Avant-Garde

Lately a lot of people have been asking me about Human Wave.  They want to be sure, you see, that they’re doing it right.

Part of the problem of course, is that I know what Human Wave is in my head, and I know it when I see it, but it’s kind of hard to say “you shall do this/not that.”  For one, look at that header up there.  The only interest I have in taking over the world is to leave it alone, and more importantly to make it leave me alone as much as possible.  I was to be free to conduct my business and live my life without bloody stupid regulations.  (And before the opposition readers on this blog bandy it all over that I’m saying the government is interfering with freedom of expression, no of course that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m saying stuff like, even if I should make enough for Dan and I to live from our writing (a distant goal, but not as distant as it was five years ago) we can’t, because I’ll be d*mned if I’m going on the exchanges, which are overpriced, restricted as to doctors that will take them, and most of all a free lunch for identity thieves, no to mention giving others power over your health decisions.  Besides, I will not be forced to buy something on the government’s terms, because a government of free men has no right to make you buy stuff.  (And before someone comes up with auto insurance, no, I don’t have to buy it.  I also don’t have to own a car.  I can’t help owning a body by virtue of existing.  So please, take a powder.  Not the same.  That is a ridiculous burden to place on a business person “your partner, or you must have a day job, for the insurance, so you’re not thrown on a chaotic, irrational, restricted AND unsafe system.  Because we said so.”  (What we’ll probably end up doing, only it will necessitate much higher income, is pay the d*mn fine and then pay for for-cash services wherever we end up living.)

And yeah, not the government, so not censorship, but the  Special Jeering Brigade do a lot of trying to get you to toe the line by yelling at anything you write that doesn’t fit this month’s notion of the “only right thing” to write.  Mostly I ignore them, though, but this is part of why I don’t want to issue orders from Mount Sinai (Or even Mount Ararat, since we seem to be Apres le Deluge). Can you write dystopic fiction?  Is that  human wave?  I don’t know.  Depends on the fiction. Can the character die at the end?  I don’t know.  Can he?  Depends — as it does in life — what you die for and how and what type of person you were.

One of the examples that Charlie Martin brought up recently was Cold Equations.  Yeah, yeah, I know, the story of bad engineering, but AS A SHORT STORY it is a masterpiece of science fiction short fiction.  My ambition in life is still to write something half as good.

So, is it Human Wave?  The girl dies in obedience to the cold equations?  Well, yeah, BUT both characters are excruciatingly human as are their motivations.  (Probably because of my attachment to my older brother I cried buckets when reading this story for the first time at 12, because I could see me doing what the girl did.)  More importantly, she doesn’t die in vain.  If the cargo had been widgets, the pilot (and she herself) would have come up with something else to do.  BUT she dies to save a planet.  Sad doesn’t equal non human wave.

What about a story in which all the characters are aliens?  Well… does it embody human/sentient life values?  Is it true to itself or is it nihilist for nihilism’s sake?  If the first, it’s still human wave.

Look what we have here, not just in writing, but in all the arts, is an entrenched establishment that has become ossified.

It’s not entirely their fault.  They are the result of the last big turmoil in the arts, when the classical/representational manner of writing/painting was the establishment and the challengers wished to shock people.

There was a time when “the obligatory reference to classical works” was… well, obligatory.

That dissolved under a wave (eh) of nihilism and well, Marxism.  It appeared there for a while that if only you could destroy the world as it was, you could build Utopia.

If the twentieth century has taught us anything, it is that destroying is just a means of destroying.  Utopia doesn’t magically emerge from convincing humans that being human is somehow bad.  Equality doesn’t emerge from satisfying the screams of envy.  Prosperity doesn’t magically emerge from destroying those who produce.

Turns out that pulling apart society for the sake of pulling it apart, tearing down “the way it’s been done” just for the sake of doing so, and shocking the bourgeois because it’s so much fun doesn’t actually build anything worth looking at or reading.  What it does is harden the viewer/reader to the point that you have to go ever further out to build ever more heretical visions and create ever more outrageous shocks, which then become the status quo.

It also turns out that when that sort of revolutionary who believes in tearing down for its own sake, gets power, all they can do is keep tearing down, until the product manages to be, objectively, both repulsive and boring to any sane person.  (I’m not saying, understand that — with exceptions, the dinosaur abomination coming to mind, for instance — that the product of the other side is both boring and repulsive.  Most of the time it’s simply boring.  More ambitious writers manage the repulsive too.)  In painting this is very obvious.  The shock that doesn’t shock anyone does manage, nonetheless, to turn the normal, sane human being off the “art” being displayed.  (Though even there most of it is just boring.  Really, the Denver museum of art paid millions for a bunch of twisted together kitchen implements?  Without the little card explaining what it is and how it relates to domestic dissatisfaction, that “art” evokes “my drawer got stuck again.”)

So this avant garde of the past aged without doing more than throwing continuous artistic tantrums at the world that refused to conform to their visions.  Some of the early ones, when they still weren’t the establishment were magnificent and are probably art, just because, well, art includes tantrums too.  BUT after they became the establishment all they could do was chase the thrill and shock that no longer existed ever further, off the plank of sanity and into the ocean of irrelevance.

When they realized this — when the museums emptied of the middle-brow and the print runs fell — they chased relevance by erecting ever more exacting rules saying “this you shall not do, that you shall not say, this thing you shall not even think.”  This ranges from political correctness to the sort of stultifying mandates on style and manner that are the last gasp of any dying artistic movement.  (I’m still sticking my middle finger up at the minimalists and the idiots who think first person is always bad. )

Which brings us to science fiction.  Since science fiction in its heyday was not considered art or literature, it was just… what people wrote for fun.  (Kind of like Shakespeare in his day.)  There would be some reflexive clasical references, which were the equivalent of Kit Marlowe putting his stage directions in Latin, just to prove his education wasn’t wasted.  However, they weren’t exactly following any school.

Then came… the deluge.  Or at least the “if we destroy all the rules and shock everyone, it will be literature and amazing.”  And when they took over the establishment, the same thing followed as in the rest of the art.

Now… Now they — even those marginally younger than I — are the establishment.  They are the authorities still vainly rebelling against an establishment that doesn’t exist, that probably never existed except in their heads.  Which is probably why they attract so many people with issues with daddy or teacher or other authority figures who didn’t let them have their bugs and eat them too in childhood. (It also explains a certain fascination with the contents of their metaphorical diaper, now I think about it.) They must be FOREVER the first woman to write non-binary sex, even if it has been done for decades before they were born.  They must be forever the most shocking thing Evah! even if what they’re doing was done better and more apropos by their grandparents’ generation.  It’s all they have.

So, what is Human Wave?  Who are these crazy Avant Garde kids who refuse to continue tearing pieces off an establishment that no longer exists? Do we really — giggle, snort — want to go back to the writing as it was done in the pulp days?  (Whenever that was.  It’s been dated all over the twentieth century, by different people.)

Be real.  Most of us haven’t even read much pulp.  THAT establishment was dead by the time most of us were born, and heck New Wave was well established by the time I could read and write, let alone by the time I discovered science fiction.  We are not the imaginary dad come again, to spank the unruly children.  Heck, most of us are young enough to be the children (or the much younger brothers and sisters) of people in the establishment.

We are those who believe you must build, as well as tear down.  We are those who don’t believe you can tell us how to write — theme or stylistically — for our own good.  We do not give you the right to judge us, and we find most of your authoritative pronouncements immensely funny.  We’re the people who looked at what you were doing and yawned or laughed.

Other than that…  If there are Human Wave Commandments they start with “Don’t be boring” and continue with “Build, don’t just tear down.”  There are other things that go with that, such as eschewing nihilism for nihilism’s sake and not conforming to the CURRENT counter-cultural convention, unless we want to.

In a way we are the equivalent of the new realistic movement in the visual arts.  It turns out that the camera didn’t kill art, but the attempt to destroy visual reality through counter cultural posing almost did.

Turns out that there are images that can only be captured through the mind’s eye and artistic skill.  Of course, most new artists don’t go to galleries, they go to Deviant Art.

And most new writers go to indie, all the while creating visions of reality that can’t be captured by simply writing slice of life, but which also don’t fit in the new “you must offend everyone but the “thought-leader” of the week” dictates of the ossified establishment.”

This seems particularly true in science fiction where “fun” is a new commandment of indie authors, at least those who want to sell a lot and be read a lot (and most of them do.) Fun does not preclude deeper emotions, and in fact in many cases needs them.

We are the people looking at reality and twisting it to make people think, but mostly to make them give us their beer money.

Art?  Probably.  I understand Shakespeare wrote to make people applaud and give him THEIR beer money, and look where it got him.

But mostly?  Mostly we’re the people breaking the rules and pointing and laughing at the establishment.  Which is a tradition worth continuing, particularly when we have an establishment as giggle-snort worthy as our current one.

On with the motley.  Carry on.

We have to do nothing but exist, to make the establishment collapse.  It has nothing holding it up but the muscle-memory of their own rebellion.

Be not afraid.

261 responses to “Avant-Garde

  1. It strikes me that issuing edicts about what is and is not Human Wave would be a very anti-Human Wave thing to do.

    Don’t be boring, don’t be anti-humanity seems more than adequate.

    Keep in mind that two people can read the same story and come away with completely opposite conclusions. Some of us read Atlas Shrugged and decide: that must not be. Others read it and say, “Oh, so that’s how to do it!”

    • The Flying Spaghetti Monster has a list of “I’d really rather you didn’ts” (instead of commandments). 😀

      Human Wave could have “Think hard before you do this” or “When this is done grey goo is likely”. I mean, if you WANT to dangle your fingers in the shark tank, even after being warned with the graphic illustrations on the signs and such, Darwin should get some innings too. Sometimes your purpose in life is to serve as a bad example…

        • As I have come to understand Human Wave, the method and means may vary, the paths are many. But the idea is that after reading a HW work, one should not feel that the time spent doing so was wasted. I’ve seen one fellow (I presume fellow) seeming to complain that HW was all Pollyanna-ish happy-fun-bounciness. It need not be. But it shouldn’t be depressing just for the sake of being depressing.

          • Before Human Wave, chop wood, carry water.
            After Human Wave, chop wood, carry water 🙂

            Another, more positive way to list things is “Human Wave likes it when…” So no checklist, no requirements, just a list of coolness ingredients.

            Depressing is the book ending with the protagonist dropping his sword as he dies. Human wave is one sentence more — where someone picks up the sword again and continues on, inspired.

          • Pollyanna-ish happy-fun-bounciness has it’s own problems… or it *doesn’t* have problems and that’s a problem. Do you know what I think is Human Wave? The movie Titan AE. The Earth is destroyed. Humans have scattered and are living as second class citizens in the slums of the galaxy. We’ve got a hero who’s actually pretty content with his life and not interested in being a hero. He’s not a believer in a future for humans. He’s brought into the conflict by his father’s friend who then betrays him. Various aliens are after them. Running and fighting. Oh, and a girl, who *does* believe in the future of humans. And then they win, create a new Earth and home for humanity, and name it Bob.

            Where is the Pollyanna in that?

          • My books aren’t polyannish!

      • Oh, we can’t do that: that’s pre-victim blaming!

    • “I self-identify as Human Wave—OW!”

    • There was a Gamergate manifesto (quoted in the book SJWS Always Lie) that said that it was harmful to have explicit detailed objectives or leaders for Gamergate, because it made it possible for those objectives or leaders to be frustrated or destroyed by enemies.

      It always opens the door for arguing about what’s truly Human Wave, for isolating books and pointing fingers at their authors, etc. A little vagueness about your enthusiasm is not necessarily bad; you can have principles and be happy about the continually surprising results, instead..

      So not being too specific is a good thing.

      • I like to think of it as Reaganesque “Constructive Ambiguity.”

        During his presidency the Democrats, MSM and his enemies (BIRM) repeatedly demanded that Reagan spell out in precise steps what would be his doctrine of response to Soviet provocations. For just the reasons you identify, Reagan’s response was “Let them sweat.”

        • Strategic ambiguity. Hillary’s ignorance of that concept is, IMO, largely responsible for the Syria mess, ISIS, and the migration crisis.

          • Strategic ambiguity.

            Thanks for the correction.

            Used to, back in the old days, Liberals, Surrendercrats and Defeatists (BIRM) would bemoan that America was doomed, doomed to lose the Cold War because the Russian national sport was Chess, meaning they were thinking strategically multiple moves ahead of us. Usually cited dismissively was the idea that the American national sport was Poker.

            Proof that those twits a) understood nothing about Poker and its strategies, among which was Strategic Ambiguity, also known as “how to win a pot with little more than a pair of deuces in your hand by making the other players afraid to pay the price to call.”

    • And some of us read it and said “Stop being so damn preachy! And people suffocating in a tunnel is still a tragedy even if the people are stupid, mooching Socialists.”

      I agree with Rand more than I disagree, but the book left me thinking she was a vile person.

  2. Build, not just destroy. Fight the destruction, stand against it. Build after it’s all come down. Struggle against the odds. Struggle and fail, so long as there’s struggle. Rage against the dying. Die that others might live. Kill for the same. Win in the end, or maybe lose — but don’t give up. Strike out into the unknown. Or into the terrifying known. March in ranks, rush in crowds, amble along alone. Swing the flaming sword against demonkind, or turn the mind’s eye against inner demons. Believe. Hope. Strive. In humanity. For humanity.

    Any of these are human wave, in my mind. There might be a theme.

    • In short: “Life (and humanity) be worth fighting for.”?

      I think of Conan on his cross, tearing out the vulture’s throat to drink its blood, as very Human Wave.

    • What Eamon said — never give up, never despair. Always hope. You might not see the glorious dawn yourself — but you can always hope and work for it, that others might see it.

      • Yes. Very nicely said.


      • I can see
        when you stay low nothing happens.
        Does it feel right?
        Late at night
        things I thought I put behind me
        haunt my mind.

        I just know there’s no escape now
        once it sets its eyes on you.
        But I won’t run, have to stare it in the eye.

        Stand my ground, I won’t give in.
        No more denying, I’ve got to face it.
        Won’t close my eyes and hide the truth inside.
        If I don’t make it,
        someone else will stand my ground.

        It’s all around, getting stronger,
        coming closer, into my world.
        I can feel that it’s time for me to face it,
        can I take it?
        Though this might just be the ending
        of the life I held so dear.
        But I won’t run,
        there’s no turning back from here.

        All I know for sure is I’m trying.
        I will always stand my ground.

        Stand my ground, I won’t give in.
        I won’t give up, no more denying.
        I’ve got to face it.
        Won’t close my eyes and hide the truth inside.
        If I don’t make it,
        someone else will stand my ground.
        I won’t give in, no more denying.
        I’ve got to face it.
        Won’t close my eyes and hide the truth inside.
        If I don’t make it,
        someone else will stand my ground.

    • “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” is human wave. Earth hour isn’t. It’s deliberate dark without need and anti-humanity for no reason.

      • “Explore the Earth. Go mining.” }:o)

      • I make it a point to run as many electrical things as I can during Earth hour.

      • I had to do that poem for a speech in junior high. I don’t remember more of it than that.

        I like the comparison… rage against the dying of the light… human wave. Turning the goram lights out for some pathetic notion that we’re supposed to see how horrible humans are through this corporate public confession of faith that we wreck what we touch?… that gets you a gig on iO9.

      • That poem kept me hanging on when the nurses were telling me and my husband that I was already dead and didn’t know it.

      • I’m willing to make one exception to the idea that Earth Hour isn’t Human Wave: I would encourage it so we could all see the stars we normally couldn’t see. Particularly the Milky Way!

        But I wouldn’t force anyone to do it–so since I’m not willing to shut off the electrical power without good cause, there’s no way I could have my “Star Hour”. I have to make up for it by going to places that are remote, every once in a while.

        Of course, since that isn’t the purpose of Earth Day, if I remember it is occurring, I, too, turn on all the lights in the house. Indeed, I have gone one further: since I was forced from incandescents to LEDs, I have decided to rebel, and turn on all the lights every night. And do you know what I discovered in the process? It actually adds a bit of cheer, being able to walk from room to room without having to face darkness and fumble for a light switch, particularly in the dark winter months!

    • “We are surrounded… that simplifies our problem.”

      From more fictitious sources.
      “I always wanted to fight a desperate battle against incredible odds!”

  3. It turns out you often don’t have to buy auto insurance. The state of Indiana, for example, just demands that you put up enough money to cover a reasonable cost for repair. I believe it’s $45k per car put in escrow. If there’s no accident and you stop registering a car in Indiana, you get your money back. That’s not insurance.

    The health insurance equivalent would be health savings accounts, which, so far as I can tell, Obamacare discriminates against.

    • The government can only require car insurance (or such indemnification as you describe) as a condition for driving on the public roads. Stay off road or restrict yourself to private roads (e.g., the Rez) and government has no authority over your vehicle.

      We can expect the EPA to challenge that ere long, one reason they have been metastasizing the EPA’s authority. Once they adequately define CO2 as a greenhouse gas they can probably gin up studies “proving” fat people exhale more CO2 and impose penalties by the pound.

      See: New U.K. Shadow Farming Minister: Treat Meat-Eating Like Smoking

      • I’d say, “What the *&#% happened to England?!?” but we’ve already talked about that. Ye gads and little fishes. Makes me want to go to the clearance section at Ye Food Shoppe and see what steaks are on discount.

        • Recently the entire UK Labor party has gone pretty much full-Karl, and we all know that the greenies are really watermelon-ies anyway, so this while startling is not really surprising.

          • Labour has long been seen as the analogue to the US Democrat Party, and given the influence of Sanders and Warren I think that still holds. The next election over there should prove interesting. It’s likely that Labour will take a further shellacking, perhaps the grown-ups in the party will form a new one – a major Labour donor has already called for such, or they will tell the Marxists “We tried it your way, it failed spectacularly (like we said it would), now sit down and grow up.” If this group of rejects from the Monster Raving Loony Party do win, Europe is going to get VERY interesting over the next 20 years.

            • The other amusing thing about Evil Vegetarianism (as opposed to folks who just want to eat their veggies and go meatless in peace), is that the imposed vegetarianism always manages to break the laws of all religious vegetarianism, or of any vegetarian fasting. They can’t go back to the unofficial veggies and cheese and fish on Fridays, so they grandly announce Meatless Mondays. (Or whatever the latest fad may be.) They often find something wrong with the Jainists or the super-kosher Jewish folks or whatever.

              Only the designated Evil SJW Vegetarian way of doing things is correct, and they switch it around a lot for the benefit of keeping their minions on their toes.

              • Can’t let anyone figure out which tile is special.

                On the other hand, the general incoherence might just be because there are thousands (OK, hundreds) of militant vegans and each one of them wants to be leader of the movement, so they each come up with some BS that allows them to declare everyone else a heretic.

            • Yeah, but between the economic crisis, the Grexit, the Eurosceptics, the upcoming French and German elections, the resurgence of right-wing nationalist parties all across the continent, and the rumblings of Putin’s Russia off in the east, Europe is already pretty interesting. Like, 1914 interesting.

              • Maybe, but at worst it seems more like 1912. Complete with a nice little multi-sided regional war with proxies (in the middle east this time, not the Balkans).

          • Our dems are doing it too. Bernie! Though in a way it’s a relief. At least in the sense of being out in the open.

            • I’m beginning to think that Bernie is a troll. I just saw a meme on Facebook where he says that because healthcare costs are driven by bureaucracy and red tape, we need to have a national healthcare system. I can’t see how someone that dumb survives. Unless his teleprompter has periodic ::INHALE:: cues.

      • Is there a “b” missing before “eating?” /ducks

        Seriously, the lunatics are running the asylum in UK Labour now

    • Sort of. Right now, the only way to have an HSA is to be enrolled in a catastrophic health insurance plan.

      My replacement for Obamacare would be to let anyone open an HSA, make health insurance premiums an authorized expenditure, and allow employers to contribute pre-tax dollars to an employee’s HSA.

    • How about those church or other religious health share organizations? I did just read a bit, but does anybody know anybody who has had any experiences with any of those? (Doesn’t matter to me as I don’t live there, but was curious. Even millionaires are expected to either have insurance or pay some fine?)

      • To the latter, yes, under the ACA no-one, including rich people who could demonstrably afford it, can just self insure. Companies, however, still can, so rich people could just set up a company they control that provides health benefits to their family, decide that it will self-insure, and pay their bills through that company.

        Then again, rich people have lots of other dodges around the rules others must follow because -piles of money-, so there’s nothing really new there.

        • Money buys stuff.

          Much of leftism’s programs are an attempt to prevent this. It never works. It often backfires. But they never learn.

          • Laws that are about keeping some rich guy somewhere from getting away with something always *always* fall on and punish the middle class.

        • No individual and defining self insure can get tricky like defining company can get tricky. Lots of newish L.L.C. companies out there that are really individuals.

          Along with eschewing cars and many other modern technologies, the descendants of 18th-Century German immigrants who practice the Amish and Old Order Mennonite religions, have effectively opted out of Obamacare, along with most federal safety net programs.

          A little-known provision of the law with its roots in a 1950s battle over Social Security exempts these communities from the individual mandate, an element of the Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance by January or face tax penalties.

          But it is not the idea of health insurance the Amish reject — the close-knit communities essentially insure themselves.

          “We have our own health care,” said a retired Amish carpenter, who like other Amish interviewed for this story, asked that his name not be used because of a traditional aversion to publicity and bringing attention to oneself.

          “They (hospitals) give you a bill,” he said. “If you can’t pay it, your church will.”

          The Amish system is a little more complicated than that. Some 280,000 people live in Amish communities scattered through the United States, with the largest populations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, according to research by Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County.

          While practices vary by community, most Amish fund their health care through a system that merges church aid, benefit auctions and negotiated discounts with local hospitals, promising quick cash payment in exchange for lower rates……..

          Some Amish carry benefit cards, which identify them as members of a community but do not bear names or photographs. The cards help hospitals keep track of the discounts.

          Emphasis added. There has been considerable talk about reviving one of the old fraternal organizations as an independent citizens group. Medical care by Flying Spaghetti Monster laying on of noodles.

          The Idaho system of community responsibility worked well for many years – folks went to the county hospital at the county seat and paid if they could and if they couldn’t the county commissioners (who would tend to know) wrote off the debt and the community covered it.

          The system failed when such things as a pregnant migrant worker with no prenatal care delivered prematurely and after a Medevac flight to Salt Lake or Spokane a county of 5000 people all told man woman and child was billed $5,000,000.00.

          Boeing frex self insures at the dollar rate for one FTE payroll job for each and every fully insured family plan employee – some Boeing workers are married to other Boeing workers so there may be a fudge there.

          Administered last I knew by Aetna – who gradually morphed from an insurance company making a profit based on how good their actuaries and salesmen were into a medical services bureau that negotiates discounts and processes paperwork. Imagine if every family in the United States averaged medical bills pushing $20,000 after discounts themselves typically running at 50% and better from the nominal bill.

          The bill for my father to die was a third of a million dollars – collapsed at home on Thursday and died Tuesday. Purely a paper transaction. He was covered by Emory University and treated by Emory University but that’s a lot of paper money.

      • Not sure on the religious health share organizations. I know they are supposedly legal in some states and not others. I hear them advertised on the radio here, and the ads say they are legal in Idaho and either Washington or Montana (don’t remember which) but not in the other one.

        • It’s a complex issue turning on language as so often. Obamacare touted new forms of Co-op insurance which have pretty much all failed as premiums did not cover catastrophic claims.

          Traditional organized religions respected by the courts where it works can get away with it.

          New church affiliated co-ops like church affiliated nursing homes where the nursing home uses the church affiliatioin as a marketing arm are another matter. Having all things in common didn’t work well in the age of the Apostles, didn’t work well for the Pilgrims and doesn’t work well today.

          Excerpt from H.R. 3590: U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [26 U.S.C. §5000A(d)(2)(B)(ii); p. 128]:

          (2) Religious exemptions
          (B) Health care sharing ministry.
          (i) In general: Such term [note: “term” refers to “penalty”] shall not include any individual for any month if such individual is a member of a health care sharing ministry for the month.
          (ii) Health care sharing ministry: The term “health care sharing ministry” means an organization:
          (I) which is described in section 501(c)(3) and is exempt from taxation under section 501(a),
          (II) members of which share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses among members in accordance with those beliefs and without regard to the State in which a member resides or is employed,
          (III) members of which retain membership even after they develop a medical condition,
          (IV) which (or a predecessor of which) has been in existence at all times since December 31, 1999, and medical expenses of its members have been shared continuously and without interruption since at least December 31, 1999, and
          (V) which conducts an annual audit which is performed by an independent certified public accounting firm in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and which is made available to the public upon request.

      • I know that none of my Amish or Mennonite neighbors buy health insurance. And I often see Mennonites at the doctors office. Either Amish don’t get sick or they ride it out and don’t go to the doctor. I’ve never talked to them about it, but that’s how they cover health costs. And homeowners insurance. But, the Mennonites do have to purchase auto insurance in my state. Since the buggies aren’t registered, they don’t have to be insured.

        • Sure they do; it’s a co-op under religious auspices and specifically provided for under the Affordable Care Act. It’s been discussed as an alternative path for non-believers with a catastrophic coverage laid off.

  4. scott2harrison

    Your mention of museums reminds me of one that I used to love. They had an excellent palentology collection, well exibited. In the 90’s they decided that this was not drawing the crowds and switched the exhibit to dioramas where the skeletons were half hidden by fake plants and you could not get nearly as close to them. To make it worse, they ripped out their mineral exibit wing to make room. I stopped going there.

  5. I am not entirely sure I haven’t missed a detail somewhere, and this may yet vary by state, and I am not suggesting that this makes the whole shebang acceptable. But I purchased individual health insurance from the insurance company without signing up on a state or federal exchange site.

    • This is also so in CA – you can even do your shopping on the exchange to see where the company you’d prefer to deal with lands on the continuum of exchange rates, then contact Blue-Whatever or any other carrier in your state and contract your policy directly, never being in teh exchange databse at all.

      What you can’t do is get free-money subsidies anywhere other than the exchanges.

      And it also appears there are barriers to getting out of exchanges – at least there are barriers to escaping the bureaucratic nightmare that is the “Covered California” state exchange. If you are not getting a subsidy (or are not any longer), they still really don’t want to lose the ability to count you in their press releases, so they make it non-trivial from the consumer side, and I’m guessing also put pressure on the insurance company side, so keep individuals from moving from an exchange participant to a direct policy holder.

      And even with all that, at least here in CA, the exchange participation numbers are shrinking every year.

      • But even the policies you can buy directly from the insurance companies have to meet the mandates of the ACA, so they are far more expensive than they need to be. If you’re not eligible for subsidy, then your customer experience will be vastly better staying far away fron the Exchange. Also, one of the most common complaints is that people with some means but lower current income are shunted to MediCal-Medicaid, which puts you in a class most good doctors won’t deal with, so you give up your good current doctors.Underclass insurance gets you underclass doctors who survive on the low reimbursements.

        • The tightening up of coding requirements for Medicare plus the mandatory electronic recordkeeping requirements combined with the ICD-10 rollout is driving more GP/FP retirements and practice sales than anything else I’ve seen.

          If they are too young to retire, Doctors are looking to get employed by one or another of the giant medical practice conglomerates so they don’t have to personally handle all the recordkeeping overhead and IT stuff. The solo Family Practice doc is becoming very very rare out here.

          • Collectives are so much easier to take over and corrupt. Individuals tend to look out for their own interests over those of their rightful lords and masters.

            Progressivism is nothing more than feudalism with the serial numbers rubbed off.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            On the flip side, if we find a debilitating cure for homosexuality, or if we just want to punish people with mood disorders who are also substance abusers, we’ll have the data right there to work with. If people didn’t want to enable the liquidation of medical minorities, they wouldn’t have voted for the medical equivalent of a totalitarian state.

          • The OB/GYN who delivered both my boys was one of the last private practice OB/GYNs in New York City. Emphasis on “was”. About a year ago he joined a practice.

    • I did that through USAA after my old solo insurance was cancelled (because I didn’t have maternity coverage, natch). Now THAT carrier is dropping health insurance, and so I’ll be shopping again after Oct 15.

      • Jeff Duntemann

        Wow. Precisely this happened to us. ACA killed our longstanding individual health policy because it was a “fake” policy that didn’t cover a lot of stuff that late fiftysomethings just don’t need. We bought a policy through a broker (I’m with Sarah on the exchanges) and less than a year later, the carrier is killing the entire product line. So we’re back hunting up something that we had for years without any trouble.

        Given that the 2016 fine is less than we pay in premiums for one month, we may also consider paying the fine and sitting it out. The money we save will pay for the year after that.

        • I’ve considered paying the fines, since none of my ongoing and well-woman care is covered anyway.

          • Ahem, it’s a tax.

            You know, Roberts catches a lot of flak for his Sebelius decision, but he did a couple of good things there. He denied the Progs a precedent that the Commerce Clause covers economic inactivity, and he planted a giant landmine in Obamacare. I’m sure that the Progs were standing by to hike the fines once they got the law passed – probably through regulatory means. Now that it’s a tax raising it becomes much harder, nearly politically impossible since it couldn’t be sold as a tax on the rich. As time goes on, more and more people will decide to pay the tax rather than the (much higher) premiums, which will cause premiums to rise, triggering the classic death spiral. Eventually only true believers will be on the exchanges, making them politically easy to kill.

            Yes, it would have been better for the Supreme Court to tell Congress “This is not how you pass laws in a democratic republic. Try again.” but it isn’t the complete surrender many claim it to be.

            • The other part of that decision everyone overlooks is that Roberts ruled that the Feds couldn’t take away existing Fed money to blackmail the states into compliance. That removes a huge weapon.

              • We got snagged by another bastard ‘pass it to find out what’s in it” provision.
                My wife recently became unemployed, and while I have insurance at work, coverage for her would there cost $17,000+ / yr including deductibles, co-pays, and non-covered services.

                Our present income would qualify us for subsidies, but because MY employer charges me less than 9% of my income for MY insurance, there are no subsidies available to help her.

                The best we could find for her is costing us $14,500.00 / yr including deductibles, co-pays, and non-covered services. She has not incurred that level of costs this year ( I am the expensive one) but we need the protection from catastrophic expenses, so we suck it up, cut our other expenses (Where this time??), and try to make it to either MediScare or self-insure, pay the fines, and go concierge medicine. (none here yet).

                Yeah, we are both trying to deal with the underlying causes of chronic conditions – My doctor says reduce your stress levels, etc. Yeah, and if my aunt had balls she would be my uncle.

                Thanks to Sarah and all of you here for being a sanity break, and providing a place to hang out, have a rum Collins, and listen to intelligent and learned folk have interesting discussions on relevant topics.

                Thanks all,

                John Paul Devereaux

            • True, it is an additional tax for non-compliance. However, the legal definition and my personal opinion do not coincide, and since I don’t like Justice Roberts’s reality, I’m substituting my own. 😉

            • The other neat thing on this particular Roberts contribution to jurisprudence (hey, they had those photos, so he did what he could while avoiding torpedoing the law) is since its a tax, setting that tax falls squarely in the domain of the House, and secondarily the Senate. All a future congress has to do to gut the individual mandate is set the noncompliance tax to $1 per year unless you are Bill Gates*.

              * OK, that would be a Bill of Attainder and thus would not fly, but means testing that tax would work just fine to get Bill’s money – except, of course, Bill is not stupid, so he does not give himself that much income from his wealth portfolio, nor does any really rich person, so Bill’s money is in fact safe.

        • You know, I’m wondering how many people are just going to check the box on the 1040 that says “I was covered the whole year” whether or not that was true, figuring that the IRS can’t possibly have a system in place to verify that. Not yet, anyway.

          There are really going to be some serious problems with enforcement of this one…

          • Given the number of bugs found to date on both healthcare.gov and the various state exchanges, there’s the real potential for a class-action leading to a ruling saying the IRS can’t prove they didn’t.

          • Of course, if you don’t have your taxes withheld, and just pay them at the end of the year, you don’t have to pay it either.

            Having income taxes withheld from paychecks before the employees received them was one of the smarter scams Congress has pulled on its constituents. If they never see the money, it isn’t really real to most people. How many people do you know, that are all excited every year to get their tax “windfall”? Never mind that they are getting just a fraction of what they paid in, back. Or that the government has had even that fraction to use and collect interest on for a year. They never saw it or all the rest of their withheld money that the government keeps, so it wasn’t really theirs, and now they are getting “free money.”

  6. I kind of harp on this subject, but it is important to me. Dystopian fiction has been ruined by the gray goo idiots. It’s easy to do it in the Human Wave style, though. Just look at any of a number of things by Keith Laumer. He has one where the protagonist goes into a euthanasia booth at the beginning of the story, for criminey’s sake! The key is that his people are always fighting the power and often smashing the machine, and whatever they are doing, they are working for a better, brighter, more hopeful tomorrow, and they never give up. That is Human Wave Dystopian.

    • You could argue that my alt-history WWI stuff is dystopian in a way, because eastern and central Europe in the 1930s was pretty bleak. Poor guy’s world is falling apart, his family life is strained, but he’s going to hold on tooth and claw and do what’s right, because that’s what it takes to keep the world going for his children and their children. And he’s going to win. The pocket of order carved out of the madness might not be big, but a pocket of order is a start and a foundation.

      • Heh. I need to dust off that love story that takes place in a dystopia. Oh, the dystopia isn’t front and center, and most folks seem happy enough, but when you ask what it would take to bring about the situation in the story, it’s clear that it takes place in a society that doesn’t put much stock on liberty.

    • I would classify Randall Farmer’s The Commander series (or Transform Universe, the series goes by a couple of names) as dystopian human wave. Fairly dark, especially the first couple, but you can see a dim light at the end of the tunnel that they strive for.

  7. The bit about destroying the establishment reminds me of how Liberals are always so hot to destroy their vision of the 1950’s that never actually existed outside of their fevered imaginations and persecution fantasies.

  8. richardmcenroe

    When the classical/representational style of writing what?

  9. Oh, Also:

    “Avant-garde is French for Bullshit.”
    — John Lennon

    • Government Drone

      As well the old “avant-garde clue” quip.

    • John Lennon is British for Bullshit (No? Heard Imagine recently.)

      • John wrote non-stupid lyrics before Imagine. I blame drugs. And Yoko. Mostly Yoko.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

        • Yoko. I have heard some of her attempts at music and can say with confidence that living with her could drive any sane person mad.

          Keep in mind that reports claim Lennon was embracing Reaganism shortly before his death (at the hands of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy which could not permit so public a nuisance personage revoke his membership.)

          Those parentheses are intended to indicate the statement enclosed is entirely tongue-in-cheekiness and should not be taken as serious (or should it?)

      • OTOH,Paperback Writer is a hoot and a half.

      • Somebody had a really good article ripping “Imagine” to shreds from beginning to end.

        I’m very disappointed that one of my favorite artists recently sang it in front of the UN. But I’ll try to separate her performances from her politics.

        • SheSellsSeashells

          I have never understood how something including phrases like “and no religion, too” can be considered a masterpiece of the lyricist’s art. It makes me cringe every time I encounter it, not for the subject matter but for the clunkiness.

        • Ripping “Imagine” is pretty straightforward. It isn’t hard to imagine anything. Right now I’m imagining a purple elephant with a unicorn horn whose teats produce fine scotch, it’s not difficult. Doesn’t make it real, or even possible.

      • Though based on what I’ve heard, Lennon may have gotten rich on peddling incoherent pap to the masses, but he didn’t fall for it himself (for starters, Mr. “Imagine there’s no countries” was a strong supporter of the IRA, an organization willing to blow up people over which country a particular bit of land fell into).

  10. “We are those who don’t believe you can tell us how to write — theme or stylistically — for our own good. We do not give you the right to judge us, and we find most of your authoritative pronouncements immensely funny. We’re the people who looked at what you were doing and yawned or laughed.”

    Oh, I think you believe they can TELL you, but your response is “up yours and the coal-powered electric vehicle you rode in on” and “you are the dumbest people we’ve met so far, so BEGONE you fools to whatever cesspool you crawled out of”.

  11. c4c

  12. IMNSHO Willie the Shake and Admiral Bob had one hell of a lot in common. Both wrote primarily to earn a living, put food on the table, and a roof over their heads. Will wrote sex and violence for the masses, many of whom could not read, so targeted the penny cheap standing ground audience at the Globe, though the thruppence crowd in the balconies seemed to enjoy the show as well. Robert wrote because he was too sick to hold a physically demanding job, found himself beached at the tail end of a world wide depression, and consciously chose to write whatever would sell and put a few dollars in his pocket.
    Did they have fun? I expect so, but as sauce on the meat, not the end all of their efforts. Human wave? Heinlein, oh hell yes, Shakespeare, not so much.
    Recently decided to reread Ringo’s zombie books, and they are very much human wave. John killed off 98% of humanity, bless his evil heart, but the survivors are driven to the best of human goals, make the world safe again, rebuild, and repopulate the planet.

  13. Jeff Duntemann

    One terse definition that just occurred to me is that Human Wave fiction is fiction informed by the virtue of Hope.

  14. Jeff Duntemann

    Another terse definition is that Human Wave fiction is governed by the preferences of readers rather than the dictates of academics.

  15. c4c

  16. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Wait. Hold up for a minute. We aren’t supposed to be secretly policing what is and isn’t human wave?

    What am I going to do with all these unmarked vans, population databases, story formulas, and ditch digging machines?

  17. We don’t need to define Human Wave writing; the SJWs will do it for us by defining those characteristics that their “approved” writing has that Human Wave does not.

    As regards the shift in The Arts into irrelevance; there is no better source of thought on this than Tom Wolfe. From THE KANDY-KOLORED TANGERINE-FLAKE STREAMLINE BABY (his first book) he has recorded the ways that the American Middle Class create their own Art. In RADICAL CHIC he shows the emptiness of Lefty political fashion. In MAUVE GLOVES AND MADMEN he went after Manhattan pretentiousness. And, of course, there are the core books of this discourse THE PAINTED WORD and FROM BAUHAUS TO OUR HOUSE.

    What I think he misses is that the shift came because of a class of people desperately trying to pretend that they were rare and special. The Aristocrats were rare because they were the most rapacious. The Industrialists because they were hugely successful. But the SJWs and their kind are the Clerisy. The literate. That is their only distinction. They used to be rare, but they aren’t now (although if we leave the schools in their hands too much longer, that may change). They want to tell other people what to do (as do many other groups). They want to be special. And what they are, is clerks.

    They aren’t really very educated. They lack the aptitude for a life of scholarship (although they subvert the occasional real scholar). They have to make do by setting up jargons and tests. Are you “in the know”? Do you get a little thrill when you see some avant-garde art installation like Piss Christ …. or do you see a talent-proof product of a temper tantrum?

    It’s the same in SF. If it’s easy to read, and fun, it can’t possibly be any good. Oh, they’ll accept a certain amount from History (muttering under their breath the whole time). They know if they attack Tolkien or something similar directly they will be laughed into the void. But what they really like is something so obscure and annoying that you need annotations to understand it.

    And what happened to the Art World is happening to them. The Museum of Modern Art may be full of decaying shark corpses and splattered drop-cloths; the real history if Art in the 20th Century is eventually going to be about the illustrators, the people who made a living at it. The real history of SF will be told in the books people are still reading in 20 years.

    • Can I put in a vigorous ‘amen’ here for Tom Wolfe? I have nearly all of his books, but the first of his which put me in stitches was “From Our House to Bauhaus” – yes, I always despised modern architecture with a white-hot burning passion, but that book perfectly limned out WHY I hated it.

    • > Are you “in the know”?

      I’ve met this in another form: The Moon-Landing Hoax Believer.
      He was a stunned when I told him that not only did I believe the moon landings were real, but then explained why it was easier to go to the moon than to fake doing so. I doubt I convinced him, but it was fun to see that silly view get a serious shaking.

      • I got into it with a 9/11 truther a couple of weeks ago. Man, they do not like it when you point out that the physical properties of steel start to change at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Then he put up photos of beams and pillars that had been melted through at precise angles. Photos that were taken during the removal of the wreckage.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I’ve the vague impression that aviation gas fires can get to the temperature of the carbon-iron system’s alpha and beta to gamma transition. I haven’t seen the numbers in the same temperature scale at the same time.

          • Most of the avgas was consumed in the fireballs. The long term fires that brought down the buildings were standard A/B fires from the materials in the offices.

            Austenite doesn’t really form until north of 1,000 degrees F, though A fires can easily reach those temperatures – a blacksmith’s forge is plenty hot enough, and it runs on charcoal. The real problem is the dissolution of carbon back into the iron matrix. That happens at a much lower temperature and significantly weakens the steel. There’s also the fact that the increased temperature would loosen the fasteners holding the beams together, resulting in them experiencing more than their designed shear stress. And once one fastener goes, all that load gets transferred to the remaining ones, which are also weakened. Cue the catastrophic failure.

            • See, you are proving your Truthers point. It was regular fires that brought the towers down, not planes!

              • No, the Truthers say it was the government, not the fires. One of their favorite pieces of “evidence” is the New Madrid Towers fire, which didn’t collapse after burning longer than the Twin Towers did. What they neglect to mention is that the New Madrid Towers were a hybrid design with a concrete core and steel “outriggers” forming the floors and that post-fire pictures clearly show that the steel structure has completely collapsed for several floors.

                • I’ve heard several variations, usually either that the government was in control of the planes (somehow, exactly how varies from remote control, to actually placing the suicidal pilots, to having the pilots bail just before impact) or that the planes didn’t exist and the government just made them up (and apparently produced all of the many pics and videos in a computer lab somewhere, and dispersed them widely) in which case the towers fall is usually attributed to some sort of explosive. Although I have also heard it attributed simply to the fire, which was started with some sort of sophisticated Molotov cocktails.

                  How a government who is incapable of producing a website that works, pulls of a scam like this without getting caught (except by the Truthers, whom almost nobody believes) is never well explained.

                  • Shortly after the event, I tutored someone who apologized for not being focused: she explained that one of her sisters was on one of the flights that flew into the towers a few days before.

                    Now, either she was a plant, to convince random people that she lost someone she loved, or she actually lost her sister. (Since I was tutoring her, and not actually grading her work, there was no reason for her to justify not being focused…)

                    I have a hard time believing the claim that those planes actually didn’t hit the towers…

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Thank you for the lesson.

      • I think the ultimate comment on conspiracies is ILLUMINATUS, which assumes that all conspiracy theories are true, even the ones that contradict each-other. It’s very much a product of its era, and so hip it has difficulty seeing over its pelvis, but worth the effort. In inoculates you against conspiracies for the rest of your life. Having read it is one of several reasons I could be as enthusiastic about THE X-FILES as all of my friends; the conspiracy plot shade me giggle.

        In one of Wilson’s book – it might have been from the SHRODINGER’S CAT trilogy – he has John Dillinger (who faked his own death) looking down on the Kennedy assassination with binoculars and muttering (apropos of all the shooters) “Goddamnit, we should have sold tickets!”

    • Jeff Duntemann

      I’ve sometimes wondered if Tom Wolfe inspired William Tenn’s “The Lemon-Green Spaghetti-Loud Dynamite-Dribble Day,” which originally appeared in 1967 and is one of Tenn’s funniest items.

    • Since you mention the clerisy, there’s an undeservedly obscure essay by Jerry Pournelle, “The Treason Of The Clerks” which covers a lot of what you’re talking about here.

      • The only ting in that essay I disagree with is the feeling it gives that this is an utterly new phenomenon. It’s been going on, in waves, for a couple of centuries at least. The “Educated” almost always resent being held to the same standard of behavior and morality as the Peasants, and come up with some reason why they shouldn’t be.

        Kipling’s “Tomlinson” is about that, among other things.

        Christianity is a religion of the Lower Orders. It constrains these who are Better from achieving their Full Potential.

        This is one of its principle merits, since the Full Potential of a self-absorbed aristocrat usually runs to mass slaughter. And would-be aristocrats are not significantly better.

        The Clerisy have spend the last two hundred years or more fascinated with fornication, sexual deviancy, incest, and the appropriation of the work of others for their personal aggrandizement. They resent Christianity because Christianity baldly states that all these pleasant pastimes are sins.

    • “…the real history if Art in the 20th Century is eventually going to be about the illustrators, the people who made a living at it. The real history of SF will be told in the books people are still reading in 20 years.”

      There is some unfreakingbelievable artists out there doing “illustrative” work. (As Sarah said… they’re on Deviant Art). One of my kids got into a competitive “art” high school and after some gallery visits she told me that the displays were depressing because it seemed that the artist had hit on something people liked and spent their entire career doing variations of… clay blocks with glaze of various colors dripping out of holes was a specific example. I like the practical stuff that is also beautiful and evocative… but it’s a *bowl*. The people doing cover art and fantasy art and some doing sort of extra-realistic paintings (super realism?) are mind blowing. The art for video games is beyond incredible.

      It’s impossible to say which stories will endure and which ones won’t age well. I’d guess that stories that depend on politics today, be they geo-political or socio-political, will fail and fail quickly. Reading about human struggle is something enduring. Reading about the particular bug up feminists butts this week, twenty years from now, will be like reading those science fiction stories published the last few years of the cold war. The authors weren’t wrong to write them, but they really didn’t age well.

      • “It’s impossible to say which stories will endure and which ones won’t age well.”

        Actually, the history of popular literature has been that if the self-nominated “experts” are SURE that something is a classic, it will vanish utterly. If they hate, hate, hate it, the odds are pretty good it will last. From my reading this was just as true in the Victorian Era as it is now.

  18. As a counter-example to what you are calling Human Wave I would offer the X-Men film franchise. Despite stunning visual effects and occasional witty dialogue, the overall tone of the films is very bleak.

    There is no hope in those films because there is no personal choice. They have a philosophy of biological Calvinism. The characters are born as either mutant and human and that determines all of their significant choices for their entire lives.

    There is usually at least one scene where the “good mutant” (Charles) and the “bad mutant” (Eric) argue long-windedly about ethics, but these are really just discussions about strategy.

    The filmmakers have made it clear that this philosophy mirrors their own beliefs about the biological determinism of sexuality. (A philosophy that has neither scientific evidence nor emotional satisfaction to recommend it.)

    I have realized that my own work is the “anti-X-Men” in many ways. My characters become other than human as a result of their own choices and actions. And this mirrors my own philosophy about not only sexuality but all aspects of personality. It is our choices that shape us into what we become–not just our sexuality, but all aspects of our personality.

    Leaving aside any correspondence to reality, I think the latter philosophy makes for a better story because it doesn’t carry the grim weight of predestination. Anyone, no matter how depraved, can choose redemption and anyone, no matter how virtuous, can fall.

    • Bjorn Hasseler

      When Magneto betrayed his own philosophy by stating, “Pawns move first,” I checked out of that franchise. They were sacrificing characterization and consistency for special effects.

      • The graphic novel that they turned into X-Men 2 (“God Loves, Man Kills”) was a step towards Magneto’s redemption (before they finished giving up on consistency and declared the man had been lying in his own thought balloons(*).) He isn’t willing to stay with the X-Men at the end (though like the movie, they did join forces for a while), but he does wish them well as he leaves, and does so with phrasing states outright that while he thinks they’re fighting for a lost cause, he hopes he’s wrong — and suggests strongly that he’ll step down as their mutant opposition long enough to give them a chance to prove it.

        The graphic novel also made humans moral agents — one cop almost dies trying to stop the Purifiers from killing Kitty; another cop shoots (and then arrests) the reverend (as the title suggests, the villain is a religious figure) at the climax of the book right before *he* shoots Kitty — stating that if killing an unarmed little girl is the word of God, it’s sure changed some since Sunday School. (The X-Men crashed the reverend’s broadcast right after stopping Charles from mentally attacking mutants. Confronted directly, the reverend lost his plausible deniability and tried to take things into his own hands very publicly.)

        Now, I enjoyed X-Men 2, and I probably would have enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed “God Loves, Man Kills” if I hadn’t been comparing the two. But I’ve reread “God Loves, Man Kills” dozens of times and I’ve never had a single impulse to rewatch X-Men 2.

        (*) For absolutely no reason that I could see. It was especially infuriating because if they wanted Magneto to be a villain again, there were other events going on in the Marvel Comic universe which could push him back in that direction. But no, he couldn’t have honestly tried to redeem and failed when he saw too many of his fears come true; he had to have been lying all along, including inside his own head. In the New Mutants, anyway; events in Uncanny X-Men were more ambiguous and suggest he tried to redeem and failed, but occurred later, after it was established in another book that he’d been lying all along….

    • The X-men, in all media, suffer from the basic problems associated with serial narratives, magnified by massive overexposure. Add to that the whole “fear of mutants is completely analagous to racism”, which has all the subtlety of a political pamphlet wrapped around a brick and x-men gets old, fast.

      I have loved them, at various points. I have also given up on them, multiple times.

      But, when you get right down to it, the only comic franchise I really want to see filmed anymore is “Damage Control”.

      • To be fair, aside from the silly surprise ending twist, the recent Wolverine Does Japan movie was a pretty good flick, and I think was kinda human wavey.

        • The end… the girl who sees the death of people goes off with the guy who can’t die. I thought that was sort of amazingly subtle. Okay, it was entirely unstated, but still.

        • Heh. That movie made me miss Japan, which I didn’t think was possible.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        X-Men would benefit from having an ending. As it is, humans fear and distrust mutants now the same as they did when they were introduced. The “sliding timeline” has certainly not helped.

        • X-men is not about persecution, it’s about persecution complexes. My mother watched the first X-men movie and, after getting it explained that Rogue’s powers kicked on in the scene where they first appeared, readily saw in it what her chemistry students think. (She also disliked Order of the Phoenix because of its all too authentic depiction of the mindset of that age.)

      • The company, the editors and the series’ writers completely lost control over any coherent narrative long ago, somewhere around the mid-1980s. As the number of magazines featuring the characters proliferated and storylines were developed across multiple sub-books (X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, X-Factor, various mini-series) and company-wide events (Secret War #?) all efforts at continuity of story, theme and characterization were trashed.

        They were especially damaged by the idea that they had been created as some kind of metaphor, inducing a level of self-conscious self-righteousness which kills good fiction.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          The metaphor has also changed. First it was a racial allegory, now they seem to be pushing it as a gay allegory. Of course, no nation in the Western world is killing gay people. But you don’t see the X-Men trying to save Iranian mutants from the mullahs, now do you?

          • There’s also the issue of artistic overreach. There’s a limit to what can really be accomplished with a monthly comic book in which the major characters have to be around next year for the sake of sales. You really aren’t going to be able to deal with any complex issue with any subtlety. Oh, Eisner managed to pull it off a time or two, but he’s dead.

            Manga can be complex and subtle (not that they regularly are, they just can be) because everybody really expects that the manga story will conclude at some point. American comics really haven’t incorporated that. And Manga that are kept going because they are a phenomenon and sell quickly lose any charm they may have had. See the endlessly proliferating Dragonball franchise for a prime example.

        • That’s OK. They couldn’t fix the narrative, so they just destroyed the entire world so there would be nothing to compare the narrative to.

    • The mutants go about doing Great Things, some considering the impact on the all those mundanes in flyover country and others not so much, while the mundanes themselves natter about in the background, either doing harm through ignorance or getting in the way.

      And apparently (from the movies only – I’m not an X-Men comic fan) no mutants ever reproduce.

      Actually, this sounds like Hollywood’s view both of themselves and The Virtuous Left in general (but I repeat myself).

    • Days of Future Past seems Human Wave. History is changed through the efforts of a determined few, and things end up better than they started. And much of the reason for the change comes down to people choosing to take a more positive outlook on humanity in general (both mutant and non-mutant). Of course, the need to continue the franchise means that everything will fall apart again. But as a self- contained story, I think it meets the criteria.

      • Days of Future Past, at least in the comics, back in the day, was one of the first times I gave up on the X-bunch. I could believe that somebody was stupid enough to build the sentinels. I could, maybe, accept that the sentinels managed to overpower the Avengers. What stuck in my craw was the idea that the sentinels managed to eliminate Victor Von Doom, who was long established as a creator of robots an order of magnitude more subtle than any sentinel I had ever seen.

  19. May I suggest a term that Human Wave suggests to me: “Humanist.” Back in the day, someone said “Man is the measure of all things.” (And it wasn’t a sexist sentiment, because “man” means “mankind” in this context.) Humanism reached its apotheosis in the Modern era, but humanism has been sacrificed by Gaia worshipping Post-Moderns who reject the Technology that supports our comfy lifestyle. The trick is to embrace humanity without seeming to turn back the clock.

  20. The fundamental problem with the postmodern deconstructionists is that their shallow theories and methods can be turned upon their own work with ease. And it takes far less deconstructing to dismantle what took so little effort to build.

    As for giving someone the right to judge me, that is a power I neither have nor want. I simply wish to – ruthlessly, to borrow a word – reserve my right to ignore their judgment without further hectoring.

  21. On the Arts:
    Not an hour ago we got home from a visit to our college student. One of the things we had to see was an art exhibit.

    Despite being a redneck, I’m not adverse to looking at art. I didn’t even steel myself beforehand. There’s plenty of abstract sculpture on campus, one I dubbed “We saw you coming,” but I cease to be surprised at what is called art.

    Today I was surprised.

    I was expecting the same old garbage that gets passed off as art. Instead, while there was art done in familiar styles, such as Impressionism, the themes were actually quite good. I saw some unusual art in stained glass that worked very well, but the most striking was a good many had a strong religious theme, and there was no nihilism in sight. The closest were two B&W photos of a power plant done on an engineering copier, and that might have worked for me if I hadn’t recognized the power plant.

    Ah, but that wasn’t the biggest surprise. No, that came when ours said “These were all done by the professors.” And that blew me away, for to a one all refuted the angsty, pretentious, dreariness that has marked Modern Art for nearly a century.

    Of course, there are liberals on campus, They all seem to work for the college newspaper. Shrug. Maybe they’re trying to look good for CNN.

    • I got a liberal arts degree from a small state college in the 90s. All of the professors were open to discussing anything, and many seemed to have doubts about the propaganda they were sometimes supposed to push (Western cultural colonization is bad, but the UN giving aid based on gender parity in education was good). The texts were uniformly hard left. A physical geology text, for example, would explain how clear cutting forests in mountain areas lead to landslides and floods, but never addressed the question of why people clear cut forests (people need to eat). Every textbook, other than history and lit, contained a chapter on global warming. The only radical prof I had taught sociology. He titled his class “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” The prof was more of a conspiracy guy than a Marxist.

  22. “I’m still sticking my middle finger up at the minimalists and the idiots who think first person is always bad.”

    Yep, that is why L’amour’s Tell Sackett novels all flopped… they were first person.

    • And most of Heinlein’s, too.

    • As a general rule, I’m not all that thrilled with first person. But it really depends on the story, though, and probably, to a certain extent, the author…

      I remember a “How to write” textbook I was using in high school, that I really liked, that expressly forbade first person…until one of the last chapters, when it gave some pointers on how to do first person right. The lesson I learned was that a lot of “forbidden” techniques–first person, passive voice, present tense (this latter one seems to be a popular modern fad)–are great, if you know what you are doing.

      And I strongly suspect that “if you know what you are doing” has a very strong element of “you are telling a good story”…

      • Bjorn Hasseler

        Yes. At the Grantville Gazette, we strongly recommend that new authors start out with third-person single limited view narration, make a scene break when they shift to another character’s viewpoint, and use the past tense in narration. It’s easier to start there. As authors gain experience and skill, they can branch out; last issue we published three epistolary stories and one first-person story. Sometimes it’s subgenre-dependent; first-person narration is practically expected in detective noir.

      • a lot of “forbidden” techniques– [SNIP] –are great, if you know what you are doing.

        Emphasis added.

        The range of things in this world to which that caveat applies is nigh infinite.

        Indonesian cooking is great, if you know what you’re doing.

        Driving at high speed is great, if you know what you’re doing.

        Aernautical acrobatics is great, if you know what you’re doing.

        Building IEDs is great, if you know what you’re doing.

        Biochemical weaponry is great, if you know what you’re doing.

        What seems to be lacking is a clear methodology for determining which activities are more and less forgiving of the tyros who don’t know what they’re doing.

  23. Re: Avant Garde:
    An Oxford Prof named John Carey wrote a book, _The Intellectuals And The Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939_, about the rise of the avant garde in England. His thesis is that after the slaughter of the British ruling class in WWI, and the accompanying disrespect towards the members of the ruling class that remained, the intellectual class chose to make themselves a new aristocracy.
    Carey knows where the bodies are buried. He names names (Bulwer-Lytton, Virginia Woolf, JM Keynes, D. H. Lawrence, basically the members of the “bloomsbury circle”).
    Anyhow, Carey says that these intellectuals purposely chose to push the arts in a direction that would require a new outlook and a new vocabulary that was incomprehensible to a middle class that the intellectuals despised.

  24. I never heard of this “Human Wave” category of stories but I remember seeing a reply on a forum or blog post about the existence of stories which it referred to as Humanity F*** Yea! stories. The person posted a flash fiction example, in which a human captain leading a small fleet of ships is asking an allied alien robot emissary thing (I can’t remember exactly what it was)on his ship to give it to him straight (or some similar expression), about the enemy aliens attack on one of their worlds. The root thing does not understand the figure of speech saying he, which the captain try’s to explain before giving up on it, and just asks for the current situation. The robot thing tells the captain that the world won’t hold out against the enemy armada, and when the captain asks what about if they can get there on time, he tells him the captain his small fleet would not make a difference in the final outcome and also be destroyed by the enemy forces. The Captain thinks it over and decides they are honor bound to give assistance, and while they won’t survive they will hit them so hard that the enemy’s high command will be executed for incompetence.

    They drop into the system and hit the enemy aliens from behind who all have their shield power to protect them from the remaining resistance from the planet. That allows the human fleet to destroy like 2 times their number in ships, and when the enemy turned towards the human fleet to meet the new threat they exposed themselves to the remainder of the planets defense forces which quickly took advantage of the opening to hit them with every thing they had left causing the enemy to take even greater losses.

    They still lose but they dealt far greater damage to the enemy fleet then their numbers should have allowed. When the system is retaken a few weeks later they find hundreds of bodies of the enemy who had been executed and dumped into space. They also find that robot thing in the wreckage, who tells the story of the human fleet. They then build something which they name after the figure of speech the captain said in honor of the sacrifice the human fleet made.

    I wish I knew were to find that story as I’d like to re read it.

    • A primary tenet of Human Wave SF is that there are things more important than the material or even life itself. Human Wave SF values Honor, Integrity, Valor — it is H.I.V. – Positive.

      Of course the proglodytes hate it.

    • For the Honor of the Regiment by Laumer has this theme.

  25. Way back when, before I had read one of your posts on Human Wave, I had come up with the “next” literary school. It was my private joke that the next big movement would be so inclusive as to be non-judgemental as to style, plot, character development, spelling and correct usage of nouns, punctuation and verb tenses; focusing on intentions of communication by the author and no more forcing works of art to get by with mere content. I called it Post Humanism.

    But that got me thinking about the whole Post Modernism and Humanist schools. They generally consider the individual and his wants to be paramount in the universe. I remember taking modern literature classes and being bored by terms like anomie and surrealism. I wonder now if the best way to describe it all as being a form of “I reject your reality and substitute my own”

    I like the term Post Humanism, since it is a catchy, pithy way of saying “I don’t care what your opinion is, work with facts. I don’t care if you think it fair, it is now.”

    The main tenet would be, “When you find yourself in Hell, well, keep going.”

  26. I started using mostly first person this year. It makes me closer to the hero and the story becomes more immediate. I still use third person… depending on the story, but since I started using first person it fills like I gained another voice.

    As for Human Wave– if you feel the truth in it, the hope in it, and the true sacrifice (if someone dies)… It is human wave. I want to see Human wave in all the genres.

  27. The mention of the Denver Art Museum here reminds me of one of my trips there, and I think this story is relevant to the subject at hand:

    I went to the Denver Art Museum just as the new wing opened. A number of “famous” artists had been asked to decorate the new wing. One did so by, I kid you not, covering herself in blue paint and hugging the walls. Just in case we didn’t believe the story of how this amazing bit of art had been created, the bag of blue-paint-covered laundry was also hanging in the corner for us to marvel at.

    On the same trip, I wandered into the older wing, and one of the things I saw there was a section of wall from a temple somewhere in India. Apparently, an artist had also been told to decorate this wall. He had done so via intricate carvings of flowers and trees with some geometric patterns included. I could have stared at it for hours and still not seen all the details on this wall.

    It’s hard not to think we lost something when “decorate this wall” moved from the carvings to the laundry basket.

    • Corpus Cristi Museum of Art, the one affiliated with the university. Saw a crate by a window and assumed it was for moving the art glass display.

      Nope. That nice, sturdy crate is an artwork by (IIRC) Donald Judson. Has a little tag, accession date, and everything. And people wonder why I consider fine visual art to have stopped with the Impressionists (aside from Western American Art, but I remember the heated discussion that topic spawned last year and won’t go farther.)

  28. We really need to start pointing out that the “Modernist” thinking that has reduces the Fine Arts to social irrelevance has its origins in the early 19th Century (See Paul Johnson’s THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN for details). As such it is about two centuries old. It therefore cannot possibly be called “Avant-Garde”. If anything, it is the rear guard.

  29. The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows.

    ― David Foster Wallace,

  30. “And before someone comes up with auto insurance, no, I don’t have to buy it.”

    Just because we’re forced to buy auto insurance, to one degree or another, doesn’t mean we have to like it. I have heard of rumors of studies that demonstrate that requiring auto insurance pushes rates up, because if you don’t have to buy insurance, insurance companies have to compete with that as well as with each other…

    (I think there are a lot of regulations that we take for granted–auto licensing and insurance and safety inspections, radio licenses, professional and business licenses, and drivers licenses are all examples that come to mind–that almost certainly don’t make us as safe as we think they do, and if they were to quietly disappear overnight, would probably not be missed at all.)

    • You don’t have to buy auto insurance — just claim to be an illegal alien undocumented migrant and what are they going to do? It isn’t as if they require non citizens to carry such insurance; it is strictly a tax levied on American citizens and legal visitors.

      “We have your birth certificate on file!”

      Not mine – that’s just the identity I acquired.

      “Your fingerprints match those on record.”

      Ain’t it amazing what the people providing false identity papers can do?

      “We have grade school pictures identified as you.”

      Ain’t it amazing what the people providing false identity papers can do?

      “If you are here as an undocumented immigrant, where did you come from?”

      I’m not sure — I was very young at the time.

      “We have your naturalization papers from INS!”

      Ain’t it amazing what the people providing false identity papers can do?

  31. What would or should the Human Wave Movement think of The Turner Diaries?

    • The bad guys win, and are presented as the good guys.
      Now get out, troll.

      • What ever you say – it being your prerogative to say it I suppose. Or maybe not? Maybe the lurkers support me tra la……..

        Though it’s hardly amusing to make a direct ad hominum attack.
        It’s no incentive to hang around hoping to see you doing better.

        The question was seriously intended, thinking this group might have something interesting to say about the surface and the depths of literature as well as what the reader truly must bring to the work for context as opposed to letting the work speak for itself in context.

        What might follow flip-flopping only a few critical words?

        See e.g. Tom Kratman currently on necessary and sufficient conditions for civil insurrection in the U.S. of A.

        The big thing was that we were cheering the humiliating defeat of our commander in chief, Jiminy Peanut, now the nation’s worst ex-president, by Ronald Reagan. Nor was it merely because we hated the son of a bitch, though we did. No; though hated and despised by the armed forces he certainly was, Carter was so deluded, so ineffectual, except where utterly misguided, such a national security and foreign affairs disaster,1 such a threat to the country, at a time we felt ourselves to be in an existential war, the Cold War, that throughout most of his presidency Soldiers – and surely Sailors, Airman, and Marines, too – wondered regularly (and sometimes aloud) if it wouldn’t be necessary for “someone” to get rid of him to save the country. We were cheering, too, in good part, that that question had been closed. We wouldn’t have to break one part of our oaths to serve another; the American people had dumped the piece of shit for us.

        Read more: http://www.everyjoe.com/2015/09/28/politics/to-coup-or-not-to-coup/#ixzz3n5YCpiCX

        One might wonder about Arslan and assorted tales of the Draka as being anti-human wave or human wave or a synthesis but still interesting literature.

        Sadly your demonstrated ability to say anything interesting is seriously lacking. Give it more thought next time.

        • I reserve my interesting things to say for people who are worth the time to say them. You have demonstrated otherwise, twice.

        • It having already been stated that it is not the concern of Human Wave advocates to define whether a specific work was or wasn’t “Human Wave” — as asserted elsewhere here, that lies as much in the reader as the author — you question on a specific work did constitute trolling.

          Your subsequent response to being called out,

          Sadly your demonstrated ability to say anything interesting is seriously lacking. Give it more thought next time.

          reinforces rather than refutes the judgement rendered.

          In response to your initial inquiry, suffice to say few if any here have read or anticipate reading it. Therefore we have no opinion beyond “Not interested.”

  32. Pingback: Human Wave Redux – 2015 Edition | Cat Rotator's Quarterly