“Shut Up They Explained”

Or How To Deal With Turkeys

Possibly the biggest celebration in this household is the fourth of July.  We used to have massive parties for it, stopped because last house not suited to it, and will resume again if current bid comes through.

Thanksgiving is, for us, an odd holiday.  First of all, neither of us has family near.  Second of all, even if MINE were near, they don’t celebrate, since it’s a very American Holiday.

And then there are complications, because the Hoyts can never do things in an easy or simple way.

Because we moved from North Carolina to Colorado OVER Thanksgiving, and because the move signaled a marked improvement in our lives, we consider it our own, personal Passover.  (Okay, not 40 years in the desert, but we did drive through a pretty dangerous snow storm just before hitting Colorado, where it suddenly cleared up.)

That first year we went out for Thanksgiving to a really nice restaurant because, though we were broke, all cheap restaurants were booked.  So…

Because of all this and because cooking a big meal for four or five people is daft (and also because I’m not fond of turkey) we celebrate thanksgiving by picking up our friend Charles and going out to eat some place nice. (And because Charles reads this: Tomorrow, two thirty.)

So we escape the dreaded Thanksgiving horror of having someone suddenly veer off into politics, and having to sit in silence listening to loony toons.

Just so we’re clearly understood, I’m not suggesting that you be the one who starts politics at the Thanksgiving table. To quote Heinlein “Only a fool or a sadist tells the unvarnished truth at social occasions.”

I’ve lived with that for years, as have a number of you, I’m sure.

I’m asking you to consider not living by it, anymore.  At least not to the extent of remaining silent and letting crazy relative/drunk friend of the family think you agree with everything he says.

If you have to counter, do it politely, tactfully, and more importantly with facts.  Feel free to counter with “yes, but–” And then change the subject immediately afterwards.  Feel free even to say “and now, lets leave contentious subjects aside, shall we?  This holiday is about family and thankfullness and the good things we have.”

And yes, I know it’s easy for me to say because we DON’T have family gatherings, which is sort of a bitter sweet thing.

But I have spoken in my other family, or at least my extended kin-affiliation group, which is the SF/F community.  And yes, I know how that has turned out, from my being declared the world’s worst person, to my being declared various kinds of deep ungood like racist, sexist and homophobic.  The Sad Puppies movement, sparked by Human Wave, and fully supported by me and Kate and Amanda got maligned in national press as a white supremacist slapping down of women, gays and other races in science fiction.  What it takes to believe that is… well, not knowing anything about the people involved, or the ability to dismiss a man’s 20 year bi-racial marriage as “shields.”  That requires gold-plated belief of a reality not our own.

Which is part of why I’m asking you to speak up, however kindly and politely, when crazy uncle Joe starts telling you that of course everyone knows Bernie is the best thing for the nation, and how the GOP are all poopy head white-supremacists for disapproving of the ACA.

Because the problem with our silence and politeness, our hesitation to slap their noses when they bring politics into everything, is that it’s what’s allowed them to construct an entire parallel reality in their heads.

And this, when shocked with resistance where they thought they’d carried the day, is what makes them go unhinged and run to their stooges in the national press to malign as virtual neo-nazis a movement of people trying to shift the overly literary and belly gazing nature of the fiction that gets awards.  You’d think neo-nazis would be doing more neo-nazi things, you know, like goose stepping, controlling the economy, persecuting Jews and invading Poland.  But no.  They think neo-nazis are really interested in changing who gets a plastic rocket. And the worst part?  The worst part is that they believe this narrative.  They’re not just putting it on.  Which is why it’s so easy for them to get access to the national press, who suddenly publish articles about an award which, in the past, was often carried away by someone who got 80 votes.

How can they believe it, you say?  Well, it’s rather easy.  You see, everything in the news-entertainment industrial complex has told them since they were born that the future is some form of socialism.  That history comes with an arrow, and the arrow leads to “progressive” utopia.  (That progressive utopia has changed a bit, since I was a kid, but they probably don’t notice that.  For instance, it used to be about free love, and now it’s about free love if the woman wants it, and the right to call a man a rapist if she changes her mind afterwards.

That’s because as Marxism failed to work in the real world, it turned from seeking the revolution of the workers to the revolution of the “minorities” and minorities are any group they can define out of the whole, from race to culture to sexual preference, to genitalia.)

So these people grew up with a hierarchy of minorities in their head, a hierarchy of grievances-that-must-be-appeased.  In that progressive future they’re sure it’s coming, everyone is equal except for aggrieved minorities who are more equal than everyone else, and therefore get to dictate to others.

Nathaniel Givens wrote an excellent post about this totalitarian tendency here.

The problem where it specifically hits science fiction, is that when you make literature about “the correct messages”  (I don’t have it to my fingertips, but this really is a thing.  There have been any number of articles about the artist’s DUTY to promote the “right” (left) “Messages.”  Because the DUTY of the artists is to hasten the coming of Utopia.  And stuff.) you need other markers to distinguish the “good stuff.”  Or in other words, when you all are saying the same thing, we need to figure out who is saying it better.

Over the last twenty to thirty years, this has led to an elevation of purple prose and/or bizarre faddish “markers” of “quality” which in turn have led to plummeting sales figures and the reduction of what was once a vibrant genre to a sad little few books in bookstores (excluding game and movie tie-ins.)

Sad Puppies was an attempt to reorient the genre to other definitions of good, removing the “must have message about bright CORRECT future” and the “must have precious language that gets in way of sense, or in other ways play with language to the detriment of the emotional involvement in the narrative.”

It had clear nothing to do with sex, orientation, race or culture (beyond SF culture.)  BUT because the sf cultural war is a subset of the larger cultural war, they of course jumped to the position that the only person who could object to their constant pushing of the most current agenda HAD to be against the bright new future where all animals are alike but some are more alike than others. And the reason they jumped to this, is because it never even occurs to them that the dictate that artists promote what was called by a previous generation “the revolution” is not universally approved, accepted and considered holy.

And the reason that it never occurs to them is because everyone they know either agrees with them or stays silent, partly for fear of the attacks Sad Puppies have endured.

So when faced with rebellion in what they thought was conquered territory, they jump to the conclusion that they’re facing the Big Evil and deploy disproportionate force.

It never occurs to them we don’t give a good g*dd*mn about the color, gender and orientation of the protagonist, let alone the writer, provided that the story is interesting and the kind that will bring more readers to the genre.  No, if we don’t agree with the stylings of what wins the plastic rocket, we must all have swastikas in our closet, including those of us who would be prime targets of the people with swastikas.

Because they haven’t had any opposition and therefore see the world as “the good people” — them — and those who oppose the bright new future — the evil ones — regardless of why or how they oppose some part of it (or to break their little shiny wagon, those of us who remind them history doesn’t come with an arrow leading to some leftist utopia.)

And I want you to go out there and challenge people that crazy?  Why?  Do I hate you for some special reason, that I want you to end with a face full of stuffing and not in a good way?

No.  Really.  Look, I hate confrontation because I go from nothing to berserking.  And since killing strangers or even relatives at parties is frowned upon by society, that means I have to control the berserk, which means I end up shaking and crying a lot, which is not — REPEAT NOT — a pleasant experience.  So in public I tend to avoid confrontation as much as possible.

And if it were only science fiction that had gone off the rails because of built-in, never challenged opinions/assumptions, I’d give up on science fiction and go write something else.  Okay, even if all other genres were taken over, I could give up on writing, or go all indie all the time.

But it’s not.  This disconnect from reality and creation of a new one that has nothing to do with what happens in the real world affects the entire — and hilariously self-named — “reality based” community.  And some of them have the levers of power.

For instance, I’m sure some of you have seen, in the last few days, a link to our president saying that the Paris Climate Summit Will be a Powerful Rebuke to the Terrorists.

For anyone with even a modicum of sanity left, looking at that statement it’s like looking at a parallel world.  In what universe do religious fanatics, bent on imposing a seventh century religion tremble in their caves at the thought that the west is getting together to talk about PREVENTING THE WORLD FROM GETTING WARMER?

It’s plastic rockets versus neo nazis all over again, isn’t it?

BUT the thing is if you assume the never-challenged assumptions that our president carries in his head, he’s making perfect sense.  Being logical even.

It goes something like this, with apologies for over-simplification:

They drink their own ink. You have to trace the narrative all the way back to understand that this is “logical” in the parallel world our president inhabits. a) there are no bad people. All crime, or even you know, bad temper, has “root causes” (this is partly because it’s what our entertainment sells us, partly because it makes a better story. But entertainment has never been as prevalent as now. At least not narrative entertainment. And most people internalize entertainment as truth) b) if it’s an individual it’s society’s fault. c) if there are no bad individuals, there are no bad nations. d) when nations/religions/cultural groups turn sour, it’s SOMEONE’s or SOMETHING’s fault. e) It’s always fun to blame the west, but f) the western civilization caused problem of global warming also works and it feels so trendy and cozy. g) So global warming (he SAYS it exists) is responsible for Jihad. h) So, the way to fight Jihad is to stop global warming.

You have to admit it’s a pretty chain. The fact it has NOTHING to do with the world we live in is just a minor, inconvenient … ah… truth. But the fundamentals of that chain of “reasoning” is so deeply embedded in Obama (and most leftists) they can’t think any other way.

And this is why you must talk and you must challenge, even crazy uncle Joe at the thanksgiving dinner.  And if you can you must challenge the rots of the belief.  They might be brought to realize that even if (taking measurements as we have them which might or might not be accurate) the sea levels are a couple inches up a beach at high tide, really this has nothing to do with a movement started in the seventh century.  And then challenge them to PROVE to you it does.  And ask them why it can’t just be that there are bad people and bad causes.  Use examples they despise, of course.  Us included.

Yes, this is easy for me to say.  Or not.  I can’t say I’m not political, but I had far rather have kept it out of my public profile.  That I don’t is because I fear what happens when people totally disconnected from reality have the keys to my nation’s security and economy.

Having a person high on something driving the car and swerving to avoid the pink dragons only he can see is fine.  That is, until a really big invisible pink dragon blocks his vision and he swerves into the path of a semi.

We can no longer stay silent.  We’re staring potential dictatorship and almost certain global war in the face.

It’s worth risking being beaned by a drumstick to stop catastrophe.

We can no longer allow our silence to give them the impression everyone agrees with them, except those evil, mustache twirling villains of their nightmares.  We can no longer allow them to think the things in their head dictate reality.

And I’m very sorry to tell you that at this time, in this place.




157 thoughts on ““Shut Up They Explained”

                1. “Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.” — RAH

                  How you’d ever have those kind of delusions about US????

                  1. How you’d ever have those kind of delusions about US????

                    Maybe she hadn’t acclimated to the altitude of living in Colorado, and was suffering from oxygen deprivation?

          1. Smug amendment: the HK-50 series provides unmatched performance in protocol and terminating with prejudice.

  1. I stop to read this in the few minutes we stop for McDonald’s on our trip, and get the first comment in? How did that happen?

      1. Have you tried yarrow tea? You’ll be de-snuffled, but it tastes worse than a bag of steeped gym socks.

        1. If Yarrow Tea doesn’t quite do it, I suggest Yarrow, Stookey & Travers Tea — it sounds sweet but is likely to redden you up a good bit. Done to excess it will leave you with a head full of sludge.

  2. Having a person high on something driving the car and swerving to avoid the pink dragons only he can see is fine. That is, until a really big invisible pink dragon blocks his vision and he swerves into the path of a semi.

    Think of it as evolution in action.

    Ever since my Mother passed away, my Father can’t endure the traditional gathering. We have chili and ribs, in an exclusive party of 4. Him, me, brother and nephew. My Sister-in-law has graciously changed her dinner time to early (1:00 PM I think) to accommodate Poppa’s meal plan. Now, somehow he has agreed to a big family dinner on Black Friday. But even the Progressives in the family are polite, so we usually stay on topics not politics. We can and do get into Football discussions, but it isn’t something anyone is ‘passionate’ about.

    For the rest of you, Happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you for being so friendly and supportive here on Sara’s blog.

    1. it is not the swerving around the pink dragons that I fear, it is not the semi that assists karma to fix the problem. it is when the swerving auto veers not into the semi but into the 5yr old child that I truly fear.
      and that is what this so called social justice does. destroying the innocent to satisfiy their thirst for petty political power.
      if you wish to commit suicide, do so. I will not stop you. it is when you wish to drag me and mine down into your hell with you. that is where the line is drawn.

      1. Sad but true. I had a co-worker, late one Sunday night, he was returning to Tidewater from West Virginia. He was hit by a drunk driver. After two years of wearing a brace on his leg, he recovered and could walk without special support. Fast forward, after he had earned some money, he returned to West Virginia for a Master’s degree, met his wife, had a beautiful baby boy (for Mother’s definitions of beautiful). When the baby was less than two, his wife was struck by a drunk driver and killed. Fortunately in the back seat, the baby was shaken but not stirred. There Ain’t No Justice, to borrow a Niven curse.

  3. Be of good cheer. We’re probably seeing all the “How to argue with your Tea Party Uncle” articles because even the frothing liberals are forced to admit to themselves a) there are people who DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM (shudder), b) if they want turkey and pie with family they have to come in contact with the people in a), and c) they have no leverage on safe spaces in someone else’s home, that they can’t demand Grandma resign, or be replaced by a Grandma of color, or any of their other coping mechanisms. No wonder they are frantic.

    I don’t know that they actually think their way will work. I don’t think they really know how *anything* works, except in a vague magical “if I flip the light switch light comes on” way. What they hate is when we point out they don’t know, and we also contradict the Way Things Should Go with our solutions. It makes them panic, because they have no reliable framework to build on. They have a balloon. One pin poke and the whole thing is the Hindenburg.

    1. c) they have no leverage on safe spaces in someone else’s home, that they can’t demand Grandma resign, or be replaced by a Grandma of color, or any of their other coping mechanisms. No wonder they are frantic.

      Then they realize what Grandma will do if they get too annoying and the panic sets in? 😉

          1. Round, round, I’m big and round
            I fell off a cliff, but I hadn’t hit yet
            When the radarman pegged me as a Jumbo jet

            Well, something’s broken. Possibly my satiety feedback loop, dagnabbit.

      1. You can always fix them up a safe space in the trunk of a car, or perhaps a shipping crate. You can even promise nobody will disturb them until it arrives in New Delh … ummm, until they have achieved Nirvana.

    2. To speak of magical thinking & progressives: I live in Eugene & went to a community dinner yesterday. I happened to be near enough to the serving line to watch as they set up. Over half of the servers AFTER they put their gloves on either smoothed their hair back, rubbed their hands on their clothes, hugged someone, shook hands or other no-nos. Of course their magical gloves would keep whatever the picked up doing that from contaminating the food. I have resolved to never use a progressive for food service if I cannot shoot them (at least with a paintball) if they go magical on me.

  4. Sometimes the best approach is to challenge the fundamental argument rather than get dragged into a debate over seating arrangements on the deck of the Titanic.

    This means that when somebody asserts it is “the artist’s DUTY to promote the ‘right’ (left) ‘Messages.’ Because the DUTY of the artists is to hasten the coming of Utopia” an appropriate rejoinder might be along the lines of “Sez who?”

    Because it is only be attacking the fundamental a priori arguments that you can dismantle their house of cards. Make the argument about something as fundamental as the function of the artist and the importance of an artist being free to communicate Truth as the artist understands it. The only duty of the artist ought be to the art, and anything which diverts the artist from artistic truth is oppression.

    Always focus the argument at the core principles and the importance of freedom and liberty. Make them defend imposing “duties” outside the artistic vision, make them the supporters of tyranny.

    It can be hard to persuade people of self-evident truths which they have blinded themselves to; it is not so difficult to make them embarrassed to defend what their positions require.

    1. Being the academic nerd type, I’d probably be quietly looking up the worst Socialist Realist art I could find on my iLeash, smile sweetly, and say, “Oh, you mean like this?” And go from there. Although, some of the German Imperial “official” historiscist paintings are really, really awful too, just in a more naturalistic way.

    2. I had a friend that I told his wife:
      His arguments are well reasoned, and it is hard to refute the logic he employs. Listen long enough, and look for the underlying assumptions that he is basing his reasoning on. Those can be attacked, and invalidate his entire argument. He was not a happy camper when I told her this, as he and I ran about 50/50 on the arguments, and he, at the time, did much better than she did.

      1. Ayup — when you divide by zero it is easy to build an economy based on money from nothing. Similarly, if you have as a base assumption that all men womyn are angels a society relying on altruism is frighteningly possible.

        What gets disturbing are things like recent polling indicating a sizable portion of the population agrees that government bureaucrats can be counted on to bugger-up anything they touch … and think the government should take a more active role in solving societal problems — and see no conflict between the two propositions.

        1. If something similar (but longer) double posts.. WordPress ate my first comment (or sent it to moderation because of the single link).

          The fun part was:
          What is the difference between the Government and the Mafia? The Mafia provides *value* for your dollar.
          and the sanitized link:
          https colon //www dot rt dot com/usa/323032-mafia-isis-warning-gambino/

          1. The Syndic is a 1953 science fiction novel by Cyril M. Kornbluth.

            The prologue introduces the setting, a future North America divided between rival criminal gangs the Syndic on the East Coast and the Mob in Las Vegas, who have driven the federal government into exile in Iceland. Life has more or less returned to normal in Syndic territory – as long as protection money is paid on time.

            The protagonist, Charles Orsino is a low-ranking member of the Syndic who collects protection money in New York. After a failed assassination attempt he is invited to a meeting of the leaders of the Syndic, who suspect that the exiled government were responsible. To discover the truth, Charles volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate both the government and the Mob.

            Reception and influences
            The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction noted that the novel had wrongly been seen as “deficient” in comparison with Kornbluth’s collaborative work, concluding that aspects of the Syndic government structure were “effective and even prophetic.”

            The novel’s exploration of anarcho-capitalism proved popular with libertarians. The novel had an influence on Samuel Edward Konkin III, who considered it an under appreciated classic. It was also inducted into the Prometheus Award Hall of Fame in 1986.

            At https://mises.org/library/cm-kornbluth-and-syndicate we find this:

            So what exactly do we find if we open a copy of The Syndic and begin reading? In effect, we find a dramatization of the following quotation from Murray Rothbard. “If you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts,” he wrote in For a New Liberty, “simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place.”
            How could a member of the dreaded Futurians write so libertarian a novel? We should not forget how very young Kornbluth was when he joined the newly formed Futurians. He was 15 years old. He was born in 1923 and was still in high school when he started writing science fiction and crime fiction professionally — that is, for money. When he graduated from high school, in his native New York City, he went off to the University of Chicago for some higher education. But his sojourn there was interrupted by World War II.

            After the war, Kornbluth returned to Chicago, finished up his degree, and began working in journalism, a trade he continued to practice after his return to New York in the late 1940s. In those same postwar years, back in his hometown, among his old friends, he resumed contributing to the science fiction magazines that had been such an important part of his life when he was in high school. He also began writing novels. By the time he wrote The Syndic, he was 29 and had seen a little of life and the world. I think he’d seen through the political absurdities he had believed in when he was 15. He had come to realize that the state was just another gang, worse than some but fundamentally no different.

            This article is transcribed from the Libertarian Tradition podcast episode “C.M. Kornbluth (1923–1958).”

  5. “The Sad Puppies movement, sparked by Human Wave, and fully supported by me and Kate and Amanda got maligned in national press as a white supremacist slapping down of women, gays and other races in science fiction.”

    That was last year; this year, it’s a male supremacist organization. And how we managed to find three White Mormon Males to run it named Sarah, Kate, and Amanda….

    These people couldn’t find reality with a Ouija board and a good hunting dog.

    1. Some days I think Reality took one look at them, shook her head, and said, “Oh heck no WAY am I having anything to do with them,” and stalked off to let them get run over by the train.

    2. I really need to memorize a line from the Honor Harrington novels that is similar to that last one.

      “Or you might say that, as a tac officer, he needed four astro fixes, a hyper log, approach radar, and a dirtside flight controller with full computer support just to find his backside with both hands. On a good day.”

      Yeah, sounds like an SJW.

      1. No. The SJW would not listen to the controller and thus would still crash, burn, and end up on one of Kate’s stakes.

    3. I’m actually surprised that the Usual Suspects haven’t noticed Human Wave yet.

  6. Well, the family I have over this year is pretty much in political agreement – although we still avoid the topic for reasons of digestion.

    Fortunately religion doesn’t ever come up, so I don’t have to talk about my opinion of the current leadership of the Church.

    Trying to get the disconnect between their politics and their opinion of that leadership to sink into their heads would probably not be enjoyable.

  7. Eh – at my house, it’s just my daughter and I, the doggles, the cats (-hey, anyone want a cute brindle-striped kitten? My daughter got suckered into fostering another one yesterday) and so the changes for a knock-down drag out are relatively small.
    OTO, I’m starting to think about kicking posteriors and taking names on Facebook. I do have some deluded friends there.

    1. I’m just glad somebody else says “doggles”. We have two, one of whom could probably qualify for horsle.

      1. A Great Dane is he — or maybe one of those enormous lion-like mastiffs?
        I also refer to the cat herd as “the cattles” – but then, casual readers might think that I am keeping longhorns in the back yard …

          1. Yes! When we got him at 9 weeks old, he was the size of a cocker spaniel. He thinks he still is.

        1. I would loooooove a mastiff. But Bear the dog is a Pyrenees/hound/German Shepherd mix. 120 pounds of love and derp; also scared of Chihuahuas. (Can’t blame him, so am I.) He is insanely friendly and once tried to climb into a UPS truck because the driver looked lonely.

          Here, Senior Cat has the four-footed population divided into “a cat” (Junior Cat), “THE cat” (him) and “Them” (the dogs).

        1. Nope, but I want one of those too. (I also want a Klee Kai, because I AM NOT RIGHT IN THE HEAD.) Pyrenees/Shepherd/hounddog mix, possibly with a little Clydesdale thrown in. 🙂

      1. It is, actually. I used it in my blog. Still, shopping, even at Macy’s wasn’t what Sarah wanted to talk about. Maybe after the dust settles on moving she can AFFORD to go shopping. If there are stores to shop at.

  8. The fun thing, Sarah, is that I get about as many likes on Facebook as crazy Uncle Joe. But I’ve had enough people pull me aside to thank me and quietly tell me how happy they are to see crazy Uncle Joe get the snot kicked out of him that I know that the number of likes I get is not reflective of the number of people that like my postings.

    I probably won’t be going to Thanksgiving for many years anyway, so I don’t care.

  9. “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you” applies just as well to the culture war.

  10. It’s a difficult dynamic, isn’t it? The problem is that for things like fist-fights, the person who throws the first punch is the one considered to have started it. But for arguments, the person who speaks up to say “Actually….” in response to some utterance or other is all too often the one considered to have “started” it, since it’s not the expression of opinion but the expression of disagreement that signals the existence of conflict.

    The problem with being convinced that all you want to do is make the world better is that it makes it very easy to believe anyone who disagrees with you about anything wants to keep it bad, or make it worse.

    1. This is where a properly drawled “Really?” or even a mild snort can do wonders.

      Alternatively, express enthusiastic agreement and activate the reductio ad absurdum protocol.

      1. This works really well with female circles. Real life example:

        Sweet dotty hippy Ukranian-egg crafting teacher: Goes off on a tangent about how guns are bad. Mmhmm. Bad. Gotta get rid of those baby-killiin’ guns.

        Assorted moms and daughters in the class: General agreement-ish noises

        Me: innocently We should all get those big yellow signs and post them in our front windows: This is a gun free zone.

        Dippy hippy: That’s a great idea

        All the other moms: go quiet, Look at the clueless old hippy like the sweet clueless old hippy she is

        Subject changes.

    2. Actually, they have started some damnable ‘the person who throws the second punch starts the fight’ meme, my kids report.

      1. Well of course, the first punch is justifiable for some unknown micro-aggression the recipient of said punch said.
        Alternative, you might have to examine the race/gender victim ranking flowchart to determine if the first punch started it. Hint: If one of the parties is a white male, he is always guilty.

        1. It isn’t a fight until the target retaliates; up to then it is a simple beating. They’re cool with those.

          S’pose they gave a war and only one side came?

      2. I nominate anyone resharing this meme for tarring and feathering. It will help them man up.

      3. Well, now I really do feel old. And depressed.

        Still, Chesterton always reported his time as being beyond parody, so I suppose plus ca change, as they say.

      4. Teach your kids how to take down an adult fast and hard, then let the teachers know you have and that the kid has orders from you to do it if they lay a hand on him or her.

  11. “For instance, I’m sure some of you have seen, in the last few days, a link to our president saying that the Paris Climate Summit Will be a Powerful Rebuke to the Terrorists.”

    In fairness to El Presidente, I think the logic chain is a little different than what you said it was (and less self-loathing, although possibly more ridiculous).

    A. We were planning on having this summit before the attacks; B. ISIS wants to disrupt our normal activities; C. If we do the summit anyway, our normal activities will not be disrupted; D. Therefore, doing the summit will be a rebuke to ISIS.

    Personally speaking, this is about as powerful as the “they have guns, we have flowers,” thing. Good to keep up the morale of children, but not at all useful in dealing with the enemy.

    1. Unless your local desert is the one owned by the House of Saud, and even then if you know where to look, the desert is known to bloom at times, so they have guns AND flowers.

      Constraining yourself to just flowers in that case seems a bit … slow.

      1. Not to mention, Bob, that flowers have pistils!!!!111111!!!!!1 OMG!!!!111`1`1!! The HORROR!! The horror…

    2. And to your point here, I think the actual line of reasoning here on the part of the President was more like A) I want to have a climate summit; B) All I want to be talking about is my climate summit; C) I definitely dont want the subject changed, from what I want to be talking about, see A, above; D) Some pesky aides have somehow snuck past VJ while she was in the john and asked me if I wanted to delay the climate summit due to the recent terror attack by people of no particular religion; E) That’s not what I want, see A, above, so I’m going to go to my climate summit; and F) I will say I’m “winning” over these terrorists who are confusedly and incorrectly saying they are Muslims by doing what I wanted to do anyway, see A, above.

      1. I try to be charitable, when I can.
        And in this case, I can, because the charitable interpretation is truly horrifying in its implications regarding our current President’s level of cluelessness.

        1. Your logic chain is far to charitable. That it fits the situation is similar to a stopped clock being right two times a day.
          Personally, I think the ‘powerful rebuke’ is that Obama is planning to call them ‘poopy heads’ somewhere in the discussion. On the bright side, once the world is controlled by ISIS, the CO2 emissions will fall.

    3. If I understand recently intercepted White House emails correctly, the “powerful rebuke” argument is how the speechwriters found to express the actual response the president intended to make, which involved putting his hands over his ears and repeating “neener.” (I believe their argument relied on the difficulty of reading multiple neeners off a teleprompter.)

    4. I understand that der Leader had his mouthpiece Josh Ernest announce to the press corps that the Paris attacks was perfect justification for his pursuing serious gun control through executive action. At least he’s consistent. Never let a crisis go to waste. Always use it to justify doing what you wanted to do anyway.

      1. Is he thinking ‘even if I unshackle the officers, and bring in footsoldiers, Paris shows they won’t be successful unless I first disarm the locals’?

  12. Another option for turkeys: Preemptively raise the topic of Jeff the Bezos’ recent successful Blue Origin New Shepard test flight. Discussion on that topic is a great place to plant various seeds. Private Spaceflight is a wonderfully subversive topic.

  13. > a) there are no bad people

    Oh, he doesn’t believe that. Appalachian coal miners, rural Christian gun owners, anyone who makes “more than they need”, folks who “didn’t build that”, just to mention a few.

  14. Sarah, you may think me crazy (and I apologize in advance for possible whining), but I *wish* I had that problem.

    See, I was the guy who would volunteer to work holiday shifts (back when I was employed) specifically so I could get out of the Papa Raptor’s Side of the Family Holiday Gathering. As I said, politics was never brought up (in fact, it was verboten) because Grandma Raptor (aka “The Matriarch”) assumed that we were all still God-Fearing Christians and form our political views accordingly. That was probably one reason why my short story/novella disturbed her so much, but I digress. Instead of politics, we got the “annual casualty report,” as I’ve come to call it from The Matriarch, i.e. the list of who (usually her friends, occasionally a blood relative) had died, gotten sick, were/had been in the hospital, who’d had surgery/needed surgery, etc. ad nauseum. The Casualty Report was then followed by all of the family members taking turns reciting the list of things (not one thing, multiple things) that had happened to us over the last year that we were thankful for, and then occasionally The Matriarch would spice things up by asking everyone to give their Testimony as to their faith.

    Depression and mind-numbing boredom rolled into one. Fun for the whole family, right there. I am *so* glad we’ve moved to the other side of the state so we can (hopefully) avoid all that nonsense this year. And I admit that at each past gathering, I was tempted to “accidentally” let slip that I’m a proud gun owner and NRA member, just to liven things up (and to see the look on The Matriarch’s face). Never did it because of the very real concern that the end result of said “accidental” revelation would be The Matriarch suffering a stroke. Oh well, one can dream, I suppose.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of Mama Raptor’s family left with us, and those who are still with us live very far away. Though I doubt politics would really enter into the discussion much, as my aunt, uncle, and cousins are all pretty much exactly like me politically (rabidly conservative/libertarian), and any “discussions” would likely turn into a contest to see who could out-rant everyone else.

      1. Grandma Raptor, AKA the Matriarch is… I’m not really sure. Her family traces their line back to The Mayflower, so that’s a possibility, but I’m pretty sure she’s a Reformed Methodist. But whatever she is, she suffers from a severe case of The-World-Revolves-Around-Me-And-My-Views-Are-The-Correct-Views-itis. Kinda like an SJW, but without the whole secular liberal progressivism thing.

        Mama Raptor is an ex-Catholic (her words) who is the most exciting thing to happen to Papa Raptor’s family (The Matriarch is his mother) in at least a century (also her words, and *not* an exaggeration!)

        Mama Raptor loathes having to put up with The Matriarch, but she’s sort-of Besties with Papa Raptor’s brother’s widow (he passed away last year), and everybody loves the Elder Cousins, who are roughly my age. And FWIW, even Papa Raptor is rapidly approaching his wits end with The Matriarch’s BS.

        1. Just mention to her that you have to leave early to attend a Black Mass, and does she know where any virgins are locally.
          After her funeral, your family will thank you.

            1. You are not abiding by the secret gentleman’s agreement never to have anything in one’s mouth while reading at this or any other site where barflies post.

              *Swallows cornbread*

              Do you mean cookie batter, butter cookie, peanut butter, or peanut butter cookie batter?

              1. Gentleman’s agreement? There ain’t no steenking gentleman’s agreement! It’s just plain good sense, like using a hot-pad when pulling the turkey from the oven, feeding Fluffy from a minimum distance of twelve feet, not tugging on Superman’s cape, not spitting into the wind, not pulling the mask off that old Lone Ranger and not having unprotected intercourse with Charlie Sheen.

              2. No, I meant cookie butter. It’s the latest hotness from Trader Joe’s. It has the texture and consistency of peanut butter, but smells and tastes like cinnamon-sugar graham crackers. Kinda mediocre (I think) on its own or as a spread, but mixed in with ice cream (TJ’s sells it like that) it’s out of this world.

        2. “Kinda like an SJW, but without the whole secular liberal progressivism thing.”

          I don’t believe SJW is a kind of person (in the way that, say, SJWs Always Lie assumes). I think it’s a cultural niche where a certain kind of disordered personality finds a comfortable home. As a pastor’s kid growing up in extraordinarily conservative circles, I encountered the personality type completely unconnected to progressivism in a large number of instances. The behavior is the same — lying, doubling down, making things up, the relentless divide-and-conquer strategy applied to all your mutual friends, the blinkered devotion to Correct Ideology, all of it. Even the victimhood tactics — transposed into the key of “being deeply grieved” — make an appearance.

          1. Yeah, it clearly goes beyond calculation into questionable mental health.

            One could make an argument for an environment that induces such mental issues in the susceptible.

            Mental illness is more analog than digital. It is not a quantized state that toggles from nothing to everything with the flip of a bit. Choices and situations can mitigate or exacerbate things. These can move a person from functional to dysfunctional or vice versa.

            1. Exactly right. The extraordinary tolerance extended to SJWs in our society allows the personality disorder to bloom in ways that might not otherwise be possible. In any sane society, that personality disorder in full flower would render a person unemployable and friendless in short order. When it has ideological cover, though, it’s a whole different matter. People don’t know how to keep their ideological credentials and disapprove of the wickedness at the same time.

          2. VERY late to the party here (Happy Thanksgiving everyone) but the reason you may see this is because – having dealt with several Narcissists and cluster-B’s – the traits you see in SJW’s are mirrored a LOT in people with those disorders.

            Fundamentally, they never emotionally matured beyond “everything they needed to know they learned in kindergarten” (including “Teacher, MAKE Johnny share”). Nothing is their fault, anything that hurts feelings is bad.

  15. I did read one suggestion that whenever someone brings up a political topic, everyone else at the table starts yelling “Safe Space!”

    1. Buddies and I are having great fun on Facebook satirizing safe spaces and climate change-motivated terrorism. I may create a game with rankings and points for leveling the most ridiculous accusations of racism.

  16. I think you’re the lucky ones; you have Progressive relatives to argue with. My own families political sins go the other way. If the topic of refugees comes up this Thanksgiving (and I’m sure it will), “kill them all”. Black Lives Matter? “Kill them all”. College protesters… well, probably not capital, but I’m sure corporal punishment will be suggested.

    The problem isn’t that it’s so hard to disagree, especially when they’re only half-serious to begin with. The problem is the ideas are so _seductive_….

    1. Why are you so racist against my cultural heritage Bro?

      The whole reason we are in this mess in the first place is that we didn’t pull up trouble by the roots when it was just campus protests decades ago.

    2. I’m rather fond of making the college crowd clean out grease traps and competition meat-smoking rigs. By hand. With cold water and lye soap. It just might give them an appreciation for not wasting any more time on protesting and instead getting a degree (or trade) that will keep them from ever repeating the experience.

      1. “Gotta kill ’em all” can be a shorthand for “we are discouraged from discussing this, so I don’t have a pointer to a measured but adequate position”. Not all of us are Kratman, able to address these difficult questions in casual conversation with the rigor they deserve.

        There are apparently crazy extreme #BLM activists who claim that police intervention is inappropriate for some populations because policing is not in their blood. Mass murder and genocide are the common heritage of all extant mankind. I do not concede that blood works the way these activists claim, but if it did, it would only forbid policing, not genocidal mass murder. Most celebrities are afraid of being called racist, and do not denounce ‘blood is culture’ thinking in public. Hence there are few, if any, cultural touchstones for an American who instinctively recognizes the futility and racist evil of #BlackLivesMatter.

        Obama wants to and has released people from Gitmo who then continued to murder. His word about who violently opposes American interests is not reliable. Absent reliable information we can only speculate. Five million is around the maximum fatalities we could get from the current batch. I would be unlikely to be among those, but some of those here would be very likely.

        If the foreign policy part of government cannot be trusted to manage the risks from foreign populations crossing borders, then the native population will eventually respond or be destroyed. If the Feds, with all their fancy tools, will not keep out those who would mass murder ours, you and I are not as equipped to do a careful and discriminate job. If Obama makes a mess, The Nybbler isn’t going to be able to clean it up as nicely and as cheap as preventing it would have been.

        Kill ’em, Kill ’em,
        Gotta kill ’em all,
        gotta kill ’em all,
        Ref u gees!

  17. An excerpt from http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/11/thoughts-from-the-ammo-line-89.php

    “Fasten your seatbelts, you blithering idiots, grab your Play-Doh and plush toys, cuz it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. You useless teachers who spawned these Baby Brown Shirts are all fired. Your jobs will be posted tomorrow. From this day forward, only people who believe in academic freedom, free speech, free press and actual diversity of ideas will be hired. Sue me. I will drag out any litigation until the end of time. It will make the Mark Steyn/Michael ‘Hockey Stick’ Mann case, now in its fifth year, look like a New York minute.

    “Anyone who was yelling anti-white obscenities – which, by the way, absolutely is racist – at people trying to study in the library is hereby expelled.

    1. I understand that ‘pulling up trouble by the roots’ is a translation of the Chinese idiom for ‘nits make lice’. ‘Caedete eos’ is one of the bits of Latin that I’ve kept. I’m fond of the Riot Act, and sometimes feel it is a shame that the The Founders saw fit to exclude it from our great Republic.

      I think the WWII/Depression generation really dropped the ball in not putting certain Boomers to death. I very much dislike rioters. I think that if one is dealing with a group of people forcing their way across a national border, lethal force must be on the table, even if one doesn’t elect to use it.

      To address your point, a number of things we are seeing from students these days are reason to think that the people in question are absolutely not prepared for college.

        1. It thinks it knows what you want. Like the new versions of [OS] and [document-creation package], but WP is slightly less likely to make your lesson plans and novel-drafts disappear into the aether.

  18. “an award which, in the past, was often carried away by someone who got 80 votes.”

    Heck, here in Canada, our Aurora Awards received a grand total of 173 votes. In total. In a country of 20 million+.

  19. Fun response to this sort of stuff.

    There is a man known as ‘esr’. He is not a SJW, has long been involved in the creation of technical infrastructure, and says many things on the public record about a wide variety of topics.

    A ‘SJW hitjob’ style treatment could easily present him as problematically racist and homophobic.

    Two of his recent projects are a GPS thing for Google that apparently feeds into Google maps, and an update of NTP that could be on a router or server that this text is passing through.

    You can point out that internet usage involves associating with ESR, thereby one upping them, or accusing them of hypocrisy.

  20. My family didn’t have a big gathering on Thanksgiving, so it was more historic with religious overtones and a day off from school. Really, we concentrated on farm chores most holidays, particularly – no joke – Labor Day, when the hogs usually decided to tear out at the creek. My father and other self-employed men in the community made it a point to work on Independence Day, and more than one said “That’s how I declare my independence.” We usually had corn coming in about then, anyway, and we had to get that ready for the freezer.

    Our big get-togethers were at Christmas. Considering the size of the extended family, it was remarkable in that we all mostly agreed politically. The same in my wife’s family. The only exception was on the topic of space exploration and the economy, and given the two with contrary opinions were advanced in years, while some was said in rebuttal, out of respect for their ages it wasn’t turned into a big deal.

    I really don’t anticipate political comments that isn’t preaching to the choir. This is good, for if something off the wall came out of the mouth of the younger set, they risk being set down. Hard. There’s two former Marine sergeants in the family, and, except for respect due to age, no one else cuts much slack, either.

    1. Dad’s family were pretty much blue or pink collar, or had been trained white collar and forced to do blue collar (1932 was a bad year to graduate college with a degree in textile engineering). Mom’s family were oil patch, construction and contracting, phone company, and clerical work (the ladies). One aunt had been the senior secretary of the City of Houston. Great people with low tolerance for whining and laziness.

      1. I’ve noticed that people whose work *needs* results, accurate results, in a timely manner generally have a lower tolerance for male bovine excrement than the apparent mean…

      2. Great people with low tolerance for whining and laziness.

        People talk a lot about gravity but the simple truth is: the world sucks. Accept that and deal with it.

  21. That progressive utopia has changed a bit, since I was a kid, but they probably don’t notice that. For instance, it used to be about free love, and now it’s about free love if the woman wants it, and the right to call a man a rapist if she changes her mind afterwards.

    Oh heck, that wheel’s simply turned around. The late 19th century to early 20th century Progressives were essentially puritanical — they’re the ones who were behind banning alcohol and drugs, and raising the age of consent from early-teens to late-teens. They either didnt noticed or kind of liked the fact that by doing that, they were creating whole new classes of criminals.

    1. The Saloons were already crime ridden, because the market could not drink enough to keep all the ones they built in honest business. Some of the Dry stuff was because as the frontiers became settled, the women starting families wanted to put an end to the bachelor atmosphere.

    2. “they’re the ones who were behind banning alcohol and drugs, and raising the age of consent from early-teens to late-teens.”

      Can’t say as I have much trouble with that last.

  22. “And this is why you must talk and you must challenge, even crazy uncle Joe at the thanksgiving dinner. And if you can you must challenge the rots of the belief.” [emphasis added]

    Rarely does one see so apt a typo. 😉

  23. I’ve gotten seriously lucky in life. My family, the hubs’ family, and our son’s in-laws are all in political agreement. Though, over Thanksgiving the one family member who worked for DHS until recently retiring, about scared the snot out of me. We do avoid religion. I have ended up atheist (or at the very least agnostic). My family is devout Mormon. I got kicked out of the Church. Hey! I was young and stubborn. So much for it being a cult, though. Cults don’t throw you out. And the hubs’ family is Evangelical Christian. There have been tears (mine, mainly) and shouts and me threatening to never return because I get sick of being preached at. Therefore, religion is mainly off limits. At least, conversion is. My mother-in-law and I now debate politely and it’s gotten interesting, actually. I have one niece by marriage who was crazy liberal when we got her. I’ve turned her around . Well, really we’ve discovered through discussion and debate that she’s a lot like me. A social liberal and highly conservative financially with the added bonus of wanting the government out of her business. It’s really been much more pleasant and fun this way. Much fewer tears. 🙂

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