Feast of Fools

“I could not move to warn all the younger soldiers

That we had been betrayed from above” Leonard Cohen

So, I get it, I do.  I get pulling for the underdog.  I get flipping stereotypes on their head.  I even get subverting cultural assumptions.

There is something very powerful in taking a story where you least expect it.  The first time it’s done.

I even understand the attraction of “nostalgie de la boue” back in the 20s, when people ripped into the Victorian culture with a fascination for anti-heroes, for losers, for the seamy underbelly of a society that had lost self-confidence, a society whom its icons had prepared for glory and who got instead the death and the rot of world war one.

In a way too, it was the fascination of all artists for the people who DO things, even if the things their characters were doing were mostly despicable.

I confess that to me Miss Marple, based on Agatha Christie’s grandmother, always sounded more real than the jaded, underworld, seamy characters written by “serious” authors of the time.

In fact, I even get the fascination with “evil” or at least bad characters, with the idea that no one is clean, with the idea that “society is to blame for everything.”  They are ideas that seem very serious to the increasingly more adolescent artists of our society.  All adolescents think unhappiness and pouting is the most serious thing ever, and that their parents, and their parents values are “Hypocritical”.  Because they can’t live up to what they’d like to be, they assume no one does.

But here’s the problem: at this point none of those “trope exploding ideas” are actually revolutionary.  They’re not shocking.  They’re not strange.

The counterculture has become the culture.  It has lost surprise.  It has lost shock.  And it has never acquired authenticity.

Look, if any businessman in a novel turns out to be clean and honorable, I am genuinely surprised.  Ditto if any middle aged couple is faithful and NOT child molesters/murderers.  Other things that shock me are homeless people who are genuinely unpleasant, evil or who brought their situation on themselves through drug or alcohol abuse.

In science fiction I’m amazed if an alien species is not superior to humans. I’m shocked if other species aren’t destroyed by the fell hand of humanity.

You know what else surprises me?  When good wins.  When there’s a happy ending.  When characters work hard and attain their objective.  One of my favorite re-reads is Patricia Wentworth’s The Case of William Smith.  It is hokey and full of strange coincidences.  But it is also a “Cream rises” type of book.  And that’s so rare and refreshing, in anything from WWI on.

We have lived to see the strange spectacle of elites screaming against the culture they dominate, and calling it evil and marginalizing.

The very gatekeepers who control publishing and the movies tell us how racist and sexist and alienating those industries are, seemingly unable to realize that they are the ones with all the power in it.

Oh, I get it.  I understand it. In a culture that cherishes the underdog, they want to sound like they’re perpetual underdogs.  The weird thing is that they manage it.  They manage it only because they also control all newsmedia and education, but they manage it.  Most people, at least in fields they’re informed about, take what these people say for granted.  Thus they assume that yes, science fiction is a closed shop where women aren’t welcome, without ever noticing most writers and editors and agents ARE women.  Or that this complaint comes from people with all the power in the field. When I grew up reading SF authors older than I — Le Guin, MacCaffrey, and others — and when the books both by males and females often deal with definitely non-binary species.

One of the most bizarre posts on facebook, last week, on the whole situation in science fiction went on and on about the “Sad Puppies” being gatekeepers and not letting people write what they want.  Saying this about a collection of people where most are authors and about half indie is mind boggling.  Even leaving aside the fact we never said people couldn’t write whatever they wanted, or even shouldn’t writing whatever they wanted, but that the gatekeepers (and awards) tended to concentrate on a certain type of story which had less than universal appeal.

It illustrated for me what we’re faced with.

We’re faced with “cultural elites” who have got hold of the institutions, and who are merrily destroying them, convinced that the institutions are somehow “the other.”  We’re faced with people who are in charge of society saying society is to blame for everything and trying to disassemble it, in ways that only make the problems worse.  We’re faced with people who say the powerful are to blame, and then seeking to get more power for themselves, at the head of the most powerful political institutions ever created.

A society at war with itself might survive.  Some countries seem to make civil war their culture.  But a society delusional about reality will not survive.  And a society where the elites wish only to fight the shadows of a past that objectively never existed is in a state of collapse.

Western culture is a derelict, on the corner, who having snorted too much Marx, keeps stabbing itself in the face with a pen and widdling its pants.

This is not a good strategy for survival.  Sooner or later the real bad boys in the global block are going to come over, steal its money and shoot it.  In fact, the only reason this hasn’t happened yet is that the spectacle is so sickening it shocks even the truly evil.

Or put it another way: Western society right now is like a splendid banquet hall, into which the young people with bright ideas gained access in the twenties or so.  But they never adjusted their vision of the culture in relation to the rest of the world, never did anything but continue to rage.  And they hired the people who were interested in exactly the same raging, even though those people had the best the culture had to offer, and were pampered beyond belief.  This resulted in the dominance in that splendid banquet hall of people who, ignoring the food laid out for them, prefer to write obscenities on the floor with their own excrement and demolish the walls in the belief that the roof will still remain up and protect them.

I have never, ever, in history or legend, heard of an elite that so utterly HATED the culture that spawned them.  Oh, sure affecting that hatred has been fashionable before.  But not the actual hatred, nor the belief that what they’re fighting is not controlled by them and those like them.

I can’t even understand how any culture, any civilization survives that.

Except for two things: the internet which has given us the opportunity to know we’re not alone, and also to fight the massive amount of disinformation rained down on our heads every day.  And us.

Most of us don’t want to be a true counterculture.

Heavens above, most of us just want to do our thing.  I would have been perfectly happy writing of dragons and spaceships and leaving my politics only in those places where they can’t help showing, because every creator puts a bit of him/herself into the creation.

But the times are such I can’t do that.  Even if all I want is to create in peace, I found myself having to fight the calumnies, the politics of personal destruction, the attacks on friends and acquaintances.

For instance, the other day, on facebook, on a post that had nothing to do with writing, a woman whose name I did not recognize told me I was horrible for repeating things and that she was relieved she no longer had to work with me professionally.

Curious, because I’m bad with names, but not THAT bad, and assuming she’d been one of the revolving undersecretaries to one of my agents or editors and might have had to deal with a manuscript being late or something (her implication of course was that I was both political at work — I’m not — and somehow a termagant.  No, I’m also not.  Not professionally.)  So I asked.  It came out she was the typesetter for Baen, and from the period she worked for them AT MOST she could have typeset Draw One In The Dark.  (I don’t think she did.) IF she did that, I had NO contact with her.  At the time page proofs were physical copies, and I sent them back to my EDITOR marked.  (Now they are electronic, and I usually send corrections to both my editor and the typesetter.)

Meaning this woman had no opportunity to find it a great trial to work for me.  But on a thread about something else, she was willing to impugn my professionalism and make it seem like no one should work with me… for the crime of disagreeing with her.

This is what they are.  This is what they do.  If you dare voice a contrary opinion, they will come after you with the maximum force at their disposal which at this point is just career-killing.

If they do this in the light of day, what else do they do behind people’s backs.

It is fashionable to accuse people to the right of Lenin of believing in conspiracies.  But it doesn’t take a conspiracy.  It takes an ideology that has identified hatred for its own home and culture as a supreme good, and who views any attempts to stop it as evil.  Any believer in this ideology will do what it can to stop “evil” and because they believe they’re “powerless” they don’t balk at abuses of power.

You’ve heard of “practice acts of random kindness”?  This is the same but with “practice acts of random sabotage and character assassination.”  Most of them are small and stupid enough like the idiot’s attack on me on FB.  But if there is an accumulation of them, it begins to have an effect.

And it puts another layer of corrosion on the culture and society.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Culture wars are important.  And why I fight.

Because though no culture is perfect, western culture has achieved the highest standard of living for the most people in history.

And I believe that is worth preserving.

Lest darkness fall.



553 thoughts on “Feast of Fools

  1. But here’s the problem: at this point none of those “trope exploding ideas” are actually revolutionary. They’re not shocking. They’re not strange.

    The counterculture has become the culture. It has lost surprise. It has lost shock. And it has never acquired authenticity.


    As to the rest, it’s standard Democrat operating procedure. One tried and true variation is for local Democrats to pretend they’re different from the national Democrats, but set things up where the nationals and judges can easily undo what they claim to support. Meanwhile, the national Democrats lament the deed of the local Democrats (or did – this is a 1960s-1970s classic), even though they depend on local Democrats to maintain the party. Both are part and parcel of the same organization, and very few seem to catch on.

    Of course they revile the culture that gave them birth. That same culture frowns on authoritarian elites and looks to a power beyond them. I suspect it’s another verse of “We’re with you guys” song they sing so well.

    On villains: I’m fascinated by villains not because heroes aren’t consistently good, but because villains aren’t consistently evil. Which is not to say no evil exists, but that it’s not cartoonish. Maybe that’s what makes it more evil – they are capable of good, but are evil by choice.

    1. I’ve also noticed that they are so very dependent on the focus group cycle, so anyone who doesn’t can easily get inside their OODA loop. From what I heard on the radio this AM, their response to Hillary’s basket+pass-out weekend has finally passed their focus groups testing and hit the airwaves – the whole Obama trufer thing – and so whatever the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua’s campaign is feeding out is being dutifully parroted at full volume by the “independent” media (this was a CBS radio network report). I heard no qualifiers all week on the panic that was evident on the D side about Robot Hillary’s power outage, but now the “journalists” are “reporting” that The Donald is “desperately” trying to distance himself from this latest thing.

      Now I think the trufers are morons, and the fact the The Donald was vocal on this was moronic and typical for him, but I can almost see the D campaign aids frantically paging through their binders full of opposition research, throwing all the stuff they were saving for the home stretch at the poor focus group participants to see what could possibly stick, and grasping “desperately” at anything that generated any traction.

      And this goes with Sarah’s main point – those powerful who “speak power” to anyone who stands still long enough are basically lighting the banquet candles with flamethrowers, and then they blame the table, the wait staff, the builder of the hall, and the for it all being burnt to ashes. But that’s not working anymore, and all they know how to do is switch to WP grenades. And all around them, the rest of us are almost finished bulldozing a firebreak and are setting up our food in flameproof tents.

      No matter how they escalate their arson, eventually our firebreak will be completed wide enough and our new tents built flameproof enough that they will lose all influence. In the end we win and they lose.

      1. I think The Donald’s use of the Trufers was brilliant — it gave him a way to convey to a significant political base that He was the one who would not back down under the Establishment’s glare, that he would not be easily cowed. The point of his thrust was that he wouldn’t take Obama’s word and wouldn’t be cowed by the Palace Guard. It didn’t matter whether Obama was native-born or not; hat mattered was that he be forced to prove his assertion.

        In the poker game of politics, Trump had demonstrated he wasn’t going to be bluffed — he was insisting on being shown the hole card.

        To a party accustomed to seeing its leadership act like whipped puppies, such willingness to throw down (and ability to walk away afterward) was nip to a cat.

        MEANWHILE, the Party of Soros, Steyer, Carlos Slim and Zuckerberg throwing fits over the participation of the Koch brothers should cause hysterical laughter. To quote a favorite line from M*A*S*H (the original, not the TV series): “Their ringer just spotted our ringer.”

        1. If this election has proved one thing to me is that much of the conservative movement would rather lose but “be the better man” than win.

          Apparently they just figure they will die before their continual loses run us out of ruin.

          1. Four years ago, I heard a lot of talk from conservatives who refused to get behind Romney because they couldn’t tell the difference between him and Obama. They claimed that there was no enthusiasm for him, and then turned around and rather savagely mocked and derided anyone who showed any. Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan wasn’t running.

            1. That’s nice. But Trump isn’t a Republican of any kind. He is a populist. He’s changed parties 5 times whenever it was convenient. I’ve voted REP. for 40 years this time I’m voting Libertarian. I can’t stomach Trump. He’s the closest thing to a Mussolini that I’ve ever seen.

                1. This is my problem this election, I despise Trump and Hillary, but Johnson isn’t noticeably much better.

                  I’ll give Hillary this much, she is the only candidate who even remotely resembles the beliefs and principles her nominating party claims to stand for.

              1. I would argue based on the policies pursued when the GOP controlled both Congress and the WH for the only time in my lifetime that Trump is a Republican.

                People with small government beliefs are the real RINOs because we have voted GOP (often for decades) when the party was never going to pursue our policy goals.

                  1. I think that is Herb’s proof. I am a registered Independent because the Republican Party is not a conservative party, it is just a more conservative party than the Dems. Back in the Eisenhower days the adage was that the GOP would take the country to the same destination as the Democrats, just better managed, less expensively and a little more slowly.

                    Few Republicans are actually conservative, they just play that at campaign time.

                    1. I for one can’t think of a better way to make the GOP more conservative than for the conservatives to register as independent.

                    2. Thank you RES.

                      That is exactly why the idea of sacrificing the country to a Hillary! presidency to save the Republican Party from Trump has me doing what Mrs. Hoyt calls the “sinal salute.”

                  2. Prove what? That the GOP has demonstrated it has no desire to shrink government? Look at the priorities of the G. W. Bush administration and the GOP Congress of the same period.

                    That Trump isn’t a conservative? I admit that. That’s my point. After No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, then record spending and debt, the Harriet Miers nomination, the attempted amnesty, and McCain Feingold. how is not being a conservative a negative to get the GOP.

                    We were told we had to accept the McCain of McCain Feingold, who called the pork busters gang “hobbits” as our nominee after.

                    Trump is, IMHO, a perfectly acceptable GOP nominee because his utter lack of conservative principles seems to be what conservatives as well as the GOP in general has supported for at least 4 previous cycles.

            2. What has struck me is the opposite, how many people who blamed McCain and Romney losing on conservatives who stayed home out of purity concerns instead of stopping the Leftis that are #NeverTrump.

              In an odd way they’ve angered me more than the Trump voters.

              1. I held my nose and voted for both McCain and Romney. I don’t know if I can do that for Trump. Luckily I don’t really have to, I live in a state that is so red that it will undoubtedly go to Trump, and if it doesn’t, well he will have already lost the other 49 states so it doesn’t matter.
                Frankly if there was a candidate that I could “vote my conscience” for, I would, regardless of how little chance he had of winning. But even the third and fourth party candidates are unconsciable. Which brings me right back to square one, debating who to vote for.

                In all honesty I see zero chance of Trump winning, so we are all really arguing about nothing anyways. But the pundits have been setting up for his loss since before he was even nominated, and blaming it on both the liberal Republican establishment, and the conservative base. And it will be all the fault of everybody who doesn’t rabidly support Trump, that Hillary gets elected. It couldn’t possibly be the fault of the jackass who won the nomination, and flip-flopped, lied and bragged about his crony capitalist, big government beliefs, throughout the campaign.

                  1. I have concerns about SMOD’s judicial appointments.

                    Besides, the NY Times and Washington Post have assured me that in the event of SMOD winning the election women and the poor will be worst affected.

                    1. A base lie. SMOD does not discriminate. Ever.

                      And since he makes Cal Coolidge look like a chatterbox, all short lists are pure lies.

                    2. Nobody said SMOD discriminated, just that the NY Times and Washington Post claim women and the poor will be hurt most.

                      Also, nothing has been said about any short list; rather it is my understanding that SMOD will not appoint Merrick Garland or anybody else to the Supreme Court, leaving the nation subject to 4:4 deadlocks until one or moore other Justices leaves the bench..

                1. Please do show up and vote the down ballot including picking a third party candidate in case you live in a state where the election commission is looking for excuses to throw out spoiled ballots.

                  I would have more respect for the NeverTrumpers if they made that clear. We don’t need defeatist.

                    1. The one thing we can be sure of in a Trump Administration is that the Media will stand in opposition, whereas we already know they will act as palace guard for Hillary. Thus if we value accountability in government a Trump presidency is significantly preferable to a Hillary regime.

                      Plus there is the additional pleasure of the pain it would inflict on SJWs.

                      Regardless, voting for down ticket conservatives is a very very good idea.

                    2. He IS a creature of the media — like the monster was a creation of Dr. Frankenstein. Thus they will be driven all the more to tear him down.

                  1. I’m getting tired of Trumpers making this comment. Trying to guilt us into voting for Trump. Could you give me one reason that I wouldn’t vote for Republicans down in the ticket? PS. I don’t consider Trump a Republican.

                    1. I think the concern is that some conservatives might stay home or, upon entering the voting booth and, seeing Trump atop the Republican column, vomit and pass out without casting a single vote down ticket.

                    2. Gee, I knew when I wrote this that “vomit” was the wrong word, that it lacked the appropriate comedic content, but I was tired and no better word came to mind.

                      Now it has – barf. Please revise prior comment to read:

                      … upon entering the voting booth and, seeing Trump atop the Republican column, barf and pass out without casting a single vote down ticket.

                    3. Sarah, the only difference I can see is that Trump doesn’t ACTIVELY hate the United States. He may have wrong ideas about how to govern it, but he isn’t trying to destroy it. Which also makes him better than Obama.

                    4. to an extent. Except that all his life he imbibed the idea that stuff like protectionism of the economy makes us stronger.
                      Incompetence of malice are still on the table for this president, so incompetence can be as bad as malice.

                    5. We seem to be getting protectionism either way. Trump seems amenable to negotiating trade pacts which have reasonable protections against the sort of currency games the Chinese have played — that is not “anti-trade” nor even “fair-trade” and may even approach free-trade. Looking at his economic advisers there is reason to hope his bark in this venue will be more than his bite.

                      Trump seems capable of correcting course; I doubt anybody this side of Sid Blumenthal can say the same of Hillary Deploring Clinton.

                    6. Sorry, Obama doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt any more, nor the rest of the Democrat Party. He may be incompetent in execution, but his motivation is crystal clear.

                    7. No! I’m really not.

                      I’m just afraid you guys will convince yourselves and others to stay home because you hate Trump.

                      Hate him ’til the cows come home, I sympathise.

                      But go vote the down ballot. And remind your fellow anti-Trumpers to do so, too.

                      But hey, if guilting you into voting for Trump would work, I might give it a try. Is it?

                      The one thing that will guarantee Queen Hillary won’t be crowned is enough votes for Mr. Trump. I’m pretty sure the HillaryLuv4Evah! crew are working off the same program from their end.

                      :::shrug::: It stinks, but what are you going to do.

                      Meanwhile, don’t vote for Trump, but DO vote for conservatives on the down ballot.

                  2. Don’t worry, I’ll show up and vote. If I didn’t vote, I wouldn’t have any right to complain afterwards. 🙂

                    1. You always have the right to complain, whether or not you vote. Voting merely determines about what you can rightfully complain: the fact your candidate was robbed or the fact that all offered candidates were unacceptable.

                      In Hillary’s America, of course, exercising that right will mark you as sexist, racist and several kinds of phobic and may subject you, like other deplorables, to elimination from society as irredeemable.

                    2. RES, you forgot the other thing you get to complain about when you vote, because you’re assuming that your voted-for candidate didn’t win. If your candidate *does* win, you get to complain that he doesn’t do anything he said he would do when he was campaigning (except for the things he does do, but you disagree with, because it was part of the 20% that you didn’t like about him).

          1. What you never hear from the Trump = Birther crowd is any admission that the whole Birther meme was started by Hildebeeste in 2007-2008. Once she lost, they pretended that people quoting them were the ones who started saying it.

            1. Truthfully, it was started by Obama and his publicist. Read it earlier today but can’t recall where, that it wasn’t until 2007 that the Associated Press changed it’s official Obama biography which had listed him as the first U.S. senator born in Kenya.

              1. As I recall, it was in order to get preferential treatment for his college application.

                In the “never hear” category, you find the same thing with them ignoring Al Gore’s originating the Willy Horton meme in 1988. For that matter, blaming the Republicans for Democrats’ sins has been the case ever since they shifted blame for Jim Crow.

              2. I tried to post a link to Ace of Spades; McClatchy said Blumenthal was pushing it so hard they sent a reporter to Kenya.

                WP didn’t like links to Ace.

                1. Excerpt:
                  Donald Trump is going around the country giving good speeches on the economy, on race, on immigration. He is visiting African-American precincts and asking for votes with lines like this one: It used to be they made cars in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now they make cars in Mexico, and you can’t drink the water in Flint. That scares the daylights out of the Democrats, so what did they do? Suddenly, reporters on the campaign trail are desperate to talk about birtherism.

                  Why? Has something happened to make President Obama’s birthplace a campaign issue? No. They just want to change the subject.


                  Actually, the first person to claim that Barack Obama was born overseas was Barack Obama. His own literary biography said, for, as I recall, 19 years, that he was born in Kenya.

                  But it appears to be true that later claims about Obama being ineligible for the presidency began with the Clinton campaign, contrary to the AP’s assertion. Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, Patti Doyle, admitted today what has been long reported: that a “rogue” Clinton staffer spread the rumor during the 2008 primary campaign. The AP’s claim that there is “no evidence” of involvement by the Clinton campaign is simply false. [UPDATE: The appalling Sid Blumenthal, one of Hillary’s closest confidantes, was spreading the Kenya rumor too.]

                  1. The birther issue is one thing I never had a problem with Trump (or Hillary for that matter). Obama claimed his whole life to be born in Kenya, until that became inconvenient for him when he decided to run for President. And we let him just change his narrative, without providing proof? By changing his story he had already proven himself a liar, so we should believe him when he claims, “this time I’m really telling the truth”?

                    1. It was a simple enough rumour to refute and he deliberately refused to do so. Even ceding him “native-born” he trolled that issue and the MSM cooperated.

                      I don’t give a #@$&! where he was born, he will never be American in my book. Being American is not a matter of birth.

                    2. “It was a simple enough rumour to refute and he deliberately refused to do so”

                      And he never should have been sworn into office as the President, without providing such proof. Note that McCain, his opponent at the time had to provide such proof. And While McCain was born in Panama his story about where he was born never changed. Still he had to provide proof he was a natural-born citizen, and therefore elegible to be serve in office.

                    3. Bearcat:

                      Obama did provide the proof, and I have seen a copy of it. It’s his official Hawaiian birth certificate. Birthers want to claim it is fake. But then there’s the two published birth announcements giving a Hawaiian street address. He’s an American by birth. American in spirit is another issue.

                    4. If true then Obama, by claiming Kenyan origins to gain preferential admissions to American institutions, gamed the system through factual misrepresentations (as did Lizzie Warren) to garner benefits which were not his by right.

                      Shocking, I know.

                    5. Kevin,
                      When did provide such proof? If I recall it was long after he was sworn in. When every other candidate which has had any question about their eligibility has had to provide such proof before they appeared on the ballot.

                      It should have been a serious question, albeit an easily answered one. But the Obama’s treated it as a joke and refused to answer it. Which fed fuel to the claims that he wasn’t a natural born citizen. Of course they used that to deflect attention from other things they didn’t want the public paying attention to. But he should have been required to settle the issue immediately rather than drag it on for years.

                      P. S. I am not a birther, but I understand their beliefs well enough to make their arguments for them. They believe Obama is duplicitous, just not as duplicitous as he is. The argument the birth certificate is fake resonates very well with them, because Obama refused to produce it for a very long time, and finally when forced to, he waved around something that looks like a very bad copy (first clue it is probably real, a forgery would be fairly simple to produce, and look exactly like it should, and it’s not like Obama doesn’t have plenty of money and access to acquire a quality forgery) and then immediately refused to allow any farther examination of it. Like I have stated before, it was a simple accusation to refute, and since he refused to do so, their belief is that he couldn’t do so. They don’t believe that he would intentionally leave what they see as a Sword of Damocles hanging over his head simply because everybody would be staring at the Sword and wondering when it was going to drop, rather than watching what his hands were doing.

                    6. Heck, Obama sent an Army Reserve officer to prison because the man asked to see the paperwork showing he was eligible to be President.

        1. And keep an eye on our allies. Building an alternate media infrastructure was where Andrew Breitbart was headed. I only met him briefly but based on his speeches and writings I suspect he would not be happy with where his new media empire went. (OTOH, I think he’d be happy with the careers of people he encouraged and nourished but who are no longer at the sites he founded.)

  2. I’m assuming the woman’s tenure at Baen was short.

    And, on a slight tangent, a presidential candidate’s comment about “basket of deplorables” backfired on her the same way and for much the same reason that “vast right-wing conspiracy” did years ago.

    She really should have known better.

    1. Bias error in the poling and focus groups. If you don’t know anybody who voted for Bush, “basket of deplorables” sounds excellent.

      Plus, even Robot Hillary can’t lie perfectly 100% of the time. Every once in a while some truth leaks in. They really do think that if they got rid of that 25% of the population that hates blacks, hates gays, loves guns ‘n Jesus, the unsightly fat guys with stomach hair and too-small t-shirts, and Momma June, that beeotch, then Utopia would spring up like tulips from the snow.

      The hippies are OLD now. They run everything. I should know, I am one. I’m like the trailing edge of that breaking wave. Hillary is a freakin’ Hippie. One of the counterculture scum that worked its way into the institutions to Do Good From The Inside.

      Unfortunately, a lot of these dipsticks did not learn from experience that smoking dope and getting laid by somebody new every day is not a life, its just a vacation. If you want to have stuff, you have to work.

      They didn’t get that memo. They still think its that 25% of deplorable fat dudes that are keeping the Worker’s Paradise of dope and free love from coming true.

      They’ll cheerfully kill a hundred million people to get their dream. They’ve already done it five or six times, this time it’ll work for sure.

      1. I was about 10 years younger than the “hippie” generation, and watched as the “Age of Aquarius” turned to “peace, love, *dope* ” (As the character Terrence Mann puts it in “Field of Dreams”. )
        I watched as the War on Poverty created an entire class of subsidized dependents. I watched “Peace” turn into race riots, domestic terrorism, and the craven betrayal of Vietnam and everyone who fought and died there to prevent Communists from gaining power and committing atrocities. I watched “Turn on, tune in, drop out” morph into a plague of drugs and gang warfare. I watched “free love” turn into STDs and AIDS. More recently, I’ve watched “tolerance” turn into mobs of SJWs looking for witches to burn.
        If you like, you can call me an unrepentant throwback to the 1950s. I’m good with that.

        1. I’m one of the generation after the boomers – I’ve been calling mine the “clean up” generation – so I’ve been stuck all my life with the trailing detritus of their “awakening”.

          The confluence of LBJs stupid escalation of what should have stayed a small SF sideshow in Vietnam, the powerful flow of Soviet dezinformatsiya and cultural warfare, the cultural impact of The Pill and the resulting removal of centuries of social moderation stemming from traditional paths to approved access to sex, and the result of the “Dr. Spock” pivot away from rational coherent civilizing childrearing to the craziness of centering everything parents did on the whims of the children, all led to a decade of what amounted to a giant full-on screaming-on-their-back-in-the-supermarket-aisle tantrum.

          And the ones who never moved past that are now in control.

          If you want one word for “the sixties” I’d go with “dope”.

          1. Yeah, mine too, even if they seek to aggregate us. Used to be my brother was one of the youngest boomers, but now they claim up to 64. Well, my finger to them. In the sixties I was learning to walk. While some deplorables in my generation — like the president — identify with the media picture of the boomer, my generation mostly reacted against it.

            1. “The media picture of the boomer.” And what makes you believe that picture is any more accurate than the pictures the media paints today? I’m tired of being told that my generation destroyed civilisation. Yes, there was a group of the usual idiots merrily wreaking havoc, and they got so much attention that it’s possible to imagine that was all that was going on. But I would expect people here, who are aware of the distorted narratives the media regularly put forward, to exercise a tiny bit of skepticism.
              All my college friends graduated – including the young men who came back from combat missing parts of their bodies or some of their sanity. We couldn’t afford to even think about the Ivy League; by definition, all my college friends attended a large state university. Most of us neither had nor expected a free ride; a large part of the appeal of the state university was that we could cover our expenses with a combination of scholarships and part-time jobs. After college we got full-time jobs, married, raised children, bought houses we could afford, put aside savings because none of us thought Social Security was going to last until we retired.
              How do you choose to interpret this? Either I’m lying in my evil Boomer teeth, or I chose my college friends from the most plodding, conformist, responsible people on campus (which would be a huge surprise to my parents), or – maybe, just maybe – most of my generation are normal, hard working people who never felt entitled to anything we didn’t earn – just like most of every generation.
              In oh, about forty years those of you now in your twenties will be told that you personally destroyed civilisation because, of course, all of you were with Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street, cheered on lawfare against Christian bakers, and formed social-media mobs to ruin the lives of anybody who dared say something you didn’t like. The certainty of this makes me wish I believed in life after death; I want to watch!

              1. I’m with you on that, Margaret, I just don’t usually bother to correct the tar-the-entire-cohort-for-the-sins-of-the-noisiest-members crowd. Having said that, there’s a bit of truth to it, just as there’s a bit of truth to the GenX, Millenial, etc., stereotypes. But only a bit; such stereotypes never give the whole picture.

                1. You have to remember that all those Boomers who served their nation in Vietnam without protest and without getting hooked on drugs (remember that slander stereotype?) and who came home, married and led the quiet lives of the bourgeoisie without going nuts and on a shooting spree (remember that slander stereotype?) were not authentic Boomers.

                  Just as Sarah and Larry are not authentic Hispanics, Ben Carson and Li’l Wayne are not authentic African-Americans and Sarah is not an authentic woman?

                  Still, Posner is an authentic moron, and Hillary is She Who Deplores.

                  1. Oh, right! I forgot about the authenticity rule. Blame sleep deprivation; I lose about twenty IQ points every time somebody wakes me up in the middle of the night, and last night was…eventful.

                    And I don’t usually let loose with a rant about blaming the whole group for the actions of a few. Blame that on sleep deprevation too; the Tact and Self-Restraint subroutines don’t seem to be functioning.

                    1. It’s one of those cases where the group was led/ran in the direction we are in. It takes decades to realize the damage.from most political endeavors and the deficits were part of the result of decisions of all people between greatest and boomer. The following generations are mostly broken in the loud groups from what is passed down from power figures in that generation. A case where hundreds of factors result in the softness that overlooks what freedom is, starting to mistake it for slavery. And then propagating it.

                2. Yeah, and I accept that my generation will be remembered for the raving idiots who finished off the job of murdering civilization, because the ones of us who rejected the trends and simply wanted to raise our families and build a life don’t count.

                  As it is, we’re fighting it on a family level – we’re looking for Star Trek books and the old Star Wars, because no gratuitous sex. Teaching the kids math, not that insanity they’re trying to pass off as Singapore math in the school, getting the kids encyclopedias and ‘Tell Me Why’ type books, and getting them to read!

                  But we won’t be remembered.

              2. In no way do I believe that picture was accurate HERE, but guess who modeled themselves after it? My brother and his cohort in Portugal. And the idiots like our President. May the Lord have mercy on the media’s soul. They created them.

                1. “Media’s soul.”

                  Congratulations, Sarah. You’ve just proved that the Lord can make something so small that He can’t find it…. 😉

                  1. Media soul my maiden aunts backside. That is an oxymoron if I ever saw one. And yes the Lord made them a soul but the media seem to have devoted it to a far lesser being in exchange for a bowl of pottage.

          2. Sounds like we’re about of an age. While I have great respect for individual boomers, I remember feeling utterly betrayed by an entire damn generation the day I saw a USA Today headline joyfully proclaiming “Only 25 percent of children seriously harmed by divorce!” And tried to compare it to the reaction that would arise if 25 percent of children were harmed by anything *else*…

            1. The other 75% are humorously harmed.

              I think it largely depends on your definition of “serious” and who benefits from the divorces.

              1. No, no, they’re all harmed, but only 25% of each is seriously harmed. The imprecisions of natural languages…

                1. Surely we can agree that which harms me and my pets is more serious than that which harms you or your pets?

        2. Me also – part of the ‘clean-up’ generation. It started when I worked my guts out as a college-age volunteer, helping to resettle Vietnamese refugees in 1975. (Who were genuine refugees, let me point out – who came prepared to work hard, to not take handouts for one second longer than necessary, who insisted that their children learn English, study hard, and assimilate.)
          I also saw the Age of Aquarius turn at best into drugged-out substance abusers, civil rights turn into race riots and now the travesty of Black Lives Matter. I saw our institutions of public education turn into perfect sinks of illiteracy, glazed over with a thin veil of so-called social justice, and then for everything about our common culture defamed and condemned.

          On the up side … well, I often wondered what it would have been like to be part of an underground resistance movement. Guess I’ll find out, soon enough.

            1. There are the Vietnamese and there are the Hmong. I do not know what the Hmong think of the Vietnamese, but I do know that once upon a time I was informed that the most angry (as in, egad, is he gonna kill that guy?) a coworker of Vietnamese ancestry was, was when someone called him Hmong. This was carefully never repeated – at least as far as I know.

              1. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia had all belonged to separate and often warring kingdoms for centuries before the French conquered them in the 18th and 19th century. When South Vietnam fell to the Communists in 1975, the government of Laos fell to the Pathet Lao about the same time. Cambodia had already been taken over by the Khmer Rouge several months earlier. The vast flood of refugees and “boat people” from the same part of the world at about the same time can easily be confused by outsiders, but they are quite aware of the distinctions thank you very much. Anyway, the Hmong were from Laos, not Vietnam.

              2. True dat. One of my regular teen volunteers is from the Hmong micro-community that settled in the Valley.

                On a side note, we’re really screwing up even the immigrants who want to be “properly American.” Most common Talk Time request: How to be American. Not language, dress, etc. But the UN-written civilizational values.

                But we cannot tell them. Oh no. That would be ethno-centric and colonialist (I wish I were making it up).

                The Vox Days of this world are not wrong about the perils of immigration, (and for all I know, they’re spot on about Europe. Europe is.. not the U.S. With bells on) They just underestimate estimate the strength of what used to be American culture and the degree to which the progs have set fire to it.

              3. In the U.S., Vietnamese may think the Hmong are their montagnards, although they are mostly Lao-origin (probably because it was easier to flee the Communists’ victory into Thailand than it was for the Viet hill tribes.) Most of the southern Viet hill tribes were different ethnic groups than the Hmong (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degar) who were happy to work with U.S. forces against the north because the appreciated the chance to kill ANY Viets, who had historically displaced them from the more fertile lowlands. The southern Viets, OTOH, sometimes (maybe often) used the term “moi” which meant roughly “filthy savages.”

      2. The emotional selling point of eugenics is that those unsightly people would make society much better if they were gone. Leftwing economic and revolutionary thinking is a good complement to this.

        Empress Clinton wants to craft a set of garments from society, and blames us for the state of her tailoring.

      1. Well I learned something today.

        1. a harsh-tempered or overbearing woman.
        2. an imaginary deity of violent and turbulent character, often appearing in morality plays.

        But I forget with which definition you have maintained your amateur status.

        1. For some reason I saw termagant and thought cormorant. I was wondering why our esteemed hostess was claiming to be a large waterfowl. Maybe she just self identifies as a cormorant? In any case in the words of the immortal Emily Litella, “Never mind.”

              1. With no claim of talent whatsoever, and perhaps not enough ethyl alcohol…

                When I find things in error or amiss
                Oh, Emily I do find,
                Speaking words so kind, “Never mind.”
                And in times of darkness
                She is standing for all so blind,
                Speaking words so kind, “Never mind.”

                Never mind, never mind
                Never mind, never mind
                Whisper words so kind, “Never mind.”

                And when the broken-hearted people
                Living in the world redefined
                There is but the answer, “Never mind.”
                For though they may be parted
                There is still a chance for their kind,
                There will be an answer, “Never mind.”

                Never mind, never mind
                Never mind, never mind
                Yeah, there is but the answer, “Never mind.”
                Never mind, never mind
                Never mind, never mind
                Whisper words so kind, “Never mind.”

                Never mind, never mind
                Ah, never mind, yeah, never mind
                Whisper words so kind, “Never mind.”

                And when the thoughts are cloudy
                There is still an idea from behind,
                Think more tomorrow, but for now never mind

                I wake up to the sound of music,
                Oh, Emily I do find,
                Speaking words so kind, “Never mind.”

                Never mind, never mind
                Never mind, never mind
                Yeah, there is but the answer, “Never mind.”
                Never mind, never mind
                Never mind, never mind
                Whisper words so kind, “Never mind.”

          1. Heh. I do the same thing between vireo (red-eyed songbird) and virago (violently furious, scolding woman). The red eyes presents an interesting montage of a mental image.

    2. You know, when you set your sights slightly beyond the 30 second sound bite cycle it becomes apparent that the vast right wing conspiracy is nothing more that most all of us who just want to live our lives in peace. The problem the elites have with that is that, busy with those lives, we fail to pay proper homage to the wonderfulness of their revealed truths. We do not drop everything to focus on the most important thing in the world, now, immediately without question, because they said so. Of course should we do so we find that they’ve moved on and that most important thing was at least two iterations ago, and now it’s something else entirely.
      But it’s still our fault, because they have to have someone to blame, and it obviously cannot be them because they believe so strongly and so purely that they must be perfect.
      And the only thing that infuriates them more than being mocked is being ignored.

      1. Of course should we do so we find that they’ve moved on and that most important thing was at least two iterations ago, and now it’s something else entirely.

        And that, by the time we start paying attention to their cause du jour, careful and reasoned analysis usually shows their knickers were twisted for no good reason.

      1. Unfortunately, she sounds like the type of SJW who has EEOC, NOW, etc. on speed-dial. Given our current legal system, they are often too much trouble to get rid of.

  3. My roommate is recovering from a hip replacement and spending time binge-watching CSI shows. I’ve noticed that they seem to all have become forensic soap operas–kind of like General Hospital, except the patients are all dead.

    Reading this post, I realize why–it’s because they can’t do mysteries anymore. They can no longer manage a Whodunnit with any real tension because the villain must give the right social signals. You always know who the murderer is from the first commercial break–he’s the guy on the wrong side of the cause of the week.

    So the writers have to concentrate on the lives of the lab techs in order to have any story to tell.

    1. Last year, I enjoyed the heck out of the first season of Blindspot. I eagerly tuned into the second-season premiere, and there it was, blithely flying over the shark. All the mystery and ambiguity that hooked me originally was gone as if never there. SPOILERS: Now we know for sure who’s on which side! FBI and NSA Good, CIA evil (they torture people in “black sites” hidden across rural America), mysterious group from which Jane Doe comes (now named “Sandstorm”) also definitively evil (so why were they so eagerly pointing the Feds to numerous bad guys in Season One? Don’t ask.). In fact, Sandstorm is so evil that they have framed Muslim jihadi groups for their own terrorist attacks! And why are they so evil? Because they’re white people from – gasp! – SOUTH AFRICA! I never saw before in two decades of entertainment such a desperation to return to the ’90s.

        1. Today I figured out a good way to have a contemporary thriller with Nazis as the antagonists.

            1. The antagonist who is a foil to the protagonist is actually an American of French ancestry. I’m tempted to have one of the original plotters be Yasunori Kato or a derivative, even though that doesn’t make any sense. They have at least two suborned American politicians, at least one of which was originally suborned by the reds.

              I have better idea of characters and emotional arc than I usually do.

              1. If you focus on the social ideals of the NSDP you can easily have a pretty acceptable party in modern America. The racial segment of the party is the only one that would need to be hidden but write it as if the minority is a victim of low expectations destroying them and then a conspirator starts to decry the moochers. Remove the hammock and many will be destroyed.

            1. #20committee had a thing today on Swiss Air 330. He alleges the Palestinians were provided technical information by two men who claimed to be West German sympathizers. One also claimed to be an electrical engineer.

              If you had a machine that would send people forward in time, why would you use it? You could skip a few years at a time, hoping for the tech to operate it in reverse. You could evade police attention. You could set up conspiracies or other investments with a very long time to show returns.

              At what cost?

              Counterintelligence is dead. Treachery may now cut down the tree of liberty, to make living space for tyranny. Who can act to stop it when so much of the surviving evidence rots in archives?

              1. It would be easy enough to send people forward in time. I do it everyday. But to send people forward in time past when nature intends them to go wouldn’t require a time machine. A medically induced hiberation of some sort would work just as well and be much more likely to be achieved than actual time travel… especially by a group with no qualms about conducting lots of possibly fatal experiments on people to get the bugs worked out.

            1. Once upon a time, me and some others nearly overthrow the sovereign government of Singapore. It started when Kim, Pete, Dave and myself were sitting around talking. ‘You know’, I said, ‘the world would be a better place if Singapore had a white supremacist government. I hear they eat sheep, and that’s unnatural.’

                1. I decided that in my cultural heritage, ovinophagy is taboo because their range maggotry is an abomination. Beef, pork, chicken and turkey, avoid all other unclean meats.

      1. Question: Is Zootopia a one-time blip, or is it a harbinger of things to come? And odd question, perhaps, but while the critics hailed the “message,” as they saw it of the film, I couldn’t help but think the villain was subversive to the SJW line. And when you consider what the villain did played up the “victimizer” angle . . . Well, I just wonder if the SJW who lauded it really paid attention to what was going on.

        1. As a Person With Kid, I almost *almost* don’t care which it was, because it was so refreshing to see a movie done with a focus on craft and story rather than Message. (or Cheap, which is my other pet peeve). However, I have been consistently delighted with My Little Pony, which has totally admirable business-minded major characters and opened up its fifth season with a pretty damn creepy North Korea-flavored villain.

        2. I think because with Zootopia it is all animals and not whites/blacks/woolies eerr wait woolies are in it … but you get the idea. Because it didn’t use standard races it was able to offer a functioning mystery.

        3. My suspicion is that there is an undercurrent of that kind of thought at Disney since it pulled in the PIXAR folk. Look back at the Incredibles and the statement by Syndrome ” And when everyone is Super, then no one is Super”. It seems there’s some old line (real not SJW) liberals/liberterians lurking and still putting their input into things.
          Hope is still at the bottom of that stupid box \we just need to coax it to come out.

      2. That’s why it was shocking in London Has Fallen that the terrorists are actually Islamic extremists and not, say, mercenaries employed by Wal-Mart. I imagine that ticked off the critics to no end.

        1. There will be a direct to DVD at some point soon where it is a real estate tycoon with bad hair and odd skin tone terrorizing NY for fun.

              1. There is time enough to hype the unholy heck out of such a production, announce Oliver Stone as director, Meryl Streep (Cate Blanchett? Emma Thompson?) as Hillary, and John Goodman as Trump. That would allow the leads to do the talk show circuit explaining how the movie will reveal the sordid truths about Les Deplorables campaign. With a little fast work they could even get a couple trailers on YouTube.

                Then quietly drop the production after the election.

    2. ‘Castle’ was a pretty good whodunnit, at least for the first five or so seasons (which was about how long I watched it). So it’s doable, and a well done show will still attract eyeballs. And at least for that period, the writers did a pretty good job of making you guess who the bad guy was.

      But I can’t really think of any others off the top of my head.

      1. Well, what about “Longmire?” It’s on Netflix now, so it’s continuing. My wife and I have been getting into non-US whodunits: Canada’s Murdoch Mysteries, Britain’s Midsomer Murders and Death in Paradise. We ran through Australia’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Canada’s Republic of Doyle. I don’t know what we’ll go to next while waiting for the next seasons of the ones of those still in production to be picked up by Netflix, though.

        1. Forgot about Longmire. But I’ve only seen a few episodes from the first season. OTOH, in those few episodes, the writers clearly didn’t have a problem portraying the local “community leader” from the reservation as a scheming power hungry bastard. So it had that going for it.

          1. Jacob Nighthorse is a bit more complex of a character than comes across in the initial episodes. The relationship of the Res to the rest of Absaroka County is often (usually?) quite prickly, and which side is in the right (if there is any “right” side) isn’t often clear.

          2. What’s a bit shocking about Longmire is that it doesn’t clean anybody up. Walt has issues. The deputies. Cady. The Indians are just as messed up as the whites, complete with a couple different varieties of racism. Henry gets more free passes than anyone, but even those go only so far. But a lot of the same characters try to live by a code, and I can respect that much even if I think their personal code is flawed (coughMathiascough). At the same time, the show manages to not wallow in “people are all jerks”.

            1. There was an interesting series on Fox a season ago, Backstrom which depicted an effort by flawed people to do right in a flawed world. Set in Portland it addressed (among other things) jurisdictional squabbles with reservation police, inland sheriffs and coastal authorities.

              It is available on demand but not on disk.

              1. Backstrom had potential, but I couldn’t get past more than three episodes of him being an irascible bastard apparently just for the sake of being an irascible bastard. Like trying (too hard) to be House in a police suit.

                1. The series took its time getting its pieces arrayed and finding its footing. I suspect the network may have shown the episodes out of order. But they clearly had a story arc in mind, one which ended with him addressing his “issues” by the final episode, “Rock Bottom”. It had an excellent supporting cast and was clearly built around a long arc story, requiring patience of its audience.

                  Of course, as with all such things, YMMV.

        2. Try Justified, late of FX. There are six seasons, everyone is deliciously complex, and the conclusion won’t leave you angry or confused.

          1. Justified is definitely worth watching. The series is made by the character of Boyd Crowder who is one of the best villains ever, because he is complex enough to not be purely evil. He was originally supposed to be killed off in the first episode. Fortunately they thought better of it and did a rewrite that brought him back, claiming the bullet had missed his heart, even though the scene had been shot with the fake blood splashing from exactly where his heart would have been.

            1. the scene had been shot with the fake blood splashing from exactly where his heart would have been.

              NObody who has watched that series would tell you Boyd Crowder’s heart is in the right place.

        3. Go with “A Touch of Frost”, “Hamish McBeth”, and the David Suchet Poirot series. And though it’s fairly old now, “Wycliffe.”

        4. A lot of the British crime shows and comedies are pretty good. And ever episode I watch reminds me that we are two countries separated by a common language. Death In Paradise is a pretty good comedy-whodunit.

          1. The first few seasons of “New Tricks” were reasonably good.

            I quite liked an Irish cop show called “Single Handed.” By US standards it would have been a mini-series; four two-part episodes in four years.

            And for that matter, “Life On Mars,” which would probably have been better without the SF slant.

            And while they’d be considered lightweight by modern doom and gloom standards, “Alien Nation” and “Space Precinct.” Both of which, despite being SF, played the “cop show” trope straight up.

        5. Murdoch was good for, I think the first season, then it started to pander to the SJWs. I know enough history that every time I try to watch the later seasons I get thrown out of the story because of disbelief.

          1. But that’s the point of Murdoch! Murdoch invented everything, and met and worked with everyone! And honestly I don’t see nearly as much virtue-signaling in Murdoch as in your typical US comedy/whodunit.

        1. It rears its head now and again in Criminal Minds but seems to get fought off.

          We started watching NCIS which I hope does not catch it.

          1. Honestly I think both the CSI series, NCIS & Criminal Minds all do relatively well compared to lots of other similar series. Law and Order is a ‘find the white, Christian businessman’ show and Flashpoint, which I liked for its inclusion of effects on officers, tended to have every suspect a sob story.

            1. NCIS really hasn’t had it at all as far as I’ve gotten (3rd season) and in Ziva seems to have the anti-feminist when it comes to sexual harassment/hostile work environment stuff.

              I’ve watched two or three Flashpoint and it is okay.

              I still very much miss L&O: Criminal Intent which mostly avoided the “leftist cause de jure” that took over L&O and SVU.

              I’ve watched some original CSI and it was okay but it didn’t grab me like Criminal Minds/Intent did.

              1. The only thing I found with NCIS is the tendency to choose the interdepartmental agent based on who needs rehab irl. First Mossad then NSA.

                Plus have been a few where they played to typical script but equal number of “scorpion and frog” tales.

      1. I’m always surprised at the difference between stuff like Mission Impossible from the 60s and current dramas. The most sjwish thing in MI (in general, episodes vary) tends to be that the tech genius is black. But Barney is treated and works same as anyone else. Today I’d expect some needed subplot of racism or the like

        1. Argueably. he’s the most important element of most of their plans. Without his technical wizardry, they’d be sunk.

          1. Absotively. As a child, I watched MI mainly to see what cool stuff Barney came up with that week.

            Durn it, not on Netflix. Should have watched more of it when it was on TV Land (although I think it was at like 3 AM…)

            1. I was pretty upset with the direction the first movie took. It seemed to me to be a case of Hollywood deliberately subverting whatever was noble.

      2. Even in the 1970’s it was obvious how much that was the case. It became an game of guessing just when in the episode that Quincy would state in great agitation, “Maybe, just maybe, if we $THING then $CAUSE-WILL-BE-AIDED.”

    3. We did our CSI Dewberry Woods comic series based on that observation. It’s one of the handful that came (writing prompts) from yours truly. I’m just not naturally very funny.

      But the idea that you could be a seasoned detective and solve crimes by correctly identifying the proper Oppressor Group status tickled my funny bone.

      Well, you have to laugh…

    4. It’s not unknown in the past. The social signals have just changed. It was not for nothing that Knox flatly banned Chinese characters from the Fair Play Whodunnit of his day.

  4. SJW Plan For Utopia:
    1) Be offended!
    2) Wreck everything and everybody you can get your hands on!
    3) …
    4) Utopia! Yay!

  5. As you’ve noticed, folks not on the left want the left to keep talking/shrieking, because the more they do so the more observers can see just how repellent their ideas and attitudes are, while folks on the left want to silence anyone not agreeing with them, because virtually any idea other than theirs shows their ideas to be at best nonsensical and more often actively destructive.

    I’m currently reading “The intimidation game : how the Left is silencing free speech,” by Kimberly Strassel, which chronicles the left’s use of the IRS, FEC, SEC, etc., in attempts to get the names of financial donors to non-leftist organizations that do any political work, with the intent of harrassing individuals and corporations until they stop speaking out against leftist programs. This silencing only ever comes from the left. The best thing we can do is to refuse to be silenced, and to point out in detail the vicious tactics the left uses in its continuous campaign against the free speech of any non-leftists (who don’t even have to be active opponents of the left, just not enthusiastic proponents).

  6. “Western culture is a derelict, on the corner, who having snorted too much Marx, keeps stabbing itself in the face with a pen and widdling its pants.”

    Marxism, it’s a hell of a drug.

  7. I confess that to me Miss Marple, based on Agatha Christie’s grandmother, always sounded more real than the jaded, underworld, seamy characters written by “serious” authors of the time.

    Dame Agatha Christie never denies that in this world there is seaminess. Crimes are committed against innocents. Those who are murdered are not always the kind of people that the world is better off without. A very young child is the witness to her mother’s murder. A vicar in his study at the parsonage is not safe. A man, passing himself as eligible, will manipulate and take advantage of a young woman’s love and hopes.

    A difference in the worlds of Miss Marple and Poirot (even Tommy and Tuppence) comes from the pervasive feeling that these things are crimes and are not to be celebrated.

    BTW: News dated 15th September 2016 from the official Agatha Christie site (http://www.agathachristie.com/):

    In commemoration of the Queen of Crime, Royal Mail have released a set of six Special Stamps based on a selection of Agatha Christie’s greatest mystery novels.

    To celebrate 100 years since Christie wrote her first detective novel, which introduced world renowned fictional detective Hercule Poirot to the world, The Mysterious Affair at Styles is featured in the stamp set. Other novels depicted on the stamps include: Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, A Murder is Announced, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and The Body in the Library.

      1. Her main characters are not without flaws, in very real and human ways.

        Poirot while brilliant, is fussy, tetchy, persnickety, demanding and can be positively insufferable.

        Miss Marple seems to know far too much about everybody and their business; I have heard her referred to as being a spinster busybody. I don’t quite agree with that assessment, her knowledge does not come so much by inserting herself into other people’s lives, but being very observant and having the capability to comprehend the meaning of what is out there to be noticed.

        1. Miss Marple I think softened quite a bit in her later books. In Murder at the Vicarage, for example, she shows up at a crime scene with unseemly haste, and is described as having, “repulsive, eager curiosity.” Plus, there’s the implication that she’s using her bird-watching binoculars to watch a lot more than just birds…

          1. Standard issue Nosey Old Biddy– and she did get older as the stories went on, after all. A 65 year old can hussle; a 90 year old, not as much.

          2. Yep. It’s made quite clear that the only difference between her and the other gossiping busybodies is that she cares whether the gossip is *true* or not. And her detective skills are both her hobby and a vital part of her role in the community–when she tells you the latest scandal, you can be sure it’s for real. Because she confirmed every juicy detail before she told you.

      2. I won’t say which book it is, so as not to spoil for those who haven’t read it, but one of my favorites featured an SJW to stole money to help his cause and then murdered three people to avoid getting caught–all in the name of saving the downtrodden youth, of course.

        1. Well of course, evil done in the name of good is to be praised. And they get to define good. Nice scam for as long as it lasts.

      3. This is always a tough spot for me. Not every villain needs to be Moriarty. The typical criminal in reality tends to be underrepresented in fiction. Partly because too easy and rule of drama. It is nice when once in a while the bad guy Rob’s the bank because that’s where the money is and doesn’t have a huge convoluted plan.

        1. If you aren’t watching Blue Bloods you might give it a try, especially as it is now syndicated pretty widely. It makes an effort at presenting issues fairly, acknowledges not all police are perfect while recognizing that most bad guys are punks.

          Plus, it stars Tom Selleck’s mustache.

          1. Lol. I have had it in back of mind for a while. Grimm at the moment but I think blue bloods is on Netflix

            1. If/When you take up Blue Bloods, be aware that the initial show-runner was fired, at Selleck’s insistence, for trying to make the series a police procedural rather than the family drama Selleck signed on to do. It also features a fairly ill-conceived sub-plot regarding a blue-wall-of-silence and possible corruption. That actually ends up being well resolved but it took them a while to find a way out of the dead-end alley the show-runner had headed them into.

              OTOH, they develop some very well-done sub-plots in which the new mayor, a liberal African-American community activist, and Selleck’s PC butt heads, and a season 3 (IIRC) guest stint by Bebe Neuwirth as a civilian overseer for the police, including one in which Selleck’s character has her run through a firing exercise.

        2. I recommend Theodore Dalrymple’s Life At the Bottom for that typical criminal. One problem is that they tend to be repulsively vacuous. Morality brought up in conjunction with their actions (as opposed to other people’s treatment) gets just a blank look, as if you tried to discuss chocolate in the context of the World Cup.

        3. That’s one thing I liked about John D Macdonald- the badguy was often some poor schmuck out of his depth.

          1. Or some brute with no conscience; understanding only violence he employs it broadly.

            For real “some poor schmuck out of his depth” stories you need to go Donald Westlake, specifically the Dortmunder books.

  8. > We’re faced with “cultural elites” who have
    > got hold of the institutions, and who are
    > merrily destroying them, convinced that
    > the institutions are somehow “the other.”

    Look up “Stanford Prison Experiment.”

    The college was running a social experiment about prison systems. They had to shut it down early because of brutality and psychotic behavior among the participants.

    While there have been many scholarly papers written about why, my take is: both the “guards” and the “inmates” were college kids, steeped in the Narrative of The Man and counterculture; their Narrative said the guards must be brutal and inhuman, so that’s the way they acted.

    Now those people are running businesses. The Narrative says the businesses and their managers are evil, so that’s how they act.

    Narrative is like a cancer; if you catch it it will eat you from the inside out.

    1. While there have been many scholarly papers written about why, my take is: both the “guards” and the “inmates” were college kids, steeped in the Narrative of The Man and counterculture; their Narrative said the guards must be brutal and inhuman, so that’s the way they acted.

      There’s been some folks who were interviewed who pointed out they were actively encouraged to support that narrative by the supposed “observers.”

      This guy has an OK selection of the issues:

      Your take is better supported than the popular one….

    2. As pointed out by Foxfier and the article they reference, the Stanford prison attempt was an attempt to replicate abuse of power seen in situations not involving college kids, and the same mechanism may have been present at Abu Ghraib – again not involving college kids. I personally suspect that power over other people has a corrosive effect on all those not insulated by conventions and institutions designed to protect those who are in their power. I certainly think we would be wise to act as if this might be the case.

      But I still find your comparison interesting, because I wonder if the assumption of power to control what people can say, read, or think has some of the same corrosive effects as being an untrained and unrestrained prison guard.

    3. Except there are those post war psychological profiles of NAZIs. On the average they were psychologically normal folks. I’m not sure if this was of NAZI party members as a whole, or groups such as the Brown Shirts or the SS, but it’s still something to think about. Especially considering places since then where things quickly went psycho.

      1. I recommend the Marquis de Custine, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, or the book Never Fall Down.

        You are missing both the incentives and disincentives of autocratic slave states with secret police.

        But kudos for starting with the assumption that people default to anti-civilizational behaviours without active social barriers.

        Unless a miracle occurs, entropy always wins.

    4. Kinda goes back to the iPost a few days ago. Get people to think that a certain stereotype is a winning formula and hundreds will follow it even if the formula is illusory

  9. Look, if any businessman in a novel turns out to be clean and honorable, I am genuinely surprised. Ditto if any middle aged couple is faithful and NOT child molesters/murderers.

    And any TV or movie character in a suit is a bad guy now. We live in a time when black is white and good is evil. Cole Porter even wrote a song about it.

    So when I read David’s song about the wicked being gone and the meek inheriting the earth it gives me hope that that time is soon.

    “When the wicked sprout like weeds
    And all the wrongdoers flourish,
    It is that they may be annihilated forever.”

    1. Hm. Castle is the only rich good guy character I can think of having seen in television for a while, and I think he did have some rich friends who weren’t villains too. Now I don’t watch much television but I occasionally binge watch crime/supernatural thriller series, and yes, generally unless the rich guy is the main character if anyone in any way financially successful character gets introduced in an episode they usually turn out to be the villain, or at least in some way bad.

      Likewise television and movies seem to be very fond of “surprises” by having characters who are in traditionally, in the culturally traditional sense, good guy roles, the “pillars of society” individuals – like priests – to be the villain of the piece. Or otherwise deplorable.

      Except it hasn’t been a surprise for a long, long time. Just another damn cliche.

      Yep. Might be something of a surprise to see the perhaps addled but otherwise fairly benign acting street person to be the murderer now. Or the angry ghetto teen. And so on… 😀

      1. Castle was rich for allowable reasons – he was a published author, not a businessman.

        I cannot remember the last time a business owner, let alone a hired CEO, was not eeeeeevulllll on TV.

        1. I don’t see all that much TV, but in film there’s Tony Stark, and uhhhhmmmm … Tony Stark.

          Can we count the billionaire lover in Bridget Jones’ new movie?

          1. Story idea: a couple editors at a publishing house servicing a small but visible genre realize that the genre’s most prestigious fan award is actually assigned by only a small coterie of fans, a group which can be influenced easily by a mixture of flattery and pandering. These editors (let’s make them married — adds a little sexual stuff) then work to ensure that their stable of authors get all the awards, the acclaim and lucrative film and television offers that follow the awards … then, as their subversion of the awards becomes nearly complete up rises a hero, an independent author working in a despised sub-genre who challenges the authenticity of the awards and, aided by a small band of sympathizers challenges the legitimacy of the awarding process and seeks to democratize them by encouraging broader public participation, especially of fans who had felt ostracized from the awards.

            No, too unbelievable, right?

            1. I will confess right here if Larry hadn’t stood up, I’d never have done it. I was too used to the double standards and the hypocrisy. He gave me hope, and I’m trying to pass it along.

          2. There’s also Bruce Wayne, but both Bruce and Tony inherited their wealth. Heroes are allowed to have inherited wealth, because they can’t really help that, and it’s not like they actually set out to start a business and make themselves wealthy. The CEOs who actually started the companies are inevitably safely deand and/or Lex Luthor types.

            1. Yeah, and those inherited wealth heroes also reinforce the concept that inherited wealth, and thus class, makes one intrinsically better than the hoi polloi, as long as you do approved things with that wealth.

              It’s all about paying attention to our betters, unless they’ve done something to be disavowed by the other betters.

              Tony Stark in the movies tossed over the successful business that his father built supplying defense-y stuff for his country because that was icky, and dedicated his company to supporting communist front grou…er, environmental causes. And Bruce Wayne in the latest movies gave what was left his fortune away and disappeared (note Batman had the blowed-up cover – Bruce just vanished in the chaos) to bum around Most Holy Europe (because there’s no papparazi there who would recognize him hanging out with catwoman on a street in Paris and blast his photo all over the world).

              Now, no actual elite would actually give their own money away like that, but these pretend elites show the rabble what they should be admiring.

              1. Don’t knock movie Stark: he quit making weapons because he saw they were being misused and the system wasn’t accountable, so he built himself a supersuit and went after the terrorists who’d got hold of his weapons.

                And considering it was later revealed that the government had been infiltrated by Hydra, a smart move on his part.

                Like Cap said: the safest hands are still our own.

                Then Stark had to go and do his heel turn and become the UN’s lapdog in Civil War because the writers needed a bad guy, but let’s not go there.

                And the clean energy reactor thing was viable and practical and profitable within the context of the story.

                1. Except then the reactor he invented to save his own life was poisoning him, and then it wasn’t. Because Super Genius Elite Rich Dude.

                  And when you have issues with some of your product being misdirected, the best way to fix that system is walk away, letting the bad guys misdirect other companies products, instead of diving in and fixing the problem for everyone.

                  I like Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of the character, but the writing of the character has always seemed forced.

                  1. Yeah, another McGuffin to fix the McGuffin, fair point.

                    For the rest, I bought that Stark felt obligated to fix a problem that he felt he was in part responsible for.

                  2. the writing of the character has always seemed forced.

                    That is because the executives most Hollywood writers know are studio execs. [ Insert link to Tropic Thunder‘s Les Grossman clip. ] They don’t have any experience of decent business execs.

                    1. Oh, totally – if all I knew about business executives was based on the Hollyweird execs I’ve encountered, I’d think movies were soft-pedaling this whole evil executive thing.

                2. I’ve always hated the Marvel Civil War story line. It has always felt to me like someone in charge at Marvel just wanted to be an a-hole so they made EVERYONE a bad guy.

                  Now I have heard that in the new comics Capt. America has come out as a member of Hydra.

                  1. Marvel backtracked the Hydra story almost immediately, no doubt due to the backlash.

                    As for Civil War…

                    The story I’ve heard is that it was supposed to be a balanced story, with pros and cons for both sides. But some of the writers let their political flags fly too freely, and forgot that the pro-Registration side was supposed to have aspects that were likable.

                    1. Gee, maybe they ought have looked at Super-Hero registration as a form of common sense gun registration/control?

                      Ever notice it is rarely conservatives who let their political flags fly too freely?

                  2. Apparently Marvel has backed off from “Cap is a Hydra Agent”.

                    Note, the sad thing about Marvel’s Civil War is that a Real World Society wouldn’t allow Super-Powered Vigilantes to go around “fighting crime” without some oversight especially if a Super-Team of one country “invaded” another country to take down some bad guy.

                    The Civil War movie (IIRC) raised some good points about the Avengers actions.

                    Of course, putting the Avengers under the control of the UN was an extremely stupid idea. 😦

                    Oh, please check out the “Wearing The Cape” series.

                    They deal with the issues of Super Heroes quite well and are good reads. 😀

                    1. I must say, I like the idea of the Marvel “Damage Control” comic, about the folks who repair the damage caused by superhero and supervillain battles. I’ve always wondered why all the supers haven’t been sued into penury.

                    2. “Wearing the Cape” does has some excellent ideas in integrating supers into the day to day world. The whole concept of Crisis Aid and Intervention Team idea works very well.

                      I also like the fact that they are truly integrated into the armed forces and war with supers is not pretty.

                    3. Wouldn’t allow it?

                      That misses two points, assuming that the superheroes are, on the whole, super powered:
                      1. They really, really, really need superheroes because the supervillains aren’t going to consent to the oversight, which buys the superheroes a lot of leeway.
                      2. They aren’t in a position to call the shots except according to the consciences of superheroes, who would not only have to be good but willing to work with law enforcement.

                      Now, set up your world-building constraints carefully and you can have a world where that’s true, and oversight is in place. I’m working on one story where that happens. But you set them up differently. . . .

                      I’m also working on a couple of stories in a world where superheroes have been emerging slowly from their vigilante status to work with law-enforcement. It’s taken over a century, because the superheroes tend to come from those with a good reason to distrust the law.

                      (Working on too many stories at once. sigh. I’ve never gotten over it.)

                    4. True.

                      In Wearing The Cape, most of the first Super-Heroes were working to make the super-beings “not somebody to be feared” and were willing to accept limitations on their “actions”.

                      Of course, the author gave the US a smart President who while “wanting to use” the Super-Heroes also was on board with limited restrictions.

                      Note, while Mary has read “Wearing The Cape”, others may not have so the major restriction on Supers is that if you act as a Super-Hero, you work under the same sort of rules that police would work under.

                      Mind you, one of the themes of the series is “Super-Heroes Aren’t Police”.

                      Their major “crime-fighting role” is dealing with Super-Criminals but that doesn’t include imprisoning Super-Criminals.

                    5. The family watched it last night; was out on DVD. Afterward, Rhys asked me which side I’d have picked. I’d have been on Team Captain America, because I agreed with his arguments early on and it was he, Agent Carter, and Red Hawk who figured out that this was too conveniently set up; asking ‘who benefits, what’s the agenda?’ – and, in story, Rogers has a damned good reason to be leery of external organizations right then, because of HYDRA having infiltrated SHIELD before.

                      Also, seriously, the UN holding the leash for the Avengers is such a supremely bad idea. I don’t trust the UN, with it’s decidedly anti-Western whip and tendency to hold ‘The West’ to higher standards than it does the rest of the freaking world.

                      Biggest character growth goes to The Black Panther.

                      I also wanted to throw rocks at the people who were blaming the Avengers for the collateral damage and deaths – I’m sorry, why aren’t they blaming the villains for this? Oh yeah because you can’t hold bad guys accountable. So let’s go whip the heroes instead! Arrgh.

                    6. I got pretty hot under the collar about how they were so obviously manipulating an emotionally vulnerable, wounded guy– Tony.

                      Hell, the entire team probably qualifies as some flavor of seriously mentally wounded, and only Hawkeye and Cap seem to grasp the idea that you can’t trust your emotions that way. Even then, it doesn’t come across as the writers making them powerful, because they use the realistic method of…stopping.
                      Not doing anything big– either way.
                      That’s a relatively healthy coping mechanism, given their backgrounds– and it’s even totally understandable how Tony wouldn’t share it.

                      Have I mentioned how very much I like whoever did the personalities on these characters? They WORK.

                      Vision! You are TOO CUTE! You total dork….

                    7. Wasn’t Cap Tony’s counterweight? Er, how old was Steve when his dad died? If Tony could get past his own ego, they could have some useful discussions. Steve grew up without a father but he did have a best friend. It was a heroic friendship. “I’m with you ’til the end of the line.” Tony seems not to have had a best friend either. Rhodey was and is a good friend to him as an adult. Tony seems to have grown up isolated. He is a man of extremes. He’s either extremely brilliant or ignorant. He is brilliant but self-destructive. He seems to be, on the outside looking in, to many varieties of human experience. He has no extended family. He needs Cap. Perhaps Tony will have reconciled with Cap and Pepper by the time of Infinity War. If Tony, as they say in CA, has dealt with his issues and attained some insight, He will be stronger as a person and as a team member. Cap and Iron Man are the two foci of the Avengers. With them working in sync the group will be much stronger and more cohesive.

                      Captain is the classic superhero while Iron Man is the modern superhero. Together you have the best of both worlds.

                    8. Yep. Despite all of the bad stuff Steve had in his life, he’s always had people; because he recognized their value as individuals. He even understands this with Tony; that the Avengers are Tony’s family.

                      Interestingly I did notice that Tony was behaving a lot like a person trying to keep his family desperately together. The way he went straight to help out Steve when he realized he’d been played – and that’s the worst of it. He threw away his pride and went to help, and it was used against him.

                      Then seeing how his parents died – I really can’t blame him because he was the grieving teenager all over again – and those wounds were still really really raw from the presentation he gave.

                    9. Despite all of the bad stuff Steve had in his life, he’s always had people; because he recognized their value as individuals. He even understands this with Tony; that the Avengers are Tony’s family.

                      I finally remembered one of the things that made me think that some of the writers had been mainlining Catholic theology– to boil it down a lot, to love is to be vulnerable.
                      Tony is learning to love again. And he’s holding back, that’s what Pepper is responding to.
                      He’s desperate, and afraid… and he thinks he’s been betrayed….

                      There’s a reason that there are a LOT of folks going “I love Tony. I want shake some sense into him!”

                      (My husband is horrified but not surprised at how many people think he’s a GOOD role model, BEFORE he starts the personal growth stuff.)

                    10. Oh, gads, yes. I laughed myself sick when he refused to say who HE was voting for…but was able to say Tony would vote Clinton, instantly. 😀

                    11. @Shadowdancer: Yeah, the blaming the Avengers bit got annoying. New York was a war zone, but if some debris hits civilians it’s the Avengers fault and not the invading aliens? Wanda contains a bomb vest explosion, saving everyone in that marketplace, but she’s a monster because in the split second she had to redirect the blast she didn’t pick a good direction?

                      Though I guess it’s easier to blame the heroes instead of the villains: Villains usually don’t care about those things while heroes can be guilt-tripped since deep down, they aren’t monsters. That still doesn’t make them guilty.

                    12. Yeah, and let’s also have the ‘oversight’ old fart bitch about the fact that OH HEY LOOK DAMAGE AND FIGHTING CONTAINED TO SIX BLOCK RADIUS despite huge alien invading force and that Rogers was able to come up with that in what, a few minutes? AND come up with a plan to get as many civilians evacuated as possible?

                      Like, really? REALLY? That was an unacceptable body count versus blowing up the island of Manhattan?!

                      I’m actually starting to wonder if there isn’t a very subtle poke at the irrationality of the “THERE MUST BE ZERO NONCOMBATANT CASUALTIES” politicians in the movies. It’s subtle, but there.

                      Also yes, they’re the bad guys. The bad guys don’t care about civilian lives dead. They’re the ones who only look at civilians as something they can exploit against the good guys – and I’m including not just the pull-trigger bad guys there, but the politicians as well.

                      What’s the alternative here for these fuckwits? “Oh, we have the power to try save as many people as we can, but let’s not, because there might be collateral damage – and if the bad guys slaughter tons of people, at least it’s not the fault of the Avengers”? You and I know that’s bullshit – the same pols who call for the Avengers to be ‘held accountable’ would be condemning them just the same for not ‘doing something, when it was in their power to do so.’

                    13. It’s also a not so subtle dig at the whole BLM / “blame the cops for defending themselves” movement.

                      For me, the single most barf-inducing moment of the film was Tony Stark, the same Tony Stark who flat refused to turn over the Iron Man suit or tech to, or being supervised by. the US government in Iron Man 2 is suddenly fine with the corruptocrats at the fucking UN controlling it and him?!?!!! Especially after seeing just how ineffective they are without supers? Bullshit anti-Americanism, on steroids.

                      These are my middle fingers. Now get out of my sight before my trigger fingers demonstrate how well they work.

                    14. Ah, but you see– that refusal was WHY Tony was vulnerable to the “it must be all the fault of the folks who actually DID something useful” attack.

                      Tony does have control issues. He’s also a perfectionist, and has an ego the size of the empire state building.
                      So, if something went wrong, if he’s scared it will go more wrong– it can’t be that crud happens, and it can’t be that he needs self-control, or to find someone he can trust to be his judgement when his isn’t good. (Look at the prior movie, when he nearly ended the world by ignoring the people whose judgement is good when they said “this is a really dumb idea.”)

                      Since Tony Stark can’t possibly be wrong, but there’s a problem, then the problem must be the whole group– and he’ll grab for the solution that was offered when he realized there was a huge problem.

                      I have sympathy for that mom’s loss, assuming it wasn’t totally planted, but for freak’s sake, Tony, Pepper needs to hit you with a freaking CLUE BAT. Or shake him. Quicksilver died trying to help people, too– and he knew it was a war zone, took the risk anyways. Died trying to save folks like the do-gooder kid.

                      Totally believable, but infuriating.

                    15. Tony’s competitive with Steve so he never listens to him. He acts like Steve is his older brother. “Dad gave you all the attention he should’ve given me.” Tony won’t understand his father until he has a son of his own. Tony doesn’t understand the relationship between Steve and Bucky, because he’s never had one. An older Tony with superhero offspring will be somewhat frightening.

                    16. (…and the yearling destroys a comment that was ALMOST finished; I’ll try to recreate)

                      I think Tony’s daddy issues are a bit chunk of it, as much as the “more loved elder brother” part– they writers did a good job of beating in the point that the elder Stark talked about Steve a LOT.

                      And Tony obviously drives Steve a bit nuts, I think because he’s so much like his father, while being so different– both more hyper intelligent, and less…emotionally mature? Definitely has coping mechanisms that are not as WWII-culture/traditionally acceptable. (Heck, the “being a total ass” thing isn’t even really acceptable now, unless you’re able to jump into the Steve Jobs role.)

                      I got the impression that Steve knew a married Stark. Bet that would make another big difference vs the injured-and-hasn’t-married-his-other-half-yet Tony, all the more because that’s a place that Steve would likely to be a bit blind from injury himself.

                    17. No, Howard wasn’t married when Steve knew him, else he wouldn’t have felt “shut-out” of the pursuit of Agent Carter. You”ll recall Steve was a bit intimidated by Howard, who often left Steve feeling the self-conscious rube.

                      Or have you forgotten the fondue?

                    18. Most likely; I’m not only on low sleep, I haven’t gotten to watch the movies as much as I’d like. I’ve got multiple co-watchers. *wry*

                    19. No, Howard wasn’t married when Steve knew him, else he wouldn’t have felt “shut-out” of the pursuit of Agent Carter.

                      Incidentally– depends on how selfish he is/was. If Emily’s theory about Steve being in the place of “favored elder brother” is right, then that’s a classic thing– having someone else to complete the person is shutting out the parent/mentor. Heck, even just GROWING UP can and does cause major alienation.

                    20. Ahahaha! Internet to the rescue!

                      Unless Stark was rather more sensible than most Hollywood brilliant guys, he wasn’t married in the first Captain America movie.

                      No ring.

                    21. Oh I got that. No worries ☺

                      I think that Tony – who was at that point really emotionally fragile – getting ambushed by the mother who lost her son in MIT was much like Wanda – making bad decisions because of self-blame. I mean, what with Ultron, and the stuff from Avengers 2, and personal issues with Pepper…

                      Yeah. It was shitty- if Steve had been there he likely would’ve intervened. I was actually a bit shocked at the highly personal scars that he was using for his presentation. It was rather OOC of Stark to show it in my opinion. Maybe it was supposed to highlight his personal vulnerable mental state.

                    22. Maybe it was supposed to highlight his personal vulnerable mental state.

                      Or maybe it was bad writing by the filmmakers. The audience owes no obligation to impute motivations that fill gaping holes in plots.

                      In this case the intent was to move the pieces into place so we could see Avengers fighting among themselves and prior characterizations, established continuity and specious motivations be damned.

                      When you consider the levels of collaborative effort involved in making a movie (especially one tied to a comic book company’s characters) the amazing thing is not that more good movies don’t get made, it is that anything even halfway watchable gets loose.

                    23. And let’s not forget the people who blamed Superman for the casualties incurred during his fight with Zod. Apparently, they missed the part where the latter outright stated that he was going to destroy Metropolis and everyone in it.

                    24. Zod only wanted to destroy Metropolis because he knew Superman lived there. If not for Kal-El it would have been very easy for the people to adjust to life under their new Kryptonian overlords. Given the advanced science offered by the Kryptonians it is likely that many (the useful ones) would have lived much much better lives.

                      The wreckage was clearly Superman’s fault, just as the current disaster in the Middle East is George W Bush’s fault.

                    25. @Patrick Chester

                      I was highly amused to notice that the person in the first Avengers movie who was shown to call for the good guys to take responsibility for the alien invasion damage, was listed as a senator of the Democrat persuasion.

                    26. @emily: They might reconcile. The end of Civil War, Steve wrote an apology letter and Tony deliberately ignored that Senator guy trying to call about the jailbreak from that prison.

              2. Bruce Wayne in the last movie went bankrupt. The implication that I got was that he hadn’t really been paying attention to what his accountants were saying, and ended up wasting too much money on a low emissions power project that ended up draining away all of his money for no real return.

                1. Actually, he did get a working fusion reactor online. Then he discovered that Hollywood is right — ALL atomic energy is bad, and you can’t build a nuclear power plant that won’t blow up and kill EVERYONE. So he nobly ate the research costs while suppressing the now-demonstrably-evil technology.

                  Unfortunately, he didn’t destroy the reactor and all records of the research, as a true noble-rich-liberal hero would have done. So the heirs of Ras al Ghul had a way to destroy Gotham after all…

                  1. I can accept “nuclear anything blows up” as a comic book trope, but the engineer in me cringes at it.

              3. Tony Stark’s father is also a good guy, right? And he is the one who builds the fortune.

                On the other hand he is a member of the greatest generation, and fighting Nazis gives most of the self-made millionaires of that group a get free of jail card even now.

            2. In some versions Lex and Stark both inherited their companies and built on them, making them far more powerful than their fathers, so quite a bit of personal involvement there.

              1. You know what would be interesting as a retcon to this non-comic book fan? Lex Luthor is Batman. Ruthless powerful ethically challenged businessman by day, puts on the mask to fight crime and save his city by night – within his own ethical limits, which remain heroic.

                Michael Keaton’s Batman was so powerful for me because that Bruce Wayne was obviously nuts, and found a way to deal with it as a benefit to society.

                A seemingly well-adjusted business leader who channeled his internal qualms about his own business ethics (maybe this Lex is a Investment Banker, specializing in mortgage securities) into his caped alter ego would be an interesting read.

                1. I think they went that direction somewhat with the Alternate Universe comic, Superman, Red Son, where Kal-el’s ship landed in Communist Russia instead of Smallville and he was raised as a loyal Soviet.

                  America had Lex Luther as its champion. Still selfish and egotistical, but getting all the accolades he believed his due as he defends America (and the system by which he benefits) by creating monsters to fight Superman.

                  Superman’s altruistic qualities put to an evil use, Lex’s selfishness used for good, that was a REALLY original story.

                2. this Lex is a Investment Banker, specializing in mortgage securities

                  He takes up crime fighting because otherwise those neighborhoods are going to be torn down by criminals, destroying his ability to collect on those mortgages? Hmmmm … set it in Detroit … Luthor lives in Grosse Pointe but travels inside 8-Mile Road to protect his investments by protecting the businesses which employ the people who owe him money …

                3. There is also Alexander Luthor of Earth 3:

                  And even in the regular comes I think ‘evil’ Lex’s various pr projects, charitable foundations, Team Luthor, technical breakthroughs, etc. save more people’s lives than one super guy flying around stopping crimes one by one. Funny how the Free Market can turn selfish motives into public goods like that.

                  1. Oh, and there was one of my favorite comics… where Mr. Mxyzlptk shows up causing havoc in Metropolis while Clark Kent is on some intergalactic soul searching walkabout. Lex takes it upon himself to defeat the imp and restore the city. He (and his team, There is no I in Lexcorp ) figures out that the imp keeps showing up because Supes will play his silly game with him. Luthor refuses to play fair and endure Mxyzlpltks tantrums until he leaves in a huff. Supes worries that having lied to the imp Luthor may have unleashed some worse crisis. I don’t think that fear ever came to pass but the writers couldn’t give lex too clean of a heroic deed.

                4. maybe this Lex is a Investment Banker, specializing in mortgage securities

                  I find it interesting you equate mortgage securities with ethic issues de facto.

                  Could you elaborate?

                  1. I fear its a case of the few ruining it for the many. The “bundle-o-risk” sausages of the early 2000s that a few bad actors made using morgage-backed-seucrities, combined with too much media ignorance, make M-b-s’s what Penn Square Bank was for those of us learning about banking in the 1980s. A whole lot of banks didn’t get entangled (even in TX and OK) and most people who deal with morgage-backed-securities walk the straight and narrow, but everyone remembers Penn Square, Enron, and very little else. (Sorry if rambling. Had a last minute burp while trying to get a book into Amazon and it frazzled me for the evening)

                    1. Except people don’t know the difference between MBS, CMO, and CDO nor which were problematic. Nearly all the time I heard people complain about MBSs I ask what is wrong and get a description of CMOs.

                      Just remember, if you have gotten a mortgage SINCE the crisis in 2008 in the US the odds it wasn’t sold on the secondary market in an MBS directly (I deal with TBAs, which is what MBSs start as all the time) or packaged by the buyer.

                      If it wasn’t for MBSs you wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage in California or the inner city although most of flyover country you would. Mortgages in many markets are so big and savings are so small the old B&L/S&L/B&T model wouldn’t be able to finance them in many locations.

                  2. Hey, it’s comic books: You gotta play to at least some of the tropes to get your subversive stuff through the gatekeepers.

                    If it was a webcomic or an indie film, I’d make Lex something totally implausible, say, a young internet zillionaire who employs tens of thousands, who took control of his company and made his fortune by ruthlessly cutting out his co-founders, who personally exhibits no qualms about collecting massive amounts of personal information on everyone who uses his online product and selling that information to the highest bidder, and who dedicates entire divisions of his company to influencing public opinion by suppressing any content with which he personally disagrees, all while insisting he’s impartially enforcing fairness and actually not supressing anything.

                    And every night he puts on the cowl and cape and fights crime.

                5. Gotham has an evil genius loci that drives men mad. Unfortunately for it, it succeeded in driving Batman wrong the wrong way. The insane ones are supposed to drive all the people away.

                1. I never read the stuff with ‘Iron Man 2020’ (which we’ve almost “caught up too”), but my impression was that the character in question (Andro Stark, iirc) was essentially “evil Tony”.

                1. Not ‘exactly’. He would’ve eliminated the Accords and taken over himself. Doom doesn’t take orders. He gives them.

            3. In Agent Carter on ABC (now sadly cancelled after 2 seasons), Tony Stark’s father Howard got to earn his fortune and have all kinds of naughty fun while still being a good guy. And they did a nice job of re-creating the ’40s. Then again, maybe it’s OK to have a businessman hero in the ’40s.

            4. Yeah, but in the Fox/Gotham version Bruce’s *father* was mixed up in/got rich from nefarious activities and a large portion of his current BoD are keeping on with the programs, so Bruce has to use his inherited wealth to atone for his father’s misdeeds and bring the current eeeeevul businessmen to justice.

              Echoed in CW’s billionaire boy crime fighter Oliver Stone/Green Arrow.

        2. Well, it was more the vague memory of him having had rich friends who weren’t all evil, and that perhaps at least a few were also businessmen. The series possibly also had hints that he had been born into a family with money and connections, and that his money was not all from writing but from having been smart when it came to investing what he had earned.

          But yes, all of that was very in the background and at most hints, the visible thing was a talented nerd who got lucky.

        3. Castle tended to keep me guessing, at least during the period when I watched the show. For instance, the bombers in the Occupy protest episode turned out to be the protest organizer and a TV news journalist.

          1. For a while there later on in the run you could always pick Suspect Number Two – the second person Castle and Beckett talked to, no matter how unlikely they seemed, even if they were the grieving family member, always did it.

            That went away when they changed show runners, but the new person, while mixing up the mystery stuff, introduced more problems in continuity in chasing The Big Story Arc.

      2. I binged on Falling Skies last night. No one in suits, but Puppet Masters allusions and other goodies between soap opera baloney, at least. Of course the McGuffin of thousands of rounds of hand loaded ammo never jamming, the is swallowed with a good bit of honey.

      3. I can think of *one* case where it worked, and that was because NCIS doesn’t use the “trusted traditional pillar of the community is the bad guy” card all the time.

        Their suprises are usually actually SURPRISING.

        1. Yep. ‘Good’ folks do go bad irl. Failing to have them involved over 100 episodes breaks just as badly as always. Especially if they give a rational reason.

    2. I watched the movie Cloud Atlas. Visually cool, as any Wachowski brothers er siblings movie. But when the Evil Bad Guys destroying the world turned out to be Big Oil, I couldn’t believe how conventional, trivial, trite and stupid the plot was.

      1. To the movie’s credit: the movie acknowledges nuclear power as a viable energy source. In that respect, the Big Oil’s motivation was believable.

        1. Okay. Acknowledging nuclear was good.
          As a third generation oilman, I’ll admit to a thin skin. I have not spent a career enabling Evil.

          1. In the beginning of Avengers I wondered why they needed Dark Energy when we have gas, oil, coal and nuclear.

          2. All these movies where the big bad biz is destroying a competitor, and they rarely show that it is because they are in cahoots with the government…and even then it’s because they bribed them as opposed to got dogooders in to hamstring others.

          3. I and everyone who needs plastics to survive (auto-injectors anyone? Just to name one example) thank you for your service.

            I’m serious. I’d be dead without you guys and Big Pharma. Thanks.

      2. In the otherwise abysmal 1980ish TV version of Buck Rogers. there was one episode that neatly turned the tropes on their head. A ship was held hostage by a culture that forces everyone to wear a mask. After nearly an hour of the standard posturing about puritanical societies, with a young rebel yanking of his mask and swearing never to wear it again, the “Bad Guy” tells everyone to take off their mask. Where upon they discover that all of them, including the “Bad Guy,” has the same face. The point of the mask was as long as everyone wore one, they could imagine their appearance was unique..

        The unanswered question was who was the real “Bad Guys:” The young rebels fighting against what they saw as a puritanical system, or the “Bad Guy” who knew exactly why that system was in place.

  10. The left/progressives can not accept that Marxism is a failure. So they keep on chanting ‘Imagine’ and believing that Lennon, so they can close their eyes and avoid reality.
    Until we all can accept that Capitalism contains evil, but is still better than any other system of economics and that Democracy contains evil, but is still the best form of government men have devised, they will continue to devise ‘better’ solutions, and ignore the greater evil in those systems in their asinine quest for a perfect/better solution.
    The same applies to Western Civilization. Yes there has been evil and suffering in its name; however, it still seems to do a better job than any of the alternatives.

            1. Hell no!
              Pay off the house, boys finish school, where’s the incentive for Sarah to keep writing. We wants our Sarah to stay the lean prolific writer that she is now.
              Good morning, and thanks for all the fish.

              1. I don’t need incentive. I like writing. My dream of “win the lottery” is “get someone to clean the damn house and do the yard work, and the shopping, so I can write, and maybe take half a day off a week.”

        1. Well, the comment was bombing, naturally it is saying this page is ignoring me. When I eliminate the avatar from Facebook, it loaded.
          Instapundit is still in the dump, I’ve cleared my DNS cache, no success. At least I can *read* all y’all’s comments 🙂

    1. Mankind continues search for a way to make everything right in the world, and finds the end results frustrating.

      Here we have a high church of scientism and its companion of the cult of the experts, with its central planners and social engineers. The cracks are showing, many have joined the chorus in voicing the obvious, the emperor has no clothes. The true believers cling all the harder to their foundational myths, frightened, for they have not yet found any other ground to stand upon. The failure, they tell themselves, is in those who doubt. In their franticness they become ever more extreme.

      Unfortunately, whatever system people choose will always be imperfect because it will be made up of people. Even the best of people with the very best of intentions, have limitations. I am not saying that we should not strive towards a better world. We should, but as we do we need to keep in mind — and teach our children — that this is not a challenge for every generation and it will ever come to an end in this universe.

      1. What the people that Effing Love Science don’t understand is that true science is a blood sport. Truth sometimes can’t advance until giants of the field have the grace to die and stop defending their pet theories.

        Peer review doesn’t guarantee TRUTH. It is merely supposed to weed out the papers that aren’t worth fighting over.

    2. My fixation is that a democracy and a republic are not the same thing, and that a republic is better than a democracy.

      1. Yes, an issue that comes up every 4 years in the ‘abolish the electoral college’ rants.
        Democracy – Greek for people power
        Republic – Latin for entity of the public
        In the first, the mob rules, in the second, a system is established based on the will of the public.
        The Romans were always better administrators.

        1. Every democracy ever born has died by suicide when the majority of voters decide that they can vote themselves unlimited goodies from the never ending bottomless supply of government money. And by the time they realize that the goose is dead, it is always too late.

        2. I believe it was Franklin who observed that democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

          We, on the other hand, have a constitutional republic whose constitution says that no matter what the vote you may not eat the sheep. The Supreme Court rules two-wolves to one-sheep that “mutton” is not “sheep”.

          1. Why I’m perfectly okay with being called anti-democratic: Because a gang rape is a democratic act.

          2. Does not hurt that our constitution recognizes the natural right of a sheep to defend itself from those hungry wolves. And prohibits the government from denying the sheep the tools necessary to do so. Pity so many on the left just cannot wrap their brains around that simple truth.

              1. Ewwww! No!

                And it begets the same problem. Too many predators in an ecosystem and I no longer have food for myself. They turn on each other and die from starvation and disease till next imbalance.

            1. One positive of this election is that some of the wolves in sheep’s clothing are revealed. Particularly the Judas goats.

                1. A cursory review of History suggests the greater threat is bad thegns.

                  As Marvin Gaye told us, there ain’t no thegn like the real thegn.

        3. Realized something yesterday– the folks who want to get rid of the electoral college usually also want to go to a Europe style parliament thingie, where there’s give and take to decide who’s in charge.

          That’s what our electoral college already DOES– each state bangs about figuring out what they want, and then they send THEIR compromise to the Feds.
          As opposed to the Europe thing, where each little group sends what they want, and then those guys get to decide on the compromise.

      2. Too many idealistic idiots. Up to and including US Presidents of both parties fetishize the power of democracy. Mob rule is just as bad as the dictators the sheeple elect.

    3. I am now pondering the curiosity of a society that attempts to model itself on the supposed teachings of am alien as portrayed on a popular TV show. As screwed up as that would be, I suspect that Mork(s)ism would do better than Marxism. Even if it failed utterly, it would likely have the decency to fail faster and less disastrously.

  11. I also re-read The Case of William Smith–and any other Wentworth–on a regular basis. Maybe that’s why I like them, because of the ‘cream rises’ thing.

    It amazes me that ‘pushing the envelope’ and ‘breaking boundaries’ and ‘grittiness’ are still celebrated as virtuous activity. There haven’t been boundaries, or envelopes, for years. There’s nothing left to push. Why do you brag about breaking tradition, as though you were brought up in some restrictive, traditional society? Why is tradition itself a dirty word, even though we don’t have any? Personally I think we should do some radical traditioning and boundary-restoring, it would be good for us.

      1. Whether they hold the degree or not, the left are all lawyers. Words are fungible things with whatever meaning fits the current situation. As for truth, I do not think that word means what they think it means.

    1. Picasso claimed he could break all the rules of art because he knew all the rules of art. There is no point in crossing a line that you don’t even know exists.

  12. I spent more than a decade in _retail book sales_ i noticed the poisoning of every fracking (trying to be polite here) genre in my last couple of years ending 95 or so. Detectives in mysteries became not just folks with quirks but outright sociopaths ,travelogue-style general fiction became a dreary list of bad places you didn’t want to return to, fantasy got away with more good but only at a price.
    And that just literature.
    It is going to be a rocky ride to the other side. Damn Balrogs.

    1. It’s the New York values of the gatekeepers at the publishing houses. They have decided what manuscripts to buy, which ones to push, which ones to go solicit reviews and blurbs for. Since they have no moral standards worth speaking of, they become jaded and cynical. They only know how to mock instead of appreciate a taste for the noble and heroic, and are utterly blind to the very large segment of the marketplace that is looking for that kind of thing. Gresham’s law applies, and so the general public ends up with choices between dreck and trash that get worse every year. Their distaste shows up in the sales figures, and the publishers can’t figure out why.

    2. The Western genre is dead, everyone knows that.
      Robert Parker wrote a western series popular enough that his estate found someone to continue it when Robert passed away.
      William Johnstone has literally hundreds of books in a dozen series all westerns.
      Louis L’Amour is still so popular that used book stores have rules to control the sale of his western novels.
      Peter Grant posted a snippet of a western he was fooling around with and a certain small publishing house broke down his door and practically forced him to sign a contract at gunpoint.
      And I see they are making another redo of The Magnificent Seven.
      But Western as a genre is dead and buried.

      1. Western as a genre has been slain by demands for “more realistic” writing, because that’s what the people who’d never be caught dead reading a western think it should be.

        L’Amour’s success was in large part because he didn’t write Westerns, he wrote Romances (in the traditional sense, not the debased form that now persists) and people still want those. Even when the hero doesn’t get the fair damsel it is because of noble reason (e.g., he was able to see and willing to do what was required to deter those who would abuse strength, she was to protected to accept.)

        He also wrote some of the best depictions of father.son relationships (even where there is no blood connection between the two, i.e., Reilly’s Luck) in popular fiction.

        1. Is ‘Western’ the ‘station wagon’ of writing? Some keep trying to kill it, but it keeps returning, sometimes as minivan, then SUV, then crossover, or some new name for a large-ish hatchback-ish thing that might even be called “wagon’ but don’t anyone say ‘station’… and yet.. it does (or almost does) the job that grandpa 196X Pontiac station wagon did… hauled people, luggage/campaing equipment and could tow a (small) boat as well. But of course nobody in this Enlightened Age would lower themselves so as to go live in the woods for a few days and waste time waiting for fish out on some lake with those bugs and no air conditioning and maybe no net connection. So the station wagon is dead… but wow, look at the SUV hate… hrmmm.. except… oh wait, already said that.

          1. CAFE mileage rules destroyed the station wagon. But a Suburban assault vehicle still comes with a V-8 because it is officially a Work Vehicle. Also, nobody ever wants the car that their mom drove.

            1. Most people haven’t thought through how CAFE standards work. Essentially, they require manufacturers overcharge for high-power, low-mileage vehicles people want in order to suppress demand, and use those overcharges to subsidize the low-power, high-mileage vehicles people don’t want in order to boost demand.

              1. While realizing that is generally true, I really do like my 50 MPG (summer)-40 MPG (winter) Prius. Gets me to work and back and handles well in the snow because of the extra battery weight. Also like my RAV4 when I do have to haul people or things.

                1. I has a ten year old Rav 4. I love it. Great gas mileage, even when I speed, as I tend to do when traveling cross-country. Room for my crap. Handles well, too. Does have a little bit of a problem with pick-up in the mountains, but since I only drive through those on my way home-home, not usually a problem.

                2. Yes but have you factored in the price of replacing the batteries? That should be factored into the fuel price, because they are fuel. That low price you are paying at the pump is only a part of the fuel price on hybrids.

            2. I prefer a pickup. But it doesn’t work as a mom car. A mom car needs room to carry kids and groceries etc.

              1. Hard shell on the bed and no windows for busy-bodies to peer inside? Tow-straps and bungies to secure the kids and keep them out of the groceries? 😉

                1. Which is what we have; Nissan Frontier King Cab. 2001; still runs just great. I like a car company whose odometer doesn’t flip until 10,000,000 miles.

                2. Sounds like the perfect (car) truck. I don’t understand the concept of a tiny luxury car that isn’t a sportscar. Luxury cars should be roomy!

            3. Yes, I do. (’79 Caprice station wagon, 350 4 bbl V-8… learned to drive in it and occasionally drove it)

            4. 4-door Impala SS, surplused police car with 4-speed and a Holley 4 barrel carb? Sure I’d take it.

              Okay, it wasn’t a station wagon, but then my mom never drove a station wagon, unless you count an old International Scout as a station wagon. And I’d probably take that if you offered, to.

        2. Wouldn’t go that far. Brokeback book would have been grabbed in a second. Plus they want realism to their misconceptions of the era (a lot less violent than often portrayed) and who wants to see minimal govt succeeding?

      2. I had a talk with another author at last weekend’s Giddings Word Wrangler event; we agreed that no — the Western is not in the least bit dead, it’s just that the panjandrams of NY publishing have loftily determined that it IS So dead … because they have SAID so,

        The audience for classical Westerns is out there, and in numbers. Fortunately, they are being served by the back catalog of classics, by indy and local writers, and by those few who manage to slip past the Guardians of Establishment Publishing.

        But there is room for more.

        1. The Western is dead, the same way as SF/F was getting ready to cross the veil: because publishers wouldn’t publish the types of stories readers want and readers (especially of Westerns) are not willing* to read the “edgy” and “realistic” Westerns publishers offered.

          *Insert “I don’t care what you say, I say it’s spinach and I say to hell with it.” cartoon.

          1. Note that Bantam, for all it’s other faults, still keeps ALL of L’amour’s books in print continually. I sometimes wonder how many atrocious profit-loss novels with “the right Message” those L’amour books fund annually.

            1. Some SJW accountant probably passed blood every time he looked at the ledger and saw a 40-year-old reprint of a Western outselling the “real” books…

              1. Not that accountants, as a profession, do not lack for flaws. but you will find very few SJWs among them. There’s something about it being a professional necessity to balance the books that blocks SJWs from the field. In similar fashion, you find very few SJW engineers.

                In all likelihood, the people passing blood are the editors, art directors and such who are forced to listen to their counterparts bragging at cocktail parties about their “edgy” and “dark” new works, “destined to raise social awareness of this deeply troubling problem.” The fact that books you’ve had no chance to piss in are outselling such edgy darkness by 40 : 1 is no consolation.

    3. Admittedly I don’t expect a homicide detective to be a sunny guy (almost anyone in emergency services has a very odd sense of humor and mindset), but yep. Nihilism is very prevalent atm.

  13. The left has no concept of true reality. They think by ‘tearing it all down’, they can build a better place. What they don’t understand is that they are NOT capable of building anything. Reality will slap them in the face time and again, and they will blame it on anyone but themselves for their failed utopia…

    1. The USSR didn’t build the Berlin Wall to keep hordes of West Germans from flooding in to the Workers’ Paradise. And Cuban patrol boats aren’t worried about Yanquis from Florida paddling south in patchwork rafts.

      Gee, I wonder why…

    2. I dont even thinnk theyre interesting in building something new. They just glory in the tearing down because … justice. Or ‘truth’. Ive been hearing that meme all my life. Sick to death of it.

  14. Thought I’d post a warning to anyone who just goes out to see whatever movie has an interesting poster, the way I did for a few years in my early twenties. There’s a movie out called “Operation Avalanche”, the plot is, the CIA persuades NASA to fake the moon landing because a moon landing is impossible. It’s a found-footage movie. Set in 1968. The left wing critic at Ebert notes a ton of absurdities, such as, the assassins after the antiheroes drive a vintage Cadillac and park outside the front door of intended victim. And most remarkably, he notes that the characters are all wrong for the Sixties, their paranoia is not such as would be produced by any situation in 1968.

    1. Oh, and the whole reason for the found footage movie is that the antiheroes are given, by their NASA bosses, a film camera with an infinite supply of film and a built-in audio recorder, to document the NASA expedition to the moon. That their bosses know is fake.

    2. Oooh, I just realized a lot of the movies like that have that issue could be saved by some re-cutting so they’re a “fell into a book” story– that would explain the protagonists being extreme and everyone else having Plot Motivation.

    3. Don’t think I’ve ever done that. Planned most movie viewings – some for entertainment, some just to know WTH everyone else was going on about (eg: Star Wars). The last movie I saw on a sudden whim was Scooby-Doo (2, I believe) and that was a sort of “Alright, need to not use brain much for a while, what might do that?” It had been one of those “interesting” weeks at work then.

  15. The vast majority of Americans (heck, I’ll climb out on the limb and include all of the heirs of Western Civilization) are nice, decent people trying to get cross life’s street without getting run over by the traffic. They are not helped by the small but vocal lot telling them that the Walk/Don’t Walk signs are oppressing them. Nor by the Official Spokespeople telling them the weather is delightful even though the rain is pouring down.

    The desperation of those trying to protect their understanding of Reality™ has resulted in their shouting down any voice suggesting an umbrella might be handy. Pity them – they worship a false deity and will not be converted to Truth. They shout loudly so as not to hear you and cannot be persuaded by arguments to which they will not listen. They merely cling more tightly to their fantasies that they matter.

    They are a minority, a minority with outsized power lent entirely by an indulgent society to kind to break the news that they just don’t really matter. Even arguing with them fuels their delusions.

          1. No Son its Baseball Season (actually more like hockey but that’s not the cartoon). A cartoon that lasts about 20 seconds on TV these days as all the violence is cut to be off screen. Feh !

  16. I even get subverting cultural assumptions.

    Alright, how did you get the telepathic barn cats to spy on me and report to Greebo?

    When I was packing stuff a few days ago I had a rather good little spiel about how much a story would suck if you set it up with Challenging The Elders and then… it turns out they were right and the damn kid just didn’t understand.
    That may be what HAPPENS 99.999…99999 percent of the time, but it’s a cruddy story. It *can* be worked into a background of another story….

    1. The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson describes the relationship between Dalinar and his son Adolin. Adolin challenges his father in several ways, and then comes to realize that his father was at least partly right and he hadn’t understood. It’s actually heartwarming, once you’ve crossed over to the Dad side of the fence. Why are callow youths the only ones allowed to be heroes?

      1. Because older people have responsibilities… dragon hunting is fine, but the farm has to be worked, the family supported, the taxman paid.

        1. Hmm. The weather was bad, and harvest failed. The taxman came with an edict from the king, announcing that families that cannot pay their taxes are subject to the draft. The man only has daughters, so he has to leave them and his wife to work the farm. When he gets to training camp, he finds that most of his superiors are drunken, incompetent, and corrupt. He grimly applies himself to learning the sword, and when a platoon of solders is sent to distract and harass the dragon, he is sent out with it. To everyone’s surprise, he kills the dragon. With the reward, he pays his taxes, gets out of the army, and takes the pittance that is left home to his family. However, once a hero, always a hero, and the Dragonkiller is soon dragged back into the army, much against his will…

          1. More likely a superior officer claims credit for the dragon slaying and takes the reward. Especially if that superior officer is a relative of the king.

            Knowing that only he and the hero know the truth about who actually killed that dragon the officer dispatches assassins to make sure the hero never tells.

            1. Good idea, but that’s not quite how it happened. He was cheated out of most of the reward that was offered, though, and made some high-born (and low-born) enemies. Now, I suppose, I have to go and write the whole thing myself,

          2. Hambly wrote that. It was AWESOME.

            She’s been subverted by the Usual Suspects, the folk who try to get the Stewarts, Heyers, and now it seems, Bujolds, to stop writing hack fluff and apply their hard-won talents to Soc Jus Lit-RAH-true.


          3. Naw, in a last ditch attempt to avoid the draft, he tries hunting dragons for the bounty. Through a series of mishaps and dumb luck he manages to not only kill the dragon, but also survive the event.

            1. Pretty desperate. Although otherwise mature and responsible people have been known to do some damn foolish things when they’re desperate for money…

              1. Maybe he just takes a job as a dragon hunter? After all, everybody knows there’s no such thing as dragons, so the salary, while meagre, seems like money for nothing and, besides, being able to say “I’m a king’s dragon hunter” impresses the chicks in the local tavern.

                But when an actual dragon appears …

        1. I suppose that depends on what kind of story you are trying to tell. Perhaps it’s a sign of my own age that I’ve become more interested in examining mature adults trying to pick up the pieces of a broken life and create a new one than in the struggles of youth to establish one in the first place.

          1. Of course, there’s also the old warrior/wizard/what-ever who has retired to live out his remaining years in peace only to have something happen to pull him out of retirement.

              1. Brother Cadfael.

                The “retired bad-ass who swore it off is tempted to go back” plotline isn’t exactly what’s aimed for, though….

          2. Hmmm. Some others Astro City books might interest you, too, because he has a recurring theme of retirement — a superhero has to leave the life.

      2. “Why are callow youths the only ones allowed to be heroes?”

        ‘ cause they’re the only ones with time and energy. Everybody else is busy with the lambing or the haying or working in the office nine hours a day.

    2. What if you have the Elders be Marxists?

      What if you write the 1st book where the Hero Challenges the Elders, overthrows the old order, gets the girl, The End. Then start the second book where everything has gone to pieces because some idiot overthrew the old order without understanding what it was really doing, and the Hero has to redeem himself by rebuilding the essential parts of the Old Order, perhaps by reaching out to the “villains” of the original book. Obviously you’d have to lay a bunch of foreshadowing in the 1st book that only makes sense after reading the 2nd so people didn’t think you’d had a stroke or been replaced by Pod People in between them.

      Or, what if you have the kids Challenge the Elders, defeat them, inherit the kingdom, build their “paradise”, everything starts going to #@!! in a basket, the revolutionaries start eating their own looking for the traitors who are keeping paradise from working, then at the end you realize the businessman^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H handsome revolutionaries are really the villains. A Surprise ending NO ONE would see coming. It completely turns all our stereotypes on their heads. Think of the gut-wrenching mind-blowing trope-exploding idea that would be. Who would expect a bunch of good-looking young commies were actually fools, narcissists, and the occasional sociopath. Grey goo endings are hip now, right? Maybe it will win a Hugo.

      1. There is a classic Hannah-Barbera cartoon with Huckleberry Hound, where he is the Scarlet Pimpernel, I think. He is railing against the unjust government, fights until he defeats them, and then is put in charge, but then everyone gets mad at him because he has to raise taxes to cover the costs of the revolution or something. It was a truly hilarious turnaround.

  17. I don’t know where in this post the image arrived, but I share it for what it is worth …

    Hillary as Daffy, driven mad by the failure of her schemes, Trump as Bugs, serenely deflecting all of Hillary’s efforts, Elmer Fudd as the MSM eagerly attempting to follow instructions … And change the line to “You’re deplorable.”

  18. “The very gatekeepers who control publishing and the movies tell us how racist and sexist and alienating those industries are, seemingly unable to realize that they are the ones with all the power in it.”
    Not at all. You have shown over multiple posts over the last few years that they are being unusually perceptive. After all, they have the power and they are racist, sexist and alienating.

  19. “The counterculture has become the culture. ”

    Sally: Typical what? Come the revolution-
    Patrick: What revolution!? You guys are in power! We’re the revolution now!
    Sally: No. No, it can’t be right.
    Patrick: You’re the evil empire.
    Sally: No!

  20. This resulted in the dominance in that splendid banquet hall of people who, ignoring the food laid out for them, prefer to write obscenities on the floor with their own excrement and demolish the walls in the belief that the roof will still remain up and protect them.

    Our “elites” are truly the dwarves in Shift and Puzzle’s barn in The Last Battle.

    1. Hmm and the general populace (~52%) s Puzzle and our erstwile leaders (AKA HRC and BHO) are Shift. And we have stand ins for the Calormen working with Shift. In which case there is but one answer, “Further Up and Futher In!”. I knew C.S.Lewis was good, I just never realized HOW good.

      1. Well, he was not alone but he made very good descriptions of what fruit the seeds being sown by the intellectuals of his age would bear.

  21. I found this by Daniel Hannan which seems appropriate, in the “Welcome” to his new quarterly magazine, The Conservative:

    The one thing that the contributors have in common, as conservatives, is that we are driven by love rather than hate. Not for us the grievance and victimhood that characterises large parts of the Left. Not for us the desire to tear things down. We are moved, rather, by respect for the things that make us what we are: our nations, our laws, our families, our customs.

    That might be a bit self-serving; I am sure some of us are driven by fondness rather than love, and some of us are merely repelled by the Progressives’ hatred. But the fundamental argument, that we defend values against those who would make all rights subject to political power, seems accurate and consistent with Sarah’s post for today.

    1. From the same “Head’s Up” about Hannan’s new magazine is this lovely quote:

      I think that, in the end, there is something that unites all conservatives, which is that they are pursuing something they love. My view is that the Left is united by hatred, but we are united by love: love of our country, love of institutions, love of the law, love of family, and so on. And what makes us conservatives is the desire to protect those things, and we’re up against people who want to destroy them, and it’s very simple.

      From an interview with Sir Roger Scruton.

      As Sarah said, she’d rather be putting her energies into “Nighthawks (and other shifters) at the diner” but the times have loaded other things in her hopper.

      1. What the heck happened to the “/” that was supposed to end that blockquote after simple?

        Grrrrrrr. WP is still a moron. Posner delenda est.

    2. Thanks for the quote. (The site won’t let me see anything.) I think it’s a very good nutshell definition, allowing that it uses both “love” and “hate” in their broadest sense, much as in the phrase “love for all mankind”. It’s not a literalism; it’s an attitude.

  22. Recently I’ve been inflicting, er, ahem, exposing my students to great Renaissance art. Why? Because you just can’t talk about the Renaissance without discussing art and architecture. And because just maybe I can spark interest in works of beauty and passion and devotion that will lead to them looking for more. Durer’s rabbit. Rogier Wander Weyden’s “St Luke Painting the Virgin”. Van Eyche. Michelangelo. Da Vinci. Bellini. Fra Angelico. We have to show the beauty, to ignite the fire of looking for the best and enjoying it, loving art and music because we love them and not because someone says we must. The younger set (and others) are immersed in the worst. They need the best, something to aspire to, to dream for.

  23. You’ve heard of “practice acts of random kindness”?  This is the same but with “practice acts of random sabotage and character assassination.”  Most of them are small and stupid enough like the idiot’s attack on me on FB.  But if there is an accumulation of them, it begins to have an effect.

    Ah, yes. The “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” mantra.
    Somehow they never consider the fire might be someone’s pants, nope, it’s always that the accusations are true.

  24. Ooh! Or like when the women blame men for unattainable body standards but the entire fashion/modeling/beauty industry is controlled by women and the bitchier shades of gay?

      1. Kind of related- I was defriended on facebook by a HS classmate, now a Woman Studies Professor, for pointing out inconvenient facts. She was complaining that her soon to be engineering graduate daughter from prestigious college was going to have a terrible time finding a job because of woman. I pointed out that my son and a friend, both electrical engineer graduates, both graduating in the top 3rd of the class, were among the last people from the class hired. White male Army veterans both. EEO offices don’t care if the veterans quota is filled. And there must have been something wrong with him and his friend, for they were 6 years older then everyone else… (One guess why.) ALL the females and non-Asian minorities were hired before the majority of whites and Asians were. 6 years later, of the 9 females he’s kept in touch with, 1 is still working as an EE. All the males he knows are still in the field

          1. “Hey He-Man, reach back in the back seat and grab that bag for me – no, back to your right… Oh, that looks bad, let me get some bandages…You know, you could put something on the blade of that axe and avoid these situations…”

      1. This is why Prince Adam is never recognized as He-Man: everybody is oo busy looking at his chest.

        1. There are a couple of reasons girls are more susceptible to social pressure.

          They have greater need of social support (during pregnancy, childbirth and the period just afterward) than do men (arguably men, as more at risk of major injury requiring convalescence, but have historically been deemed more disposable.) Thus the ability of women to connect socially and motivate the aid of others (social capital) has been more germane to their success. Similarly, women have often been more involved in transmission of cultural values (e.g., as teachers) which also puts an emphasis on fitting in socially.

          Even more is the fact that women’s “market value” is far more subjective than is the case for men. What constitutes female beauty is typically a matter of fashion and style, factors which are mostly an expression of social dominance. For a LeBron James or a Bryan Harper or Achilles the measurements of social power are more objective. Their value is based more on achievements than it is transactional.

    1. Wait – are you suggesting that men don’t want women who are straight up and down, stick figures with sandbags stuck on their chests, faces all pouty and distant? That men aren’t slavering over the “Heroin Chic” models that were all the rage a few years back?


    1. Incoming!

      …was said by the new gal at the (Tomahawk, WI) VFW exactly once. She didn’t say a second time, what with everyone “hitting the deck” when she announced an order thus the first time – and then rising all giving her a rather disgusted look. No, I was not there at the time, but the legend lives on….

  25. I think I originally meant to put this in another post, but I can’t remember which one, so it’s here. 😉

    A while back, our book club read “Mountains beyond Mountains” https://www.amazon.com/Mountains-Beyond-Farmer-Random-Readers/dp/0812980557?SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duckduckgo-d-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=0812980557 , about Paul Farmer. Early in the book, he finds a rich sponsor. They meet, look at each other a bit, and the first words out of the other guy’s mouth were “I didn’t vote for Reagan.”

    That made me stop and say, “Who does that? Why?” And why did that make him instantly acceptable to Farmer as a sponsor?

    I know, virtue signalling. And it may not even have happened that way.

  26. “In science fiction I’m amazed if an alien species is not superior to humans. I’m shocked if other species aren’t destroyed by the fell hand of humanity.”

    Glah, yes. This has become a bookflinging trope: Humans must always be the bad guys, because colonization, and aliens are the stand-ins for variously the oppressed of Earth or the Socially Smug. Occasionally, yeah, I can see it happening through circumstance. But humans as by default the bad or deficient or unworthy in any gathering of species? Well, maybe through leftist eyeballs, but I outgrew that POV decades ago.

    1. That’s why such things as Poul Anderson’s and Gordon Dickson’s Hoka series are so much fun to read. There are other examples of such stories, where the aliens are noticeably less capable than the humans, but I can’t think of them at the moment. Keith Laumer’s Retief series might be one of that type, but the humans in his Corps Diplomatique Terrestriene are decidedly substandard so the comparison is hard to make.

        1. I very much enjoyed Eifelheim.
          The aliens were alien…but not merely evil or good, and the people were…well, people, no better or worse than the aliens.

    2. I’ll admit that I used to think like this and believe that “humans are the real bad guys, oppressing the wonderful alien cultures” was the most original and insightful idea for a science fiction book ever.

      But then I turned twelve and grew out of it.

      1. Yeah. The third book in the current series is going to be the lurking bad discovers that it’s one thing to launch kenetics at someone who doesn’t have interstellar travel. It’s another to harass ticked-off humans who are out past the end of the line of communication. 🙂

        1. I wonder how hard it would be to file off the serial numbers and retell the British “conquest” of India …

          For that matter, telling the Europeans coming to America from the point of view of native tribes eager to use these newcomers as tools against their historic enemies?

          1. Not as hard as one thinks, but it is the attitude that’s vital, not necessarily the setting. The humans’ semi-castes make some things easier, others more difficult. “The right sort” and “those from Home” versus the Dissenters, younger sons, and so on.

    3. This has become a bookflinging trope

      Speaking of bookfligning I think the big publishers are saving many of us a lot of money not making ebooks reasonably priced. When you hit bookflinging stage with a tablet it can get expensive.

    4. If you are on the alien planet, there will be things the aliens are better at. But to simply but the interaction must be equal. Otherwise it’s a voice of author diatribe.

        1. eh, there’s no reason why they MUST be. there are good stories where they are equal, inferior, superior, and hard to measure on commensurate scales.

  27. >Because though no culture is perfect, western culture has achieved the highest standard of living for the most people in history.
    >And I believe that is worth preserving.
    >Lest darkness fall.

    If you’re looking through the Archive, you may find people from my time claiming that civilization doesn’t really matter. That we’d be better off dead. We have a lot of cynics like that. I hope they seem as absurd to you as they do to me. I hope you can find something in all those files – a song, a book, a movie, – maybe a game – just something that you’ll love, that makes you realize how much poorer the universe would have been without it. I really hope so, because… a lot of people made a lot of sacrifices to preserve it all. — Alexandra Drennan, Project Lead, Institute for Applied Noematics

    (source: The Talos Principle, which manages something I didn’t know was possible: post-human, human wave)

    1. western culture has achieved the highest standard of living for the most people in history.

      We ought rephrase that, because it isn’t the fact we have the “highest standard of living” that s noteworthy — that route lies materialism.

      What matters is that Western Culture has achieved the greatest degree of individual liberty for the most people in history. Ironically that very degree of liberty is what makes so many of its unappreciative beneficiaries angriest, because i their minds the goal is “freedom for me but not for thee — for thou art deplorable. They imagine that the only way to have their freedom is to deny freedoms to others — freedom to write the kind of books you enjoy, freedom to disagree with your “betters”, freedom to say “No, I would rather not.”

  28. I’ve tried my hand at toying with the tropes. For instance: it occurred to me that an extreme laissez faire capitalist would oppose slavery, at least race-based and hereditary slavery, so one of my villains is a vampire who’s public face is that of a successful businessman.

    Practically a straw-capitalist right? Except during the Civil War he supported the Union and has always been opposed to slavery. For one, the very notion of racism is meaningless to him: blood is blood. For another, it ties into his rationale and my world’s rules for vampires: the type of person a vampire preys on influences the qualities of the vampire in question. In tired, feudal Europe, the vampires have become decadant and hidebound, going through the motions and trying to preserve little enclaves of their own historical periods while their minds stultify, until a vampire hunter comes along and stakes them. But on coming to early America, my villain immediately began feeling stronger and more vital, and so he acts to preserve his high-quality American prey.

    The obvious drawback: cowed and superstitious peasants and serfs aren’t as likely to rise up and kill the vampire, but it’s a risk he willingly accepts.

    For another layer of complexity: there are all sorts of monstrosities from beyond that world that would see this reality destroyed, so in the mode of TV Tropes, Evil vs Oblivion, my vampire supports groups that keep watch and fight those dark forces. He doesn’t want the world and Western civilization to be destroyed, not when he’s benefitting from it. So then, do the heroes dare kill him, or tolerate his murderous ways knowing he’s helping oppose even worse evils, but for his own selfish reasons?

    I also think of a good friend and beta reader of mine who also exhibits some SJW tendencies. Rather frustrating: she’s intelligent, but on some topics her brain just shuts off and she delivers the canned lines with the blitheness of someone stating water is wet. The villains in her series are Evil Elves. Beautiful on the outside, but arrogant, wrapped up in their own superiority, and with a caste society based on the strength of magic. The more powerful the magic-user, the higher the rank. Weak magic users and those without magical ability having no rights and existing for the use of their magic-wielding betters.

    All well and good, but the Evil Elves are sexists too, and ruled by an Evil Patriarchy, this despite that her male and female EEs have about the same magical strength and ability. So I float this idea: that she make her Evil Elves gender egalitarianists. Sure, they’d think they were better than all other races, and magic makes someone superior and the lack means you’re worth nothing, but have them view their own males and females as equals.

    My beta reader reacted with shock and confusion: the Evil Elves have a caste system. Caste systems are function of Patriarchy. They go hand in hand.

    Me: human caste systems, yes, but we’re talking a race with no biological basis for differing gender roles. The male and female Evil Elves have the same ‘strength’ in magic use, and they’re incredibly long lived, so there’s no reason an Evil Elf female couldn’t have kids early on, and devote the rest of her very long life to obtaining power to match the males once the kids are grown. I thought it would also be fun to show that females could be every bit as rotten as males. The suggestion didn’t go over well.

    Later, she floated the idea of a book about a Captain America-esque super soldier she could write, a preserved hero from World War II with superpowers, and who’s also gay.

    I give her credit for wanting to create an original character rather than change an established one. But then she went on and explained the plot: the gay super soldier fighting a conspiracy of evil Neo Nazi white supremacists.


    I pointed out that these days, the most logical opponents would be Islamists. I even said there was a connection to the theme of fighting World War II baddies, considering how chummy Hitler was with the Islamists of his time. She didn’t like the idea. People can be so concerned about Islamophobia and drumming up oppression again Muslims, but don’t hesitate to portray secret Nazis in high positions in this country.

    1. It sounds like your friend is intelligent, but has pretty much no experience in thinking for herself. That’s where we have the decided advantage–we’re able and quite willing to question everything and see where the thought experiments take us.

      1. She’s insightful, a great writer, and will bend over backwards for a friend. Which is what’s all the more frustrating.

    2. See, for a presently written example, “Gentleman Johnny” Marcone, from the The Dresden Files

      Also, your friend sounds like the classic “good person with bad ideas.”

    3. Your vampire sounds like Spike from BTVS. He doesn’t want to destroy the world, he likes it. It’s got all this neat stuff… and billions of people walking around like Happy Meals on two legs.

    4. I’m going to have to try to make an idea of a supernatural community in the South work. One of the characters is a revenant who was one of the slaves sold by court order after the capture of the Antelope. Whether or not he was a revenant then isn’t clear; why he didn’t use his knowledge to prevent capture is, because Bad Things happens when he ramps things up.

      He’s also not a huge fan of the Union. He hated being a slave, but he came from a culture where slaves were known, so he has mixed feelings there. He sees the “Lincoln Soldiers” as invaders, and that puts him in mind of what happened to his village and how he ended up on the Antelope in the first place. But though his neighbors took action when some Bummers came through toward the end of the Civil War, he didn’t do anything because he knows it could all spin out of control.

      During Reconstruction things change, and Bad Things happen.

      Problem is, this, and stories of other characters there, go nowhere. The stories go nowhere. They’re just scenes and then – pffft. It all runs out of steam. The revenant story is the only one to run beyond one scene, and even it runs out.

      1. Oh I know that feeling. I had to start outlining not because it would torture those scenes into stories as it would filter out so much earlier the ones that won’t make it.

      1. That’s right. She’s a ‘normal’ ethnic German. It’s a PSA to convince Germans that conforming to the ways of their Muslim invaders is beautiful.

        Or more likely to give cowards an excuse for doing so that sounds better than “I’m afraid the moors will rape me if I don’t demean myself for them.”. Oh, no… I’m doing this of my own free will to be more beautiful, didn’t you see the PSA?

          1. Depends on whether the CDU can get its head out of its digestive system and whether AfD has half a brain.
            Also, you’re probably not going to see a return to Nuremberg. A Kulturkampf waged against Islam rather than Catholicism, however, is a definite possibility.

            1. If the CDU, CSU and other “main-line” German parties (and those elsewhere – see the Mayors’ Revolt in France) keep trying to quash AfD and PEGAIDA, I suspect enough otherwise decent, ordinary people are going to say “Sod it. You won’t let me vote and you won’t listen to me, so I’ll do this my way.” The whole “Let’s replace Italians, Germans, Hungarians and others with Muslims” garbage that emerged this week may prove to be the next-to-last straw.

              1. This post from the awesome Tam Keel has stuck in my mind hard since the first time I saw it. Relevant snippet:

                [T]he recent immigrant welfare sponge class is playing with fire here. Euros have a proven zero-to-jackboots time lower than just about anybody on the planet. Get Gunter or Pierre all backed into a corner and feeling existentially threatened and you’ll be wishing you hadn’t, faster than you can say “Arbeit Macht Frei”.

                1. And since a number of Islamic clerics in Britain and elsewhere are preaching that various welfare benefits are equivalent to jizya or infidel tax, and therefore every Muslim’s rightful due, the odds of them stopping in time are somewhere south of zero.

                1. Eurocrats et al need tax payers. The birth rate in most of Europe is declining among natives. So you need more people to keep the State functioning. So you import people, young people, who can work and pay taxes and keep the system running. And they are all exchangable, and you get moral credits for saving the poor refugees from {insert evil here} as by diminishing the nativist radicals in Europe. At least, that seems to be the thinking in Brussels, Berlin, and a few other places. That the former Warsaw Pact is collectively showing Brussels the sinal salute and that more and more native Europeans are getting their backs up about the waves of unassimilable immigrants is irrelevant, if you are a Eurocrat.

                  1. I keep waiting to see if the natives will revolt against their government; if Europe will explode.

                    I rather cynically think it won’t. There have been so many rapes; of women, boys and girls. The response of their government has been the metaphorical ‘open your legs wider and stop crying; bitch.” I don’t know if they can choose survival over the perceived moral high ground.

                    1. Wall Street Journal:

                      Minnesota Mall Stabbing Suspect Made References to Allah
                      A man suspected of stabbing eight people in a shopping mall in the central Minnesota town of St. Cloud also asked at least one person if they were Muslim before attacking them, police said.

                      This is the kind of careless reporting that risks inciting violence against Roman Catholics Presbyterians Southern Baptists.

                    2. I thought the bloggers at Power Line, being Minnesota based, would have something on that:

                      CLUELESS IN ST. CLOUD
                      One of the many chilling moments in the terrorism trial in Minneapolis this past May was the presentation of a piece of evidence that passed in a flash without comment. The evidence was a photograph of one of the defendants dressed in the uniform he wore when he worked as a security guard (pretty much whenever he wanted) in the Twin Cities.

                      I think the photograph must have had the same effect on the jury as it did on me. It made me reflect on the the Alice-in-Terrorland world we have in Minnesota.

                      In the news today are the jihadist stabbing attacks committed by a security guard in the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud last night. The security guard was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer.


                      It was in St. Cloud last year when [Minnesota] Governor Dayton* warned Minnesotans concerned about our ever growing Somali population to pack up and move on. Dayton weirdly instructed “white, B-plus, Minnesota-born citizens” to suppress their qualms about immigrant resettlement in Minnesota. If they can’t, they should “find another state,” he added.

                      Emphasis added.

                      *D, of course.

                    3. You’re being awfully unfair; they’re perfectly happy to let locals “who know their place (and stay in it)” remain.

                  2. Headlines noted in Wall Street J

                    EU Wants U.S. and Canada to Take In More Refugees
                    Europe expects more help from the U.S. and Canada on refugees as it struggles with a rise in populism and xenophobia, a senior EU official said.

                    Bulgaria, Smugglers Escalate Migrant Battle
                    Beefed-up border controls have brought new risks, officials say, scaring part-time amateurs out of a business they once dominated and turning trafficking over to a monopoly of professional smugglers.

                    Germany Falters in Effort to Integrate New Migrants Into the Workforce
                    Following calls by the German government to hire asylum seekers, companies big and small have scouted refugee shelters and job centers for potential workers. The result is sobering.

                    I was looking for a headline I recalled seeing about EU leaders warning against ‘populism” because listening to the voices of subjects just makes no sense at all.

        1. “Or more likely to give cowards an excuse for doing so that sounds better than “I’m afraid the moors will rape me if I don’t demean myself for them.”.

          Somehow I don’t think that hijab will do a lot to discourage rape. She seems to have missed the entire purpose of the hijab being to cover women so you CAN’T TELL if they are beautiful or ugly. The point is to NOT tempt men!

          1. Isn’t it an article of Feminist Faith that rape is not an act of sexual lust but one of male dominance? Thus dressing all women in hijabs is a) an act of male dominance and therefore akin to rape b) no solution and c) merely a matter of spreading the targets by including unattractive females in the risk pool.

            Of course, asking logic from a Feminist is akin to asking a fish to tune a piano.

          2. The hijab doesn’t stop women from being raped – even in the Middle East. Neither does the presence of men, really – kill the men first, rape the women and children after (Or kill most of the men, incapacitate some, rape the children and women in front of them, then murder the rape victims, laugh in the face of the men and then kill them too), happens a LOT. Ask any of the non-Muslim denominations in the particularly unstable Muslim nations.

            (Really though, most of the regulars here are aware of that.)

            1. I saw a picture of a convert with her hijab dirndl. To me the whole thing looked pathetic. She’d added false sleeves and a modesty scarf as well as the head scarf. It was pretty unattractive. And the Salzburg/Salzkammergut winter dirndle is already more modest – no need for the breast-scarf, has long sleeves, and is low-calf length. Add a granny-scarf/ babushka and you’re set, without standing out in the crowd screaming “Look at my haji-tracht!”

                1. No. Just ask the poor gal raped at the Eifel Tower on Friday night. The guys lured her there “for a date” using social media.

    1. Just because of that video, I wore my most “uplifting” dirndl to worship today. With a modesty scarf, because “house of worship,” but that doesn’t conceal the basics. (It is also one of my three most comfortable dirndles. And not because it enhances one’s superstructure, either.)

  29. The real fun is when I read “subversive” fairy tale reworkings that are unaware that there are any fairy tales besides the Pop Top 20.

    Annoying when I get praise for a strikingly original tale — particularly if they call it subversive — when I have just faithfully (and cleverly!) reworked a folktale. Or see someone babbling about how having the heroine rescue the guy is a subversion, thus showing that they have not bothered to read the admitted somewhat obscure source the Brothers Grimm.

    1. I remember reading an article about a “subversive and original” fairy tale retelling where “the princess doesn’t just stay in her castle waiting to be rescued; she wants to go out and have adventures too.” The only comment I left on the article was a link to the TVTropes “Rebellious Princess” page.

        1. *does a quick mental rundown* Other than the 14 year old girl who was running away from being murdered by the huntsman, none of the Disney princesses were of the “don’t go out and do anything” variety.

          I suppose you could stretch it to include “not doing anything” to include being the only reasonably competent member of the household, especially since the whole singing-to-the-birds-and-creatures might make wandering around the woods a lot less dangerous (strange man or no), and heck I’m even willing to grant them the “go out and do things but only if they’re not girly” thing. That makes five, maybe six princesses. (The frying pan part in Tangled is what makes six a maybe.)

          Out of at least twenty. (They’re not all actual royalty, but we all know what group we’re talking about, right?)

        2. Actually, Tangled in one respect is more like the older tales from which Grimms’ “Rapunzel” appears to derive, the type “the girl helps the hero flee”. In all of them the heroine leaves the tower with the prince and is actively about things.

  30. This points out an interesting problem for the identity-optional mob:

    Just When You Thought You’d Heard the Last Word on Campus Diversity
    Pity the Poor Trans-Enginist Driver
    By Matthew J. Franck — September 16, 2016

    A friend of mine at a nearby university has a grievance to take up with the local Assistant Deputy Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion. It seems there is a hitherto unnoticed species of oppression that has yet to be addressed on most campuses:

    This is preferential parking spaces for cis-engined electric vehicles. As it happens, my Ford F-450 XL Extended Cab Diesel Super Duty self-identifies as an electric/bioethanol hybrid. This makes parking in university parking lots a very traumatic and hurtful experience for my pickup truck. Every time I’m on campus, circling past the most-conveniently-placed, perpetually empty parking spots, exclusively and ostentatiously reserved for cis-engined electric vehicles, my pickup is implicitly attacked and judged. These preferential parking spaces denigrate my pickup truck’s painful process of self-discovery, through which it came to see that its mechanically-given, assigned engine did not correspond to its authentic, inner engine. Until recently, this realization had been suppressed by our mechaniconormative, cisenginist culture that habitually and unselfconsciously imposes false, binary, and deterministic narratives upon vehicle propulsion. My pickup’s important witness problematizes the assumption that just because it was assigned the throaty growl of a 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel at manufacture, it can’t self-identify as a zero-emission battery pack. It deserves to be affirmed and celebrated, and protected from retrograde vehicular policies, so that it too can have a convenient and safe (parking) space. Tesla, check your privilege.

    I expect the memos to start coming out on this soon.

      1. This 4 armed superannuated boy scout L2 is with you on that Orvan. The coffee would have done nothing for the condition of my keyboard, mouse or monitor.

  31. I wish BOTH political parties would stop with the delusions that their road leads to Paradise and the Other Side’s road leads to Damnnation. Neither party has a monopoly on truth.

    1. Sorry but IMO you’re complaining about something that mainly holds with the Democratic Party but doesn’t really hold with the Republican Party.

      On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if that holds true about the Libertarian Party. 😉

        1. 😆

          On the other hand, Libertarian Party doesn’t equal libertarians (small “l”). 😀

    2. Neither party is that very from each other, right now. There are a lot of other ways, not in either party. I prefer the constitution. I’d vote for someone who proposed that.
      Did you MISS I wasn’t talking of political parties?

    3. Sadly, both are partially correct: their opponent’s road will lead to damnation.

      Some say the world will end in fire,
      Some say in ice.
      From what I’ve tasted of desire
      I hold with those who favor fire.
      But if it had to perish twice,
      I think I know enough of hate
      To say that for destruction ice
      Is also great
      And would suffice.

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