Yesterday, I was talking to some friends about how these days if you’re not explicit in your politics, in your books, people go reading tea leaves to determine which side you’re on.

The results can be absolutely hilarious, particularly when you WERE being politically explicit, or so you thought, but your point was apparently too subtle for the reader.  Remember the guy who thought A Few Good Men was about straight guy bashing?  And who refused to believe it when I told him that didn’t even stand up to mere reading?  Yeah, I do too.

That is the dark side of this new tendency.  Do you have a woman who (for reasons explained in the text, mind, not just because) is a kick ass warrior?  Well, then you must be a brain dead feminist.

Did you happen to write a fantasy which rather conventionally uses the link between land and king?  Well, then, EVERYONE KNOWS you’re a closet statist no matter how many lumps you’ve taken in the cause of liberty.

This is a problem for me and others like me, sometimes.  Being what I call “gateway writers”, ie. the gateway-in-the-head opens and novel pours out, you aren’t entirely in control of all the elements in your book.  The thing has a life of its own.  It goes by itself.  the sticking points can be such stupid things as names — I couldn’t write Draw One In the Dark AT ALL until I gave up and called Kyrie Kyrie.  I mean, I tried Chris, I tried Kailie, I tried everything under the sun, but I couldn’t write it till she was Kyrie — or something like the character’s orientation, or even some point of world building, like little anti gravity wands called brooms.

Other details are more flexible.  And sometimes, while writing the book, you realize the chapter in the middle is blank.  It needs to be there, you know what it needs to accomplish, but it’s bloody blank, unlike the other ones which are being dictated to you word per word.  So you have to reconstruct it from first principles, but that’s okay because you did learn first principles and the writing craft (right?) because the gateway goes by itself, but it doesn’t mean it does everything for you.  Heck, if you’re inexperienced, the first books it pours out are often devoid of plot, and you need to know the craft to see what it just dropped in your lap and clean it up/insert plot so it’s interesting to someone else who doesn’t know every eructation of your mind is pure gold (the fools.)

But it’s not just gateway writers, not fully in control of details who get bitten by the new “read the tea leaves, find the writers’ politics and proceed accordingly.”  There are also near-apolitical people, like my husband.  He’s not apolitical, mind you.  Not anymore.  The last eight years have got him wound up and definitely on the right.  Not that he was ever on the left, understand.  He just hasn’t spent a lot of time in his life thinking about political principles, political organization or the various plays in the game of political inside baseball.  He grew up believing our system of government granted you that right to ignore things, and not have your freedom stolen from you in an instant.  Yes, it was wrong, but it was the way he was brought up.

Most people are like that, I think.  We’re the ones who are broken, who have been bitten once too many and are now vigilant, every minute, and don’t trust ANYONE in power or authority. (More on that later.)

Because my husband believed mostly in being left alone, his voting decisions usually came up against the left, but the thing is he didn’t think of politics at all between elections and it was only when a re-election approached that he started looking at what the guy elected had done.

I suspect there’s more of him than of me, when it comes to politics.  I also suspect that many of them, not just him, are newly engaged and worried, and realizing they have to fight to keep what they have, because the left is behaving like we’re occupied territory and trying to strip us of Western civilization in favor of multi-culti Marxism which doesn’t work: doesn’t work socially doesn’t work economically, just plain doesn’t work.

This is, btw, part of the reason the left has gone so fricking unhinged.  They pitched the best standard bearer of their camp, someone steeped in their values and skilled at selling it to the masses against their PICKED OPPONENT, a reality TV star whose blurtings (if not his appointments, thank heavens) were often a caricature of what leftists think the right believes (and therefore inherently repulsive to the left, the right, and to a vast portion of upright, breathing human beings, or perhaps apes.)  And she still lost.

At some level (most of us weren’t really quiet about it) they have to know what put Trump over the top wasn’t the true believers, but the nose holders.  The people who were voting not for Trump but against Hillary.  And since she’d made no secret of being the carrier of the leftist project, the attempts at progressive utopia, that means Trump’s election was the masses standing in front of the liberal project going “Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back no more.”

They know this, I think, even if they wouldn’t admit it under ministrations to include thumbscrews and iron maiden.  And that’s what is driving them insane, because they are a cult who believe in the tenets of Marxism as the OBVIOUS be all and end all definition of good.

What just happened is the majority of the country (except California, and pal, their process is so screwy we don’t even know how many of those voters could legally vote, exist, or even are still alive) saying “No, we don’t want your nirvana.  And we’re going to pull down the temple, too.”

You’d be unhinged, too.

Which brings us to people who aren’t particularly aware of politics writing fiction.  It’s very easy to stumble on something.  Say your world has a planned economy, because it’s easier to write.  Boom, the right will decide you’re straight up communist and revile you and throw the book against the wall.

Say that your enemy (true story bro.  Coming up) the big bad engaged in committing genocide in your world is a polygamous, misogynistic society whose names sound vaguely middle-eastern.  The left will decide you’re the world’s worst person (not, me, I’m only half of the world’s worst person) who’s clearly Islamophobic and want to tear hijabs from teenagers in the subway.  And they will character assassinate you, talk trash about you at parties and generally make your possibilities of  a traditional career nil, unless you want to join me and the other reprobates at Baen.  (Which in my case would make no difference at all, of course.)

This is for largely apolitical books.

And this is the thing that is bad about being this divided.

Now for the good thing: we’re this divided because half the country isn’t powerless, and isn’t sitting down and taking it meekly anymore.

What?  You weren’t aware we were doing it before?

You see, in the bad old days of gatekeepers, the way to bet, to have a career in any literary field, was to be as far left as you could stand.

That meant if you were a communist, you were welcome to spout as loudly and crazily as you wanted.  Our field, in fact, is full of more or less open communists in its ranks and historical roles, but our field are pikers compared to mystery.

If you were a conventional democrat, there was nothing wrong with dropping three or four paragraphs of right-wing-bashing in the middle of your book, because everyone knew anyone who voted for the right couldn’t read and were too busy screwing their siblings, anyway. (The occasion wasn’t even slightly unique when I walled a book I’d been enjoying — for a definition of enjoying that encompasses mysteries read once and never thought of again — because she had three pages of apropos-nothing Reagan bashing, explaining how he was crazy and was going to get us in a nuclear war.  The fact I was reading this under the Clinton administration didn’t improve matters.) It was probably good for your career.

But if you were anywhere to the right of that, from “I actually kind of like democrats, but I think their economics are crazy” to where I stand, screaming “No kings, no queens, no lords, no ladies; we won’t be fooled again” then you were stunningly out of luck.  You had to keep your mouth shut tighter than a bear trap in mid-winter.

And because the left was convinced (another reason they’re stunned) that there was no opposition, that everyone agreed with them and that all they had to do now was mop up the objections to the DETAILS of their program, as well as get people used to taking moral direction from the government, the line that was “safe” moved.

When I first started publishing, it was becoming so that you knew unless you were or were willing to pretend to be vocal left, you were watched ALL THE TIME.  If they weren’t sure what political color you were, they read the tea leaves minutiously.  I have several friends who are genuinely apolitical, and from where I stand mild-left, and who were as effectively blocked from any real promo and support as I was.  Because the gatekeepers weren’t sure, and since their definition of good literature is “literature that serves our political goals” these people were never good enough.

(BTW, as a political movement, yeah, I know, you guys are statists, but a word of warning: if you make the penalty for SPEAKING against you stuff like losing any chance of a career; being destroyed socially; being marginalized from polite discourse, particularly if you do that for minor deviations from the orthodoxy, you aren’t actually eliminating opposition.  You are simply eliminating the warning signs that it exists, and the ability to guess how large it is.  You are, in fact, similar to a householder who disables his alarm system and rips out the sensors from doors and windows, in the firm belief he’s thereby eliminated thieves.  Just a word to the wise.)

And then it moved to a more stringent standard, where the LEFT and the gatekeepers were reading the tea leaves.  What? The writer had one throw away line about corrupt rulers?  The rumor mill would start.  “This is a right winger.  Man the ramparts.  Kill the witch.”  Only it was more whispers at parties and meals, about how this wasn’t “one of the good people” and then in the game of telephone, further down, the normal “crimes” being accrued, by rumor, to the hapless critter “why my dear, I heard she’s guilty of -ism”, “He prefers his parsnips unbuttered, which means he’s an -ist.”

Since those can now be deduced from the fact that you don’t show any signs of them, this wasn’t exactly hard.

Things stood more or less there, when Indie came in and there was the possibility of making a living in Indie and I stepped out of the crazy train and said “I’ll work indie and Baen only, and say what I like, and own my own soul, and besides, these are my middle fingers.”

Which brings us to the GOOD side of tea leaf reading, as tiresome as I find it at times: it’s both sides doing it now.

This is good, just like boycotts, with which I disagree on principle, are now bi-partisan.

This is important, because for a long time there was a distinct reward to heads of a company, or employees of a company, or really anyone, virtue-signaling by spouting lefty stuff.  What did you have to lose?  The right would still read you/buy your products/ admire you, even as you bashed them and acted uber-left.  Otoh the slightest sign of deviationist non-left thought, and the left boycotted you, slandered you, mau-maued you and shut you down. So your career/company/whatever could be destroyed by saying anything to the right of Lenin, but spouting leftist tripe at worst made no difference, and at best enriched you.

Which is how we got to the current state of every powerful institution dissing the country and system they live in, the one that created them, and enshrining a system that never worked, and which filled mass graves besides.

So, the fact the right is acquiring fangs, the fact that there are now, for big companies and institutions, equal rewards and punishment for saying anything political at all; the fact that they have to weigh “but the left will love me” with “but clearly the left is not a majority” is a GOOD thing.  It’s the beginning of fighting back.

Mind you, most of the institutions haven’t figured it out yet.  The dime hasn’t dropped.  It’s starting to, but right now the result is mostly sheer confusion.  It will drop though.  They’re being spanked with an ax every time they think the ancien regime is still extant, and that type of lesson eventually takes hold.

Which in the long run favors apolitical behavior from institutions and large companies.  And this is good.  And in the arts, maybe it will foster “publishers whose politics we know” instead of a straight up left united front pretending to be neutral.

All these are good.

It’s just on the way there, people like me whose writing is a more or less autonomous being, and goes by itself, are going to offend both sides.  Because in a complex world building, if you go reading tea-leaves, you’ll always find something that’s not COMPLETELY in tune with this week’s message.

Meh.  I don’t care.  My politics are fairly open, and most sane people will look at those instead.  The ones that insist that despite what I know I meant I meant something completely different are just snowflakes.  Left or right, snowflakes have to flake.

I’m not worried about divisiveness because in the end divisiveness is the sign of a healthy society.

It’s when society speaks with a unified voice that you have to wonder who is suppressing whose speech and who is being punished for speaking.  (Something to keep in mind when dealing with unified voices from abroad.)

Liberty is fractious and loud, shouty and undisciplined.  It’s what makes it Liberty.  And it’s a glorious thing.

381 thoughts on “Divided

  1. I’m very happy with the ability writers now have to be apolitical or not left or even right wing.

  2. [Y]our point was apparently too subtle for the reader.

    For some readers it is impossible to not be too subtle. For others, you cannot be subtle enough (although such readers typically “know” the author’s politics before they open the book — it is likely the presence/absence a secret sign on the cover.)

    For many authors, of course, there is no political content beyond that necessitated by the world-building or by the story. Such authors are evil and ought not be allowed to publish. In the old days, before those darn kids and their internet ruined everything, publishers were largely able to prevent such wicked authors and their depraved ideas out of print, and if ony this nation had been sufficiently enlightened to elect Hillary president we could be confident of appointing Supreme Court justices who would have empowered agencies of the government to restore publishers’ power to ensure a free press is also a responsible press.

  3. I think I must be a gateway writer too. I don’t decide “this story has a female character” or “character X is gay”, it just occurs to me, and I usually run with it. I can’t imagine trying to write to a checklist.

        1. Hey! Some people like driving trucks, you know! And driving the same route allows a certain pleasant routineness.

          Boy, you guys and Rick “But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck” Nelson need to get over your TruckDrivingPhobia!

          1. All true, but for those of us who don’t particularly, the prospect of driving a truck over the same route day after day holds very little allure.

            1. Ah, but it depends on the truck and the route! My parents used to live in Maine, in a small town (how small? Two streets, no stoplights.) The UPS driver knew everybody on his route, took keen interest in deliveries (of course, we got odd stuff) and even knew enough about who got what he could correct bad addresses (knew my father had no interest in golf but our neighbor across the street *did*). He seemed to think he’d conned UPS into paying him to play the world’s biggest reverse scavenger hunt 😀

              1. That’s different I think, in that driving the truck wasn’t really the point of the exercise for him, so much as playing the game he created was. The truck was merely the playing piece and the route the game board.

                1. I’ve worked really boring jobs. They are only tolerable if you can daydream and play mind games while letting the subconscious run your body. One’s concious mind is truly bad at routine. It’s actually pretty cool to arrive with no concious memory of the journey.

                  1. That’s the reason why I actually like the paper routes, and also cleaning to some extent, at least I like them better than some other alternatives. You can do both without thinking about them much at all. The worst possible alternative for me would be something that requires I concentrate on it, and think about it, but which bores me as a subject (perhaps an example might be the basic routine version of bookkeeping when you do have all the information you need – I did take a couple of courses at one point when I was young. No surprises, just need to get all the numbers in the right place. Most times I didn’t on the first run because I just could not concentrate on it long enough, in spite of trying my mind usually started to wander at one point or another. Trying to fix it was a bit more interesting and I did usually better, but that is not a good way to do it, you should get it right the first time).

                    Totally mindless routine is much more tolerable as far as I am concerned.

          2. I used to have a Redbook route. Nice company, decent hours, found myself contemplating driving into traffic after about 6 months. Routiness is not for everybody.

    1. “This is the character, and if you muck about with them you will hear about it.”

      And more than that, you make a throwaway line and suddenly you’re saddled with a whole country.

      1. Lucky. Things show up, announced they are Significant and will Feature Later, and smile when asked how.

  4. He grew up believing our system of government granted you that right to ignore things, and not have your freedom stolen from you in an instant. Yes, it was wrong …

    It was not wrong. Our system of government does grant that right, it just does not defend it very well. Some things you must do for yourself.

    Left & Right (and all other directions as well) exist in an uneasy Mutually Assured Destruction entente, in which we largely agree to make decisions about which Dry Cleaner we use, what diner we visit, what shows we attend without regard to the politics of the participants on those enterprises. I am more likely to take my business elsewhere because the proprietor is a jerk than because his politics differ from mine (although, to be honest, if your politics are different from mine it is pretty much guaranteed you are a jerk, right?)

    Our system of government was designed to minimize the power of government, thus minimizing the political implications of all that you do. The fact that some people abuse the government’s powers (e.g., in certain cities cough*Chicago*cough your precinct had better voted for the Mayor’s party if you wanted your streets plowed and your garbage collected) does not mean the design was flawed, merely that regular care must be taken to remove the barnacles and other parasitical life forms that naturally accrue.

    OMG! Some maintenance required? How gauche! If we only elect “the right sorts of people” we should be able to ignore maintenance.

  5. Parsnips!?! Buttered or unbuttered, I’d rather eat an equivalent weight of beach sand.

    Until quite recently I thought the story was the thing and I didn’t care who the author was. But more and more, authors have forced themselves in front of the story and many of them are nasty boors. John Scalzi comes to mind. Love his books, but these days I can’t get past his words and deeds enough to crack open my wallet.

    1. Ayup – not simply “Shut up and sing!” but “Shut the eff up and sing!”

      I don’t need my nose rubbed in your excremental political ideas. I adore the movie Bull Durham but can no longer bear to put it on because the political antics of Sarandon & Robbins simply pop me out of their characters.

      I am somewhat aware of the politics of Wallace Shawn but he keeps them sufficiently private that I can enjoy his Sicilian in Princess Bride, just as the meathead directing the movie doesn’t throw me out of the film by stopping the action to lecture on the importance of gun control or childhood education.

      Besides, in most ways Left & Right in America agree on our values — people should be helped out of poverty, sick persons should not be denied medical treatment, our elderly ought not be left untended — it is simply that “they” can conceive of no trade-offs and no solutions other than the ones they advocate.

      Left, Right or Other, some things remain true: there is no benefit without cost (and that cost which you deem minor may be major to another), there are no solutions which do not produce problems of their own, damage which you consider collateral may be central to others, and a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we allow others to express their beliefs no matter how corrupt, depraved, moronic or inane they may seem.

      1. Same here – there are actors and actresses that I just cannot bear to watch any more, although I loved their movies when I first watched them. But their essential ugliness, their freely-expressed bigotry against their fellow citizens emerged in the last eight years or so, like pus from particularly disgusting zit … and I feel like doing with them what I did with MZB’s books that I had collected; they were off my shelves and into a box in the garage.

      1. From as far back as I can remember, a favorite side dish has been roast mixed carrots, parsnips, and turnips caramelized in butter with a dash of salt. simple, quick, cheap, and oh, so good.

        And Judge Posner is still a moron.

        1. Read this comment to my wife- and now she wants an actual recipe for this. The only way I’ve ever prepared parsnips is steamed until tender then lots of butter.

          1. I have fond childhood memories of Mom preparing a standing rib roast, surrounded by onions, carrots and potatoes which cooked in the roast’s drippings. Once the roast was pulled to stand and set the vegetables went back under the broiler until the onions caramelized and the potatoes were crisp.

            I suspect yu could use a bit of bacon fat to roast the parsnips … it ain’t like it could hurt anything.

            1. Don’t ever buy parsnips at the grocery. Like Jerusalem artichokes, grow them yourself and do NOT harvest until they have been through a good hard frost.

          2. I just chopped them up in rounds like carrots, drizzled them with olive oil, and stuck them in the oven on a baking sheet or in foil.

            Otherwise, you use the medieval “armored turnips” recipe, where you cut turnips or parsnips into rounds, and alternate layers of veggies and cheese in a casserole baking dish. Stick it in the oven.

            Google recipe temps….

        2. Quick question regarding texture. When you steam or roast these veggies, do they turn soft and mushy? Because I can’t do mushy. Veggies should crunch.

          1. In most cases that is true. The exceptions as far as I can see are potatoes and parsnips.

            1. And rutabaga and turnip. Although growing up my family always called rutabagas turnips… We mash the rutabaga like potatoes.

        3. As with most of Mom’s cooking, there was never a ‘recipe’ per se. Basically cut up the roots into pieces about the size of your thumb, toss with softened butter to coat, place in shallow baking dish or even a cookie sheet and add a sprinkle of salt over the top. (If using salted butter this is probably not necessary, but it’s how Mom did it and so it’s ‘right’ to me.) Place in medium oven and roast ’til butter browns and veggies are the consistency of a baked potato. @30 minute at 375 F seems to work for me.

    2. The best way to prepare parsnips, rutabegas, mangle-wurzles, and other vile roots is to feed them to edible critters. They don’t mind, and then you eat delicious critter. Always use a critter-filter!

        1. Bah, humbug! Far too much borscht in my young life–and in all our splendiferous multinational genetic glory, my family has ZERO Russian heritage. I now have a doctor’s note saying I don’t have to eat beets or celery! (Insoluble fiber. True fact!) unfortunately that means no popcorn for me either, but…no beets! Yay!

          1. I used to make borscht on Saturdays in Summer, with fresh beets from the farmer’s market. And the closest our genetics come to Russia is that I MIGHT have some Rus ancestry from when they raided the North of Portugal.

                  1. Hm. Yeah, unleashing the Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister!) would safely fall under the “Bad Things” category.

      1. Critter filters are useful, but once in a while, root veggies are a good side. i cook carrots, parsnips, and turnips in broth, with salt, pepper, cinnamon, clove, lemon, and turmeric, until fork-tender. Yum.

  6. Mind you, most of the institutions haven’t figured it out yet. The dime hasn’t dropped. It’s starting to, but right now the result is mostly sheer confusion.

    More cowbell is obviously needed. They simply are not getting their message out. They need to be more aggressive about getting in people’s faces and demanding they take the moral direction, grab a pitchfork and join the mob. That castle needs to be stormed because the Lord and His knights won’t defend us from invading ravagers. Just because He claims the ravagers are doing nothing wrong and claims they are poor but simple honest traders and anybody saying different is a vikingphobe.

  7. This is actually quite uplifting. I dont know if ive commented here before, but im just beggining my journey as a writer, and hopefully one day as a published author, and politics in writing gives me an ulcer.
    Im largely libertarian, but I have no desire to preach through fiction.
    I look for things like this, because i know that being openly pro liberty will set me up for beatings from one side, and having a setting where the good guys are straight up imperialistic authoritarians with planned economies and a large war machine will set me up from the other.
    Good to see im not alone

    1. Nowhere near alone, and heck, sometimes the good guys are imperialistic, because it’s all relative. If a side eats babies alive, the side that kills them first is “the good guys.”
      I just wish we could get to where people understand “writing is not good or bad depending on politics.”

      1. The question is whether the story is driving the message or the message driving the story. The first (and second) Iron Man movie worked because (whatever Robert Downey Jr.’s or director Jon Favreau’s politics) it is <ITony Stark's politics which drive the story, and his politics (such as they are) are credible for the character.

        In Captain America: Civil War the message drives the story, with Tony Stark deferring to the UN for oversight of super-heroes. Sure, they toss in a fillip of justification but the character’s change is forced.

        Robert Heinlein could write both Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land, both The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and Double Star not because he was incoherent but because he allowed the story to drive the vehicle. His purpose, if political at all, was to reveal the politics behind the view without endorsement of either. Understanding does not compel agreement but it does allow us to perceive the levers which can be effectively employed to attain consent.

        1. Richard McKenna wrote both “Mine Own Ways” and “Hunter Come Home,” two stories so different in philosophical tone it’s hard to believe they were written by the same person.

        2. While it’s a change for Tony in Civil War, it works because he was the one personally responsible for the Ultron mess. The movie also piles on that he’s emotionally unsettled (Pepper has left him; presumably this is why he’s sharing personal bits of his past with complete strangers), and then throws in a blatant guilt trip for good measure.

          So imo it works for me. But it is a reversal from his attitude in his earlier movies.

          1. It’s less jarring than his borderline-villainous character shift in the original comic storyline, which came out around the time of the first Iron Man movie.

            1. Yeah, it’s important to note that Cap flips from his first movie, as well. But it’s believable because of the blatant attempted abuse of power that’s on display in Winter Soldier.

              It’s also worth noting that Tony tries the “go it alone” route in Iron Man 3, and nearly gets both himself and Pepper killed by the bad guy.

              1. Exactly. Storyline wise, the characters’ motivations and changes of behaviour make sense – and, honestly, I prefer the MCU way of ‘Why Tony did this’ / ‘Why Cap doesn’t trust the government bodies he way he used to’ – they make MORE sense than the crap the comics pulled.

                And I still want to see what happens next. To me, that’s a good story. I’m always a little worried they’ll drop he ball, but so far so good.

              2. “Yeah, it’s important to note that Cap flips from his first movie, as well. ”

                Actually, Cap didn’t flip at all. He’s the archetype of taking the oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

                Always has been, always will be. Can he be lied to? Sure. Will he tolerate the lie when it’s exposed? Oh Hell, no.

                Just because he was willing to put it to one side while there was a greater threat in the first movie didn’t mean that he wasn’t going to do something about it later. He ended up just exactly where I would have expected him to.

                1. I have to disagree. I think Cap pre-Winter Soldier would have been more willing to trust in an oversight group. Note that there’s nothing to indicate that the oversight group would present a threat to the United States. Nor does Cap indicate that he believes that it will present such a threat. So the oath that you bring up should have no bearing on Cap’s attitude in Civil War. The difference is what he saw in The Winter Soldier.

                  1. Hard to have much confidence in any oversight group once you’ve discovered SHIELD was a Hydra front, isn’t it?

                    An oversight group comprised of demographically elected governments is one thing, but the UN? Not only NO! but !&*#@ NO! (Yesterday’s vote not withstanding.)

                    1. Okay – that one I am not taking responsibility for! I admit I had fumble-fingered typing “democratically” and used spell upchuck to correct it, but how it got from what I typed to “demographically” is a mystery of the universe.


                    2. I think it’s a lovely word to describe the sort of “every demographic gets a country” and “every country gets treated identically, even if they are homicidal maniacs” type democracy.

                    3. At least in the Marvel ‘verse they’ve got Hydra, Skrull, mind control and similar excuses.

                      We’ve just got disgusting politics.

                      #YouAndWhatArmy #internationallaw #ThreeWolvesAndALamb

                2. Eh… I could never shake the impression from Cap that he was the sort to be proud he’d voted for FDR and have never been able to like him too much as a result.

                  1. First and foremost, FDR was both loved and hated by plenty of people in his time. IE good people liked him and good people disliked him.

                    Second, to be fair, I believe FDR is currently blamed for a lot of things that happened long after his death. Things that FDR might not have supported.

                    Third, Captain America was created as a World War 2 hero fighting the Nazis, not to make political comments pro or con about American Politicians.

                    Fourth, Sarah talks about people “making assumptions” about writers’ politics. I’m seeing discussions about the political views of a Fictional Character as falling into the trap Sarah talked about. Captain America had no “political views”. His writers might have had political views but I’ve seen little evidence that Cap’s writers wanted to show Cap as pro-FDR or anti-FDR.

                    1. One of the major weaknesses of Cap’s books has been the fact that too few comics writers (I would venture a guess that none of the ones born after 1960) are comfortable with his “simple” patriotism. They keep trying to impose a modern sensibility on a character who came to maturity in a very different time.

                      As for Steve Rogers supporting FDR … He was a product of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the orphaned son of Irish immigrants, his father having died when Steve was a child, his mother dying of pneumonia when he was in his teens. It is unlikely he would have voted in the 1940 election, voting age for Federal elections still being 21 at that time, but if he’s had a vote it likely would have gone to former governor of New York Franklin Roosevelt (who carried the state in ’32, 36 and ’40 — the last race by 3.55%, mostly by taking 60-70% of the vote in Manhattan.)

                      An author, especially of somebody else’s franchised character, has a duty to respect the established persona. That means doing the research to determine what values and principles a man who grew up as Steve Rogers did would hold. The character of a man who would willingly undertake a dangerous experiment in order to fight for his country would not lightly change even as greater experience of the world adds complexity. His “heroes” would still be those of his youth — the Three Musketeers, Flash Gordon, Hopalong Cassidy and Dick Tracy — even as recognizes the world is not so simply addressed. He would possibly become cynical, walking down those mean streets without himself becoming mean, but there would remain a romantic idealism undgirding that cynicism.

                      From Wiki:
                      [Creator Joe] Simon said Captain America was a consciously political creation; he and Kirby were morally repulsed by the actions of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the United States’ involvement in World War II and felt war was inevitable: “The opponents to the war were all quite well organized. We wanted to have our say too.”

                      Any modern interpretation of him needs to be based on that understanding and how it would influence such a man in this present time. What he could never be is a Millennial pacifist or a man who proclaimed “Violence never solved anything.”

                  2. By the way, it’s “interesting” that you suspect Steve Rogers voted for FDR while Marvel Comics (not the Movies) has Steve Rogers as an agent of Hydra. 😦

                    1. Nope, it ends up the Red Skull was just using the cosmic cube to make him think he was. The ‘edgy’ retcon was retconned.

                    2. Retconning the retcon explains why I don’t read comics anymore. Among other small, ahem, editorial quirks and jiggles.

                      If they retconn themselves back to the original plot, does it mean we’ve reached Singluarity?

                    3. well, its only somewhat a retcon, it was just a couple months of plotting… of course, i think its an ‘out’ they left themselves…

  8. Trump’s VP does not support same sex marriage. This to the left means that gays will be hunted down and put in camps.
    A niece wrote my sister a scathing post saying that when her gay son was murdered it would be my sister’s fault for supporting Trump.
    I pointed out that Pence was a Christian and taught to hate the sin and love the sinner. I then remarked on how the Clinton Foundation has accepted many millions of dollars from political entities in who’s countries being found to be gay carries a death sentence. And that HRC was proposing greatly expanding the influx of refugees who would in all likelihood import Sharia law with themselves.
    Sister and I have both been blocked by niece.

    1. Yeah, I got that the first day after the election “Trump is going to round up gays and put them in camps.” “What? He was the first Republican candidate to wave a rainbow flag on stave.” “Oh, but it’s upside down” (something none of my gay friends agree with, pointing out it has no up or down.) “So it’s not authentic, so it’s a double plus ungood sign he’ll put gays in camps.”
      The sheer lack of thought is very tiring. I mean they actually think people go around with decoder rings and giving double plus secret squirrel signals! These are not grown ups.

      1. And the Liberal “adults” (if they exist) don’t spank the babies and whine if we talk about spanking the babies because that “means” we’ll spank them. 😦

      2. The lack of thought has been trained into them. Theirs is to follow the narrative, not the Reality, and trust that the Gods of the Copybook Headings will never, ever return … and are standing just outside the door, slavering to enter as soon as we turn away from the narrative.

        1. You’re been silly. After all,

          On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
          (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
          Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
          And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

          Which is obviously wrong because it’s so stunningly unPC.

      3. …rainbow flag….upside down…

        Like refraction cares about gravitation.

        They hear all these “dog whistles” but who hears dog whistles?
        Dogs, of course.
        So.. since they know (every time, just ask them) well…

        1. Perhaps Trump should start each speech, press conference, whatever by blowing a real dog whistle just because.

      4. That and “Trump is going to cancel all the visas and green cards and round up everyone and ship them to [improbable place here]. And if you are a gay immigrant???!!!! The horrorz!!!!!!” To which I want to say, “Um, since you have not snuck into the country four times after being tossed out, and then murdering two people, I don’t really think you are the sort of person that ICE [or whatever they are calling it now] will be interested in removing.” But I just make sympathetic noises, since I’m not the one in the relationship.

        1. There seem to be an astonishing number of people who, if they should open their eyes and somehow have sufficient light, would get a fantastic view… of their intestinal walls.

      5. Sometimes you just have to mock them by extending their arguments to the most extreme versions you can, just so any observers realize just how insane they are: “Camps? Nah, too expensive to feed and house them. They might make a nutritious food supplement for our domestic food animals, though…”

        1. Unfortunately, there are more than a few out there who will miss the sarcasm and mockery entirely, and believe you to be dead (*ahem*) serious.

          Of course, these are the same people that view Orwell’s 1984 or Kafka’s The Trial (examples off the top of my head, not an extensive or exclusive list) as instruction manuals and not warnings…

          1. Definitely. That’s when you extend the mockery even more. You won’t ever convince those who refuse to think, but it will be obvious to onlookers. If they buy the gays-as-cattle-fodder and are shocked and outraged, you respond with, “But you know, cows and pigs are very resource-intensive to raise. As good environmental stewards, we really should just make them into direct food supplements for people. That way we can help save the planet!”

        2. Naw. Dog and cat food, that is the ticket. Less processing needed. Besides, one could then literally say that the left was going to the dogs.

          1. I’m sure that if she wanted to be put in a camp, someone could have arranged it…

            Hey, business opportunity!

      6. Their decoder rings say so much about themselves, I suspect.

        Mine just says “Drink More Ovaltine”. What a ripoff.

        1. Just to make sure, is the activating phrase for your decoder ring slash teleportation device “See you in the funny papers”?

      7. At the chance of risking the wrath of Godwin this anti LGBTQ(whatever) push looks to me like a classic variant of an old propaganda technique known as “The Big Lie”. No basis in reality just hit them in the “feels” with something they’ll buy and keep hitting them (i.e. keep telling the Lie). Its the Left trying to keep their assorted cats herded, just like BLM and the screams about abortion and “women’s rights” are to keep other factions on board. But Trump is really rather socially liberal (or indifferent) so they aim instead at the VP and Trumps cabinet selections who tend to be more on the socially conservative side of things. And fortunately for the Left the press helps hide the information and the hearers don’t really use reason but emotion to make their decisions.

        1. Totally random aside, but I will be SO glad when BLM reverts to meaning only Bureau of Land Management. I’m tired of trying to keep the two groups straight when I’m skimming the news.

          1. From your lips to G-d’s ears.

            And I shall add a fervent prayer in besides, to do with giving BLM the hiding of their lives and converting their rolling budget to line-item, and their endless overreach and grasping conniving attempts at land and power smacked down most hard and firmly.

            “All the land the river’s shifted course across over all time must belong to us,. not the farmers, ranchers, or landowners” my bleep bleep expletive deleted.

            1. ya know, often it can be hard to tell which BLM is which when both are acting up. I look to see which was out in the countryside causing mayhem vs towns and cities. even then . . . chancey

            2. The feds own something like 60% of Utah. They don’t need 60% of Utah. Let’s sell off large chunks and apply the proceeds to the national federal debt.

          2. BLM is evolving into a general shorthand for ‘grab your AR, quick!’. The acronym doesn’t seem to make sense, but maybe like AM, PM, AD, Ect. It makes sense in the original Latin.

        2. Well, many totalitarian regimes/movements use the Big Lie so calling it that isn’t really “Godwin’s Law”. 😀

    2. This seems to me to be classic projection: They would put deplorables in camps for reeducation or at least elimination from ‘good’ society if they had the power to do so*, therefore, since the bad people are now in power their opponents *must* be looking to put them in camps.

      *Thus their drive to eliminate effective means of resistance from the polity.

      1. What? Just because they want to censor our speech and take away all our firearms means they don’t have our best interests at heart?

            1. especially in those areas they have controled, but even in deepest dark Texas, or Tennesee. “I gotta fill out what? Then they’ll know I am armed!!!1!11!! Can’t you make an exception, just this one time?!”

              1. “Exception? No, some do-gooders passed laws, and we obey the laws. Given you’re suborning an illegal act, I probably ought not sell you anything.”

              2. Tell them they’re lucky if a “newspaper” doesn’t put their name and address on the internet.

  9. Do you have a woman who (for reasons explained in the text, mind, not just because) is a kick ass warrior?

    Conditioned pain response.

    I can think of several things where it had a woman being a warrior, good enough reasons given, what have you… and it made zip difference than if it had been handwavium.

    Several of ’em, I’m STILL annoyed with. They had promise, and wasted it.

    There’s no way to tell the motives of the author before it hurts.

    1. Michelle West is pretty good about that. One woman who’s a kickass warrior because she’s the daughter of her version of Morgoth, a few who are pretty good warriors under certain circumstances but also pretty much insane, a ‘warrior princess’ who stated flat out she’s not dumb enough to actually step onto a battlefield, and lots, lots more women who don’t equate ‘warrior’ with ‘definition of strong’, and are strong anyway. Stronger than the kickass warrior, for that matter, who only really develops strength when she loses the rest of her power. She doesn’t equate ‘abused in the past’ with ‘strong’, either, which is nice.

    2. I don’t mind female kick-ass warriors as long as there is a good explanation as to how. In the past writers gave such reasons. Nowadays we have waifish super models headbutting burly men into submission due to….. girrrl power. Not my cup of tea.

      1. Yeah, that’s just stupid. We have a kid we know since she was one or so who is now 23 and weighs maybe 90 lbs soaking wet and she was telling our 300 lb (and not really fat) son she could beat him, “because I’m 90 lbs of get back” And I thought “Oh, child, you’re gonna get hurt.” Not by my son, who just rolled his eyes, but inevitably by someone else.

        1. Yeah, she’s gonna be totally shocked the first time some guy who isn’t a gentlemen backhands her into a wall when she’s baiting him. I’m guessing her powers of observation are lacking and she’s a gullible fool to boot.

          1. The waifs can occasionally surprise the big guy if they are vicious enough and willing to inflict maximum damage from the start and the big guy has at first dismissed them as not worth keeping an eye on or is too much of a gentleman (or due to potential publicity problems coming from hurting somebody looking small and weak, a problem for police for example if the nutty waif is encountered in a public place) to hit with intent the first time or two.

            You occasionally see that one in news when a cop or bystander who tried to help or somebody similar gets hurt, sometimes seriously, by a woman, maybe an addict or maybe some nutjob’s nuttier girlfriend.

            But that is something that can happen once, at least with the same people involved. Not something the waif can turn into a career. If she tried it would be a short career because she’d encounter a big guy willing to hit with intent from the start most likely sooner rather than later.

            1. there’s a reason why my heroines tend toward the sorcery rather than the sword. . . and I work at the exceptions.

          2. she’s been saturated with all the media talking about girls are invincible and men just cower from them. Which is QUITE LITERALLY “society’s fault.” And yes, it’s why leftist bullshit that is counter to reality needs to be shut down hard.
            Note Athena was bio-engineered to be stronger and faster than normal humans. She is — HOWEVER — not as strong as men of her kind. And she’s not as fast as her husband (and there are reasons for that.)

            1. *Grin* Just finished a chapter for the next-plus-one Cat book where Rada and Zabet are discussing a young female Azdhag who managed to fend off four males long enough for Rada to show up and save her bacon. Zabet points out that the female had surprise and desperation on her side, but wouldn’t have lasted much longer, given her lack of training and small size.

        2. Sarah, it would be a real kindness if your son was her instructor, simply because he won’t deliberately hurt / kill her while debunking her pretensions.

          Her other likely instructors won’t be nearly as gentle.

          1. She’s had a dozen Tae-Bo classes, so don’t underestimate her.

            On the other hands, the betting money says that when “90 lbs of get back” goes up against 270 lbs of don’t give a damn, place your bets on don’t give a damn.

              1. Tai Bo was an aerobics fad in the late 90s, with a rather attractive guy doing the motions.

                Some of the stuff was useful, in a “wax on, wax off” way, but mostly it was notable for not being boring and for some of the women looking like normal human beings.

                1. The leader, being sehr Deutsche has more muscle and skeletal mass that your typical aerobics instructor, but …

                  … look at the footwork and you can see these “punches” have no force behind them, being thrown entirely from the shoulders. Also, compare the upper body musculature of the guys in this with that of the gals.

                  Anybody coming out of such an environment thinking herself ready for a beat down has the probable results 180 degrees reversed.

                  1. Not sure which inspired which, but:

                    This was the fad that was so big they let us do it instead of weight training in high school. (Because that’s what I really needed at 16, bigger arms.)

                    1. Bigger arms, of the right type, are sometimes exactly what you need:

                      Captain Or Ben-Yehuda of the Israeli Defense Forces has cemented a legacy that will endure well past her lifetime. The young, decorated IDF Captain was in charge of a company of soldiers when they were violently attacked by nearly two dozen terrorists near the Egyptian border.

                      Captain Ben-Yehuda was in charge of the Caracal Battalion which was stationed near the Israeli / Egyptian border. Three suspicious vehicles quickly approached the battalion’s position and Captain Ben-Yehuda along with a driver went to check them out.

                      As they approached the first vehicle, nearly two dozen armed men opened fire on their position in an ambush attack. Both Captain Ben-Yehuda and her driver were immediately shot in the volley of gunfire.

                      Despite suffering from a gunshot wound, Captain Ben-Yehuda managed to get on the radio and call for backup, administer first aid to her driver and return several magazines worth of gunfire back at her attackers.

                      At this point it was obvious the IDF was going to be able to push back the armed group, and medical personnel wanted to evacuate Captain Ben-Yehuda to treat her gunshot wounds. However, she was unwilling to leave the battlefield until all of the fighting was done.

                      For her actions and bravery, Captain Ben-Yehuda was awarded Israel’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor.

                      HT: Power Line, powerlineblog{DOT]com/archives/2016/12/the-week-in-pictures-yuletide-edition.php

                    2. *points at her avatar* as it happens, this character’s class is ‘gun bunny.’ She packed a vehicle mounted weapon on a sling.

                      Anime themed game.

                  2. Thus my comment. Someone going to introduce her to reality, and it’s better it happen “safely”.

              2. Tae-bo ain’t self-defense, it’s aerobics using boxing moves.

                Something generally overlooked in screen fighting is that when you hit somebody, it hurts. Ninety pounds of “get back” hitting three hundred pounds of “don’t give a damn” feels an awful loot like ninety pounds of get back punching a wall.

                That silly girl needs to do some basic math. F=MA. Stipulating both parties throw a punch with equivalent acceleration (unlikely — his greater amount of muscle probably results in greater acceleration, but we’ll cede this point) of 1, she is punching (assuming she’s throwing all her body into it) with a force of 40.82 kg while his punches deliver 136.08 kg, over three times the force of her blows.

                Or, you know, they could go to a proper gym and she & he can spend a little time working the heavy bag.

                She would be much better off packing a piece, relying on her “gat back” rather than her “get back.”

                1. I once heard a story of a professional dancer getting groped on the dance floor. She knew her physics and punched her stiletto heel through the cad’s foot—including his shoe.

                  Because F=ma, but p=F/A (where the A is Area), and when that A is very small, the F can be very large.

                  1. Certain elementary school kids did not know that math when they decided braids were irresistible to pull.

                    It really came back to bite them when I figured out that I wanted to grab as little hair as I could in retribution.

      2. In the next-plus-one Cat book, Rada finally admits that *gasp* she’s not as young as she used to be, and that hand-to-hand had probably become a last resort instead of first instinct. Of course, readers have probably noticed that when Rada does go hand-to-hand, she’s armed, in close quarters, uses surprise, and doesn’t fight fair. She’s about 5’2″ and 130 lb or so, very, very strong for her size but not stupid. OK, not most of the time. Not when she’s sober. Or hasn’t lost her temper. So, about 25% of the time.

      3. It backfires occasionally. The Chun-li (aka “Thunderthighs”) movie a little while back, starring Kristin Kreuk, got panned pretty badly. One of the reasons why people panned it is because Ms. Kreuk definitely doesn’t look the part.

  10. Other details are more flexible. And sometimes, while writing the book, you realize the chapter in the middle is blank. It needs to be there, you know what it needs to accomplish, but it’s bloody blank, unlike the other ones which are being dictated to you word per word. So you have to reconstruct it from first principles, but that’s okay because you did learn first principles and the writing craft (right?) because the gateway goes by itself, but it doesn’t mean it does everything for you. Heck, if you’re inexperienced, the first books it pours out are often devoid of plot, and you need to know the craft to see what it just dropped in your lap and clean it up/insert plot so it’s interesting to someone else who doesn’t know every eructation of your mind is pure gold (the fools.)

    Damn, Sarah, you’ve been reading my writing diary. Thats EXACTLY where I am right now.

    1. I find it helps to have a little heart-to-heart with your characters, in these cases…

      “Well, if you really want your story told, then you’d bloody well better start filling in the blanks… I can’t do it for you, and have it turn out the way you want it…”.

      The really annoying part of it is when they start bitching at you about how they’d never have done things that way, themselves, but they still won’t tell you why or what is wrong with the bits you filled in. You’re just left with this feeling of having been to a dance, gotten kissed, and then… Dumped. The writer’s equivalent of coitus interruptus.

      1. “…but they still won’t tell you why or what is wrong…” Yeah, thats me too. Ive been told there IS a romance in there, but every time I throw the guy into the situation (come on, man, step up and seize the day! or girl…), he gets all “gentlemanly” on me. Ooooh brother.

          1. Well, there’s your problem right there. Why on God’s green earth would you ever want to discuss feelings, least of all in a relationship?

      2. Nick Briarwood — when I got to the end of his story (as I thought), he wasn’t happy. And was inarticulate about why.

        So I fudged up a second ending to make him happy and wrote it. And he wasn’t happy.

        So I fudged up a second ending to make him happy and wrote it. And finally he was happy.

        which is how A Diabolical Bargain snuck up on me by pretending to be a novelette and then a novella before admitting to be a novel.

  11. It is amusing that people who would deny a cake designer any right to “refuse service” according to personal beliefs are gob-smacked when called to adhere to the same standard.

    Report: Some Rockettes want to skip inauguration performance
    A union representing the Radio City Rockettes is pushing back against a rumor that the famed New York dance company wants to boycott Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, calling any such talk “invalid.”

    Soon after Rockettes owner MSG Entertainment confirmed the Rockettes’ participation in the inauguration, dancer Phoebe Pearl posted a now-deleted message on her personal Instagram account to say she was “embarrassed and disappointed.”


    The American Guild of Variety Artists called any talk of a boycott by the dancers “invalid,” according to an email seen by BroadwayWorld.

    The email reads: “We have received an email from a Rockette expressing concern about getting ‘involved in a dangerous political climate’ but I must remind you that you are all employees, and as a company, Mr. [Madison Square Garden Company Chairman James] Dolan obviously wants the Rockettes to be represented at our country’s Presidential inauguration, as they were in 2001 & 2005. Any talk of boycotting this event is invalid, I’m afraid.”

    The email continues in bolded, underlined font: “If you are not full time, you do not have to sign up to do this work. If you are full time, you are obligated. Doing the best performance to reflect an American Institution which has been here for over 90 years is your job. I hope this pulls into focus the bottom line on this work.”
    — — —

    From that email another phrase stands out: “Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace.”

    Of course, part of the hilarity of this post-election period is the sight of the Left being called upon to live according to the standards they demand of the rest of us.

    1. Like the fellow in Maine who doesn’t want the business of the majority of his customers. So, “Sorry, We cannot in good conscience make your gay wedding cake. Good Day” is purest evil and deserving of fines, but “If you voted for Trump, I will not sell you Propane!” is high stance genius.

      1. Don’t know if you heard, but after said propane seller’s announcement went public, the state noted that he doesn’t have a license to sell propane.

          1. As Oscar Wilde said about the death of Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop ‘One must have a heart of stone to read [that] without laughing.’

        1. oh? What kinda “oops” is that?
          A- He “forgot” (lied) about not selling.
          B- “Oh? that’s how you want to be? No license for you!”
          Or C- He was suddenly found to not have his papers in order “Hey, we note you seem to be selling something you are not legally able to sell.” kinda oops?

          1. Apparently it was Type C. The anti-Trump note went out to actual customers, so he evidently has been delivering propane.

          2. C, as I understand. Apparently (version I read) someone saw the fuss-n-feathers and went “Huh? I don’t remember doing his inspection/license check/whatever” and went and looked to see if they’d missed something. And they had, just not for the reason they first thought.

                    1. They are just fine with sexual predators of women and children, as long as they are named William Jefferson Clinton, or (especially with Code Pink), Muslim.

          3. It appears to have been C. He motivated someone to file a complaint with the licensing authority only to be told “We don’t have a propane seller by that name for your to file against.” Ooopsie.

    2. Yeah. Some Mormons are in an uproar over the Mormon Tabernacle Choir invitation, too. Some are calling it a complete endorsement of the incoming administration. (They first sung at Lyndon B Johnson’s inauguration.) Similar arguments are being used for everybody who has been invited or accepted an invitation to perform. Calls for boycotts, petitions to stop (fill-in-the-blank performer) and threats and all sorts of things are going around.

      1. Ya think any of them comprehend it is about the institution, not the occupant? That what we are celebrating is the peaceful handover of power?

        You know, that process they were all het up about when they thought Trump wouldn’t take his losing the election “like a man.”

        1. I’ve been seeing a lot of commenters I’ve never seen before on Catholic blogs, screaming about how we’re evil for supporting Trump because he’s so bad for Catholic teachings….
          They don’t deal well with pointed comments to the effect of “look, all the objective Bad Things we’ve got reasons to believe he’ll do, or can credibly suggest he will? Hillary and Obama actively and publicly support. What rock have you been hiding under?”

      2. In response to complaints, the LDS Church released a statement that basically said, “Look, you idiots. The Church is officially apolitical. The Choir is performing because we respect the Office of the President of the United States, regardless of who is currently occupying it.”

        And that is essentially the gist of what gets stated from the pulpit every couple of years around election time.

      3. I expect most of the Tabernacle Choir members will be singing with gratitude that it’s Trump’s inauguration and not Mrs. Clinton’s.

      4. Yeah, that one’s got me eye-rolling. If it was a case of the President of the Church agreeing to give an endorsement speech at the inauguration? Yep, I’d be protesting too. But a.) MoTab is NOT part of the Church leadership, it’s an entirely separate entity, and b.) I agree, it’s about the peaceful transition of power. >.<

        1. I noticed a report earlier today that management of the Rockettes had announced participation was NOT mandatory. Apparently they had volunteers a plenty for the performance.

          Any Rockette getting pissy about the volunteers ought be handed her walking papers. When you sign on to be a professional dancer you need to understand that the critical part of that is professional, which means leaving artistic temperament in the green room. You want to be picky, retain your amateur status.

          Sheesh – used to be, even the whores understood that.

  12. And I don’t even think its about multiculti Marxism anymore. Its a bare and raw neo-feudalism that is luring everyone away from the idea of individualism, classical liberalism, and being left alone, hence the constant cry and urge to model ourselves after Europe…with our own generation having forgotten the many people who came from Europe to escape the collectivist statism and class structure. It isn’t that Marxism has been shown to be the lie that it is, its that its finally being voiced as what it truly is: a return to the select (and faceless) few that control the most. And it would be funny if it weren’t so sad and infuriating at the same time: so many people think THEY will end up “as the select” when in truth, the true believers will make sure to eliminate them first.

  13. Say your world has a planed economy…

    That’s one in which, instead of hammering down the nails that stick up, you cut them off, right?

      1. I’m just trying to figure out what’s a typo and what’s a pun.

        *totally believable innocent face*

              1. There’s worse things you could grab assuming that RES is a male wallaby. 👿

        1. It’s ATH, it all puns, despite typography, which, of course is done with a typograph and such a thing produces typograms, and yet typos are supposed to be atyp{i,o}cal.

                  1. Hey, at least she’s waiting to carp you in person with just one SPC – it’s when she fires up the ICBCM with MIRVed SPC in rentry sabot that you know she’s ticked.

            1. I got a question for the Group.

              Is it better to make jokes about typos or is it better to mock the person who does the typos? 👿

              1. Well, see, if it’s a typo, then pointing out that it’s also a pun enriches the life of the inadvertent punster, just as it enriched mine when I read the pun.

                Sharing the life enrichment. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

              2. Karma she is a fickle beyatch. Inevitably, should you mock a typo you will find that you’ve typed two in your criticism.

                1. I’m pretty sure it’s one of those unwritten rules of the internet that a spelling/grammar correction needs to have at least one such error in and of itself.

                  1. If it’s the posted equivalent don’t worry. Otoh, if it’s in a story or book that isn’t a first draft, and is supposed to be polished, mention it.

                    1. My favorite corollary to Murphy’s Law is Zymurgy’s Law of Evolving Systems Dynamics: Once you open a can of worms the only way to recan them is to use a bigger can.

                    2. My favorite corollary to Murphy’s Law is Mercer’s Unspeakable Rule: If you should be so foolish as to mention something and it’s good, it goes away, if it’s bad, it happens. Classic example: “What a beautiful sunny day!” very soon thereafter followed by an overcast sky. “Well at least it’s not raining.” succeeded by a torrential downpour.

                    3. I get the feeling we all have that same, slim book with red and yellow covers. Some days I’m inclined toward the Law of the Conservation of Intelligence: Intelligence is constant but the population is increasing. Although Gresham’s Law of TV also applies: Pure drivel drives ordinary drivel off the screen.

              3. Let he who is without typo cast the first pun.

                OTOH, a typo is your subconscious expressing itself.

                Unless it is a trivial detail, and we know where lies the Devil.

                    1. Ah, Type O Negative. They played a club in Milwaukee, when I was living in the south side of Chicago, and a bunch of us piled in a rattletrap car and made our way up there. We got lost, of course, in the days before GPS or Google maps.

                      And I remember we were astounded, as we were warned that we were in the “bad side” of town and needed to get back to the main streets. “But… there aren’t any burned out houses on this block? And we’ve been talking a good five minutes, and no gunfights! And you don’t have piles of trash on the sidewalk… oh, c’mon, this can’t be the bad part of town! I mean, I hear sirens! That means the cops and the ambulances actually come here!”

                      The poor guys in the ghetto were as confused by us dressed-for-clubbing goths as we were by them. But we got directions to the club, and had a wonderful time dancing at a great concert.

              1. I have enough trouble getting my horses to perform per the script, much less coming out and taking a bow.

  14. It is my fondest wish for the new year that political correctness dies a most well deserved death.
    Same goes for any remaining faith in the honesty and truthfulness of most of the media and just about any politician.

    1. My nasty side would include those who “believe in political correctness” in that death. 😦

      1. And my nasty side is perfectly content watching as their tiny little heads explode at each new “incorrect” act or statement by the President Elect or his team.
        Trumpenfreude, a guilty pleasure, but pleasure none the less.

        1. Even if the guy turns out to be a total disaster as far as real results are concerned he is very entertaining, which has to count for something. I guess. At least it’s better than nothing.

          1. I’m sure a delivery system could be arranged. Steph and I will get right on it. But the problem is that the Finns really like large putrid fish, it’s one of their national delicacies.

  15.   My politics are fairly open, and most sane people will look at those instead.  The ones that insist that despite what I know I meant I meant something completely different are just snowflakes.  Left or right, snowflakes have to flake.

    What about the late Sir Terry? He was quite open about being left…but he went where the story took him, and wrote some incredibly right-ward things. (Possibly they were simply Right, not ‘on the right’.)

    How about Joss Whedon? There’s only a small minority here who said his seemingly libertarian-friendly stuff was a matter of dramatic demands, rather than crypto-libertarianism, or maybe just mouthing social niceties.

    How about the Harry Potter series, where there the story is quite conservative, but the author is reflexively, unthinkingly liberal and “nice”? (Note: not an accusation of homicidal tendencies, in spite of the NICE in her country)

    1. Meh. Yes, but note the left didn’t turn on them. The right will turn on people they know are right for “there’s a small spec, which I THINK might be left” (Shrug.)

      1. By the time they would care enough to turn on them– three artists only geeks care about?– they were too big to tear down easily.

        Meanwhile Wheadon just used at the very least morally questionable pressure on employees to denounce Trump in an ad.

        1. Considering that Downey was the only person in that ad who wasn’t an ardent Lefty I don’t think it took much pressure. Heck, who knows what Downey thought of the exercise? You will recall his lines are pretty much neither one direction or the other, merely am endorsement of voting per se. Given the environment he’s in I very much doubt he’s heard anything positive about Trump nor negative about Hillary.

          For that matter, it is not inconceivable that he anticipated such a celebrity-laden ad hectoring voters might help Trump. I forget which politician said, in offering to help a (lower) candidate: “I will either endorse you or denounce you, whichever you would find more helpful” but the principle is not to be dismissed.

          1. None of which changes that it was wrong to even ask.

            “Hi, I am a very successful director you just made several huge movies with. I am going to ask you to volunteer for-” And full stop. That’s a big, fat, freaking NO.

            1. We don’t know who asked whom. Perhaps Ruffalo originated the idea, took it to Downey and the others and only once all were agreed did anybdy ask Whedon to direct. Or maybe they were sitting around on set one day while the next shot was being set up (or sitting in make-up) shooting the breeze and somebody — a production assistant, perhaps — said “You know what would be cool? A web video encouraging people to vote!”

              Sure, if Whedon asked or applied any pressure, Downey could have told him “Include me out” or “@#!$, Joss – I can’t begin to tell you what a stupid idea that is” and the effect on his career would probably have been bupkis, because Bob Downey is a star and doesn’t owe Whedon a thing.

              My sympathies are for the grips, camera assistants and production aides who knew if they declined to donate their time to the project they would go a long time before they worked again.

              1. We actually do know who came up with the idea, but even in your set up it is wrong.

                But just like Clinton had her subordinates “volinteering” for her, it only is wrong for non-libs.

                An honest Dem, the most rabid, SHOULD have said ‘no.’

                You seriously think RDJ would have gotten no harm from saying “I will not denounce the worsethanhitler with you”? He took a risk, and paid a price, to defend Gibson. And that was a much smaller demon.

                1. Exactly — he was willing to defend Gibson. Declining to appear in a wb video to get out the vote for Hillary simply requires he say, “Gee, guys, I don’t think I want to do that — I’m still kinda mad about how she shafted Bernie.”

                  A quick Google reveals:

                  Robert Downey Jr.’s Marvel Pay: Half a Billion by 2019?
                  TOM GERENCER
                  According to the media, by 2019, Robert Downey Jr. will have made nearly half a billion dollars from his Marvel role as Iron Man. To be precise, that comes to $430 million before taxes.

                  First things first. Nobody actually, really knows exactly how much money Robert Downey Jr. makes from Marvel except Robert Downey Jr. and the Marvel execs. Yes, there are a lot of numbers on the internet. A Google search for “How much money does Robert Downey Jr. make as Iron Man” turns up a ton of answers: $40 million per film. $75 million for Avengers. $200 million for Infinity War. The truth is, those numbers are all estimates and rumors. In many cases they’re best guesses by the blogs that publish them. In the rest, they’re based on estimates from other blogs. Even so, it’s possible to figure out some pretty solid ballpark figures for what the star has earned from Marvel. That’s because we know roughly what Disney pays and we do have figures for some typical actor contracts. See the tables below for a roundup of all the current Robert Downey Jr. Marvel money facts on the internet, plus our educated guess for what the actor really makes, and how we got it.
                  — — —

                  World’s Highest Paid Actor Is Robert Downey Jr. | Variety
                  Aug 5, 2015 – He may play Iron Man on the bigscreen, but Robert Downey Jr. is … With an $80 million salary, Downey is the highest paid actor in the world for the third consecutive year and has the … brought in $168 million, and 2012’s “Ted,” which made $549 million. … No actor or actress is worth that much money.

                  Robert Downey Jr. Tops Forbes’ List Of Top Earning Actors With $75m …
                  Jul 21, 2014 – Robert Downey Jr. Tops Forbes’ List Of Top Earning Actors With $75m Take … it’s Robert Downey Jr. The actor has made millions playing Iron Man and for … in-the-know folks to figure out how much each celebrity earned from …

                  I kind of doubt he’s been shoving that money up his nose this time around. The video interviews I see of him reveal a guy who is pretty well grounded. It seems likely that bottoming out does that. It also seems likely that his time on the bottom has exposed him to people not ordinarily noticed by Hollywood players.

                  1. Interesting insight into Downey offered in this article:

                    Robert Downey Jr., the Closet Conservative
                    Politics looms large in Civil War: Iron Man has a falling out with Captain America, played by Chris Evans, over U.S. government regulation and the role of the U.N. Downey believes Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, would be backing Hillary Clinton to be the next U.S. President, last week telling The Howard Stern Show: “I believe Tony [Stark], being a budding feminist, would say it’s time to have some feminine energy in the White House.”
                    [INSTAGRAM GRAPHIC by RWD announcing: “I Stand With Team Cap”]

                    Downey’s multiple Marvel exploits have catapulted him to the top of the Hollywood’s earning tree—Forbes estimated he made $80 million last year alone. His rise is even more remarkable given Downey’s prolonged drug and alcohol abuse in the 1980s and 1990s, which resulted in more than one stint in a California prison and overshadowed his acting career until he got clean in 2001.

                    Incarceration at the turn of the century seemingly turned Downey, 51, into a conservative. He told the New York Times in 2008: “I have a really interesting point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but you can’t go from $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal.

                    “You can’t. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone else, but it was very, very, very educational for me and has informed my proclivities and politics ever since.”

                    Downey attended the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota that nominated John McCain, posing for pictures with delegates.

                    Also in 2008 a GQ feature writer visiting his mansion in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles spotted a picture of Downey and his producer wife Susan Levin with President George W. Bush and his wife Laura taped above the refrigerator. The fact that in interviews, he repeated time-honored conservative sentiments such as the importance of a strong work ethic and individualism added to the impression that he was a Republican.


                    But in May 2012 Downey appeared to do a political swerve, attending a fundraiser for President Obama at the Los Angeles home of George Clooney. Downey donated $39,580 to President Obama in the run-up to his re-election campaign. And when Mitt Romney was anointed the 2012 Republican presidential nominee at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., Downey was nowhere to be seen.

                    Yet apart from two small donations to the Democratic Parties of Florida and Virginia, Downey made all his other contributions to the Democratic National Committee and President Obama less than a fortnight after the Hollywood fundraiser he attended. He hasn’t given money to any Democrats (or Republicans) since 2012.

                    A producer, who has developed projects with Downey’s production company Team Downey, told Heat Street he did not defect to the Democrats. Instead his Spiderman actor friend Tobey Maguire, with whom he co-starred in the 2000 film Wonder Boys, encouraged him to attend the Obama fundraiser. “He’s been indebted to Tobey ever since he urged him to accept Iron Man,” the source said.

                    Asked about his conservatism during an AMA on Reddit in 2014, Downey replied: “Over the last 10 years, the world has changed, and I’m no exception. What I love about America is that your political views are not fixed by nature. It’s natural that I would see the downside of liberalism while housed in an institution as it’s not an uncommon occurrence for people to take advantage of a system that caters to its psychological needs.”


                    Downey doesn’t like to discuss politics “one million percent,” he told The Howard Stern Show.

                    When I asked him about the intervention message in Captain America: Civil War last year, he answered: “In my family, I have relatives who are married into Syrian families that are involved in conflict there, so it’s harder for me to be impartial.”

                    Evidently reprising his role as Tony Stark in the long-rumored Iron Man 4 is preferable to Downey than incurring the wrath of liberal Hollywood for his rightward views and risking the opprobrium of many of his 6.6 million Twitter followers.

                  2. None of which changes a dang thing– and I’m sure not going to start figuring out what someone else can afford to pay to defend principle, even if I am disappointed.

                    1. Based on what I read, RWD is very grateful to have had his right to vote restored. Based on what I saw in that video, RWD endorsed people exercising their right to vote and said nothing about for whom they ought vote. RWD is certainly doing well enough to tell Joss Whedon (who no longer has any say in the Marvel Universe, Cinema Division) that he hasn’t any interest in participating in his video. That he did not do say does not merit condemnation of Whedon for exercising undue pressure.

                      There are plenty of other reasons to condemn Whedon.

                      I am not in the business of telling others what prices they ought pay for defending their principle, nor am I in the business of telling them what their principles are or ought be. I simply doubt RWD felt unbearable very much pressure to do that video.

                      If I am going to take up condemning Hollywood’s bad habits, I think I would focus my energies in their proclivity for combining political fund-raising with business meetings, a practice somewhat more coarse than pushing your child’s school gift-wrap sales in your workplace.

                    2. I agree. It is never immoral to invite participation.

                      It is only immoral where there is a realistic possibility of retribution for declining the invitation. I do not assume that to have been the case for Downey.

                    3. No, I assumed Downey is capable of making such decisions for himself and does not require me to white knight for him.

                      I don’t know he didn’t support Hillary as a lesser evil or that he was coerced into that video.

                      I do know Sarah does not need us taking up blog commentary with a pointless argument on this topic. Therefore I decline to continue.

                    4. So now it is “white knighting” to point out a director asking a bunch of actors working for him to do a political ad, because you assume the cost to ONE of them is low enough that he would pay it without a thought.

                      Even though the entire point was “this guy is a lineral willing to do things that are wrong to advance his causes, rather than the crypto-libertarian his fans have insisted he really is.”

                    5. Sigh. My secret shame is that I’m NOT a Firefly fan.
                      I just find ya’ll arguing the PROBITY and moral standing of a Hollywood figure kind of resembles discussing the cleanliness of mud.

                    6. Firefly?

                      I always enjoyed chasing after them in the summer.

                      Don’t remember catching them or remember what I did with them when I caught them. 😉

                    7. I have chosen paths based on what kind of mud there was… heck, even animal mud, I know I’m going for the cow mud before the pig, even if it’s deeper!

                  3. > World’s Highest Paid Actor Is Robert Downey Jr.

                    I never heard of him before, and I have no idea what he looks like.

                    Why, no, I’m not from “around here”…

                    1. washed up 80’s teen star who managed to go the druggy route and survive long enough to make a comeback. Seen him in a cool video where he helped give a kid an Iron Man themed 3d printed prosthesis.

                    2. He does his own Facebook page, too.

                      Year or two back he shared some Stark/Loki fan art (in which Iron Man was tied up) with the title “why it’s never safe to google yourself….”

                      #1 fan comment by likes and responses was “dang it, I googled myself a dozen times and Tom Hiddleston didn’t show up to whisper in my ear…are you sure it was Google?”

                  4. Robert Downey Jr.’s Marvel Pay: Half a Billion by 2019?

                    Yeah, I just gotta ask: how much goes up his nose?

            2. “I am going to ask you to volunteer for-”

              Roughly equivalent to “I want three volunteers, you, you, and you.” (Which my father swore happened to him during his navy service.)

              1. BTDT.
                Part of why I am so familiar with the “oh, you’re totally free to pay the price *I* say you should be willing to” thing.

      2. Ah, but the left is also known for shamelessly kissing up to anyone even a bit left leaning who is also in possession of sufficient power or influence to affect their latest cause.
        Helps explain why they’re so enamored of Muslims and Sharia. Millions of followers and vast oil wealth will make up for minor peccadillos such as stoning or beheading gays and treating females as property. Once they’re on our side we’ll use our incredible charm and influence to fix those foibles.

      3. Oh, the Left has taken its fair share of shots at Rowling at Whedon. Especially Rowling.

        1. That’s called “eating your own”; doesn’t mean either isn’t Left; they just haven’t started howling at the moon.

    1. Regarding “nuclear democrat”, they do seem to be doing a nice job of nuking any near-term chance of regaining any power… 😉

  16. Yeah, I’m kind of in that position now. Since my main artistic influences are New Wave writers people make a lot of assumptions about my political viewpoint based on my stylistic choices.

    I also have a human subspecies that is hermaphroditic, which many people take to mean that I personally support transsexualism, when my point is just the opposite, that changing the structure of a person’s genitalia does not change their sex. My “ambimorph” characters are women, and they continue to be women after they grow a penis.

      1. F. M. Busby had humans (genetically altered ones) that alternated between male and female.

        Obviously, the female ones remained female during pregnancy. 😉

        Interestingly, if a male spent a lot of time with a pregnant female, he’d remain male.

        1. I know more socially conservative libertarians than libertine libertarians, but that probably has to do with the places I hang out than the actual local population of the libertarian-inclined.

          1. All the Liberterian Libertines whose philosophy I know (Note: I don’t KNOW Misha!) are notably less Libertarian than I am. They just want no restrictions on themselves, and are happy to have them on everybody else.

            1. Ah, yes, the liberaltarians. AKA the people who would be content, to paraphrase someone else, to live in a six foot by eight foot prison cell as long as they could smoke pot and have sex with whoever they wanted without fear of any sort of consequences.

              1. Partly. The malignant form of that just wants you to be happy with it, too; there’s also the ones where you’re “free” to want what they think you “should” want and go after it, and the ones where you’re free to do exactly what their plan requires…and nothing else. I guess they’re kind of versions of the same thing…it largely seems to depend on how much they’ve thought about it.

                Kind of like the anarchists, y’know? There’s always that guy who is young and healthy and thinks he’d rule the roost, because nobody else would be allowed to group up against him.

                1. > young and healthy

                  …until they run up against the modern equivalent of Cohen the Barbarian.

                  There are quite a few mean old bastards out there with experience and contingency pans for just that sort of upstart challenger.

                  1. <> the Barbarian. I’m imagining a Jewish warrior with a 9-horned helmet. Or maybe you were thinking of Conan the Librarian.

            2. Most of those I’ve personally met have tended to be of the spoiled teenager philosophy: I should be able to do whatever I want because you aren’t the boss of me, but when something goes wrong, it’s not fair to expect me to clean up my own mess.

  17. Comment i saw the other day is relevant to what you said about Reagan:

    “Trump can’t possibly destroy America, we all died in the nuclear war Reagan got us into with the Soviets.”

  18. “I walled a book I’d been enjoying — for a definition of enjoying that encompasses mysteries read once and never thought of again — because she had three pages of apropos-nothing Reagan bashing”

    I like British mysteries, but they’re bad for my teeth because for forty years the writers have bowed to an unwritten law that EVERY BOOK ABOUT ANYTHING MUST CONTAIN A NASTY COMMENT ABOUT MARGARET THATCHER (grind, grind, grind)

    1. That’s because the proles have to be reminded of how terrible it was under the reign of Thatcher so they realize how much better they have it under socialism.

    2. It was a bit jarring to see something of that in the Monty Python TV show, but that was made long before she was PM. It shows there was a(n) history of it.

    3. One of the 7doc episodes of Doctor Who was supposedly intended to topple Thatcher. I suspect it failed because they made a character based upon the British Left’s caricature of Thatcher instead of what Thatcher actually believed.

      (I doubt the real-life Thatcher had patrols running the streets making sure people were happy under pain of DEATH, at least…)

      1. To be fair to their prophetic ability, we have had a presidential candidate — a guaranteed presidential winner, no less — who wasa stocky woman who declared America suffered a “fun deficit” and decree America needed “summer camps for adult.”

        1. Funny (not in the amusing sense), just this AM I was talking to someone about how the VileProgs have tossed the term N-a-z-i around so much that they can’t see why certain things they refer to make the rest of us start backing away while waving crucifixes, garlic, copies of the Torah, an unsheathed kriss, or whatever else one uses to banish Evil, or at least scare it away (hmm, maybe health insurance application forms would work . . .)

        1. Well, the people they deem Deplorable don’t tend to match their claims so they create caricatures and pretend that’s what they’re “really” like.

          1. It seems racial, ethnic and sexual stereotyping are actually ok when they do it.

            Because enlightened or feelz or something.

  19. Regarding “there was nothing wrong with dropping three or four paragraphs of right-wing-bashing in the middle of your book,” when you run across that, and you will, how can you tell If it’s the author’s choice or editorial intrusion? For example, I’ve been reading a series where the protagonist, an American military officer aboard an American military base and American spaceship, suddenly goes off on a rant about guns and the military-industrial complex. WTF? Granted, the author worked for AP, but… How do you tell?

    1. I have upon occasion hunted down contact info for an author and asked the question directly. I haven’t gotten a lot of responses, but at least I tried.

    2. My rule of thumb is that if it is forced and clunky (like a discussion of how well accepted homosexuality among monks was in a book about the rise of the Ottonians in Germany in the 900s) that you stop and think, “What the fuzz has this got to do with it?” and then the book continues as if that paragraph or three wasn’t there, it’s editorial insert. YMMV.

  20. I liked this line that Steve (SM) Stirling used:

    “There is a technical, literary term for those who mistake the opinions and beliefs of characters in a novel for those of the author. The term is ‘idiot’.”

    There does seem to be a lot of that going around. Perhaps they’re projecting? Since they can’t separate their own prejudices and politics from everything they do, obviously, never can anyone else.

    In other news: they’re still horribly, horribly appalled that books by that well-known (and self-confessed!) Dead White Male cannibal Jonathan Swift are considered classics.

    1. Stirling was quoting. See Niven’s Laws.

      A limited selection:
      Included in the 1989 collection N-Space are six laws titled Niven’s Laws for Writers. They are:

      1. Writers who write for other writers should write letters.

      2. Never be embarrassed or ashamed about anything you choose to write. (Think of this before you send it to a market.)

      3. Stories to end all stories on a given topic, don’t.

      4. It is a sin to waste the reader’s time.

      5. If you’ve nothing to say, say it any way you like. Stylistic innovations, contorted story lines or none, exotic or genderless pronouns, internal inconsistencies, the recipe for preparing your lover as a cannibal banquet: feel free. If what you have to say is important and/or difficult to follow, use the simplest language possible. If the reader doesn’t get it then, let it not be your fault.

      6. Everybody talks first draft.

      In the acknowledgments of his 2003 novel Conquistador, S.M. Stirling wrote:

      And a special acknowledgment to the author of Niven’s Law: “There is a technical, literary term for those who mistake the opinions and beliefs of characters in a novel for those of the author. The term is ‘idiot’.”

        1. that’s a corollary to Twain’s/Lincoln’s/Proverbs 17:28 quote(s):
          Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.
          It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.
          Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

            1. some people need layers and layers of editing (~_^) but they tend toward some form of Tourette’s. See the fools who berated Trump’s daughter on a flight and then tried to claim the berator was polite. I mean, who could think “My husband is running up ahead to harass her” from a guy who posted a kid in a Reagan/Bush t-shirt with “I think this is a hate crime” could possibly be anything but meaning his hubby was going to politely ask “Why is she on the same flight as I am?”

    1. When I worked at the New Orleans International airport, a Delta 767 had a passenger do that while over Lake Charles. Up where they fly when heading international.
      They declared emergency and descended to land . . . apparently near Vomit Comet velocity . . . the quote from the co pilot when doing his walk around: “Gotta make sure all the big bits are still attached” came back “Yep. Still got wings and engines.”
      Good luck to her.

    2. The only not horrible thing was her timing – It would have been far worse for her chances if instead of 15 minutes before landing at LAX she had arrested at 35K ft somewhere above the arctic circle.

        1. UCLA Medical Center has a world class cardiac program – way better than what she’d get after an emergency divert to whatever the closest place is to halfway up western Greenland (I looked up the routing of her flight, and somewhere just crossing from Greenland ice to sea ice looks to be the worst possible spot To have to find a place to land for a medical emergency).

  21. Apolitical? Ha! I know that parrot skit was really about Vietnam!

    Sorry if somebody already said that. No time to read through all the comments.

  22. (except California, and pal, their process is so screwy we don’t even know how many of those voters could legally vote, exist, or even are still alive)

    Life is an illusion, and just because I’m a figment of my own imagination is no reason I shouldn’t vote.

  23. Gateway writing allows me to determine what the politics of my right brain are, because the damned thing doesn’t otherwise talk to me. I set out to write a libertarian novel, and what came out suggested that libertarianism isn’t what I thought it was, and isn’t without its problems. I would have figured that out eventually, but at the time is was a revelation. I got a good novel out of it, at least.

    Tribalists have been reading tea leaves for a long time, and possibly forever. They were doing it at my Clarion in 1973. (I ignored them.) The big change is that somewhere along the way, the tribalists took over whole industries, including publishing, and now it matters.

    As close to a solution as I can offer is to make publishing decisions utterly individual; that is, between the author and the reader directly, without middleschmucks. Get rid of the tea, and the leaves will get rid of themselves.

    Judging by how well my friends are doing as indies (and I’m not doing all that badly myself) we’re most of the way there already.

    1. ” I set out to write a libertarian novel, and what came out suggested that libertarianism isn’t what I thought it was, and isn’t without its problems.
      That is why, though quite libertarian personally, I think it is exactly like full on Marxism . . . Might look good on paper at first blush (Libertarianism far more so than Marxism) but I know it won’t work in the real world. I often say- Imagine your personally ideal libertarian society . . . now imagine a Soros shows up with intent to make changes. Sarah and Mad Mike do a good job of showing that ideals are a bit hard to maintain when, no matter what, you will get the bad with the good when People are involved. Sometimes outside forces, sometimes from within. I want a return to original principles, and more limited gov’t myself, to get closer to what works.
      Add Dennis Miller quote here:

    2. Heh. Mad Mike (Michael Z Williamson) responds to fanboys who proclaim they want to move to FreeHold right this very instant because it’s paradise with something between mild confusion and weary disbelief. Sure, it has action and adventure and libertarian government… and it’s also a pretty hard place to live, with a lack of safety regulation and oversight that ends up killing people in job lots once you mix cheapskates, jury-rigging, greedy folks willing to look the other way, and desperation together.

      The demands of working out a fully-fleshed world that runs on its own internal logic, and the need to let story problems run through it with the characters acting to their own motivations and incentives, often produces results that weren’t fully realized or plotted beforehand, because we hadn’t followed that what-if to its surprising yet inevitable conclusion.

  24. if you write a fairy tale where the heroine rescues the prince, you are subverting the fairy tale tropes. Not, oh, faithfully retelling a common fairy tale type.

  25. Why does everyone feel it necessary to give the lefties hints and tips about what they did wrong and how to fix it?

    I’d really much rather we all wrote things like “they went wishy-washy centrist, and they would have won if only Hillary had gone hard left and talked more about why she considered righties to be deplorable.”

    1. They won’t listen to us anyhow. They think that we would do as you say all the time, so they will go the opposite way of any advice we give, even if it would actually help them . . . oops, said too much (~_^)

      1. Sort of like the folk tale pattern where the man’s ornery, stubborn, shrewish wife does the opposite of what he warns her about, she falls into the river, and he goes looking for her upstream.

    2. Because they are not our enemies, and we’d really rather they didn’t become enemies.

      They’re not evil, unredeemable monsters; if they can be pointed at systematic errors they’re making, they might fix themselves.

      I don’t want my side’s arguments to end up as lazy and stupid as a lot of the “I’m on the left because I’ve never been exposed to anything else” folks’ arguments.

    3. “they went wishy-washy centrist, and they would have won if only Hillary had gone hard left…”

      I have seen a True Believer utterly convinced that this was indeed the case. Was seriously arguing Hillary’s VP choice was a move to appease conservatives.

      This same True Believer was utterly shocked that I figured (before the election, mind) that a Hillary win would be greeted with grumbling, maybe more for a day or so, and then sad tired resignation, whereas a Trump win would result in a… collectiv{-e,-ist} tantrum possibly lasting 4-8 years.

      1. If I had a dime for every Leftist whose conclusion was that Obama was way too nice and cooperative with Republicans, I could at least take next year off.

    4. Functionally, it works as propaganda targeted at three groups. These being conservatives, weakly decided, and liberals.

      It is not clear that we are not going to have the anticipated civil war within the right and within the GOP. I think we win points with the weakly decided when we are speaking calmly and the left is frothing.

      With the left, giving honest advice can function as disinformation.

      Case in point, the all hissyfits all the time approach to Trump may polarize him and send him rightward. The leftists in a position to make such decisions are either calculating sons of bitches on whom ‘shared values’ arguments are pointless, or simply cannot be reached at this time. The people for whom this isn’t calculated spite might be reachable later, perhaps after five to ten years of personal growth. Right now they are perhaps going to consider this wrongthink or wrongfeelz and ignore it. Or they may be so polarized that they may make worse choices when we are endorsing ones that might be more effective for them. Hence telling the truth as disinformation.

      Yeah, never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake. Your enemy has to be sane to make the best use of your impressions of them and their choices.

      The hissyfits may serve to drive Trump in the direction of adult reforming centrism. I dunno. My history of forecasting Trumps seems very poor.

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