tend to walk away shaking their heads.
The good news is I’m not doing that. No one ever accused me of being sane. Also, I wouldn’t have got in this fight (both politics and puppies) if it weren’t worth fighting.
I know damage has been done when a friend who’s known me for years tells me something like “I’m not as conservative as you are. I support SSM. I don’t care about people’s color” and I have to point out what the other side says not only isn’t real, it has no basis in reality.
I do disagree with “progressive” (Lord deliver me from those progressing into the past) methods to do things like help the poor. Minimum wage laws can’t and don’t — they just promote the importation of more illegal workers, because some businesses simply lack the margin — for instance. But that doesn’t mean I want to kick widows and orphans out in the snow, and their saying so don’t make it so.
I’m a libertarian (note the small l), or if you prefer a rational anarchist. I don’t believe we can survive without government, but I believe that government is a bad master indeed and must be hemmed in as much as possible. Weirdly — coff — I don’t believe the eternally-hacked-into, file-losing, its-own-ass-chasing government is a force that can propel us to the bright new future. If you believe so it’s up to you to prove it. Throughout history governments have been good at one thing: creating oligarchies.
I don’t believe in oligarchies. I believe in self-ownership and self-responsibility. I believe in equality before the law (regardless of race, creed or sex). I believe in doing your best and looking after those who depend on you. I don’t believe in special accommodations for anyone, but I believe noblesse oblige and that the strong should help the weak. (I have. I do. Often to our own detriment.) Because we’re all weak sometime. I just don’t believe in the government mediating it. Government is just another self-interested party. Give it power and it only grows itself.
And I believe in the future. I believe in the human race. (What other race would you have me believe in? Are you by any chance a beaver or a rat?) I believe we can survive, we can improve. And we should. I believe with some disgusting interludes the future is usually better than the past.
I’ll continue working to make it so. I’m not going anywhere. I will also try not to take swings at smirky cobbler’s boys. Because they are inconsequential. Instead I’ll feel sorry for the deluded who follow them into the abyss.
This year is shaping up to be a right b*tch even without the various illnesses and accidents. So I’ll be busy, but I’ll continue talking. About the puppies? Oh, now and then. Though the topic has limited appeal. And there are other things, like books I’ve found. And other stuff. And national politics. All of which will come up, as they usually do.
And now, if you excuse me, I have a thousand square feet to sand and wax. And I probably should call the doctor and tell him I’m having trouble breathing again.
Life goes on. And life is important.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers, and many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link.