Your Lying Eyes

Years ago, when I joined my first writers group, I met a woman — probably younger than I’m now — who was writing HER book.  (Warning, almost all new writers have a book.  It is only when that one is finished and published that we feel we might have more. Of course, some don’t.  I’ve always been of the opinion that lady was one, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Being older than my at the time 30 years, and having more money — not exactly difficult, you know, since at the time we were living on rice and huge economy bags of frozen veggies and if we bought a paperback book we had to eat pancakes for a week — she had gone to Brazil to research her book.

And yet, there in the middle of the first chapter, she had someone call out “Mio Dios.”  I pointed out to her that was Spanish (and I think the order inverted to look like Portuguese.)  the Portuguese is eu instead of i in the words.  I grant you the pronunciation is similar.  eu would seem to be pronounced ew like io, but it’s not, it’s more like eh ooo. I could understand her saying that she heard it that way — which she did.  Your ear hears familiar sounds, when faced with unfamiliar ones — but she then went on to dispute with me that the words should NOT be written Meu Deus, because she had been in Brazil, and she’d HEARD it, and had I ever been in Brazil?

Think on this for a moment.  She was disputing with me the spelling — and ultimately the existence, since she really seemed to think it was a dialect of Spanish — of my native language, a language I had used both written and spoken for the first 22 years of my life. (And before anyone says anything stupid, yeah, I read books printed in Brazil, had an uncle and cousins there, and knew for a fact they didn’t spell it the Spanish way.)
But this writer had learned Spanish in school, it sounded like Spanish to her and THEREFORE it must be true and I must be wrong.

After all she’d spent a lot of money to go and research her book in its native land.

I was reminded of this recently while reading one of my favorite writers.  I’ve run out of his series I really like and the offshoot of that series too, and being slightly depressed (look, bub, if your plans for housing and what is going to happen in the next six months were changing as fast as mine, while packing keeps you from writing books that are not only overdue, but which WANT to be written, you’d be slightly depressed, too) I’m attracted to his work like moth to flame.  So I bought the first of his first series.

His character has been working in Portugal for years, in a small village in the south.  And the fisherman he works for is … Sanchez.

Later in the chapter he tells us the locals don’t accept strangers, but he must be wrong, since this person in their midst is obviously a Spaniard.

Or to put it another way, if I didn’t already love this writer’s works, the book would have been walled with force (walled in this case meaning to throw against the wall) and I’d never, ever, ever have read him again.  Because Sanchez is a name that doesn’t exist in Portuguese.

For various reasons I suspect he either visited Portugal or was in touch with a Portuguese colony in the US.  If the later, I suppose one of the people might have had a Spanish father.  Or they might have learned to write and spell their name the Spanish way, because it is what the locals EXPECT.

On the other hand if he went to Portugal and heard the nearest equivalent Sanches (pronounced Sanshesh), a relatively rare name, he would have to believe he was hearing Sanchez.  And after my first experience with an American writer hearing Portuguese, I’m willing to believe.

There are other, weirder misapprehensions of the culture. Later in a different writers’ group I ran into a woman who had also set her book in Brazil (maybe this was a trend) and in her book she killed all the men (with an engineered virus) to free all the women, because it was the only way to fix the culture and blah blah blah (rolls eyes.)

However the fascinating thing was a detail in her setup.  She was absolutely convinced that the women in Brazil only went to church because the men made them (being naturally pagan — giggle) and the idea was given her by her father who had lived in Brazil for some time.  I couldn’t convince her otherwise.  Men made the women go to church.  Without men the women were natural pagans.

While I will confess that at least the part of the for lack of a better word “woman culture” in Brazil that comes from Portugal (as opposed to from Africa, where I’m not on firm ground or from Italy which might or might not be like Portugal in this) would give a nervous breakdown any person not familiar with how schizophrenic traditional cultures can be, what the man thought he was seeing makes no sense whatsoever.

Yes, women in Brazil as in Portugal are the keepers of certain traditional knowledge which to the uninitiated might appearl “pagan” in the American sense.  It ranges from healing, which can run to brief incantations using fire or a knife (only for cold sores, I swear.  Well, at least it’s the only one I know) to various rituals to appease wild spirits (putting Maias — a wild yellow flower — on all of your house openings the first of May, say) or performing the proper rites for the dead, before or after the church gets involved.  However this is not viewed as a religion or even a separate tradition.  It is treated as “practical knowledge you don’t need to bother learned people with.”  It comes from the same school of thought which until recently put spiderwebs on wounds to staunch bleeding, a practice it turns out works.

This is completely independent from religion.  Religion in almost any Latin country (I think.  Though it might be different in those converted by Spaniards in fire and blood) is the province of women.  Women tend to attend church life long, while the only men you tend to find in church are very young and very old.  A family who loses their mother often stops attending church.  Women tend to chase the men around and make them dress properly for church.

But from this, somehow, this American man intuited “women go to church because the men make them.”

If you look at the framework he brought to the situation, this makes perfect sense.  He knew — like any protestant in the twentieth century — that the Catholic church oppresses women, so therefore they must not like it.  And then he must have seen enough hints of practices that protestant ministers in northern European countries are rather more vigorous about stopping than the Catholic church, which tends to turn a blind eye (these days) if its nose is not rubbed in it.  Ergo, presto, the women were pagans, kept reluctant prisoners by the Catholic faith.  It fit his preconceptions, it made “sense” and therefore it was.  I’m going to guess he wasn’t close enough to any Brazilian family to watch mom chase the guys around and line them up for church every morning, or even herd them out the door like ducklings.

Btw, that sight would have gone a long way to disabuse his daughter of the idea that anything wrong with a Latin culture could be fixed by killing all the men.  Mostly what is wrong with Latin cultures is wrong with the POLITICAL culture, and I’m not sure how that would get fixed.  But as in any culture, mothers are the first exposure of the children to what you do and what you fail to do.  And when there is blatant sexism (eh.  In American terms all Latin cultures are sexist.  They still work fairly well, provided you don’t happen to be an outlier as a woman who really wants to compete with the men.  Yeah, these days women work (thanks to high taxation) but few really try to compete, even when they can) it is transmitted by the women first.  Even in the Arab world it has been said that to get rid of the idea women are somewhere between second class humans and objects, you need not get rid of the men, but of the mothers in law, aka the matriarchs who finally rule the household and who will both do anything and everything to keep their daughters in law in check and to dish out a measure of what THEY got from their mothers in law.

This is not the post for this — or perhaps it is – but having been deformed by generations of “feminist” culture, American women (and men!) tend to only see power in masculine terms.  I ran into this once at a con panel in which women were talking about “powerful women” of the past and everyone they brought up was a woman who had functioned as a man, be it Elizabeth I or Catherine the Great.  There were no mentions of people like Isabella of Castille who could lead armies, yes, but whose very real power was in the children she raised and seeded around Europe.  (Same for Victoria, of course.)  No, their idea of a powerful woman was someone who had more or less buried her feminine nature in order to function as a man manque, in a man’s world.  (While to me those women, even the ones I admire for what they accomplished, are always a little sad.)

However most college educated American women can’t even PERCEIVE female power, no matter how real.  And it is very real.  I don’t come from a household like that.  Dad never used (well, now he does, as in the last phone call, but that is because he wanted an excuse to call) “You’re worrying your mother.”  Much less did he ever use “You’re breaking your mother’s heart.”  Mom is an outlier too, and if you broke her heart you’d learn it from her first, as she broke your head with the nearest object.

BUT my grandmother was the matriarch of the family, and though I don’t remember anyone EVER saying “you’re going to break your grandmother’s heart” I really tried very hard not to.  (And did, inevitably, when I married and moved away.)

And I can’t think of any of my generation who wouldn’t rather saw off their own legs with a butter knife than DISAPPOINT grandma.  (A hard bar, as she was infinitely forgiving, but possible.)  The fear of disappointing us kept us, no matter how eccentric (raises hand) within the bounds of acceptable public behavior for the culture, and even managed to get me to learn at least some embroidery and crochet.

That is power.  And for a strong and determined woman, it can be immense power.  In almost every culture (even in the US where it works) it is women who hold the family together and who, for lack of a better word, set a “tone” for it.  And the tone can make all the difference in terms of success not only for the parents but for the children as well.

However this immense female power — the ability to be the glue that holds civilization — is quite lost on the eye trained on the ideas of STATE power and of societal forms.

Powerful women who are powerful AS WOMEN and not as men manque are invisible to feminists, just like that troublesome final s of Portuguese (almost always pronounced sh) is inaudible to ears trained in Spanish in the US.  And just like the real structure of a society is invisible to those trained to expect something.

When we get people here who describe the last eight years as an halcyon epoch of peace and prosperity, it is easy to roll our eyes. I mean, fast and furious, Benghazi, racial tensions, drones, our troops involved in more and more tenuously connected ventures.  And as for prosperity — yeah, most of us have not gone more than a few months without being worried sick about job/money/ability to make it in the last eight years.

But I’m going to guess these people are in protected areas of the economy, perhaps the only growth one — government — and read and believe mostly the mainstream press which, like Germany’s, has proven it is far more bound to the government (at least a leftist government) than we ever believed.

In other words, they had the framework set up to interpret what they saw as peace and prosperity, and so they do, by ignoring all disparate information.  (Easier if you live in a bubble.)

They can’t believe their lying eyes, because their eyes are literally lying: spectacled with expectations they formed before they ever looked.

This is extremely hard to keep out of science even with committed and impartial scientists, and without taking in account funding and what strange opinions would do to your grants.  And scientists TRY to stay objective.

How much harder is it for those of us who are not scientists and who are trying to understand the entire panoply of human endeavor, where results are often unclear?

The only guide I can give you is to note and pick at the inconsistencies.  And assume no source is above reproach or too vetted to fail.  I remember reading a book on the post war period in England and finding, in the same chapter, that they talked about how poor the working class was, how industrialization had made it poorer, and then lamented that the working class had now so much money they were building over old estates and buying household machinery like vacuums.

It is amazing the writers’ head didn’t explode, but then I expect she had been exceedingly well schooled in Marxism which has somehow always retained the idea that industrialization is bad for workers (an idea belied by the industrialization we see in developing countries, but they refuse to see that) and in romanticism, where rapid building and electrical stuff in the house is always a blight.  She was seeing the world through two contradictory frames and didn’t even notice it.

So, to see clearly, pick at inconsistencies, try to find primary sources and, most of all, never trust your mind.

Stay awake.

290 responses to “Your Lying Eyes

  1. Did insomnia get me first place?

  2. I don’t think it is just in the Latin Catholic areas where women run the church. My experience (with the UK Church of England and Methodists and Russian & Greek Orthodox) is that the real power in every parish is actually the club of little old ladies who do the flowers make the tea at the end of the service etc. etc. Priests may come and go (and frequently do), but the little old ladies remain and will make life a living hell for any new priest who doesn’t listen to them

    • this. Except possibly in the most dour of protestant sects. I didn’t speak to that because I didn’t know if it was STILL true, but in Christie, for sure, the Anglican church is run by parish ladies.

      • It is. At least the UK parishes I’m aware of are.

      • Even in the Presbyterians… who are not called “God’s frozen chosen” for nothing. One of the major power houses is the Presbyterian Women’s Association. And the preachers’ and decons’ wives were all hugely important to the proper running of the church and really kept things running. (I was raised Presbyterian.) The bigger the church the more they had to do.

        • Methodists too. The UMW is a force to be reckoned with. I’ve seen pictures of the ladies’ lunch brigade from the 1930s and 1940s. Formidable is just the start, but in a very proper, ladylike way. (I think those fox collars were part of it, but I could be wrong.)

          • That is why the ladies’ national organization money confiscated by the national Episcopalian organization, this last year or so. (Yeah, I follow Midwest Conservative Journal, where Episcopal stuff is a topic.)

        • LOL. I never heard that one. The Presbyterian Church USA in Colorado Springs voted to change to a new breakaway denomination because of all the, you know. Not just gay ministers, as the paper said, but refusing to send official military chaplains (they expect the conservative USA s to take care of the whole thing and pay for it themselves) and extreme antisemitic anti Israeli boycotts.

        • Southern Baptist as well.

      • I think that your idiot’s father had most likely never attended a church, Protestant or Catholic, in the US or Brazil. What you describe is not a Catholic phenomenon, it is a Human phenomenon. It is often women who make their menfolk attend church, not the other way around. Possibly less prevalent in the US, but in every church I’ve ever attended, there are more women and kids than men, and the majority of the men are husbands. And a fair number of those husbands would attend less regularly, if at all, if it wasn’t for their wives.

        • Reality Observer

          Actually, except for things like sports event and poker nights – my experience is that it is the women that make their men attend.

          Even those… The spouse reports that many of her (female) acquaintances are “Thank God! They’re not messing up my house. And I can take a nice long bath in peace and quiet!”

          • My father’s synagogue (which admittedly might have been an outlier due to my Mother’s death He never remarried.) seemed to always have more men in attendance than women. Sabbath morning and holiday services had a number of women attending. However daily morning and evening services were men only. I think men had the time to attend services before and after work. It was also the place men went to schmooze with their fellows.
            Considering the workload women have (even with modern tech) they’d stay home and enjoy a break (if everything was running smoothly.)

            • I think that may be a question of who has the duty to attend.

            • There’s actually a specific reason for that. The timebound mitzvot, including the obligation to pray morning, afternoon, and evening, are binding for men only (which is why they’re the ones in shul then). As one rabbi explained it to me, men’s lives are more amenable to scheduling, because how do you schedule when you toddler scrapes his knee or the baby needs feeding? Women’s work is considered to be too important and to immediately necessary to be interrupted by things like scheduled prayer.

              The other side of this is that, since the women don’t come, it’s a way for men to get in some schmoozing with their buddies without having to worry about their wives.

          • Absolutely true. Left to their own devices, the men would be spending their Sundays fishing, or bowling, or golfing, or playing softball, or some other activity that, unlike church, allows beer drinking and telling dirty jokes.

            • I remember a guy I worked with telling me how flabbergasted he was when as an exchange student to Germany he attended his first church potluck. Here in the US kegs of beer are not the norm at church social events. 🙂

              • Depends on the parish and the insurance. We used to have alcoholic slushes, although sometimes you had to go over to the rectory kitchen across the parking lot to collect. The parish usually served white and red wine at any functions big enough to move over to the school gym, but you only got coffee if it was in the church basement.

        • “It is often women who make their menfolk attend church, not the other way around.” This is why I don’t mind that all of the “positions of leadership” in my church are held by men. In fact (contrary to the opinions of my younger self), I want that. Otherwise, the women would take over, and the men would go fishing. 🙂

            • My father’s synagogue was the men’s clubhouse. It was where they interacted with each other for all kinds of reasons. Also it had women & girls sitting separately from men and boys. I know that it’s unfashionable to say it but… it’s good for men and women to have times and places that are exclusively for men or women. You also need times and places that are integrated as well. Men and women are different but complementary.

        • Not sure it’s a human thing, but it is a Christian one– didn’t some barbarians have hissies about Christianity being a “woman’s religion.” (Which it is… sort of. Takes the best of both male and female and urges people to form themselves into the best they can be. That means that a man will be taking on “female” attributes.)

      • In the Catholic and Lutheran churches around here the power of the parish definitely lives in the women. Most of the Baptist churches as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more of a human condition rather than just a religious one, the women being the primary caregivers and running the day to day household business.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Interesting side note.

          In one of the Foundation Stories, Isaac Asimov had a problem.

          He had to kill a scholar before the scholar revealed the secret of the Second Foundation to the Mule.

          Within the Jewish culture that Isaac grew up in, scholars were highly regarded as to kill a scholar *because* of his knowledge was almost sinful.

          But in that same Jewish culture, the housewife was the protector of the “culture” so Isaac had a housewife kill the scholar. 😀

        • Re the Catholic church here, based on a lifetime of association to varying degrees therewith: Oh yeah, definitely, no question, any parish is run by the women. In fact with the priest shortages of late, nowadays parishes often share a priest across 3-5 parishes – sort of a circuit-riding priest concept – so the locals shoulder even more of the administrative load that in the past the priest(s) (when I was a kid the local parish had three priests plus two nuns to run religious instruction programs) handled.

          Since I hear from Protestant and Jewish friends much the same thing about Who Runs Things, the only place of worship I’ve got no data on would be the mosques.

          I wonder if that writer’s family had actually ever set foot in any place of worship other than for weddings and funerals.

          • Reality Observer

            Hum. My local parish has four, sometimes five priests.

            Of course, that is because the Monsignor is the premier trainer for “newbies” before they are given their own parish.

            • Before we moved my Mom back down here, her “local” parish priest up in the gold country covered something like 240 road miles in the loop across “his” three rural parishes.

              And they had to import him from Sri Lanka.

              I guess parish priest is another of the jobs ‘murricans won’t do.

              • Reality Observer

                Could even be one he has trained (or rather, “finished”). I don’t recall a Sri Lankan; most have been from Mexico or points farther south – but we have had a couple of Filipinos and one from South Africa (of the darker persuasion).

                I don’t go often enough to know who all has been through this parish, they usually only have six to nine months before they are shoved out of the nest (I’m the sole Heathen of the household).

                Of course, in this Diocese, I have noticed that – if they are not Hispanic, just about every one of the older priests is Irish (born and bred).

                • Yep – the last priest that was full time at my Mom’s old parish retired back to Ireland.

                • We had a lot of American priests, even the Spanish-speaking ones, because I grew up in one of those satellite/circuit parishes someone mentioned; about half of the ones that spoke Spanish were from the US, the others were probably from Mexico.

                  The only times someone wasn’t “new” to either the US or the priesthood, it was because they’d pissed someone off or because they were sent there to die. Got one really good, young priest who was quite faithful. (He then pissed off the people with money, because he was Catholic, not “Spirit of Vatican II.” But we did get one.)
                  Could’ve knocked me over with a feather when we moved to the Damp Side and the Hippy Priest gave an honest-to-God pro-life homily! He ACTUALLY MENTIONED ABORTION IS EVIL! The father that got moved just mentioned that chain divorce isn’t awesome; I believe he got booted over to a different bishop’s command.

                  My mom’s childhood parish was and is the place for problem priests– during the 60s and 70s, it was the guys who were old-style. (She once went to confession while home from college and ended up getting drunk with the priest. Really did get her head on straight, and I am probably only around because of it– she was burning herself out and set to spiral into a really dark place, and he pulled her out. With the water of life in two forms.)
                  Now it’s the place where they dump guys like the African priest who expects to get everything for free, and holds grudges and/or blows off the concept of paperwork. (My daughter was four before she got baptized, because her godparents are in that parish and had just recently not given him several thousands of dollars in photography services for free when I was trying to get the papers in order for her baptism.)

                  The two parishes I know fairly well that have a lot of problem priests and aren’t very orthodox have to import a lot of priests and are dying, because…well, of the dozen or so guys in my youth group, maybe four still practice and it’s more in spite than due to our involvement; the ones like our current one have a lot of citizen immigrants and a lot of vocations.

          • Since I hear from Protestant and Jewish friends much the same thing about Who Runs Things…

            I’ve actually never noticed such a pattern. The synagogues I’ve gone to are all very much mens’ spaces; women generally come only for Sabbath morning services (or even just for the kiddush brunch afterwards).

            This dynamic might perhaps—I’m guessing here—be different in smaller communities: given the size of the NYC Jewish population, and the number of synagogues here, the synagogue is an adjunct to the community rather than the center of it.

            • Exactly!

            • There is an actual issue with the legal obligation of prayer as it is parsed in traditional (Normative Rabbinic) Judaism: men are obligated to pray 3 times a day, and preferably with a quorum of other men while women are supposed to pray once a day and don’t need the quorum. Generations of pious women have interpreted this as a chance to sleep in on saturday morning, and what’s wrong with that?

              (Please do not jump on me if this differs from you heard/learned/did at home! There are entire libraries on the subject and ranges of practise; the above is, as I said, the standard traditional/Orthodox practise).

        • It may not apply to Japanese religions, simply because there aren’t really parishes or services or things like that really. Though there are buddhist nuns and shinto priestesses so maybe that’s how the female influence happens

          • Yeah. You still get people trying to claim that Christians ought to worship on Saturday — Sunday worship being a relic of imitating pagan sun worshipers — when in reality pagans of that era didn’t have weekly worship.

            • As I understand it, in Rome, worship was what priests did (for the major gods, at least), and one gave them a donation so that they could continue keeping the city in the gods’ favour.

              • Oh, you honored the gods on the festivals and your lares and penates regularly, but nothing on a weekly basis.

            • Wait, what?

              Sunday worship is an explicit product of the Jewish calendar as the Cruxifiction was the day before the Sabath which is why Christ’s body wasn’t completely prepared. The first to know he had risen were the Holy Spice bearers going to the Tomb on Sunday morning to finish annointing the body, work they could not do as he was cut down at nightfall on Friday as Sabath had begun.

              As the Ressurection was first known on Sunday we worship on Sunday in celelbration of the Ressurection.

              This is almost as stupid as that Istar = Easter meme going around.

            • Speaking of sun worshippers, when I entered the Naval Academy, weekly worship service attendance was still mandatory, which is why I was much amused by a Reader’s Digest “Campus Comedy” anecdote. At some civilian university that required students attend worship service, one smart guy decided he’d skip the Christian services by claiming to be a sun worshipper. He was therefore chagrinned to be awoken before dawn by a staffer with, “The Dean’s compliments, and he expects to see you celebrating the sunrise daily.”

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard


              • I presume there Jewish services available.

                • Oh yes. I read an essay once by the son of a rabbi, about the cadets from the Academy marching over every week.

                • There were. The Catholics and Protestants had to form up and march to the chapel for the corresponding services, but the Jewish students had a room on an upper floor near the Rotunda in Bancroft Hall, IIRC.

                  Marching to services (and mandatory worship service attendance) stopped after my first year because of a Supreme Court decision. We all presumed that the Academy held out as long as it did because the formation marching provided one more show for tourists.

      • LDS women run a lot too. The men have the priesthood offices, so outsiders tend to assume that it’s oppressive to women, but…we do much of the work and have a lot of the influence. I think it’s probably a lot like Catholicism, really. Church ladies: more powerful than you think.

        • Sara the Red

          As anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an aggressively organized Relief Society service project can attest…

          True, it does depend on how motivated your local RS presidency is…but if sufficiently motivated, these are Women Who Get Things Done, and usually without anything but a faint “Okay, you go right ahead” nod from the nominal priesthood leaders.

      • In the episcopal church it was a little different, because the vestry who hired the priest and did the budget was mostly men. But the altar guild (all women) was very powerful and the order of deaconesses (like nuns) was also influential.

    • Wearing the Cape references the heroine’s mother having “broken” the two prior priests at the Catholic Church they all attend.

    • It’s a pretty similar case with the Mormons too. If you want something done thoroughly right, give it to the Relief Society.

    • And even in the Orthodox Church, the Priest’s wife:
      A) has to agree to his ordination before he can be ordained
      B) Is actually a title role in the church
      C) ends up largely being in charge of managing the parish while the priest is serving the liturgy.

      The Matushka is rather important to the smooth functioning of the parish.

  3. I think the “lying eyes” syndrome is kind of a reverse Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (The Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is defined as when you realize that the news are talking complete tosh about a subject you know well but you then believe them when they cover some other subject that you have no inside knowledge of).

    It seems to me that there are a lot of people who, once they have been taught that X is true, get all upset when they are challenged on it and even go so far as to discount the evidence. I think this is a major reason why we’re seeing such a disconnect between “liberal” and “conservative” viewpoints in the US today. Neither side can remove their initial assumptions and so they end up arguing past each other and get all upset when the other side doesn’t understand why they are wrong.

    • The difference mostly being that reality is “conservative”.

      • I don’t know it’s so much that reality is “conservative” as the media and entertainment are predominantly liberal.

        One of the reasons I suspect conservatives and libertarians in experiments are more able to demonstrate understanding the liberal point of view is that we are unable to escape it, because we see it every day. As the media fractures and conservatives turn more and more to conservative media, this will unfortunately change.

        • I think there’s another reason as well: it seems that liberalism is the “default” position, so most people who become conservative and/or libertarian do so because they study the issues, come across weird political tracts and books, and decide for themselves, often after much soul-searching, that conservatism and libertarianism is the way to go.

          As a result of the process, conservatives and libertarians become well-acquainted with all three modes of thought…meanwhile, liberals are often lucky if they understand their own mode of thought.

          (And yes, having conservatism as a “default” for value will likely change this…and this won’t necessarily be good, because it’s important to be able to explain *why* conservatism and libertarianism works better than liberalism…)

    • I didn’t know the term for that. Thanks. I’ve been talking about it for years, but it’s hard to look things up by definitions.

    • I think it’s false consciousness. What Marxists accuse us of, is what they actually suffer. Projection all the way down, as per usual.

    • For the progressives / Marxists / SJW types, politics is their religion. In fact, it is the worst kind of religion: the kind with a hell but no heaven.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        They believe we can be governed by angels, and they think they’re the angels . . .

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Now that you mention it, I’m a little reminded of the ‘punish the weak’ ‘angels’ from In Nomine.

          In Nomine classified Angels in Choirs and Demons in Bands. There was one band whose gimmick was their certainty that God’s plan for them was what they were inclined to do anyway.

        • Or, as was once said about the French, they believe that God created the Progressives AFTER He created the angels — to perfect the design.

    • It has a proper name? Cool. I have seen it mentioned as “wikipedia effect”, but that’s ambiguous.

  4. floridaeditor

    It is hard to do anything but watch these days because nothing makes sense and I can’t predict a single thing.

  5. I went round and round with a woman in my writing group who was convinced beyond all reasoning that women in the US were essentially third-class citizens before getting the right to vote in the early 20th century – no right in law, no rights in power, no political, social or economic power/rights at all. A proposition so stupid that only someone completely ignorant of 19th century US history could believe. But she did. II brought up names of successful woman entrepreneurs, social justice campaigners, widows who controlled multi-million dollar companies who had been left that power by the husbands who trusted them implicitly … we went round and round on this, and she flat-out refused to credit any of it. The indoctrination had been that strong, I knew my stuff on this, because its the world that most of my books are set in … but I might just as well have been talking to a brick wall.

    • ” but I might just as well have been talking to a brick wall.”

      Possibly beating your head against her would have been effective?

    • The worst part about this is how it creates a backlash where people accept the implicit premises of the argument while taking the opposite side. Thus, instead of calling out the third wave feminists for their horrible treatment of women, or Black Lives Matter for their blatant racism, they decide that to be racist or sexist (as the other side defines it) is good. It’s like watching Don Quixote tilt at windmills and deciding to take the side of the giants.

    • If women prior to the 19th amendment were without power/rights, the 19th amendment would not exist. Women were those who organized and campaigned for it. Probably more important, though, women were those who influenced/persuaded the men to support it. Indirect power is still power — often more powerful than the ‘official’ kind.

      • That was exactly one of the points that I was trying to put across to her – that women had an enormous amount of social and economic power at that time, and many of them exercised it very well and in some localities actually did have the franchise …but she adamantly, almost frantically insisted otherwise.

        • Florence King writes about the American South as a matriarchy.

          • SheSellsSeashells

            And I have known Each and Every One of the assorted matriarchs she described. My paternal grandmother fell squarely on the oh-God-it’s-her side of the spectrum.

        • Did she give you any reason why besides because?

          • Nope …just pleaded her own experience growing up in some jerkwater village which wasn’t even in the US, The ignorance was of such adamantine density that I eventually gave up, having as I do a real life and books to write and all,

        • The territory of Utah gave women the right to vote in 1870, a full fifty years before the 19th amendment. (Wyoming had it in 1869) Then, when Congress revoked it in 1887, the women of Utah organized to restore it to the State constitution in 1895.

          • The Other Sean

            IIRC, in New Jersey women had the right to vote during the late 18th and early 19th century. Quaker influence early on. Continuing immigration eradicated that influence and women in NJ lost the right to vote around 1808.

      • Turbo Beholder (@TBeholder)

        But of course. That’s the socialists for you. All rights flow from the Big Brother.

    • Hells Bells. It was hard enough to de-program the “history” my oldest got taught in 6th grade about that time on that very subject. Luckily my grandmother (born 1910) was still alive and was able to back me up from what she learned from her grandparents.

    • Madam C. J. Walker was a black woman in that era and a self-made millionaire.

    • Turbo Beholder (@TBeholder)

      Old good “if the theory disagrees with the facts, so much the worse for facts”? :]

  6. My first trip abroad was to Brazil, and I learned some Portuguese along the way. I’ve run into the same sort of mistake. A friend who knows some Spanish refused to believe me when I said the Portuguese word for “south” is “sul” and not whatever it is in Spanish. She also thought I should have tried paella when I was there, and when I responded that their national dish is feijoada, she pretended she hadn’t heard.

    There was also a student film club at the college where my wife teaches that kept advertising some foreign films they planned to show. One of them was from Brazil, but the title was in Spanish. I did a little research on the Internet and found its original title, which of course was in Portuguese. I sent them an email wondering why they weren’t using the original title, and while I never got a response, I noticed that in their next mass email they had dropped that film from their list.

    • There’s a Seventies movie by a Communist director called “Burn!” It’s set in the nineteenth century Caribbeans and was originally called “Quemada” which seems to be Spanish for burned, but Franco persuaded the Communist director and the studio to call it “Queimada,” which seems to be Portuguese for burned, because the Portuguese movie market is small enough to be safely pooped upon. So the Portuguese villains and the innocent black folk all speak some kind of Spanish, Marlon Brando plays the American adventurer William Walker, who never to my knowledge fought in the Caribbeans, but he’s Sir William Walker and a British nobleman, because the Commies were after the Brits at the moment, and the British are trying to take the islands away from their friends the Portuguese, who never had any island colonies in the Caribbean… it’s an unholy mess because the director and writer had no respect for facts and history, they thought they could do Che in the 1900s without doing any research.

    • Just point out that they have the neocolonialist worldview typical of most ignorant Ugly Americans, and watch heads go ‘pop’.
      If you really want to get nasty, lecture them in that patronizing, condescending, SJW kind of tone about how the ignorant can lump certain languages and cultures together because of ignorance.

  7. I’m sure you’re familiar with the idiom es ist mir Spansche, which is German for It’s Greek to me. (There’s a joke in there somewhere.)

    • I don’t know about a joke, but there’s a graph in there.

      • Should I find it funny that the Chinese equivalent for incomprehensible is “heavenly script”?

        All I can find myself thinking is, “Oh, so that’s what the Celestial Bureaucracy writes in.”

      • and that leads to an interesting wander where i find that the Indonesian equivalent is ‘other planet language’- i.e. alien language.

    • Somewhere I came across a list of various language’s criteria of incomprehensibility, which commonly resolved to greek, hebrew, or chinese.

      Near the bottom of the list was greek, which resolved to “you’re preaching a turkish sermon”. That seemed to imply more than difficulty of understanding, with a disinclination to even want to understand as the cherry on top.

      • Follow the link Wheels provided above and read through the comments – lots of input from native speakers. And yes, Chinese seems to be up top. I especially like the German one along the lines of “All I got from that was ‘Train Station'” (“Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof”).

  8. Out of curiosity, how well does De Camp manage to avoid Spanish-isms in the Portuguese sprinkled throughout the Viagens series?

  9. Amusingly “Mio Dios” has a meaning in Portuguese. It means: I meow Dios. :0) Mio being a form of the verb miar, to meow. The cat in Portuguese makes a miau sound, which sounds a bit like meow. :0)

    Rui Jorge

  10. I grew up in Quebec and there was definitely a matriarchal command and control happening. The women ran things. The limits and source was biology.

    A couple amusing anecdotes. I was involved in building maintenance at the local RCMP detachment. It was a regional headquarters, so on the second floor were detectives who were not in uniform. Often I would show up and be buttonholes by two or three big lads, over 6 foot usually with a ballistic vest asking in a quiet voice if I could make it cooler. Then a small, barely 5 foot and barely 100lbs women would come out, the guys would scatter and I would get a dressing down for even entertaining the thought that I would set it cooler. She ran those guys with an iron fist, probably had to. They were all well raised by strong mothers and would dare push back, at least not openly. These were (are) all great people with a hard job they did very well.

    Another is a local plumbing and heating shop. Friends all of them, one of the owners daughter ran the office. These places are pure mayhem, big strong guys working hard and this diminutive woman running the place. It was funny to see one of the guys, proud capable come out of the office after a dressing down for missing some piece of paper.

    None of this was guile or sexual in any way, simply a woman exercising authority well. I suspect and in some cases know that the men were well raised by strong women.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      One of the many reasons I love Bujold: she is aware that there is more than one kind of (personal but especially female) power and portrays them all. I want to be Lady Alys when I grow up.

      • The strongest human muscle is the female index finger. It can get heavy loads lifted just by pointing at a male.

        • Lois told a story about her daughter, who was at a blacksmith’s convention and was twitted by someone asking how she moved an anvil. Sometime later, she had recruited two hefty male helpers to carry hers. As they sailed past the skeptic, she called back, “that’s how *I* move an anvil !”.

        • Didn’t one of RAH’s characters say some thing to the effect of when she wanted something lifted she used the strongest muscles available usually male, but then her strongest muscle was dedicated to the pleasure of men, nobles oblige.

  11. the blindness of our enlightened ruling class is mind boggling. This weekend, two Conservatives were blaming working class people for waht’s happening.
    I’m sorry, but blaming the VICTIM doesn’t wash even if you write for the National Review.

    • No, that’s not actually what they were doing. They were pointing out the depth of social pathology among “white trash” (which now compares to that among inner-city blacks) and attacking the Trump-favored fallacy of lumping those people into the same white-identity-politics category as hard-working responsible folks.

      • Well, having watching such pathologies excused and subsidied among inner-city blacks for two generations is it any surprise to see them wanting the same excuses and subsidies?

        The left has long wanted whites to have a racial identity and they are surprised that having started to get it the identity isn’t built on white guilt.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Well, skin color isn’t going to make me care more for the methies than I do for the stoners and the PCP junkies.

          • Maybe, but as skin color becomes more and more the key to advancement, which is what the leftists are striving for, it will.

            At some point if everyone in the band is playing rock-and-roll and you’re a jazz musician you either change or you find a new band.

            The left has succeeded more than anyone (including them) suspected in making race THE factor in society (welll, maybe not as well as Obama wanted but still) and now we’re all about to pay the bill.

            If and when the time comes (and after Friday I suspect it may come this year) I’ll take motorheads and stoners who are on my side in the fighting than reasonable men who are trying to kill me.

    • The dysfunctional communities that guy is describing are not “working class.”

      If someone’s being racial, they’re “white trash;” if someone’s trying to identify the group, it’s the “welfare class.” They’ve been around since at least the 90s, I know first hand– and people were trying to roll them in with the work-for-a-living that don’t make much THEN, too.

      Thomas Sowel wrote a book on it, from the direction of the “ghetto culture” not being a black thing:

      (Note: I can’t stand Williamson; he’s got a nasty habit of– fittingly enough for today’s article– shooting off at the mouth about stuff without bothering to do the freaking research, and has that nasty big-l-Libertarian habit of trying to fit the facts into his theory of how it’s SUPPOSED to work, and to heck with anybody who points out that the situation is different, or that history matters.)

      • Those dysfunctional communities WERE working class, not so long ago. I haven’t quite figured out if it was deliberate or not, but it seems to me that there is a big push by the power elites to squeeze the people that actually do things and make the country work.
        The dumping of so many on disability is apart of that.

        • John, they’re so maleducated they don’t get what makes the country work.

          • And the taxpayers pay for that maleducation , one way or another. Yet ANOTHER dysfunctional economy post in the works. I’m going to have to put the whole thing into a book. It’s mostly going to be editing at this point.

        • Only if by “not so long ago” you mean “at least a generation back”– and even then, that’s identifying the communities strictly by geography, since people do escape that kind of dysfunction. (See also, blacks fleeing the “urban black” neighborhoods.)

          That first article is right to look to the 60s, but wrong to think there’s some sort of control involved– this is what happens when you destroy families. If there’s enough money, or enough of some other resources like family, you can deal with the fruits of the sexual revolution without taking too much harm; if you don’t have those, say if it was used up saving your parents….

          And the idea that someone PUT a ton of people on disability? Oh my stars and garters, there are people HERE who know how hard it is to get on disability, in part because of the vast numbers of the Entitlement Class that are trying to game it, and attempts to prevent the same.

          Pretending that the “white underclass” is some sort of bunch of victims– and not even in the crab-bucket sense, but them thar big bad boogie men– is as much nonsense as the “black underclass” being poor widdle victims.

          It’s dehumanizing, and it denies responsibility, and it’s frankly insulting to those folks who are actually victims that got pushed into that– not because of some big bad, but because of enabling behavior that promotes it.

          There are things the government could do, in cutting down regulations to make it easier to actually do things, but that wouldn’t magically make the group disappear, since the way both articles are set up they ignore those folks who get pulled out, by themselves or others.

        • Here’s somebody folks here might know who is in the middle of trying to get disability; tell him how it’s something that people are just “put” on.

          • Foxfier, you’re barking up the wrong tree. It is both. I do know people on disability for virtually no reason, and seriously injured people having trouble getting it. Mostly it’s “do you know how to game the system?”

            • BINGO!

              That’s exactly why my eyebrows hit orbit at the idea of people being just “placed” on it, the poor victims.

            • That’s why disability approval is a big law practice.

            • Sarah, my mother as a teacher was routinely hit on by parents wanting to get her to declare their kids learning disabled so they could get SSI disability for them. They called it “crazy money.”

  12. I confess I made a mistake early in my primary series of books – calling a Japanese fellow Santos instead of Santo… I have no idea what scribbled note led to this mistake but at this point I have to live with it or create an even bigger storm of outrage by changing it. Series sell well, but you do have to live with your earlier mistakes. There are ten thousand people just waiting to catch every one.
    On men and religion.
    I remember driving through Quebec all the men were sitting in pickup trucks outside the church waiting for their wives and mothers to come out.
    I see this as the failure of the church to retain secular powers.
    Religion used to be the basis of royal power. Kings rules by the Grace of God. The Church had their own troops and their own tax, often more effective than any king or prince.
    Now men regard religion as the province of women – and it is a notch lower in the power structure for that regard. Religion doesn’t have the respect it used to have for good reason. They can’t reach out and touch you like they used to be able to do. Only a few communities like the Amish can shun you or cut off your ability to do business in the larger community – although I’ve heard it’s tough to do business in Utah without being a Mormon. Still it’s not like Europe in the middle ages where you could be burned at the stake for disrespecting the church.
    I can only see this increasing because the last link to political power – being able to deliver up votes from their congregation is vanishing.
    When I see a church sponsoring a politician from their pulpit all I see now is a church whoring for the secular power.

    • I confess I made a mistake early in my primary series of books – calling a Japanese fellow Santos instead of Santo… I have no idea what scribbled note led to this mistake but at this point I have to live with it or create an even bigger storm of outrage by changing it.

      Could always be put down to “someone way back when screwed it up” and ignored; I’ve found out that the great aunt that my daughter is sort-of named for spelled her name several different ways in a pattern I can’t figure out. I’m guessing it had to do with who she was dealing with, but not sure, and it’s far enough back that it’s not like I can check her birth certificate as any kind of authority.

    • Actually,you are wrong. When it was dangerous and against the law to attend Catholic Mass in Ireland, men were the majority attendees and watchmen against the authorities. (Although certainly the women went in droves.) When they moved to the US where Mass was legal, they tended to slope off and go to Mass from outside church, where they could smoke and hang out.

      Organizations like the Knights of Columbus or the Holy Name Society were great for giving men a continuing group campaign to participate in, which allowed them to be leaders and defenders, and also got them enthusiastically going to church.

  13. This is what gets my goat on Global Warming (sorry, ‘Climate Change’). There are those who say, “The Science is Settled.” First, no, it isn’t, or we wouldn’t even be having a dispute on the subject. Second, if science is ‘settled’ it’s not science, it’s dogma. The very essence of science is questioning.

    But G*d help you if you question the narrative when your funding depends on toeing the accepted line.

    • We Gorebull Warming Heretics need to stick together.

    • “But G*d help you if you question the narrative when your funding depends on toeing the accepted line.”

      The funding isn’t really the issue. It’s part of it, no question, because everyone needs to attend conferences and pay their grad students, but the truth is that scientists aren’t really in it to get rich.

      No, where the corruption really shows up in Climate Science is the fact that the rabid warmers have captured the editorial positions on all the major journals. Research that doesn’t at least tip its hat to the assumption that we have serious AGW simply doesn’t get published in high impact journals. That also means that the “peers” asked to review climate papers are also rabid warmers, and the cycle continues.

      • More Leftist “long march through the institutions”.

      • but the truth is that scientists aren’t really in it to get rich.

        Maybe not to get rich… but I imagine the job security of continued funding is nice.

        • Maybe not to get rich… but I imagine the job security of continued funding is nice.
          Indeed. If you’re entire research field is based on there being some kind of a problem, it’s rather hard to stand up and say “hang on chaps I think that everything will be fine after all”. You’re out of a job and you’ve earned the hatred of all your peers that you also put out of a job.

        • This ^ . Which ties very closely to the peer review process, as well.

          • People act as though peer review means a paper is TRUTH!. What it really means is that the paper is worth arguing over as opposed to dismissing out of hand.

            • I had to drop a philosophy class during my abortive University career. Part of the reason was I got my mind blown when I was told an argument could be ‘valid’ while being completely wrong.

              • Was this a class in logic because that would make sense.

                If you start with a set of premises you can make logical deductions from them that are formally correct. However, if the premises are wrong then the deductions, while formally correct or to use your term valid, would still be wrong.

                The ability to understand this is key to modern mathermatics because the willingness to accept wrong premises (such as the negative of Euclid’s Parallel Postulate) and follow the logical deductions has been key to many new, and often useful, branches of mathematics.

                It is also important as it demonstrates that truth is more powerful than proof, something us moderns too often forget.

                It is also why mathematicians will never say Y is true but only if X is true then Y is true or “if we assume X to be true”.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Just what I was thinking. The Logic was valid but the premises could be wrong.

              • Of course it can be valid but wrong. That’s when you have to go after the premises.

            • At best. What it really means, often times, is, “Two of my friends thought it was okay.”

    • They can’t believe their lying eyes, because their eyes are literally lying: spectacled with expectations they formed before they ever looked.

      This is extremely hard to keep out of science even with committed and impartial scientists, and without taking in account funding and what strange opinions would do to your grants. And scientists TRY to stay objective.

      Richard Feynman gave a speech on “Cargo Cult Science” in which he made this very point: that real scientists have to go to great and painstaking lengths not to fool themselves. What the most vocal and influential AGW folks do is advocacy, not science.

  14. Some years ago, I read a poem – I believe it was by Kipling, but a cursory web search didn’t find it – in which a young girl, probably about 16, was lamenting her youth and wishing she was older. The situation was that she was at a British outpost, and all the young lieutenants were paying court to the colonel’s wife, because she could make or break their careers, thus leaving the young woman without any male attention of her own.

  15. Woefully off-topic (or *should* be…):

    * Looks at empty whiskey bottle. *

    Anyone care to recommend a good (doesn’t need to be great) bourbon? I’ve nothing against Beam, but it seems I need something better for a julep, so.. I ask.. nevermind the Derby, this election sobriety might be a luxury.

    Perhaps we should form the Centaur Party.
    Slogan: “Well, if you’re gonna elect a horse’s *** anyway…”
    And I hear centaurs really party. }:o)

    • Maker’s Mark. After that we hit the ones that are too pricey for me so I can’t speak to them.

    • I don’t really drink, but my husband is partial to Bulleit Bourbon.

    • AugustFalcon

      Another vote for Maker’s Mark. A little upscale from that is Knob Creek. And, finally, further upstream, and my current favorite, Jefferson’s Ocean (very small batch). They put the barrels on a ship, and, if the card on my current bottle from voyage number four can be believed it crossed the equator 4 times, stopping at 5 continents and over 30 ports! Tastes really good from all the sloshing around in the barrels at sea.

  16. Just last night had a funny discussion with a guy who was recounting a run in he had with a union truck driver on a picket line in San Francisco. He happened to know all about how this particular company did its distribution, so when the picketer told him he needed higher wages because of the cost of living in San Francisco, he pointed out that the distribution center was in Tracy (60 miles away, in the Central Valley), which (at the time) had MUCH lower cost of living. Wouldn’t the drivers live there? The picketer admitted he lived in Tracy. The $75K he earned was way (at the time – this was a few years back) more than the household average for that area, and plenty enough to live pretty good. Then the picketer started in on how hard it was to make all those stops – but it turned out he was a yard driver (a donkey? a mule? I forget what they call those) who spent all day just moving trucks around on the lot – he never ran deliveries, and was just in San Francisco for the picketing.

    And on it went – the guy’s complaints had nothing to do with his actual life, but everything to do with sticking it to the man or whatever it is they were picketing for at the moment.

    The fellow I was talking to said that, after the discussion, he crossed the line, went into the store and bought what he came for, and walked right out past the fuming but now silent picketer.

    • “but it turned out he was a yard driver (a donkey? a mule? I forget what they call those) who spent all day just moving trucks around on the lot –”

      Yard dog

  17. There are two things I see that shock me among folks who don’t have that protective bubble, but still think that the economy is in recovery, and doing so much better now than it was in the Bush (II) years. This in spite of watching people struggle to keep their cars running, scraping about for work, and launch online funding campaigns to pay for medical issues.

    The other is that white males are pissed because they’re losing their favored status and seeing their power usurped by minorities. If we had white folks picketing outside factories as minority workers walked through to do the jobs the white folks once had, I’d agree with this. But where we’ve seen such things has been in the white-collar office complexes ( not the blue-collar factories. In fact, all the data I’ve seen says that minorities have had it worse the last 6 years than whites have.

    It boggles the mind.

  18. Jews as well – the rabbi may be powerful in religious communities, but the real power lies with the rebbitzin.

  19. Mostly what is wrong with Latin cultures is wrong with the POLITICAL culture, and I’m not sure how that would get fixed.

    Mostly what is wrong with ANY culture right now is the POLITICAL culture. Even when most directly appears to be the religious culture it is in a tradition where the religious and political culture are functioning as one and the same.

    (Although it could be argued that there is an inversion where, in some areas the political culture is the religion … and this, too, is a major problem.)

  20. Brings to mind the old saying: there’s no difference between the lie you will believe … and the truth you won’t.

    Seen a lot of this with books and writing. Sometimes I could almost swear that people take another old phrase “write what you know” as some sort of determinate law, turning it into “write what you know, and only what you know, after all, you’re an expert on every subject.” Which then doubles down with a personal refusal to A) do research or B) accept research even when it is sought out. I’ve seen writers ask someone educated in something for knowledge on a topic, only to the contradict the knowledge the individuals asked present to them. Because at the end of it all they weren’t looking for research, they just wanted reinforcement of their own, incorrect, perceptions.

    I don’t think this is unique to writers or authors alone. But it does seem to me that it comes up more often, as normally when someone is ignorant (often willfully so) about a topic, their chances to spread that ignorance are slim. But put a person in front a of a keyboard and convince them that they’re the greatest expert on a topic that ever lived, and suddenly they have a vast audience for their ignorance, and their “knowledge” (or lack of it) becomes all the more apparent.

  21. Ignoring what’s before one’s eyes. Reminds me of the South Pacific song, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”. Taught to hate others, in that song; taught to Not See, here.

  22. richardmcenroe

    Primary sources? That’s Wikipedia and AlexJones, right

  23. However most college educated American women can’t even PERCEIVE female power, no matter how real.

    Yes, this.

    How really and truly sad this is. To perceive so little about how people relate to one another. To think so little of oneself.

    And damaging to society as well.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Thinking back to my childhood, I was never completely sure which of my parents “had the most power” in my family.

      Of course Dad (who I never saw as weak) joked that Men were the Head of the House and Women were the Neck that turned the Head. 😀

      Oh, my sister and I knew better than to attempt to play Mom and Dad against each other.

      While we might ask Dad first because we thought Mom would say no, but Heaven Help Us if we lied when Dad asked “Have you asked your mother”. 😈

      • I guess my father was the head of the household. basically, because if he made a decision, that was it, while he might overrule mom once in a great while.

        On the other hand, mom made nearly twice what he did so that he could keep his “feel good” job, working for the YMCA, and she was the one who decided how the weekly budget was spent.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          As an adult, I think Dad may have had the final say but I know that Mom’s input in that final say was important to Dad.

          A little story about Mom & Dad.

          After I had to move back in with them, I asked Dad about getting another dog.

          Dad’s comment was that Mom didn’t want any more pets and that was the “end of the discussion”.

          Some time later, Mom saw this two-year old female beagle at our mall.

          Our local Humane Society was showing some of the dogs & cats they had for adoption.

          Mom fell in love this beagle and couldn’t stop talking about her to me.

          When I asked Mom “why don’t you get her”, Mom’s comment was that she didn’t think Dad wanted another pet. 😀

          Well, remember the earlier conversation with Dad, I strongly suggested that Mom talk with Dad about adopting the beagle.

          Well, Mom did and that’s how Lilly enter the life of the Howard family.

          Mom & Dad are gone, but Lilly still lives with me. 🙂

      • I’ve seen people on milblogs refer to their wives as “Household 6″… meaning the wife is in command.

    • They can’t see Female power because they’re too busy denying it as they search for that ephemeral Masculine power to appropriate.

  24. Lutheran congregation/church I grew up in is no more. They got a new (very new) pastor who decided he would do the weekly bulletins instead of the 30 year+ secretary, told the choir director what music to use, the altar guild how to run…people up and went to a sister church. and he got told he couldn’t have another parish for several years. I think it was dissing the secretary (yes, a woman) that started the ball rolling, as it were…

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Got thinking about my parents and remembered a story some of the men of my Church told about my “sweet Mother”.

      For some reason, Mom had gotten keys to the Church that she shouldn’t have gotten (or at least she wasn’t then in a position that required her to have them).

      The way they told the story was that nobody wanted to ask Mom for the keys back.

      Yes, my Mom was a nice Lady but she could be very stubborn. 🙂

      I could say it came from her being a school teacher but she might have had that stubbornness before that. 🙂

    • sounds like a total idiot.

  25. And that should have gone further up the chain….sigh

  26. Wiping out those of us cursed with the Y-chromosome seems to be a preoccupation with the ‘speculative fiction’ crowd of a certain stripe. Male and female writers both.

    Bonus points for bringing a couple of those obsolete, retrograde specimens from an earlier era to the female utopia, demonstrating how much better everything is without men, and banishing the Y-cursed back to extinction. From that stereotypical short story of the astronauts in stasis (remember reading it, but can’t remember the title) to that stupid Outer Limits episode.

    For sheer orneriness I’m thinking somebody should write a gender-swapped version of the classic story: an all-male civilization finds some cryo-pods with women in them, who then proceed to wreak havoc among a bunch of men who’ve had heretofore no experience with the female gender. Straight out of MGTOW stereotypes.

    And so the men come to the conclusion that such a dangerous influence can’t be unleashed on civilization, so they…

    …and you know what? I can’t conceive of male characters being able to take any extreme steps (though I imagine a feminist writer would have no problem conceiving of such masculine monstrosity). I imagine one of the female characters would have to implement the program – and probably wind up a matriarch afterward.

    • Ethan of Athos,? (Bujold)

      • Nah, the unpalatable political incorrectness would come with an all-male society that functioned smoothly and harmoniously.

        • Athos was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. There all types of living arrangements etc. As a matter of fact at the end of the story Ethan learns and appreciates the value of women.

      • Reality Observer

        My thought, too – but there was no sequel to explore how Athos got turned upside down. Only the one representative of it – which was pretty good, actually.

        • Well. it was, what, 200 years from Falling Free to Diplomatic Immunity? I would expect a postquel (Is that a word?), if any, to be set a couple of centuries past the Miles Vorkosigan era. After all, Rome wasn’t burnt in a day, and it should take a while for something as subtle as a single gene complex to make great change in society. Especially at a ‘natural’ reproduction rate.

          It would be interesting to see what Bujold does with a planetful of telepathic people. If they can avoid the Cetagandans’ attention that long . . .

    • The backstory of The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal by Cordwainer Smith is close but not quite there.

      • I did something similar also in a short story, the title of which evades me right now, because I’m packing and short on coffee.

      • There are stories I read in my first assault on SF that I don’t remember, stories I remember some of, and stories that I could all but recite from memory after fifty years. “The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal” is one of the last.

    • Sounds like Vandread, until the invasion of the body harvesting aliens hit.

    • Or a story where those few men from the past totally upset the not at all well functioning matriarchy, in the ending several women escape with the men and start a colony somewhere, and that colony starts to do soo much better… 🙂

    • I was going to start a thread too on this premise. “What is it about feminist writers that they so often fantasize about the elimination of men?” One of those stories is on my list of Three Stories That Made Me Give Up Asimov’s” (I really need to write that one).

    • I might angry or maybe even hate a particular man. But to plan to kill off 1/2 the human race? The human race is designed for two complementary genders. Having just one doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Both genders are necessary for society to continue. It’s like cutting off one of your hands and saying you don’t need two hands. Those women who hate men so much should start a convent or something. I don’t think that they just hate men. They hate everybody including themselves.

  27. “Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.” — Robert Conquest

    “Everyone is conservative about what he thinks he knows best.” — Me

    “Most people are willing to give up their prejudices…once they’ve had them tattooed on their heads with a blunt instrument.” — Keith Laumer, through his character Jame Retief

    “But don’t fifty consecutive tails mean a head is bound to come up?” — a student of mine long, long ago.

    • Fifty consecutive heads doesn’t mean a tails is bound to come up, but it may imply the coin is loaded.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Or if the fifty heads were done by the same person, it could mean that the person has “tricky hands”.

        IE he knows how to manipulate the coin. :twisted”

  28. > I ran into this once at a con panel in which women were talking about “powerful women” of the past and everyone they brought up was a woman who had functioned as a man, be it Elizabeth I or Catherine the Great. There were no mentions of people like Isabella of Castille who could lead armies, yes, but whose very real power was in the children she raised and seeded around Europe. (Same for Victoria, of course.) No, their idea of a powerful woman was someone who had more or less buried her feminine nature in order to function as a man manque, in a man’s world. (While to me those women, even the ones I admire for what they accomplished, are always a little sad.)

    So well put! I try to say this all the time, but you said it better. Would you mind if I reposted this on my blog some Wednesday (as a Guest blog by you. )?

  29. Reality Observer

    Just a question.. What do you do with the new “writer” that, at last count, has twenty-six books in him? (About three novels drafted – now, if only there were more than two chapters in sequence. Sigh…)

  30. Bjorn Hasseler


  31. Ahh, yes the moral authority of the matriarch of the clan. I remember when my brother visited my 90 year old grandmother to help with chores around the house. He stayed for dinner and said the prayer despite being an agnostic/deist/anti Mormon church because Grandma was staring him down over the meal.

  32. I’m actually reminded of that one scene from “Honey, I Blew up the Baby” were the mother is explaining why she is the one who needs to be upsized to deal with the rampaging titanic toddler.

    As I recall, the line went something along the lines of “Daddy means play. Mommy means business.” “Yes dear.”

  33. Because “Woman Power” is so ubiquitous, so pervasive through our culture it can be very difficult to detect. We have no American mothers telling their sons “With your shield or on it” but that is the merest of examples of the nature of power wielded by women in even the most martial of cultures.

    Wielded well and wisely, women’s is the power to make boys into men*, giving them cause to accept responsibility, eschew wandering, become fathers, sacrifice for those they love. While this is a power that can be employed by men (in limited circumstances) it is women that generally provide the glue that holds families together, that distinguishes them from gangs.

    Women tend to be far more competitive than men, fighting to the knife where men would stop at first blood. It may be to protect society from the destructive force of women’s ruthless competition that so many cultures insulate them from direct exercise of power — society’s that fail to do so tend to self-destruct.

    *Not like that, you low-minded wretches.

    • The female of the species is more deadly than the male . . .

    • “*Not only like that, you low-minded wretches.”

      FTFY. Necessary, yes, but not sufficient. Unfortunately, current feminazis don’t recognize the necessity, with predictable results.

  34. here were no mentions of people like Isabella of Castille who could lead armies, yes, but whose very real power was in the children she raised and seeded around Europe. (Same for Victoria, of course.) No, their idea of a powerful woman was someone who had more or less buried her feminine nature in order to function as a man manque, in a man’s world. (While to me those women, even the ones I admire for what they accomplished, are always a little sad.)

    However most college educated American women can’t even PERCEIVE female power, no matter how real. And it is very real.
    “In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!’
    She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illumined her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
    ‘I pass the test,’ she said. ‘I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.

    There’s a reason they think Tolkien didn’t have any powerful women. 😦
    Female power isn’t obvious, but it’s not the nasty, manipulative junk, either.

    Mostly, it’s the power of love, and friendship, and caring, and sacrifice…..

    • families are built upon the bones of the mother. Without her families are just not the same. They might even die or splinter.

    • And by the time they butchered “the Hobbit” on screen, we wind up with Superfluous Love Interest Warrior Elf chick shoehorned in to pad the already bloated films.

      • My mom is an original Tolkien geek.

        They watched The Hobbit a few weeks ago….so I got a ten PM text saying “…this movie really doesn’t have much to do with the book, does it?”

        I’ll take the animated one with disco music, thanks.

      • Viggio (or whatever his real name is, he’s Strider to me) got major props in my book when he refused to be in the movies on account of his character either being a kid or not being born, can’t remember which.

        • If only Orlando had done the same. One gets the feeling that there was a strong element of Just Didn’t Care going on, mixed with lots of Executive Meddling. One can imagine poor Peter Jackson getting calls from various higher-ups: “Bring Orlando back? Yeah, sure, whatever… Add a Superfluous Love Interest Warrior Elf chick? Why not… Stretch the thing to three movies? Please God, kill me now.”

          • The word is that Peter thought up splitting the second Hobbit movie into two all by himself, but the studio wouldn’t sign off until the first one made money.

            Given his other stuff really hasn’t made very much money at all (cough [King Kong] cough), you can see why he’d want to make three withdrawls from The dragon’s hoard instead of just two.

            • Well, there could have been some interesting stuff done with Hobbit-era Legolas. The problem is that Jackson likes filming his wife and her friend’s fanfic, but not Tolkien’s actual text.

  35. Two random thoughts: “pagan” seems to be the gut reaction of folks who grew up in churches that had all the tradition and history removed, and maybe the reason they can’t recognize female power is because their MO would get gutted if they accepted social influence from the family, rather than their current leader.

  36. > She was disputing with me the spelling […] of my native language, a language I had used both written and spoken for the first 22 years of my life.
    Isn’t it always…
    Speaking of languages, the traditional Russian response is (verbatim) “it’s better visible to you from the cellar”.
    I’m sure equivalents can be adapted to other languages as demand arises.
    Though shrug + sigh + eye-roll combo is universal. 😉

  37. I think women running a church is rather universal, at least in my experience. My sister-in-law has the theory that God made men “in charge” because otherwise they would never attend at all. And even though they might have the titles and positions, we all know who really runs the show in any house of worship.

    • Cincan must be Baptist. All the committee heads are women. All the work is done by the women. But all the ‘leadership’ positions are men. The congregation is about 50/50 male to female. But look at a church with women deacons and a woman in the pulpit – men are few and far between in the pews.

  38. women in religion:

    The college I have an associates degree from was murdered in its centennial year, because the Methodist women’s organization that was in many ways running it refused to let the college (and the national organization supposedly superior to their group) sell to the state that was more than willing to take it over and turn it into part of the state community and technical college system. They even interfered with the accreditation of the school so that it wouldn’t be a functioning school (but then, so did the pro-state faction, thinking that it would force them to sell, but the women’s group was intent on burning all their bridges).

  39. > However most college educated American women can’t even PERCEIVE female power, no matter how real.
    Goes back to late XIX Europe. Kipling’s “One View of the Question” runs over one of these (starts with “Now this is a tale but two days old”).

  40. > In other words, they had the framework set up to interpret what they saw as peace and prosperity, and so they do, by ignoring all disparate information.
    It’s classics. There even was one rather famous lady who upon being informed that her people has no bread to eat, answered “let them eat cake”. I have heard this one didn’t end well, however.

  41. This reminds me of certain feminist writers of Medieval stories who seem to think that Christianity spread as quickly as it did in spite of women not because of them. It never occurs to them that women and slaves in Pagan cultures actually became Christian by choice, not because they were guilted into it by missionaries or forced into it by conquerors. And that they were the ones who converted the men more than vice-versa. Because for these writers paganism was this kind of love and peace sexual free-for-all, not, you know, a means through which powerful people dominated the weak through superstition.

    • Why is sex considered the end all and be all for people? Almost necessary as food and water. I don’t get. Sex is fine and even great in its time and place but…there are more important things. Some people think of it as a cure all.

      • The Other Sean

        Maybe they’ve been told to go F’ off or to go F’ themselves so often they think its important? 😛

      • Sex= love. And it’s the only love they’ll recognize, just like they won’t recognize female power. I don’t really know why.

        I do know I’ve run into a lot of women that have a hard-core hatred of the movie Frozen, and if you talk to them long enough you’ll suddenly realize they take it as a personal attack. They think Elsa should have stopped at the point where she was singing her Villain Song, and that the love-of-family-is-really-love-too, self-sacrifice theme is a comment on their choices.

    • The first Deacons of the Christian Church in Rome were women because women ran and ruled the households where the covert assemblies took place.

      • Bjorn Hasseler

        Do you have a cite for that? We know Phoebe was the courier who delivered the letter.

        • You have now asked for a dissertation….

          There originally seem to have been several kinds of places where early Christians met. Some were the houses of middle-class Jewish businesspeople or Godfearer proselytes, much as one might have a place to have a minyan or a group that met outside synagogue time. Some were the sort of club banquet facilities where local pagan groups or burial societies rented space for banquets. Occasionally you got a convert with big money, as seems to have happened a lot in Rome as time went on, so you had more house room for a church, but the other important factor was that the family with money also had an estate and burial ground outside the city in the country. These became gathering places for memorial Masses and martyr “birthdays” (dies natalis: the day you died was the day you were born into heaven). But it took a while to get such members. In Rome early on, a lot of early Christians seem to have sold themselves into slavery to support church charity funds (it is mentioned in The Shepherd of Hermas, for example), which would not have happened if a bunch of rich ladies were around.

          Deacons in early Christianity were in charge of charitable works, yes. But they also were “the feet of the Church” in other ways, because they did a lot of the “running around” at Mass and liturgies for the bishop, and later, for priests, when presbyters were given the power to say Mass.

          Deaconesses were usually either older ladies or were the wives or mothers of deacons. They had a prominent seat in the women’s seating area, and were responsible for running the parish orphanage, distributing support money to widows and virgins whom men could not reputably visit, and handling the dressing and undressing of women at Baptisms. Sometimes they also helped run parish guesthouses or hospitals.

          Occasionally you get hints that in heretical groups, they sometimes “ordained” deaconesses instead if blessing or consecrating them. But the fun for women in a heretical group was being a prophetess who got possessed, or a priestess performing occult rites, or having lots of sex with the rest of the group.

          Anyhow, there are not many stories of women whose houses became tituli churches (or men, either) having had any official position. In early Rome, a deacon was somebody who was a wanted man and a target. You wanted your rich members to be able to help, not be in prison or executed. They did get martyred, but not as deacon’s or deaconesses.

          • I forgot to say that Pliny the Younger mentions deaconesses in his letter to the emperor about prosecuting Christians. The ones he tortured were all elderly slavewomen.

          • Bjorn Hasseler

            Thank you. It sounded like you were saying at first that women were deacons as opposed to deaconesses, in which case I’d’ve wanted to go read the source.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              IIRC the Greek has the same term for “Deacon” and “Deaconess”.

              Some New Testament translations use a different (ie lesser) word when the translator knows the person was female.

              IE Same Greek word but different English word for a woman instead of the same English word for both men and women.

              Note, I think some of Saint Paul’s comments on “women in the church” were intended for wives of male believers where the wives weren’t believers.

              IE The women didn’t know what was going on and were asking their husbands about “what was going on”. 😉

              • Bjorn Hasseler

                The only use of diakonos I can find where the word is specifically applied to a woman is Phoebe in Romans 16:1. Those English translations use the same “lesser” word servant when Paul is applying diakonos to himself, too – 1 Corinthians 3:5-6, Ephesians 3:7. May we agree that Paul was not a deacon in the sense of holding the specific office?

        • My cite, such as it is, was a PBS series on Christianity aired in the 90’s.

    • Turbo Beholder (@TBeholder)

      >that women and slaves in Pagan cultures actually became Christian by choice, not because they were guilted into it by missionaries or forced into it by conquerors.
      Could and did go either way. Circumstances differed, missionaries differed, even conquerors differed – and the local adherents differed most. In many places it was like in Portugal, while in others it was scorched earth, with whatever previous culture mostly wiped out.
      Which returns us to the theme via two examples: there was Mieszko I “Tanglefoot” of Poland and then there was Olga of Kiev “Regina Rugorum” the next street…

  42. So I was being sexist when I saddled my kids with the (middle) names Elizabeth and Catherine? Honestly, I just wanted someone I could point to and tell my girls, See her? She took no crap. You shouldn’t either.

    The little one would conduct battles with my plastic army men while wearing a princess dress and tiara, so maybe they took the wrong lesson.

  43. You have to wonder what the denial of female power is doing to the western world.

    • Empowering it. Denial means that they can also play the damsel in distress.

      Remember, the objections to Irene Gallo’s inflammatory slander was to describe it as mobbing a helpless woman.