I got up late today and was going to put up a guest post, because it’s my two blog day, when I blog at MGC. But today, I wanted to blog because of an experience I had last night which shook me to the core.
So I got up, took my meds (because of the current auto-immune attack, finally subsiding under prednisone, this is a chore, not just the little thyroid pill in the morning) and had two cups of coffee while Dan got ready for work.
Then I sat down to write a throw away post in MGC, only it turned out not so throw a way. Before embarking on this one which I expected to be a difficult, lengthy post, I got a cup of coffee and went over to Facebook.
In a talk with friends, I heard about representative Scalise, who was shot by James T. Hodgkin, whose page was, last I checked, still on Facebook, full of rumor and conspiracy and crazy about Republicans. If you haven’t seen the story go here.
I am not a prophet. I swear I’m not a prophet. But the vague, cold feeling that has been in my stomach for weeks, which got worse after that “discussion” yesterday has coalesced into a clear fear. I just posted this on Facebook:
A radical from a fringe group, led by insane rumor and innuendo, has shot someone who is not even the leader of the faction he hates.
Is Rep. Scalise’s middle name Ferdinand?
Listen to me now; stop believing crazy people, even those in the media. Yesterday, in a friend’s post someone called me racist/sexist/homophobic or implied it because apparently I want to “suppress voices” in science fiction. NO ONE who knows me can believe that. This woman knows me. And this was over an aesthetic disagreement in fricking tiny, irrelevant science fiction.
LISTEN TO ME NOW, it’s time to believe your lying eyes and accept that people can disagree with you without being evil. It’s time to investigate all news, even the ones you think confirm you bias. It’s time to wake up.
YOU DON’T WANT TO GO DOWN THIS ROAD. There is nothing for you here. It didn’t turn out well in 1914. It won’t turn out well now.
I’ve collected at least one idiot already, who thinks that saying republicans are evil doesn’t prove my post. What the actually? What madness is this? Can it end but in blood?
So that post yesterday now seems utterly irrelevant but it’s not. It’s the same madness. So let me tell you about it.
A friend of mine who has kept his public persona and his blog persona completely separate, made a thread announcing his politics. I was glad. You live better when you don’t live a double life. Most of his liberal friends said something like “and this is news?” and joked. A piece of fecal matter with mental problems came onto the thread to scream that Republicans are inherently violent. Our words are violent, because we want to hurt him. So our words are the same as attacks. He couldn’t really cite any Republican violence in the last few decades, except by assuming killers of abortionists are “Republican” or that anyone who has ever supported state violence (but protesters were tear gassed!) is Republican. He didn’t seem to know that, at least in terms of the US, the right is for the REDUCTION of governmental power. It was like Thunderdumb. One idiot goes in, none come out.
But there was another commenter who demanded proof that there was any reason to hide our political opinions because proclaiming them might hurt our careers.
I wasn’t the first to give my story. But I did give it, pointing out that during Sad Puppies things were said about me that NO ONE WHO KNOWS ME CAN BELIEVE.
This is when Rose Beteem, program coordinator for MileHi con came on the thread, to rave incoherently about apparently (it was hard to decipher, honest, it was a spew) my wanting to suppress voices in Science Fiction. At any rate, there is no bias in SF, none at all. She said this.
Now, some of you might have noted my home con, my don’t miss con is Liberty con in Chattanooga. And you might have wondered why in the last five years or so I haven’t been to MileHi.
The funny thing is it’s not for the reasons you think. I haven’t been to MileHi because I got put in strange panels, my reading was up against the masquerade, fifteen years after breaking in I was still on beginning writers’ panels (and that’s a problem because when I give my list of publications, either the newbies shut up or try to one-up me. It makes for a bad panel. Besides the field has changed so much that I don’t KNOW how people should break in.) I found it tiresome and annoying, and frankly the last five years I’ve either been ill, moving or away from the state at that time. It sort of dropped unnoticed. I do Cosine in the Springs and Liberty con. If other cons in the Denver area invited me, I’d go, as a matter of good will, but I’ll be honest and for real, cons don’t seem to do much for my readership. Posting at instapundit and the occasional free short story here do.
It wasn’t until I read Rose Beteem’s post it occurred to me that perhaps there had been bias in my panel assignments. Yeah. I am that naive.
You see, I don’t judge people by their politics. I CAN’T. I grew up in a country where the right-most party was Social Democrat. I grew up reading Heinlein. Early on I formed the idea that good people could believe crazy shit, and I fought the ideas, not the people.
Some of my favorite writers growing up were either hard core leftist, or worse, reflexive ones. I discounted it because I knew in their time socialism was considered “scientific” and hey, which of us doesn’t have illusions. I still fought their ideas.
This is the first time I have mentioned someone (who hadn’t directly attacked me or called me names) in a post, by name, and it’s done deliberately, because it’s time to name and shame. And the reason to do that is this: THIS WOMAN KNOWS ME. She’s known me since I’ve been a young writer, green as grass and completely naive. She knows or should know that on sight no one can identify me as any race. She knows or should know not only a lot of my friends, but my characters are gay. (The thing isn’t entirely under my control. See madgeniusclub.com today.) So to think I would WANT to suppress any “voices” is crazy.
But let’s say I had the power? Which publishing house do I own that can discriminate against those voices?
Goldport press and soon Inkstain? you got me. BUT which MAJOR publishing house do I own that can discriminate against those voices? WHAT MAJOR PUBLISHING HOUSE does anyone to the right of Lenin control? Baen? Bah. Baen is agnostic on politics, not right wing, as anyone who follows the writers on FB knows.
So how can someone who knows me, knows me personally, saw my kids grow up, knows my kids, believe that Sad Puppies was about suppressing women, minorities, or ANYONE? HOW CAN ANYONE BELIEVE I WANT THAT? HOW CAN ANYONE BELIEVE I HAVE THE POWER TO DO THAT?
But she’s “heard” you know. She’s heard through the rumor mill I’m conservative, probably before I even came out as a constitutional libertarian (which is not exactly conservative but never mind) which probably explains leaving me stuck in breaking in writers panels, and the truly horrible hour allocations. It probably explains why (at least twice) before I came out politically she asked me if I’d now given up on writing. Because of course, when they told her I was conservative, it was a given I was a bad writer. (There’s actually logic in this. And I’ll explain. Logic from THEIR point of view, not ours.)
And then Sad Puppies happened and she was told (hell, national media was told) it was because we were evil conservatives, bent on suppressing “marginalized” voices. (If those voices are marginalized, who marginalizes them? The leftists who own traditional publishing? Then what does it have to do with those of us who aren’t leftists?) And she believed it.
Knowing me, knowing how almost disablingly polite I am in person, knowing I am a first generation immigrant with an accent you can cut with a knife, knowing that my race ID on sight depends on how I wear my hair and if I’ve seen the sun the last couple of months, she believed the entire goal of a group I was involved in was marginalizing “the different.”
All mind you, while she marginalized the different in thought. Because she’d been told she SHOULD.
In fact, I have a different view of how to get “diverse” voices. Let them flow. So long as the story is good, I don’t care what any of the writers look like. I don’t care what their politics are. I care about the story. If the politics get in the way of the story, that’s when I stop.
The problem is that the left thinks “good” means “Changes society” and “fights social injustice.” This is because what they were taught in school (I know, I was too) is Marxist aesthetics. They juged the story on how Marxist it is. New Marxism, btw, a thing of academics and protected groups, NOT the lumpen proletariat. (Which explains the award to If You Were A Dinosaur My Love.)
They are incapable of imagining different aesthetics, because they were TOLD theirs were right. So if we want different aesthetics — perhaps because from knowing history of literature we know what is read is what survives, and this stuff isn’t being read.) we MUST oppose, not the aesthetics but their INTENTIONS.
And since their intentions, however unsuccessful are GOOD, our intentions are evil.
(Actually, I think we shouldn’t give pity-awards or contracts or anything. Minorities — trust me, I ARE one — don’t need them. You can do them more good by treating them as equals. They’re as capable as anyone else.)
None of this is new, but what shocked me was that this was someone who knew me PERSONALLY. Someone who knew my family and my friends for years.
More importantly, we found out in the ensuing discussion that my friend Charlie Martin, who grew up with Rose Beteem in a small town in Colorado and who was an old friend had been blocked by her on facebook. This happened with no contact, no fight. It shocked him. And the only reason HAS to be because he disagrees politically with her and people tell her those people are EVIL. Not wrong, not misguided. They don’t simply have a different opinion. No, they are evil.
Now, keep in mind this woman while well known to me is not… Um… I’d say her understanding is moderate and average. Which is what scares me. Her understanding is average. And yet she can believe the narrative over her lying eyes. She can believe somehow the right marginalizes people in SF/F where the right controls pretty much bloody nothing. Other than Larry who is a bestseller, the SP were midlisters, indies and fans. That’s it. Midlisters, indies and fans with a different aesthetic sensibility. But we were treated like the devil. AND THEY BELIEVE WE ARE EVIL.
That’s what gave me the cold feeling in my stomach. The news this morning only solidified it. Watching what has gone on, and the crazy crap the media is doing with sensational “revelations” that they know are lies, but they never disclaim of if they do do it in small print, so their people never know, is like watching SP all over again. The people who thought they had all the power and could never be challenged are throwing a vast, ugly, bizarre psychotic tantrum in public. They’re telling lies about how withdrawing from the Paris accord and refusing to give money to actual polluter nations is going to KILL US ALL.
As in the establishment in science fiction, they’re doing it because they’re sure of their own righteousness and goodness. They’re doing it because those “stupid” people are challenging them, and how dare they. They’re doing it because it feels good.
I’d like to say that they don’t know the crazy they’re driving in their fringe, and they don’t understand the harm they could do to people who ONLY disagree with them.
I’d like to say that, but a semi-closeted friend in the arts just posted this in a private group:
My feed is full of “well, they really do deserve our hate, and oh darn, maybe they’ll think before doing those evil things they do”….bullshit.
It’s not just a fringe, and the people at the top know very well what they’re doing. They might be deluded, because in Marxist exegesis the “oppressed” always win and they THINK they’re the oppressed. To that extent they might think victory is inevitable.
But I think it’s more of a primal thing: we dared defy them, resistance to the narrative is building on all fronts, and they want blood. They really want blood.
Remember when I said when they silence dissenting voices, it’s like tamping down a powder barrel? Well, now they’re running around flicking matches at random around the powder barrel.
Are they capable of stopping and examining their premises and seeing they’re impossible and someone is lying to them? Or are they too attached to the narrative and being part of the “in group” to think?
On that hinges how ugly this will get. And what will emerge on the other side.
They’re lost in a fun house of distorted reflections, unable to see the real people they KNOW.
May G-d have mercy on their souls.