Poor But Honest

When I was in North Carolina, at one time while my dentist was asking me questions while she had both hands and instruments in my mouth, she finished one of my sentences that started with “Oh, we grew up poor” with “But honest” which was not at all what I meant to say.  Oh, we were honest, as in we didn’t steal, but mostly for two reasons: one, grandma would have given us her “more in sorrow than in anger” look, and second, we weren’t conscious of needing anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I was a kid like other kids, and when there was a faddish toy I would drool over it.  But, perhaps because we didn’t have a TV till I was eight, it just never occurred to me that we were poor.  When I was six I asked grandma what we were and she said “We’re not poor, we’re not rich.  We make do.”

That’s about right.  In the same message in which my brother said we’d been poor as Job, he also mentioned we were rich as kings, much richer than we’re now when grandma would objectively describe our lifestyles as “what a luxury” what with running hot water and a bathroom per person in this house right now.

If you just said “Wut?”

Look, the only reason I knew there were people much better off than us is that at 12 mom contrived to have me attend a high school in the “rich” area of town.  (Theoretically, we all lived in a rented room down the street from the school.  In point of fact, mom paid a lady to forward our mail.) For the village we were between middle class and upper middle class.  In fact, when truly rich people came to the village or had their kids visit, I was among the small number of kids invited to play with them.

My childhood is, in point of fact, unclassifiable in US terms.  Sarah C. wrote a thing which I might post later, about all this, about the nostalgie de la bue and saying “but I was even poorer” that goes on on the other side, which quickly becomes “but I drank a cup of cold poison.”  She pointed out anyone born in the US (with the possible exception of Appalachia and other small pockets, such as the one Larry grew up in) was automatically better off than anyone born abroad.  From what I’ve seen, probably still is, except for the very rich.

OTOH the American assumption that those who come from  Latin countries that my dentist reflected must have been starving in tar shacks is almost — almost — infuriating.  The reason it’s not infuriating is that it is so funny.  Built into this is the idea that either Latin people are discriminated against in their own countries (wut?) or that they need leftists to enlighten them and make their lives bearable. Note this doesn’t apply if you come from English Speaking countries, where in point of fact, many people lived like we did when I was a kid, because then, of course, you have privilege, so you couldn’t have been poor-poor.

My delving into my childhood was more to show that I don’t impress conventionally.  And it’s really hard to sell me the Marxist theory of oppression that must be broken by government.

We’ve been damn broke.  And we’ve been enviably rich in many ways.  And we faced “you can’t come in” with “you and whose army”.

I grew up poor by US standards, but everyone was poor.  Okay, not everyone.  I remember going to the architect’s house when my parents were having the house built, when I was 5? 6? and being very impressed at the shiny woodwork.  We lived in a 100 plus year old house and our doors were painted and repainted with thick white paint.

My grandparents owned land and houses (grandma’s dad had bought most of the village before dying young.  He was a cattle dealer.  Yeah, yeah, I have cowboys in my ancestry) but in an era of rent control it didn’t do much, except for the fact we retained “right of cultivation” to a lot of the backyards, (lawn was sort of unknown in our circles) so we could grow twice the potatoes, had a chestnut tree and a lot of vines.

My parents lived extremely tight because dad has a religious hatred of credit.  Not just credit card debt, a hatred he passed on to me, or loans, but of any credit, including mortgage.  The first fifteen years of their marriage (I was born around year ten) were spent saving to buy a house outright.  They didn’t manage it, but built a house with a ten year mortgage.  And after that was paid off, when I was about 16, our lifestyle APPROACHED middle class US.

I still didn’t go to coffee shops as much as my friends, because I had no allowance, and earned my pocket money, but that was good as it saved me from the “coffee and pool” circle who usually repeated every year.

OTOH in my twenties I had some very rich friends who didn’t give a d*mn if they had to pay for me, so I got to vacation in really expensive resorts.  Mind you I came home to mom turning off the hot water (which the new house had) in summer because it was wasteful, but I got to go to places where the British nobility hung out.  And by the time I was in college, I was invited to embassy and consulate parties, due to my grades in foreign languages.  (Italian consulate had the BEST ice cream because most ice cream parlors in Porto were owned by Italians.)

Anyway, the reason for delving into my background was to point out that it rendered me singularly immune to Marxism.

When I was in 10th grade, one of my friends drank the koolaid and disputed with me that my family was upper class.  I asked her how, since her dad — skilled blue collar, manager — made about twice as much as my dad did.  Her sputtering reaction was that my parents were better educated, they had books, they–

They had the markers of upper class in the village.  Though in mom’s case, she was as educated as my friend’s mom, at least formally.  But mom took an interest in world affairs and history (mostly through the radio) while her mom took an interest in gossip and recipes.

I stiffly pointed out to said friend that Marx’s “classes” were economic only.  She didn’t like like.  She is still, I think, communist.  Eh.

My best friend at the time came from hereditary-upper-class meaning that her family had some noble ancestors (oh, who doesn’t in Europe?  Keeping it in their pants just didn’t apply to those people) and a lot of manners and parents who were both educated.  But I used to give her my used sweaters (when we got to the point mom was retired and, I swear, made those for recreation) because her family had 13 kids and therefore were a little tighter than we were with 2.  (Though I’m sure her dad too made more than mine.)

The completely insane background and the fact my dad acted like the dad in Have Space Suit “Dad, I want a radio.” “Go ahead, I have no objections” — Which meant I built one from parts of broken radios in the attic — left me singularly unimpressed by both wealth and poverty.  Later when my brother replaced his crappy and now broken tape player,(which he’d bought with his tutoring income) I bought it off him for 20 escudos and spent more time fixing it than listening to it, until mom got tired of her kitchen table getting used to perform surgery on the beasty and gave me a tape player bought from the smugglers (What?  Well, the shop was in Smuggler street which was a dead give away.  Yep, I grew up in a fantasy town) when I was 19.

I learned there was absolutely no virtue in being poor.  A lot of the truly very poor in the village made more than we did but spent it on either wine or frivolous stuff (mom classified meat every day as frivolous stuff, mind.)

In fact, when government started rendering assistance, most of the welfare cases lived in crappy houses and went through broke periods through what mom called “lack of head.” When they had money they ran through it, then pawned everything the second half of the month.

(Mind you mom thinks I do the same, because while I have two kids in college, I can’t drop 10k to come over with the kids when she wants me to.  To an extent she’s right.  No matter how tight the money, you can plan to make it plenty.  We choose not to live in a tiny apartment with the kids.  OTOH it’s our investment: buying more house than strictly needed, in places headed up and trading up regularly that allowed us to own a house that our peers couldn’t with double the income.  Now if we can sell it and downsize, when we no longer need the space and good schools are of no consequence, we can come close to debt free, which we couldn’t otherwise.)

All of this and dad’s cavalier attitude to anything I wanted to do “I need to go to Germany to improve my German.”  “Go ahead.  I trust you abroad.”  (I got a job as a hotel maid for a summer.) his absolute assumption that if I wanted I could figure out how to do it, and his certainty that he didn’t really care how difficult it wold be to get into college for instance, both of his kids WOULD make to college made me singularly unimpressed by people who complain of micro aggressions and discrimination.

And it made me singularly unimpressed by wealth, too.  My rich friends had it easier, of course, but they were also easily impressed by brands, and they had never had to fight for what they wanted.  If grades didn’t qualify them to enter public — free — college, that was all right.  Mommy and daddy would buy them a spot in the private one.

I think this is why the plot lines that consist of “victim is oppressed and spit upon and dies in gutter/gets bloody revenge” have always bored me.  The idea that you have to “make way” for someone and make their path easy because they’re a one-footed Patagonian Lesbian makes me laugh.

You are a minority/poor/oppressed and want to write science fiction?  Fine, I give you my dad’s answer “Go ahead.  I have no objection.”

You want to feature a minority/poor/oppressed in your story?  Go ahead, I have no objection.  Just don’t make them sad sacks who need the help of the enlightened to get anywhere.  Sad sack characters and ex-machina socialists are BORING.  I don’t care what they taught you in school, getting there on your own is much more fun, both to do and to read about.

This is something the establishment doesn’t get — both the genuine upper class and strivers.  It’s amazing how many of the puppy kickers are in point of fact well off, upper class in the Marxist sense, even if they feel “downtrodden” for whatever reason.  And the rest, the strivers, have adopted the attitudes of the “upper class” and their class-signaling Marxism.  As I said originally, more papist than the pope — It’s something they can’t seem to grasp.

The working class gets rescued by benevolent Marxists (or even attacks academics while drinking gin — good Lord, pull the other one, it plays Elvis) is only exciting to Marxists with messianic illusions.

From the rest of us it elicits a yawn and an itch of the middle finger.

Write people of whatever color, orientation, wealth level you want.  Make them live.  Make them interesting.

We don’t add special points for flagellation of Marxist stereotypes and we do deduct them for predictability.

Or write whatever the heck you want. I mean, the pap has its fans — but it’s not us.

Just don’t demand we doff our hats and bow and scrape and tell you that stuff we don’t like and which is formulaic and poorly written is “of course, better” because it “fights the patriarchy” or whatever other idea you’re obsessed with at the time.

We don’t care.  You’re in an entertainment job.  Your job is to entertain the public.

The public is rarely entertained by lectures.

If it makes you feel better, I’ll make grandma’s face when someone was bragging to her about how special they were, and I’ll say “Oh wow.”

But I still won’t tell you boring stories that conform to whatever the new Marxists are peddling are better.  Learn your craft.  Then write whatever the crap you want.  And let the rest of us write whatever the crap we want.

Go ahead.  we have no objections.

267 responses to “Poor But Honest

  1. But Sarah, if you write entertainingly, you steal the audience that the activists were preaching to by giving them something _fun_ to read instead.

    Don’t you see how you’re oppressing both the activists _and_ the people they’re trying to nag^h^h^h_help_?

  2. c4c

  3. Captain Comic

    To: Most Mischievous Mistress of Mayhem
    (IntSecRef 994723 decode – Sarah Hoyt)
    From: Evil League of Evil Faceless Minion #6969
    (IntSecRef 446600229 decode – we don’t care, he’s cannon fodder)

    Re: Subornation

    I have successfully infiltrated the Annual Conclave of Liberalism (classic form “WorldCon”), and am preparing to distribute dissident materials (see Eric Frank Russel “Wasp”).

    Infiltration was achieved through drawn out process of trust building and appearing innocuous to the local population (ref: “buying attending membership”.)

    Per our previous communiques, distribution will consist of badge ribbons “ASK NOT FOR WHOM THE PUPPIES BAY…” and “Strawman Larry: That Guy’s a Jerk!”

    Will attempt to observe subjects Precious Princess Pouty-Face (IntSecRef 8828855 decode – John Scalzi) and Little Lord Stampy-Foot (IntSecRef 833321779 decode – David Gerrold) for possible agit-prop opportunities.

    I will update as possible.

    Your most humble and obedient servant,
    Faceless Minion #6969

    • Damn it, Captain! Spewing hot coffee out of my nose f*ing hurts!

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Ah! Proof of right-wing infiltration of science-fiction at last!

    • Jared Anjewierden

      I really need to be careful about reading the comments on these posts at work. Laughing out loud when your ‘desk’ is separated by only a half wall from the Teen section is frowned upon for some reason.

      (Luckily we weren’t open yet)

    • Eamon J. Cole

      To: Evil League of Evil Faceless Minion #6969
      (IntSecRef 446600229 decode – we don’t care, he’s cannon fodder)
      From: Evil League of Evil Faceless Minion Administrative Parasite #470
      (IntSecRef 87562558 decode – we don’t want to know, he’s annoying)

      Re: Reporting requirements

      ELoE FM # 6969, thank you for reporting in. We in the Administrative Parasite Branch have been looking for you (We have to be discreet, the Beautiful but Evil Space Princess [IntSecRef 994721 decode – Sarah Hoyt] seems to take great joy in swatting us into greasy spots. She keeps muttering “cut the fat…” *shudder*).

      In any event, we have been looking for you. You failed to properly complete your minion induction form #774890, Complete Spatial Dimensions of Prospective Minion. This needs to be rectified soonest. We utilize this data to fit each minion to the proper cannon.

      When measuring out the fodder, proper fitment is paramount. There’s a lot of the International Lord of Hate (IntSecRef 903385 decode – Larry Correia) to cover, and if we fit the wrong minion to the wrong cannon he might be splattered! And I’ll not go into the issues with splashing minion grease on the Most Mischievous Mistress of Mayhem’s (IntSecRef 994723 decode – Sarah Hoyt) dainty shoes. (No, really, I — can’t… I can’t speak of it. The — the horror…)

      As I say, I’m sure you understand the need for accurate data collection. And the propensity for the minions to answer such questions with scatological remarks and expletives is really quite distressing. We have a database to complete! It is not true that the ELoE set up the Administrative Parasite Branch to give the minions chew toys and keep them occupied! Categorically NOT!

      In conclusion, please forward the completed form #774890, Complete Spatial Dimensions of Prospective Minion to the nearest Administrative Parasite dead-drop for processing. And please, no shenanigans with the tracing of the package. We have cut-outs for our cut-outs. Lessons have been learned.

      No replies to this address will be answered as we have hacked it for this communique. The Impaler (Sorry, no IntSecRef, she has a bot crawling for such) has initiated a security QC on all activities of the Administrative Parasite Branch and she’s really quite hard on failures. Sometimes I feel she finds the mere existence of the Administrative Parasite Branch a failure…

      Thank you for your full cooperation in this matter,
      Administrative Parasite #470

    • I’ll be on the lookout for you.

      — Faceless Minion #186282

    • Word Of Advice:

      You may see someone at the convention who has on his shoulder a beaver wearing a Dracula-style cape.

      If you see this person: RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.

    • *waves from the Red Lion Inn at the Park*

      No, really. I have a great time at these things. Because I’m a Lady Teldra, and I just like people.

      And on Friday, I get to have tea with a Vatican astronomer.

      • Brother Consolmagno is a really nice guy. Also very interesting teacher and presenter. Old friends with a lot of old phart Chicago fans, so a lot of them go to his talks.

  4. I swear, I think the real world deeply confuses those who persist in thinking in Marxist stereotypes …

    • “Go ahead, I have no objection” is massively confusing to Marxists because Marxism is based upon the idea that all economics is zero-sum. The idea that the solution to the scarcity of goods you want to see on the market (such as sci-fi tailored to your particular group) is “if you’re not seeing what you want on the market, produce it yourself” does not make sense to these people.

      If you believe that the market for sci-fi is zero sum, you believe that too much of one commodity (sci-fi written by non-progressives, for example) means that there will be not enough of another commodity (sci-fi written by progressives), and so to get more progressive works, you will necessarily need to have fewer non-progressive works. This is why progressives need to bring down non-progressive works instead of merely promoting progressive works; attacks such as review-bombing non-progressive books are attempts to clear the market so that a progressive work can take its place.

      If you believe the market works this way, you necessarily think that the other side thinks along the same terms, which is why the progressive sci-fi fans keep insisting that the Puppy factions are against progressive works instead of merely for promoting enjoyable literature.

      • Well, let’s be reasonable. Some of them want to protect the untainted purity of their tolerance by not exposing it to people who disagree with them. Like a Victorian existing only in the febrile imagination of a SJW.

      • Also, if you believe the market works this way, you need to take your nose out of Paul Krugman’s er… books and go out and look at real life for a change.

        • It’s that pesky natural tendency to attribute bad luck to outside forces. People think “I’m good, I’m obviously doing the right thing, but someone else is doing better; It’s obviously sabotage” (cue cries of “burn the witch!”). This gets extrapolated to “my group is good; we’re doing the right thing, but that group is doing better; it’s obviously sabotage” (cue cries of “kill the Jews!”). Marx codified it, made it look smart and intellectual, and shifted it to class, “the workers are noble, but the capitalists are doing better; the capitalists are obviously exploiting the workers” (cue cries of “Viva la revolution!”).

          The problem is so much is built on the Marxist foundation, but with people unable to let tribal group prejudices go. Here, we’re looking at science fiction literature, but you can find it just about anywhere Marxists and their progressive offspring have their fingers, from video games (notice the effort put into protesting non-progressive video games as opposed to producing progressive video games) to the study of history and economics itself. There’s a difference between ‘Europe stole stuff from the rest of the world to make itself dominant’ and ‘Europe just happened to stumble across the combination of technologies and social values that worked the best at that point in history’; the first is progressive zero-sum, the second isn’t.

          • I’m not altogether sure Europe “stumbled” into anything. A lot of it was geography. Navigable rivers in spades. Terrain well suited to divide people into small, competing territories so innovation can’t be stifled. Temperate climate. The only real ‘luck’ was Judaism and it’s offshoot Christianity with their radical idea of the equality of the individual.

            Ancient Greece was destined to produce small city states while Egypt and China produced centralized bureaucracies. Everyone laughs at the Inca for not having the wheel, but in vertical terrain what good is a wheel? Geography doesn’t completely determine the type of civilization you get, but I’d guess it’s about 90% of it.

            Marxists should have figured this out. They advocate a strong centralized state, and Marxism has only been tried in places that already had a strong centralized state. They just changed job titles and kept doing the same thing as the despot before them. Was it Tom Kratman whose future Russians referred to the communists as the “Red Tsars”?

            • The Other Sean

              I think in Kratman’s universe, the Russian settlers on the new world created a new Russian Empire (complete with czar), but one of the later czars turned to communism during their global war.

              • The Russian culture was particularly adaptable to Communism, as I understand it. All property was possessed by the Tsar, with license to use/enjoy its benefits extended at his sufferance. This made replacement of the Tsar with the Communist State particularly consistent with the antecedent culture.

                In cultures with strong traditions of property rights the adaptation was rather more difficult. Even in China we find Communism being subsumed within the more ancient traditions, rather in the same way they absorbed the Mongols.

                Culture is more persistent than intellectuals like to acknowledge (Thos. Sowell being a rare exception, likely because he apparently deems intellectual a badge of dishonour.)

                • I have an abridged English version of La Russie en 1839 by marquis de Custine. It has a foreword from someone who worked in the American embassy there. She recommended it as what they all agreed was the best guide to the Soviet Union.

              • Those are fun books. Not the sort to provide fresh insight into anything, but I get the feeling Kratman saves a lot of money on therapy by writing them.

                PS – Check that. Amazon Legion was a pretty decent exercise in how an all female combat unit would have to be designed.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              IIRC Tom Kratman’s Red Tsars were actual Russian Tsars on Terra Nova that attempted to recreate Communism with them as the Head Communist.

          • The thing is, Marx was a work-shy bum, looking for an excuse to be a work-shy bum, and so are most of his followers. Once you understand that, much of what follows is no longer at all confusing. The Pseudo-scientific claptrap Marx made up to justify his “revolution” was, like a lot of claptrap of the 19th and 20th centuries, based on a simplistic interpretation of the Theory of Evolution, wrenched from its proper place an applied to matter that have little to do with biology. Marxism is an EXCUSE. Just like the Divine Right of Kings (and, therefore, their noble-bullboy hangers-on) was an excuse. Just like most cries of “Heresy!” are an excuse to retain a cushy Church sinecure rather than learn enough real theology to argue with the putative Heretic.

            I, myself, am a work-shy bum. I’ve known it for decades. I don’t look for an excuse. I got lucky, and was born in the United States to a child of a man who looked at the 1920’s stock market and said “I want OUT” just before the crash. If I hadn’t been lucky, I would doubtless be a photocopy repairman, or some such. Maybe then I would have more sympathy for the mentally flabby and flatulent children of Privilege who moan and whine today. But, GOD, I hope not.

            • The work-shy intellectuals are much like the landed gentry in thinking that work is beneath them, and in both types, why they hated business people for making more money that they did.

              • And that dynamic is still going strong today. The “Intellectuals” are mostly students (and many of them poor students) of ‘disciplines’ that don’t lend themselves to the making of wealth – theirs or other peoples’. And BOY do they resent it.

                • It’s their own responsibility. They could have chosen to do something else that pays better.

                  • Ah, but why should mere brute fact that other things DO pay better win? We should ensure that other things DO NOT pay better because they don’t deserve it.

                    “Systemic processes tend to reward people for making decisions that turn out to be right — creating great resentment among the anointed, who feel themselves entitled to rewards for being articulate, politically active, and morally fervent.” — Thomas Sowell

            • “Marx was a work-shy bum, looking for an excuse to be a work-shy bum, and so are most of his followers. Once you understand that, much of what follows is no longer at all confusing.”

              I bow, in obeisance, before this penetrating insight. Yes — he was. He sponged off Engels and any other rich and feeling-guilty-for-it-second-gens that he could find. His bro-in-law, even tried to make a go of it in Texas under the Verein, but wilted under the strain of actually having to work for a living and associate with the actual working class Germans who came to Texas and made the most of it thereby.

              • Exactly. Marx id the Prophet of all those who KNOW that they are smart, but won’t do the work. Communism promises them a world in which they, the “experts”, run things. And somehow they never notice that it is always the brutal thugs (who WILL work), who end up on top, and that those tugs quickly liquidate all the “intellectual” troublemakers.

                • Trying to decide if your typing “id” was a typo of “is” or just a nasty and true aside.

                  As for the liquidation, I’ve long said for me the most enjoyable part of the communist revolution in the US, if it comes, will be listening to the various SJW types screaming “but I support the revolution” as they are shot in the prison yard while troublesome conservative like me live to be released when we’re too old to cause trouble.

        • Ah, Paullie “The Beard” Krugman!

        • You remind me of an economics joke I saw the other day:

          Krugman and Bernanke are walking down the street and see a pile of dog poo. Bernanke says “I’ll give you twenty thousand dollars to eat that pile of poo.” Krugman does it, gets paid, and they keep walking. After a while they see another pile of poo on the road. Seeing an opportunity for revenge, Krugman says “Tell you what, I’ll give YOU twenty grand to eat that pile of poo.” Bernanke does it, Krugman gives him back the money, and they keep walking. After a while Bernanke says “I’m feeling pretty sick. We both ate poo and neither of us is any richer.” Krugman answers “You’re missing the bigger picture. We’ve increased GDP by forty thousand dollars and created two jobs.”

          And it’s a joke precisely becuz they think this is how the markets work.

      • That, and Marx liked to treat all work as interchangeable. Too bad the Industrial Revolution pwned that idea. Stoop labor *is* interchangeable, but the factories needed steamfitters and millwrights and pipefitters and accountants, and those aren’t interchangeable.

        While modern management clings desperately to the concrept that all work is interchangeable, the management class itself is the only pool of interchangeable parts….

        • Good management isn’t interchangeable, despite the insistence of the progressive left (usually accompanied by lofty comparison of CEO salaries to average worker salaries). One can make arguments that much of it is overvalued, or has value only in the sense that it has the right political connections (which adds nothing to the value of the product or service), but that’s not the same as saying it is interchangeable.

          I think it’s part and parcel of putting politics as the prime motivator of individual life. It’s a lot more visible in totalitarian countries, of course: what’s the purpose of any art to a totalitarian except as a means of also achieving a social value? One of my relatives spent some time reading Soviet science fiction for fun (he’s weird), and noted the obvious conflict between trying to tell an enjoyable story and trying to include the approved socialist talking points. The party apparatchicks approving the work were not likely science fiction fans, and cared about making sure the appropriate party mandated socialist checkboxes were checked to the detriment of the story. The party apparatchiks saw science fiction stories as interchangeable, and once you’re at that point, you can mentally accept that obviously a politically correct science fiction story is better than one that isn’t, because they cared about the politics, not the science fiction.

          • One socialist realist writer got a novel back from the review board asking him why he had a horse plodding wearily along — surely the horse should have been as cheerfull and willing to work as the rest?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            A few years ago I read a Soviet answer to the classic short story “First Contact”. Both the Humans and the Aliens had reached the Communists Ideal Society where the “State has withered away”. So there was an extreme lack of tension in the story as “of course we’ll get along” and both species did get along just fine. [Sad Smile]

          • ” The party apparatchicks approving the work were not likely science fiction fans, and cared about making sure the appropriate party mandated socialist checkboxes were checked to the detriment of the story. ”

            With apologies to David Weber, “The tradition lives!”

          • The afterward of the Strugatsky Brother’s “Roadside Picnic” (eventually adapted into the film “Stalker”) is rather interesting, as it goes into their struggle with the soviet authorities to get their book published.

            • George Orwell, while otherwise foolishly credulous about socialism, realized that you had to allow writers some latitude and take the risk of their indulging in wrongthink to get vital literature.

        • I’ve come to the conclusion that most big companies have become little Socialist states driven by Pournelle’s iron law. This is looking at what it looks like from the inside.

          • Yes. When Dan worked for a big corporation, I realized that.

          • That is because of the regulatory burden of complying not only with state mandates but documentation of compliance with state mandates. Soon they will require documentation of documentation of compliance with state mandates and all corporate efforts will be dedicated to staying ahead of the regulators and core corporate activities (aka: jobs) will cease. It is expressed in the Second Law of Bureaumodynamics.

            Invariably core corporate activities become secondary to meeting bureaucratic requirements. Hiring competent employees is subsidiary to following approved hiring processes (which deem ability an irrelevance) and promotion is determined by quota compliance rather than leadership ability.

          • None other than the leftist economist Kenneth Galbraith noted that once companies exceed a certain size, they become bureaucracies, and hence, inherently inefficient.
            IIRC, he put the threshold at 30 people.

            Of course, being Galbraith, he saw this as an argument to socialize everything.

          • In The God That Failed, one writer had gone to the USSR and come back with the knowledge that it was just a company town.

      • “If you believe that the market for sci-fi is zero sum, you believe that too much of one commodity (sci-fi written by non-progressives, for example) means that there will be not enough of another commodity (sci-fi written by progressives)”

        This is actually more true than you might first think; I only have so much money and if I spend it on one commodity, I can’t use it to buy something else. Where they make their mistake is in not realizing that I don’t have to buy their crap even if good sci-fi isn’t available.

        • That’s up there with complaining we have 23 different types of deodorant. It may be too many, but no bureaucrat is going to know better how many types people need and which types need to go than the people placing money down to produce it.

          “Go ahead, I have no objection” is unfathomable because they see businesses as the stereotypical government-protected cartel monopoly, which naturally seeks to exclude competition. [Tortured example alert!] If approval from the majority of pizza place owners was required for a new pizza place to open, they’d be right, few pizza place owners would say “go ahead, I have no objection” to requests to open a new pizza place. It’s the fact that we say “Go ahead, I have no objection” to potential competitors, because we feel our pizza is better and will still be enough to stay in business and because we are consumers and even connoisseurs of pizza that are willing to admit and enjoy those rare people that make pizza better than we do and learn from them to make our own pizza better.

        • I was thinking about this while I waited on phone to talk to various people. You know, the problem is they view the publishing market as a lecturer’s podium, when in fact it’s a market stall or a peddler’s cart.

          • I was thinking they see it as a pulpit seeing as they seeing Marxism as the Word of God.

          • I have an alternate theory I came up with at lunch yesterday.

            I think they believe the movie, “Stranger than Fiction” is a documentary or at least a docudrama. Their stories are actually directing the lives of people out in the world and when we write about whites or straights or whatever that blacks or women or whatever cease to exist because they are not being written about.

      • My thought is that “Go ahead, I have no objection” is massively confusing to Marxists because at least the modern ones have absolutely no concept of not needing to get their nose up in every aspect of every single person’s business. Everything not compulsory is forbidden, and “mind your own beeswax” just doesn’t compute. We must be certain that you’re eating the right things, that you’re income is sufficient (but that you aren’t spending it on the wrong things), that your carbon footprint is acceptably low, and that your free time is spent socializing with an appropriately diverse group of friends.

        If those are your premises in life, the “Go ahead, I have no objection” makes absolutely no sense. Either whatever they’re doing is badwrong, in which case of course you should have objections, or its megagood social justice necessary, so you need to be writing checks and doing whatever is in your power to make it happen.

        • Again, it comes with politicizing everything, or viewing politics as the central purpose of life. If you’re fixated on a political topic that you believe is vitally important to the future of the human race, say “the evils of pollution” or “the value of superficial diversity”, then making art that does not include your political topic is wrong, because it’s a moral imperative that you spend your time working towards your political topic.

          It’s once you can step back and say that “these topics are complicated, there’s no easy fixes, and mindless cheerleading isn’t going to change that or fix anything” that you can make art for art’s sake. It goes along with realizing that neither people nor society are perfectible.

  5. But but but… it should be deep, and complex, and show the world as it is, and… and… educate people, not give them silly daydreams! Silly daydreams harm people! They start thinking they might… that the prince will come and rescue her and then she has Cinderella syndrome, or they start thinking that having a gun makes him a man and then he will shoot somebody over a parking place and blood on the streets and and… and anyway, it should always be REAL, you know, and deep, and complex, and… And what you write is just pulp, anyway! Worthless! Sniff!

  6. In my experience the correlation of economic status and moral character is vastly over-stated. It feeds into the idea that, in Balzac’s words, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” Utter twaddle.

    • Ross McDonald stole that line for his detective novels: “No one ever got REALLY rich without breaking the law.”

    • “In my experience the correlation of economic status and moral character is vastly over-stated.”

      Of course it is because, as I tell my wife (who is 5′ 2″) the real correlation is between height and moral rectitude. It is a burden to bear, but tall people are just BETTER than people who are shorter. Every right thinking person recognizes that at some level, even if they want to deny it.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        And just after you say that, she cuts you down to size. [Evil Grin]

      • David, are you my dad in disguise? The Portuguese proverb for “height isn’t superiority” is “men can’t be measured in palms.” To which dad always answered, “Of course not, that’s antiquated. We measure them in meters and centimeters.”

      • As the Prophet Newman the Randy foretold:

        Short People got no reason
        Short People got no reason
        Short People got no reason
        To live

        They got little baby legs
        That stand so low
        You got to pick ’em up
        Just to say hello
        They got little cars
        That got beep, beep, beep
        They got little voices
        Goin’ peep, peep, peep
        They got grubby little fingers
        And dirty little minds
        They’re gonna get you every time

        Well, I don’t want no Short People
        Don’t want no Short People
        Don’t want no Short People
        ‘Round here

  7. Marxism in this world has managed to far and long out-last any charm it may ever have had for me. There was that short infantile adolescent moment when the idea of each working to the best of their ability and receiving what they needed as a result seemed good. Then I lived a little longer, got a job waiting tables, an apartment, started paying my own bills and saving for better things.

    I also got to know more about people. Not everyone works any harder than they have to, even if they did see that it might be to their particular advantage. And I had the epiphany that what I might think was needed and what some officious bureaucrat might think was needed — take book ownership for instance — was not likely to coincide.

    So when an idiot seriously told me that he thought that anyone who was lucky enough to have a house should be required to maintain a vegetable garden in the front for anyone who came along to harvest … I say RASPBERRIES!

    • Amazing how unlucky people would become then.

    • From each according to their ability, to each according to their need. First problem is that like the Han Solo comment about a reward greater than he could imagine, his comment was that he could ‘imagine’ quite a lot. Second problem is ‘do what I say, not what I do.’; Imagine all the people sharing John Lennon’s apartment overlooking Central Park. Apparently when singing, he had different ideas than when living.
      I’m also reminded of the CEO that recently cut his salary to give all his workers $70K per annum. Problem was, the people whose work deserved that rate were upset when the janitor made as much as they did.
      Money is after all, a shortcut and cheat over the barter system. If your work each day is worth a chicken and my work is worth two chickens, don’t I have the right to trade my 2nd chicken for some ice cream from one of those Italian ice cream makers in town?

    • Communism works if people are perfect; millions have been killed trying and failing to achieve perfection.

      The genius of the market is that it harnesses many of the imperfections of humanity and redirects them towards making the system work better for all. You can’t eliminate greed, but having people satiate the greed by accumulating wealth by producing things people want is better than having people satiate their greed by robbery, whether through force of arms of by abuse of government power. A greedy capitalist is much less threatening than a greedy bandit, king or party commisar.

      • Communism as it’s been instituted requires not only that people are morally perfect but that they have perfect knowledge. Pricing is how people share information about value. By doing away with pricing, you deny the economy the best means of discovering, e.g. what models of shoes people want to wear in which sizes.

        If humans miraculously became morally perfect, I think the economy would look superficially like ours, but with play-money obtainable in infinite quantity where the only scarcity was people’s perfect self-restraint and the only reward was knowing you’d provided $X worth of whatever to other people.

        • See, you finally understand the mission Progressives and SJWs are undertaking… people could be perfect, but we have all this excess baggage of white privilege holding us back. Parochial clinging to established gender norms and foolish belief in supreme authorities like God. The STATE is supreme. We need to get rid of that terrible gender typing of third person pronouns and make sure everyone understands they are a special snowflake and are entitled to a trophy just for showing up.
          After the SJWs kill off all the dissenters and remove the evil thoughts printed in books authored by non-trufans, they will usher in the perfect world with the perfect society… Unfortunately, everyone will be dead by then, but it will be perfect, static and unchanging.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Poul Anderson had a short story where a starship escaping from a Soviet Controlled Earth attempted to settle one planet only to learn that the neighboring world (in the same star system) was inhabited.

            Strangely, while the Earth people encountered miners from the other planet on their new world, the alien miners didn’t seem to react to the Earth people.

            They sent a few of them to the alien home world to make contact with the aliens.

            While the team were “noticed” and lightly imprisoned, the aliens didn’t try to learn to communicate with the humans and ignored any attempt by the humans to communicate.

            It turns out that the aliens were once intelligent but had developed their own Communistic System where thought and intelligence was dangerous and unnecessary in their system.

            Every task had been planned out centuries ago and the aliens just followed the (non-intelligent) computers’ instructions on how to go about the tasks.

            The alien miners hadn’t been programmed to notice other beings on the other planet and only reacted to the other beings if their programming considered the other beings as attacking animals.

            The only reason that the team were noticed and imprisoned is that one of the final intelligent aliens had programmed one of the computers to react to intelligent “aliens”.

            So the team managed to escape, in the process destroyed the computer that “knew” what to do with intelligent “aliens” and returned to the other planet.

            The humans realized that as long as they avoided the alien miners, they could live and prosper on this new world. [Smile]

            The Aliens had created their “perfect society” at the cost of their intelligence. [Sad Smile]

            • I think I remember that one. My thought was, “they not only gave up their future, but any hope of a present as well.” Sad indeed.

        • Morally perfect people would be Wise, Prudent, and Honest. That means if you need to know something else’s value to someone, you ask that person. You will know you need to, and the person will answer truthfully and accurately.

    • You’d think one “group” school project would cure anyone of Marxism. Or at least it’d cure the one kid who ends up doing all the work.

      Right after I got married I was working three jobs, 70-75 hours a week, for (I found out later) less than I could have made on welfare. The first Christmas spent with my new bride’s family one of her tangential relations sneered at me that, “It must be nice to be rich.”

      I did not hit him. Hitting people on Christmas is frowned up. Or so I’m told.

      I did consider strangling him with my tie.

      • oh, do I understand you.

      • Welfare suffers from the problem it is a dead-end job. While it requires few skills (although surprisingly beneficial to people with those skills — see recent revelations about government-housing households with assets in excess of a half million dollars) it similarly offers little opportunity for advancement.

        As for the “must be nice to be rich” viewpoint, an appropriate rebuttal might be “I certainly look forward to finding out.” Sotto voce addenda to the effect of “unlike you” or “not something you’ll ever learn except by hearsay” are not recommended, however satisfying they might seem.

      • The Other Sean

        You’d think one “group” school project would cure anyone of Marxism. Or at least it’d cure the one kid who ends up doing all the work.

        The problem is the other three kids in the group, who didn’t do anything but got a good grade anyhow, think it works just great.

        • The problem is the other three kids in the group, who didn’t do anything but got a good grade anyhow, think it works just great.

          …and thus learn that compelling the productive to continue to be so and confiscating the result is a viable strategy. And having no marketable skills save typing, they go into journalism, or if they can’t type either, politics…

        • COBOL 1 was the weedout course at my undergraduate program, and the professor who taught it addressed that problem. The assignment was to compute depreciation under 5 different methods (straight line, double declining balance, etc.) and she split us up into groups of 5. Basically each would write the subroutine code for one method and then merge it under the main routine which gave us the output. She said that anyone who didn’t turn in their routine would just have their section of the output print “Because I failed to complete my assignment, I should receive a 0 for this project.”

          We still had an average of 20% who couldn’t be bothered.

      • Service Academy students receive a salary while attending. When I was at USNA, it was one-half of an ensign’s base pay. Most of it was automatically saved for us, and we received some small portion of it for our own uses (perhaps $100/month, IIRC). I remember one occasion, when I was part of the contingent attending an away football game at Notre Dame, being exhorted to buy a round with all of my “free government money.”

        • That was a LONG time ago. They decoupled Midshipman (and cadet) pay from O1 pay quite a bit ago. I think late 70’s or so,

          • Yep, “many moons ago” territory – I graduated in 1975. Missing my 40th reunion this year – one or two of my siblings were setting up a family reunion for about the same time, but that appears to have fallen through, unfortunately.

      • I am old enough to have been able to avoid “group” projects in school. Thank the powers that be … 😉

  8. Well, I do sort of have an objection in that impressionable youngsters might be led to read their crap and damage their little pea brains (those few the schools haven’t already taught to hate reading). But that just means we have to write more interesting stuff for them to read instead.

  9. BTW, isn’t the one-footed Patagonian lesbian the same critter Darwin identified as the Lesser Hopping Harpy?

  10. Built into this is the idea … that they need leftists to enlighten them and make their lives bearable.

    That idea is a fundamental tenet of Evangelical Leftism. They are even worse than Jehovah’s Witnesses for prosletyzing. The JWs at least do their missions work personally; the ELs insist on deputizing the government to impose their creed.

  11. I think I understand the way you lived because I lived that way in many respects. My parents moved to places where we had to dig an outhouse every year and garden, can, sew our own clothes, etc. etc. Running water? We lived in a house where the pipes froze every year… and so on. Then when I tried to go to college, my parents didn’t pay for it and the college said that my parents made to much money… if I were another minority then they would help me… etc. etc. (In the early 80s)

    So since I wanted to go to college that badly, I went into the Navy for the GI bill (not the only reason… but it was one of them). Then I finally got my college education in my late 30s. So yea, if I want something badly enough, I find a way to do it. Never easy. My rose path is strewn with thorns.

  12. Don’t get me started. I peddled seeds, door to door. I had TWO paper routes. I worked at the Farmer’s Market every Thursday and Friday after school, and all day on Saturday.

    I was the first in my direct line to attend college, and the first to graduate. On a ROTC scholarship that I **earned**, both before and after. What it didn’t pay, I got student loans for, which were paid off in full 4 years after graduating.

    And yet I get told I’m upper class now, too. Because we have a huge library, a network, and lots of other geeky tech stuff.

    Because I worked my way out of blue collar roots and EARNED it. And, incidentally, STILL clip coupons, buy in bulk and when on sale. . .

  13. Christopher M. Chupik

    I can haz minion number?

    • C1.
      C for Canadian Minion #1. Or 007CaN.
      I think they’re using their VD number, though. Being Portuguese-born I don’t issue numbers unless you ask for it. I’m not that organized.

      • VD number? Is that like Patient Zero?

      • Back when I signed up with the Denizens of Doom we got to pick our own numbers; the Keeper of the List kept them straight.

        The “web” didn’t really exist back in 1992. I was still hitting usenet via uucp and bang paths.

        I still have a spare Geeky the Daemon jacket patch somewhere… probably with my Iron Butt patch and my spare armor panels.

        Denizens of Doom M.C.
        USENET
        Live to Flame. Flame to Live.
        rec.motorcycles

        • You know that we have a facebook page now, don’t you? I just discovered it about four weeks ago. Send me your email address at d AND j AND harr AT gmail DOT com, then I will see about getting you an invite.

          DOD #0x7ffffff.

        • LMAO – you make 1992 sound like a long time ago. How about the days of letters? Because you couldn’t afford the long distant call. You gathered at the library to talk. If you wanted to have groups on the air, you got into Amateur Radio… made your own radio or if you were rich enough you bought one. GAWD I am definitely over 50.

          • Or, as an intermediate step, the days when phone numbers included letters. I remember one of our old numbers was OL8-2158, with the OL coming from the fact that we were on the Olive exchange.

            Never had a party line, so I’ve never had to deal with learning which ring pattern meant my family. Maybe that’s why I never assign individual ringtones on my cellphone?

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        I am a number, not a human being!

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          I’m neither a number nor a human being. I’m a Dragon! [Dragon Grin]

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            That’s okay, I know a dragon slayer:

            Some NSFW lyrics.

            The singer is a friend of mine. And yes, guys (and some girls) she already has a boyfriend.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              I’m not sure those so-called Dragon-Slayers could even find a Dragon let alone slay one. [Big Dragon Grin]

              • Patrick Chester

                Just watch out for this young lady.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Any Dragon worthy of the name could got out of the way of that attack or countered that attack.

                  Of course, IIRC she wasn’t the smartest chick around so tricking her into hitting the wrong target would work. [Evil Dragon Grin]

                  • Patrick Chester

                    Well, IIRC, the dragon in question wasn’t one of the sentient* ones, and her meat-shieldtraveling companion did keep it distracted.

                    OTOH, she has taken down high-level demons (mazoku in this series) in later episodes…

                    *Dragons in Slayers come in two types: Big animals, and a race of sentient dragons whom try to protect people from the mazoku I mentioned above.

              • Some dragon-slayers can. Those who doubt it should try reading my story cleverly titled “Dragon Slayer.” 0:)

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Hopefully, those Dragon-Slayers only go after Dragons that deserve being Slayed. [Wink]

                  And yes, there are Dragons that deserve being Slayed and sometimes other Dragons fail to do the job. [Sad Dragon Smile]

          • Do you hang out with TXRed a lot? She is a Cat among Dragons.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Haven’t had the pleasure of her company but the relationship between Dragons and Cats has been a friendly one and has lasted for thousands of years. [Very Big Dragon Smile]

              • How do you feel about dogs? Dave Freer has written about their relationship: Dog and Dragon–April 2012 by Baen.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  You do remember that the Dog in that book was Loyal to his Human while he just liked the Dragon.

                  Dragons like Dogs just as much as Humans like Dogs, but sadly Dogs have chosen to give their Loyalty to Humans. [Polite Dragon Smile]

        • Why did you resign?

    • Forget the minion number; I can haz cheesburger?

    • Wanna be a number?

  14. wanderingmuses

    “mom classified meat every day as frivolous stuff, mind”
    I find that line amusing because that’s how I know the hubs and I had finally reached “comfortable”. We can afford to have meat every day now.

    • well, we had fish most everyday, but fish was cheap as vegetables. Also I hate it but nevermind that.

      • Though it’s worth noting that modernization has changed the availability of some meats. Herbert Hoover’s campaign slogan included the line “A chicken in every pot!” Because back then, chicken was still somewhat pricey. Nowadays, it’s extremely inexpensive.

        • My protein stables are chicken legs and eggs. Cheapest available meat. I’d like fish but it’s usually more expensive, raised trout used to be pretty cheap but who knows why no longer, now even raised salmon sometimes can be found for less. Some pork meat can be found fairly cheap here, as well as hamburger meat, but they all usually cost two to three times more than those chicken legs. And eggs (depends a bit on how the hens are kept, free range is not that cheap).

          • Chicken legs are good stuff, at least. Yum.

          • Split a chicken with you? I like chicken breasts and hubby adores chicken wings.

            • Why not. 🙂 I actually like breasts more, but whole chickens and breasts alone also cost more, just breasts usually about three times more. Wings can be almost as cheap but legs are good enough and there is more meat. No idea why the pricing goes like that. Maybe there is some customer preference or distribution or whatever reason, or maybe it’s because those legs have somehow ended up as the loss leader item for grocery stores.

              • Lots of people like the white meat more.

                I like drumsticks. Cheap, too!

                • And the white meat is claimed to be more healthful, or at least lower in fat.

                  …I like thighs best, myself, although drumsticks provide a more convenient handle for eating with the fingers; and leg quarters still come in 10-pound bags for under a dollar per pound around here, although unsurprisingly it’s been years since I saw 19 or 29 cents/lb.

                  • Here the cheapest alternative are the whole legs, thighs and drumsticks. Just drumsticks usually cost a bit more. Normal price is around 2,99 e/kg, but they are sold at reduced prices often enough, 1,49 e to 0,99 e/kg.

                  • When I was first on my own, I could get kidneys at 19 cents/lb (I was in California at the time, and I had my mother’s recipe for steak&kidney pudding, which I love). I haven’t seen any of the less-popular organ meats for less than $1.49/lb in a long time, though.

                    • “Kidney stew” is infamous in our family; apparently my mom got a recipe, kidneys were cheap, so she made it and served it. Not even love could get it down. 😎

                      OTOH, they’ve been married over 60 years….

              • Here, it seems to go from cheapest to highest: Whole fryer, cut up fryer / bon-in legs / thighs, boneless legs/thighs, bone in breast, boneless and skinless breast. That usually can be found for $1.99 / lb.; whole fryer is not uncommonly $.89 / pound.

        • Sometimes chicken is less cheap–3.99/lb. But it’s usually cheap. If you buy an entire chicken or on sale it’s inexpensive.(1.99/lb.)

  15. Yeah, yeah, I have cowboys in my ancestry

    And now you use those skills as a ranking member of the ELoE to herd cats…

    • Rob Crawford

      Nah. Cattle are easy to herd — a single person can surround them. Cats won’t fall for that.

      • Ah?

        I guess it depends on the cow. When working as a mother’s helper on a farm I found that cows could be ornery and stubborn. They were much easier to boss around if you were on the back of a horse — I believe that is is because they perceive you as bigger than them.

  16. Growing up, it was always an understood, given thing that I would go to college. It was also an understood thing that I would have to pay for it myself. My mother had an associate’s degree, but she and my father divorced when I was six. Acrimoniously. Extremely so. But she was left with four children, and fortunately, a supportive family. Morally supportive, not financially, because no one had that kind of money. So she had a succession of not well-paying jobs, and welfare to fill in the gaps. We moved every year or two. I attended four different elementary schools in two different districts. Might have been more, but we got evicted a few times, too, before school started. The summer before seventh grade, we were camping out in the state park nearby, and then in my grandparents’ trailer at their place. Winter was coming on, so we finally moved into the subsidized housing complex in the east end of town, where we stayed until I graduated high school.

    That place was and is exactly like the images of ghettos and housing complexes you see on TV and movies. Multiple generations of people on welfare and with no skills or prospects. I’m absolutely certain that a high percentage of the people I went to school with from that neighborhood are dead or in prison. Most of the rest have probably never traveled 50 miles away from Danville. Meanwhile, I am on my fourth overseas tour in the Navy, about six years away from a retirement pension, and with some other savings lined up, as well as a bachelor’s degree and a plan for further education. Why? It certainly wasn’t because of any government minority out-reach programs, because while I attended some of those with the Boys and Girls Club, or other organizations, I was usually the only white person there, and it was made clear to me that I was unwelcome at such things, because I already had all the advantages I needed, being white and all. What it was was my own intelligence, drive, and ambition, as well as the aforementioned supportive family who may not have had money, but did have an abundance of books. (While I wouldn’t say my whole family is Odd, a plurality of us certainly are.)

    So no, I do not have any patience for the sort of “poor me”, whiny SJW rhetoric that is so prevalent nowadays. There is a reason that I am attempting to be out of the country next year, and it is because I am trying to avoid the nonsense and viciousness that will be accompanying the election. Probably going to have to disconnect from the internet for that, though.

    • I dunno, I for one am sort of looking forward to the sacking of Austin, San Antonio, and Houston…

      • Yes, the sacking of San Antonio will be … interesting. If you tossed the neighborhood that I live in (full of military veterans, small business owners and retirees) you’d likely turn up enough weapons for a small European country.

        • Rob Crawford

          Small European country? That’s all?

          Must be in the suburbs…

          • Half-mile square suburb on the outskirts. Get out to the outlaying towns, then you got armories for medium-sized European countries. Or so I am told.

            • Well, you’ve gor Lackland right there. Technically, no reason you CAN’T mount a Hydra 70 pod on a Humvee…

              • They’ve actually got something better than that.

                Small, versatile, and completely self-contained, it turns anything onto which you stick it into a powerful laser weapon. And at just two cubic meters in volume, you should have no trouble mounting it on the roof rack of your Volvo.

                What we were able to find out about this thing is that it’s a laser weapon with output energies (that’s output, not total power in the system) ranging from 75 kilowatts all the way up to 300 kilowatts. To put that in perspective, about a year ago we wrote about how Lockheed was using a portable fiber laser to shoot down rockets at a range of 1.5 kilometers using just 10 kilowatts of power. Suffice it to say, 300 kilowatts is rather a lot.

            • I’ve heard similar rumors about certain neighborhoods up here. Pure rumor, you understand. And I don’t know any Mennonites who hunt or collect custom rifles, either. Cross my heart and hope to shed.

      • Or, actually, the attempt to.

        • Plenty of us in Ft Worth (NAS Forth Worth, former home of the SAC) and Dallas will be happy to “greet” you on your way south.

    • My parents would have paid for college, but for family political reasons, only to go to medical school or law school, those being my mother’s measure of status.

      When they absolutely refused to consider engineering, I dropped out of high school and got a job. One of the few things I knew absolutely was that I didn’t want to follow either of their chosen career paths, and I still feel that way.

      I did learn the value of a high school diploma, though. In all the years since, not one employer has ever asked to see one, or specifically ask if I graduated; since graduation is automatic, they just assume I have one.

      Later an employer offered to pay my tuition and juggle shifts so I could attend classes. I only made it for one semester, though. I had the dean of students throwing spit while he was screaming in anger, and I got a police escort off campus. About that time I got the idea that I wasn’t really the collegiate type.

    • “Growing up, it was always an understood, given thing that I would go to college. It was also an understood thing that I would have to pay for it myself.”

      Yes. My parents also clued me in to how to do it—bust your backside in high school and apply for every scholarship you’re even remotely qualified for. (Then keep said scholarships… heh. I managed that part.) I went to the private high school but I have no idea how much financial aid we got. I only had to do workshare the first year, at the library. (Oh, don’t throw me in that briar patch, Br’er Fox…) I basically was the F&SF expert for when the librarian had books to buy, though she brought in C.S. Friedman without my input and introduced ME to her work.

      Anyway. When my older sisters went to college, after two years of paying their own way, they could declare themselves financially independent and get their aid revisited. They changed that before I went to college, so even though I was only at home for a month a year, I was still a dependent. I had loans for living expenses and thank goodness it wasn’t expensive there, or I’d still be paying those off. (Four years of living expenses anywhere aren’t cheap.)

      The really sad part is that it’s not really doable even at that level anymore. My husband’s niece just spent $450 in digital textbook RENTAL for one term. Eighteen weeks, and of course no sell-backs. And that’s not the only place where college costs have shot through the roof—twenty years, and the cost of my college’s tuition has more than doubled. Quick inflation calculator check says that inflation is only 150% over the same term.

      • A big driver of college tuition (and student activity fees) is the administrative burden of complying with federal guidelines, requisite in order to be eligible for federal grants and to qualify as an appropriate reskeptical of government student loans. As others have shown, increased access to student loans acts to drive up the costs of college without materially enhancing education; this is why administrative overhead now exceeds 50% of costs at most colleges.

        It is also why colleges are stripping male students of all rights in the face of sexual assault (a class of crime now determined to include staring) — compliance with Federal Title IX (IIRC) requirements guidelines.

        See Second Law of Bureaudynamics elsewhere this page.

        • I have never understood why colleges are involved with sexual assault things anyway. It’s a civil crime; let the civil authorities handle it. If a student is convicted of a felony, by all means expel him or her. But until that conviction happens, it’s not the college’s business. And if there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, as there probably won’t be in most such cases, then no other penalties apply.

          There was a meme on Facebook I saw earlier which had two partially dressed young women making out with each other on a stack of beer kegs, which looked mildly uncomfortable anyway, with the caption that since the two young “ladies” were both drunk, they were therefore incapable of giving consent and thus by certain laws, one of them was raping the other, and how was it to be determined which was which? I suspect the lesson will fly right over most SJWs’ heads.

          • The Campus Hysteria is being driven by various factors. In part it is an extremely biased, activist Department of Education. Another part is a media eager to play up the “War on Women” meme. There is a component of this that is liberal political activists using the hysteria to gin up their vote, just as going on with #BlackLivesMatter

            To any sane person it is all nonsense, but I am beginning to wonder how many sane people remain.

            For excellent background on this, Gamergate and the entire War on Women insanity I recommend reading Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner. While others have done very good reporting on this, Schow collects and relates the journalism in one easily accessible place.

            Noteworthy columns include:
            * Disrupting a false media narrative — what next?
            * Prosecutors support more due process for accused students
            * How ’emotional reasoning’ informs current campus sexual assault hysteria
            * Huffington Post laments bills pushing for campus due process
            * Campus sexual assault activist: Focus on survivors, not due process
            (As you might guess, these “survivors” include many whose claims of having been assaulted have proven as specious as that of the “survivor” profiled in Rolling Stone‘s cover story.)
            * Police officer brags about circumventing due process in sexual assault cases
            * Expanding the definition of sexual assault to inflate the number of ‘victims’
            * Anti-discrimination law is being used to discriminate
            (Explains abuses of Title IX law to fuel the current hysteria.)

            F.I.R.E. (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) provides a pdf for the infamous 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter ( thefire[DOT]org/us-department-of-educations-office-for-civil-rights-dear-colleague-letter-april-4-2011/ ) as well as extensive discussion of efforts to deter such campus oppression.

            • Oh, in listing some of Schow’s articles, I missed this, one of my favourites:

              Man receives sex act while blacked out, gets accused of sexual assault
              http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/man-receives-sex-act-while-blacked-out-gets-accused-of-sexual-assault/article/2565978

              In brief, he walked his girlfriend’s drunken roommate back to her dorm room, then passed out in the room. Girlfriend’s roommate got curious about what he had in the package so she opened it and swallowed the contents.

              Two years later she accused him of sexual assault and the college found against him in spite of all evidence supporting his position.

              “Once again: this is a case in which an accuser (to put it charitably) misrepresented written evidence vital to her credibility, and this same material, her words, showed — if anything — that she initiated sexual contact against a student who even Amherst’s panel described as ‘blacked out.,'” [author K.C.] Johnson wrote. “And yet, according to Amherst, [the accuser] is a sexual assault ‘survivor.'”

              No counsel for the defense was permitted to act for the accused, instead the college provided an

              “adviser” [who] was an administrator who lacked tenure and was trained in “social justice education.” [The Defendent] was not allowed to directly cross-examine his accuser and could only write down questions for the panel to ask her, leaving no room for follow-ups. The hearing panel, meanwhile, was made up of “student life officials” and another administrators trained in “social justice education” — none of whom had tenure.

              This sort of thing gives kangaroo courts a bad name. It infantilizes women agency, them denying their agency under the assumption that men are predatory.

          • Good heavens, that would mean if there’s a reasonable doubt, the man would get off. You don’t want men to get off, do you?

      • I know — it absolutely breaks my heart that my nieces and nephews cannot do college the way that I did, in the 1970s. My nephew couldn’t even get accepted to a California State Uni. It seems that the Cal system now prefers accepting out-of-state students, so that the tuition can be run up to the maximum.
        I lived at home, rode the bus to the local community college for lower division, where my biggest single cost was for books … and the bookstore was generous about buying them back, too. Upper division, at a relatively cachet-less suburban Cal State campus, which I paid tuition, books and gas money to my parents on babysitting money, making dolls and doing specialty sewing for a local miniature shop. I had so much left over from that, I could afford to spend the following summer in England, doing the cheap charter flight, youth hostel and BritRail pass thing.
        California was relatively sane in those days, preferring to use tax revenues for the benefit of legal residents and tax-payers.

  17. Is it possible you misheard the dentist, and what she actually said was “Poor; butt honest?” — meaning tuchus ached from so much honesty?

  18. I suspect that part of the problem with proglodytes is that they perceive an ankle-high fence as an insurmountable barrier. Many here seem inclined by their personal histories to think of eight-foot walls as minor obstacles.

    Perhaps the proglodytes imagine people are literally trying to lift themselves by their own bootstraps rather than, for instance, climbing over?

    Wonderful thing, climbing. It builds agility, muscle strength, character and — according to recent studies — builds working memory (as much as 50%: http://www.medicaldaily.com/climbing-tree-can-improve-your-working-memory-capacity-50-345450 ). Bootstrapping, as a rule, requires the assistance of some outside party.

  19. “My father wasn’t a poor man. He was a rich man with no money.”
    — Dom DeLuise

  20. Off the subject, but doesn’t it makes one wonder what the air quality is like at the Bernie Sanders campaign HQ? Does everyone there have the same body chemistry so that one deodorant works for all?

    More to the point, it’s astounding how few progressive types belive it is possible to make new wealth instead of just redistributing existing coinage.

    RE “Real Writers”: After disparaging Sad Puppies, one of my writer friends just found out SHE was a horrible person for being successful without passing the test of having a publisher chose to buy her work.
    As a devoted progressive it nearly broke Lisa’s heart to have one of her former idols use a blanket dismissal that included her 4 YA urban fantasies, 1 picture book, and two adult novels…
    Ursula K le Guin’s epic rant against indie publishing was an eye opener for her.

    • Wimmen! Not all Ursalas are evil (Andress absolutely NOT), but that one has some indicators.

    • Having been off to read said rant:
      http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2015/06/01/up-the-amazon/
      perhaps now I remember why I have such a bad opinion of her writing.
      Amazon is a business. They are in business to make money. There is nothing immoral about being a business and making money. Amazon is also offering high-tech and innovative delivery methods. Deliver packages by robotic drones? Electronically transfer books via the Internet? What is not to like?
      First off, her ‘BS Machine’ model seems to apply to publishers as much as or more than Amazon. She has a fixation with books being in ‘print’, where Amazon is an incredible resource for books out of print. I have a handsome library quality Mylar covered first edition copy of Zelazny’s “Lord Demon”, and I owe it all to Amazon to be able to have found it, and delivered it through their network of many small booksellers nationwide. Can TOR do the same?
      Part of her complaint seems to be the loss of the ‘gatekeeper’ function. Gasp! People can have access and read books that have not been reviewed by a ‘serious’ editor. Her beloved Rebecca Skloot book (apparently non-Fiction) is a sad tale about the medical community stealing body parts without permission for research. Considering the recent revelations about Planned Parenthood, apparently like “1984”, Progressives take a cautionary tale and make it into an instruction manual. So glad Ms LeGuin approves. She could equally accost the broadcast industry, playing all those ‘Game of Thrones’ shows instead of good wholesome documentaries about the suffering of the brown peoples by evil white males.
      I consider caviar to be fish eggs, and liver pate’ something that perhaps the dogs will eat. One person’s pleasure is another’s poison.
      Amazon makes more books available to more people, often at a lower cost, and some people I read on the Internet seem to feel that as writers, they get a bigger share of the profits from their work.

      • Thanks for posting the link, Donald. The comments section was worth the read, being mostly well-written opposition to LeGuin’s stance. PDF’ing it for my research file.

        • Equally telling is that Ms. LeGuin never bothers to respond to any of the well written and polite responses to her screed. Unlike *our* Sarah who is constantly responding to our comments with carp and recipes and nameless minion number assignments 🙂

      • Reading that article as somebody who came into this whole mess by Gamergate, it is not suprising to see overlap and similarities.
        The disdain for the greater public by these people believing that by the almost magical power of Marketing people can be fed piss poor literature. The unwillingness to accept that maybe a lot of thing that sell, sell well because people like it and not because Amazon has some device to make people like certain things against their will.

        The hilarious belief “that reading only packaged microwavable fiction ruins the taste, destabilizes the moral blood pressure, and makes the mind obese.” has it’s counterpart in the gamingworld in the theorie that playing the “wrong type of games ” will warp people’s outlook on reality.

        “Every book purchase made from Amazon is a vote for a culture without content and without contentment.”
        “You should be ashamed when buying from Amazon, the utter heresy of it, the utter gall”. The shaming-technique is not unknown to us even if it seems to have lost a some of its potency as of late.

        And since what is being sold to the general public is crap and what they sell is of vastly superior quality, these people act suprised when reality ensues and what they consider crap keeps outselling their product( and a product it is)

        I can take the whole speech against capitalism, against the public for continuing to buy things the public likes, but i have had my fill of inventions of special forcefields like the BS Machine she thinks excists.
        These magical invisible forcefields ” consist largely of smoke, mirrors, hokum, and the profit motive” and always seem to have amazing powers, they make Best Sellers Lists, they decide what is being bought and sold, they decide what is popular, they destroy culture and replace it with trash.
        They excist all around us, they surround us and binds the galaxy together
        They also control the British Crown and probably keep the Metric System down.

        • Again, every time I run into them I realize they view their writing careers as a lecturer’s podium. Mine is a peddler’s cart.

        • “I believe that reading only packaged microwavable fiction ruins the taste, destabilizes the moral blood pressure, and makes the mind obese. ”

          To Ms. LeGuin (not that she will ever read it):

          Seriously, lady? You’re pulling THAT old adage out of your… nether regions? This is the same BS that was said about comic books in the 1950s… Seduction of the Innocent, by Frederick Wertham, published 1954, said the exact same thing but used a different (and mildly racist) analogy about ‘spicy sandwiches’.

          Also, the same thing was said about sci-fi repeatedly over the decades by purveyors of ‘serious literature’. It was even said while you were at the forefront of sci-fi.

          I think I’ll go take any books I have of yours off the shelf and throw them in the recycle bin to keep anyone from having to read that unhealthy sci-fi garbage and replace them with nice wholesome publisher-approved books like 50 Shades of Grey.

          Good day to you, madam.