How hard is “I don’t care” to understand? – Tom Knighton

*From what I hear — what you think I have time to read them?  I’m overdue on three stories and five novels, guys — the other side didn’t understand the meaning of “Go ahead, I have no objections.”  So today I’m bringing ESL guest lecturer Tom Knighton to explain the meaning of “I don’t care.”  ESL, you ask?  Well, I don’t know what they speak, but it’s CLEARLY not English. They keep insisting we don’t mean what we PLAINLY say we mean, so they must be reading what we say in some other language.  Brutopian, likely. (Readers of Disney Comics will know exactly what that means.  Why the happy people of Brutopia know everything) – SAH*

How hard is “I don’t care” to understand? – Tom Knighton

There are people who are just going to have an opinion on what you do, think, or say. It’s not any of their business, mind you, but they’re going to have an opinion. It’s a free country, more or less, so they have that right. However, it’s amazing how their opinions are often based more on the voices in their own heads, rather than anything you’ve actually said.

For example, I recently wrote a post over on my blog about how I really don’t care what the other side of the aisle reads, writes, or gives awards to. I just don’t care what they do. I care what I write. I care what Sarah writes. I care what Brad Torgersen writes. I care what Larry Correia writes. The list goes on.

You see, I care what those folks write because I love what they write. I want to know what they’re writing so I can read it. I care what I write because, well, it’s mine.

For anyone else? I. Don’t. Care.

However, not caring apparently means different things to different people. For example, while linking to my post, Mike Glyer of File 770 commented, “If Tom Knighton hadn’t titled his post “Why I no longer care” it would be easier to focus on his actual point”. Which is funny because my actual point was that I no longer care. Luckily, I have someone like Mr. Glyer to discern my real point.

Gee, thanks Mike.

You see, while Glyer’s been given a relatively free pass and considered by some to be a neutral party, he has also managed to try and set me up to look like a sexist schmuck by linking to a post where I take issue with a woman who wants to ban men from literary readings. Oh, I wrote that, sure enough, but he linked it in the Puppy roundup, despite it having nothing to do with Sad Puppies, but he left out the post from a few days after where I took men’s rights activists to task for calling for a boycott of the new Mad Max movie.

However, Mike’s not alone in apparently knowing what I mean better than I do. At least one commenter on his side took a post where I said I don’t like message fiction to be condescending towards people who do. I’m going to be as clear as I possibly can for a moment. I don’t care what you read, write, or seek to give Hugos to anymore. I think the stuff you like is absolute shite, but since so many of you have said the same thing about the stuff I enjoy, I really don’t give a flying flip if that offends you.

Still others have taken my comments about preferring action oriented stories as evidence that I don’t like “mushy stuff”, as one person put it. I almost gave myself a concussion from the facepalm I gave myself on that one.

I’m a married man, with a wife I love. I get plenty of “mushy stuff” in real life, so no, I don’t seek it out in my reading. However, I don’t close a book because there’s a romance subplot either. The key word is “subplot”. Not plot, subplot. I don’t want it to be a driving force in books I read, but I have no issue with it being there. There are some books were I all but demanded it, as a matter of fact, but as a subplot.

One comment I made was: I don’t need to be told that the protagonists are gay, straight, trans, or whatever.  That’s not pertinent to my interests.  Whether the story is fun, is.

As I’m sure my fellow Huns can imagine, this was taken as something completely different than what the words actually say. You see the word “need” up there? I don’t need to be told. I need to know whether the story is fun.

Now, some seemed to act like a gay character in a story made it unfun or something. This, boys and girls, sounds like what we like to call “projection”. Do they have it in their own minds that gay characters can’t exist in a fun story? I said nothing of the sort. I think nothing of the sort. I just said whether they’re gay or not isn’t pertinent to my interests. How difficult is that to understand?

Another took that comment to mean I don’t want the “mushy stuff” in my books. Again, I invite you to go and read my original post, if you haven’t already. Where did I say any such thing?

You see, I don’t care what these people read. Hell, I don’t particularly care what people I consider friends read. I care what I read. Nothing more, nothing less.

And yet, for some reason, there are perfect strangers blathering on about what I like to read. Am I just that interesting? Is my patronage that important to these people? Somewhere along the way, did I become the arbiter of good taste in fiction, and therefore what I like has some significant bearing on the publishing industry?

No? Kind of what I thought.

So why then does my choice of fiction offend so many people?

Of course, to those offended (and I’m sure they’ll be linked to this post soon enough), understand this: I. Don’t. Care.

I don’t care what you read, write, or vote for. I also don’t care if it bothers you that there are some books I like that don’t meet your oh-so-learned approval. I don’t care if it bothers you so much that I don’t actively seek out books with minorities, gay, trans, or whoever else you think I should seek out. I just don’t care.

In fact, I urge my comrades over here to not care either. We have argued that they’re irrelevant, so why have we given them so much relevance? Let’s read what we want to read, and let them read what they want to read. Let’s buy as many of those books as we can, so that publishers will produce more of what we want.

Will it force them to create less of what the other guys want? *shrug* Don’t know. Don’t care. I won’t lose a moment’s sleep over it either way.

Let’s just read what we like, don’t buy what we don’t like, return books that we hate for a refund, and let the free market sort it out.

415 responses to “How hard is “I don’t care” to understand? – Tom Knighton

  1. c4c

  2. These guys absolutely love telling us what we really mean when we say something, and I think it’s mainly because they don’t believe such a straightforward viewpoint can exist–they wouldn’t do that, after all, so why would we? Again we see their prejudices and projections coming to the forefront.

    • Yep. They are the John Kerry-equivalents, full of “nuance”.

      The fact that nearly the entire planet laughs at Lurch is lost on them, just as much as it’s lost on Kerry. . .

    • If they have to listen to us to get what we believe, or even revise their beliefs about us according to what we say, they would have to make many changes. They might even have to consider whether they are in the right all the time.

      • OTOH, since they know we are evil vile [epithets] they know we must be dissembling in our explanations and thus can, indeed must, look for the subtext which reveals conforms to their narrative how we really feelz.

        • I could really save them some time in my case. I’m really not that deep a person. I pretty much say what I want to say, or I just keep my mouth shut.

          • Were that true then you could not possibly be the evil vile [epithets] they know you to be, therefore you must also be a liar.

            Shame on you! How dare you not meet their expectations! They will have to manufacture fake but accurate proof of your perfidy. Perhaps some will come to your site and make inflammatory statements, like those attendees at T.E.A. Party rallies determined to demonstrate the racism inherent in their values even if they had to plant the evidence themselves.

            • Or, they could do what one File 770er did. He came over at 3:30 in the morning, then bitched at File 770 that his comment didn’t make it out of moderation…

              …because sleep is clearly for the weak or something.

              • I find myself recalling the time Vice-President Gore called up the Washington Post to berate the editor over a picture of the Earth which displayed Antarctica at the top, demanding they “correct” the picture.

                In my youth I recognized an impulse to reset my watch according to the clock in front of the town’s most formidable banking establishment, an impulse I acknowledged by laughing at the bank’s clock being behind(ahead) of my watch. I would have never been so dim as to go into the bank and demand they reset their clock to conform to my cheap Timex.

  3. The *whole* problem is that they read/hear/see _only_ what they want to. For a short time, I responded to a person on my FB wall, who _refused_ to read what I actually wrote. This person would “respond” to what they wanted to believe I had said. I even tried “here is what I here you saying,” and they still didn’t change. Now, I no longer “discuss” anything this person says.
    It’s all we can do.

    • It takes a great deal of training to think the way they do. They pride themselves on being so well trained. They call it educated. I call it indoctrinated.

      They pity those deprived folks who have never had the chance to be trained.

      They detest as traitors those who have had the training and rejected it.

      • Hrm. I always thought of it as lazy thinking, to be honest. When I had to learn criticism in college composition classes (say *that* three times fast), Marxist criticism was considered by anyone with above room temperature i.q. to be easy mode. Right up there with feminist criticism, which was just coming out in the textbooks. All you had to do was find an analogue for class warfare or the patriarchy and blather about that for three or thirty pages and get an instant A.

        Strangely enough, the younger teachers liked not having to deal with yet another diatribe on how all the wimmens and leetle brown peoples were oh-so-oppressed, but the gray-haired prof I had back then *hated* it when anyone dared to wander off-message. It may take a great deal of training, yes… But it’s not very complicated, no matter how they try to make it so.

        • The training is required to take this [organically produced crop fertilizer and soil enricher] seriously. Like the Emperor’s New Clothes, the untrained mind sees right through it.

          • Alas I fear it is indeed training, rather than education. As I’ve seen one fellow explain it, people (should) get educated and animals get trained. And yes, I know that is quite a thing for _me_ to relay, of all… creatures.

            • ‘They’ are inclined to point out that humans are animals.

              • Having just read a review of The War on Humans by Wesley J. Smith I correct myself — apparently there are those who hold that at best we are the worst of the animals, an infestation and a plague, no better than an infectious bacteria.

        • Reason? Easier to grade.

          “Checked off the minimum number of Marxian Cheka-boxes? Okey-dokey, that’s an A. Phew! Glad I don’t have to read all this drivel for content to assign grades based on the quality of these idiot’s writing! Now, off the the Faculty Lounge!”

          • *snort* That makes entirely too much sense.

            You didn’t use that tired old “Occam’s Razor” did you? Don’t you realize that most academics would *never* compromise their high standards that way? Except, of course, for those *conservative* (shudder) has-beens. The few we haven’t yet manuf- err, discovered, that is, some terminable offense yet…

            Nope, can’t say it with a straight face. *chortle*

  4. “knowing what I mean better than I do”
    Some of these are because what you mean just doesn’t run on their wetware. It’s like me telling my wife something has, “Too much chocolate.”
    She hears the sounds but from her eyes you can see it doesn’t make any sense.
    Others have been told by their masters what ‘others’ believe (why they are evil) – Mormons/ business owners / white people who cling to Western civilization / truckers / Jehovah’s Witnesses / hunters/ truck owners / Jews / gun owners / Pentecostals / people who wear leather / Baptists / miners and farmers and lumberjacks / child spankers / pet owners / trailer dwellers / meat eaters… Whale and tree haters all.
    They have a little file in their head of all the ‘talking points’ and if you dare believe anything that doesn’t match it’s a lie. You are just trying to “confuse them”.
    Others.. Maybe the majority I think on a bad day (like today) don’t do it for lack of mental ability or being brainwashed.
    No, they do it as active deceitful misdirection. They know you may not really believe what they ascribe to you. But it’s necessary to paint you as not just evil – but a threat and monster who eats puppies and abuses children. Nothing personal. It’s just needful to destroy you.

    • Captain Comic

      “Too Much Chocolate”

      I know what all those words mean, but that doesn’t make any sense to me.
      – Lisa Simpson

      • It’s just like that word overkill. I know what over and kill mean, but string them together and I go, “Huh?”

        • Captain Comic


          Isn’t that the made-up word liberals use instead of “Open fire.” and “I need more ammo.”?

        • Overkill: when your choice of weapon and ammunition leaves your target unsuitable for eating.

          Example: upon seeing a good target while quail hunting, you promptly load a round of APFDS.

          • So, by definition, overkill cannot be committed against human targets, since cannibalism is RIGHT OUT?

            • That depends. I’ll turn humanitarian before vegetarian… 😎

              PETA better be careful what they wish for…

            • Well, there other considerations. You probably don’t want to call down artillery fire if it’s not necessary, because then you’ve got the hassle of cleaning up.

              But, as a rule of thumb…

              • Fella I used to work with got in (mild) dutch in his ROTC class for using a 155 to clear a sniper out of a building.

                • “If it’s stupid and it works it’s not stupid.”

                • Yeah, that’s kinda like overkill; nobody would argue that using a nuke on said sniper wasn’t overkill. Do have to use enough to do the job, though, and some might think that to be overkill.

                • “Son, a 155 is *not* a precision intrument. Are we clear on that?”

                  • Personally, I like the guy’s style.

                    But I’m a people person.

                    • Oh, I do, too. But I’m not responsible for the rounds expended line item on the unit budget.

                    • There’s a Star Trek novel called Kobayashi Maru where Kirk, Chekov, Sulu, and Scotty tell how they addressed the test. Chekov’s solution was to blow up his ship, resulting in that region of space being impassable for years.

                      Kind of the same style, I think.

                      (PS – Scotty’s solution was the best)

                  • Mr. Excalibur begs to differ.

                • Reality Observer

                  I dunno. Yes, maybe too much if all you need is a sniper taken out. But…

                  “Lieutenant (or whatever), we now also have a nice entry hole for the building, and there are probably not any working booby traps on that route, either…”

                  I do like tools that accomplish multiple things at once.

                • Wasn’t SOP in Iraq and Afghanistan to call in a 500lb JDAM on any building we received fire from?

                • You got to use a 155 in ROTC!! The biggest think I ever fired in ROTC with a ,50 caliber machine gun. (And then got to help lug in back to the truck.)

                  • Besides a .50 caliber machine gun (with the lovely butterfly trigger), I also got to fire (once each) a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher and a 3 inch 50 in training.

                  • It was a paper exercise, not live fire.

                  • When my OCS class graduated, they parked a 175mm M110 at each end of the formation with the barrel crossing above the new lieutenants at least they were pointed up at a 45° angle. When it came time to fire the salute, the 175’s went off.

                    The formation parted like the Red Sea. Car alarms were going off way it in the parking lot. Fathers were yelling, mothers were screaming, children were crying… must have looked great on someones form 201…

          • Silly, you use beehive for quail, not a sabot.

          • I still say that overkill is when you hit the target, but the resulting blast reaches you and does damage.

            Of course, even that definition is for limited purpose. It only means that you should stay farther away next time.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Eric Flint had an amusing scene in one of his stories.

              The Main Characters needed to destroy a dam with gunpowder but weren’t too knowledgeable about it.

              So against the advice of the being who did understand it, they increased the amount of gunpowder (several times over the necessary amount).

              The dam (earthwork with large stones embedded) was destroyed but the main characters found themselves the targets of the large stones.

              While they survived, they learned that “more isn’t always better”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

              • ‘more isn’t always better’

                Hmph. That’s exactly the message you would expect in a socialist’s fiction.

              • Reality Observer

                Main character, singular.

                Perfect example of why sometimes you don’t listen to the General – even if he is one of the most successful Romans ever…

            • Rhys: Do not blow up the planet you are standing on, unless you’re Son Goku.

        • overkill: It’s dead, Jim, you can stop now.

          • Overkill: Using the body of a former target now assuming room temperature as a brace for steadying your weapon.

            You know, shooting over your kill = overkill.

            • Interestingly enough, my brother has a story about something like that which started a riot at night club in Hawaii. Something about him being in the Army and the bodies he was going to use for cover coming from a different branch of the service…

              • Having been in the Navy, I’ve heard it go the other way around. 😉

                • Reality Observer

                  I’ve heard it as the ground-pounders (Army or Marines, either one) are for locating the targets for the 16-inch guns…

                  (Yes, that was from a WW2 vet, not anybody recently in.)

                  Sigh, I’m hoping that is not true these days; it’s not quite so humorous when your only son is just about to join the Marines (reserves right now, but…).

          • “The horse is pate’.”.

        • Waste of ammunition.

        • ‘I didn’t know how many of them it was gonna take to kick my ass, but I knew how many they were going to use, and that’s an important number to have: overkill!’ — Ron White

      • “There is no pain. You are receding.
        A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
        You are only coming through in waves.
        Your lips move but I can’t hear what you say.”

        – P. Floyd

      • I recall MTV at one time using the slogan, “Too much is never enough.”

        Or, maybe that was just David Bowie being shown on MTV saying that.

    • Nothing personal. It’s just needful to destroy you.

      It might not be personal for them. At some point I have very pointedly and non-verbally make one understand I take it personally.

  5. Wow, such wit! Such intelligence! Such profound writing! Surely, the author of this piece is a genius of the highest order, and incredibly good looking too!

    (I didn’t want to c4c on my own guest post, for crying out loud. 😀 )

  6. Read what you like. Accept that not everybody likes the same thing. Do not worry about what other people like, and don’t try to dictate to them what to like. Sounds like a recipe for peaceful happiness to me.
    Now if only people out there would learn to not get butt hurt when someone disagrees with their personal taste and stop trying to force said taste on those who don’t share it.
    Good, clear article; thank you.

  7. Willfully stupid? Don’t know. It is incredibly handy having a secret code we all can communicate with which they cannot crack, however. Like parents that spell words before junior understands reading concepts at age 3.

    There, did you see that v770 lurkers? I insulted you by comparing you to infants. I didn’t have to use potty words to do it, either.

  8. The Other Sean

    Anybody notice that “Mike Glyer” and “Filthy Liar” sound so very similar, and rhyme, too?

  9. I don’t care actually goes even deeper than that. I don’t care that you place emphasis on the sex, race, sexual orientation or victim status as critical plot and narrative requirements. I believe it was Nuttall in one of his Ark Royal books had a gay captain. How do we know? Because he often though of his ex- killed in battle when he was confronted with the loss of a crewperson and was helping their loved ones cope with their loss as well. I care about the quality of compassion of the character. I don’t care (and thankfully there were none) about the scenes of hot gay sex inside the cockpit of a fighter ship.
    I don’t care that you are enthralled over the use of a gender-less pronoun. Some languages have them, other languages give gender to ink pens and tea cups. English by default uses ‘he’ and when you use ‘she’ in a general case, I find it distracting. I would also find it distracting for you to use ‘he’ for a character we know is female. Likewise, I don’t know, and don’t want to know the possible pronoun choices for the thousands of ‘gender identities’ college professors with nothing important to do with their time have identified.
    I don’t care that you think a work should be of literary quality and profound grammar and vocabulary. My personality type eschews obfuscation, and I often try to choose the exact word to express my thought, so chances are, you can not use a word I don’t already know; however, I do remember a friend telling me he couldn’t enjoy Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series because he had to use the dictionary every page. I considered his point valid, but it didn’t stop me from reading them.
    I don’t care if your work contains a ‘message’, as long as the message isn’t too in-my-face. Heinlein was outstanding at giving messages as part and parcel of the plot and narrative of his stories. Another friend adored the writing of L. Neil Smith and his libertarian musings but I found his message to be applied a little too thickly and it got in the way of the novel and the story flow.
    Mostly, I certainly don’t care if you like a poem about a gender nonspecific person wishing their gender nonspecific lover to turn into some kind of monster (Dinosaur) and commit acts of violence against the people that don’t agree or give ‘approval’ to your lifestyle. Now, when you award that drek of a poem a coveted prize for good literature, I do care, but I don’t care if you disapprove of my methods to go and correct the problem.
    Finally, I don’t care what you think I really mean when I write this. I hope you understand exactly my point of view, that I consider to be the penultimate purpose for writing, but you win some and loose some.

    • That was some great verbiage! Like you, I can get into any character who thinks and feels about an interesting problem — technical, social, political, whatever — and takes effective action to try to solve it. Gay, trans, metasexual, tanks, shipminds, who cares? What’s not interesting is characters defined by their labels and too depressed about how oppressed they have been to do anything, because The Man has kept them down. Or climate change has wrecked everything, or evil businessmen are plotting to bring lower prices and more selection to customers.

      Not to stereotype our litfic SF friends — some are quite capable of enjoying MilSF, and getting into the heads of straight white hetrosexual males and gun lovers. But the majoriy view over there sniffs at and denigrates these things. Because they don’t further the narrative, their narrative at least.

      • My gay characters would eat their gay characters for breakfast. And not in a fun way.

        • True. 🙂 They stereotype gay men as sensitive and less prone to violence than those awful testosterone-poisoned straight men. While there’s a tiny bit of truth to that, individuals can vary widely — let me show you the gay MMA fighters and the mousy straight men who marry to have a master.

          In optimzation, we turn a problem into a metaphorical search plain, with the height of each point on the plain reflecting how good the solution is. Often the plain is studded with rises and peaks, and many of the lower peaks are solutions that are better than the lows but far from the best. Algorithms try slightly different parameters and follow the ones that improve the solution, but can get trapped climbing the wrong hill and stopping at a suboptimal peak. We introduce noise so the algorithm occasional jumps to a different area where it might climb to a higher peak, then reduce the noise — “annealing.”

          These folks have climbed the mountain of identity politics and are trapped. Varying their parameters feels like compromising with evil. The confirmation bias is strong since noticing other people have reached higher and better peaks for individual actualization and happiness would make their efforts seem wasted. So group solidarity makes them not-see.

          Of course they would reverse this metaphor. 😉

          • “They stereotype gay men as sensitive and less prone to violence than those awful testosterone-poisoned straight men. While there’s a tiny bit of truth to that, individuals can vary widely — let me show you the gay MMA fighters and the mousy straight men who marry to have a master.”

            A gay friend was dealing with another gay male having a crush on him. “Why aren’t you interested?” I asked him. (And before some schmuck tries to argue that I think all gays should be attracted to each other, I ask the same thing of straight friends in similar situations…I just like understanding people, and you don’t learn stuff unless you ask the damn questions)

            “I’m interested in men, not whiny little bitches with a penis,” was his response.

            Something I kind of keep in mind when the subject of homosexuals comes up. Especially since still other gay friends range in personalities and ideologies across a pretty broad spectrum. It makes it kind of hard to say what gay people think on most anything.

          • They stereotype gay men as sensitive and less prone to violence than those awful testosterone-poisoned straight men.

            I would argue anyone who can buy that stereotype knows very few gay men.

            The body culture and gym rate sides alone mean there is plenty of testosterone.

            • It may be that gay men have less reason to protect conceal their “sensitive” side from women, or express their sensitivity in ways more discernible by women.

              I could build an argument for each proposition, as I do not doubt could any here.

              Similarly with the non-violence: it might just be that they gain nothing by demonstrating their capability for violence to women.

              Not that I mean to say women are incapable of grasping the possibility their own perspective may not be the actual measure of reality. Merely some women. It isn’t as if this is a uniquely feminine trait.

          • Most of the folks with the rainbow avatars on Facebook are not homosexual nor acquainted with homosexual culture. They may know a few mincing show-queers, but they aren’t interested in homosexuals as human beings–the whole “Gay Rights” thing is a political football (and the reason that I refuse to identify as “gay”.) In order to get their warm fuzzies they have to be helping helpless effeminate waifs who couldn’t possibly do anything on their own.

            That’s the downside of getting the goodies that come with being a member of a victim group–you have to be willing to play the victim on command and cry about how the evil Fascists are out to get you and only the strong hand of the kind liberals protects you.

            Screw that. I’m a big tough man and I like big tough men. The only “homophobia” that I have encountered is from liberals who want to tell me how much I need them to take care of me.

            • Same thing for being “Latin.” I don’t need their help and I want them to help THEMSELVES.

              • Shucks, they are helping themselves, just look at the multi-million dollar beer distributorships Jesse Jackson’s boys have gotten from dad’s help. The trick is to take on the Indian Agent role for your designated victim group rather than out-sourcing it to people who don’t know how to keep the sheep happy in their shearing.

                After all, back in Plantation times who was it that were the foremen?

            • That is sooooo short-sighted. Look how well being a member of a victim group has worked for Amerindians this last 100+ years, or how much the Black family has prospered since allowing themselves to be identified as African-American.

        • Yeah, but you cheat. Some of yours are genetically enhanced. ;-P

        • Remember, Sarah, “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t food.” (Barbecue counts as fried.)

  10. It’s not really related to the above but I am reminded of Michael Z. Williamson’s essay on the theme of “I can be your best friend because I don’t care.”

  11. Somewhere along the way, did I become the arbiter of good taste in fiction, and therefore what I like has some significant bearing on the publishing industry?

    But don’t you understand, some has to be the arbiter. Some one has to tell us what is worthwhile, otherwise we might make a mistake and enjoy the wrong things. Who knows where that could lead?

    The reason you are attacked is simple, you have an opinion and it is not the same as theirs. For all the talk about the importance of diversity, a diversity of opinion is not supposed to be part of the mix. This independent thinking must be stopped!!!

    And not caring! You scoundrel!!! How can you not care? Caring is essential. Truly caring, caring about the right things and properly declaring so is essential. It may even be so important that if you fail to do so it will undercut actually doing anything constructive to address the issue.


    • scott2harrison

      You missed the point about caring. Not caring about them and their opinions renders them insignificant. In their own view, they are only as significant as others see them, they have no inherant value whatsoever. Thus not caring is close to murder in their feelings.

      • Exactly. I might care if I thought they were important enough to significantly reduce the number of stories I find interesting. But 1) they’re not actually that important, except in their own heads; and 2) it’s not a zero-sum game anyway – increasing their market doesn’t take away from ours, so long as we have ways to buy our kind of stories. So — IDC also.

        • scott2harrison

          But they are not important in their own heads. They lie and say that they are so that we will think that they are important. To them it is us thinking that they are important that makes them important, in fact that makes them exist.

          • Maybe – thinking about it a little more, I’m thinking that, being herd animals, most of them think their importance depends on following & echoing their herd bulls / thought leaders – allowing those who disagree with their herd bulls to have any validity threatens that.
            As to the herd bulls themselves – some are self-deluded to the point of psychosis, some are cynical manipulators willing to (try to) Alinsky anybody (including their followers) to give themselves more power, all are sociopathically self-centered (or nearly so).
            If that’s correct, then – you’re right about the followers either directly or at one remove (i.e. it may be us thinking _their leaders_ are important that makes them important/exist), and my original “in their own heads” is right about the leaders.
            …or something like that. Not sure I care to poke at the analysis any further, I’ve got a good book to read!

      • Thus the we see some of what underlies the self-esteem movement. (As they are they assume others to be.) Unfortunately ‘self-esteem’ as practiced it is an artificial bubble of less substance than soap. The process leaves many permanently impaired, needy of more outside affirmation than the world can ever provide

        • scott2harrison

          Also as others assume them to be they assume themselves to be. Thus giving all power over themselves to random others. It is sort of like the ravenous bugblatter beast in Hitch Hicker’s Guide which thinks that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you only worse. Perhaps more like a short story from years ago where colonists had to deal with a very deadly telepathic species. They dealt with it by teaching their children that it did not exist, it was just an illusion. Meeting one of those children was so painful for the species that they utterly vacated the area that humans had colonized.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Actually, I got the idea that the telepathic aliens were so silly looking that anybody who saw them could not believe the aliens were real so when a human saw one of them, the alien temporarily disappeared which wasn’t very comfortable for the alien.

    • Caring is essential. Truly caring, caring about the right things and properly declaring so is essential.

      The new thing is to care passionately and to be right-wing.

  12. Not a huge fan of Phil Collins’s solo work, but this one is apropos:

    Well you can tell everyone I’m a dumb disgrace
    Drag my name all over the place
    I don’t care anymore…
    You can tell everybody about the state I’m in
    You won’t catch me crying ‘cos I just can’t win
    I don’t care anymore…
    I don’t care what you say…
    I don’t play the same games you play…

    • Silver Rainbow is my personal favorite; however, it is Genesis not a solo work.

    • I’d forgotten that song.

      Might have to post the video on my blog. 😀

    • Maybe we have a new themesong? 🙂

      • As long as it’s understood that it’s not our anthem.

        As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
        I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
        Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

        We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
        That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
        But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
        So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

        We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
        Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
        But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
        That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

        With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
        They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
        They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
        So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

        When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
        They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
        But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

        On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
        (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
        Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

        In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
        By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
        But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

        Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
        And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
        That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

        As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
        There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
        That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
        And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

        And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
        When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
        As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
        The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I’ll add it to the Sad Puppies playlist I’m compiling.

  13. Luckily, I have someone like Mr. Glyer to discern my real point.

    Let’s see if I can be the first with this quote: “The curtains were fucking blue.”

  14. “I don’t care” is not a permitted option. You must care, you must give your soul to the collective. If you do not care than utopia cannot come.

    If you claim you do not care, about something so important as [that], then it can only mean you are opposed to [that] and are an enemy of all things good.

  15. “I’m a married man, with a wife I love. I get plenty of “mushy stuff” in real life, so no, I don’t seek it out in my reading. “

    Wonder if that’s why the inclusion of romance subplots has become almost central to gaming? I’m replaying the Mass Effect trilogy right now and you almost can’t get away from it.

    • I don’t really play video games, so I’m not sure I’m tracking. Are you saying they may be including romantic subplots in gaming because gamers can’t get girls or something? 😀

    • Re: books — I don’t mind romantic sub-plots, particularly if they are relevant to the action. (I am a fan of Jane Austen.) It is the way the modern de rigueur bloody boringly sex scenes keep derailing the story.

      • Especially sex scenes so boring you are actually less inspired to *ahem* get some of the fun for yourself when they are over than you were when they started.

        • Mr. Sulu, engage Auto-Skim. Auto-Skim, Aye Aye; Auto-skim Engaged, Captain.

        • I have less trouble with boring* sex scenes than with those that cause me to waste imagination attempting to figure out how they are making those parts fit together without dislocating at least three joints. When you find yourself wondering “how can she be sucking on his ! and grinding her * against his @ while he is fondling her # and sucking on her %? How is that even possible?”

          *Not to edit, but did you not consider “uninteresting” as a possibly more suitable alternative?

          • When your reader stops at a steamy scene because she is laughing so hard her eyes are full of tears and she can’t see to read because the acts described are impossible given 1) human anatomy and 2) gravity, you’ve written a bad sex scene.

            • Well, (2) can be overcome in space. I remember an Australian indie band called “No brains” (all the members except one had Ph.D.s) with a song called “Zero gravity love”.

          • Or you’re pulled out of the story because you’re made to think of the “advice to employees” joke that goes “Keep your eye on the ball, your ear to the ground, your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel, your hands to yourself — and now try and work in that position.”

          • I remember reading a Harry Potter fanfiction in one scene of which Hermione is asking Fleur questions about a veela sex manual she’d borrowed; specifically, how to get into one position. Fleur’s response is that you have to temporarily (magically, of course) remove your bottom ribs.

      • Yes. Or actually I LIKE romantic subplots, or any other emotional whatever subplots where two people, or a group of people, learn to deeply care about each other, or already do but maybe there has been some sort of trouble they need to get over, and any variations of those. As long as they remain subplots. Long descriptions of whoever’s emotional turmoil, as well as those damn sex scenes, yep, mostly damn boring. When getting into bed or pondering whether he likes her or not becomes more important than who is the murderer or how to defeat the attacking aliens… PLEASE! GET BACK TO THE STORY!!! DAMN!!!

    • Having seen some of the writers for games (especially at Bioware), I think it says more about them.

    • Well, there is a Minecraft mod that let’s you marry an NPC and spawn children.

      Just don’t put them in the oven.

    • It’s got a lot more to do with character development. If you have a character in the story that is within the age range to be in a romance, that’s a viable story to run with for side quests. Older characters may get missions that are reflection types such as “making amends with a child” or “one last meeting with an old friend.” See also “Wynne” from DA:O or Alistar’s missions involving his sister (long-lost siblings are another fun trope to run with).

  16. One of my many, many beloved techniques in Heinlein is the way that the personal characteristics of characters are left ambiguous where irrelevant to the story. And then, once in a while, just to shake up your expectations, he will ‘toss it in’ long after the character is established — like Rico being Filipino in the last page of Starship Troopers. I think that says MUCH more clearly than being lectured endlessly about it that these things DO NOT MATTER. You didn’t NEED to know them to enjoy the story.

    Or in Space Cadet — only when discussing race prejudice against aliens, 3/4 of the way through the book, you get the line “Did it make any difference to us that [Lt. Peters] is as black as the ace of spades?”. And no .. it DIDN’T.

    • Yes. I find it hilarious when people discuss at length if Eunice is black. Who knows? Who cares?
      I thought you were going another way in your comment and mention that one of his techniques was to make the big, important thing matter personally to the character. Manny becomes a revolutionary because of Wyo and Professor, just as much as because of a nebulous future famine. I’ve started trying to use that technique because it makes things more “immediate.” BUT he didn’t make the cause for revolution that the character is, say, handicapped or another approved victim category, so it doesn’t count to the cognoscenti.

      • That doesn’t allow them to imagine themselves noble for identifying with the protagonist.

        I challenge anyone to define the primary racial characteristics of Manny or Professor de la Paz.

        Bryan Singer Tackling Sci-Fi Classic ‘The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress’ for Fox (Exclusive)
        MARCH 03, 2015
        Bryan Singer is tackling an adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, based on the classic sci-fi book by Robert A. Heinlein. Twentieth Century Fox recently picked up the movie rights.

        Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim will adapt the book for the project, which will be titled Uprising. Singer is producing with Lloyd Braun of Whalerock Industries and Thor Halvorssen. Executive producers are Andrew Mittman and Jason Taylor, and Alex Lloyd and Richard Martin are co-producing.

        Heinlein’s 1966 sci-fi novel centers on about a lunar colony’s revolt against rule from Earth. The novel was nominated for the 1966 Nebula award (honoring the best sci-fi and fantasy work in the U.S.) and won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel in 1967.

        An adaptation has been attempted twice before — by DreamWorks, which had a script by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and by Phoenix Pictures, with Harry Potter producer David Heyman attached — but both languished and the rights reverted to Heinlein’s estate.

        Several of Heinlein’s novels have been adapted for the big and small screen, including the 1953 film Project Moonbase, the 1994 TV miniseries Red Planet, the 1994 film The Puppet Masters, and — very loosely — the 1997 film Starship Troopers.

        Singer will next helm X-Men: Apocalypse for the studio. The superhero franchise film is now in preproduction, with plans to begin shooting in April. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac and Michael Fassbender, Apocalypse is set for release on May 27, 2016.

        Singer, who previously directed X-Men: Days of Future Past, is repped by WME and Bloom Hergott.

        • Side note: a rather good adaptation of Heinlein’s “All You Zombies” was released last year under the title “Predestination.” Unusually faithful to the book premise, though with a twist at the end. Made and originally released in Australia I believe. Came and went rather quickly in American theaters and is now on premium cable. I expect it will eventually hit the Sci Fi channel.

          • It’s being shown at Worldcon. (I have a conflict, unfortunately.) The Heinlein Society has a couple of autographed posters that they’ve put up for silent auction.

        • I predict a failure, at least in my eyes. Based on the abysmal track record for translating his novels to movie. Zombies worked in part due to it being a novella, not a full length novel.

          There is just too much going on in TMIHM for Hollyweird to capture. Heh, they’ll be more interested in the XF than the plot.

          • Some of the infodumps will be deadly on film, but a great deal of it can be shown not told. I haven’t yet watched Arrow and don’t know what estimation of scripting to hold.

            More fun is arguing casting choices. I fancy Tom Hiddleston for Mycroft/Michelle/Adam Selene. How about Robert Duvall for Prof.?

            James Marsters as Manny ain’t likely to happen, nor Don Cheadle. I hope they don’t cast Matthew McConaughey if only because I can never recall how his name should be typed.

            • Since it’s Bryan Singer, we’d probably get Ian McClellan as Prof… which would totally work, in my opinion.

        • I want to see how they do the scene of the Earth cops running into the big meeting and flying thru the air with 1/6th g to surround or shoot them.

          • The effort to depict lunar gravity will likely be their greatest challenge. I expect it will require special brassieres for the actresses — one reason I anticipate Wyoh being portrayed by a dancer.

            • Not really; just hire in some experienced Hong Kong martial arts film folks, like the ones who did Crouching Tiger or Bulletproof Monk.

      • MadRocketSci

        When I read a book, I often completely blank out an author’s descriptive terms anyway for a character. My brain seems to invent an avatar as I go along, as I get a feel for the character’s … character. How I randomly cast people in my head can be a little oddball at times.

        My little internal model of an SJW (need exorcism, stat) is now screeching “see?! see!? You just overwrite characters with whatever racist preconceptions you have at the top of your mind.”

        But if anything, the opposite is the case.

        • The real problem for the SJWs is they are incapable of accepting that you don’t judge people in terms of stereotypes or victim groups or sexual preference. When you tell them that, to you, on those items; “I just don’t care”… well it is like telling riteturns wife “Too much chocolate”.
          There purpose for living is apparently to pigeonhole everyone into the proper victim or aggressor category, and once there, damned whatever you think.

          • That’s why one of the latest microaggressions seems to be saying that you don’t view someone as black, brown, gay, whatever. Being “color blind” is actually a bad thing. You actually MUST view them as a label. Failure to do that means you’re demeaning them or something, despite the fact that you believe them to be more than just a label.

            Supporting documentation:

            • Patrick Chester

              So much for identifying people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin…

              …though I once again find my evil side taking a look at the standard SJW and not being surprised at their insistence on not being judged by their (very flawed) character.

              • For those who are self-aware enough to see the flaws in their characters.

              • But it is ever so hard to discern the true content of someone’s character. It can take time and careful attention. Eventually you may have to face the discovery that you had come to the wrong conclusion.

                • No. That is unacceptable. If I have come to a wrong conclusion about that I may have come to wrong conclusions about many other things, which would require I review all conclusions according to these new premises.

                  It must be that you have changed … or were lying about who you were from the beginning … which means you are evil and must be destroyed.

          • Somehow this reminds me of times on IRC (an Animaniacs/cartoon fandom channel – keep that in mind) and some young fellow (I am being generous) would join and be falling all over himself to hit on all the female characters – for a week or two. Then it would finally dawn on him (despite some telling him outright from Day One) that most of the people at the keyboard were actually male. And the tantrum followed, with the DEMAND that people only use their real life gender for their characters… which we all found amusing, as we changed not only gender, but species at the drop of a hat, or less.

            • For some reason that reminded me of the time in ST:TNG (they were on the planet that later they had to save Wesley from being executed for stomping some plants by accident) where Riker described the people and mentioned that, “they have sex at the drop of a hat”, and Troi added, “any hat”.

            • Patrick Chester

              …did the poor fellow at least use “HELLLOOOOOOOO NURSE!” a few times?

      • Reality Observer

        You know, when I first read IWFNE, I had an image of Eunice as being from an upper middle-class Hispanic family.

        Probably because, of the various “races” I was friends with at the time (I was ten, maybe eleven?), it seemed most likely that they would have hidden an unsanctioned pregnancy.

        (My home town had exactly one black family at the time. Quite respected people, actually. Although it did cause a bit of a stir when my sister attended high school prom with the second-oldest boy as her date…)

      • Seriously, character description (especially for the viewpoint characters) seems like a balancing act to this rookie here. Leave your characters’ description too vague and people may have trouble seeing them as real. Make it too detailed and only certain people might identify with them.

    • In Joel Rosenberg’s “Guardians of the Flame” series, one of the supporting characters is revealed as dark-skinned during a discussion with one of the main characters. The main characters are transplants from our world, and the topic of the discussion was racism. The supporting character could understand not wanting to associate with elves and dwarves (“Oh, sure, Ahira’s a great guy, but I wouldn’t want my sister to marry him”), but getting hung up over skin color?!

      And wasn’t one of the major points — the message, if there was one — of “Farnham’s Freehold” that people are people, capable of good or evil, regardless of skin color?

      • That is the one I got from it but I kept getting told I missed all the white supremacy and racism. YMMV,

        • It is because Heinlein did not demonstrate that white male privilege was the source of all evil in the world that the book exposed his racism to the world. Suppose his dangerous doctrine of “people are people, capable of good or evil, regardless of skin color” became commonplace in this world – what kind of world would that be, huh, huh?

    • clark e myers

      IIRC Rico brings up Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay way earlier than the last page as well as mentioning Tagalog earlier in the book? Although it’s in the character’s mouth I’ve always taken it as Mr. Heinlein’s take on Magsaysay. Perhaps I’m not remembering correctly.

      I have no idea what a primary racial characteristic might be or how it might be defined.

      I’m inclined to say that in the fiction race is a matter of skin tone and that’s about it for Mr. Heinlein – perhaps with some gentle teasing as of the bidders around Thorby as humanity has fragmented.

      Skin color is a plot point in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and as mentioned in Manny’s family pictures.

      • primary racial characteristic: has genetic code for two arms, two legs, brain in head, viviparous = human race.

  17. I enjoyed the read, Tom, thanks! I felt like sharing a bit of my own.
    When I was deployed one of our Marines apparently had kept the fact he was gay all bottled up. This was before the military changed it’s policy, when it was still “don’t ask don’t tell”. So apparently, to him, it was a huge secret that he was hiding from his friends. And that’s what our unit felt like, a group of friends that worked together and had fun hanging out together after work. So he came out one day, told us he was gay, and that it was a huge relief to him.
    My reaction? Okay, cool. Now on to other stuff. It just didn’t matter to me. It was as important as a friend telling me that he doesn’t like onions. No, I take it back, I’d be more incredulous if someone told me they didn’t like onions. For him being gay it was like someone saying “my favorite color is green.” Okay, didn’t know that, file away that factoid. Let’s keep doing what we were doing.
    Why was that my only reaction? Well, what someone else does in their private time is their business. Our friendship had zero to do with his sexuality, or who he preferred to bang. And as such it meant less than nothing to me what his sexuality was.
    I feel the same way about stories (books, movies, games, etc..) If the only/main selling point is the characters relationship (gay, straight, penguin, w/e) then I’m not interested. It sounds supremely boring and angst-filled.
    Now you give me a really adventurous and interesting story, and if you slip in a bit of romance, at most I’ll roll my eyes and keep reading, at best I’ll be delighted that the character I actually care about found a bit of happiness right before the big fight.

    • Well, in a AFGM whom the character is attracted to matters because of how he ends up in the revolution and his past history. But that’s it. … I too eschewed hot scenes of gay sex. And those of you who have sent me protests, pttttthhhhp. Imagine them yourselves. The characters just close their bedroom door in my face, and those two are people I won’t mess with thankyeverymuch.

    • Pretty much how it is with a lot of us. You’re gay? OK, whatever. But do you like Firefly? THAT is the important stuff!

      • I have in the past gotten an inordinate amount of amusement in hearing that someone had “come out” and their friends said, “Yeah, we knew.” But I’m a bad person. 🙂

        • Friend of mine from high school came out as gay years ago.

          He mentioned something on Facebook about when he learned he was gay, and how these two women helped him realize it.

          I commented, “You didn’t know? I figured out you were gay when you admitted you spent 45 minutes looking for socks that matched your shirt.”

          In fact, I commented at the time that I didn’t realize he was gay. Apparently, he didn’t either. Go figure.

          • There have been a number of interesting terms for things like that. I had a friend who figured out that he was bi and when he came out to his stepdad, said stepdad started laughing hysterically because my friend was the only person who hadn’t figured it out. “In the closet to himself,” was one phrase, as was “In the closet with the door open,” and “In the transparent closet.”

          • old school mate admitted to me he was “Now Openly Gay” and I said “You were openly gay in middle school” then he really shocked me, he admitted he got married, and has a daughter. Whoa. He said it would have solved so many problems if he had come to grips with it then. then he asked how I knew. When in said middle school (8th grade) he was telling one of his stories about something, and one of the better looking girls in class walked up behind him, and started rifling his pockets, digging deep in the fronts and searching hard. His voice never wavered and he never missed a beat. She saw the look I was giving and explained she was looking for candy, and he always has some. He reached into an inside coat pocket and gave her a hard candy.
            Any of the rest of us guys at that age would have (in the words of Jezzer Clarkson) “Had a crisis”.

            • Yeah, that would kind of be a dead give away, wouldn’t it?

            • Reality Observer

              Good Lord. Did you ask what it took to finally get through all that bone in his head?

              “Crisis” in that scenario would have been a 1,000% understatement when I was in middle school. Personally, they would have been pulling me out of the ceiling tiles…

            • Hell, I had enough of a crisis in high school one day that I couldn’t focus for 15 minutes, and it was over something WAAAAYYYY less than that:

              I’m standing in front of my locker between classes. This was the Year of the Rubiks’ Cube. I was seeing if I could solve the one I had before I had to be in my next class. I hear from down the hall a short way, “Won’t he be surprised,” and realized that there were three or four girls walking by. Just as they passed me, one of them grabbed a handful of my ass. I jumped nearly out of my skin (In no way was I prepared for that), and just stood there wondering what the hell to do next.

              Nowaday’s, of course, I would have turned around and declared, “My Turn”, but back then I was chicken.

          • I’ve met a few women capable of “helping” any man “realize” he is gay.

        • Various proto-SJWs made a big thing about how the “homophobic” metal community would never accept Rob Halford’s orientation. In fact, when he officially announced it in 1998, you could hear the yawn from Judas Priest fans all over the world. This had been bleeding obvious for at least 20 years.

      • Firefly was OK, but I’m still holding out for Space:1999, TNG. (Space:1999– New Moon?)

    • > elves and dwarves

      Anti-miscegenation laws were still on the books in 16 states until the Supremes ruled against them in 1967. The appeals went on for years.

      There were a lot of reasons Upper Management wanted that “Spock” character removed from Star Trek.

      “Promoting miscegenation” would be nasty enough for am activist group to sling at the studio; since Spock’s father wasn’t human, they could just skip to the “bestiality on prime time TV” truncheon.

      • Rob Crawford

        Kirk and Uhura kissed in one episode. I understand they got far fewer nasty letters than expected.

        • Hollywood has forever acted to protect itself from outrage that never occurs. Typically it is the exhibitors (local stations, especially those facing license renewal) who are most sensitive to what they imagine will upset their audiences.

      • ““Promoting miscegenation” would be nasty enough for am activist group to sling at the studio; since Spock’s father wasn’t human”

        That would be rishathra, not miscegenation. But then, those of us who can define rishathra don’t really understand the concept of miscegenation.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Dang it, you’re supposed to be an evil homophobe! Quit derailing the narrative!

    • I don’t like onions! Well the raw ones, because some of them give me indigestion (especially the ones McDonalds uses!)

      • The raw red onions are . . . um . . . exceeding unpleasant and literally leave a bad taste in my mouth. Chopping white or yellow onions blinds me before I’m half-way through. Beer-batter onion rings? Waistline be d-mned, give me seconds, please.

        • What’s funny is that I LOVE Scallions. So I don’t like the ‘fancy’ onion rings that are made with onions, but the ‘cheap’ ones, that are made with Scallions? Oh yeah!

          • A local Chinese restaurant used to offer “scallion pancakes” as an appetizer: thin, crisp* scallion-flavored yumminess served with a garlic-seasoned soy-vinegar sauce! When it was dropped from the menu our disappointment was so great we stopped dining there.

            *Think “pappad” type fried crispiness.

            • Reality Observer

              You have me crying… I just checked the crisper and THERE ARE NO SCALLIONS LEFT!

              Evil, evil family…

              Well, I do have some yellows left in the basket; guess I’ll saute some in butter to go with the steaks tonight… NO! EMPTY BASKET!

              If you don’t hear from me for a while…

          • An award of special demerit must be bestowed upon those purveyors of “onion rings” made from minced onion formed into rings. Those are far worse than pulling the ring out of the batter when your bite through is incomplete.

          • Huh. I did not know they made cheap onion rings with scallions.

            (I love sweet onions, at least cooked. Regular yellow ones require more butter.)

        • Vidalia, or Texas white sweet onions. Slice into rings, but don’t chop. Soak in water, rinse, fresh water and microwave until the water is warm. Let sit, then rinse and soak in water again. Now when you take them out, they can be chopped, produce less tears and are easier in the lower digestive tract.
          The tears come from the sulfuric acid the fumes form in your eyes. By rinsing and repeating, you reduce the level of bad taste too.

        • Find Walla Walla or Georgia Sweets.

          • Even 10-0-6 (Texas sweet onions) make me cry, which makes me suspect I’ve become sensitized. I usually open the windows, aim a fan across the kitchen, and work fast. Otherwise I ask for the red onions to be omitted, or pass them to someone who likes them.

            • I wish I knew how people put pictures and such into comments; it’s not working for me. In any case, I have a photo on my laptop with the caption, “A lot of people cry when they cut onions. The trick is not to form an emotional bond.”

              • `Getting a photo to show up in comments largely depends on the host of the image. If you want to link to a photo that you have, then you will need to upload it to some site that will host them, like imgur, or DeviantArt, or any number of others, then put the link in your comment.

                One thing to note: WordPress will send comments with more than one link to moderation, so if you want to do multiple links, it’s better to put them in separate comments.

        • Reality Observer

          You know, I think onion chopping is one of those things that the more you are exposed, the less effect it has. At least that’s been my experience.

          I can even wipe my eyes with my fingers afterwards, these days.

      • I’m pretty sure McDonalds aren’t real onions. They are the recycled waste product of alien space ships that occasionally stop by for some fast food.

        • They were onions… once. But mummified and brought back to an unnatural unlife.

          • Actually, this is true! I worked at a McDonalds when I was in High School. The onions were all dehydrated and had to be reconstituted before they could be used. (well, back in the 70’s that is, who knows about now)

    • Reality Observer

      Someone who doesn’t like onions is obviously subhuman… Or an alien.

  18. Fans of the late lamented Northern Exposure (good lord – has it really been off the air for twenty years now?!) may recall the episode “Grand Prix” in which shaman in training Ed Chigliak confronts the Demon of External Validation.

    (skip to around the 10’20” mark)

    This is the demon haunting most of the folk at File770 and all those who cannot find validation within themselves and must seek it in the affirmation of others. They cannot accept that others do not care, because such lack of concern is a direct attack on the values to which they cling.

  19. James Schardt

    I have some mild disagreements, mostly having to do with whether the awards matter. I don’t care if someone disagrees with me on what/ who was best this year. That’s WHY we give fan based awards. To show what is actually appealing to the majority of fans. Unfortunately, I’m going in to school to study before class and probably won’t be home until 10pm. No chance to write on this before it becomes irrelevant. 😦

    • That’s fine. I think the secret there is to just frame the Hugo Awards as the awards for THOSE fans.

      I’m liking the idea of starting a DragonCon award for fiction. I can’t help but believe that with a con that size, you’re likely to get far, far more of a representation of what people really like. Especially since some have made it very clear that we’re not welcome within WorldCon.

      • If these new rules are passed making sure that the Wrong Sort of Fans are excluded, I think it’s important that WorldCon be honest and just go ahead and rename itself SmallWorldCon.

        • “It’s a small world, after all…”

          • There’s a version of that song where the refrain is “It’s a small dick after all..” I can’t help but see that being more appropriate under the circumstances

            • I sang it to my 14 year old nephew on the road trip returning from Disney World… It’s a world of terror, a world of hate, A world where young boys mas…..
              This was over a CB radio, and the Truckers were amused when he finished the verse.

              • Some years ago, a filk convention had a songwriting contest with the theme, “Do it yourself,” which is also the title of a fairly well-known (at least, it used to be) filk song.

                One of the entries was set to a Tom Lehrer song and called, “The Masturbation Tango.” I believe I have the lyrics somewhere.

          • Rob Crawford

            See the Muppet video on YouTube where Monster and Floyd do a dramatic reading of it’s a small world?

            Or is that a Disney geek thing?

            (Beaker and Bunsen do a dramatic reading of “A Pirate Life for Me”. Beaker has Issues.)

        • GroupthinkCon or maybe “OurOwnLittleWorldCon”

      • Yes, I’m glad I’m not the only one. And I don’t even go to DragonCon despite living in Atlanta.

  20. In the spirit of being deliberately misunderstood, NPR ran a nice little hit piece on us yesterday.

  21. All well said, and yes, I mean the curtains are BLUE, about the hue of superman’s suit
    For me, the thing is this, when dealing with you as a person, or the protagonist as protagonist, I want to like, or at least understand him or her. It’s what continuously pissed me off about the Tomas covenant series, by half way through the third book, I wanted to kill the whiny little bastard.
    So if you’re a character or a person, be a person, and I don’t care if you’re gay ,strait, male, female, neuter, or some other sex that has yet to be discovered. I have a couple friends that are HUGE in the gay rights community in Seattle. The thing is this: They’re PEOPLE FIRST, who happen to be gay, and so I can like them as people. The individuals that I don’t and can’t like are the ones that DEFINE themselves solely by their sexual proclivities, be they hetro, homo, or auto. The same is to be said for any other “minority button”… If your whole personality is “I’m a Down Trodden (fill in minority here) SEE MY VICTIM CARD!!!” I have no time for you.
    Hey if rolling around in victimhood is what you enjoy in fiction, and how you want to spend your time, well march on babe! I won’t make you read my stuff, you don’t make me read your stuff, we’ll have a mutual non aggression pact. (I won’t say we’ll get along fine, because frankly I won’t like you, but I won’t dislike you either as long as you don’t get in my face. I just will be content not knowing or caring that you exist)

    • scott2harrison

      You made it to the third book? I bought all three then put the first one down after the first rape and did not pick it up again.

      • Same here, except I read them as a kid and remembered liking them. When I tried to re-read the first one I had to put it down.

        How can you enjoy a book when you loath the protagonist?

        • I read them several years ago. The rape scene could have been eliminated and the books would still work fine. While the protagonist is whiny, the *bad* guys are even worse.

          • I can deal with whiny, but not a rapist. I had this conversation with my kid last night. She’s slogging through ‘Raisin in the Sun’ for school and finds all of the characters unlikable.

            Give me at least one character that I don’t want to see drawn and quartered in the end.

            • I dunno. I never even got to the rape scene. I never got out of the first chapter and if the rape scene happened in the first chapter, well, it was later in the first chapter before I was throwing that book across the room.

              Usually that “throw the book across the room” is just an expression. Not in this case.

              • Threw it out the window halfway between France and Germany. GOT to the rape scene because then fiance had given me book, and, well, it was first time he read sf/f so I wanted to encourage that. Turns out… no. Engagement broken shortly after, too.

                • Reality Observer

                  Always read things twice. I was about to chide you for polluting our fragile ocean ecosystem.

                  Beaning a Belgian or two, well, not a problem…

            • This brings to mind a review of a detective story which basically went: all the characters were so detestable that I not only didn’t care Whodunnit, I wished they had done it more.

      • Carrington Dixon

        Somewhere in the second book, I realized that I liked the framing story but not the main entree. I had already bought all three volumes; so, I read just the frame in the third.

      • I read them looong ago and completely blocked the rape scene out of my memory…until someone around here brought it up a while back. But, yeah, I do remember detesting the main character. They aren’t exactly books I’ve worn the covers off of, unlike more recent purchases…though it’s difficult to wear the cover off of an e-book.

    • > I wanted to kill the whiny little bastard.

      Surely there is fanfic where someone has done that. Over and over and over…

  22. I don’t care what you read. Or how you get satisfaction from it. Or indeed anything else about you.

    I do care that you label what you read correctly so that it isn’t misleading. And that there be a choice of things to read that are varied. It concerns me that young persons are rejecting speculative fiction (and indeed fiction in general) because they seem to believe that a certain kind of fiction is the only sort there is.

  23. I tend to view fiction of all genres the same way I view Brussels sprouts and coffee.

    I hate Brussels sprouts. I think they smell horrible and taste even worse. But I don’t care if you like them. If you do, go ahead and enjoy ’em, doesn’t matter to me. More power to you for being able to stomach them. But if you try and force-feed me Brussels sprouts, then we’re going to have a problem.

    At the same time, I love coffee. Love it, love it, love it. I think it’s the nectar of the gods. But if you don’t like it, whatever, don’t care. I’m not gonna make you drink it. Heck, I may even thank you for not liking it because it means more for me! But if you try and take my coffee away from me, especially before I’ve had any, you are gonna have a real serious problem, as in “I will cut you.”

  24. But you *must* care! It’s terribly important that you care!

    They *need* you to care.

    There are folks that expect y’all to get violent when you don’t get your way at the Hugos. It *must* be that important.

    Reminds me of the time my father dated a Mormon. He went to one of her services, then took her to one of his (Methodist at the time, I think.) She was shocked the preacher didn’t mention Mormons even once.

  25. We don’t care, but they do, deeply. You see, every story that suits us is a bite out of that fixed pie that they don’t get. We wrong fans having wrong fun are literally snatching the sales that their stories are justly and rightly entitled to from the mouths of their most noble and carefully vetted authors.
    Never forget, we don’t like their stuff, but they hate and despise us.
    And we cheat. We answer their attacks with reason and logic which they cannot refute. So they must create carefully crafted strawmen with built in flaws they can then use against us. So we deny those accusations thus moving the ball to their court and giving them advantage.
    We really don’t care. They could have simply declared all the SF awards as literary and we’d have let them. What they did instead was use what little notoriety those awards had to attempt to influence the entire output of the genre, force it into producing only those works they approved of.
    So I guess in actual fact we do care. These oh so special precious flowers tried everything in their power to utterly destroy something we do hold dear, fun and entertaining F&SF.
    So phuque em I sez! Burn their ivory towers, pop their ever so pretentious literary balloons, mock their feeble attempts to force us into their mold.
    And at and after WorldCon the Schedenfreude shall lie thick and luscious upon the ground. Sad Puppies rule!

    • Because they’re fixated on/part of tradpub, they have to believe the pie is fixed. Lately I’ve mostly purchased Kindle – and THAT pie is nowhere near fixed! But they won’t get it until after they’ve finished mourning the demise of tradpub, whenever that happens.

  26. There were all sorts of suggestions for a replacement for the Hugo should things go all SJW badly. To further add to the… possibilities… I now suggest an award to resemble a flower as it were made of soap bubbles: The Suds Poppy.

  27. The “this is what they REALLY mean” thing comes from two motivations.

    1- a desire to completely other-ize the puppy supporters.

    2- a hope that their readers/ followers won’t bother reading what we say, and therefore not realize that the puppy kickers are completely full of sh*t when they make us out to be the ‘other,’ evil and foreign.

    • Plus, I think, the conviction that if they’re NOT the smartest elite in the room, their whole lives are invalidated. SJW-splaining.

  28. I think that the problem is that these people have no faith in their own opinions. They need someone else to tell them what they like and dislike, what they can enjoy and what they must scorn. They are the kind of people who are always looking around to see if the right people are laughing before they can decide if something is funny or not. So if you disagree on what you like one of you must be wrong, and they have to prove that you’re the wrong one. It’s very sad, but it’s also very useful in selling things–if you convince enough of the right people to say good things about your work then you’ve got an automatic audience.

    • They are the kind of people who are always looking around to see if the right people are laughing before they can decide if something is funny or not.

      I thought that was because they were a) slow to catch the joke or b) they don’t actually get jokes because they are an invading alien species passing as human and thus that lag is their effort at protective coloration.

  29. I’m reminded of the song ‘Garden Party’ by Rick Nelson. These people want everyone to please -them-, not anybody else, and they don’t understand that authors are writing to please themselves.

    I only care what my fans like, I don’t care what those people who don’t like me want. And I don’t care about those whose writing what I don’t like.

    Once upon a time, this was called ‘taste’ and it was agreed that everybody had different ones. But thanks to the SJW’s out there, they’re trying to force ‘one size fits all’ on us. Just like Bernie Sanders.

    What is it about the left that they oppose all choice, and seek to force everyone down the same rat-hole? Is this what happens to spoiled brats when they grow up?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      What makes you think that they have grown up?

      • Well Physically they’re old enough to vote and make our lives miserable.
        Mentally, well I don’t think they’ve grown up mentally at all.

        • We do not say the grass is not full-grown because it is not as tall as the oak.

          Most of these folk are as mentally grown-up as they will ever get.

          • Their idea of “equality” involves bringing everyone else down to their level.

            Funny how they drop the “diversity” line like a hot potato when it looks like some other group might have something they don’t…

  30. The problem is these people are extremely needy. Everything has to revolve around them, just like a child believes everything is about themselves. So if you say “I don’t care”, that’s ignoring their need for attention, therefore gets interpreted as “You hate me!” and is pursued accordingly.

    As I’ve said many times, if you regard SJWs as 12 year olds (or better yet, spoiled 12 year olds), all is explained.

    • I think you’re about a decade off in your assessment of their age. They throw temper tantrums more common to 2 & 3 year olds

      • Split the difference — I would describe them as 7 – 9 year olds, as demonstrated by Veruca Salt.

        But I agree they are spoiled.

  31. Christopher M. Chupik

    So, Tom, what I think I’m getting here, the point that it seems you’re trying to make is that you . . . don’t care?

  32. Perhaps too many people interpret “I don’t care” the way it’s used such as “I don’t care for spiders” which means approximately “OMG KILL IT WITH FIRE!” (I like spiders.)

    Although I do think there is a strong element of indifference being seen as inherently negative… It’s not enough to “have no objection”, affirmation is required too. Me? I’d be happy with indifference if I could have it in place of the overt insults from fans, authors and panelists who have decided that it’s okay to insult or mock those “others” since we’re all among friends (for instance – at a con) since whatever is wrong with those people’s brains make them uncreative and unscientific… Or whatever.

    Many of us could only dream of indifference.

    In any case, “I care” can express itself as profoundly negative. I don’t care that the heroes in A Few Good Men are gay. It’s mildly interesting and necessary to the plot and I have NO negative reaction to that detail whatsoever. People who would never soil themselves by reading Sarah or Larry or Mad Mike or Tom or Brad or whoever haven’t a clue what is actually in any of their books but they are so very sure that their fans CARE in that OMG kill it with fire sort of way.

    In truth… I have no objection.

  33. I remember that Larry tried at least once to explain that he objected to the damaging advice to new and wanna be writers that their stories needed to have the proper non binary gender elements when story needed to come first… And that this didn’t mean those things *couldn’t * be included.

    It should have been simple but so many people seem unable to hear anything more nuanced than OMG KILL IT WITH FIRE.

  34. I think one of the big issues is they are caught up in the self importance of having their victim card and status. By saying we don’t care then we as individuals and as a group are say. “Oh you have a victim card? That’s nice dear.” And it takes away something they have come to depend on for self worth. Thus they must make us care or else explain to themselves why our not caring isn’t a bad thing.

  35. “I urge my comrades over here to not care either. We have argued that they’re irrelevant, so why have we given them so much relevance?”

    Narcissists have an obsessive need to hijack conversations to validate themselves. Failing that, they’ll pretend to initiate dialogues which they immediately turn into self-aggrandizing monologues.

    In light of this observation it’s interesting that:

    Tom’s interlocutors twisted his declaration of preferences into a discussion of their preferences.

    The growing consensus among SP & RP that it’s best to ignore our detractors has brought another wave of those detractors out of the woodwork demanding our attention.

    These data show that ignoring further overtures, jabs, and slanders is indeed the wisest course. Don’t be an enabler.

  36. The professionally outraged, shocked, irritated, or unhappy must and will find something to be o/s/i/u no matter how hard they have to look to find it, and your “I don’t care” attitude is the legendary “red flag waved at a bull (or cow, for SJWs with GHHs). OOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhh, that makes them so MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDD!
    (Ya’ll oughta be a trifle ashamed at just how easy that is.)

  37. Lyrics kick in about the 2:20 mark. Being a fan of electronica, I found this song particularly apropos about the end of April, when many of the most vicious Puppy-kickers were having a field day slinging lies, accusations, and the nonsense at Pravda 770 was just getting warmed up.

  38. Christopher M. Chupik

    More Puppy-kickers:

    “Don’t be deceived by their sad faces – these are some feral dogs. ”

    Mad Puppies! 😀

  39. If we don’t care, then we cannot be villains.

    If we are not villains, how can they be heros?

    Please do not suggest anything so absurd as confronting true, actual real villains — that would entail risks to them.

    There was an early Harlan Ellison short about a man who died and in the aftermath had the opportunity to live his dreams of heroism, only to be condemned by his forced recognition that he was not the hero of his dreams.

  40. In “for what it’s worth” department…

    The SP talk I’ve been hearing at Sasquan thus far has mostly been small and usually neutral. It’s as if no one really wants to talk about it, tho I can’t tell if it’s because everyone is just tired of the controversy or would prefer not to say what they really think. To be sure, there are some vocal anti-puppy’ers about, but they don’t seem to be prevalent; mostly when the subject comes up, those around just shrug and change the subject. Saw this happen twice today.

    I don’t expect this to last, tho, as we get closer to the Hugo Awards ceremony on Saturday night.

    On a different note… The sequel to A Few Good Men (sorry, maam, but I’m blanking on the title right now) got a brief mention at the Baen panel, along with some good words about Ms. Hoyt from Toni Weisskopf. Something to look forward to.

  41. Reading a certain highly praised SF book featuring a world I wasn’t interested in and a female lead who bored me, I thought of this Ramones song …

    ,,, and tossed the book away.

  42. So, you don’r care so much that you feel obliged to carry on for 24 paragraphs about the massive extent of your not-caringness. Yeah. I’m convinced.

    • That’s all you have? ALL? Like, you wouldn’t get pissed at having your words CONSTANTLY distorted?
      You forgot “Why are you so angry?” That’s usually the next card your ilk pulls. PFUI.

    • It’s possible to not give a shit about the awards (sorry about the language Sarah), while still being PO’d over people constantly lying about you and your position.

      • I’m more likely to care about how it’s so difficult for some people to comprehend this fact.

      • Well out, WiB! That somebody can read those 24 paragraphs and misapprehend the thrust of the argument invalidates any presumption in respect of their comprehension.

        Of course, I acknowledge giving rsbrandt44 the benefit of the doubt in presuming he read those paragraphs when the greater probability is he merely counted them.

    • Do you people take classes on how to fail at reading comprehension, or does it come naturally?

      Geez, you people are freaking stupid.

    • Eamon J. Cole

      Compelling rebuttal. Finely tuned to the spirit of the original post. The time and care you took to address the author’s statements shines through.

      In appreciation, I shall do the same in my reply to you:

      Boring hack.

    • So are we…. that you’re a gaping *ssh*le. I’m done wasting courtesy on your kind.

  43. Tom, for proglodytes the question is not, “How hard is ‘I don’t care'” to understand, it’s “What can I MAKE it mean?”

  44. I understand walking away from it all, I really do. But some of us are stuck with trad pub for a while longer, at least until the Indy folks knuckle down and get their work formatted so that libraries can use them.

    Right now there is very little librarians can do to signal boost/review/promote or otherwise connect readers to indy e-books, because they’re not available to check out in libraries. Until then I’m stuck reviewing a lot of sub-par fiction (that long Tor slog in the middle of the plot) with skeevy sex thrown in because adult authors writing to cash in on the youth market think they need to put the Obligatory Sex Scene in.

    I’d LOVE to not care.

    • Eamon J. Cole

      What does that entail, formatting so libraries can use them? I assumed indie and trad formatting was — formatting. I’d figured library availability was a distribution hurdle.

    • Most of my books are available in Paperback. Isn’t that good enough for libraries? I also keep my prices lower than trad paperbacks.