Innocents Abroad

Yesterday, in the time between ALMOST finishing unpacking the kitchen (there’s a box to go.  It’s cleaners) and scrubbing the floor, I got involved in a sort of argument on facebook.

It wasn’t exactly an argument, because the person who was lecturing me and an Indian gentleman wasn’t arguing.  She was lecturing.  She was absolutely sure of her ground, and she was in her role of lady bountiful enlightening the benighted.  If you picture her with a long suffering expression, arms half-open and light issuing from her hands, you have the right mental pictures.

The other benighted and I weren’t having any, and we were becoming increasingly more upset, but I doubt she saw it.  If she saw anything, she saw us being very rude indeed to our betters.

It started with Dave Freer’s sharing of his brave post, in which he admitted that we as Sad Puppy supporters are responsible for everything bad in history.  Since we have a time travel machine, we’re responsible for everything from the extinction of the dinosaurs to the eventual heat death of the universe.  The heartbreak of psiorasis, leaf mold, and that embarrassing little problem one of you gentlemen suffered last night are our fault, and I’m glad Dave admitted it, since he is far more eloquent and gifted with language than I am.

However this shocked one of his facebook friends, who I am to understand is also one of our colleagues, though I’ve never heard of her.  (There’s dozens of successful practitioners of science fiction I’ve never heard of, because there’s branches of sf/f that only marginally interest me.  My reading is selective in urban fantasy, non-existent in paranormal romance, post apocalyptic is not a good idea for a chronic depressive (unless it’s done by Ringo who does post-apocalyptic like a shout of rage in the face of darkness), and 99.9% of “literary” science fiction could double for a soporific.)

She knew, you see, that Dave writes women and people of color (ever so much less racist than “colored people”.  Don’t ask me how.  It’s a sort of magic) and therefore she couldn’t possibly see him supporting Sad Puppies.

At which point I entered the fray with flame thrower blazing.  And she fell back on “both sides are wrong” (though to give her credit, she also admitted she didn’t know the difference between Rabid and Sad.  Have I mentioned Grandma used to say there are none so blind as those who won’t see?)

This was fine, or rather she was boring me, so my ADHD had pointed out that I REALLY should unpack the kitchen machines, until an Indian gentleman joined (I think what discomposed her was that he called her ma’am) and pointed out he really doesn’t want world changing or anything from sf/f.  He just wants a fun adventure and somewhere he can escape to from the difficulties of life.

This is when we were told that SF/F has to a) be representative.  You have to have however many minorities have been head-counted into being statistically relevant or whatever, because only by writing minorities will minorities want to read sf/f.  b) Write about oppression and discrimination to change the world.  c) have “diversity” in our stories, because “diversity” enriches and blah blah blah.

Forgive me, I come from a small Latin village where, when things got on our nerves, we (women) put our hands on our hips and spoke without delicacy.

(Sarah turns the picture of Heinlein to the wall to spare his sensibilities.)

Let’s start with C, shall we.  Why?  Why is diversity enriching?  What the hell is actually meant by enriching?  And what the hell, for that matter, is meant by “diversity”.
We can establish it’s not diversity of thought or diversity of artistic vision, considering how the advocates of this “diversity” react to actual different opinions or ideas.  I think it involves trembling lips and extended pointing fingers and “not one of us.”  It even extends to calling near-anarchist libertarians like me “nazis”, because as we all know nothing says national socialism and death camps as “that government is best which governs the least.”
Is any work actually enriched by describing a character as being this color, another as another color, and have their oppression follow the hierarchy of their color?  Is any work actually “enriched” by being filled with little stereotypes designed to be oppressed by other stereotypes.
Who knows?  Perhaps they are in the sense that Literature Professors understand them better, and find a lot more in them to bore classes with.
Pfui.  And also meh.

Let’s move on to B.  Change the world with your writing?  Sure.  Of course.  Heinlein arguably is responsible for us still having a space program.  Almost all of us space-struck nuts grew up reading Heinlein and almost all of us think only sissies and bores don’t want to space.
If you don’t think that’s changing the world, you are entirely clueless.
BUT what changed the world, what made us move in directions we would otherwise not have taken, was not his preaching at us that we must go to space.  He did that too, in several essay which even he admitted were largely failture.
No, it was his creation of a compelling place to dream upon.
You want to change the world?  Great.  Though first, perhaps you should pay attention to what you want to change it FOR.  After all some of Heinlein’s early advocacy for things like an international governing body were misguided at best, as he himself admitted later.  And we won’t go into other things writers of his time advocated.  Unilateral nuclear disarmament aka the plan to surrender to the USSR was so stupid even the left no longer thinks it’s a good idea.  (All except our current president.  Never mind.  Fourth generation red diaper babies must be granted special dispensation.)  But once you’ve decided what you want the world to be, write it.  Write it in a compelling enough manner that people want to go/live there.  DO NOT just preach and “show oppression.”  Most people who want sermons go to church.
It is perhaps no coincidence that most people mad about this plan of berate-to-change-the-world are from puritan ancestry.  What’s bred in the bone will out in the flesh and familial cultures take very long to change.  I invite them to consider their preachy ancestors didn’t make much headway or much change in the world.

And now A.  Ah. A.

(Sarah makes sure that Heinlein’s picture is still turned to the wall, then puts her hands on her hips and realizes there will be no subtlety here.)

If any of you think that you “need to show minorities” or need to have some head count of a particular skin shade in your book, you are not only unredeemed racist, you are also culturally imperialistic and so blinkered idiotic you shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street without adult supervision.  And by adult in this case I mean any five year old who hasn’t spent a lot of money to be indoctrinated into stupidity, as you clearly have.

What do you mean racist?  You want to include all these minorities.  You want them to see themselves represented in science fiction.  You are lady (or lord, but, pardon me, most males like this are ladies too) bountiful enlightening the world.

Get off the pedestal, milady, and look the f*ck around.  We people who tan, in varying shades of tan, are not only capable of agency and thought.  We are also capable of common humanity with you people of pallor.

WE CAN SEE OURSELVES IN CHARACTERS OF ANY COLOR.  In fact, most of us who read genre literature (literary is different, being read mostly by college professors) couldn’t give a good goddamn about the skin color of a character.  For one, the character description tends to be brief, and then we can reset our brain to be more like the way we want him.  It’s not a movie.  And even if it were a movie, we could still enjoy a character who doesn’t look “ethnic.”

Do you know why?

Because — hold on.  Sit down.  Have a cup of tea, because this is going to be a shock — we are not toddlers or mentally disabled.  We don’t need to “see ourselves” in a book to want to read it.  We need the BOOK ITSELF to be interesting or gripping, or stimulating.

IN FACT a great part of the attraction of good fiction is that you can be someone else, for a while, there in the space behind the eyes that is normally the loneliest place in the world.  You don’t have to be whatever color you were born, or whatever gender, or whatever orientation.  You’re set free to dream.

I’ve BEEN characters of many colors and many orientations and many genders.  THAT is why I read.  To experience being someone else.  To just watch a story, I see movies.  It’s not the same thing. (And arguably this is why I prefer to read and write first person.)

I know this goes against all your training, but people of different colors or genders or orientations than the mean, DON’T need your help or your white-knighting.  We can fight our battles ourselves, and judging from the world, most of what oppresses us are NOT (I know, shock) white people, but broken, dysfunctional cultures, some of them hinging on very old errors, and some on very new Marxism.

Your racism is so deep, so profound, that you would make people of various shades of tan into PETS for you to caress and comfort, and feed.

Sorry, milady, we’d rather be human.

And before you say that people like me only want to read about white people, doing white things, or whatever.  Please see above.  I don’t care what the color or gender or orientation of a character is, provided he’s alive and interesting.  Or she. Or it. Or multiple gender martian.

What I DO care about is alive and interesting.  The character has to hold my interest.

And now we come to “But won’t diverse settings/backgrounds/people” make it more interesting.

Well, hell, yes.  I loved Barry Hughart’s tales of a China that never was.  I have actively sough out science fiction, mystery and fantasy set in other places and other times.  Most often these are a disappointment, as they are the US “elite” version of these places and times.  The oppressed are being properly oppressed, and there’s much blinkered preaching.  But sometimes there are gems.  There was a very good Margaret Ball novel set during the Crimean war.  (And eventually I’ll remember the title, but not enough coffee yet.) I love Stephen Saylor’s Roma Subrosa mysteries and Lynda Robinson Egyptian mysteries.  I love P. F. Chisholm’s Elizabethan mysteries, even if I disagree with her interpretation of some historical personalities.  I LOVE BEING SOMEONE ELSE for a little while.
This is arguably why I loved Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton, both exotic foreign writers to me and both setting their work in a land so strange it might as well be SF/F. Ditto for a lot of early American SF/F.

Because, you see, from the other side, white people and anglo-saxon civilization are exotic and exciting.  It’s all on account of us being REAL PEOPLE and not Marxist constructions.

I know.  Unbelievable, right?  You know who doesn’t believe that people darker than him/herself or of different genders and orientations aren’t fully human and capable of enjoying things without “similar” people in it?  Bigots.  Racists.

Also, innocents abroad.

The truth is that these people have never met any of the oppressed face to face.  Not to live among.  If they did interact with those less fortunate than themselves, it was as part of some international charity, there to dispense a bounty.  (And if you think people present themselves frankly to such charities, you ARE an innocent.)  Else, they talk to people at their own level of comfort and wealth in other countries, and don’t even realize these people were indoctrinated with the same Marxist cant, or else are catering to the gringo’s obsessions, and laughing behind their hand.  It was obvious from another part of the conversation that this person had no idea how UNFREE other countries are nor that people who can create art in Iran, or even in Europe, are doing so, largely with government financing and approval, and so what they’re creating is really propaganda.

And here we hit on what I have against these people writing “by the shade” and “exotic oppression” books.  I am against their writing those books, because they can’t SEE the real “exotic” or “other” or “different.”

All they actually see is what their sociology professor taught them to see.  Vast shambling groups of “by the numbers oppressed” people. They don’t see these people as people with agency at all.  They’re just targets for the white knighting of the “enlightened” writer.

As such these books are incredibly boring for anyone who went to college… anywhere.   There is nothing new there, no life.  We might actually find it interesting and exotic to read about tight-*ssed white people in an affluent environment where the voicing of the wrong opinion can get you ostracized.  You see, it’s different from where we live.

But reading about stereotypes clad in various skins?  — yawn — give me a break.

Open your eyes.  Then open your eyes again.  Learn to see real people around you, and write that.  And be damned what color they are.  People obsessed with color are called racists.  If you have different cultures, great.

But the important thing is that the book be fun.

Wanna change the world?  First your book has to be interesting and successful.

Wanna be read by people around the world? First your book has to be interesting and successful.

Wanna make it clear that people are people regardless of skin color?  Write people as people, and whatever skin color they need to be.

JUST dream and write, and let the paper pushers and button counters worry about details no reader is interested in.

Dream. Write. To the devil with what your professors taught you to fear or love.

DARE to be human.





434 thoughts on “Innocents Abroad

  1. “betters”

    Here’s where I go Full American. I do not HAVE any betters. I can BE better, but that’s my own issue. Anyone claiming to be my better is welcome to adorn a tree or lamppost.

    1. “I’m going to report this to your superiors!”

      “Superiors? I barely acknowledge any equals.”

        1. Well, lets start with the fact that there is a ‘MOA’, and The Child Protection (I get that part) and Permanency (duh??) Department. Then add the clueless Pam Gessert, … a school counselor … because teachers have the best relationships with students, they are most qualified… Sorry, that is an opinion, and ole Pammy seems to believe it is a statement of fact. If they are so ‘qualified’ why are the police involved?
          Isn’t the girl scout equivalent to boy scout ‘cub’ a brownie?

          1. The more I read, the more I think there’s a LOT they’re not telling us.

            Carey’s letter also said that under the regulations, police alone—not school administrators—have the authority to contact parents after an incident has been reported to them. Neither may the school “impose any type of administrative discipline until the criminal investigation is completed.”


            The school board says they’re not “aware” of any specific incident.

        2. Even by usual zero-tolerance-school-overreacts standards, this was absurd. The police? THE POLICE? What the heck did that kid do that could even remotely be considered a law-enforcement matter? Even assuming this 3rd grader was the most racist person on the planet and actually HAD uttered a racial slur, that’s not illegal and not a police matter. And the prosecutor actually ASKED the school to call the police on these sorts of name-calling things? WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE????

          Pardon me, I think I need to put on a violent video game and go kill some things until I calm down.

          1. You must keep in mind that Philadelphia has such a low crime rate and incidence of government corruption that they occasionally need to have such events as this to ensure that the law enforcement apparatus stays tuned up in anticipation of the Democrat Convention.

            According to the data n that page, Philadelphia has only HALF the crime rate of nearby Camden! And while their rates for neither violent nor property crime have been above the US average for at least the last decade, they’ve gotten really close in a couple of years — at least, in property crimes (any insinuation that this is simply because people no longer bother reporting such crimes is simply mean-spirited and contemptible.)

            For more about the wonderfulness of Philadelphia I recommend visiting the web site of their former Representative, Chaka Fattah, whose recent departure from the House is explained at the site of the Hoouse Clerk’s office: “The Honorable Chaka Fattah resigned from the 114th Congress effective June 23, 2016.”

            When you Google that site be careful to distinguish him from his son, Chaka Fattah Jr., who has been recently sentenced to five years in federal prison on bank and tax fraud

          2. I dunno, we had to go to court just because my then-teenage (13 or 14, IIRC) older son couldn’t remember to stay after school to work on catch-up homework (technically, it was a form of detention) when they told him about it either in the morning or maybe at lunch time.

            No, they couldn’t remind him during LAST PERIOD of the day, they expected him to remember it hours afterward. An ADHD teenage boy. Remember to do something at a particular time. Yeah, ri-SQUIRREL!

            1. Oh, fortunately, the judge had some sense. When she heard the case, she literally looked at the prosecutor and the school board representative that was there, and said something to the effect of, “He’s here for WHAT????”

            2. Good LORD even if the kid isn’t ADHD. At that age no boy can schedule. It’s a brain-development thing. Girls can. One of the ways schools ruin middle-school guys is by (new thing) giving out assignments and then nor reminding them to turn them in. Boys CANNOT DO THAT. The structure in the brain is simply not there until 16 to 19. So in middle school, girls pull insanely ahead.
              If this were reversed, there would be lawsuits. As is, I ended up having to keep track of the guys’ assignments and delivery dates. Oh, in part this was because teachers couldn’t be BOTHERED to. The other part, I suspect is that it confirmed their beliefs about boys vs girls. “Girls apply themselves more.” NO, you fucking moron. Girls develop faster. GRRRRRR.

              1. 16 to 19? Heck, it took me until I was 40 to notice a positive correlation between finishing and turning in assignments and receiving “A” grades.

                (It didn’t help that I could screw off assignments and still get “B”s in most classes.)

                1. Yeah, me too. But the current schooling is all about buttoncounting. The boys were having As in tests and still failing, because they’d turn assignments in late or forget them altogether.

                  1. Yeah, I’ve noticed that; fortunately No. 2 Son only has another year of Socialist Indoctrination left before he can start working as a smith/machinist full time.

                    The Daughter, on the other hand, still has several years to jump through the hoops.

                  2. In my high school, homework was just enough of the grade in pretty much all classes that you’d fail if you didn’t turn in at least 1/3 of it. (Assuming A tests)

                    1. My school had a lot of teachers with an absolute passion for assigning stuff that was to be handed in at the end of the month, quarter, or year.

                      I’ve got a memory like a steel trap– rusty and illegal in most states. The only reason that I am always early is because I know that if I do not try really, really hard, I will entirely forget; so I’d always turn in the “work on this all quarter” assignment in about… oh….two weeks. Get it done, get it done well, get it OUT OF THE WAY.

                      One teacher took it, graded it, gave me an “A++”…and then forgot that I’d turned it in, and tried to flunk me.

                      If I had tossed the thing like the pile of busy work it was, I would’ve been screwed; as it is, I now wonder how many of the classes I got Bs in are because I turned in the long term assignments too early, and the teachers forgot I’d ever done it.

                    2. Of course they’d have that as the next step.

                      Once again, I’m amazed you didn’t show up with a tiki-torch and half the farming implements at the local Big R.

                2. ….I’m not sure whether I was a lot more inclined to try to please authority figures or mine made homework a lot bigger part of the grade. (Could be both.) I did figure out sometime in high school that it took 14 perfect scores to make up for an equally weighted zero and still get an A….

              2. Thing is, I suspect that this was the first time the judge had heard about anything like that, because of the way she reacted, yet it was apparently common enough that they had a standard process for handling it without GOING to court.

                The first thing we had to do was meet with a mediator, who offered for him to do Public Service to cover it. After I asked if it would be wiped from his juvenile record, and was told no, I told her to get stuffed (well, more politely than that). So I think that we were the first ones to blow past the moderator and actually go into court. At least in this judge’s term.


          They had to be told to report any possibly criminal events to the police.

          Some of the articles at njpost (dot) com say that it’s tied to some anti bullying/hazing laws that were put in place.

          Since part of the reason I’m a homeschooler is knowing people who were sent to the hospital by assaults while they were at the school during school hours, but it “wasn’t a criminal matter,” I’m waiting until we have more sources than the mother of the kid.

          1. Hm… wonder if they could be erring on the side of caution to the point of absurdity because they’re mad about being called on that sort of thing?

            1. Obstructive obedience.

              AKA, pretending to be an idiot.

              Assuming that the mom didn’t “helpfully” leave out any information that might make us come to the “wrong” conclusion.
              I’m still rather suspicious about the “made a comment about brownies” and getting the response “that’s racist” with absolutely no detail on what was said, or the other kid, or…well, anything besides “they’re dumb, my kid is just sweetness and light.”

              It just hit way too many places WAY too quickly for it to not be something tricky.

              1. I could actually see, based on some conversations I’ve been in on, the other kid thinking it’s funny to pop out with “That’s racist!” to a totally food-related comment about liking or not liking brownies basically the same way some people blurt “That’s what she said!” in response to any sentence containing the word “long” or “hard.” With, of course, ensuing obstructive obedience.

                You’re right that it’s probably a good idea to wait for more information before deciding who’s actually being overbearing.

                1. That was my initial assumption, too. 😀

                  On a side note, have you noticed how it’s dang near impossible to come up with ANYTHING that can’t be turned into an innuendo?

                2. When my kid was in High School, there was an attempt to expel a kid based on a “yo mama” joke OVERHEARD by a third party who decided it was racist because it went something like this:
                  “Oh, that’s the janitor,” obviously Mexican kid.
                  “You know who else is a janitor? Yo Mama” from his blond best friend.
                  Girl overheard and made a “harassment” case out of it. (Thereby showing her own prejudice. Janitor = Mexican????)
                  By the time the kids realized it was THEM being discussed and that the blond one was in danger of expulsion, they had to get all their friends (I SWEAR) to testify that “yo mama” jokes of that sort (totally innocent, and non sexual, just stupid) had been all the rage in the class for the last year.

                3. We can remain reasonably confident that when more information* does come forth it won’t be via the MSM.

                  *Information: facts provided or learned about something or someone.

        1. So do I and by observation I’ve found I can pretty much recognize anyone claiming to be my moral superior due to my rac/sex/homo/whatever-ism is my superior in a category.

          They are superior twits.

    2. I try always to be respectful of my bettors.

      Especially those with a habit of tipping from their winnings.

  2. You madam obviously have no concept of right thinking.
    The world is not as it is but as we say, and thus demand by our declaration, what it MUST be.
    To speak of any future that is not our utopian design is to enable it!
    Shame, shame, shame to show you can think such a thing.
    You are going to be one of those first in the reeducation camps, and sorry to predict, one who will never graduate…

      1. “Comrade Comissar, we have a problem.”
        “Camp three has revolted.”
        “You mean it is revolting. Putting it in the swamp and not providing plumbing was supposed to kill those people off.”
        “No, Comrade, has revolted, burned down the other two camps, co-opted over half the guards, and they all headed off into the woods yelling ‘Wolverine’. They left surprises behind.”

        1. “You think you have me safely stuck away inside this wire: You are wrong. I’m not trapped in here – you are trapped out there!

      2. If there’s anything dumber than taking a bunch of Americans and sticking them together in close proximity, I can’t think of it.

        1. “Do they have anything?”
          “Nothing but their own spit and maybe some paperclips.”
          “You idiot! You might as well have left them chewing gum and bailing wire!”
          “Oh, yes, there was some chewing gum, too.”
          “RUN! You idiot, RUN!”
          “Why sho- WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!”
          “Chewing gum and paper clips. Run if you want to live!”

    1. I used to worry about that but more and more observing the typical SJW I have to ask “who will bell the cat”.

      I fear BLM and La Raza more than any white marxist SJW and for the same reason I fear radical Muslims: they have shown some degree of follow through.

      The white SJWs think BLM et al will be their foot soldiers but in the end they’ll be the pets and puppets of BLM due to raw fear.

      1. I am looking forward to BLM trying to disrupt a Trump rally this summer. I think they will be in for a real surprise this time, and will be screaming for the police to protect them.

        1. And once again I think of a long single panel from MAD. View of streetcorner, from roughly center of intersection. Angled building. Kook holding [END IS NIGH] sign exactly at the corner. From the left come the marchers [BLACK POWER] and [WHITE POWER] marchers from the right.

        2. Only issue on that is we have seen that law enforcement will interact to prevent violence against protestor. Not for the ones that are there for the rally. See San Jose and Sacramento.

          1. This past year have proven to me if you’re a law abiding taxpaying citizen who wants to be heard the police, like the rest of the state, is not on your side.

            This is not a healthy state of affairs and will not end well if allowed to run its course.

      2. Same thing in the UK where Brexit has resulted in a bunch of overwrought SJW millennial types to complain that their cohorts votes for Remain were overwhelmed by the older cohorts who tended to vote Leave.

        What they missed is that the old farts turned out is much heavier numbers.

        Anyway now they are talking about the potential for civil war and saying that because they are younger they will win. They seem to have forgotten something: all the young people that didn’t vote (or voted Leave). Chances are fairly high that many of these people are a) the children/grandchildren of people who voted Leave and b) the sorts of people who like to end a Saturday night with a fight.

        So in thus hypothetical “civil war” on the one hand you have the lager louts, football hooligans and the like and on the other you have people who want a SafeSpace. I think everyone knows how this is going to end, and it won’t be victory for Social Justice

        1. Because they are younger they will win?

          It is the tougher who win when the sides are approximately evenly matched. I wonder how many of these SJWs have ever had to miss two meals in a row?

          For that matter, I wonder how many have ever had to get up and walk across a room to change a TV channel?

          1. Because they are younger they will win?

            I’m going to guess the saying about old age and treachery never occurred to the whippersnappers who think that.

        2. Oh that is funny! A smart ‘remainer’ should be praying, ardently, there never is a civil war. People – even those with skills and youth – get killed. Some of the tough die. But all of the soft die. But doubtless their ‘civil war’ is ‘we’ll call the police! And set the law on them!”

          1. Not just “remainer” types. Unfortunately, it’s not too hard to run into some idjit or other that calls for some flavor of “revolution” which ultimately winds up boiling down to “kill people who don’t agree with me”. Also unfortunately, albeit for them, they may think they’ll be a Stalin but the odds are a heck of a lot stronger that they’ll wind up as a Trotsky (at best).

            That’s what bugs me the most about leftards, they keep pushing and pushing with the blithe assumption that things will always go on as they did before, and that there will never come a mass Popeye moment (“That’s all I can stands, ‘cuz I can’t stands no more!”). I’m really not looking forward to that proverbial back-breaking straw, because historical evidence doesn’t lead me to believe that it will simply stop at the more obnoxious people out there.

            1. They’ve been brainwashed into believing they are on “the right side of history.” They would have to lose that conditioning before considering the possibility they might lose.

              1. If they’re on the Right Side of History, all opposition to them is by definition on the Wrong Side.

                For certain types of people, you only have to treat “the right people” rightly, just as a gentleman’s word was only binding when given to another gentleman.

                1. And yet another shared value with Islam, where no pledge given to an unbeliever, either inividual (taqqiya) or nation (hudna) has to be kept unless it is to Islam’s benefit.

                  As I’ve been saying for years: Too dishonest to ever form a civil society with.

              2. Instead they will likely join the broken bodies of those who thought history was on their side.

        3. The Millienials may be younger, but apparently most have never heard the old saw about how experience and treachery beat out youth and enthusiasm.

          And on a more practical level, those “old farts” are more likely to still have around the gear from their ancestors who were given government-sponsored “vacations” in Europe, Asia, and assorted unsavory places. Put a placard versus an Enfield or whatnot, and I know which way I’m betting…

        4. Something else, I suspect they forget, and it’s encapsulated in the meme with the caption: Be wary of old men in a young man’s game. Street fighting is certainly a young man’s game — until age, trickery, and guile trump youth, enthusiasm, and a bad haircut.


  3. Oh, I would agree that diversity is enriching. But what’s diverse and enriching about solely representing the views and obsessions of modern white Marxists? That’s how someone like Heinlein is so confounding to the modern reader exposed to him. After decades of being told how racist/sexist he is, it’s a shock to discover that he was really much more diverse than most of the people accusing of not being so.

    1. I recently re-read four Heinlein novels. One protagonist was black, one brown, one mixed-race, and one didn’t say, as far as I can remember. In SJW-land anything not specifically states as otherwise is WASP, though.

      Obviously that last one proves Heinlein was a white supremacist.

  4. […] so what they’re creating is really propaganda.

    Ages ago now, I saw a documentary about propaganda. One striking bit I recall was near the end, there were two interviews. One with Frank Capra (Why We Fight) and one with some German (I no longer recall the name) who also produced propaganda films. The German fellow simply said it was the job and what he did. Capra basically apologized, repeatedly, through recognizing the need of the time.

    1. Because it was nationalistic propaganda. If it was just for his side it would have been ok but nationalism has to include those icky subhumans that respond to it.

  5. Insert man clapping Gif here.

    Thankfully I have no artistic talent cuz otherwise we would get a shot of Sarah astride a horse in mongol attire with recurve bow on warpath…

    But this isn’t that hard. Diversity in and of itself is not bad. Diversity for diversity sake, especially when it’s just wrapping different skins on the same mind. Or even worse telling false tales of diversity (super kungfu girl). But there is a mindset that you gotta treat the other as a pet and pamper them.

    1. Ahem. Sarah is a talented SF writer who has invented anti-gravity brooms for her characters to fly. She would not be riding a horse, although I will grant the recurve bow as arrows a) are slow enough to not activate force shields b) do not cauterize wounds the way laser blasters do — they prick and deflate the windbags.

        1. Perhaps there’s a heavy duty combat broom hiding out there called a horse?

          Broom air cav could be awesome, especially if they didn’t attend the Scout Trooper school of forest navigation.

      1. Well, I’m working through the Musketeers right now, so not quite the image I get… More up close and personal, and the look on her face is absolutely terrifying.

  6. You Must Speak Truth To Power!!!! (Even when you’re the powerful ranting at the less powerful). [Sarcasm]

    One SJW author talked about “afflicting the powerful & discomforting the comfortable” while sitting in her comfy seat being “aghast” at the thought of an evil White Man being at the same SF as her.

    1. Sorry that should be “being at the same SF con as her”. :embarrassed:

          1. Nah, 480 tends to blow them across the room.
            Good old 110 grabs on and holds until they’re fried.

            1. Hrmm.. grandpa spoke of 110. I have a light with a socket on it that reads of 115. And I’ve seen 117 a few places, a while back. And nowadays things seem to all be 120. Is this a sign of better distribution and regulation now, or something else?

              1. As I understand it, the actual voltage being targeted is 120 V. It can drop a little bit in the lines, so actual voltage at the outlet can be anywhere from 110 V and 120 V and be considered OK. Less than that can be inadequate; more than that can fry things.

                1. From memory, so take this with a grain of salt:

                  Nominal residential voltage in the US, measured at the transformer, is 120/240v. There are two ranges of allowable voltage. Range A is supposed to be “every day” voltage and is +/- 5% of nominal. That’s 114v – 126v/228v – 252v. Range B is supposed to be temporary, with 8% below nominal to 6% above nominal. That’s 110v – 127v/220v – 254v.

                  Keep in mind that this is at the transformer. There is voltage drop from the transformer to the outlet, and IIRC also falls into Ranges A and B, but I don’t know what they are.

                1. From memory again, so break out the sodium chloride:

                  US residential is typically single phase, and uses what is essentially a split coil transformer with the center of the coil grounded. This gives you 120v nominal from each end of the coil to ground and 240v between each end of the coil. Utility nomenclature varies, but we call each end a “leg.”

                  Three phase power depends on whether the service is three or four wire Delta or Wye. The largest we happen to provide at the present is 480v phase to phase. Three wire Delta not tied to ground is usually 240v or 480v phase to phase and can be anything if you try to measure the voltage to ground. It can climb over 1,000 volts. There is a type called corner grounded three wire Delta that has one phase grounded, so you get 240v or 480v phase to phase, and 0v, 120v or 240v, and 120v or 240v phase to ground. Some utilities use it; some have only heard rumors of it. It depends.

                  Four wire Delta has one of the split coils grounded at the center tap, and has voltages of 240v/480v phase to phase and 120v/240v, 120v/240v, and 208v/416v phase to ground.

                  One advantage of Delta is that you can get 3-phase out of just two phases in what’s known as open Delta. However, the transformers only have partial capacity.

                  Wye is always grounded, so the voltages are 120v/277v phase to ground and 208v/480v three-phase. It is possible to get single-phase 120v/240v out of a Wye bank by handing a transformer with twice the capacity of the other two and with internal coil configuration unaltered, and then provide single phase service off that one.

                    1. Nah, you’re right.

                      And I shouldn’t look up things like that when I’m not feeling well in the morning. I’m normally a math guy, but seeing the formula derived made my eyes cross this morning.

                  1. And then one day just for giggles I decided to measure the outlet voltage in the old garage apartment. On one outlet in the living room I had ~130+ volts and on the other plug (in the same room) I had ~108v. So I called my local provider and asked what I’m supposed to be seeing and was told 120+/- 10%. Ooooooookay. Fortunately most newer electronic equipment is spec’d at 90-240v… And I suppose the hot water heater and the clothes dryer doesn’t much care either.

              2. Many recent light bulbs say 130V, though I think that’s done to suggest greater immunity to power surges. That said, I’ve measured 125V at the wall in this house. Within limits, as Kevin says below, but somehow unnerving to a guy who grew up think of the wall as “one-ten.”

            2. I have found that 4160 will both fry and blow them across the room, typically with an aesthetically pleasing smoke trail.

              1. In all seriousness, it depends. There used to be a bad local habit of brushing something that might be energized with the back of the hand instead of grabbing onto it. We would tell the new guys that was the difference between an open casket and a closed casket funeral, and unfortunately I know of instances of both. One was an open casket and the other they identified the guy from his teeth. The voltage we work with ranges from 120v up to 14.4 KV (about 25 KV phase to phase).

                BTW, you can be electrocuted just by walking close to a downed line. That’s because resistance through earth is usually greater than the resistance through you, and electricity will flow up one leg and down the other due to the difference in potential. And that’s why we wear special electrically insulated overshoes.

                1. The BIL came up with the “downed lines turning into rattlesnakes” ad campaign that the local power company still uses. Said he had the idea when reading about a golfer that got nailed by a snake that was twenty feet away when it got agitated.

            1. Plastic sporks. Sure, it will be harder to hurt themselves and they don’t conduct energy worth a damn, but you know some overly enthusiastic a-hole will manage, somehow, completely by accident to seriously injure uninvolved parties if they’re given an actual fork.

    2. I despise with all my being the “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” saying. Who the hell gives anybody the right to judge whether you’re comfortable and should be afflicted?

            1. You speechless twice in as many days.

              I am so tempted to try for a hat trick tomorrow 🙂

              And yes, I knew exactly what you meant, but the cat joke was right there.

              1. You only think you know where the cat is. I’ve suffered so many injuries from that delusion…

                1. My big, black(is that racist?) 15# tom has taken to hanging out under the bed – which I suppose is an improvement from hanging out ON the bed – what with shedding and all.

                  1. My big, black tom, with the torn off ear, the scars, and the muscle — yes, his name IS Greebo — is sleeping at my feet, while I write.
                    He once chased off a (human) fugitive. He once left us half a fox tail (torn VERTICALLY) as a gift (the fox had it coming, it had bit his brother Maurice’s ass. Maurice survived, but Greebo was out for blood.) When we went out for the weekend we’d come back to little pyramids of dead squirrels and mice by the kitchen door.
                    He’s sleeping. At my feet. In the office. Which is his favorite place in the world. And I’m his favorite person.

      1. …and how does that mean you’re doing the right thing?

        Judging from the way progs act, it’s less of a way of doing a good thing and more of an excuse to hurt people by saying it’s okay because they’re icky.

        1. Yeah. I’ve seen too much gleeful schadenfreude on the part of the Left to believe they’re “tolerant”; the rank and file think they’re tolerant, which lets them be tribalistic poo-flinging chimps with the approval of their own consciences.

        2. Much like in 1938 Germany you couldn’t be evil to a Jew you can’t be intolerant to the intolerant in the minds of our betters.

          1. Forget 1938 Germany, I got the “can’t be intolerant to the intolerant” bleat this week. I’ve also gotten the “bigot towards the bigoted” excuse fairly recently.

            Essentially, they’re intolerant bigots trying to excuse their hate because they claim their victims are baaaad.

            1. Oh I know. Biggest one I heard was in that white power type rally in Sacramento. Just noting that that is the mindset, blaming one group as deserving punishment for everyone is closer to the NSDP than these white power idiots.

              And I know very well. Have had more than a few former friends threaten my life over opinions.

              1. …and I wonder how loudly they’ll scream when the mob they gleefully support turns on them for whatever imagined (or even real) “sin” they are guilty of?

                I wonder if I’ll feel any sympathy for them when it does. Perhaps it’s mean of me, but I suspect I will not feel any sympathy. At all.

                1. Well they have already said unless one is completely on board they don’t want sympathy after Pulse

                  1. How nice of them to decide who can give sympathy… and who can accept sympathy. *facepalm*

  7. “Wanna change the world? First your book has to be interesting and successful.

    Wanna be read by people around the world? First your book has to be interesting and successful.”

    So the takeaway is … a book that is only read (and awarded) by your own ilk is just an extended hashtag and serves the same function in the world. Now, where did you put those Boko Haram slave girls that you rescued … ?

  8. Had an odd (Odd?) thought. Way back when, there was this fellow who said, “Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.” which never made any sense to me. And yet… now.. GamerGate.. Sad Puppies.. Brexit.. (quite a shift in scale!) many have Turned On (their minds), and Tuned In (to what is actually going on, rather than merely what they are told is going on) and the “intelligentsia” (*COUGH*HACK*GAG*SPIT*HARF*) are surprised the reaction is to Drop Out of the charade?

      1. I see the author of the piece already did the wondering if she’ll go after Fine Guys restaurants next bit, so I don’t have to.

          1. I know, right? Every time I read something this idiotic, I imagine writers at the Onion breaking their keyboards, curling up in their safe space and sobbing, “Curse you, Reality! Curse you!”

              1. I think they got bought relatively recently by a bunch of Progressives, or Islamists, or Nazis, or similar scum.

      2. Forget straining the gnat and missing the camel – those folks are missing the entire blasted caravan (Dodge or dromedary, your choice.)

  9. This is when we were told that SF/F has to …

    The ONLY correct continuation of that sentence is: … SF/F has to be read.

    Anything else is nonsense, arrogant imposition of standards which are nobody’s right to impose. Not even John W. Campbell could impose any standard of “What SF/F has to be” (except: for me to buy it.)

    1. On further reflection, it becomes clear to me that there is only one intelligent and appropriate rejoinder to such a statement as “SF/F has to be …” and that rebuttal is: “Sez who?”

      1. Well, there’s another useful rejoinder:

        “No. I’ll write what I want to and read what I want to, and your silly opinions mean nothing to me. Now go away.”

    2. That’s why I like to bring up Mickey Spillane when the SJWs start talking literary. Spillane was their Vox Day back in the 1950s and 1960s. They were busily awarding each other prizes for grey goo, but Spillane’s “violent drivel” sold 225 millon copies as he bypassed literary criticisem and went directly to AND THEN YOU GET PAID.

      1. One of Block’s books talks about a panel of six or seven authors including Spillane discussing where they find inspiration. When they finally got to Spillane he said they all forgot to talk about money. He went on to relate a story where after a book he’d run out of ideas and bum around on an island for a bit until his accountant called and said the money was running low.

        Spillane said it was amazing how many ideas for a book he had almost immediately after that call.

  10. Will just note that propaganda in itself does not indicate an untruth.
    The expression simply says that the information serves the purposes of those issuing it. Really, the strongest propaganda is carefully accurate and provably true. It’s just that very few people on either side of an issue seem able to restrain themselves from overstating their case. Especially on the internet – a moderate middle seems near extinct.

    1. It was fascinating listening to Radio Moscow in the mid-late 1980’s. I do not now recall catching them in an outright lie, but they sure had a very carefully selected version of truth. I was reminded of that a few years ago watching some TV show that was all the rage then – it did the very same thing, with carefully timed edits.

      1. Cold War Radio Moscow was really an interesting experience. The newsreaders were trying so hard to come of as earnestly American in accent and vocal mannerisms, but never got it quite right.

        Cold War BBC World Service was also interesting, but for different reasons. I could tell there was a war going on inside the Beeb as to whether they should stay traditional BBC or throw out all the stuff that smelled of Empire, drop all the “Soviets are bad” viewpoints that they really didn’t believe in. And then the Soviets kept doing bad things that the BBC had to report on. Terrible angst, hidden by the traditional BBC World Service British accent and demeanor.

        The other interesting shortwave listen back then was the various flavors of Radio America – They were generally putting out the US government position, but the vast majority was just news that was not propaganda. Late 70s they were trying to pep things up by including interest stories and soft news stuff. Some struggles were obvious there too, but at least unlike the Beeb they were not in the midst of a leftist revolution and purge in the offices behind the studios.

        And finally on shortwave in those days, on odd frequencies, generally late when the atmospherics were better, you could also catch various deadpan voices with indeterminate but not native-english accents reading long lists of numbers in english, with the signal exhibiting enough noise to indicate the transmitters were quite far away from California. Obvious spy stuff, and very cool.

        I have not scanned around on shortwave in years to see what’s still around.

        1. I admit I occasionally watched Soviet propaganda — anything from the Norman Lear shop, the Donahue Show … ABC World News Tonight.

        2. Ah, yes. The “numbers stations.”

          Personally, I think the Soviets did it purely to mess with peoples’ minds.

          1. The Soviets weren’t the only ones with numbers stations, and I don’t think they were solely a psych war tactic, either.

            1. Some of the Cartels use them, and gov’ts other than the US and USSR are possibly still using them. I don’t think some trust PGP to keep things scrambled on the intertubular nets

            2. It’s kind of like the “use spam to send coded messages” thing; once someone comes up with the idea, it’s so brilliantly simple that anybody can do it.

              Or making characters on a free wow account, on a specific server, and going to a specific coordinate to chat in /say.

        3. In the late 1980s there was a numbers station that you picked up in Lapland that read the numbers out in Finnish. Very weird and far more powerfully transmitted than any useful (i.e. music) station. In fact there was quite a lot of Lapland where that station was the only thing the car radio would pick up.

        4. Broadcast shortwave is just a bare shadow of its former … well … entertainment factor.

          Radio Moscow used to be *everywhere*, in seemingly every band. Radio Pyongyang, lots of marches, late at night. BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, The Happy Station (Netherlands), Radio Havana, and that was just some in English. When conditions were right, we could get some interesting stuff from south and central America, too. Some of it only when adjacent Radio Moscow feeds went off for the night. For some value of “night”, somewhere or other.

          I saw the other day that some of the old RM transmitters have kept operating by selling their time to various non-governmental customers.

          Like religious broadcasters in multitudes of different languages.

          1. Remember “La voz de los Andies,” HCJB in Quito, Ecuador? Now part of the Quito airport is built where their antenna field stood. We could pick up a radio station out of Bonaire, Netherlands Antillies at night on AM. Ooh, and the old numbers stations. Then one day I picked up the pirate station Jolly Roger.

            A couple of weeks ago I turned on the shortwave and it seemed like it was all Radio Beijing.

            1. Oh, wow, good old Hoy Christo Jesus Bendice. I have a QSL card from them somewhere. Great way to spiff up on Spanish back in the 80’s.

      2. Remember the Radio Moscow interval signal of Moscow Nights? One day I was listening to a local radio station and they picked Moscow Nights for the filler right before the network radio news. Suspect that was a bit of local commentary.

      3. The Russians had a saying, “V Izvesti ne Pravda, v Pravda ne Izvesti.” “In News there is no Truth, and in Truth there is no News.” Pravda and Izvesti being the two major news papers in the USSR.

  11. OK lets get concrete for a second here with an example

    Take Lois M Bujold’s Vorkosigan stories. Most of these center around Miles Vorkosigan who is
    – white(ish, I’m fairly sure that Cordelia has a fascinating non-cuaucasian genome, but he probably presents as white)
    – male
    – heterosexual
    – very short due to fetal isses
    – bones so brittle they break all the time in the earlier books due to the same fetal issues
    – disabled in the later books due to various events in the earlier ones
    – crushed by the expectations of his family and society but yet driven to overcome his disabilities to make hsi family proud

    The naive diversity person would presumable see the white, male, heterosexual bit and decide there is nothing there. I find it very hard to imagine anyone who’d want to be Miles in real life, he’s got physical problems and mental problems that are scary. But his attitudes (e.g. loyalty beyond belief) make him inspiring and a joy to read about and, for a short while, to identify with.

    Moreover I can’t see any value in his white, male, heterosexual bits being changed. They aren’t the core Miles they’re just surface details. Pretty much the same stories could be written with any or all of those changed and they’d be just as moving. It wouldn’t make a shit of difference to the power of the stories or the way people of all races, genders etc. identify with the drive to overcome and the integrity that is the core of the character.

    You could perform the same analysis on Honor Harrington (female, half chinese, hetero) or Lucius Keeva (white(ish), male, gay).

    1. You’ve left out the most important thing about Miles: he’s the son of the planetary regent, thus highly privileged.

      Privileged to have d-near everybody assume that whatever he achieves is granted him as an unearned favour.

    2. Imagine the grief Bujold would have caught if Miles had been female and melanin-enhanced: How dare she pile all those issues on a member of a disadvantaged class?

      1. Even worse – female, melanin-enhanced, but not a follower/member of modern “urban” culture? Oh, the horror! The vapors!

    3. How you come up with ‘non-Caucasian’ for Cordelia I don’t get. Naismith sounds very UK-ish, + the Roan hair tends to evoke Irish ancestry. Though I don’t recall learning Grandma Naismith’s maiden name or physical description so there may be some color there. Kosigan might be Greek, but more likely is derivation of Russian Kosygin (of the four main cultural contributors to Barrayar’s make-up). Though we are again not cognizant of the race of his Betan great-grandmother on his father’s side. Still, yeah, for most points of discussion Miles = white.

      Also don’t get how Miles being het male is ‘just surface detail’. I’ll just mention a couple of instances,. The relationship, or lack thereof, with Elena Bothari due to class differences, physical challenges, and feudal obligation seem to be a major factor to development of Miles’s character, at least in his early life. Would a gay Miles have tried so hard to impress the Haut Rian during his adventure on Cetaganda? His meeting, and ‘secret’ wooing of the Widow Vorsoisson (though of course she wasn’t a widow, quite yet, when they met) again brought major changes/development to his character. Granted, a story of a gay Miles, by Bujold, would likely be as powerful and moving, but they wouldn’t be the same.

      1. How you come up with ‘non-Caucasian’ for Cordelia I don’t get.

        Beta colony has been genetically modifying its children for a long time. I’m guessing some of the enhancement comes from non-caucasian genese added to the mix

        Also don’t get how Miles being het male is ‘just surface detail’.

        You’re assuming that the other characters and plot points all remain the same. If Lois had wanted to (say) make Miles a lesbian then she’d have tweaked the rest of the world / story to work with that detail. Don’t ask me what that would involve but I can’t see any obvious improvement to the tale we have

        1. Beta colony has been genetically modifying its children for a long time.

          Certain Betans have been modifying their offspring for generations. Some of those modifications may have been including ‘foreign’ genetic material, though I’d think it would be more likely (outside of outre things like quaddies and hermaphrodites) to be winnowing out genetic-related problems such as sickle-cell diseases, cystic fibrosis, progeria, etc. than adding to the genotype. And even if they are importing genetic material into their progeny, what makes a certain genetic trait ‘Caucasian’ or non-? I mean I suspect the DNA sequence for, say, brown eyes is the same whether the donor is from Scandinavia or sub-Saharan Africa. There must be a certain finite, and probably limited, set of genes that result in a ‘non-Caucasian’ phenotype.

          You’re assuming that the other characters and plot points all remain the same.

          Uh, no, I’m not. I said that a story of a gay (should have added ‘or female’) Miles would be as powerful and moving, but not the same. You‘re the one who said that pretty much the same stories could be written with Miles’s ‘race’, gender, or sexual preference changed and they’d be just as moving. I agree that the stories would likely be as powerful and moving in Ms. Bujold’s hands, but it wouldn’t be anything like the *same* stories. And certainly, as you say, it would not be an improvement. If Miles had been Millicent, Aral would have had no qualms about starting another pregnancy with Cordelia for fear of producing a second male get to overshadow/displace his damaged firstborn son as heir. Piotr and Aral would not have had a falling out over Millicent’s survival because, as a girl, she’d never become Count and inherit the District. (Unless she went the Count Dono Vorrutyer route, but that would have been in a distant future. Though with Vorkosigan daring it wouldn’t surprise me if it had happened somehow. Still, I doubt Count Piotr would have entertained a thought about the possibility.) Also, Millicent would never have gotten into the Imperial Service Academy under any circumstances. A gay Miles would have pined after tall, handsome Ivan rather than tall, lovely Elena (and wouldn’t *that* have made for some fun), and would have been more responsive to Bel Thorne’s blandishments in the Oseran Fleet/Dendarii Mercenaries than Elli Quinn’s. Also, as Prime Minister Admiral Count Vorkosigan’s scion and heir, he would probably still have represented Barrayar at the Cetagandan Empress’s funeral festivities, but would Haut Rian have had the same effect on him as she did on hetero Miles? I could go on but I hope you get my drift.

    4. Where I grew up, people of Miles’s “kind” were (usually) acknowledged as White – but not quite the right kind of White. Slavics, you know…

      (Not that anyone ever messed with them. They were also the union bigwigs.)

  12. “Fourth generation red diaper babies must be granted special dispensation.”

    I’m pretty sure they’ve been granted too many dispensations already.

                1. Sure you can. Given sufficient volume of manure the pile generates enough heat to cause the silicon to break down into sand, which helps the ultimate irrigating properties of the output.

  13. Representative? Repre-effing-sentative? Or the darkies won’t read it?

    Did Chip Delaney find a lot of gay black pederasts in SF/F before he began writing it? Were there transgendered dwarves in Tolkien that I just happened to miss? (I will give you the tree-huggers.) Were Oz, Barsoom and Ishtar’s weapon shops filled with representatives of diverse ethnic and sexual orientation?

    “I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?”
    ― W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

    Lots of “persons of color” in Shakespeare and Balzac, eh? Else how could Du Bois have read them? I will grant Dumas the representation of gay bravado … “All for one” my arse.

    1. Oz, Barsoom and Ishtar’s weapon shops filled with representatives of diverse ethnic and sexual orientation?

      Well, I wonder about the Lollipop Guild…

    2. Actually, there may well have been lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered members of all Tolkien’s Free Peoples. And the Orcs, as well, though you wouldn’t have wanted to meet the LGBT Orcs, I daresay. And the Dwarves in particular — non-Dwarves didn’t know if they were male or female. There’s a heck of a lot of good fanfic about LGBT in Tolkien’s world. But Tolkien just didn’t write specifically about them.

  14. What is really horrible, is not just that they are doing this in politics, the university, and writing, among others, but they are infecting other categories of professionals. I am working in a post professional doctorate program in the physical rehabilitation field and they are “doing research” and publishing articles with “social justice” in the title. Show me one therapist, OT or PT or SLP, who didn’t work with a patient out of prejudice, or skin color, or something, and I will show you a therapist up on malpractice charges, or no longer has a license! Tell me what this brings to the profession, what problem it solves? If some group is underserved, well then serve them; if they won’t come, maybe they don’t want to; and it’s certainly not because of skin color “diversity” for G*d’s sake!

    1. One of the recurrent arguments made against any rfra is typically that people will die in the street because EMTs and doctors can let em die. Never mind it’s explicitly forbidden by law and wouldn’t happen anyway but it’s a great way to evoke fear in populace and make em vote “properly”

      1. Well, in the end they start forcing things and they’ll learn what else the religious are the secular aren’t.

        The Council of Bishops have made it clear that forcing certain things on Catholic Hospitals, like abortion, means those hospitals will close. Hospitals that serve 1 in 6 and skew towards the poor (keeping them out of the hospitals that the “good and decent liberals” use).

        Please, push all the religious out of public life and see how nice your world is.

        1. But the fact that the religious don’t simply roll over means it’s still their fault. Have not cared before because the signalling against their enemy is the more important thing

          1. Frankly, the problem is that the Judeo-Christian religious have been rolling over too d*mn much.

          1. Yes…Ware’s The Orthodox Church has numbers on the ROC in 1917, 1989, and one or two in between on numbers of priests, monks, churches, monestaries, seminaries, and attendees.

            Based on those numbers it can reasonably be argued that the worst percecution of the Church was behind the Iron Curtain in the 20th Century.

            The worst of the Roman ones (excecpt Julian the Apostate’s percecution) were localized. Nothing Roman or Islamic was as thorough. More proof that to create a truly authoritarian horror you need an industrial age invention: socialism.

            1. I was reading a history of the effects of WWI on the world’s major religions, and the author pointed out that in 1913, 25% of the world’s Christians were Orthodox (Russian or otherwise). By 1945 . . . they weren’t.

              1. We are a shadow of our former selves. and yet another branch of our tree is being pruned daily in a vicious manner.

                The Oriental Orthodox are even more beset as is the last of the Church of the East. I may live to see the former reduced to major populations in Ethiopia and India and the latter to India alone (as those are the two major communioins among the St. Thomas Christians).

  15. “And what the hell, for that matter, is meant by ‘diversity'(?)”

    Ha, another excuse to pontificate! I therefore suggest that what people really mean by this, and what stories most need, is a diversity of experience and perspective in their cast of characters. I want to read about — and I think stories benefit from — characters who have lived through different things, seen things I haven’t seen, and look at the world in a different way from how I do; and I want to watch the interaction of characters who have these differences among themselves as well, and learn from each other and grow and change as a result.

    The SJ advocates’ great mistake is their belief that the superficial demographic markers of identity serve as a reliable and consistent indicator not only that this experiential diversity exists but what it is and how it should be used in stories. As such, they fall victim to the greatest bias of all: the bias against telling stories that appear to contradict their own preferred message of advocacy.

    The great advantage of the uniqueness of every living person is that even someone who ticks all my superficial demographic boxes can nonetheless be a profoundly different person from me, and someone who ticks almost none of them may yet be startlingly similar to me. The great problem with filtering every story through the Marxist oppressor/oppressed dynamic is that you flatten out not only your plot but your characters.

    1. They also frequently believe that the true marker of diversity is oppression. They literally can’t conceive of a character belonging to a “special” class (race/gender/orientation) unless somebody is being mean to them because of that specialness.

      You can’t gin up the rage without the martyrdom, and you can’t impose extreme laws/actions/setasides without the rage.

      Now, I have read books with a good bit of implicit bigotry in them. Usually pretty old, pulpish. They *had* women characters, but they were always, always in the kitchen, stupid, and/or needing rescue. But I consider that bad writing because they were boring characters, even to the other characters 😀 Hanging your bigot flag out to wave is a big turnoff to me, REGARDLESS OF THE BIGOTRY. I don’t like anti-male bigots any more than anti-woman ones.

    2. > superficial demographic markers of identity

      I don’t think the SJWs can see much deeper than that. “The masses”, after all, are interchangeable by definition.

  16. One of the more jarring things I found when we visited Belize several years ago was one of the guides saying that there was no poverty in the country because everyone was on basically the same level. He also said the Amish were considered some of the wealthiest people around. Most of the houses had two and sometimes three families living there (according to the guide) and were smaller than my garage. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

    1. “I wept that I had only two-year-old Lamborghini, until I saw a man who had only a five-year-old Hyundai.”

      1. Three men die and go to heaven. At the Pearly Gates St. Peter tells them, “We determine what kind of car you drive in Heaven based on how faithful you were to your spouse”. He turns to the first man and says, “How many times did you cheat on your wife?”

        The man, shame faced, says, “Fifty times.” St. Peter hands him the keys to a late 70s Pinto.

        St. Peter turns to the second man and says, “How many times did you cheat on your wife?”

        The man, flushing slightly, says, “Ten times.” St. Peter hand him the keys to a five-year-old Hyundai.

        St. Peter turns to the last man and says, “How many times did you cheat on your wife?”

        The man, with great pride, says, “I never cheated on my wife”. St. Peter hand him the keys to a brand new Rolls Royce and then directs all of them through the gates.

        Millenia pass and the man with the still new Rolls Royce sees a late 70s Pinto pulled over and the driver rolling on the ground fearing the driver was somehow hurt even in Heaven.

        He stops his Rolls, gets out, and walks up. He sees it is the man who came to the Pearly Gates with him and far from hurt he is laughing uncontrollably.

        He asks the man, “How can you be so joyful when even in Heaven you are reduced to driving an late 70s Pinto?”

        The man, gasping for breath betweens howels of laughter says, “I just saw your wife go by on roller skates.”

        1. You got a threefer with that one. It had been so long since I’d heard it I had mostly forgotten it. And a split second later a friend called, and I read it out to him. He LOLed. And my wife was in an adjacent room, and heard it, and she ROFLed. And I got a good chuckle out of it too.

  17. Much as I’d like to claim the compliment, it must rightfully go to someone else; I never wrote anything set during the Crimean war.

    1. You DID write something set in India. I remember that. I thought you’d also written something set during the Crimean war. BUT then again I was pregnant when I read it, and might have agglutinated one or more books.

      1. Oh…got it! I invented some Russian aggression for that one set in India, because I needed something more threatening than the spy-vs-spy maneuvers of the Great Game. My defense is that the Russians actually did draw up plans to invade India over the Hindu Kush… at least some of the batshit crazy ones did… so it wasn’t that much of a stretch to imagine them trying to take out a minor hill country.

        Good thing that was back in the 90’s. Nowadays the SJW’s would probably slam me for presuming to write the pov of an imaginary PoC from a country that never existed. You young people have a much trickier political landscape to navigate. (Although the Puppies don’t seem to navigate it so much as roll over it in tanks,bless you.)

        1. Margaret — Bless you. I knew there was a reason I liked your writing much.
          Fortunately indie allows us to just ignore the barking-mad pc enforcers. (Yes, I have read other books by you, I’m just in an advanced stage of moving brain — third move in nine months — and have trouble remembering the titles of my own books — not a joke or exaggeration.)

        2. “Although the Puppies don’t seem to navigate it so much as roll over it in tanks”
          Frequently lifting one of their rear legs and standing for a moment.

  18. “And what the hell, for that matter, is meant by “diversity”.”

    Lots of lovely little ethic restaurants (just not TOO authentic, please. No Dog Stew or Capybara.), and yuppies of all shades of skin tone, so long as they do not question the Liberal Verities.

    (The owners of the Restaurants can question the Verities if they want to, so the Beautiful people can be patronizing.)

    1. You don’t like getting to pick your guinea pig for supper? Next you’ll be telling me that people who eat cute mammals are primitive and crude.

      1. meh. We ate guinea pig when I was growing up. They reproduced fast and were easy to kill. JUST not very big/tasty.
        Then grandma declared them too cute, and that stopped. But our neighbors still ate them.
        And we weren’t savages. We didn’t eat cats or dogs.

        1. I didn’t think the ones I’ve seen had much meat on them. I wonder how they compare with rabbit or hare, in terms of pound of meat per pound of critter.

            1. I didn’t finish the one I had in Ecuador – it was deep-fried and not very appetizing. I’m told they’re much better grilled.

        2. When in the Pacific, I missed my roommate’s wedding on Kosrae because I had to step up to his place in the helicopter hangar. The centerpiece of the wedding feast, as legend has it, was the fatted dog.

          I did ‘get’ to eat rat while I was there, however. And while I never saw any belled collars near the food kiosks during my tour of Asia, I could never be *sure* of the provenance of my comestibles. Still, tasted good, and never got ill.

          Passed on the Balut, though.

          1. When I was a kid I broiled a mouse over an open fire, and ate the meat… it was actually very good, tasted just like fine beef. But at one mouthful, hardly worth the effort.

      2. “Where would ham come from, if not from hamsters?”

        – L. Neil Smith, “Tom Paine Maru”

          1. After thirty years, my wife still annoys me by saying “tuna fish.” I always ask her if there’s any other kind of tuna she might be referring to.

            I’ve *almost* managed to dissuade her from saying “hot water heater.”

            1. There’s always the piano tuna, responsible for ensuring that the piano is in tune. At least if you listen to some in Massachusetts.

            2. Perhaps she is distinguishing the fish from the cactus?

              Tuna plant is of the cactus family, growing with prickly nodes on its broad leaves or stems. It has been utilized for many years as a shampoo for the hair, restoring refulgence and an healthy appearance to over processed hair. It is currently being used as an ingredient in various shampoos. I have no need to buy shampoo with this plant as an ingredient in it because I have it in abundance in my yard. Whenever I wash my hair, I simply cut one of the huge leaves in halves and used it to rub in my hair, let it stay for few minutes and then rinse it out. Tuna medicinal herb always leaves a natural glow in my hair and it will allow the hair to comb out easily.

              Some of the common names are Cactus flowers, Tuna cardona, Pear fruit, Cactus fruit, Indian fig, Opuntia and West-wood pear. Tuna (Opuntia) plant constituents are pectin, fiber, calcium oxalate and calcium malate.

              Health benefits of tuna plant

              Tuna is a good remedy for back pain and that is the reason it is loved by most Jamaican men who use it to treat these back pains. It is used by women as well for menstruation conditions and as I said before, for shampooing the hair. This is especially done by the older Jamaican women who really know the worth of this plant.

              Many individuals, including myself and my husband just love to combine the juice from the leaves with coconut water and store it in a container in the refrigerator. This we will drink periodically for the pain in the back and any other ailments, such as cleansing of the whole body system. This juice has no taste but it is so slimy. However, the coconut water will help to minimize the slimy taste that most people fear inclusive of myself. It is also believed that coconut water is also good for back pain, hence the mixture of both.

              Tuna juice also can be utilized as a poultice for swelling of the feet, especially for the ankles, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, viral infection, colitis, obesity as well as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

              It is referenced in L’Amour’s Lonesome Gods in the second paragraph of chapter 16.

            3. My wife and I like to mention the time we ate dolphin. That was the fish, not the mammal, and before it was called mahi-mahi, We don’t necessarily tell that part. 😉

                1. Rattlesnake wasn’t bad. Sort of flaky like fish.

                  It’d go good with Thai sweet chili sauce. We’re up to a gallon or so of that per year, now…

              1. Trivia… in Hawaii there is a fish that they simply call ‘ono’ Which means “Tasty”. There was, reportedly, a hawaiian comedian who cobbled together a bunch of that sort of thing and managed a ‘who’s on first’ style routine with his partner in the local flavor.

              2. Heh. My father tells that story every so often. Caribbean waiter trying to explain “Not fleeeper”

              1. I still call the four round places on my range top “burners.” All-electric house.

                (On occasion, of course, the term is quite accurate. Only it’s not natural gas that’s burning…)

    2. If the menu in the Chinese restaurant has more than 2 dishes featuring sea cucumber (even slimier than boiled okra), it’s probably too authentic.

    1. You say you want a revolution
      Well, you know
      We all want to change the world
      You tell me that it’s evolution
      Well, you know
      We all want to change the world
      But when you talk about destruction
      Don’t you know that you can count me out
      Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
      all right, all right

      You say you got a real solution
      Well, you know
      We’d all love to see the plan
      You ask me for a contribution
      Well, you know
      We’re doing what we can
      But when you want money
      for people with minds that hate
      All I can tell is brother you have to wait
      Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
      all right, all right

      ah, ah, ah, ah, ah…

      You say you’ll change the constitution
      Well, you know
      We all want to change your head
      You tell me it’s the institution
      Well, you know
      You better free you mind instead
      But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
      You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
      Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
      all right, all right
      all right, all right, all right
      all right, all right, all right

      1. Interestingly, that was one of the songs that led Richard Nixon to ask the FBI for a report on the band. I guess all he heard was the “Revolution” part. He old-school in his musical tastes (he did a piano duet with Liberace at the White House) and as far as I can tell, rock music, hippies, riots, and commies were all aspects of the same social disorder.

        Hmm, I wonder if that report is online somewhere. If so, I’d bet one US dollar that the Feebs didn’t bother to include the entire lyrics…

        1. Wasn’t there a version where Lennon sang “count me in” regarding destruction? I’m thinking the single version vs the album, maybe.

                1. For some unfathomable reason, every time someone says that I have a craving for cranberry sauce.

        2. “[Nixon was] old-school in his musical tastes”

          ”I have often thought that if there had been a good rap group around in those days, I might have chosen a career in music instead of politics.” — Richard M. Nixon.

      1. We need to hurry and put an end to man-caused (BTW – doesn’t that term seem wrong? It is sexist and too inclusive; we know it is all the White Man’s fault) climate change, which means Obama’s leadership is crucial:

        Why the sun going blank means a ‘Game of Thrones’-like winter is coming
        You may not have noticed but our sun has gone as blank as a cue ball. As in, it’s lost its spots.

        According to scientists, this unsettling phenomenon is a sign we are heading for a mini ice age.

        Meteorologist and renowned sun-watcher Paul Dorian raised the alarm in his latest report, which has sparked a mild panic about an impending “Game of Thrones”-style winter not seen since the 17th century.

        “For the second time this month, the sun has gone completely blank,” Dorian says.

        “The blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years.


        Given that the sun is the main driver of all weather and climate, the sinister-sounding “blankness” to which Dorian refers has some experts predicting a “Maunder Minimum” phase similar to one which began in 1645 and which is referred to as the “Little Ice Age.”

        The Maunder Minimum, named after solar astronomer Edward Maunder, lasted for a brutal 70 years and conditions were so cold, the Thames froze over.

        A slightly less intense ice age-like period called the Dalton Minimum — after British meteorologist John Dalton — arrived decades later and lasted from about 1790 to 1830.


        Dorian’s findings back research by professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University, who warned that a predicted sharp decline in solar activity between 2020 and 2050 was a sign that another ice age was coming.

        “I am absolutely confident in our research,” Zharkova said.

        “It has good mathematical background and reliable data, which has been handled correctly. In fact, our results can be repeated by any researchers with the similar data available in many solar observatories, so they can derive their own evidence of upcoming Maunder Minimum in solar magnetic field and activity.”

        [RES: oh, well, no concern then. Real Science relies on hidden data and secret sauce and can never be replicated by other researchers.]

        1. I’ve been monitoring this since 08-09, when there was a photo of the ISS transiting a blemish free sun.
          Unfortunately, blaming climate on solar intensity doesn’t offer the opportunities for graft and corruption quite like CO2 does.

          1. OTOH, what if they knew the sun was decreasing output and are concentrating on “global warming” to prevent a panic and to save fuel for when it really got cold?

      2. It was already pretty stale after a few months of platitudes from Prime Minister Nice Hair.

  19. We don’t need to “see ourselves” in a book to want to read it.

    It just occurred to me – These people don’t likely want to identify with some side character, either. They want to be the protagonist (normally, some might want to be the antagonist), and so they’re going to pass over books which have characters they look like, but aren’t in main roles.

    Which is really sad. If they just used their imaginations a little more flexibly, there would be a much broader set of choices for them.

    1. Even when I agree with an author’s politics I don’t like been preached at outside of church. This is why Ayn Rand is well nigh unbearable.

      I somehow doubt she would become more readable if Dagny Taggart were lesbian nor Hank Rearden black.

      1. Now if she’d made John Gault an illusion created as symbol by the lot in Gault’s Gultch that would have mightly improved the book if for no other reason than shortening it 30 pages.

        Then again, so much of that book shows Rand to be a nasty piece of work (such as the claim that the children of the grifters taken over deserved death as much as their parents). I find that very ironic because I’m sure she saw herself as Dagny and one of the few genuine acts of humanity in the book, and the biggest (or maybe second biggest), is Dagny’s succor of Jeff Allen. I think that slipped by Rand because he provides a major plot point (and would disappear if my Gault suggestion took hold).

          1. Forced myself to finish it – one daughter got it as an assignment in HS.

            Ever since, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the teacher was that very rare combination of SJW and brain…

            1. There is a great book hidden in there and some truly powerful scenes. The saga of the Reardon Metal braclet alone tells the majority of the philosophy behind Gault’s speech. Being a story that has real emotions, as well as one of the least cardboard moments for Dagny and Reardon and even Reardon’s wife although even in it she has to be a fantasy evil because she lacks motivation, it teaches the philosophy much better.

    2. I remember thinking about that as a kid. Exactly *who* visualizes themself as someone else’s sidekick? For that matter, who wanted to be Will Robinson, Boxey, or Wesley Crusher?

      The only word that ever came to mind was “losers.” But I expect it was mostly various marketing departments hoping some random chance would suddenly make Festus or Wesley Crusher Action Figures the season’s gottahavit purchase.

      1. I can remember once or twice as a kid identifying with the sidekick, mostly with the version of Wonder Girl on the TV version of Wonder Woman (the Linda Carter one)…could be an age thing though.

        1. “So many the boys of that time wanted to be He-Man. And some of the girls wanted to be She-ra. Now, do you remember who you wanted to be?”
          “Her horse.”

          1. A long-ago officemate recalled that in fifth grade her teacher asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Faith decided she’d like to be a white frame house, with a picket fence.

            Teacher was alarmed, Faith’s mother thought it sounded nice.

      2. Apparently the person who visualized himself as Wesley was Gene Roddenberry, who also visualized himself as Kirk. I think the one eventually leading to the other was his basic plan.

        Add in the TV and movie fad at the time to randomly insert “adorable” children into random situations and you get Wesley Crusher at the helm of the darn Enterprise.

      3. I wanted to be Wesley Crusher, largely because, like Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, I saw a lot of myself in him and enjoyed the character as a great piece of wish-fulfillment. (Hindsight suggests with rather brutal logic that I was probably also much like the character in not realizing how annoying I came off to others, but that’s spilled milk under the bridge, as it were.)

        And I have to admit that I was always more interested in sidekicks than main characters simply because by virtue of being the sidekick they were often less developed. But there, again, hindsight forces me to acknowledge that I had my fair streak of loser-ish-ness as well, so perhaps your thesis remains valid.

                1. Good, good. It’s like krogan headbutting each other between waves of Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer: Something required. 😉

      4. I remember thinking about that as a kid. Exactly *who* visualizes themself as someone else’s sidekick?

        Someone with a solid grasp of their own limitations.
        Someone who likes “meeting” the characters.
        Someone who sees a great deal of dignity in being the Samwise, the guy who *does* stuff and enables the flashy to happen.

        That’s three reasons I’ve had, for different stories, off the top of my head.

        Self-insertion isn’t everything, even though there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.

        1. Sounds like Clive Cussler’s repeated cameos

          But if a supporting character is well written it can be interesting. Always liked some of the characters who kept the wheels running but were not the ones that were main characters

        2. I used to watch “Mission Impossible” as a kid.

          Even as someone with a single-digit age, it was painfully obvious that the Impossible Mission Force depended entirely on Barney Collier. Whatever needed to be done, Barney could do it. I wanted to be able to do those things too. And I learned how.

          Barney was a secondary character because if they put the focus on him, it would bring up the awkward question of “what does he need those other guys for, anyway?”

          But I didn’t want to *be* Barney Collier, I just wanted his mojo.

          1. No kidding. It may have seemed like a thankless role, crawling up ventilation shafts and fiddling with wires, but they would have been totally screwed without him.

          2. Barney Collier had his day. A retired Barney was hired by George Jefferson in The Jeffersons to snooker a couple of guys who had conned him and get his money back. Ended up costing him exactly what he was conned out of.

            When asked why he should think Barney could do the job, Barney said “I already have a (luxury vacation estate in an exclusive location).”

            Fun multi-part episode.

          3. I found MI on Netflix a few years ago and loved it. Kinda one of the interesting thing I found is he seems more real than a lot of the characters today.

        3. I recall watching the old Flash Gordon serials when a local station aired them in the afternoons one Summer. Yeah, Flash was clearly the Action Hero and all, but it was Zarkhov that I most wanted to be or be like.

          1. I was a big fan of E.E. Smith’s “Skylark” series. But I was always rooting for Marc DuQuesne, who was a lot more honest about his objectives than Richard Seaton.

        4. Hmm. Actually, I probably identified most with Meriadoc in LotR. Just thought of another – STV had a pretty strong cast (to me) – but I probably identified best with the character of Neelix.

        5. Yeah, I can think of several ‘sidekick’ style characters that I Identified with far more than the MC. Samwise Gamgee and John Watson for two. Not a side kick, but secondary. I always identified more with Trip than Owen. I have a friend who is very… Owen.

      5. Nah, I can see wanting to visualize oneself as the sidekick. There are cases where the sidekick or other supporting character is also really competent, and there are cases where I’d rather imagine hanging out with than being a given character.

      6. Worf was a very minor character (Klingon diversity plant?) the first season – but he’s the one I always wanted to be…

        1. Worf had one of my favorite ST:TNG quotes ever: “Sir, I protest. I am not a merry man.”

          1. Worf: “Sir, may I say your attempt to threaten the captain with an unarmed phaser was an act of unmitigated gall.”
            Kevin: “Didn’t fool ya, huh?”
            Worf: “I admire gall.”

              1. Belated answer, but in case you’ve got notification of replies, it was “The Survivors”.

  20. This is directed to that socialist worryier. (Cover the childens eyes and ears, ahem:)

    You racist dim witted cunt of a shit bag, fuck off.

    Let me guess, you are white and affluent, and riddled with guilt at the mediocum of you “privelege” or whatever you are stressing about. And to cope with your demons you want everyone else to be pious? Bugger off.
    I REFUSE to count my friends by color, race or religion, and I never have, never will, and none of my children will either.

    In conclusion, piss off you ignorant poor excuse for a human.

    1. My one hope for ‘globalization’ is that eventually we will realize how non-racist our society is compared to practically all others. (A futile hope I suspect, as it requires seeing the world as it really is.)

  21. …because “diversity” enriches…

    Late to the show, with apologies if this proves repetitious.

    I recall not too many years ago when it was ballyhooed that a President had put together the most diverse cabinet ever! Almost everyone of them was educated at one of a small handful of prestigious schools, held a law degree, and was of similar political opinion. But they looked a mixed group in appearance, women and men of various skin shades.

    I thought to myself as I looked upon them, all surface, not substance.

    1. Enrichment from diversity? Of course it happens!

      See, when I was a wee lad, “helping” as six year olds do on the farm, we did some enriching of a very similar sort. See, the horses don’t much like their stalls filled with horsesh- err, manure. But that manure makes for pretty decent fertilizer. And if you muck out the stalls yourself, oft enough the owners don’t mind if you take it away, too.

      The analogy breaks down in that this particular kind of enrichment (diversity that is), lovely vegetables and grains are not the result- the actual substance pretty much stays a smelly pile of pre-digested Marxist crap. Only Marx was never so hard working and valuable as any good horse ever- even the bad ones you could make glue out of, and of horses, the bad ones were very few.

      The fact that these calls for “diversity” come loudest and longest from some of the pastiest of white folks, who want all the pretty colors to make the set, but not the broad range of opinions and backgrounds that comes from actually living in the real world… Well, that’s *rich!*


  22. Let’s see, people read books with heroes of the same race as they are. Hmmmm. Most of the book buying public is white. Thus authors should probably write only white heroes to go after the largest market. Perhaps they should also have mostly minority villains after all whites (readers) are bigots so that should help the book sell as well.

    Thank-you SJW’s for helping to instruct struggling authors on how to increase their sales.

    On another area entirely. If our Hostess has not read any Dick Francis, based on her description here of what she enjoys, she should run, not walk to her Kindle and try one of his novels.

    1. Try “Reflex”. “Twice Shy”, or “Odds Against.”

      The last dozen or so books under his name were written by “helpers” as his health failed, and tend to be shallow and rambly. I’m not sure who and how much was ghostwritten, but after 1982 things started going downhill. Don’t let that deter you; the earlier books range from good to excellent. And I don’t even *like* horses or British style mysteries. Francis just spins a damned good story.

      Francis’ big schtick was to set a character up in a situation where a normal (fictional) character would fight or shoot his way clear, then have them solve it, or at least escape, using what I’ve been calling “situational judo.” It took me a while before I realized how freakin’ *difficult* that must be to write in a believable fashion. The ghostwritten books mostly lack that.

      None of Francis’ characters are typical heroes. They’re just ordinary people doing their best to cope with bad situations.

      1. I must have read some of the later ones, as I failed to be impressed. I also read an encomium to him as one of the great communist writers, that sort of stopped me looking further. (Mind you, the writer of the encomium could be full of sh*t.)
        I’ll explore.

        1. Second Dick Francis. Bolt is great start, too.

          Early DF characters are all Heinlein heroes. You’d have to be on crack think the books are pro-socialist.

          And while I AM horse-mad, I barely tolerate mysteries . But I own every Francis up to Decider so I can re-read them.

  23. The other benighted and I weren’t having any, and we were becoming increasingly more upset, but I doubt she saw it.

    So THAT is what my cousin was snorting about, proud in ignorance, fool by their folly, etc. Now I gotta go nag her to send me a link if it’s public….

    No, you prolly shouldn’t link it. Even if someone could probably find it, if it’s not deleted by then. 😀

    1. Ringo would talk about not making books that do not contain both a physical and a moral defeat. He apparently prefers not to make entirely depressing works. Possibly it is a form of social responsibility for him. 🙂

  24. I was trying really really hard to be nice to a nice person who was nice, and I thought that Dave’s response was very nice.

    But clearly and quickly it did become apparent that this nice lady had accepted those things that sounded nice… like having books with lots of different people in them. And maybe it is frustrating to be disabled and have people try to tell you what it’s like to be disabled. And… iirc, she didn’t care at all for Scalzi’s “cure” at the end of his book and then seemed to see “but some people didn’t choose to be cured” as making that even worse (personally, I’d think that a “cure” would be the inciting incident in a story rather than what happens at the end.)

    I’ve run into too many people who’s identification on the Side of Right really doesn’t go much deeper than a vague notion of what they are *not*. “I’m *not* a racist or sexist… that means I stand over here.” And they miss entirely that the people standing over *there* are neither of those things either.

    The functional difference isn’t what people are *for*, but what they think are reasonable consequences. For example, that fiction should be “improving” to begin with. So a story with a disabled character needs to be about the disability. The doctrine of “representation” is pretty damn evil. It’s not that lots of people should write lots of books with lots of different “takes” on this, that, or the other thing, but that someone of said group needs to vet your version and approve it as the proper and true representation of what it’s supposed to mean to be that thing.

    And lastly and entirely randomly… the story of the Albino magic girl in Africa isn’t about making the girl WHITE for the love of all that is HOLY, OMG, it’s about the fact that in Africa albinos are sometimes still considered witches and are KILLED.

    1. Problem is that lots of these folks want you to get the blessing from (a politically proper) group representative but can’t be bothered to check their technology

    2. I’ve run into too many people who’s identification on the Side of Right really doesn’t go much deeper than a vague notion of what they are *not*. “I’m *not* a racist or sexist… that means I stand over here.” And they miss entirely that the people standing over *there* are neither of those things either.

      Worse, there seem to be people who think: “I stand over *here*, so that means I’m *not* a racist or sexist.” Until they run into someone of the protected groups that is standing over “there” and out come the slurs.

    3. And lastly and entirely randomly… the story of the Albino magic girl in Africa isn’t about making the girl WHITE for the love of all that is HOLY, OMG, it’s about the fact that in Africa albinos are sometimes still considered witches and are KILLED.

      They are also considered to be inherently magical even after death, so if you’re doing any kind of magic that would be made more powerful by putting in, say, a heart– an albino’s heart is about as powerful as you can get.

      I remember THAT because it’s sometimes mentioned in the smuggling reports.
      Below things like “they had elephant tusks!”

        1. I read a hair-curling account by an albino African (West Africa, maybe Nigeria?) who went back to speak to a witch doctor, and had body-guards with him. He bailed because he realized the witch doctor/shaman/whatever was calculating how many spells, potions, et cetera he could get and how much the albino was worth in cash. He wasn’t a man with uncolored skin, he was a vending machine that needed to be killed.

  25. Diversity can be very enriching. Just ask those who hawk diversity seminars.

  26. Some of my favorite SF characters aren’t even human friggin’ beings, much less humans who look exactly like me. Some of them aren’t even organic life forms, for Bog’s sake.

  27. Love Dick Francis. Heroes are British jockeys. I am old American lady who knows little about horses…so much for only reading about characters just like yourself…after we take care of the lawyers, can we do the same with the Social Justice Wimps?

        1. And they’re YOUR poisonous snake. Not one that will turn around and bite you in the behind because they’ve had a bad hair day.

  28. What I DO care about is alive and interesting. The character has to hold my interest.

    And now we come to “But won’t diverse settings/backgrounds/people” make it more interesting.

    The characters I have planned then will definitely make their heads explode.

    (Planned? More like “Hi here! My name is (blacked out) and I’m a (blanked out description and background story) and I like the world you’re building, and want to live in it – hey, wait! Why are you waking up?! What do you MEAN you have to write what I just told you onto a notepad?” *eyes snap open, grab notepad and pen, scribble frantically while character continues on, complete with side commentary about my never having previously needed much sleep before, why do I need so much now?*)

  29. I ended up writing a fanfic that involved illegal aliens and coyote smugglers (I needed some VERY bad guys), and the amount of hectoring and lecturing that’s turned up from that – oy. I mention this because I ended up in a similar lecturing situation from someone determined to compare violating U.S. immigration laws to “standing up against” Jim Crow.

    To which I ended up pointing out, one, that was disenfranchising people who were legally citizens, which illegal aliens are not – and two, Jim Crow is over. It was voted out. Get over it.

    Said commentator still wouldn’t shut up about white privilege and how horrible American laws are because of it until I told said being I wasn’t white. Then, poof, vanished.

    I really, really hated to do that. Technically, by the standards SJWs apply, it was true. By the standards of that particular ancestral tribe, however, which is matrilineal – nope, I’m not One of Them. But logic just… didn’t work on this person.

    1. I think I saw that, thought about wading in, then decided I ought not just show up and stir shit in someone’s back yard.

      ‘There is no incentive to be evil when doing coyote work’ did not seem based on any sort of business analysis. Doing the analysis wasn’t fun, but it may have given me some valuable insight.

      ‘Property rights are a construct that only serves the ends of the wealthy’ seemed to beg for ‘human rights are a construct that only serves the ends of the activists’, so there are reasons to think I would not have added to the discussion.

      I very much enjoyed What Comes Around, and was satisfied that the issue was handled evenhandedly.

      1. Thanks! Did my best. 🙂

        And that was actually another commentator – similarly inclined to logic fail, though.

        I think what really annoyed me was that I left links so people could check it out themselves. And instead of actually looking at what people on the ground report as reality, they spin off into “well, no one has a reason to do these things, so it doesn’t happen.” I honestly don’t get it.

        1. Well, I thought it was awesome that you had totally suckered me into misunderstanding where that plotline was going. But you ended up presenting a view of the situation that I agreed with. Sometimes it doesn’t feel awesome, the other way around….

          OTOH, people getting into long arguments because someone out there does not agree, and not breaking it off when arguments get useless? I do not get those folks.

        2. Honestly sounds like the hue and cry Larry got when he had FDR rounding up those with magic. Or the one earlier this year with ctrl alt revolt.

          1. I haven’t read Ctrl Alt Revolt yet, but I definitely read the author’s dazed and amazed post on how he got the authorial rug yanked out from under him because of giving a plausible reason for the robots to be revolting. I thought it was actually a really good plausible reason!

            …And then I read the fallout, and facepalmed. Because things like this so, so justify anyone with even the slightest conservative bent to tell the mainstream publishing houses to… er, get bent, as it were. 🙂 And given I like to write some religious characters who actually – gasp, horror! – believe in their faith, and aren’t child-molesting hypocrites… yeah. Indie is me.

            1. Indie is me.

              And I’m very glad for it, because at the price most traditional publishers are charging for their E-books*, I wouldn’t have been able to fit Count Taka into my budget. But at $2.99, it was a no-brainer. “Another book by the woman who wrote Embers? Yes, please!” I also borrowed A Net of Dawn and Bones via Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and I plan to buy it as well, so you’ll eventually get paid twice for it from just this one customer. I just wish I could pay you for Embers, but since that could get you into all kinds of copyright-infringement trouble, I’ll refrain. 🙂

              * Except for Baen… and given the whole “religious characters who actually believe in their faith” thing, I’m pretty sure Baen is the only publisher who’d consider you. Which, from my perspective, is a compliment.

              1. I have seen the e-book prices, indeed. Oy. Does not compute! Wouldn’t it be better to sell a lot at a price that moves, rather than a few at the jacked-up cost?

                Also, I have to admit I like the idea of Print On Demand versus the traditional set print runs. That way anyone who wants a book can get a book – and there’s no waste of resources. You’d think liberal eco-types would go for that…. 😉

                And yes. Baen is still awesome. 🙂

                1. BTW, while I’m thinking about it — your cover for the Count Taka e-book on Amazon isn’t quite ideal. I love the cover image, but the front-and-back cover in landscape orientation doesn’t show up well on Kindles: they expect a front-cover-only image in portrait orientation, and so the landscape cover gets shrunk down REALLY small to fit within the standard width of a portrait-orientation cover image. This results in a book cover that’s easy to miss: when I ordered Count Taka and then looked for it among my Kindle books, I glanced right past it twice before finally finding it on the third try — I was starting to get worried that there had been a glitch with the order and it hadn’t gone through.

                  Since I haven’t published anything on Amazon myself, I don’t know the process for replacing a cover image — but if you have a good-sized portrait-orientation image of the Count Taka cover, it might be a good idea to upload that one to Amazon instead of the current landscape-orientation image.

                  1. Last I checked, there were two listings for Taka, one with the cover image normal, and the other with it funny, as you said.

              2. the woman who wrote Embers

                Waitwaitwait… Embers? As in the Avatar piece I’ve been hearing people (especially Huns) rave about for years? And the author hangs out here, now? Nice!

            2. The thing for me was that A. Yes it is plausible and B. It was the antagonists that had it. May be slightly sympathetic but still not like its the moral of the story.

    2. Sort of like me. I’m Latin — very much so, according to our government — though I refused to have Hispanic on my ss card, because there are limits, though that’s where the state of SC automatically assigned me.
      OTOH by PORTUGUESE standards I am very pale and nearly redheaded. Note the Portuguese standards. The first time my inlaws referred to me as having black hair, you could have knocked me down with a feather 😉
      Still, I don’t consider myself an oppressed minority. I’d like to see the person capable of oppressing me. Like my superior, that bastard ain’t been born.
      BUT I certainly am a genetic minority and an immigrant. So they can take their opinions of white privilege, fold it all in corners and tuck it where the sun don’t shine.

      1. I can tell you that in person they kind of look like they’ve been slapped with a wet fish. Long story; short version is that I was in the passenger seat by a guy who needed to stay awake to drive… and his version of doing so was starting an argument. *Wry G* He got off on a long diatribe about “the horrible things we’ve done to Native Americans, do you know what it’s like on a reservation,” etc.
        Me: “Some of us go to great lengths to live OFF the reservation and just get by.”

        …Not to be quelled so easily, he then went off on “We shouldn’t ban drugs, it’s people’s own responsibility what they do, if it’s part of someone’s culture they should be allowed to use it.”

        me: “So you’re in favor of killing endangered tigers?”

        You never heard such a high-pitched squawk of “What?”

        me: “Well, tiger bone is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine….”

        (It was 2 AM. I figured he had it coming….)

          1. *G* There was a distinct pause, then he switched conversational topics, and never touched that one again.

            Given it was an ecological restoration class, you’d think he would have been able to connect the dots before… but logic, they lacks it.

                1. This is just the kind of shark stereotyping which causes so very many sharks to attempt to fulfil such invidioius characterizations, persuaded that society will not accept them otherwise.

                  It’s the dolphins are rapists.

                  But Posner is still a moron.

  30. “Because, you see, from the other side, white people and anglo-saxon civilization are exotic and exciting. It’s all on account of us being REAL PEOPLE and not Marxist constructions.”

    This always reminds me of Marx’s On The Jewish Question, which apologists deny is an anti-semitic screed. Even setting that aside, it requires the reader to accept the Jewish stereotype put forth by Marx.

  31. We should carefully pore through and File 770 and all the gamer feminazis, make a careful list of what they claim we’re writing…AND THEN ACTUALLY WRITE IT.

    It would make The Iron Dream look like Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids.

    1. Set 1: What is actually written by the sad puppy types.
      Set 2: What they claim is written by the sad puppy types.
      Intersection of Set 1 and Set 2: Is there something LESS than ‘hard vacuum’?

      1. I’ve been reading stories with characters who are casually called ‘Fatty’ and other such things alien to our culture.

        Weeks ago I was speaking with a leftist I know. He listed two things that offended him, and one is making fun of the mentally handicapped. Guess what I had a character and plot for the next day? (Okay, it solved several problems I had been puzzling over, and maybe it wouldn’t actually offend him. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t the sort of thing he likes to read.)

        1. A bit ago there was some discussion of The Mad Scientist’s Club and the cover art was interesting: all the characters, save one (“Fat Freddie”) were quite thin. Lanky, even.

          Every once in a while I relate something about my weight and get told by some well-meaning person that I am “big boned” or “carry it well” (that’s not TOO bad), but I tell them I must be honest: What I am, is fat. “I need to reduce my tonnage.” Or joke, “Yeah that’s why my scale keeps telling me, ‘One at a time, please.'”

          Of course, it can go the other way. The Cosmo (movie) theater in Merrill, WI at one time had an extra (double?) wide seat installed for “Tiny” Kreuger.

        2. Part of that I think is projection, part is that sometimes the groups all going ho about tolerance think they can get away with other indiscretion.

        3. I once had a stuck outline. I could not make it go, even though I thought the main characters were about to meet a woman. Then I got too annoyed by a discussion of the Bechdel test and changed it to a man.

    1. Whenever they say “No Dead White Males” in SF&F, I think of Cordwainer Smith, Heinlein, Lewis, Tolkien and wonder who these @!¿&% are and why they want to steal my fun.

  32. “…of Puritan ancestry…” Hey! I resemble that remark!

    Think I’ve mentioned that my family on this side of the ocean goes way back. One of them was a very Right Reverend, a founder of Yale Divinity; we have an essay of his where he advocates capital punishment for children that disrespect their parents. I typed that correctly…

    Not one of the ancestors we point to with pride in my family. I do hoist a small libation in October for the one we know was hung during the Civil War. Although we’ve never really settled whether it was for being a Union spy or a horse thief. Or possibly both.

    Maybe I should dig up that essay and file the numbers off, do a bit of appropriate shading – perhaps I too can become a famous literary author. (Yeah, right – any ideas for a good pen name? I’m really trying for a career here, you know.)

      1. If Ox see that name on Amazon some day, Ox need to buy…

        Means I’ve hit a neutronium wall on writing anything of value that day, and I need the money…

          1. About to put the very first one out (although it’s… rather odd). Cedar is very kindly vetting my poor efforts at a cover, and I’m getting the blog going. This weekend it goes off to Amazon, anyway, so whenever it passes their QA (so far as I can tell, it should sail).

            If you have KU, watch for “Tales By The Road” in a week or so, and a second short in that “series” somewhat later in July.

            Fair warning – these are my “make as many mistakes as I can manage to get out of the way on the little things.”

      1. Looking just at the number of surviving children – and the (serial) wife count of some of my ancestors – that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Dan and I are probably related somewhere way back there. Fortunately most of that mob was forced to work and live with the “rough commoners” for survival. The pure Brahmin strain stayed a relative minority…

        Even occasionally did some good, if only by accident, such as the anti-slavery movement.

      2. Dunno. I like a good sermon, so long as it’s short, pithy, and advertised as same.

        The idea that a person wouldn’t be incensed if he purchased what was advertised, packaged and started out as a noir crime drama and got a comedic Western is just crazipants.

  33. Sarah, I recommend “Red Thunder” by John Varley as an example of writing diverse characters that don’t get in the way of the story. The hero is White Hispanic (thank you, New York Times, for inventing that term), his girlfriend is a rich White girl, his best friend is Black and there’s even a Cajun Catholic to keep the jelly-bean-counting crowd satisfied. But the story – pure gold – is what Sad Puppies is all about.

    1. Re-read the first two of those a short time ago (the third has wandered away into the stacks somewhere). Agreed. A full-bore Leftist that can actually write decent stories with “diversity.”

      Old white male, of course… So not “correct” reading.

  34. It would’ve been bloody nice if her initial comment had, y’know, contained some modicum of logic. Since it didn’t, I got…annoyed. Verbally so.

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