A Game Of Mirrors – A Blast From The Past From February 2015

*Hugo Season is here again, and the cry of the butthurt is heard in the land.  I don’t have time to deal with it, so nip on over to the inestimable Nicki Kenyon’s blog for … well, blunt opinions, language, and some criticism of a sometime beloved science fiction author and a never loved science fiction poseur and some totally unwarranted insults to a fermented body secretion. Given what’s going on, it’s time to rerun the post below.*

A Game Of Mirrors – A Blast From The Past From February 2015

I remember a more innocent time when we watched Law and Order AND didn’t snert behind our hands at “Ripped from the headlines.”

Now we don’t watch it, but my eyes on twitter has been branching out, and he told me their gamer gate episode was about how all these guys were upset at there being a female game developer, so they kidnapped her and raped and stuff.


How can they even? I mean, the worst PROVEN thing that happened to one of the SJW shills in gamergate was that someone wished she would kill herself, which she helpfully translated as “death threats.”

And Dan works in software and has for 30 years (though now the software has a math component at last) and the only time he hasn’t had a colleague who is in the same profession in his office and is female is for the last three years, and that’s because there’s only two developers. (They do have a female co-worker, but she does non-software stuff.)

Now, I know software isn’t the same as game design and gaming, but I’d be willing to bet there’s a massive overlap/similarity of conditions.

Female developers isn’t even a surprise. There might be fewer than men (not where my husband has worked, but hey) but not many fewer and they run the gamut. From what I understand, there are fewer in game development but if they are true geeks, they’re not only accepted but lionized. (I’ve experienced a similar effect as a space/science fiction true geek, (meaning I spaz on the concepts/science, not the feels) a community in which females are pretty scarce. Let me tell you, once a guy realizes I really am interested in space travel, it doesn’t matter how ignorant I am (and I am.) All their lives women have looked at them quizzically over this obsession. Finding out a woman shares it brings forth their very best.)

Besides, though I admittedly am not a gamer, I have skimmed enough articles to know that the problem here is not that WOMEN are writing anything, it is that there was suspicion of corruption in game journalism which happened to involve women. And also, as the catfight extended, that some gamers disliked a certain type of games they felt were getting unfair good reviews. Is that true? Don’t know. However, judging from the arguments the other side put out “games shouldn’t be fun” and “escapism is bad for you” I’d say whether journalists were corrupted by coochy or not, they’ve been corrupted by the same sort of “fake promise of prestige” that has seduced science fiction reviewers. In other words, they’ve become convinced of the rather juvenile idea that the purpose of entertainment (which is ultimately what science fiction and games are) shouldn’t be fun, but should be a lever for “changing society.”

And then I started thinking of other “moral panics” driven by the media (and they never tell you they were driven by the media, no matter what basis there was or wasn’t for things.)

Take the militia panic of the nineties. Every TV show, every conspiracy, the answer was “militias.”

There never was any real basis for it. Sure, there were crazy people. Fundamentalist cults. White supremacists hiding out in the country.

There always are. This is a very large country. There were even militias. We know. We were friends with a guy who was in one. He owned a large amount of guns and so did his friends. On the weekend they engaged in healthy exercise and shooting up targets.

Were they a menace to the government? Not any legitimate government. Not even Clinton. They were however concerned with the direction of the government expansion and they were survivalists preparing in the eventuality the S would hit the fan.

So, how to spin an entire moral panic out of this?

Well, you see, the media was guilty. To wit they were guilty of covering up for Clinton when his attorney general caused the death of the Korresh cult and when his ATF killed a family of white supremacists. [It has been pointed out to me Ruby Ridge happened under George H. W. Bush.  I checked and this is true. [And not a surprise.  H.W. or his son for that matter, were not exactly anti-statists] It is interesting in my mind I remember it as happening later, under Clinton. Now, I got my news at the time from TV and the papers.  It tells you something that when I heard a lot about it was under Clinton, to justify crackdowns on “militias.” The murders might have happened earlier, but the full court press was under Clinton.]

I’m not saying, understand, either of those sets of people were good people, but they were the victims here, not the perpetrators.

In this country there are always crazy people doing crazy things. There are very few crazy things anyone deserves to die for.

But under Clinton this stuff happened, and the only way to deflect it was for the press to go on an almighty panic about “militias.” Until people forgot what the question is.

Or take the “satanic child abuse” panic of the eighties. If you hear the media talk about it now, this was the result of some fundamentalist parents going crazy and stuff. (Rolls eyes.)

In fact I was there and lived through it. I remember the TV programs filled with speculation, when they weren’t trotting out psychologist-abused children to babble lurid details. I remember newspaper articles going on and on about ZOMG satanic cults, their history, etc. For pages and pages, and pages.

I don’t remember any PROGRAMS on it, but then back in the eighties I was new in the country and the shows Dan and I watched were mostly vintage star trek and old sitcoms. There probably were some, though. These things always seem to be a coordinated effort between news and entertainment, one winding the other up.

Anyway, just from the headlines/tv programs, one would be excused in thinking that every daycare was a danger. So everyday parents who had to work and put kids in daycare worried. As they should have, given the barrage of “truthful” and “respectable” sources claiming this.

The truth behind it was a little more complex, and has been swept very deep indeed. I don’t know how many of you even remember this, because possibly you might have needed to be in the circles I was at the time (mostly my brother’s circles, which were hippie/ex-hippie/avant guarde. I mean, in my teens we watched an Ingmar Bergman film cycle in the smallest theater in town. You know what I mean.)

There was a very hip, very transgressive, very intellectual and credited in intellectual circles, idea that children were (and should be) inherently sexual with adults, and that to withhold sex from them retarded their development and trampled their rights. (Now my brother’s circle – at least to my knowledge – never engaged in the active side of this, not being thus inclined. One of the fondest memories of my childhood was going to the beach at eight with a group of ten or so long haired (male) hippie freaks, and – since we couldn’t afford a changing booth and they just wore their swim trunks under their clothes – having them form a circle facing outwards, so I could use the center of the circle to change in.)

I heard an echo of that in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s testimony. It was clear she’d heard this theory and internalized it, which caused her to buy the excuses of her pedophile husband. Science fiction writers – and readers – being Odd are capable of convincing themselves of the strangest things. As in “you have to be very smart/an intellectual to believe that utter bullsh*t.”

And I can’t tell you this for sure, because a) I was very young. b) there was no alternative media and this stuff has been pretty thoroughly memory-holed, though you can sometimes find echoes of it, particularly in European stuff, but I suspect our media and intellectual establishment fell for that theory head over heels.

Then when they realized the absolutely horrendous results and that child abuse leaves the victims scarred for life, (if not in therapy.) they swung around and created a whole moral panic over those other people abusing children. In this case the “other people” being some sort of mystical believers, though at the time they weren’t bold enough to accuse Christians. But after all, Satanism if a co-dependent belief with Christianity, so that was fine.

And then when that panic was revealed to be crazy, they accused everyone but themselves of it.

Now the panic is that in these geeky/low prestige fields people the journalists don’t fully understand are afraid of “the other” be they women, people of other races or sexual minorities.

This one is so weird that it leaves me trying to grasp it. As I said, all the geeky fields I know are not just welcoming but ridiculously welcoming of women who are genuinely interested in their passion. It’s the only thing that explains why at my age and avoir du pois I count as “hot” in my circles. But not only is it what the other side believes and resets to, but it is clearly and obviously the “narrative” that will be pushed.

They want to believe the issue people have with the way science fiction has gone, the way games are reviewed, etc are because some imaginary troglodytes, in a cave, probably in Alabama, object to the fact the people creating sf/f and games have innies instead of outies.

The thing doesn’t pass the smell test.

So, what is the truth of it?

The press and the intellectual establishment (which includes the publishing establishment) have been pushing science fiction into an unsaleable/unpopular direction for years. They had, for a while, control of what ended up on shelves, and people didn’t see anything else. They still have control of news.

And the direction they’ve been pushing in is “it shouldn’t be entertaining. It should effect social change.” (But why must it always change TOWARDS Marxism? Marx is after all a dead white male. Eleventy ;))

That is the prestige position in journalism and academia, and so that’s what’s got pushed.

However it’s been disastrous for print runs. So, as the field lies gasping and they’re all out of excuses (indie has proven that people DO still read and no, the American public isn’t illiterate) they have to justify their stunning lack of success. “It’s because we have women and minorities! The evil troglodytes hate women and minorities.”

The fact that women writers are now a majority in the field (and have been my entire professional life) and that if you add in that most editors are women there’s mighty little difference between SF cons and RWA doesn’t even give them any pause.

They’ve got to convince the public that the problem is hatred of women and minorities, because then the explanation for the collapse of the field is someone else’s fault, and they’re the enlightened heroes.

And the same, of course, goes for the gaming field. “Don’t look at the crap we’ve been praising and pushing you to buy. Don’t look at how difficult it is to find something you actually want to read/play. Buy the stuff we tell you, because otherwise you hate women and minorities, you evil h8ter.”

In fact, it is the games books vehicles of social change they’ve been pushing that are excluding of “others” if the “others” are male, or working class, or religious (of a religion not Muslim) or most things that are not white females in an academic environment.

But they hope to make enough noise and use it as the plot of enough TV shows (ripped from the headlines! Eleventy) and movies and articles to convince us they were right all along, the collapse of the field is not their fault, and we should believe them, not our lying eyes.

But we have an internet. And pointing fingers. And laughter.

I don’t think it will work.

242 thoughts on “A Game Of Mirrors – A Blast From The Past From February 2015

  1. The Guardian article got linked on Slashdot – and the SJWs were pretty much shut down in the discussion. They were trying to repeat the old slurs, but it doesn’t seem to be sticking.

    1. If nothing else, the Usual Suspects have seen that, contrary to their accusations, there is in fact a big difference between the Puppy factions.

        1. Europe in his day conflated “religion” and “race.” Didn’t matter what he converted to, he was still Jewish.

              1. Yes, well, it is true that both his grandfathers were Rabbis.

                And the anti-Communists were quite happy to tie their arguments up with already strong stream of Antisemitism that already existed in throughout Europe.

          1. I’ve often thought that the Socialist/Marxist/SJW types claim that they’re serving humanity in general to try to deflect attention from the fact that they treat most particular humans they run across like crap.

            1. The thing about Marxists and Marx that always amazes me is the sheer intellectual disconnect between them and their whole “dictatorship of the proletariat” articulations. Marx was a fat, lazy bastard whose greatest accomplishment was an articulation of unsuccessful parasitism, who never did an honest day’s work in his life, and who lived off the largesse of a man who made his money as a capitalist.

              He was, in other words, a consummate parasite. And, most of his followers are about the same–The majority of them that I’ve encountered personally have about as much connection with hard work as a grasshopper, and are actually quite contemptuous of those who do. Every one of the young Marxists I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with over the course of my life have been a bunch of lazy-ass, utterly useless, and entirely delusional parasites. You look at Marx himself, and it’s fairly obvious why his philosophy appeals to them: He was a parasite writing for parasites.

              1. I think I’ve met three Marxists who didn’t fit that description, out of hundreds I’ve encountered either online or in person. That’s about it. Too many of them are just lazy slobs who wanted to justify and sanctify their desire to mooch off of others.

                1. I’ve met one who worked hard as well as espousing Marx, but he had to work for a living to keep from starving before he hit the big time (got into academia) and he remained a firm believer in practicing what he preached (and having a nice savings stash in case something bad happened.)

                    1. I was actually thinking about Eric Flint as one of the three I’d encountered. One of the others was a coworker when I worked retail briefly, ages ago. He was an Army veteran, a conscientious worker, and a firm believer in Marx. I remember him trying to convince a bunch of us to go to a May Day parade with him. A third was a European colleague – again, hard worker, but he was a Marxist. With an attitude like that I was somewhat puzzled why he was working for a massive company whose primary clients were big corporations and governments.

                      Perry much every other Marxist I’ve encountered was either a slacker or a mooch.

                    2. Argh, typo! That was supposed to be “Pretty much every other Marxist I’ve encountered was either a slacker or a mooch.” Although I suppose I should also add that in many cases, the Marxists have been both slackers and mooches.

                2. Of those Marxists who didn’t fit… How many of them were really “true believers”, I wonder? I’ve known a couple whose actual behavior and conduct was seriously at odds with their espoused thinking, and who only mouthed the words to fit in with their in-groups and spouses.

                  Watch what they really do, however? Piratical market-capitalists, with killer instincts, and not a shred of concern for their fellow man. One of them has built herself quite the little empire, out of the organic products she makes and sells. All while piously mouthing the precepts of Karl…

                  Some of this ilk, I’d say “Look at what they do, not what they say…”. The rest have their words and actions pretty much in coordination, freeloaders all.

              2. >that always amazes me is the sheer intellectual disconnect between them and their whole “dictatorship of the proletariat” articulations
                Why? One by one their slogans of course don’t make sense. But they are not very cryptic about it.
                Right on the next breath it turns toward “also, said proletariat is the mindless cattle that have to be led by The Enlightened”.
                Which together paints the first picture: dictatorship by means of faceless masses (aka lynch mob) led by agitators/provocateurs who tells them what they “really want”.
                Recognizable enough? Now that’s more like it.

                1. … faceless masses (aka lynch mob) led by agitators/provocateurs …


            2. Many of them start out by serving humanity in corporal but typically end serving humanity in capital.

              Isn’t that why Fat Freddy named his book Das Kapital?

  2. My reaction to those SJWs who complain about gender disparities:

    Dear concerned sisters:

    Be the change you want.

    Encourage your sisters to prepare themselves for careers in areas you believe lack sufficient presence of your gender. Don’t just celebrate, but support in practical ways the sisters who do pursue such careers. Start or contribute to scholarships for women entering STEM programs. Find a program where you can mentor/tutor school kids in math and science. Go back to school and get a STEM degree yourself.

    The Daughter is happily pursuing STEM, it can be done. There are marvelous opportunities awaiting if you prepare yourself. I should warn you: the fields do require an investment of time, hard work and mental discipline. But it really is worth it.

    1. One rather depressingly common thing I’ve seen is SJWs, on receiving the message that if they want more women in tech, should perhaps encourage young women and girls to go into it, respond with “How can I recommend women go into tech when they’ll be mistreated by horrible men like you?” (where “mistreated” means “disagreed with”). My response is usually something like “Now who is discouraging women in tech?” which results in a satisfying explosion.

      1. The problem is that in STEM you are required to get right answers, not merely correct answers.

        Math is Hard — by which I do not mean it is “difficult”; I mean it is unforgiving.

        1. On the subject of women in tech, I recently took a look at the signature page for the “Not Only OO” manifesto. These are people who have looked at the standard “Object-oriented” paradigm in common use in the software development industry, and said, “Yes, it sort of works for most things, but there’s a better way.” In other words, they are people who have really grasped the way the software industry works, and understand programming at a deep level. This is not to say that those who have chosen not to sign are bad programmers: there are plenty of really good programmers who understand programming at a deep level, yet have chosen to stick with the OO paradigm for some pretty good reasons. So the absence of someone’s name from the signatory list on that page is not evidence that they are a bad programmer. But the presence of someone’s name on that list is pretty strong evidence for them being a good programmer, since they’ve chosen to involved in the leading edge of software development research.

          So, now that we’ve gotten the explanation out of the way, let’s look at the signatures page of that “Not Only OO” manifesto:


          Scrolling down, I see some names I recognize, like Steffen Forkmann. I’ve looked at the code he’s written, and he’s a seriously good coder. And there are a lot of names I don’t recognize. But what I noticed is that the names are about 90% recognizably male names. There are a few names that are ambiguous, like Chris, where you can’t tell whether the name belongs to a man or a woman. There are also a number of names from cultures I’m not familiar with, where I can’t tell if that’s a man’s name or a woman’s name in that culture. And there are, in that list of 425 names, precisely four that I clearly recognize as female. (One of whom I almost missed, as her name is Niki and I thought that was a form of Nichloas at first.) If we eliminate the “I don’t know that culture” and “that name is ambiguous” names, that still leaves just four women out of 300 or so names whose gender I could clearly identify. A 1.33% ratio is a LOT lower than I had expected to find.

          And since this is a situation where nobody’s going to face mockery for signing that particular manifesto, the conclusion is that very, VERY few women are choosing to get involved in the leading edge of software development research.

          1. If we eliminate the “I don’t know that culture” and “that name is ambiguous” names, that still leaves just four women out of 300 or so names whose gender I could clearly identify. A 1.33% ratio is a LOT lower than I had expected to find.

            Well, even though it’s not a list to be mocked, it IS still a list of people who are bucking the Object Oriented paradigm, and it’s still true that women tend to be less likely to put themselves visibly in contention like that. Probably a large portion of the women in the software industry feel they have bucked the system enough just by being there.

            On the other hand, that IS an awfully small percentage. I would not have expected the reasoning I put above to cause it to be THAT low.

  3. These things always seem to be a coordinated effort between news and entertainment, one winding the other up.

    Even when not parroting the latest news outrage, it seems to me as if there is a whole lot of coordination between the writers of various TV shows. At least the crime dramas seem to. It seems that all, or almost all, of them have the same theme in the same week. That’s one reason I’ve stopped watching them with my wife.

    1. I’m inclined to say that it’s not so much “coordination” as “Everyone in Hollywood knows each other.”
      Here’s what I mean. Producer A has an idea for a show three weeks away, and tells Writer A to make it happen. Writer A does, and, in a conversation with Writer B, mentions what she’s working. Writer B thinks that’s a great idea and mentions it to Producer B, who thinks it’s the bee’s knees and tells him to write an episode in that vein and so on and so forth.

      1. But the effect is so widespread that there should be SOME lag between the various shows, if only because there will be some writers who can’t shift gears as quickly as others, so their version comes out a week or two later, but they always seem to be the same week.

        1. Release in the same week doesn’t mean that the idea didn’t spread much earlier.

          There can be a big time gap between “when the script is written/filmed” and when it is released.

          1. That’s why I say it’s coordination. I can’t see that there would be a difference in the time to release that was the same as the difference in time to complete the scripts unless it was deliberate.

            1. Well, it could be that the idea was in the works for various shows and the other shows saw that Show A was going to broadcast it in a certain week and the other shows pushed up their versions to be broadcast in the same week.

              IE Shows A, B & C didn’t plan together to broadcast in the same week but Shows B & C made sure that their version would broadcasted in the same week as Show A’s.

              1. Do not overlook the power of the studios and networks in this coordination – the producers and more importantly show runners of the various shows control the topics, but they pay attention to higher, the resulting scripts get approved by the studio folks and the networks, and the studio and network folks all know one another. A few phone calls or emails or texts along the lines of “Hey, we’re running shows with gerbils as a theme in May – if you have any gerbils scripts in the works, we could generate some momentum and press if they rolled around that time” would be all that was needed.

              2. I think that is more likely too. They are competitors, and it’s better to fight head on than appear to maybe ape others, which impression is easily perceived when one is among the later to show something with the same theme which has already been used by others. Everybody wants to be the first, but if they can’t be at least it’s better to be simultaneous.

                The problem is probably the same as it is everywhere else: not people who actively work together towards some end, but jobs and institutions etc filled with people who think so much alike they go more or less in the same direction, and have the same ideas more or less at the same time, regardless.

                1. So it could also be: “Did you hear that so and so have also done a show about gerbils, and it is coming out one week before ours” “Okay, change the schedule, we can’t get ours out before but we can do it on the same week.” 😀

            2. Coordination is easy when they all drink from the same spigot. You’d see very different programs if half switched from the NY Times to the Wall Street Journal.

              1. When the “ripped from the headlines” tales all come from the same newspaper, there is a certain similarity, for sure.

      2. Back in my youth, I can remember watching episodes of two (then new) TV shows, Maverick, which is still fondly remembered by some, and The Alaskans, which is now pretty much forgotten. At the time these two shows were aired one immediately following the other..

        There was one week, when the second of the two shows seemed rather familiar. I soon realized that the second show was exactly the same script as the previous with only the necessary changes in lead characters and locale.

        My first thought was that producers’ contempt for their viewers was so great that they did this on purpose. Or was it the writers’ contempt for the producers? Was showing these two episodes back-to-back a coincidence? Or did somebody really think no one would notice?

        1. More a matter of cost control by cheap-skate studio. Pretty much everything not in close-up was stock footage from Warner Brothers’ film library, costumes were from stock, sets were stock and the emphasis was on doint it quick and cheap. James Garner’s auto-biography has some very sharp comments about the studio’s practices.

          From Wikipedia:

          All shows were made in the manner of WB’s B pictures in the 1930s and 1940s; fast paced, lots of stock footage from other films, stock music from the Warners music library and contracted stars working long hours for comparatively small salaries with restrictions on their career.

          During a Hollywood television writers strike, Warner Bros. reused many plots from its films and other television shows under the nom de plume of “W. Hermanos”. This was another example of imitating Warner Bros’ B Pictures who would remake an “A” film and switch the setting.

          Two of the most popular stars, James Garner and Clint Walker, quit over their conditions. Garner never returned to the Warner’s fold during this period. Successful Warner’s television stars found themselves in leading roles of many of the studio’s films with no increase in salary. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was simultaneously the lead of 77 Sunset Strip, in a recurring role on Maverick, and also headlined several films until exhaustion forced the studio to give him a rest. …

          For all their cheapness they were still vastly entertaining.

    2. Years ago The Spouse read me an article in which the author related pitching a project to the heads of an established and, at the time, successful studio. It essentially went something like this:

      Pitcher: I have a new idea. Its blue.

      Head one: Hum? You know, it is different. It is quite a nice blue. But we are not in the market for blue. We know that green sells.

      Head two: Green is has been all the rage for quite some time. Everyone is doing green. The public is showing signs that it may be getting a bit tired of green. Blue’s time just might be here.

      Head one: True. And this is an excellent blue. Why don’t we try it?

      Head three: Its SO blue. There is a risk that the public might not get it.

      Head one: How about adding a little yellow here, just to be sure?

      Head two: Yes. And, thinking about it, this part could use a touch of yellow as well.

    3. I got into an argument once, with someone in the entertainment industry’s periphery, and his contention was that when this went on where he’d been working, it wasn’t any form of conscious collusion. The cases where he’d been, there had been precisely zero cross-communication that anyone could find, and to hear him tell the story, the lawyers doing the work made damn sure of that before they had to tell the involved financial parties that they could find nothing at all that was actionable. Both parties, and in one case, all three, had had no opportunities to “spill the beans” with each other.

      His theory, and I can’t say anything to contradict the idea, is that there’s some form of “hundredth monkey” thing going on, and that people are taking unconscious cues from what’s going on in the industry and in the world, and just following similar lines of thought. His funniest case was when he’d been handed two separate scripts for doing effects work on similar shows, and the scripts were almost identical in terms of storyline and even down to dialogue. After he politely pointed out the similarities to the people doing the shows, mass fear and consternation ensued, and both parties went nuts looking for the “leak”. There wasn’t one that anyone ever found, and the whole thing turned into a huge mess, with neither script ever getting shot.

      Reading that, it doesn’t seem so funny, but when he told me the story, his delivery was roll-on-the-floor funny…

      1. Okay, now I’m curious: what’s a “hundredth monkey”? I’m not familiar with the reference, although I’m sort of guessing that it has to do with the idea of infinite monkeys with typewriters eventually pounding out the complete works of Shakespeare.

        1. I was curious too, and found this on Wikipedia:

          The hundredth monkey effect is a purported phenomenon in which a new behavior or idea is claimed to spread rapidly by unexplained means from one group to all related groups once a critical number of members of one group exhibit the new behavior or acknowledge the new idea.


          1. I’d guess that the term ‘zeitgeist’ might be applied to this as well. Maybe with the qualifier of ‘unconscious’ added to it, and covering a much smaller area than ‘an era.’

            But I, too, have had the experience of coming up with what I think is a brilliantly original idea and jotting notes for it…and then coming across something disturbingly similar in already-published form a short time later. I *swear* we steal brainwaves from each other without meaning to.

            1. Now, there’s an idea for a story… Someone who’s doing the brain-wave theft deliberately and with malice aforethought.

              1. IIRC it has been written.

                Basically, this author was sending stories to this publisher only to find out that another author had submitted the same story to the publisher.

                Now the first author knew the second author and how the second author worked.

                The first author took his time writing his stories while the second author quickly wrote out his stories.

                The first author decided that the second author was tapping into the first author’s writing process and because he wrote faster he got his version to the publisher faster.

                Now the publisher didn’t read that much but always knew a “good story”.

                So the first author worked on another story in his usual slow manner, but didn’t send it in.

                The publisher got the second author’s story (based on what the first wrote but didn’t send in) and published it.

                That’s were the real fun started as the first author had copied a very famous story that the publisher had never read.

                So it appeared that the second author had plagiarized this famous story and the publisher didn’t spot the problem until he started getting angry letters from readers who recognised the story.

                Well the publisher survived and never accepted any other stories from the second writer but did accept new stories from the first author. 👿

                Wish I could remember the author/title of this story. 😀

                1. I read a different one where this guy kept creating music, then finding out it was the same as someone else’s, so he kept jumping from one genre to the next, and it just kept getting worse as he went out on the fringes. I don’t remember what the ending was, though.

                2. Not quite the same… but there was an episode of Stargate: SG-1 where there was a TV show called Wormhole Extreme! which was basically a cheesier version of the SG-1 team’s exploits. The government let the show go on so if anyone found out about the actual Stargate program they could point to the show and say that the person was just crazy and obviously got the idea from Wormhole Extreme!

                  1. I think there were actually two SG-1 episodes with “Wormhole Extreme!” in them.

                    1. Yeah, episodes 100 and 200, and WIllie Garson played the character from those episodes in a 3rd episode as well.

                    2. You’re right, I’d forgotten about Willie Garson’s first appearance. He plays weird, quirky characters so well – I thought he was great as Mozzie on White Collar.

                3. Hah! Think I have found the earliest one. Astounding Stories, March 1935, “Telepathic Piracy.”

                  Author is just listed as “Dold,” though. (“Science Fiction: The Gernsback Years” is my source.) Anyone know who that was, he (or she, could possibly be) is not at all familiar?

            2. Happens also with scientific breakthroughs. There seem to be more than one case where two people got the same idea at the same time, but the one we remember is the one who managed to get published first. Right now the only one I remember is Darwin/Wallace, but I know I have read of others.

              1. ight now the only one I remember is Darwin/Wallace, but I know I have read of others.

                Newton and Leibniz with regards to calculus?

                1. Be that as it may, some of you may have had occasion to run into Mathematicians and to wonder, therefore, how they got that way:


                1. Langley’s “airplane” was a freaking brick. Like everybody else but the Wrights, he trusted erroneous aeronautics tables. His engine also stunk. All he had was government funding, visibility, and reputation. He didn’t have a viable airplane.

                  1. Actually, Langley’s engine (once he gave up on the single-cylinder, 1 hp steam engine) was quite a bit better than the Wrights’.

                    Langley’s engineer, Charles Manley, in 1899 took a Balzer air-cooled, five-cylinder radial (very unreliable) 8 hp automobile gasoline engine, and reworked it into a 52 hp water-cooled, quite reliable engine. It weighed about 200 lbs., and had the best power/weight ratio of any engine in the world until 1906.

                    Unfortunately, it was plugged into Langley’s Aerodrome, designed with incorrect knowledge of structural loading, weight management, and worst of all, no clue about aerodynamic control.

                    This last was where the Wrights were ‘way ahead of the rest of the world; if they’d had Manley’s engine instead of their own 180 lb, 12 hp (it dropped from 16 hp when it warmed up) engine, early flights could have been measured in hours, instead of a few minutes. They had flight control figured out pretty well, after all.

                    1. We had an older children’s book on the Wright Brothers, so a lot of the details were simplified, but it made the point that they couldn’t find an engine that had a high enough hp-to-weight ratio, so they built their own.

                      No idea why, unless it was because of money, that they couldn’t find one, but it’s pretty impressive to build your own engine.

                      The book also described some of how they built their wind tunnel to test wing and propeller shapes, and I was very impressed with that, too. A friend told me once that they were lucky to get their plane off the ground. Since I had recently read that book, I told him he was nuts, and that they effectively knew it would fly, because of all the testing they had done.

              2. With that it’s definitely plausible. The Universe is supposed to be based on the same laws of physics, chemistry, etc. no matter where you’re at. So different people noticing the same phenomenon independently should be possible.

                (Okay, maybe not in a black hole, but we’re all on the same planet right now so that doesn’t apply.)

            3. My mother, a published children’s author, former screenwriter and literary agent who worked on WB’s lot in Burbank, and I joke that the airwaves share info around the world. How else to explain how 2 or 3 people will come up with the same invention or story idea at the same time across the globe; people who have never even heard of one another, ever? She says movies always come out in 3’s; if you hear of one topic release, just wait for the next two–the first is a badly rushed out one to capitalize on the ‘being first’ and the next two will be better versions in different styles…recently 3 Mars movies or colonizing space, what’s next?

          2. Sort of like a Stand-Alone Complex?

            (Okay, its late I haven’t had much sleep I need to stop shoehorning anime into this.)

        2. It’s a wild-ass theory that was prevalent back in the old days, that once a hundred monkeys “got” a new behavior… Every monkey, everywhere, got it, through some unknown and likely metaphysical mechanism. Wikipedia has a decent write-up on it.

          It’s been discredited, but a lot of people will still espouse it. Me, I’m open to there being something there, because otherwise it becomes really difficult to explain how researchers working in separate locations often come up with the same ideas at the same time. Completely independently of each other–Famous examples abound, like Newton and Leibniz with calculus.

          You also have things like the crossbow, which appeared nearly simultaneously in Europe and Asia, with no apparent transmission link that we’ve been able to thoroughly document. So, is there a vast subconscious network we’re all hooked up to? No idea, but I’m open to the idea that there’s something going on. The connection here is that this network might be an explanation for why so many of the same sorts of projects are happening at the same time.

          Supposedly, the Hollywood aspect of this is so well-accepted that they really don’t think that much of it, until they can find really obvious signs of collusion or leaks.

          I keep an open mind–Some of these things could be down to the zeitgeist of the times encouraging parallel work by widely divergent people, and some of it could be background collusion that’s been undetectable so far, and… Who the hell knows? I’ve been in situations where the same solution occurred to me as it did to someone else, at the same damn time, and I’d have given good money that my idea was unique enough that nobody else should have gotten it in that small group.

          1. In one of my past jobs, I was the office manager for a little form that did consulting with inventors; they;d bring in their invention/idea (and some of them were quite clever and original, and which I have since seen on the market) and we would put together some engineering sketches, and a provisional patent, and work up a list of manufacturers who might be interested in it.
            I saw the same handful of gadgets over and over, from different people, who in no way had anything to do with each other. I surmise that when fairly intelligent people look at a particular problem and think of a way to solve that problem – they will tend independently to come up with remarkably similar solutions.

            1. I think that’s a significant part of the phenomenon. But, there are these odd little coincidences that pop up, and you’re going “How the hell…?”.

              I swear to God, I’d never read anything by this one somewhat obscure UK fantasy author. Hadn’t even heard of him, to tell the truth. Then, I’m halfway into writing a short story of my own for a college creative writing class, I go out and Google (this is dawn-of-the-Internet era, when Google was brand-new) a couple of the names I’m using, to make sure I’m not duplicating anything out there… And, lo and behold, there’s a much better version of my story, using some of the same character names I’m morally certain I came up with independently. I mean, it’s close enough that I would have lost a case against me for academic plagiarism–And, I swear before God, I can’t think of how or where I’d have encountered that damn short story anywhere in my life. But, I must have. Maybe. Possibly…

              It’s one of those epiphenomena of human consciousness: Are we connected, at some level, or are we fooling ourselves into thinking we are because of natural parallels deriving from prosaic circumstance? I’m not about to even try to articulate an explanation, because I’m unsure of the realities involved. Maybe I did read that story, somewhere, and remembered it clearly enough subconsciously that I copied it when casting about for ideas to write about for that class. Or, it could have been simple coincidence, but… The odds are rather staggeringly against that.

              1. Then you have incidences of things like the guy who wrote a story about a huge new ship that was supposed to be “unsinkable”, named “Titan”, and which sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic. About 5-10 years before the Titanic launched. Or the other writer who got investigated by the Feds for writing a book that had far too many commonalities to the Manhattan Project, while said project was going on. He turned out not to have any contact with any project personnel, either.

                1. I had both of those cases in mind when I was thinking of this, but they weren’t really “parallel development in entertainment” situations. Both are seriously strange, though… The one with the Titanic is just plain spooky.

                  Makes you wonder, it does. Given the few times I’ve experienced what I’m pretty sure was clearly deja vu, I’m open to the idea that we live in a universe where it is at least possible to experience time shifts, to some degree. When you walk into a room, and suddenly recognize it, and know what the parties are going to say before they say it…? Yeah. Weird experience, and one you can’t quite explain away.

                  1. Heh. There is that way scarier idea, that we create our own reality. Now how much one person can do would be limited, but with that novel many people read it, and perhaps… >:)

                    1. I think the professionals call that “consensus reality”, which is a really scary concept. I don’t like what it says about the human condition, if all this grief we’ve inflicted on ourselves over the course of history is something we all actually created for ourselves…

                      If that’s the case, I’m just going to say one thing: Y’all are some sick, sick bastiches…

                    2. I’ve read before that quarks (and their properties) were simply a useful bookkeeping device for cataloging particles, and then it turned out they were real. When I first heard that, it when I first realized God was a huge practical joker, who saw what was going on, realized everything would go on as before if he created quarks, so he did. Just to screw with the physicists who came up with the idea.

                2. Right before DDay a couple British crossword puzzles used iirc Overlord and Neptune. Many pants were changed at allied intelligence that day

                  1. That one wasn’t quite as advertised…

                    Boys playing around and with the Allied soldiers pre-invasion were picking up the codewords, and passed them on to their headmaster, who happened to be the guy who wrote the crossword for the Telegraph. He’d been in the habit of going to them for suggested words for the puzzles, and… Well, he got an investigation, and nearly fired from his job as headmaster. The boys, on the other hand? Whistling innocently, as they walked away. One of them actually put two and two together circa 1984, and told his side of the story, which was that they’d picked them up all unknowing as to the significance, and passed them on unthinkingly.

          2. That same notion was also attributed to the physical world. Apparently, some people seem to have observed that new chemicals would be very hard to get to form crystals, until some critical number of crystallization instances had occurred, and then the process became much easier, as if the crystal structure was uncertain until it had actually formed crystals enough times to “set” the structure.

            Others ascribed this to microcrystals being transported between experiments and acting as seed crystals, or else a simple case of researchers learning better how to make it happen, but the article I remember reading said that wouldn’t explain all instances of such behavior.

            1. I’ve observed some seriously weird crap with computer programs along those lines, too…

              I had a Windows installation on this one rather obscure brand of computer. The original OS installation disks from the manufacturer had shedloads of bloatware on them, and a bunch of proprietary junk I didn’t want, so I went out and bought an OEM Microsoft Windows license, and put that on the system.

              Holy schnikes… That first installation was a nightmare of hangs, system interrupts, and all kinds of nastiness. I had to get driver disks from manufacturers, the drivers were seven kinds of FUBAR themselves, and it was just ugly as hell. Now, this was the dawn of the Internet, so a lot of this stuff wasn’t even available there, and there was zero interaction of the computer with online resources. Took me a couple of damn days to get that crap working.

              Week or so later, I had a power failure in the building as I was shutting down the computer. Had to wipe the hard drive to bare metal, and reinstall–Only thing was, the second time around with the same CD, the installation went a hell of a lot more smoothly. If I hadn’t have formatted the disk, I’d have written it off to the installation program finding the residual drivers from the first go-round, but no… This time was bare metal, and the OS installation demonstratively didn’t have as many problems as the first time.

              Next couple of months, I had to do the same drill over again a couple of more times–Some of the software I was running liked to corrupt the hard drive, and that was when Windows was really unstable (I want to say Win95 of some flavor…) and I swear, every time I did the installation, something different happened with it, and I wound up not even needing my disk of supplemental drivers on the last iteration I did before building a new system from scratch. I’ve never been able to come up with a decent explanation for any of that having happened, because I was following the same installation path I’d explored the first time, and every time after that it worked out differently. And, needed different sets of drivers, etc..

              Tell me that there’s a “quantum observer effect” going on with the universe, and I’ll believe you. Because, given a bunch of what I’ve seen working on computers and cars, there’s something to this whole thing. What, I’d not even want to speculate. Hell, it even seems to have effect in the kitchen, in that the first time you’re doing something related to a cooking technique, it doesn’t quite work out, but the second or third time? It works better each iteration.

              1. Next time this happens to me I won’t feel like I am going insane – cause I have had similar things with computers. This bears meditating on…..

                1. It’s why it wouldn’t really surprise me to learn that we’re living in a holographic simulation, to be honest. Philosophy aside, it just seems to be an intuitive explanation for this weird “learning effect” that supposedly inert objects and processes have seemed to demonstrate throughout my life experience…

                  1. Seen the same thing on bare hardware that had no software. The first (even from a kit) wouldn’t work and the error hunted for… and not found. Wiring checked, parts verified, and eventually the gadget works… and then the original fault can’t even be induced to duplicate/display the problem. “It’s like electronics need to be trained.” said Pa at least once.

                    1. Yep… Had that happen with multiple cars, and on construction sites, with things above a certain complexity.

                      “Well, this should be working… Why isn’t it?”. Take it apart, put it together again the same exact way, still won’t work. Throw hands up in air, swear vehemently, come back the next day… And, it’s working. No discernible reason for it to have suddenly started to work, but there it is.

                      I can really see why primitives start making sacrifices to the local gods of locations and things, because there are some really convincing things about this whole idea of gremlins and such… I’ve never seen my car keys crawling away to hide under the couch, but if I did? Wouldn’t phase me a bit–It’d just be like “OK, you rat bastards… I always knew you were living, and conspiring against me… Come out with your keys up, and I won’t take an electromagnet to you before throwing you into a furnace…”.

                      Would. Not. Surprise. Me. A. Bit. Actually, it would be entirely in keeping with my long-held suspicions on the matter of whether or not the inanimate objects in my life are engaged in conspiracy against me…

                    2. More then once underway took apart a piece of non-working whatever, cleaned it all up since we could find nothing wrong with it, and put it back together, with the subsequent Lo And Behold!, it works! syndrome. Chief engineers would never believe us when we explained that’s all we did.

                      Still do it once I a while with mechanical stuff at home.

                      Then there’s always if it doesn’t work, hit with a bigger hammer solution. Which sometimes fixes a problem, and sometimes breaks the problem beyond all repair so you have an excuse to get a new something.

                  2. Alternate explanation is that Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said “ask and it shall be given to you” – just that there is a lag in delivery.

                    Maybe if we all concentrate enough and are convinced we can make it, we can develop a warp drive and get off this rock? Maybe that is what the EM drive thingy is that keeps seeming to work – what is it 8 different labs have duplicated it so far?


                    1. Ohhhh, maybe cold fusion really DID work, but because we all got skeptical that killed it?

                      Story ideas, just dig here….

              2. Tell me that there’s a ‘quantum observer effect’ going on with the universe”

                Sounds more like you experienced a “quantum server.”

                James Burke’s Connections argues for very much this same effect, attributing it to a critical mass of ideas/information that cohere into

                Connections explores an “Alternative View of Change” (the subtitle of the series) that rejects the conventional linear and teleological view of historical progress. Burke contends that one cannot consider the development of any particular piece of the modern world in isolation. Rather, the entire gestalt of the modern world is the result of a web of interconnected events, each one consisting of a person or group acting for reasons of their own motivations (e.g., profit, curiosity, religious) with no concept of the final, modern result to which the actions of either they or their contemporaries would lead. The interplay of the results of these isolated events is what drives history and innovation, and is also the main focus of the series and its sequels.

                To demonstrate this view, Burke begins each episode with a particular event or innovation in the past (usually ancient or medieval times) and traces the path from that event through a series of seemingly unrelated connections to a fundamental and essential aspect of the modern world. For example, the episode “The Long Chain” traces the invention of plastics from the development of the fluyt, a type of Dutch cargo ship.

                Burke also explores three corollaries to his initial thesis. The first is that, if history is driven by individuals who act only on what they know at the time, and not because of any idea as to where their actions will eventually lead, then predicting the future course of technological progress is merely conjecture. Therefore, if we are astonished by the connections Burke is able to weave among past events, then we will be equally surprised to what the events of today eventually will lead, especially events of which we were not even aware at the time.

                The second and third corollaries are explored most in the introductory and concluding episodes, and they represent the downside of an interconnected history. If history progresses because of the synergistic interaction of past events and innovations, then as history does progress, the number of these events and innovations increases. This increase in possible connections causes the process of innovation to not only continue, but also to accelerate. Burke poses the question of what happens when this rate of innovation, or more importantly ‘change’ itself, becomes too much for the average person to handle, and what this means for individual power, liberty, and privacy.

                The development of the Wright Brothers’ plane, for example, required a coming together of a number of ideas and devices, such as an internal combustion engine powerful enough to generate air flow, materials light and strong enough to go airborne on such a flow, etc.

                1. I think Burke’s connections are a bit forced sometimes, but he always makes a reasonable case, and I thought his shows were quite entertaining.

                  I’d like to see a nice DVD release of them. They were probably “studio grade” videotape to start with, and going to VHS and then low-res digitizing didn’t help…

                    1. REally? I’ve had it sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for several years, waiting for the five-disc set to come down to a reasonable price. Usually it sits up around $100 for the ten-hours; of late it has been sitting around $75. The follow-up series are similarly over-priced and appear to be currently out-of-stock.


                      Great series, but not that great. Especially as it is parked on youtube last I looked.

              3. Eh. Similar experiences (both with systems and cooking). I think, though, that there are a lot of things we learn unconsciously – and either replicate, or try something slightly different the next time, without even thinking about it.

                (I have done the first with drivers, especially. Such as installing the HP LaserJet 2605dtn driver, when I have a 2605dn. That took quite a while to notice and fix when I pulled that one on my main system – but I know I just automatically picked the right one when I added the driver to the family systems.)

                1. After the second iteration of “Huh… That’s funny… It didn’t do that the last time…”, I started making careful and copious notes about what I was doing. Somewhere, I’ve got a notebook and the files showing the screenshots I took from each iteration of installation, and I swear to God, I could outline what looked to be a freaking learning process taking place on that computer, because each and every time I installed the system, it got easier and had fewer problems doing it. It got to the point where I was taking pictures of my screen with my Mavica, and saving them, because I could not come up with a clear, logical reason for what was happening. By about the sixth or seventh time after I noticed the whole thing, it was like either the computer or the Windows installation disk had gotten the whole thing down, and it was a relatively pain-free installation process. First time? Nightmare of system conflicts, driver mis-matches, and whatever else you’d have for issues on Win95/98.

                  It was literally a different installation, every damn time. Off a read-only disk, and onto a system with a freshly-formatted drive and no changes to the bios.

                  Had the same thing happen to me with OS/2, as well, only with that one I’m not too sure if it might not have been me. Windows, on the other hand? I know I did everything the same, every damn time.

                1. Ah, but when you observe the “practice effect” in the inanimate, that’s disturbing. I get that I’m learning, as processes go on, but… It’s seriously weird when you have computer programs that should work the same way every time you install them start to demonstrate what looks like learning.

                  I mean, OK–You install once, with numerous hang-ups at specific parts of the process. Fix those, carry on with installation. Come back to do another iteration of that installation, do everything the same… And, no hangups. CD-ROM is read-only; hardware configuration hasn’t changed. Why the difference? That’s the situation I’m getting at–It’s nothing that I did, nothing I influenced–It’s like the damn thing is learning, or something. Or, I’m “burning in” something. I don’t know. I just know that it’s weird that the install will hang up once, twice in a row at the same point, and then later, breeze right past that point with no problems.

                  And, what’s worse? I know I’m not the only person who’s had this happen to them. I’ve described this to a couple of friends of mine, and they both acknowledge the same thing happening to them. Once you notice it, you can’t avoid seeing it when it happens, and that’s seriously strange.

          3. It may just be general propagation of technology/literature/ideas leading to similar problems, opportunities, and tool sets at similar times. The same bit of news inspires multiple Hollywood writers. A new technology is introduced and after a few years of experience with its flaws multiple people introduce similar improvements. The limitations of an old technology start become apparent and people develop similar solutions at the same time. A couple of new pieces of technology enter the market and several somebodies at roughly the same time think to combine them synergistically. A new article comes out on a new technique, and several people who read it decide to go in the same direction in attempting to improve upon it.

          4. With technology, at least, I tend to subscribe more to the “When it’s time to railroad, everybody starts building railroads.”

            In other words, when all of the parts are in place, there are going to be many people that put them together.

            (That is largely what happened with Newton and Leibniz – they both communicated with all of the same other mathematicians, so had the same base ideas – and both faced the same need to develop those ideas into the calculus for their own purposes. That their solutions are almost identical – once you get over the notational differences – is virtually inevitable.)

  4. I am SO not in sync with the SJWs about the “horrible treatment” of women in science/tech fields.
    I’m a former programmer, network admin, and currently chemistry/physics teacher.
    The guys are pathetically eager to boost me in my career – I’ve had nothing but nice things happen to me. Occasionally, they might make a moderately non-PC remark, but I attribute that to their shyness and awkwardness around women, and ignore it, or gently tell them why it’s not a good thing.
    I’m involved at present in a ham radio club (talk about HEAVILY male). The guys have been great! Very encouraging and eager to have me advance in my expertise.
    Of course, what do I know? I’m only a women in STEM, with experience for over 35 years interacting with men.
    Obviously, I just don’t get the “subtle” discrimination I’ve been receiving.

    1. I’m involved at present in a ham radio club (talk about HEAVILY male).

      And there is some discrimination there (and not just in the detector circuitry). YL/XYL’s[1] voice is *far* more likely to get a response than some OM’s.

      [1] I know of more than one case where some ham’s wife got her own callsign to be referred to by callsign or suffix and NOT as “the XYL.”

      1. Does “XYL” translate to “*former* young lady”? Inquiring minds want to know 😀

      2. There was that one episode on “Last Man Standing.” Somewhat ditzy daughter had her laptop taken away, because Dad caught her getting other people to write her school papers. She discovered his ham radio in the basement – and had a paper to write on WW2. IIRC, one of the “OL” had been a ferry pilot…

    2. Me either apparently. I’ve only got 9 years army and 4ish in a STEM field. But it’s ‘internalized misogyny’ rather than ‘there wasn’t a problem’.

          1. ANY of the ladies around here, that would be a risky proposition. Almost certainly a losing one.

            1. Well, unless they want to be colonized, in a metaphorical sense…

              In those cases, it might well be more dangerous to refuse a landing on those green and verdant shores.

                1. Errr… Which set? The refuseniks, or the wannabe colonialists?

                  I’m having this vision of North Sentinel Island, for some reason.

                  Beautiful, alluring shores, with large masses of local natives known for spearing the living hell out of anyone trying to land, or even fly over…

              1. I am an absolutely terrible shot(half blind, plus really small hands). I really really like sharp pointy things. Unfortunately, I had to leave most of them in storage when I moved to the desert last year. Now that I am back in the States, I have no permanent residence until I get back from deployment next year. So, escrima sticks. Small, portable, not an obvious weapon, but can do some damage. Or played with.

    3. I was back-to-school shopping with my uni daughter, studying math and comp sci, and the checkout clerk drew us into conversation on that topic. Unbidden, the man standing behind us in line piped up with “you should really pursue comp sci, my employer is always looking for women to hire.” Yah, some kind of exclusion principle there …

    4. Looking back, my biggest problem with the boys in Ag class wasn’t hostility, but just the opposite — they were so eager to be chivalrous and “help” me with anything difficult that I lost a lot of opportunities to learn how to do stuff myself. Maybe if they hadn’t been so helpful, if they’d actually been a little more difficult about having a girl in class, I would’ve learned more.

  5. If gun-totin’ survivalists were really as dangerous as snowflake liberals insist, there’d be no snowflake liberals left. Global warming FTW?

    As to MZB, back in the day word around was she was scared to death of hubby, and that he’d put her in the hospital at least once. By the time of the testimony — according to a mutual friend, her mind was going and she often did not recognise people. How much was power of suggestion at that point, we’ll probably never know. Yeah, I too vividly remember McMartin, and how a desire to please the interrogator can become eyewitness testimony.

    1. “If gun-totin’ survivalists were really as dangerous as snowflake liberals insist, there’d be no snowflake liberals left.”

      We are. We’re the most dangerous humans on Earth. Ask the Germans, they’ll tell you.

      The snowflakes just haven’t managed to make our detectors ping yet.

      1. One of the history teachers at the school has a coffee mug tucked under his computer monitor (out of student sight) that reads “Two-time World War Champions.”

        1. The bumper sticker envy I have is one that states ‘I ❤️ killing communists’. The thing which made it so cool (and what I can’t honestly claim) is the owner 1. Actually knew what killing communists felt like, and 2. Actually enjoyed it. He was a very patriotic fellow who lived just north of Fayetteville, NC. Along the same line of thought is my brother’s prized zippo lighter bearing the simple legend ‘FU(K COMMUNISM’. Considering one of his college girlfriends he… Well I’d rather not dwell on that.

          1. I ought to get one of those for my uncle who was a sniper for his infantry unit in Korea in 1951.

      2. It’s just another of those creeping corruptions of the language that irks me daily. Dangerous does not necessarily equate to an active and immediate threat. A hydraulic press is dangerous. A gas stove is dangerous. Heck, the cars we drive are dangerous in the sense of “could cause harm (if improperly or incautiously used).” Potential energy in many forms.

        Dangerous is necessary for the work we do in daily life. Respecting those potentials is just good common sense. Using those tools responsibly is part of being an adult. A hammer, a keyboard, a gun- all are tools to fit the human hand, made to make our tasks easier.

        The way the word is used today, daily, by folks who ought to have been taught better, it means more active than potential. The harms “dangerous” seem to inflict range from the trivial (“I don’t feel ‘safe,’ “), to the severe (mass death) without any significant discrimination between the two. This conflation of meanings is, in a word, “dangerous” in muddying the waters of effective communication.

        This change in the way we use our words is, as much as nigh on anything else, why communicating ideas to the average leftist-educated person is so hard. They’ve been taught things that make understanding basic truths (the Gods of the Copybook Headings) rather difficult.

        1. The worst bit about this conflating of meanings into a single word is that English is one of the last possible languages that this ought to be happening in. English has a ridiculously huge number of adjectives (I’ve heard more than any other spoken language, though I don’t know if that’s true) – so many that there’s no need to overlap definitions like this, particularly to such a massive degree.

          And yet, idiots do it anyway.

              1. Yeah, but you think other languages don’t. This is part of Americans being aspie-like. You steal words, you put them in the dictionary. Other languages use everyone’s words, they just don’t ADMIT IT IN THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE. This is why there are at least four “Portuguese” languages and if you learn the official one you’re going to sound funny, because no one really uses it.
                A lot of the words stolen are considered “specialty vocabulary.” For instance my dad started explaining to me they’d installed a beepas (bipas) to stop the hot water heater breaking down and flooding the bathroom. I listened part of it, and said “you don’t need to explain bipas. I know what it is.” He segues into “you always know everything” sermon, and I found it too tiring to argue. I did know what it meant. You see, beepas is how Portuguese pronounce/write bypass. OF COURSE I knew what it meant. but as dad told me, I couldn’t know because it’s “A specialized plumbing term.”
                Look, stealing words is HUMAN. English is just more brazen about it than other tongues.

            1. But But… For American English, It is true!!!! [Kidding Grin]

        2. It would be a shame if this corruption were merely accidental, but rest assured it’s deliberate. This is one of the “tribes” things that Sarah was talking about the other day, they use perversions of the language to dehumanize their opponents.

          I don’t bother with the de-humanization part, I’m old and don’t need to hold someone in contempt. That’s my tribe. Ready to go, all the f-ing time.

          Proof that Lefties are stupid, really. If they weren’t, they’d be afraid.

  6. “They want to believe the issue people have with the way science fiction has gone, the way games are reviewed, etc are because some imaginary troglodytes, in a cave, probably in Alabama, object to the fact the people creating sf/f and games have innies instead of outies.”

    Hey, I found the cave!


    Now I want to go visit because it actually looks kind of fun. I hear they’ve hired some local contractors who guarantee it is completely clear of that whole undead conquestedor problem you may have read about from a completely different cave that is clearly, certainly, not THIS cave.

    1. Take a Geiger counter, I’m pretty sure I read someplace that a nuke went off in that cave and singed Cuthulu’s dressing gown.

  7. “The press and the intellectual establishment (which includes the publishing establishment) have been pushing science fiction into an unsaleable/unpopular direction for years.”

    Yes they have, I will say for about thirty years. They spun their wheels for a long time, but picked up traction somewhere around the late 1990’s by my very unscientific estimation. That was when it started to get hard for me to find something fun to read.

    Now, when I go to the ONLY bookstore chain still in business here in Canuckistan, I -never- find anything fun to read that doesn’t say Baen on it. I’m looking forward to the next thing my favorite authors will write because I can’t find a new favorite author. As if everybody in the world stopped writing, for F sakes.

    Over at the Usual Suspects blog, the dumb-asses are bemoaning the “ruination” of the Hugo’s reputation by T. Beal and his Space Butt Pirate Invasion nomination. To those idiots I said “Too late, idiots. Space Butt Pirates is not the problem, it’s somebody trying to fix the problem.”

    I consider my job done for the Hugos this year. I nominated works I considered worthy, the end. Many agreed with me apparently, because a lot of my pics got on the ballot. The Butt-hurt Brigade will now pout, rage and stamp their feet, culminating no doubt in another round of awards for Noah Ward.

    Because the thing to do when people you don’t like want to play is break your toys.

    1. It’s an unfortunate fact that Baen is capped at under 50 new books a year, three or four a month. And no one is going to like everything they print, though as you note, some are most excellent.
      Good solid midlist SF authors are being driven away from the traditional publishing houses, and Baen can’t take more than a fraction of those on.
      But you see there is this thing called independent publishing, made possible by the popularity of e-books and at least in part by that product distribution giant, Amazon.
      Following Sturgeon’s Law, 90% of indie is crap, no surprise there. But then at least 90% of traditional published books are crap as well.
      Never fear, look to places like ATH, MGC, Sarah’s Diner on Facebook, for pointers to a vast array of shiny new authors you otherwise never would have been aware of.
      Personally, I find myself once more in the wonderful position of having more things to read than I have time to read them.

      1. I’ve had to stop allowing myself to buy new books for my kindle until I make at least something resembling a dent in my shiny new to-read pile. For the first time in years, my reading is not re-reads of beloved old favorites and/or Terry Pratchett/Lois Bujold…

      2. One wonders what would happen if there were a “Baen Recommends…” designation on KULL. *ponder ponder*

        1. Or a Baen authors recommending their favorite works thing. I’d love that.

          1. IIRC, some years back there was an anthology in which Jim Baen and several members of his unstable collected stories they’d found personally influential.

            1. The World Turned Upside Down, anthologized by and with commentary from Jim Baen, David Drake, and Eric Flint.

    2. The ground prep is being done. So far an article in the Guardian and now Salon is being published about the icky “right-wingers” and so on ruining the Hugos.

      I’m sure people who haven’t read this blog, or Larry’s, or Mad Genius Club or Brad’s blog or, oh, the SP4 blog, will fall for it. Enough “sponsorships” and they’ll have enough for their asstericks and I’m sure folks like Vox will chortle with glee.

      I may sign up this one last time. I’m still unemployed, but I’m on unemployment and I can probably spare enough to buy a voting membership. So I’ll review the choices, make my selections and deliberately NOT use Noah Ward. I’ll leave entries blank if I don’t like any of them.

      Otherwise I’m likely going to look into the Dragoncon award and hope that will grow into something pretty good.

      (And “pretty good” will be more than enough for me.)

      1. As long as it awards good books never fear.
        another round of Noah Ward wins, and Hugos will be equivolent to Nobel Peace Prizes. A reason to scoff for anyone with half a brain.

        1. Maybe they’ll start giving Hugos to authors who might write a book Progs/SJWs will celebrate. Like Obama’s Peace Prize.

          Hey, Damien Walter could get one that way!

  8. Destruction is easy. Creating is hard. I hope Sad Puppies remains to be a positive force in the fandom. Let Vox and his enemies burn the Hugos to the ground. SF is much bigger than them.

  9. Much as it may shock some, every citizen of the US not in armed service or elected office between the ages of 16 and 45 is already a member of what the constitution refers to as the unorganized militia. OK, when drafted it was males only, but haven’t we moved on from all that?
    It is at least in part justification for the constitutionality of selective service, and also why at one time and still today the Federal government could legally require every citizen to own and maintain a firearm and all other equipment required should they be called to serve. That has not been seriously invoked for the last couple of centuries, but to the best of my knowledge never taken off the books.

    1. USC Title 10 Sec. 311.; still in effect, though I thought it was 17. And the organized Militia consists of male members of the National Guard and Naval Militia (?) and female citizen members (used to be officers) of the National Guard. And though I’m a bit past the age where I’m by above law part of the militia, nobody’s explained to me that my oath has expired. 😀

      And here in Minnesota, by law the Governor has the power to conscript people into the State militia.

      1. I think you’ll find that everywhere the county sheriff can conscript people for temporary service. Either to stop a riot, create a posse, man roadblocks, or just about anything else that is a breach of peace that needs additional personnel.

  10. Re. the militia mess of the ’90s. I had a fascinating ninety minute conversation with the lawyer who got called in to the one in Montana and helped defuse it. Militia had nothing to do with it. One family running cattle and the other running sheep in the late 1890s, and a feud that began then and kept going, and (as I recall) the federal land people siding with one faction was really what was behind it. Once THAT got figured out, it was relatively easy to defuse the thing without any shots fired by anyone.

  11. Re: MZB. Remember, both older data and recent data strongly suggest she was deep into pedophilia and child abuse herself.

      1. No clue. Do know she spoke out a lot last year. For example, ‘the Story of Moira Greyland’ at askthebigot, which was nominated for a Hugo this year.

        1. I know I read something the daughter either wrote or said, it was -harrowing- to say the least.

          Makes me pretty happy to see Denny Hastert wearing the bracelets today. That was a long time coming.

          1. IIRC, MZB’s daughter had a blog post n it. Maybe more than the one. For obvious reasons it is not something for which I want to search the internet.

            As for Hastert, his fondness for gladiator movies should have been the tip-off. (Remember when we could joke about such things? Nowadays Monty Python seems insufficiently absurd.)

            1. First Moira released some information via posts by Deirdre Moen (sp?) on her blog. I saw those when VD linked to them. Then was the guest post at ask the bigot, some time later, after Moira had time to think about the reaction, and think about her parents from a new angle.

  12. I’ve been noticing an uptick– or I’ve had an uptick in my noticing– the two sides of the judgement coin.

    On one side, “you don’t agree with me in HOW to do a thing, so you don’t want it done!”; on the other, “you’re doing the same thing I am, so you must be doing it for the same REASONS, even those that are utterly tangental.”

    So if you don’t want to raise the minimum wage, then it’s because you don’t want to help the poor; disagreement about if it will even work are ignored. Ditto the “piss anywhere you want” laws that supposedly protect transgender kids.

    If you’ve looked at some of the “but you’re a geek, you MUST be a Bernie Sanders supporter!” junk that goes around, you know the second one as well. “Gee, we read the same books, we MUST agree on foreign policy.” (Whiskey tango?)

    1. I expect the “piss where you want” policies to turn out badly in places like Arizona, where women can and do carry firearms everywhere they go.

      Incidentally, following their epic crash-burn-explode experience in Canada, Target seems determined to put themselves out of business in the USA as well. Company policy allows large gnarly men who “identify as women” to use the ladies bathroom.

      Meaning, to my mind, it ain’t safe to pee at Target if you’re a woman. This leads me to conclude they don’t want your money, ladies.

      1. True enough, but “voting with money” doesn’t seem to work fast and hard.
        For example, CloutFlare censorship and GeoIP divide et impera decreases the sites’ traffic, but it’s not dying just yet. And internet is considered a very dynamic area for some reason.
        In this case, there will be mitigating factors:
        1) Target isn’t the only one around, but it’s not the only one infested with counterproductive corporate bureaucrats (whether friendly to commissars or afraid or litigation), either. “Adopting progressive innovations” is bound to happen.
        2) It will suffer, but chains have some fat and can suffer some before they are forced to do something. That’s assuming there won’t be foul play (pocket equivalent of bailouts).
        3) Meanwhile the corporate bureaucrats will blame everyone and everything else for their failures (as described) for quite a while. They will also perpetrate dirty tricks, whether externally (like with Procter & Gamble labeled “satanic”) or internally (like Hasbro clowning and astroturfing over D&D4 fail).
        4) Unfortunately, not everyone concerned have foresight, or even upon running into a problem is going to react in a sane way, or at all.
        There were and are businesses that openly show disrespect to their clients (in many ways) or run fairly transparent scams, and they don’t implode. To put it bluntly: if the sheeple didn’t exist, neither would the whole fleecing industry.

        1. Wonder what happens the first time an “incident” occurs in a Targetted restroom? The second time?

          The MSM can only ignore such a story for so long (although the depredations inflicted by “undocumented” “immigrants” argue against this thesis.)

          1. First few times, massive cover up. After a while, a lawyer will smell money and then it will be ON, baby.

            In the meantime, don’t go unarmed into a Target bathroom. Or any bathroom, for that matter. Common sense.

        2. I am waiting for the first shareholder to sue the Board of directors for fiscal irresponsibility and loss of share price over this; should be fun to watch!

      2. The local Target has big “NO FIREARMS” signs. In English, those mean “WE DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY.”

        Unfortunately, the signs trump our civil rights in my state.

        1. private property. they have a right to be idiots on their own property. . . though they should be subject to strict liability for any deaths

          1. the dairy queens near me in texas all had big no gun signs after “open carry” was passed.
            I note they seem to have disappeared
            I think it was the franchise owner doing it. not all the dq I had seen had the signs. just those in and around Cleburne, Alvarado, Joshua
            those out in BFE didn’t.

        2. When I say “go armed”, it doesn’t have to be a gun. I’m a Canadian, I carry a pen. Like, just a fricking pen. No blade, no bullets, no nothing. Because otherwise the government will make me wish I’d let the goblins eat me.

          But I did make sure to understand how to use it. Turns out there’s a lot of really evil shit you can do with just a pen. Or an umbrella! Those things are double-plus ungood.

          1. Arizona. Old man. Walking Stick. Vs. Two young thugs trying to mug him. One broken bone, a bleeding head and massive concussion later, he was filing paperwork with the local police about how they tried to rob him and they were looking forward to some jail time once the hospital got them patched up.

        3. What about the property rights of the store owner? The Bill of Rights was largely intended to protect from tyranny by the federal government, not restrict people from controlling their own property. It is no infringement on first amendment for the owner or his agents to kick out somebody politicking or proselytizing on their private property, or to not stock newspapers and books they don’t care to. Surely restricting the carrying of weapons on the premises is no infringement on the second amendment.

          OTOH, not wishing to bake a cake for somebody on religious grounds is no longer a legitimate exercise of one’s first amendment rights, so who knows.

          1. ” Surely restricting the carrying of weapons on the premises is no infringement on the second amendment. “

            The right to self-defense is not the same as the right to speech on your venue, particularly when no liability attaches to you, the property owner, if I am attacked on your property. Were you to have assumed legal responsibility for providing my security while on your property, sure, I’d say “No problem… Just have a secured lock-box available for me to secure my weapon before entry, and we’ll all be happy…”.

            Since you’re legally not bound to provide my security once you’ve demanded I give up my capability to effectively defend myself, I don’t think you should have the right to deny my right to an effective defense. In this case, my rights trump your property rights.

            One of these days, that legal principle will be established, or the Republic will have ceased to exist as such. In which case, the arguments will be moot.

          2. OTOH, not wishing to bake a cake for somebody on religious grounds is no longer a legitimate exercise of one’s first amendment rights, so who knows.

            I want to correct you on a minor but important point. That IS still a legitimate exercise of one’s first amendment rights, whether or not the courts (including the Supreme Court) agree. The government has the power to decide what the law shall be, and the power to put you in jail if you disobey the law. But no government, and no court, has the power to change reality and truth. The most they can do is put you in jail for exercising the right that you still DO have, even if they refuse to recognize that right.

            Or to put it another way, Congress can pass all the laws they want declaring that a car is really an airplane, and the Supreme Court can uphold those laws all they want. But that “airplane” still won’t be able to fly.

            1. Correction: the most they can do is kill you for exercising your rights. (Putting you in jail is not the “most” they can do; I hit “Post Comment” too fast).

              And yes, in such cases you MIGHT be wise, sometimes, to refrain from publicly exercising your rights. If exercising your rights would get you killed by tyrants, it might be wisest to refrain. But sometimes you just have to say “No, YOU move.”

    2. “Older White Male” – must be a Trump supporter. (Yes, I am called a “traitor” a lot by that camp…)

      1. Trump supporter. Some retard called me that at Vile666 today. Why the hell would I support a New York City limousine liberal who’s never seen a tax or a regulation he wasn’t in favor of?

        1. Why would I vote for a Democrat? Or, even if Trump was a bonafide Republican, why should I support the same cultish fawning I found/find so appalling with Ron Paul and Barrack Obama supporters? Or, for that matter, in Hillary and Bernie supporters?

          If it’s Trump vs Hillary or Sanders I’m going to write in Cruz, or Bill the Cat and save my serious vote for local politicians I suspect might be trustworthy.
          2008 – Fool me once, shame on you.
          2012 – Fool me twice, shame on me.
          2016 – Really, do you think I’m Charlie Brown, Lucy?

          1. #NeverTrump Moe Lane posted JC Mac’s Hollow Mass as his book of the week.

            My ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ for that was One Blood by Sabrina Chase, Sword and Blood by Sarah Hoyt, Assault on Saint Agnes by Joseph Courtemanche, Into the Wild by
            Larry Correia, Iron Chamber of Memory by John C. Wright, and Kraken Mare by Jason Cordova. I know five out of six of those names, maybe someone should go call him a Trump supporter. 🙂

    3. “Gee, we read the same books, we MUST agree on foreign policy.”

      Well, if those are books by Ringo and/or Kratman, that’s not an unreasonable assumption, give or take a few policy details… 🙂

      1. Hmm, Ringo fans can be a lot wider on foreign policy than Kratman fans, and Kratman fans can still cover a wide variety of differences.

      2. Humor recognized, but I’m pretty sure both “let them all rot” quasi-isolationists and “well, we’re the only ones who CAN do something, let’s do a good job” interventionists read and enjoy those guys, and the actual policies there are about as far apart as you can get. With a third “night-glow table” option as not on the same line.

  13. ‘Don’t look at the crap we’ve been praising and pushing you to buy. Don’t look at how difficult it is to find something you actually want to read/play. Buy the stuff we tell you, because otherwise you hate women and minorities, you evil h8ter.’

    The key here is to recognize that these people are not concerned about entertainment, nor a satisfying reading gaming/experience. These people are joyless grinds whose every act of consumption is subordinated to signalling their virtue. They shop at the “Right” stores, dine at the “Right” eateries, wear the “Right” clothes and advocate playing the “Right” games and reading the “Right” books all in order to demonstrate that they are IN with the “In-Crowd”, that they are your aesthetic and moral superior. They are the Enlightened Ones and any challenge of their views is proof of your benighted status.

    This is why they jump on trends and adopt political views without regard to data, reason or the probable effects of what they espouse. The effectiveness or wisdom of a policy is irrelevant; what matters is the ways such positions make them appear more virtuous than thou.

    “Game of Mirrors” indeed: It is all about “How does this reflect on me?” The answer, in most cases, would be, “It makes your head look fat.”

    1. For those who notice that others have already made this point … I composed this a little afore eleven this morning, my time, and only now have opportunity to post.

      Besides, I can’t recall if I clicked the box … and now this reply offers no box to click. I have opinions on that but nothing suitable for family audiences and none that haven’t been said ere now about Word Depress. WPDE indeed.

      1. If there’s no box to click, it’s because you already clicked the box in an earlier comment. This ONE time, WPNDE. (N for “Non”).

    2. “These people are joyless grinds whose every act of consumption is subordinated to signalling their virtue.”

      And some of the same say that no one does anything for reasons intrinsic to the thing. It’s all signaling, they assert. University degrees are not pursued to become knowledgeable about science, engineering, philosophy, history — they are for signaling. Careers are not chosen from a genuine passion for the field, for the opportunity to make a lot of money, from a desire to build something new — no, it’s signaling. Political positions do not proceed from deeply held beliefs, or even economic interests. Signaling.

      Human society is nothing but an enormous array of signals flashing at each other, with no underlying reality, they say.

      Something about “always projecting” comes to mind.

  14. The reason Ruby Ridge is associated with the Clinton Administration in your memory is it was then that it became widely known — they used it as a dot to connect with other dots in order to draw a scary picture.

  15. Honestly it seemed like the screeching this year was much much quieter, but I’ve been attributing that the fact it was an election year and the screechers were distracted by much more important things.

    1. The loudest screeching so far this year has been on the University campuses… and in a number of cases, it’s backfired rather spectacularly.

      1. Oh ghods… did you see the video of Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yiannopolous and Steve Crowder’s UMass talk? Especially the other video of one of the protestors?

        *rolls SAN*

        1. Next time they speak at campus with protesters they should take a box of pacifiers and throw them at the protesters in the audience.

          1. I saw that – and OMG! Mind you, the poor girl looked like Orky the Killer Whale, and while I (not in the bloom of youth, looking anything like Audrey Hepburn, and considerably over my ideal body weight) do not have grounds to be dumping on any woman for her weight and appearance … I can bloody well critique manners, bearing and behavior. She was screaming and carrying on like a spoiled toddler. Her behavior was repulsive – no way around it. Repulsive, childish, spoiled. She may be well on the way to being an internet laughingstock, too – as the face of your standard Social Justice Warrior.

            1. There’s a hashtag on Twitter for her. Name:


              Though mysteriously the hash is not trending (though it has a LOT of tweets on it) and isn’t searchable. Trust and Safety Council at work, I suspect.

      2. Oh yes. Mizzou is scrambling to make up for the 1500 students who decided to go elsewhere. And that’s just the potential incoming class, not the current students who may have decided to transfer to somewhere they can actually, you know, go to class without being threatened.

        1. Schadenfreude, served straight up, with a dash of Bitters:

          Mizzou Misery: Exclusive Emails Reveal The Brutal Backlash
          By Jillian Kay Melchior
          > ‘You have a PR nightmare on your hands’

          > Grandma ‘I will pull every dime before my granddaughter sets foot on your campus’

          > ‘A national disgrace – disgusting’

          > ‘the mob’s threats … totalitarian to insane’

          > Student: ‘racism smaller than it is made out to be’

          > Student: ‘As an African American, I am embarrassed by my fellow students’

          > ‘I pledge NOT to contribute to your fund’

          > Donations to Athletic Department plunged 72%

          > Overall donations down

          > Freshman student enrollment down a quarter

          Mizzou’s vice chancellor for marketing and communications, Ellen De Graffenreid, received a disheartening email last fall at the pinnacle of the crisis on campus. A disgruntled parent wrote to the university’s Board of Curators, describing how her son, a sophomore, considered transferring out, while their two high-school-aged children “have all but eliminated Mizzou from their college list.”

          Someone had forwarded the note to the university’s Department of Marketing and Communications, adding: “I’m sure you already know this but you have a PR nightmare on your hands.” De Graffenreid, in turn, forwarded it to the college’s leadership, adding the letter from a parent was “pretty representative of the middle of the road people we are losing.”

  16. They want to believe the issue people have with the way science fiction has gone, the way games are reviewed, etc are because some imaginary troglodytes, in a cave, probably in Alabama, object to the fact the people creating sf/f and games have innies instead of outies.

    Some want to believe that…mainly because people they’ve been browbeaten into looking up to have trumpeted it to the skies. But a significant fraction, though probably short of a majority, knows better. That fraction wants you to think they believe that. It’s essential to their pose of virtue and nobility.

    Also, there’s a tactical aspect. They can’t win on the merits, which is made plain by what happens when their preferred crap must compete with genuinely good storytelling. So the change-of-subject to the demonization of our motives is tactically vital for them. It’s on all fours with shouting Racist!” to silence an ideological adversary.

  17. “and when his ATF killed a family of white supremacists. [It has been pointed out to me Ruby Ridge happened under George H. W. Bush…. “

    Randy Weaver and his family were White Separatists, not White Supremacists. It may be a fine line and a fine distinction, but it is a distinction.

    In the interests of accuracy and all. No need to propagate media distortions while attempting to protest, dispel and disparage other media distortions.

    1. Eh. I read their stuff. The line is MIGHTY thin. They didn’t believe they were superior for any reason, just “superior because G-d chosen” so there is some room for argument, but not much.

      1. I said it was a thin line, yes.

        On the other hand, they were living way off out in the boonies, not committing aggression toward any non-white people, and basically leaving people alone and wanting to be left alone. At least to the best of my awareness.

        They certainly didn’t seem to be doing anything that warranted being entrapped on bogus charges, invaded, and then murdered by armed agents and a government sniper.

        As far as the White Separatist/White Supremacist thing… it’d be silly for me to be either as I’m only visually white.

        My sympathies there lie wholly in the fact that without the right of free association, we undermine the foundations of all of our other rights and allow the Fed a crack they can drive a wedge the size of a space shuttle into.

    1. Just checked Kukuruyo out, never heard of him before. Man, the SJWs must be melting down over that one. Bwaha!

      1. The one for Tay Tweets is amusing.

        (The perils of teaching an AI via connecting it to Twitter. Pity I missed it. I’d see if I could turn her into a Sith.)

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