The Inside of the Outside

The good news is that I finished the short stories that were grossly overdue.  It took me forever because I was not in a short story mood. So I had to chase myself around and make me do it, which is always the hard part of writing.  Though this time it might also have been “there was a lot to do around the writing” and even “I was too tired to concentrate that long” I’m saying this because I seemed to crash and burn after an hour or so.

Well, that’s better and now I can work on the ridiculously overdue novels, both for indie and for Baen.  (Yeah, indie can be overdue.  I need a sequel for Witchfinder to pick up the sales again.  Should have been at least six months ago.)

So why bother with short stories, you say.   Well, individually they pay almost nothing, but they pay when I sell them first, and they pay in collections, which I can do after a year.  Anyway, never mind.

My friend who self identifies as a raccoon shape shifter wandered around Twitter arguing with a feminist writer who self-identifies as a white knight for ChiComs.

I had clear nothing to do it.  I was busy trying to finish a story and he kept popping up with excerpts of what we must call for lack of a better word their conversation.  I say this so you understand I was neither controlling nor directing him (as if.  I don’t know how difficult raccoons are to herd, but cats are easier I’m sure.) and that he didn’t seem to think what I thought out of the exchange.

Their exchange was peculiar in the extreme for two reasons: one because it touched on an ancient and ongoing argument about writers and writing, but neither of them (and in defense of my friend, he is not only not a literature major, he’s a journalist and they would consider those arguments self-copulating… which in a way they are) seemed at all aware that it was an ongoing argument, and she didn’t even seem aware that it was an argument, but took her position as proven.

Second because she didn’t seem aware of the inherent contradictions or the gaping logic hole in her position.  It had the feeling of something she had learned, and therefore couldn’t think around it.  As though she was just repeating over and over “But the sky IS blue.”  My friend meanwhile got distracted (there is a reason he talks of being a shifter raccoon by hot-key words instead of pursuing the central argument.  Which allowed her to fall into her learned pattern and not think.  (Which at any rate wasn’t likely to happen because thinking — really thinking — about this issue could easily take her outside her comfort zone and make her think thoughts that would cause her circle to turn on her.)

So for the record I have a year short of a doctorate in Modern Language and literature.  Sorry.  I didn’t have a choice.  They wouldn’t let me have the language without the literature.  I was good at it, and enjoyed portions of it (some German Literature, mostly.  Okay, a lot of French Literature.  You already know I loved Shakespeare with an unnatural love and Austen almost as much.  I’ll be d*mned if I remember either Portuguese literature (except Eça de Queirós.  I loved Eça de Queirós.  I wanted to name second son Eça and got told no.  sniffle. Though of course in English it would be spelled Essa, and you can see the issue, right?) or Italian Literature.  I never got far enough in Swedish (only three years) to study literature, and though I heard about Spanish literature and my brother liked some of it, culturally it simply wasn’t taught.)

So much, btw, for the whole GRRM’s slam that the puppies formed because we aren’t literate.  We’re not only literate, some of us have a grasp on the literary and know what is not so.  Never mind.

One of the ongoing arguments in literature is how do works of art emerge.  (mostly because the artist needed rent money, is my cotention, but I’m a cynic.)  In the past there were various theories, and simplifying brutally, they ranged from the genius theory which means that something inside just clicked and created a genius.  This theory is somewhat in disuse because go far enough down that rabbit hole and you find eugenics and the theories of inherently superior men.

Another way to identify how the art came to be is to study the artist’s biography.  This is the old fashioned way to do it, saying, for instance, that the Three Musketeers were inspired by the stories Dumas heard from his father.

Which incidentally is why the ongoing argument of whether Shakespeare was bi or not.  It’s not his private life people care about but how it affected his art.

When I was in college, the first year this (rather old fashioned) theory reigned, so we got told about the author’s heartbreak and his difficult potty training (only somewhat exaggerated.)  I think this is where the “you must suffer for your art” comes from.

However, after that they got the memo that it was new days, and we heard clear nothing about the author’s life.  Because the new hotness was Marxist theory. Or, because even in a country where Marxist was not an insult they’d rather not tell us that in the open, it was “social analysis.”  A piece of writing was art if it captured the class struggle, or the feminist struggle, or whatever we were struggling against that week.

You’re going to say that’s just the author’s biography writ large.  Well, sort of.  You don’t actually need to know the author’s biography.  You don’t actually need to know if they’re white, black or purple.  You need to look at the work and note if it displays the right — left — class consciousness and depicts the struggle.  This is how we got all the very rich guys writing about how poor the poor were and how horrible this was, and how they hated the rich.  (I don’t know if we got it here, never paid much attention to so called “literature” here, but I do know it’s that way in Portugal.  And as someone who grew up what they’d consider very poor, they were wrong from top to bottom.  For one we didn’t hate the rich nor revel in breaking bourgeois morality, because that has nothing to do with how rich you are but with software in the head.)

Of course, in the way of Marxism, they’ve now stumbled around again to the old theory and mixed it with their favorite way of thinking.  Because it’s impossible to imagine the writing has nothing to do with the head that produced it, they’ve come around to deciding that the writer matters MORE than the writing, provided the writer fits in with the theory of Marxist struggle and writes stuff that can be imagined to conform to Marxist analysis.

So they care desperately whether a writer “suffered” in the APPROVED manner.  Because only then are their works worth reading.

The problem, of course, is that art is not the artist and art is certainly well not the Marxist class/theory which frankly doesn’t apply to anything in the real world.

The art comes from the artist, certainly, or as the vileprog told my friend “doesn’t the artist’s experience count towards the art?”

Well, of course it does, but the artist’s experience IS not the art.  And the artist’s experience can’t be inferred from the artist’s skin color or any other external characteristic, because the world is not a Marxist fantasy, and people aren’t arrayed according to how they “should have suffered” or what they should have experienced.

To imagine for instance that any two lesbians had the exact same experiences in childhood is profoundly dehumanizing (and completely wrong if my friends are any indication.)

To imagine that even two people from my village had the exact same experience is borderline ridiculous.  My best friend came from a family with 13 children, and she was way higher class than I (until my parents built the new house, for instance, she had a bathroom inside, while ours was outside.) Her parents were from high-but-impoverished class from the city and moved to the village to live more cheaply.

So, she never spoke village dialect.  They learned manners from birth.  (A lot of the ones I have I learned from her parents.)   More importantly, they had the experience of a very large family, while my brother and I were both technically only children, due to the huge difference.

If my friend were a writer, or even wrote blog posts, you’d see the village as completely different through her eyes.

Technically, from afar we were both Portuguese village girls from the North and roughly the same class, both our fathers being white collar.  But the problem was in the details.  And of course, arguably, that’s why we were friends.  We each reveled in the other’s fascinatingly different family culture.

Which bring us to the plea of the progtards “Why would we want all white males writing science fiction?  Don’t you want different perspectives?  Why not let the world in?”

Well, first of all the last one is incredibly arrogant and will require a separate post, but for now WHY WOULD THE WORLD WANT IN?  Why do you think you’re so fascinating that the entire world wants to play in your pool?  I know if I’d stayed in Portugal I’d be writing in Portuguese and while it would probably pay less, I’d get WAY more fame, as the pool there is very small indeed.  And there are rewards to that.  But let’s leave that aside, shall we?

Yes, I like reading writing from different perspectives.  Even if it’s about a subject I know I find it fascinating when people bring it to life in a different (but not wrong) way.  Take P.F. Chisholm’s mysteries.  I find them fascinating because the Elizabethan England in her head is so different from the one in mine (more on that later) and though both accord with evidence, there is no way to tell which is right.  (Probably neither, really.)  Because past, another country and blah blah blah.

But different perspectives have very little to do with the writers’ … official life/class/etc.

It’s not the official large stroke stuff that make people fascinating.  It’s the real, individual details.  And it’s those little, individual details that fall into a work and make it art (in the right hands.)

As a minor example, I’m sure most people reading my work think I grew up at the seaside.  I didn’t.  It can be argued that ALL of Portugal is the seaside, since it’s a thin strip of land by the sea.  But in the absence of adequate roads and transport, distances magnify.  Now, with both roads and transport, my dad can drive to the sea in ten minutes. We took after dinner walks there, when I was visiting.

When I was a kid, getting to the sea took two hours on buses — if it was not the season, when it took longer — and we only did it for the month a year without which Portuguese believe that you’ll grow up sickly.  And mind, those days at the beach involved 2 hour bus trip each way every day because we couldn’t afford a rental.

Later, when I made friends who had vacation homes by the sea, I often went by myself for a mouth or two there, in summer.

But then, you ask, why are so many of my stories set by the sea.  Because I love the sea.  And I probably love it more because I only experienced it in the summer and on vacation.

In the same way, notice that while my stories involve close knit families and communities (often) which is a reflection of my upbringing, this is not necessarily from being “Portuguese” as I knew tons of people who didn’t have that stereotypical experience.

Or consider my friend, Dave Freer.  He’s white.  He has blue eyes.  But he grew up in Africa, and speaks native languages as a matter of course.  He also did a lot of subsistence-living that involved hunting and cultivating his own food, and because he’s an adrenaline addict, he climbs and dives and does all sorts of fascinating things you couldn’t pay another white male — my husband — to do.  My husband grew up in the US, granted, but despite his and Dave’s similarity of coloration (my husband is darker) they are completely different INSIDE.  Their experiences are completely different and their writing will be completely different.

Now take the girl my son had his first crush on.  Her dad is part black part Amerindian, and her mother is Irish.  So, yeah, she’d have the approved skin color and if she wrote the right — left — things she’d be the sort of person who is “diverse” enough for the establishment of SF.

Only really, when our kids were all playing together, they had about the same experiences.  Oh, sure, both their mothers had different accents.  BUT in actual point of fact, her parents were science fiction geeks.  We were science fiction geeks.  Her mom wrote books and her dad composed music while working a day job as a programmer.

Discrimination?  Sure.  I’m sure she encountered it.  WHO DOESN’T?  And some of it was even based on her skin color.  (I know this for a fact because both she and Robert were victims of a first grade teacher who picked on what she perceived as mixed race children.) But heck, Robert got an awful lot of discrimination too, based on always being a little chubby (yes, he was very active, no he didn’t eat a lot and candy only on Halloween) and being about a size and a half larger than every other kid.

In the end, though, neither of them had half as hard a time in life as even my pampered classmates in the village because a) life is easier here. and b) even our most exclusionary/xenophobic people are not nearly as tribal as in a small village in Portugal fifty years ago, where who you were related to mattered more than anything else.

The ridiculous thing about the progtards is that they want to decide what’s art based on the two or three characteristics of the author they’ve been taught to pay attention to.  They — as they’ve been kind enough to reveal — don’t even find reading the book necessary.  It is after all an ‘inefficient’ way to find out if it’s good.  They judge these “different” voices from the outside in by “does it have the right markers, and does the author have the right beliefs?”

Art is not that.  And most books aren’t art.  They’re entertaining pieces of craft.  Art is not necessary to make a piece of literature enjoyable.  Note no one has college courses exclusively about other playwrights of the Elizabethan era except perhaps Marlowe.  BUT several men made their living at what to us now is entirely forgettable drivel.

Art might be in a book, but if it is, it’s not derived from the author’s melanin content or social class.  It is a happy and fortuitous combination of experiences and subject.

And it is not Marxist whining about oppression.  Because the first rule of art, or even good craft, is “though shalt not bore” and at this point it’s really hard to whine in a new fashion.  We’ve heard it all before.

Anyway, yeah, sure, the artist matters to what art is produced, but to reduce the artist to bullet points: Female Tongan Lesbian with a Missing Leg, say, ignores the ability of humans to take all that and make it absolutely different.

I’d say I have way more in common with most progtard writers — having had a demanding education which dipped heavily into Marxist principles — than I have with my friend Dave Freer, because if you put me in a wet suit and had me dive, I’d probably die before getting in the water just at the thought of doing it.  And this doesn’t cover cliff climbing which eeep.  Not me.  Otoh if you drop Dave in a large city and tell him to find the best diner by nighttime, he’ll go back in his hotel room to read.

We’re very different people and what we write is fascinating to each other because of this, but none of us is going to give you a Marxist paean of oppression by the numbers.  Which is good because those are boring.

Now would some minorities, left unfettered, write fascinating stuff based on their experiences.  Sure.  Same as some white people would (and don’t because they’re busy writing Marxist class consciousness.)

But then the question becomes: do they want to?  And do they want to write science fiction?  And do they want to write science fiction in the US?  And more importantly, if they’re good at their craft, why would they need white-knight white feminists to open doors to them.

That’s a subject for another post.  For now:yeah, experience of the author matters, but it neither makes, or destroys the art.  It neither makes nor destroys enjoyment of the work either.

There have been authors with profoundly boring lives and lively imaginations and I KNOW writers with rich experience who were too traumatized by it to write about it, and who write soft, fluffy fantasy.

The writer is not the art.  You need a long and expensive education to confuse the inside and the outside of a person to that extent, and to think that the writer literally writes with his (or more likely her) Marxist-victimhood points, tm.

Or it could all be a rationalization to allow rich white bread guys (and in our field often women) to claim victimhood on behalf of other people and get unearned success.

If you look at the facts, that might be the most obvious explanation.  And historically it would seem to be the true one.

162 thoughts on “The Inside of the Outside

  1. Silly me — I thought “Art” was the ability to convey a mood or emotion* to another person.

    That has little or nothing to do with “the Artiste” and much to do with the talent, craft and skill brought to bear upon the communication.

    The problem with “bringing in diverse viewpoints” is that by their own definition the critics prove readers, viewers, consumers of Art are incapable of embracing these viewpoints (not that logical consistency ever burdens such critics.) But nobody (well, hardly anybody) reads SF/F for divergent viewpoints (doesn’t the fact that Tolkein was not himself an elf disqualify him from writing about them?) — they read that stuff for fun and adventure and any diverse viewpoints encountered along the way are just so much Bearnaise on the steak.

    *A mood or emotion other than being annoyed at being bothered with drivel.

    1. A wise person once gave the following definition of “art”: Art is an act of communication between the artist and the intended recipient.

      The elaboration through the discussion: The artist creates in order to evoke a specific reaction/emotion/message (no not in the lecture sense, but in the communicative sense) the intended recipient then takes the work and if they react in the intended manner the art is successful.

      He talked about one of his pieces that was very successful art in that way. He did an awards scroll for a person. It was done in a completely period style… with EXTREMELY unperiod jokes that referenced several things only the recipient would fully understand. She loved it. Success! It confused the Herald presenting it because he understood that half the jokes were supposed to be jokes and didn’t get them. (He talked about a few other pieces that in varying ways did their job as art. Some with limited audiences, some with large ones.)

  2. I realized, when I was hanging around with English grad students at Duke, that all of these critical theory things are just points of view that may or may not be useful. So, for example, it might be useful to use an analysis based on economic class as a way to understand something. (In fact, I did this the other day when I pointed out the plum-colored chick isn’t “black” in any useful sense — she’s an upper-East-Side lib with pretentions who happens to have a little bit more African ancestry than I do.)

    But, observe: these points of view can clash. I was a “racist” for seeing her economic and social context as more important than her great-grandparents.

    Similarly, when the aforementioned was pushing this notion of only reading people “of color” and wimmen-people, I was a sexist for observing that this would have caused her to exclude James Tiptree, Jr. Similarly, this is a big story in literaryland this week:

    “Yi-Fen Chou’s “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” was in fact composed by Michael Derrik Hudson.”

    What’s more:

    “Hudson acknowledges in the book’s biographical notes that he called himself Yi-Fen Chou because the poem had been rejected 40 times under his own name.”

    So, what he observed was that the “literary quality” of his work didn’t matter as much as his ethnic background. And, with people now identifying as “trans-Black”, who’s to say he was wrong?

    1. I was a “racist” for seeing her economic and social context as more important than her great-grandparents.

      And yet, if you were a shopkeeper and looked cross-eyed at her you would have been a “racist” for seeing her great-grandparents as more important than her economic and social context.

      In sum, you are racist for not conceding her every demand.

    2. The interesting part of that article is that the editor is “defending” his decision to include the poem and admitting that he’s “embarrassed” by the whole affair. Why? If the poem was part of the “Best American Poetry” when it was written by a man with a Chinese-sounding name, then why do you need to apologize for it when it turns out the ancestors of the poet weren’t quite who you thought?

      Pretty much an admission that the quality of the poem is irrelevant compared to the identity of the author.

      1. The editor admits as such.

        “I would have pulled it because I didn’t want to hear people say, ‘Oh, look at the big Indian writer conned by the white guy.’ I would have dumped the poem because of my vanity,” he wrote. “If I’d pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I gave the poem special attention because of the poet’s Chinese pseudonym.

        “If I’d pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I was consciously and deliberately seeking to address past racial, cultural, social, and aesthetic injustices in the poetry world.”

        Alexie’s acceptance of the “The Bees,” one of just 75 poems chosen from hundreds of submissions, seemed to justify Hudson’s reason for pretending he was Chinese. He acknowledges in the book’s biographical notes that he called himself Yi-Fen Chou because the poem had been rejected 40 times under his own name.

    3. Isn’t is neato keeno how one can be a raaaaacist for noticing color AND for NOT noticing or ignoring it. Unfalsifiable theories are, by definition, worthless.

      1. Unfalsifiable theories are, by definition, very useful as cudgels for beating your opposition into the ground.

      2. That is the very core essence of everything having to do with Marxist theory: it’s all unverifiable.

  3. A while ago, there was an episode of Writing Excuses where MRK (and I think the guest of the week) discussed a particular book for most of the episode. Before they introduced the actual story, they introduced the “credits” of the author—and by “credits,” I mean identity markers (race, gender, sexuality), not anything actually rooted in merit. When they finally got around to talking about the story, it sounded very boring.

    Back when I was taking Brandon Sanderson’s writing class at BYU, I used to listen to Writing Excuses religiously. I still look to him as a mentor and refer to his excellent writing advice. Writing Excuses, though… they’ve migrated away from the meat-and-potatoes of the craft towards peripheral stuff that barely has any relevance, and MRK’s penchant for identity politics has really tainted things. As a writer, I know that it’s important to constantly work on improving my craft, but in the past couple of years there’s very little I’ve gleaned from the show that’s been practical and useful. In some ways, it really does seem that MRK has co-opted that place as her own platform.

    1. I keep hearing that about Writing Excuses. I haven’t yet checked out the podcast, but if I do, I think I’ll listen to the first N episodes, then stop. (I don’t yet know the value of N, and I don’t think it’ll exactly correspond to when MRK joins the show — but it’ll probably be shortly after that.)

      1. The first five seasons were awesome. There are a few individual episodes after that that were really good, but that was the point where they started moving away from discussing the essentials of good writing craft to stuff like:

        Gender Roles—Black, White, and Gray
        Survivorship Bias
        How to have an Opinion as a Public Figure
        Training A Critique Group
        The Convention-Author Relationship
        The Worldbuilding Revolves Around Me (“The Magical 1%”)

  4. With all the furor over race and sexism of various sorts, this link from Instapundit seems to be pertinent.

    The important part is this.

    Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race is worth. She points to the first column.

    African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says.
    She points to the second column.

    “Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”

    The last column draws gasps.

    Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission.

    “Do Asians need higher test scores? Is it harder for Asians to get into college? The answer is yes,” Lee says.

    I do believe there is a word to describe this situation. Let’s see, I think it starts with a r and ends with acist.

    If you explicitly state you will only read or things from people with specific melanin content or certain chromosomes, you’re a cist. Which sounds like cyst, Which makes you a sac or cavity of abnormal character or a capsule enclosing the larva of a parasitic worm.

    Don’t be a cyst

    1. Doesn’t this mean there are generations of muck-raking journalism we can toss out because the journalists were not authentic voices of the working classes? Upton Sinclair was not a Lithuanian immigrant (lead character of The Jungle) but merely a “working class tourist” and John Steinbeck was never a Hispanic migrant worker nor Okie emigre nor Chinese grocery store operator. Throw those books into the dustbin of History in favor of I, Rigoberta Menchú which, however much a lying political tract is authentically by a Hispanic Coloured Woman of Colour.

      1. I think so.

        After all, if the only way that one can understand a given race/class/sex is to be that race/class/sex, we can throw out everything written by anybody who dares to write characters who are not the race/class/sex that the author him/her/itself is.

        ….They really hate imagination, empathy and learning from other people, don’t they.

        1. ….why one earth are they interested in scifi/fantasy, then? Pretty much by definition, we can’t be the characters there. Nobody’s a Quenya Elf, and even African-American kids who lost their mother very early and grew up working in their dad’s restaurant and loving baseball are neither competing with replicators and a basically zero-cost teleportation system, nor will they grow up to command a Cardassian mining station now owned by the Bajorans.

          1. ….why one earth are they interested in scifi/fantasy, then?

            Best guess? It’s shiny, it’s someone else’s, and they want it…. because it’s someone else’s and shiny.


          2. Because the romance readers (and publishers) care even less than do sci-fi/fantasy fans about the author’s pedigree, so there’s even less point to trying to make a political statement through your work?

          3. Because stories scare them. Because IDEAS scare them. Stories are very effective at relaying ideas. The idea that you don’t have to stay with the hand you’re dealt at birth. The idea that a bully or tyrant can be stopped. The idea that Dragons can be killed. People know dragons and bullies and tyrants exist. What terrifies them about Science Fiction and Fantasy is that they frame real world things, (not surface varnish messages, but deep human things like hope and courage which these people despise) in a way that makes people listen. Tales of courage make people go, “I want to be like that” and some of them will stand up rather than remain silent the next time they are pushed. Tales of hope make people go “I want to be like that” and the next time they are despairing some will go ‘but I can change this.’ and get up and do so. It is the power of the stories not to lecture but to INSPIRE that they both fear and wish to co-opt. But they have very few creative minds, much less, creative masters, among them so they try and suborn other peoples’ mastery.

              1. Oops – hit “Post” halfway through.

                As they are the ones abrogating the right to lecture and morally instruct the world as to what is “proper” behaviour, they don’t want courage encouraged in their audience, they want curs that will roll the upturned belly.

              2. So is hope and nobility and various other real things they don’t want people to know are still out there. I am put in mind of the screwtape letters. Sumarizing from memory. Screwtape castigates his young ‘nephew’ for allowing the human said demon is working on to do something he truly enjoyed, because it makes all the false enjoyments that the demon had been building LOOK false. They do not want people to see real things because then the real things make the false things look as cheap and tawdry as they actually are.

      2. Their problem isn’t that non-minorities are writing minority stories, it’s that minority stories are being written by non-minorities. It comes out of the same zero-sum idiocy that “informs” their economic “thinking”. Minority writers cannot succeed because straight white men are using up all the good stories. That’s why they don’t have a problem with SF, there aren’t any elves or space princesses – present company excluded – trying to write stories that have been used up by others.

        1. I have actually read with my own eyes a minority woman who complained that she didn’t write minority characters because she had no role models, and while she was startled by the cover of Peter S. Beagle’s Innkeeper’s Song, with a black woman, that wasn’t enough for her.

          yes, a minority woman was actually complaining that white writers had to write enough minorities to serve as a role model for minorities — since apparently whites don’t need role models.

          1. It’s part of Progressive racism. According to them, we don’t need role models, we can function just fine under leaders who don’t look like us, and everything bad in the world stems from our actions – no other group has agency, they just react like mindless (and thus guiltless) automata to whatever we do.

            Have I mentioned how dumb and evil Progs are?

              1. Yep. There’s a reason Progressives found a home in the party of Jim Crow and the Trail of Tears.

              2. It is their own variant on the idea that Moses had to be raised in the Pharaoh’s household in order to lead the Hebrew tribes out of bondage in Egypt. It is only because they have benefited from privilege that they can renounce privilege and give their lives in service of the oppressed.

                And boy, do they service the oppressed.

        2. One of the more accurate descriptions/portrayals I’d ever read of a migrant Filipino doctor was done by an author who wasn’t himself Filipino. (I want to say Robert K. Tannenbaum, but it’s been so long I couldn’t say it for sure.) I lamented at the time that it’s a shame that I had yet to read a Filipino author who portrayed his own people naturally, instead of the stilted hyperidealistic …cutouts masquerading as characters, or otherwise outright bizarre supposed stage plays I had to suffer through in high school / college, or the attempts to be the next Jose Rizal writing The Great Filipino Novel.

          Like, why is it a freaking visual novel has better portrayals of Filipinos? (Sampaguita; character art done by Masamune Shiro)

          *sigh* Better stop before I go on into full blown rant mode, and I’ll not be able to finish this commissioned piece.

          1. … be able to finish this commissioned piece.

            Evidence for the prosecution in the trial of Commercial Artists Are Like Whores.

            1. I got paid in a pile of books in advance, roughly about 100 AUD worth; the other book to be paid to me on finishing the pic is currently on a percent off sale so sixty AUD when it’d normally be closer to 90? Rush job.

              Another commission after that is a 300 AUD one, 100AUD in advance.

              (interestingly, I don’t set the prices for these. I get told “I’ll pay you n amount to do me a piece.”)

    2. So if your kid happens to be an outlier for their ‘race’ (don’t get me started on how they do the race labels, or, y’know, do, if you want a rant) then they’re screwed for the rest of their lives because everyone assumes they really aren’t capable and just got there because of their melanin content.
      What the heck is the point of sending my kids to college? It isn’t going to count for anything: anyone will look at them and see ‘black’ and think they’re just affirmative action beneficiaries, even if they don’t check the race boxes on the admissions forms. (This is not just mom-partiality, we’ve had testing done.) They might as well skip college and start a lawn care business or, heck, a dairy.

      1. I find that plenty of people assume that nobody worked hard in college, and at some colleges they would be correct. But I think most hardworking people convey that by their bearing, and I am sure your kids will make that plain since you are probably raising them right.

      2. Don’t give up entirely on college, especially in the sciences and stuff like civil engineering. There ARE decent colleges and universities out there, just not the Ivys and the big, Brand Name schools.

        1. I’m hoping the stupid system will implode, but it’s taking longer than I want.

          Oh, well, they may start early. There’s always something to be said for “I graduated from college when I was eighteen.” (Though if we go this route, it will be purely because they’ve gone beyond what I can teach.)

          1. Check out Hillsdale College, if only to subscribe to Imprimis and other superb educational material.

            You might find this especially interesting:
            Sign up for “A Proper Understanding of K-12 Education: Theory and Practice”
            The American Founders recognized the central importance of education for the inculcation of the kind of knowledge and character that is essential to the maintenance of free government. For example, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 states, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” This course will consider the older understanding of the purpose of education, the more recent Progressive approach that has become dominant today, and some essential elements of K-12 education.

          1. Having been a townie then University employee until late, late 2010 I’m iffy.

            The school has made some bad choices (when you have budget issues and three football head coaches on the payroll why is the CompSci department taking the budget hits). I don’t have much use for Corpholes either.

            That said, the STEM departments still seem to run on a clue and while there is partying for a school its size that seems to be on the smaller side (it just looks like a big party school because there are a ton of people).

            If you do have kids go there some advice: Avoid living in the pricey off campus housing in College Station and look to Bryan if you’re male. The best place to meet girls is the HEB on Texas in CS on Thursday nights (it’s HEB date night). If you’re a SFF type Cepheid Variable is a mixed bag as they have a huge “WorldCon” fandom type contingent in the sense of the very Odd.

              1. Uhm, no…there is the traditional drinking and chasing persons of your preferred genders(s). It is a great place for college students socially.

                For 40ish professionals who are single it is a wasteland though.

                    1. I don’t know. I live in Dallas. I spoke to someone who went to school there. I think there must be worse places in TX.

                1. Unless they are looking for a “sugar baby”, considering that there are websites promoting that sort of thing.

            1. If’n I should send one or more children to A&M, they will be living with (honorary) Uncle M., who is my (non-adopted) little brother and a professor there. (We decided he had to be my side of the family because people would look at us funnier if we introduced him as Husband’s brother–M. shares my coloring.)
              His horror stories aren’t too bad and he has departmental administration backing for grading standards, which is always good.

          2. A&M, UT, or Tech all have good engineering/science/math departments. If doing civil engineering, A&M is better, toss-up for nuclear/mechanical/aerospace/chemical. UT has the better petroleum engineering dept.

            I graduated from UT with a mechanical degree in 1979, but I cannot in good conscience recommend it any more as it has gotten thoroughly infested with SJW crap in all other departments.

      3. NOT a dairy! Cows produce WHITE milk, so your kids will be INAUTHENTIC unless the cows can be induced to produce chocolate milk.

        1. And then the anti-GMO crowd comes after you.

          (On the other hand, they might not be able to get past the crowd of chocoholics.)

      4. As a signing bonus all Huns and Hoydens receive a rather fetching hat and a sturdy soapbox. Yours must have gotten lost in the mail. No bother, I’m sure we can scrounge one up around here.

      5. They’d probably make more money with the lawn care business than with the dairy.

        OTOH, what’s stopping them from doing lawn care and college?

        1. Having worked on a dairy… I highly recommend lawn care. 🙂

          By the way, why a dairy? I know dairies on the coast are hiring Mexicans now days, but I’ve never known of black person to work on one.

          1. 4-H Bottle Calf project. Eldest actually loves cattle as a result. He fed the calf twice a day, cleaned the stall, vaccinated, castrated . . . yeah, I don’t quite get it, but you know, there are a lot weirder things to like.

            1. Oh, I thought by context there was some racially motivated reason for choosing that profession. It is good, honest work, just having done it… there is a lot to recommend other jobs.

              1. Nah. Around these parts we’re pretty sure that race is irrelevant. Except for when idiots make us deal with it–and they’re nearly always prog idiots. Sometimes they’re just elderly. (I still haven’t figured out any good reason why Husband’s ancestry outweighs mine.)

                As for your not knowing any black people who work in dairies, I gave that some thought, and I wonder if it’s related to lactose intolerance? Husband can’t drink milk, but the kids all can. Maybe people who can’t drink milk don’t think of dairying as a career when they think about what they want to do.

                The kids, being kids, always wonder if they can make money by a) doing something they already do, like mowing lawns or raising chickens, or b) something they think they’d like to do, like dairy or computer games or genetic engineering or comic strips (he may be onto something there).

                1. I think it may have to do with opportunity– I was thinking of it last night, and the only example I can think of is a lady who grew up in the city, went to work for the Forest Service and kind of fell into the dairy job because of her interaction with the weed board, and the dairy being some sort of froo-froo. All the other folks I know are either working for family, friends of family, or are town people who got grants and have vague memories of how loverly it was at (distant relative’s) as a kid.

                  Ditto for ranch workers, and I don’t know of any ancestry group that can’t eat beef!

                  1. “I think it may have to do with opportunity”

                    Probably, add to that, the generally scarcity of blacks in the Northwest, probably less than one in a thousand people I meet here are black. Historically this area was not settled by them, so most of those present today are first or second generation residents; and most people moving across the country (or from out of country) tend to move to the cities, where there are more, and more lucrative, job opportunities.

                2. ” (I still haven’t figured out any good reason why Husband’s ancestry outweighs mine.)”

                  It’s the evil Patriarchy. Lead by our current Patriarch in Chief. When was the last time you heard him admit to his maternal ancestry? The only ancestry he claims is that from the male side.

                  Does this comment really need a sarc tag?

      6. So if your kid happens to be an outlier for their ‘race’ (don’t get me started on how they do the race labels, or, y’know, do, if you want a rant) then they’re screwed for the rest of their lives because everyone assumes they really aren’t capable and just got there because of their melanin content.

        Yes. Affirmative action hurts competent members of the minorities it claims to be trying to help.

        1. Which is why my kids have to continuously prove they’re good enough. Me too, probably, but in my case if I haven’t been out in the sun much, I could be Italian or something. The boys, not so much.

    3. This must be my day for finding cysts everywhere. I might have to see a doctor.

      Sherman Alexie read hundreds, maybe thousands, of poems last year while editing the 2015 edition of Best American Poetry, an annual anthology that comes out Tuesday. Just over six dozen of them made the final cut, including “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” by Yi-Fen Chou, 20 brief, cynical lines on the absurdity of desire.

      But after Alexie had chosen the poem for the collection, he promptly got a note from the author, who turned out not to be the rueful, witty Chinese American poet he’d imagined while reading the piece.

      It was written by Michael Derrick Hudson of Fort Wayne, Ind

      Hudson, who is white, wrote in his bio for the anthology that he chose the Chinese-sounding nom de plume after “The Bees” was rejected by 40 different journals when submitted under his real name. He figured that the poem might have a better shot at publication if it was written by somebody else.

      “If this indeed is one of the best American poems of 2015, it took quite a bit of effort to get it into print, but I’m nothing if not persistent,” reads his unabashed explanation.

  5. Second because she didn’t seem away of the inherent contradictions or the gaping logic hole in her position. It had the feeling of something she had learned, and therefore couldn’t think around it.

    Oh, different propositions– baseline assumptions. “All men are created equal,” as the Bing dictionary helpfully offers as an example.

    Difference being that one person is aware that the assumptions aren’t needfully universally shared……

  6. The timing of this amuses me: yesterday, Eldest Son (aged not quite thirteen, which excuses much) opined that Artists ought to make Art only for the sake of making Art, and there ought be no other reasons to make Art. (He’s been drawing illustrations for Kidnapped, so this is really an attempt to get out of school work.) I, who am, whatever else, an artist of sorts, said “I’m pretty sure that most great Art was produced to pay the bills.” Naturally Eldest Son wanted to know why, and got a mini-lecture on the patronage system, the current ways by which regular workaday Artists (as opposed to grant recipients) get paid, and then we went off to the State Fair where he saw much Art on exhibit, ranging from toddler finger painting (this is an actual class) to really, really good. But he was more interested in the Holsteins and the milking machine, which says . . . something, I’m sure. Hopefully that he will pick a career with a steadier income than Art!

    1. he was more interested in the Holsteins and the milking machine, which says . . . something, I’m sure.

      The correlation is clear: Artists, like Holsteins, can (when properly encouraged) deliver some small amount of nutritious product as well as an amazing amount of manure.

      1. That sounds entirely too reasonable for an almost-thirteen who is convinced that he is going to make his fortune (this week) by winning Minecraft Tournaments, which is a game we don’t own and will not own until he earns the money to buy it, and therefore a game which he does not play. Kids. (He can make the rest of the money to earn it by cleaning my serial killer van. He already took out all the trash. Two months ago. All he has to do is vacuum.)
        It may be that lack of bringing-up turns out to be the primary cause of SJW-ism. I swear they all sound like pre-teens.

          1. They are, in our society, at least, insulated from many of the worst consequences. Which is good, I tend to think, for the pre-teens, but then the perpetual pre-teens show up, and I wonder if maybe a few nights on the street in sub-zero temperatures or freezing rain with no dinner because they can’t afford to buy it would be properly enlightening.

    2. As a mom I hear you Holly. What’s really funny is that my oldest (24) had over $400 of art commissions lined up the week before school started to make character pictures for people’s game characters. As a mom it blows my mind. If he only drew for the sake of his artistic expression that amount would be $0.

    3. ” Eldest Son (aged not quite thirteen, which excuses much) opined that Artists ought to make Art only for the sake of making Art, and there ought be no other reasons to make Art”

      Made me think of this song

      It ain’t about the money made
      When a record gets sold
      It’s about doing it for nuthin’
      Cuz it lives in your soul

  7. “As a minor example, I’m sure most people reading my work think I grew up at the seaside.”

    Do they? I would assume that it was plot-relevant.

    Then, I’m fond of non-Euclidean geography myself.

    1. I just figured Sea Cities were just too cool of an idea she had in her future history and/or her time in big L Libertarian circles exposed her to enough of their artificial island libertarian paradise ideas that she incorporated them into said future history.

      I’m actually more interested in the wide spread importance of gene engineered humans to the stories…they’re a big part of the “Friday feel” I get from them which is a huge part of why I’ve gotten so excited by what I’ve seen of it. However, I never thought that presence meant our hostess studied genetics as a field.

      1. Um… no. Though I have some interest in biology. Actually the “change humanity” thing I realize dates back to the earliest SF I read, that of Simak.
        I didn’t mean that for the presence of the sea in my stories — more the short stories where if I’m casting about for a setting it’s either the seashore or a diner.

            1. The carp have been around a fair few years: I just started Pilgrim’s Progress with Son #4, as a read aloud–his reading isn’t that good, he’s seven–and the author, in his introductory poem, refers to a set of his critics as carping.

          1. Orvan Taurus | September 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Reply
            And when translated to television you might end up with The Diner Shore Show. Or… maybe not.

            You’re a bad person and you should feel bad. 🙂

    2. I like that, “non-Euclidean geography.”
      Not quite the same of be at right angles to Reality, as I have at time been accused of. And at other times, claimed.

      1. Not quite. In Madeleine and the Mists, Madeleine takes advantage of the Mists, where you can walk on paths that will take only one day to cover a much longer distance than they should. Or on paths that will take forever to get anywhere, using the full literal meaning of “forever.”

        Which is only one of the possibilities.

        1. Ah. A little like “walking Shadow”–by far the most memorable part of the Chronicles of Amber.

  8. As the saying goes, we’re not poor, just millionaires a little short of funds at the moment.

    For the vast majority of readers I doubt they know or care what the author’s life/education/politics/sex/sexual proclivities are. They want to be entertained. Keep me entertained and I’ll keep coming back to you. Bore me and I’m done with you. The only time someone’s ‘traits’ come into play is when I haven’t read them yet. If they are making a nuisance of themselves, I’m not likely to seek out and purchase their stuff. There are too many other good writers telling interesting stories to choose from.

    1. I don’t want to know personal info about writers or producers of items I consume. If they make a big deal about being leftists I won’t buy their stuff. On the other hand if they just make their stuff, I’ll buy it if it’s appealing.

    2. “Nobody who ever went broke in a big way has ever had to miss a mwak. It’s the poor Joe who’s short half a slug who has to tighten his belt.” — RAH dba “Lazarus Long.”

  9. Sarah, your posts always include so much to comment on. For now, let me just talk Shakespeare. I struggled for years to justify my love for Shakespeare. His sonnets tend to leave me cold as entities, mostly because I do not appreciate the form, the imagery and observation is wonderful. His plots were mostly borrowed from stories that were already familiar. Yes his language is wonderful, but you need a load of footnotes or better yet an explainer like Asimov to make sense of some of the 500 year old references–not to mention that he made up some 3000 words or at least used that many that no one can find written down before him, and most of them not after him either.

    Finally some character in a TV show said about him, “He summed it all up, so they say.” Yes! I’ve always grated when someone says, “Shakespeare said….” No, one of Shakespeare’s characters said whatever it is that’s said, and he did it to advance one side of an argument over the meaning of life. I believe someone here on another thread noted Maya Angelou’s comment that as a young girl reading one of his sonnets, she was convinced he must have been a young black girl because it conveyed her experience of life so well.

    1. People today are not taught about the universality of great art. Which is something I was taught as a child.

    1. Sounds right. Much like the people who wear a big hooded sweatshirt, drive up to the far side of the farthest pump at an otherwise empty gas station and think they are being clever or sneaky. Meanwhile the clerk notes the license number of the potential drive-off because it is so obvious.

      1. The mention of “big, hooded sweatshirt” with my brain poking at them saying “literate” when they probably mean “high literature” turned into “literary,” which resulted in “visionary– the literature’s scary. Start a revolution….”

        Complete with music. (Nah nah nah nahnah.)

        All of this to explain what follows:

        Guess who’s back
        Back again
        WrongFan is back,
        Tell a friend

        Guess who’s back,
        guess who’s back,
        guess who’s back,
        guess who’s back
        guess who’s back
        Guess who’s back…

        (first big chunk of lyrics, which I can’t/haven’t filked)

        Now this looks like a job for me so everybody just follow me
        ‘Cause we need a little controversy,
        ‘Cause it feels so empty without me

        Little Wrong fans, feeling rebellious
        embarrassed, their sci fi has come to this
        they start feeling like prisoners, helpless,
        ’til someone comes along for the Hugos, says READ THIS!
        A visionary, not literary– scary, could start a revolution, polluting the air waves

  10. One of the ongoing arguments in literature is how do works of art emerge. (mostly because the artist needed rent money, is my contention, but I’m a cynic.)

    The cynic in me agrees, but we should note that Art doesn’t seem to pay well. Yes, J. K. Rowling is often said to be the second richest woman in England, but on the other hand H. P. Lovecraft starved to death, I think the median artistic income is closer to that of HP than JK.

    I started reading stf when only a handful of writers worked full-time in stf. Many weren’t full-time writers at all. RAH was, and Jerry Pournelle has repeatedly said that RAH “ran scared” financially all his life.

    It would seem that there are more reliable ways to earn the rent money.

    1. Pretty much for RAH, though in Vol II of the bio, when roughly 70-80, he was said to be doing well. Though his health was going.

    2. There was a Wall Street Journal review of a Poul Anderson collection (A Bicycle Built for Brew) which began by stating:

      In the 1950s there were only about five authors who made a living from sci-fi without needing a day job, and only one of them made a good living. It wasn’t Asimov or Heinlein. It was Poul Anderson (1926-2001), whose work had consistently high quality coupled with unpredictable variety.

      So I think we can consider your supposition supported.

      Oh, just to avoid being an intolerable tease, the review of the sixth NESFA collection of Anderson says of the book,

      The most appealing work of all is the title novella, which has a good claim to be the funniest sci-fi story ever written. One of Anderson’s gifts was the ability to stand conventional scenarios on their heads. In this case, he takes the common premise of humans settling asteroids, resulting in hundreds or thousands of separate individualistic mini-nations, and points out one of the difficulties. Vexed by changing orbits, no state can control its shifting borders.

      So when Knud Axel Syrup, Danish engineer of a battered space-freighter, arrives at the English asteroid of Grendel, he finds that it has been taken over by the Shamrock Irredentist League, headed by Scourge Of The Sassenach O’Toole (“Auld SOTS” to his loyal followers). All departures are embargoed to keep the invasion secret, with potentially disastrous results for Syrup’s employers in the way of penalties for late deliveries.

      How to raise the alarm, with spaceship and radio decommissioned? Well, like all good Danes, Herr Syrup has a bicycle, which can power a car battery. He also has a spacesuit and large crates that he can make airtight.

      Most important, part of his cargo consists of large barrels of beer, intended for the Rathskeller on Grendel. As any frat boy knows, beer if sufficiently agitated produces a powerful jet. And escape velocity from the orbit of a small asteroid is very low.

      Put all these together, include a romance between an Irish major and an English maiden who hopes to convert the invaders to temperance through classical dance, and you have a comic masterpiece—which includes rather careful engineering.

      Also included are Three Hearts and Three Lions, Territory, one story each from the van Rijn and Falkayn cycles The Snows of Ganymede, War of Two Worlds, and a Dominic Flandry novel.

    3. No, actually H. P. L. died of cancer of the small intestine. Though the inheritance he lived off of was nearly gone by the time of his death.

    4. Robert Howard churned out HUGE quantities, writing like a maniac, repeating themes and even storylines with the serial numbers filed off to pay his mother’s medical bills.

      H. Beam Piper committed suicide over his financials. Even worse was that a lot of his money problems were caused by his agent. Had a number of checks waiting for his estate…

      Not that this differentiates writing from any number of jobs.

    5. i believe it was Tom Simon who observed the distribution of mass in the solar system is like the distribution of money to writers. At the top you get the authors like Rowling, who are like the Sun. If you consider the solar system in terms of mass, it consists of the Sun. All the rest doesn’t amount to rounding error.

      And if you eliminate those authors, you get ones like, say, Stephen King, who are Jupiter — and if you eliminate the Sun from the matter, the Solar System basically consists of Jupiter.


      1. So Scalzi would be a comet falling back to the Oort Cloud, and ChiCom Mary a small barren rock circling Uranus?

  11. There are a few painters/writers/composers that I avoid because of their politics, and a few because they have acted like jerks. I think there are about five, perhaps seven people on the first list, and they were all people who went out of their way to support [vile causes]. Otherwise, unless an artist makes himself obnoxious, as in goes out of the way to be a jerk in public, I don’t care what race/sex/creed/nationality the artist comes from. Probably because I never took intellectual theory courses in grad school (and escaped college the first time before it had started afflicting all courses) and never learned to care. Tell me a story! Write music that makes my ears happy! Those are the boxes I want checked off.

    1. I can only think of two people who, having told me a story I very much enjoyed, later got banished from my future purchasing/reading/viewing due to their politics: Janeane Garofalo and John Scalzi. Even then they died as much on the thinness of their work as it is the ratio of good work to BS that matters. Asimov comes off in his own writing as much of if not more so of a jerk than Scalzi but he wasn’t winning his Hugos for Redshirts but for a Foundation novel (admittedly a lesser one).

      MZB only gets by on a technically: she’s dead and by the time I learned about her covering for Breen I had most of what I wanted to read by her and by the time I learned about her being an abuser as well I had read it. I’m still probably going to acquire the Swords and Sorceresses anthologies I don’t have because I enjoyed the ones I do and they’ll all be bought used so as not to benefit her or her heir (which is not either of her children she abused).

      They thing, having typed all this out, is still not that I think the behavior makes the story bad. MZB being a child molester doesn’t make The House Between the Worlds less of a fun, interdimensional romp where the confused good guy gets the girl after defeating evil. It just makes me less willing to give my money to an evil person (or in the case of the two above obnoxious jack***es) in exchange for it.

      1. With writers it is simply that there are so many writers I don’t have to overlook politics or personal flaws to enjoy, so why spend time and money on those who are on record as not wanting my cooties?

        For stage & screen … suspension of disbelief is already a chore, and a Susan Sarandon or Janeane Garofalo or Robert Redford who has brought their politics so much front and center (and made clear that they do not disagree with me so much as condemn me as evil for not sharing their biases) simply raises that bar too high for me to bother.

        Once an “artist” has conveyed that they consider my money tainted I find myself unexpectedly disinclined to force it on them.

        1. “Once an “artist” has conveyed that they consider my money tainted I find myself unexpectedly disinclined to force it on them.”

          As do I. For years and years, the only artists I made a point of deliberately boycotting were Jane Fonda (for *ssholery regarding the Vietnam War) and Cat Stephens, for *ssholery regarding the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Since about 2001, my “avoid at all costs” list has expanded, exponentially every year. Actors, writers and musicians — all on my little boycott list.

          Likely, they neither know nor care … but some of them have not exactly been front and center in the public eye, lately, so I deduce that a lot of consumers of pop culture have quietly adopted their own personal boycott list.

          1. An prime example of SASS — Shuttup And Sing Syndrome.

            As if I need political analysis from The Dixie Chicks. Sorry if my liking any of your songs embarrasses y’all, sorry you feel need to distance yourself from the Country that made you stars and wanted to stuff your Dixie Twats with money. I know Toby Keith and I disagree on politics a lot (he’s an old Okie yaller-dawg Dem) but he went overseas to entertain the troops (read the story of his adventures with Ted Nugent in Afghanistan!) and he is not too good to take money from me.

            Oh, what the heck:

            [SNIP] Around 2330, we heard the distinctive whirring of inbound helicopters, and a pair of Army Blackhawks screamed down into the LZ. In the glow of a nearly-full moon, I approached the LZ hoping these were our guys… I knew there were a couple thousand people back at one of our buildings whose morale had skyrocketed at the thought of watching the pair perform. After the LZ landed, a figure in a pair of baggy trousers, a t-shirt, and a scruffy beard jumped out of the Blackhawk and wondered out in the general direction. Even though the man wore civilian clothes, I wasn’t sure if we had our team… this guy could have been a reporter, or had any number of reasons for his style of clothing. Besides, he seemed to be the only one walking off the bird. Celebrities wouldn’t just stroll around in a war zone… would they? It had to be a stagehand or something.

            The figure approached me in the dark and pumped my hand; in the shadows, I still couldn’t see his face. “Hey man, I’m Toby Keith.” Roger that. Welcome to Camp Fallujah, Mr. Keith.

            Keith looked over his shoulder and gave a thumbs-up to the rest of the posse, along with the international hand-and-arm signal for “follow me”… clearly he was a driving force in the entire operation. The entourage moved off the bird and over to our escort party. The Nuge was a little further back in the crowd; we shook hands and both he and Toby immediately began engaging the Marines in photo-ops, handshakes, and we’re-so-damn-proud-of-yous to the Marines standing by for security. Nobody was here to see this. There was no red carpet, no news reporters, and the Public Affairs Office hadn’t started snapping their photos yet. These guys weren’t looking for a photo op; they were out here standing around in shorts and t-shirts and jeans high-fiving Marines on a dusty LZ for only one reason: they cared. And it showed. Once things settled down and we were ready to drive from the LZ to the concert area, Nugent took a seat in a Humvee and I sat down next to him. We chatted briefly about a few things, but I had a bigger concern: after inquiring about the state of his hunger, it turned out The Nuge hadn’t had any chow for several hours. I knew refreshments were set up at the backstage area, but I also realized these guys would be mobbed. The thing of it is… they expected it. And they really didn’t care. They wouldn’t sleep until 0300 at the earliest, and they knew they’d be back onstage at 0800 the next day. So, I did what any Marine of any rank would have done in the same situation: I ripped open a couple of MREs, rifled through them, and grabbed the items that were easiest to eat in a hurry.

            The Nuge was impressed: “Yeah man! Improvise, adapt, and overcome, baby!!”

            From a USMC Captain stationed near Fallujah, on the modern-day successors to Bob Hope’s USO tours.

          2. There are a few artists that I’m disinclined to purchase/read/see these days because of their political rants. And it’s not so much that I refuse to read them, as it is that as long as there is other good stuff available (and there is so much) I don’t feel the need to go out of my way to get their stuff. If I happen to be seeing a movie and they are in it, so be it. Same with an anthology of music or stories. I just won’t be getting it because ‘so and so’ worked on it.

            There is one author, who I think writes absolutely brilliant fantasy, but whom I will likely never again purchase (unless he ends up at a sanitarium and apologizes when he gets out). And that has to do with his increasingly incoherent FascistBook rants and the fact he told me to never buy his stuff again. I’m fine with that. As I said, there is so much other good stuff out there I really won’t miss anything important.

              1. YOU don’t go around seagulling on other people’s walls. YOU don’t make incoherent rants against other people’s views, even when they agree with you. YOU don’t go around telling your fans to not purchase your work because they disagree with your political views.

                There is a huge difference between what you do and what many of these others do.

            1. Remember how big the Dixie Chicks *used* to be? Yeah.

              My bookstore got their big post-boycott protest song CD and OH LORD was it awful. Whiny, whiny, whiny. The Norah Jones CD around the same time was even worse. Totally soured me on her.

      2. I generally try not to choose my entertainment based on the politics of the creators–let’s leave that sort of political purity test to the CHORFs, thank you very much. However, the politics of the ART is something entirely different, and that I will discriminate based on, particularly if it gets preachy. I don’t care if the author is a flaming lefty as long as he entertains, but if he uses his soapbox to scold me about how capitalism is destroying the environment, I’m out of there.

        MZB, however, is one of the authors who is on my “never read under any circumstances” list–not because of the recent revelations about her, but because of the Darkover novel where the attempted rape of an 11-year-old girl was treated as a minor breach of etiquette: an unfortunate situation but something that only a real jerk would hold a grudge over. It was at that point that I put the book down and said, “Okay, clearly MZB and I lack the shared premises necessary to hold a conversation. There’s no point in me reading about a universe where what I think of as moral laws are clearly upside down.” (That happened long before I found out about her and her husband, and when I did, it explained a lot…)

  12. To a true proglodyte people are as fungible as carpenter ants, and they will obfuscate, amend, obscure, demonize and simply ban the acknowledgment of any differences.

    Because when everybody’s diverse then nobody’s diverse…

    1. Actually, progressive economics pretty much demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the second as their art theory does of the first.

  13. Umm…

    Didn’t I get called “the worst, I can’t even” a couple of weeks ago for pointing this out in a flyer?

    Okay, my language choice and reductio ad absurdum style may have turned some off, but it’s still what they want to move towards.

    Then again, that same weekend, Sarah said they’d come after her as a non-marxist woman with “racist with a side of stupid”. Less than a week later, Mary Mary Quite Contrary pointed out the the Mistress of Mayhem didn’t even understand how offensive and slurring she was being with the correct use of a US Government official term.

    I am so regretting not continuing my distributions…

  14. I think this fits here:

    “I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.”

    90% of everything is crap, according to Ted Sturgeon. He was a head-in-the-clouds optimist as far as I’m concerned, especially when it comes to “art.”

    I do not depend on other people to tell me what is “good” or “bad” in any particular art form. I make that decision for myself. I do not begrudge other people an opinion different from mine (in fact, I expect it), but I do insist on the right to make my own decision as to what **I** like.

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