Terry Pratchett, famously tuckerizing the Marquess de Queensbury as the Marquis de Fantailer said the Marquis was a small and timid man who made rules about all the places people weren’t allowed to hit him.
I confess to having less than no interest in the art of boxing. When I grew up boxing was the only sport dad would not watch on TV (oh, and bullfighting, but that’s not so much a sport.) and I never saw any point in it. I have friends who love it and weirdly I found an appreciation/interest in it in Georgette Heyer’s characters. I presume this would be the boxing popularized/made formal by the Marquess de Queensbury, and while I still have less than no interest in it, I also understand that the rules were designed to both make the spectacle of two guys slugging each other entertaining and to minimize the amount of real damage taken by the fighters (so the fight can go on.)
I like physical fights about as much as I like emotional fights (not at all) but many times found them necessary and when necessary I always felt — particularly when going up against disproportionate odds — a surge of panic at the beginning. Then I stopped thinking about it and used the panic to fuel the fighting. (At least until/unless the berserker kicked in, at which point … I have no idea, because it’s not me.) Having heard of “fighting like a cornered cat” I thought it was funny, because I always fought like that.
As someone who doesn’t like fighting, if I engage in it, I engage in it with everything I have and d*mn the rules. It’s not a spectator sport, and it’s not a gentleman’s entertainment, and the Marquess de Queensbury rules don’t apply.
Which is good, because the left always fights by street-brawlers rules, regardless.
This came up yesterday in the comments, when talking about elections and the GOP. There is a large number of the GOP who thinks it’s more important to behave like gentlemen than to win. (Even when winning doesn’t cause any particular moral conflicts. They confuse being nice with being good.)
It also came up well, in my engagement with Club 770. The number of people who’ve told me that he means nothing by it, and at worst he THINKS he’s neutral while not being was… interesting. Marquis de Fantailer would approve. We should be polite to those slugging us and– wait, what?
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. There is on our side the assumption the other side are not bad fellows, they’re just misguided. Largely and for a long time, particularly for those living in Europe, this was an easy if unprofitable illusion. Given the level of Agit-prop used by the Soviet Union, it was easy for people to just REALLY be genuinely deceived.
But this is not the seventies or the eighties. The Soviet Union imploded hard, its sewer-like innards were exposed. There’s books and heck documentaries and the history of various collectivists societies are around for everyone to look at. It is high time we presume anyone in a Che t-shirt knows he’s wearing a t-shirt with the face of a man who delighted in killing students, children and dogs, or else they’re completely and totally stupid.
It’s the same thing as let’s say keeping a blog that claims to be “neutral” in fandom issues, but which maintains a readership that is, to quote one of you in a private group “where mentally ill fandom goes to die.”
I’ve maintained a blog for five? Six? years now, with a regular and vocal audience. You don’t do that without catering to a point of view, and of course I don’t in any way, shape or form, pretend to be neutral. I’m me. My opinions might be all over the place, but they’re mine and I don’t pretend to not having any.
It would be really weird, if I claimed to be neutral and had managed to attract a following of freedom-minded rapscallions incapable of following a direct order if their lives depended on it.
And if I had genuinely done it while thinking I was “neutral” the only option would be that I was simply not very smart but had a sort of subconscious bend that shaped my beliefs.
Now, is that latter possible? Oh, heck, yes. Possible, of course.
But is it likely? More importantly, is it likely that someone in such a position wouldn’t have NOTICED the sort of following he or she attracted?
Um…. Are we talking about an alien species? Or are we still in this same world?
Do I ever give the other side the benefit of the doubt? Sure. I do think Irene Gallo was so immersed in the lies about the puppy sympathizers that she honestly thought what she was saying was completely non-controversial. Does that mean she’s stupid? Possibly, at least in the verbal arena, since she’s a visual person. But more likely she’s simply insular and insulated. (Part of the Insulata, according to the term so aptly coined by my friend Sanford Begley.)
Now do I think someone who runs a blog which attracts the same type of insular and a little insane fringe that fed Irene Gallo is doing it inadvertently? It would take a miracle.
I do think it is possible that he didn’t think through the layers of connotation and denotation involved in linking my post with that heading which finally and once and for all sent me over the edge. (It’s the Latin female thing. No, really, I’m not joking. Ask Dorothy about it sometime. You can’t see me, but I was totally slapping my right hand with the back of the left.) And it is possible I read that much into it because I’ve been following his smirking shenanigans for months. But then it’s sort of like having sand kicked in your face. It happens to everyone at the beach, particularly if your idea of a good time at the beach is reading a book. You’re down there, and kids and strangers walking by will kick sand in your face. It happens.
Now suppose though that there is a teenager near you, and he bounces a ball on the sand and sprays sand in your face. The first time, he’s all charming and says sorry, and you smile and say never mind.
But then he’s playing with his little sister with sand toys and sprays sand in your face, and he says “Sorry, I didn’t mean to do it, you can’t control where the sand goes.”
You nod, but you’re not quite so happy.
By the fifth time, when he runs by and sprays sand in your face, you’re going to think he did it on purpose, whether that one was genuine or not. And you’ll be right, or the kid has a problem with his reasoning. THAT time might have been an accident, maybe, but he’s been picking on you all day, and at the very least he didn’t CARE if he annoyed you, and probably enjoyed spraying sand in your face.
And frankly, even if that last one was an accident, you have trouble believing all of them were an accident and “oops, sorry.” As you should. Because people are not that bottomless stupid. Not adults. And they really can’t ask us to believe they are to one person infantile and brain damaged.
Again, there is something on the right side of the isle I don’t fully understand. Perhaps it comes from the fact the other side immediately accuses you of being crazy if you point out what they’re up to. And who wants to be called crazy?
But it’s time to take your foot off the cement bucket. It’s time to stop thinking all the people on the other side are just mentally defective splendid chaps. If the last six years or so haven’t shown that; if the disproportionate aggression from the other side over trying to diversify the nominees and voters of the Hugos hasn’t rang it home, then you might consider that you simply don’t want to fight, ever, and prefer servitude to freedom.
I’m not going to be mad at you in that case. Remember, I fight because I have to, but I hate it with a passion. But don’t try to hamstring everyone according to the Marquis de Fantailer. Those rules are for how to lose with style.
Me? I assume that after the last 100 years of history, anyone insisting “this time we’ll do it right” on collectivism, anyone dividing people according to arbitrary race/class/gender Marxism, anyone who is over 25 and believes all the cr*p their progressive professors spouted is an adult who chooses to be blind and who prefers to stand with the oppressors: either out of fear or out of what they hope to gain.
I don’t think the other side is full of splendid fellows and wonderful women who simply need to be told the truth. There might be a few in the mushy middle who can in fact see the light. They’re low information and too busy with life to have paid attention. But those on the left? Those active and engaged on the left?
I assume they’re adults and that if they’re kicking sand in our faces they’re doing it because they like to, and not because they’re mentally damaged. Until and unless proven otherwise.
They assume we’re monsters of avarice, cruelty and prejudice. The least I can do is assume they are capable and responsible for making those assumptions and those choices.
That is not crazy. The crazy thing would be assuming people who are older than I, well educated and well read are incapable of knowing what they’re doing or what sort of following they’ve attracted and what flag they’ve enlisted under.
No matter how much they scream otherwise.