He Worked for a Living

Sometimes I tell people I’m not an author.  I work for a living.  It might seem I’m making a joke, but I’m not.  The word author evokes for me the halls of academia, the rewards of spouting the party line, the preening and showing off of the latest intellectual fashions.  Intellectual fashions are like clothing fashions.  Some of them might suit you very well and look great on you, but you can bet most of them will look pretty awful to people in fifty years.  And yet wearing them marks you as part of the in crowd.

When you say “the author” you conjure images of someone sitting at his desk, noble brow furrowed in the act of creation.  This is someone who produces maybe a book every two or three years and cares more for the opinions of reviewers and award-givers than for how much money he makes.

You see, he doesn’t WRITE for a living.  The real reward of his writing is tenure, or a raise, or simply an increase of his status among other academics his peers.

Meanwhile writers, workaday writers are the people these “academics” sneer at.  Even those of us who are bestsellers are never really accepted by the intellectual community.  And that’s fine, because what would they do with us, or us with them?

Despite the recent invasion of science fiction by “authors” who care more about their academic standing than whether their books entertain anyone, most of the academic establishment still looks down on all writers of genre.  I’ve stopped more than once in the middle of an how-to book (the latest being a book on writing immediate fiction) because the author says if you’re one of those people writing science fiction and fantasy, or romance, or mystery, you shouldn’t be reading his book.  Your readers will read anything.  You don’t need craft.

He was wrong.  He was also a shining example of the “academic authors” who can insult their audience because their REAL audience are academics and other authors.

He was wrong, because — and I can’t find the exact quote from Heinlein — a writer, one who works for a living, has to compete for the reader’s beer money.  This changes how the writer writes and what he chooses to do, and it — I think — increases the odds that he will be read many centuries into the future and (ironically) considered a gem of literature.  Like, say, Shakespeare, who worked for the greasy pennies of London apprentices.

Somewhere, Heinlein said something about his reasons for writing.  I can’t find the d*mn quote to save my life, but when one of you does, I’ll insert it here.

It was something about first writing to feed his family, which necessitated his writing to entertain.  A distant third (or more, because there might be things I forgot) was to write to make you think.  If he failed at that, he was still being entertaining and feeding his family.

It is amusing — well, to me, but I have a dark sense of humor — that trying to seek out that quote I came across various people telling how they wrote to improve the world and — the laugh out loud moment — an essay entitled “so you want to be a college professor.”

Why this is relevant today, besides the fact that it is Heinlein’s day (Happy birthday sir, wherever you are): Yesterday on facebook, on the page of a very popular author, someone took offense to Larry being in an anthology (not me, though, d*mn it.  I must strive to be more offensive) because he wants to push all women and non whites out of science fiction.  The laughable and unsubstantiated declaration, (at war with reality, again) devolved into someone telling us how we “need” “representation” in genre fiction, because minorities are reviled and put down every day, and they need to be represented.

She is right, you know? Minorities are reviled and put down every day.  Just not the way she thinks.  What I mean is, how much more reviled and put down can you be than being told that you can’t have individual opinions, and that you must forever be a representation of the “othered” and reviled minority?  That everything you write, everything you think, your very existence are nothing more than a waving of the bloody shirt by some Marxist academic, who knows more than you do about being Latin, or black, or even a woman, the CORRECT way?

Sounds pretty reviled and oppressed to me.  In fact everyone who thinks the only “authentic” writing I can do has to do with my being reviled and oppressed is a stone-cold racist.  So is everyone who thinks you can only write what you are.

This denies the very purpose of story telling which it to allow you to be and live what you can’t be or live: to break you out of your confines and show you humanity at large.

After all, some of Shakespeare’s best characters are women.  They’ve spoken to women throughout the ages.  And if you think Shakespeare was really a woman, we’re going to have words, and you will not enjoy this.  I am not your professor.  Shakespeare wrote immortal men too.  And you will eventually grow past the pap they fed you in school.

But if you are a college professor, who is an “author” because publish or perish, there is an advantage to being conspicuous in portraying “the other”.  Correctly, of course.  Which has convinced a lot of well meaning and not particularly bright trend-followers that this is a rule of writing fiction, even — the good Lord help us — genre fiction.

Hence all the magazines and publishers, which compete with each other to “give a voice to the voiceless” thereby leading sane people to wonder how they can be voiceless when everyone gives them a megaphone.

There is nothing wrong with being “an author” or with sporting political correctness as a sort of fashion to show how good and important and “smart” you are.  I mean, it’s probably less trouble than the incredibly complex coiffures of French ladies before the revolution.  Less likely to grow physical lice at any rate.

Pretty bad for intellectual parasites, though, who carry with them the idea that writing is a sort of holy pulpit, from which you can preach to the masses who will, of course, listen in rapt attention to what you have to say, since you’re so self-obviously smart.

They won’t you know.  Or as many memes proclaim “Do you want a populist revolution? Because that’s how you get a populist revolution.”

People who work for a living will roll their eyes at your intellectual coiffures, even the six feet tall ones with the battle ship in it.  If you’re lucky, they’ll ignore you.  If you’re unlucky, that’s when madame guillotine gets fed.  Because at the end of the day, people outside your bubble know to believe their lying eyes, not what you tell them.

Which is why I’m glad I learned from Heinlein, and that he was a working man.  He grew up in unimaginable poverty.  If I grew up poor as Job, he grew up poor as Adam after the angel with the sword kicked him from the garden.  We didn’t at least ever have to fight over pillows.  Cloth was not that expensive, and we had a kapok tree in the backyard (never understood why we didn’t make pillows out of feathers, but the Kapok fruit gave us filling enough.)

But both of us come from a background of “root, hog or die.”  And I instinctively understood his command to “first feed your family.”  That means writing entertaining things.  If, after that you want to write to expound your pet theories or make people think, that’s fine.  BUT your job and your craft is all devoted to entertaining FIRST.  Because no one gave you a pulpit from which to preach to the benighted masses.  A writer earns his living and his readers one by one, beer pack money after beer pack money.

A writer writes for a living.

Keep in mind that still keeping with his mandate, Heinlein managed to counter a lot of the ideological fog of his days, and speak real truth to real power.  His inclusion of then “reviled and oppressed” (for real) minorities, like Irish, Italians and Jews and his insistence that they could be real Americans earned him problems with his publishing houses.

But he still managed to publish those books, and to carry his message, because he was FIRST OF ALL entertaining, and he sold well enough for people to allow him his oddities.  If you sell well enough FIRST people will allow you unpopular or even what they think at first are crazy notions.  And you’ll have a chance to influence them over the long run.

That is all predicated on earning their attention first, though, not in singing in the choir of their “betters” and therefore claiming authority over them.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  Not for those of us who work in the vines of words and story.

Happy Heinlein Day.


458 thoughts on “He Worked for a Living

  1. Even those of us who are bestsellers are never really accepted …

    Especially those of us who are bestsellers are never really accepted …

    FIFY, you panderer to the masses, you.

    1. Very few books that the intellectuals and academics write have the potential to become bestsellers. They are too busy writing to obtain the approval of one another. There just aren’t enough of them, Thank G-d.

      To sooth their egos such authors will point to the various lines of, say, Romance, that sells well. They will disparage the audience and dismiss their tastes. Then the books are deemed as unworthy of note. Thus, in the post push era, it has become a badge of honor not to sell well.

      1. And what’s really bizarre, or sad, is that my grad-school cohort and I were pushed to write well enough so that our books would sell to non-academic readers. For all the philosophical differences I had with some of my grad-school profs, they hammered into us that we had to write beyond the Ivy Towers.

        One of my most prized reviews of my non-fiction was when a gent said, “I don’t like this kind of book, but I really enjoyed your book!”

      2. Oddly, at the same time it has become a badge of honor among the same sorts to live off others: parents, spouses, and worst of all the taxes of the public.

        1. Well that’s the whole reason for a country. You pay the taxes so they can be cared for.

      3. It seems they have subsumed the Year’s Best SF anthology. Sad.
        (I’m not a Trumpkin, nor anti-Trumpkin, but saying “SAD” POes all the right targets.)

    2. And Sir Pterry only got a Hugo nom after his 30th (and one of his less impressive) book.

      Screw the idiots – make me laugh, make me cry, make me impatient for the next book!

        1. BTW, I used to think Shakespeare was boring. Because all those plays we were taken to during my school years were. It took a few of the newer movies, most directed by Branagh, ones which mostly seemed to approach the plays as entertainment, not as something very highbrow and important, before I realized that hey, they actually can be, and are supposed to be.

          1. Shakespeare however the name is spelled can according to the very best English scholarship be all things to all people. I’m not going to go chasing references at this hour with only, I say only the internet and not a scholarly library but…. It seems that long ago now the Oxford University Press did a complete plays and so did Cambridge University. One of them was published shortly after WWI and was edited to present Shakespeare as a pacifist and against war. The other one was published much later in the run up to WWII or even after WWII had started – it’s been a long time and many miles since I looked at this – and took a much more patriotic approach to England expects every man to do his duty. Of course either position or both can be supported in the text with variations.

            1. On “all things to all people”.

              It always depends on “what you ignore” in the text. 😦

            2. When a kid I hated the Shakespeare quotes Mom made me memorize, but later, Elizabethan English was my first foreign language.

            3. The same experience with Mozart was invoked by Amadeus, and two years ago what Walsh wrote about Cosi Fan Tutti. I disrespected Mozart as a so wise college freshman, and hated opera.
              Now that I’m not so smart, I finally can learn.

          2. I happen to live within striking distance of the second-best Shakespearean company in the world (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, about five hours north. The best is Britain’s RSP, naturally.) It’s amazing how much a good production makes the plays approachable.

            1. People from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival used to come and give plays at my school. I think it started in grade school, but I know they did it through my junior high and high school years. The quality varied year to year; from pretty good, to awesome.

      1. Robert Bloch, author of “Psycho,” got the Hugo for a great humorous fantasy story, “That Hell-Bound Train.”

  2. An ongoing fashion throughout my lifetime among the intellectual elites has been to say that they care for the working man. Yet, forbid, they should be seen as the working man.

    I wouldn’t think this bodes well for the future of said fashion, but have been managing a pretty long run with this one.

    1. It’s an application of pity, not caring. They feel sorry for mere tradesmen who must work with hands and produce physical products. After all, if you don’t get that degree you’ll have a horrible life…


      1. I can honestly say that running a university Dominos was in several ways more fulfilling that writing software for internal corporate use.

        The key one is at 3am on Saturday when we turned off the phones and about 3:15am when the last pies went out I could look at the logs and see that we had made some nights as many as 2000 pizzas. I had cut and boxed nearly everyone one of them (you run a busy store from the end of the oven).

        I could show you what I did in a way anyone can understand. I’ve been working on a new market snap daemon and it seems like I’ve done nothing even though I know I have.

        Heinlein, since it is Heinlein day, often praised good, honest work and did it to the degree he could his entire life (I remember him talking about doing masonry in setting up his garden). It is one reason I’ve taken up woodworking.

        Those who eschew actually working with their hands are giving up part of their humanity and I pity, not revere, them.

        1. I’m convinced that my Doctorate is incomplete because I haven’t really learned to make things with my hands. Some day, I hope to learn machining, blacksmithing/welding, and carpentry to make up for this missing spot in my education. Depending on my circumstances, I’d like to take classes in these things, but I might just have to learn them on my own…

          I also didn’t take English or History in college (I tested out via high school AP credit), and while I particularly like history, I’m not sure if I consider it a loss that I missed these classes in college.

          Looking back, I think it would have been a good strategy to learn to do these things first, and then use them to pay for college. Who knows, though? Had I taken this course, I might have ended up being stuck in a career in these things, making a mere $100k/year by now. The horror!

          1. Looking back, I think it would have been a good strategy to learn to do these things first, and then use them to pay for college. Who knows, though? Had I taken this course, I might have ended up being stuck in a career in these things, making a mere $100k/year by now. The horror!

            What galls me the most is that I could probably have done that after my father retired, by basically apprenticing myself to him, but I didn’t think of it soon enough. I mean, OK, I had screwed up my first try at college by then, but I was only 23 when he retired, so I could have saved up some money and gone back for a second round.

          2. Sounds dumb, but…try gardening. Edibles for preference; I’ve found that nothing grounds me so much as “I dug in the dirt and now I have food!” It’s reasonably easy to start, and for me at least it remedies my tendency to introvert myself right up my own posterior.

            1. Agree!

              And, you can get some of those other skills in, too. Start with a simple plant in a pot. Then move to a small (and I mean *small*) plot of dirt. Then design, plan, and build a small raised garden (4’x8′). Then build another with stone (or pavers). Then build a nice walkway around it. Then a shed for your tools. Then a “ladder” garden. Then maybe a deck….

              Each time you learn a new skill. And more than just the masonry/woodworking/gardening – maybe you learn to use a computer tool to do your layouts, or some drafting, too.

          3. Even though my undergrad went under because of finance shit, the machine shop and drafting are probably the biggest gains I got in schooling. The classwork was all same but that (and live flight testing) was something different.

        2. It’s hard to keep up manual labor after TB. I don’t imagine silver mining in Nevada was a restful occupation. He did keep up the pistol shooting. He was on the team at Annapolis.

          1. It is particularly hard to do it for a regular job. I know any number of people who can do manual labor on their good days, but due to injury or illness they cannot show up at 6 am Monday through Friday and put in a full days work.
            That is something that many of those complaining about seeing their neighbo out reroofing his house on Saturday, after leaving the mill because he hurt his back don’t understand. I may not agree with L&I and there is plenty of fraud going on, but a lot of that fraud is people not doing things they could do, because if they do them once it is assumed they can do them continously, not as a one off requiring a week or two of recovery. So they simply refuse to do anything and have the rest of us pay for everything.

            1. I do cleaning as a part time job, the other one is the paper routes. As part time I can do it, but I would not last long if I had to do full 8 hour days for a full work week as a cleaner. Bad knees, fraying tendon in one shoulder and the other one is starting to go there, osteoarthritis… no way. I occasionally do six to seven hours in a day and it takes a day or two to recover from those days, and those times I have now done more than a couple of them in a row I needed to eat anti-inflammatory pain pills for a week because my shoulder didn’t stop hurting.

              1. And yes, I sometimes worry a bit about this combination, if I lost the paper routes there is a good chance the assumption would be that I should try to get more hours as a cleaner because I obviously can do the work. Except as said I can do it only as a part time job.

                (losing the routes before I reach retirement age is fortunately unlikely though, the numbers of people who like to read their morning paper as paper are perhaps declining steadily, but at least so far it has been slow enough a decline that the job should continue to exist as long as I need it – and it has become hard enough to find new carriers that they will not try to kick us older ones out very easily, especially since the younger kids who come and go seem to have a somewhat higher percentage of those who are not reliable than you used to get a decade or two ago)

      2. And yet their comfort, and often very lives, depend both on the skilled tradesmen, and as well on the humble menial workers. When you think about it – take something like a hospital. Which ones are more important for the patients, the doctors or the cleaners? Knowing what we now know about microbes both equally, I’d say. If the places are not kept clean it does not really matter how skilled the doctor is. So maybe it takes a lot more work and time to become a doctor than a cleaner, and consequently the doctors do deserve their way higher pay, but that does not diminish the importance of the work those cleaners do.

      3. A lot of them also honestly believe that and will also say ‘you’ll only make good money with a college degree’, but will complain endlessly about how much the plumber charges an hour….

        1. “Good money” being that which doesn’t entail getting your hands dirty or, ideally, having to satisfy some smelly customer.

      1. I have an open offer to anyone wanting those to buy them $20 Kirkland jeans and “upgrading” the pants before delivery for a mere $150.

      2. They want to be seen as having done the work. They do not want to be seen doing the work, much less having to do it.

        1. “That guy’s so dumb he muddies his jeans himself; where’s the irony in that?”

        2. A quibble: they want to be seen as manly as those capable of doing the work. The same reason they grow beards and wear flannels – because they are trying to rely on fashions men have used to signal that they are manly, instead of embodying the principles or the virtues required to actually be manly, or putting in the work to become manly.

          Sadly, manliness, respect, honor, and virtue are not fashions that can be donned at will and only when convenient like a coat. So all their posturing still leaves them, as C.S. Lewis put it, Men Without Chests.

            1. Not when you see how much work they put into combing and oiling them, and how much they pay for combs, oils, and trims!

              My darling man has a “book beard”. As in, I prefer him cleanshaven. But when he gets into the last half of writing a book, many chores go by the wayside, including shaving. So every book, he grew a beard. I finally gave up the fight and now his book beard is a permanent feature, though it goes from neatly trimmed to scraggly when he’s in the last half of a book.

              1. As someone who ditched cartridges for good ol’ fashioned double edge blades, it’s amazing how much money you can spend to save a few dollars. For it’s not just the razor blades, oh no. It’s the type of razor, and type of shaving soap, and type of brush, and type of aftershave, and what you do for pre-shave, and whether to use an alum block, and always looking for something better.

                1. A Norelco in ’84 was totally cost justified by how much blades and shaving cream cost then. Philips wised up now, and their cutters only last 2 years. Even now they’re still cheaper.

                    1. You want something to use in a pinch, try an epilator. No blades to grow blunt but they need to put more robust motors and batteries in those things.

                    2. I’m not a fan of electric razors, but I’m not much of a fan of blade razors either. I grow a beard in the winter but don’t really like one so as soon as spring comes around I buzz it off. Generally I just use hair clippers on the very shortest setting, it gives me that perpetual five o’clock shadow look; which seems to be coming back in fashion. 😛

                    3. I grow a beard in the winter because I like it, but my wife doesn’t, and so it was a nice compromise (and I knew from experience that shaving makes my face feel that much cooler, so I realized I’d rather have one in the winter rather than in the summer).

                      I had a period of time, though, where I couldn’t stand my beard, and couldn’t wait until I could shave it off…until I shaved it off, and it drove me nuts not having a beard…Fortunately, I’m now comfortable both bearded and beardless.

                      I also don’t like shaving, but I’ve found that the least unpleasant method for me is using a rotary-bladed electric. I’m also coming to terms with the discovery that I’d rather shave every day when I’m shaving, rather than every other day, like I originally thought I preferred…(or perhaps my preferences are merely just changing…)

                2. More than once I have given serious thought to getting and learning to use a straight razor.

                  I cannot abide any beard for anything length of time. I blame the Navy for that one.

          1. The whole Labrador Retriever, pipe, and leather elbow patches thing was an attempt to emulate the landed gentry. I like Evelyn Waugh. He failed as a painter, was kicked out of carpentry school, and finally fell back on writing because it was the family business. He did a self portrait of himself smoking a pipe. Robert B. Parker i will forgive for his dustcover photos with his dog, because of the ballcap, although I disapprove of the American League on philosophical principles.

    2. The cultural antecedents of our intellectual elites, the aristocracy, also cared for the working man. They especially cared that he know his place and remain in it, content to serve and worship his betters.

      Stupid Protestant Work Ethic. It took years to domesticate that faith.

    3. Or with the working man or behaving like the working man (separate from the not being a working man).

      I innate distrust people who idealize things they refuse to do (that they are capable of doing).

  3. “Less likely to grow physical lice at any rate.”
    I don’t know about that. Some of these “long hair” intellectuals look rather infested with vermin.

    1. And their children. Many school districts have reinstated louse inspections at the elementary-school level.

        1. At least it should be checked if they have anything IN their heads rather than just on their heads…

        2. But we can’t do that! We wouldn’t have any administrators in school! How would teachers teach, without the administrators there to make sure they get bogged down in irrelevant paperwork and constant standardized testing?

      1. I have a friend who is a specialist in nursing, not at all uneducated, whose girls have been through several bouts of head lice. This is not unusual. We have pretty well trained children not to share combs and hair brushes. Now the kids all insist on bunching their heads together for group selfies, or so one recent explanation of the ongoing outbreak goes.

    2. Some – many – of the “long hair” intellectuals ARE vermin, by any objective standard.

      Parasitic, reduce the health and long-term viability of their hosts, can cause the death of their hosts in cases of severe infestations . . .

      Yup. Vermin.

      1. reduce the health and long-term viability of their hosts
        Take a look at the current state of law schools and some colleges. Many are outright failing – and none of the “smart” people seem to know why.

  4. Larry’s trying to get women and minorities out of writing…

    *Looks at/for Guardian*

    He’s doing it wrong.

    1. Didn’t you know, if you write anything with or for Larry you are magically transformed into a white, Mormon straight male. He hasn’t perfected that magic enough to not allow great racks to remain however.

      1. Of course if he did, we would have to oppose him and Make Racks Great Again

  5. As I sit here these words strike to the heart of the matter. Write, publish, entertain, get paid. Repeat as necessary. I have one very good reason to try this. Actually I need to succeed at this, as I have not many options currently. Heinlein was a good influence.
    Don’t have a copy of his book, the passages you are looking for are in “Expanded Universe”.

    1. Running from pillar to post today, so I may not have time to check it – but I could swear that quote is from a letter (maybe to JWC, maybe to his agent) in “Grumbles From the Grave.” Or it may have been repeated in EU.

      In the meantime, I’ll move over a bit – we appear to have landed in the same lifeboat…

      1. I have both Expanded Universe and Grumbles From the Grave in my bookshelves, but my bookshelves are rather extensive and I’m not quite sure where I last saw them and besides I really have to get to bed about five minutes ago, I need to get back to work in about six hours. So not going to check now. 😦

  6. All these geniuses who pontificate about how there need to be more of this or that are lying. They don’t want more of a specific cohort but less of another. It’s about moving the pie slices, creating a cohort that owes you and feeling better.

    Meanwhile elsewhere you see actual mentoring, thoughts and ideas and opportunities to prove oneself.

  7. Some of them might suit you very well and look great on you, but you can bet most of them will look pretty awful to people in fifty years.
    Even worse, just like awful clothing fashions, some of the truly execrable stuff will be fashion again at some point.

  8. “someone telling us how we “need” “representation” in genre fiction, ”

    Sarah, do you remember the panel at LibertyCon with you and the editor of “Straight Outta Tombstone”, and how proud he was of himself for making sure there was a “Native American” author in it? That corruption has penetrated everywhere, even Baen Books. It’s flat out impossible, apparently, NOT to put something together without that racist and patronizing taint.

    1. The worst part is that it does damage to situations where it would be useful. For a wild west themed UF anthology a tale from/with/etc a tribe and with some of the mythology that the tribes had would be interesting. Use a creature or myth that is not common and do it well and it is different.

      But do it for check boxes and you degrade the options because people remember garbage better than a fine meal.

      1. That’s the whole argument against Affirmative Action. If you promote some people based primarily on their skin color/genitals, then how will anyone ever trust their work? Or the work of folks just like them?

        1. Or even the subject matter. It can be very easy to associate every story in a genre to be the same schlock or at least not enough gems in sewage to justify diving in.

          And yes it is.

        2. It is unimportant whether anyone can trust their work — the power elite can simply rebut any accusations as racist (cf, Obama, Holder, Lynch, et al); what is truly important is that yoou can condemn any [minority] who doesn’t follow the party line as ungrateful and seeking to deny to others of their ilk the favoritism from which they themselves (supposedly — because no way a black man like Clarence Thomas could have risen without Massa’s largesse) benefited.

          1. Or Thomas Sowell.

            Point out that he got degrees from Ivy league before AA existed and they will — I kid you not — claim that the letters of recommendation are the same thing.

      1. This may be too inside baseball or private, and if so please tell me to shove off, but why would someone so different from the fanbase be hired as an editor at the one house that actually tries to serve its fans??

        1. Possible reasons include: He may have actual talent, know his job, and has proven he can do the work. Baen does not discriminate based on author politics (a pub with both Mike Williamson and Eric Flint can’t really be political picky).

          The people who write for, and work for Baen books *do* have political opinions. Quite strong ones, actually. Other pub’s may deliberately seek to winnow their pool of writers by political creed and party line. More the fools they. If one can write, entertain, and bring a fan base that buys everybloody thing they write, why not bring ’em on board?

          Totally not trying to be snarky, so apologies if it comes off that way (text is a poor communicator of tone). The anthrology is western horror themed. David has western horror chops. It doesn’t seem he’s allowed his personal opinions to color his work- I mean, Larry seems constitutionally incapable of being anything but the freedom-loving guy he is. If David were inclined to go to the lengths that some have (insert example here, of which there are many), he’d not have gotten the nod to do the anthology. That’s just my admittedly outsider view on it.

  9. you can preach to the masses who will, of course, listen in rapt attention to what you have to say …

    A response from the masses:

    Posner remains moronic.

        1. Cough! Cough! This I know.

          So, excuse me, but possibly I needed to be clearer in that I hoped that 1) our esteemed hostesses elder son a happy birthday & 2) the message would go through properly.

          I am not so sure I achieved the latter.

  10. someone telling us how we “need” “representation” in genre fiction, because minorities are reviled and put down every day, and they need to be represented.

    That line reminded me of something work-related that I’d glanced at, shuddered, and hastily clicked away. Here it is, in its loathsome glory:

    “The American academic and cultural heritage communities are not keeping up with societal needs for diversity, equity, and inclusion. … Race and ethnicity indicate profound differences that we continue to struggle to resolve.”

    The source? “Diversifying the Intellectual Leadership of Scholarly Publishing” (https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2017/06/29/diversifying-intellectual-leadership/). Now, call me crazy (hi!), but I thought the most important aims for scholarly publishing was scholastic rigor first, and any other considerations came later. From the tone of the article above (and other similar ones), other considerations must come first.

    1. Considerations first, or at least that’s changed from creeping in to galloping in while waving a big banner. Because publications = tenure, and departments have to show HR that they have a majority of minorities or other hires get blocked. That was starting to rear its hideous head in the early 2000s when I was on a search committee, and it has gotten worse. HR said [paraphrased] “Find the best qualified candidate, but be aware that you have sufficient white males/ white females/ males-in-general and need to diversify your personnel.”

      1. “that they have a majority of minorities”

        There is a problem with that statement. Actually lots of problems, but even if you believe the ridiculous, racist/prejudiced assumption that we need affirmative action in order for minorities to be equally represented… umm equal representation of minorities would mean there is a minority of minorities. If there is a majority of minorities either a) they are inequally represented, or b) they aren’t actually minorities.

        1. Agreed. In this case it meant that they needed over half the tenure-track faculty to be female and/or of color. But too many females of pallor wasn’t good, either. So at that point, a male of color weighted more heavily than a woman’s being a woman.

          No, it didn’t make sense to me, either. I just listened to the Department Chair’s quiet rant, signed the form confirming my committee membership, and snuck out.

          1. There was this neonatal pediatrician at the hospital when Brandon was still in the special care unit, Chinese. Heavy accent, not sure if it’s all exaggerated, personally. Chats with me for a while while checking on Brandon. Suddenly goes “I say I’m a banana.” I blink in confusion. “Yellow outside, white inside! People say I act too white, so I’m white inside!” I grin and say “Oh, hey me too, I guess!” He gives me a high five, saying “Good! It’s good to be a banana!” I spot one of the younger (white) nurses looking rather uncomfortable with a smile plastered on her face. One of the senior nurses was a very maternal looking African woman with a heavy accent, and the neonatal pediatrician who came to chat with me to brace me that a newborn preemie doesn’t look like a fat little full termer introduced himself as Mohammad. Once I explained that I was myself preemie and I had a preemie brother, he realized I wasn’t going to fret about how bony the baby would look, and got down to the more important things I needed to be aware of (breathing problems, staying warm problems, itty tiny feeds, that sort of thing.)

        2. The odd thing about such presumptions is that most readers tend to see words in black and white, unless the printer has elected to use sepia-toned ink and ivory tinted paper. And they see those words that way regardless of the author’s shading.

          1. Exactly. I loved/hated the “innovation” of putting the author’s writer’s picture on the dust jacket. If I really liked the author, seeing a picture allowed me to have a more accurate mental image of them. But honestly, I seldom cared to know what the person looked like, and don’t really want to know what groups they might fall into. (Really, I don’t much care that they live in Timbuktu or Smalltown or East Tityute, either, unless they’re writing about that place. Unless, again, they’re an author I’ve come to really like.)

            1. I liked the way some mangaka handled that, by drawing something to represent them instead of a photo. Masamune Shirow had a cartoon octopus, Akamatsu Ken had a sort of portrait wearing a bucket fishing hat and massive obscuring glasses, and each of the CLAMP ladies had a doodled avatar.

    2. I laughed myself silly recently at a blogpost I read mocking how this transgender woman was wailing at how she was removed from …Github? I think? because s/he/it was doing more Social Justicing (pushing for codes of conduct, more affirmative action hiring, more socjus stuff) than doing the work for which that person was hired. Naturally, there’s wailing about how this person is a VICTIM OF INJUSTICE WAAAAH because the work submitted was deemed ‘does not meet expectations.’

      Uhm. Duh. If that person wasn’t doing the work s/h/it was supposed to do, what else did they expect? Free money forever to pursue their love and dreams?

  11. One of Heinlein’s strengths was that his characters could be any race or religion, and that he wrote strong characters for both men and women. And he would, occasionally, indicate the race or nationality of a character, toward the end of the book.

    Which was when we learned that Johnny Rico of “Starship Troopers” was Filipino, and grew up speaking Tagalog…..

    1. It wasn’t until years after I first read the book that I learned that per Heinlein Rod Walker of _Tunnel In The Sky_ was supposed to be black. Even on re-reading the only clues I spotted (in a book written in the mid 1950’s)

      1) His sister (describing night scouting in her all-female combat unit) mentions that “the girls who need to do it” blackened their faces before going out.

      2) The book suggested a possible romantic pairing with Caroline (who was, explicitly, black – from Africa, and, I think, Zulu).

      Neither one was a particularly glaring giveaway, especially since many of Heinlein’s books had cross-ethnic relationships or multi-ethnic characters. Admittedly, he made it more obvious in his later books. But even in the period he was writing his juveniles he had explicitly non-white major secondary characters – Mr Kiku from _The Star Beast_ for instance.

      Then there was Manny’s family in _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_

      1. Then there was Manny’s family in _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_

        Heh. i still, because of the disguise Manny did for Wyoh, frequently visualize her as black. Go figure.

      2. Neither one was a particularly glaring giveaway,

        That just shows what a hack writer he was, failing to rub readers’ noses in his virtue.

        1. If Walker is black, it makes the media dressing him up like a stereotypical savage for their “story” near the end particularly nasty. And I wish I could say the media would never do something like that, but then I see my newsfeed . . .

          1. There’s a photography project that somebody did a few years back in several African countries where you often see those “poor, benighted people in need of aid” photos. They’d photograph the people like that, and then have them put on their nice clothes and pose the way they wanted. So you’d go from a stereotypical sad, strained expression in clothes that had seen better days to a Sunday suit, iPhone, and bling with a big smile because the guy was a successful businessman.

            The stated purpose was to show the dignity of the people being photographed, in contrast to the sad-sack stuff that a lot of people want you to believe.

      3. In Friday, the titular character was informed that her ethnic background was so diverse that she couldn’t be racist without biting herself in the butt.

        1. Which is, of course, impossible, as it is a well known fact that some ethnicities in ones heritage exempt one from ever being found guilty of racism, because privilege and stuff.

        2. Friday was all kinds of talented, but I don’t think she was THAT flexible.

  12. From the comments at Tor.com’s birthday article:

    “His current fandom have abandoned the idea of paying it forward, used TANSTAAFL to denigrate the idea of social security entirely, and have embraced his conservative-militarism views to the point where he is one of the top 3 SF authors of choice for the alt-right. It is a shame his legacy has been toxified the way it has, but I think we have to accept that his inclusion in any list of influential authors has to come with several incredibly strongly worded caveats about just who he has influenced and to what end.”

    The alt-right has an official SF authors list? Who knew?

    1. No doubt the rejection of his work as hopelessly sexist, racist, and several other unfashionable things by those who identify as Liberal, Feminist and Progressive has had nothing to do with his acceptance by those who reject the values of the Liberal, Feminist and Progressive.

      The fact is that Heinlein was what the Liberals, Feminists and Progressives hate most: an apostate. He evolved beyond his youthful adoration of all things Collectivists prize: socialism, one-world governance and direction by an elite. To further compound their antipathy, he was not only entertaining but constantly challenged his readers to think, evaluate, then rethink and reevaluate their customary ideals.

      Heck, they make the fundamental mistake of assuming that having written a novel about a military-based society he was in favor of such, an idea as foolish as thinking Orwell approved of the culture depicted in 1984. Heinlein was posing a question, not proferring an answer.

      1. Short version:

        It is a shame his legacy has been toxified the way it has …

        Who “toxified” it, eh?

        The “alt-right” endorsing the Bible or the Constitution does not toxify those works.

        1. Liberals, Feminists, and Progressives view both the Bible and the Constitution as toxic.
          So in conclusion, I have to say Heinlein is in pretty darn good company.

        2. In other words, it’s the latest excuse to throw Heinlein under the bus.

        3. The “alt-right” endorsing the Bible or the Constitution does not toxify those works

          There you go again. You keep insisting that something like “objective” “reality” exists, or, Anita-forfend, “truth”

          If the alt-right forces All that is Left and Good to detoxify these works, well, they should no better, and shut-up.

    2. How do you NOT “use TANSTAAFL to denigrate the idea of social security”?!? Does the commenter know what TANSTAAFL means?

      And I *really* hate this “alt-right” crap the progs have started. The way they mean it and the way they use it are at odds (and purposely so).

      1. Does the commenter know what TANSTAAFL means?

        I think it best to avoid any speculation about what such a person knows or does not know. Inconceivable!

      2. Within the concept of Social Justice, I’m sure that TAANSTAFL is interpreted to mean that social security is part of what your responsibilities are. The fact that this is just about the opposite of what it was intended to mean is just par for the course.

        1. They seem to be ignoring the great myth of Social Security, that it is an “insurance” program, which is why they do not allow means-testing of recipients.

          TAANSTAFL is merely the economic expression of the Laws of Thermodynamics, an acknowledgement that outputs cannot exceed inputs and some proportion of the inputs will be lost as waste energy.

        1. If the alt-right didn’t exist the MSM and the Dems (but I repeat myself) would have had to invent them. Their greatest need is a boogeyman to focus their useful idjits upon.

          1. Nod.

            There are real Alt-Rights folks out there but I seriously doubt that most people that Lefties call “Alt-Right” actually are “Alt-Right”. 😦

            1. That’s rather what I meant about the media’s shouting being BS. There are differently some far out there individuals who qualify as “right” on certain political axes. But I find it unlikely they’re a significant fraction of the population, and I find that much of what the MSM is calling “alt-right” is merely any person or view that disagrees with their narrative to any significant extent.

      1. I would object to being read by the alt-Right exactly as much as I would object to being read by Democrats or the Left, for much the same reasons.

        (Which is to saw that I don’t change my politics to make anyone happy, and if people can’t handle that, it is their problem. What I write into a story and how people enjoy it is another matter. If I put something out in the world, I have little if any control over it. Letting myself want to control who reads what I write is just setting myself up for unhappiness. I have a hard enough time bringing joy to others without worrying that I might have brightened the day of a Klansman, a feminist, an actual no fooling Nazi, or an environmentalist. Plus, people are complicated.)

        1. “I have a hard enough time bringing joy to others without worrying that I might have brightened the day of a Klansman, a feminist, an actual no fooling Nazi, or an environmentalist. Plus, people are complicated.”

          And sometimes the joy you bring into the life of a Klansman, a feminist, an actual no fooling Nazi, or an environmentalist, might just cause them to re-think their positions…but then, that’s part of people being complicated, n’est pas? (Pardon my Greek.)

      2. The real alt-right is a very small market. (I pretty much define the “alt” anything as being so far “alt” that they’ve gone over the horizon…)

        They do pay cash, though – small unmarked bills. Can’t be traced by the Commies in the IRS, you know. (On the “opposite” end, they pay cash too – can’t be traced by those Nazis in the IRS, you know.)

        Too much hassle for me; requires a trip to the bank. Now, if I could get at the even further ones, they only do gold and silver…

        1. I went all-cash about ten years ago, when my bank decided to get rid of “free” checking and charge a stout fee for each and every check.

          I went cash, the rest of the world mostly went “debit card.” Which has been interesting, as I encounter more and more local businesses that stare at cash like I’m holding out an angry scorpion, then try to claim they can’t take cash.

          As Heinlein noted back in the 1950s, the IRS does not take cash despite the “all debts” printed on Federal money. So I have to buy money orders for that, and some other things that have to go by mail.

          1. Debit cards have a fixed percentage fee for clearing. Banks charge an amount, usually a nickle or a dime, for each bill you deposit into a business account.

            For $20s that is comparable or cheaper than debit card fees. For $1 and $5 not so much.

            1. Really? I had never heard that about banks charging for depositing cash in a business account. Guess I’m glad I use a credit union. I don’t agree with how they waste so much of “our” money on constant upgrades, mostly aesthetic to the various branches, but I have had it explained to me by a couple of the high muckety-mucks (I have a contractor friend that practically may as well be on their payroll, probably 75% of his construction work is for the credit union, and I have been around enough to talk to both branch managers and the CEO/President/Board Director (I don’t remember what her title is) about why they are wasting money putting new counters and flooring every year or two when there is nothing wrong with the old stuff they are tearing out) that they are “wasting” that money on “improvements” to the branches because due to regulations passed against credit unions in the last decade, if they don’t spend it, it goes to the government, not back to the members.

          2. To be fair, that could be a problem with the honesty and trustworthiness of either the Postal Service or of the IRS itself.

            Theft is far easier when one is handed cash, than when one is handed a check.

            1. I don’t know about the Post Office, but there is definitely NO WAY the IRS wants to police the possibility of receiving hundreds of thousands of cash payments in the mail. It’s bad enough that some people still send cash anyway, and the IRS spends a lot of time and effort making sure their mail handlers don’t walk out with it. Usually by intentionally putting in dummy returns with cash in the envelope and knowing who receives it, then immediately firing anyone who doesn’t immediately report the money to the supervisors.

      3. Right…I have exactly one subscriber on my mailing list.

        I can see it now, “10 secrets of writing sci-fi that will be 5000 subscribers but they’ll all be from the alt-right”.

        To which my first question is, “do they pay for books?”

        1. That’s not bad. Mailing lists are pretty much a dead issue nowadays. For that matter, so is email, which is now so unreliable it’s not much better than random chance that a message will get through.

    3. “His current fandom have abandoned the idea of paying it forward, used TANSTAAFL to denigrate the idea of social security entirely”
      How is social security “paying it forward”? I thought paying it forward was older established people helping younger people out just as they were helped when they were starting out, not the people starting out keeping the older people in the style they have become accustomed to.

      1. Since it is considered the new norm to live in constant debt. The question is always, “how much can you afford to pay a month?” never, “how much can you afford to pay?” Passing on the debt to future generations is now considered the proper method of paying it forward.

        1. Youngsters who are paying my SS who will never get theirs.
          But, hey, I wanted to opt out of the FICA scam 50 years ago when we looked at it and thought it would already by gone by now.

        2. It’s kindof interesting to notice that there’s a difference in attitudes towards Social Security between the older folk and the younger.

          The older have paid into it all their lives, and expect a return from their “investment”. These people typically view Social Security as insurance.

          The younger expect to pay into it all their lives, but they expect it to come crashing down sometime in their lifetimes, because they recognize Social Security to be the pyramid scheme it is. (I remember the Social Security Administration explaining that they weren’t really a pyramid scheme, and while I can’t remember their reasoning, I *do* remember one overlooked fact that makes Social Security different: pyramid scheme organizers never threaten prison time for not paying into their schemes.)

          1. Social Security differs from a pyramid scheme in that it is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.

            This is the same “full faith and credit” which supports the VA, military pensions and uncountable treaties with the American Indian tribes.

            It is different from the “full faith and credit” which supports congressional and executive office pensions.

    4. Random 22 (that commenter) clearly does not grok RAH or his fans and admirers.

      1. Understanding — grokking — RAH,his fans and admirers has nothing to do with Random22’s purpose, except to the degree that purpose is to prevent anybody from attempting to do so. Such arguments as Random22’s as with CNN’s “exposure” of a meme-creator as racist and anti-DSemitic* have as their purpose to taint all ideas from such a source as fruit of the poisoned tree. The goal is to make illegitimate all ideas because of taint from some presumed deplorable viewpoint.

        Because the Left do not sell their ideas, their agenda, a la carte; you must buy into the entire package, no substitutions, no “one from column A, two from Column B” discretion. Socialism requires your acceptance of the whole cloth of lies because a single loose thread causes it all to unravel.

        As Niven observed, there is no cause so noble that a few A**holes won’t endorse it, so it follows that any cause, no matter how noble, that cannot be tainted by having been endorsed by a few non-people.

        In a society in which nobility is conferred by having swallowed an ideology hook, line, and sinker nobody can be allowed to balk at the float.

    5. Perhaps TOR should change their name to WTF. I mean really, there are not words to describe how incredibly stupid that passage Mr. Chupik quoted is. Well, actually there are words to describe it but if I use them our kind hostess would throw me (justifiably) into the outer darkness.

      Tor is just jealous that they don’t get to publish his juveniles :-). Of course thats really too bourgeois a thought for them , making money is bad. Luckily they
      seem to have succeeded in not doing that :-).

      Happy Birthday RAH wherever you are.

      1. No, no. For this you are allowed to use whatever words you want. In several languages. Just use creative spelling or wordpress will block them. Fire at will. I probably agree with you.

      2. change their name to WTF

        No, the Democrat Party already claimed that acronym for their latest “connect with the peasants” campaign.

        1. Which isn’t even a new thing. They pulled that while 0bama was in office, except it was “Winning The Future”. I don’t remember how long it was up before they stopped using it (though I think the website still existed) – the laughing and jeering from the right was loud and raucous and immediate.

      3. TOR is the perfect name. It can be used as follows:

        “What’s wrong? You’re writing like you’re TOR.”

        “Gee, that’s no reason to be TOR.”

        “If I could write that way, I wouldn’t be TOR.”

    6. So people who read him are toxifying him and not the people who taught the women at writer’s panels at Frolicon who said, “Well, I can’t read Heinlein because he is so invested in patriarchy.”

      I’m not the one choosing not to read him or telling others not to read him because of *isms. The Tor gang is.

      1. Any panelist at an event called Frolicon should NOT be throwing the first stone at another writer for literate piccadilloes.

        1. She wasn’t on the panel but an attendee.

          And actually, most of the panelists were pretty good (just the older women with the 50 year crack).

          Just because people are being hedonists doesn’t mean they can’t think…yeah, a lot of them don’t think as well as they think they do (If I lacked self-awareness I’d know it is rampant) but they aren’t automatically idiots or bad writers.

          1. Never said that hedonists couldn’t think, but rather that the particular hedonist quoted was an idiot.

            Granted everything kind of falls apart when you tell me it was an attendee and not an author.

            1. Nah, she was maybe 21 and just filled up with a great deal of knowledge that was wrong.

              The 60/70 something panelist who runs the Dragoncon Writers Track who said 50 years ago there were not women writers or characters in sci-fi…that’s a different story.

              And it is people like her who left that 21 year old so badly informed. Wished I’d had a Heinlein to just hand her…suspect a copy of Rolling Stones or Spacesuit will be in my bag next year jic.

              1. Try Star Beast — a main character in Mr. Kiku who is not only not a white male but not European and a bureaucrat. The other MC being a not particularly bright boy who has to rely on a clearly smarter, wiser and more decisive girl friend.

                And, of course, there’s the beautiful and hyper intelligent alien princess.

                1. Hmmm…I was going with Rolling Stones or Have Spacesuit Will Travel for the strong woman angle. I’d love to use Friday but I suspect she likes sex with men too much for feminists to see her strength and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is too “right-wing” (I know, I know, but you should get what I mean) to use. Maybe Podkayne of Mars with the original published ended. If we used Heinlein’s original I suspect instead of “strong female character who understands self-sacrifice” too many people brought up in modern schools would just read “he killed her the misogynist”.

            2. Oh, and I thought you were referring to the hedonism part with “at an event called Frolicon”. Read a bit too much into that part.

    7. Oh, and how many of those fucksticks have bought a typewriter or paid the rent or praised writers who wrote books that directly attacked the ideas of one of his?

      Because Heinlein did the first two for Philip K. Dick and the praised (rightfully IMHO) The Forever War which is a response to Starship Troopers and not a 100% positive one.

      1. This. Right here. That’s what RAH meant by paying it forward. Helping out those that have come after him with what they needed the most. I think this is what our hostess is doing by shining a beacon on the path to writing and publishing as well. Not all “pay it forward” markers need to be in kind or in cash.

        1. Heinlein’s generosity toward fellow SF writers is worthy of legend. Ted Sturgeon, who could write rings around any SJW author today, has told of his mentioning to RAH that he was hitting a dry spell and Heinlein not only sent a sheaf of story ideas (one of which, “And Now the News …” is one of Sturgeon’s best known works) and a check to tide him over until he could sell some of the stories.

          1. I thought that was Asimov (mainly because unlike Heinlein who didn’t brag Asimov made sure everyone know’s how generous he was).

            1. Nope, Heinlein. Sturgeon told the story as GOH at Worldcon, back when you could do it without risking a splintery wooden model of Scalzi’s anatomy.

              1. It is also covered in the editor’s notes to the relevant volume of the Complete Collected Short Works of Theodore Sturgeon.

                There are few authors in SF whose work merits such special 12- (13?) volume collections, but Sturgeon is undeniably among the five most deserving.

                  1. Which still leaves him with more good stuff than special snowflake authors who only write a book every five years. 😛

                    1. That depends on how big your statistical universe is. Sturgeon balances out “If You Were a Dinosaur…” and all its’ descendants.

              1. I get why you are laughing but in this context, the pay it forward bit, I cannot remember Heinlein bragging, at least not in the way Asimov did. Nor did Heinlein brag to elevate himself as inherently and universally superior as Asimov did.

                Go find Asimov’s editorial on finally being made a SFWA Grandmaster in his own magazine. Then read Heinlein’s acceptance speech.

                Heinlein remarks about his brother, a private to general up through the ranks officer in the army, telling him only two promotions truly matter: private to corporal and colonel to general. He then says he has long known the first and now he knows what the second feels like.

                There is no artificial humbleness in that statement. Heinlein is well aware of his abilities and his achievements. He doesn’t try to pretend he does not deserve the award.

                What there is that statement is humility. That is what makes him different than Asimov (or is one of the things). So, yes, I used the wrong terms. Heinlein certainly bragged. Heinlein was often an arrogant man in terms of his knowledge (you really see it in some parts of Expanded Universe). But Heinlein never seemed to think it put him above anyone. He might be smarter, more talented, more accomplished, more knowledgeable, etc but he generally didn’t seem to come across as nobility.

                Think about where we learned of him paying Dick’s rent and getting him a brand new typewriter because Dick had pawned his own or how he gave Sturgeon a list of ideas or how he called Spider Robertson’s daughter on her birthday because due to travelling for her father’s work there would be no birthday part (I believe his daughter was five)? You learned them from Sturgeon directly or reading RAH! RAH! RAH! Three Cheers for Heinlein or some other recollections. Or maybe you learned a few from Grumbles from the Grave when such bragging could not benefit Heinlein directly.

                Contract that to Asimov’s bragging about how great he was. Heinlein’s memoirs were brief, mostly letters with commentary, concerned either relatively obscure or controversial parts of his life, and published after his death as his setting the record straight (and maybe to try and get the last word). Asimov wrote two different memoirs and the latter, shorter one, seemed to be about making sure you knew who he was better than with targets including his own son (the chapter that destroyed my opinion of the man), his first wife, and most of his fellow writers.

                The difference between the two men was best summed up, unintentionally I’m sure, in Asimov’s chapter on Heinlein in the single volume memoir. Asimov said he was the rustic peasant to the gentleman Heinlein.

                He was right. Heinlein for all his faults (and they were many) was a gentleman who aspired to be better than he often was while Asimov merely wanted you to think he was better than he usually was.

                1. In my experience, most people these days have a complete misapprehension of what humility actually means. It properly expresses a thorough appreciation for one’s talents and abilities, and their limitations.

                  Heinlein did not brag to inflate his importance and his charity was certainly of the “not letting your Right hand know what the Left is doing” sort — He gave because he thought it the right thing to do, not so he could demand others admire his generosity (charity for the latter purpose is not charity, it is an effort to purchase people’s respect.)

                  It is long since I read Asimov’s discussion of his alienation from RAH but I recall it being expressed in terms of Asimov believing RAH’s politics moved from Left to Right as a result of him marrying Virginia, and Asimov expressing revulsion that any man would change his politics to suit a woman. The idea that Heinlein had been deeply enough into the Well of the Left to see its bottom and thus followed Virginia’s lead apparently never struck Isaac. (A list of things which never did, but ought have, struck Isaac Asimov is probably not in order. I leave such topics to those like Mr. Pournelle who have direct experience of the man and who are likely to polite to engage them for prurient purpose.)

                  1. A list of things that never struck Isaac but ought to have, needs to be headed by a two by four.

                2. In some ways, I first became aware of Heinlein through Alexei Panshin. It would be an understatement to say that they didn’t get along, and that Heinlein in particular was a jerk to Panshin.

                  On the other hand, I’m astounded by two things: First, for all his faults (and Heinlein’s treatment of Panshin was certainly a fault), Heinlein also had incredible generosity streaks. And second, despite disagreeing with him personally, and being treated rough-shod by Heinlein, Panshin nonetheless *loved* Heinlein’s work, and made sure his own children where exposed to Heinlein.

                  As someone who disagrees with Panshin’s politics, and at least some of his literary analysis of Heinlein, I nonetheless appreciate how his work is one of the forces that has led me to start reading Heinlein seriously.

                  I still need to read “Rite of Passage”; it’s my understanding that this novel has a strong Heinleinian flavor to it…

                  1. Bah, I forgot to mention that I also find it astounding that, while Heinlein can be a jerk, he has also demonstrated a strong generosity streak, which is one of the things that makes me stare at Heinlein’s ghost with fear, awe, and wonder…

                    But most especially wonder. I’ve mostly just read his juveniles, a few short stories, and a couple of adult novels…and I can’t help but wonder, “how can a mere mortal be such a fantastic storyteller?”

                    1. And, especially with the juveniles, hide strong moral and life lessons so well they don’t hit for 20-30 years sometimes.

                  2. I will admit I haven’t read much analysis of Heinlein. That has little to do with hero worship and more to do with most literary criticism. In fact, I think more than once the only literary critic I find interesting and worth reading consistently is Tom Simon with Ursula LeGuin a close competitor. I really need to get one of the later editions of Language of the Night which I haven’t read since the early 80s and still has a handful of things that are stuck in my head, one of which Simon mentions in Writing Down the Dragon (I think…might have been one of the others).

                    As I said, Heinlein had his faults but I think he was aware of them and of his good qualities and, based on what I have observed, is in that class of people who amped up the later to try and make up for the former.

                    1. I will admit that I don’t think I fully realized that I was reading literary criticism when I stumbled onto Panshen’s website; otherwise, I’m not sure how likely it would have been that I would have read it. I’m not even sure how I got to his website…

                      For literary criticism, I don’t think Panshen was that bad. Sometimes he had good points; sometimes he’s way off the mark.

                      Come to think of it, I think in some ways, Panshen is probably just as complicated a person as Heinlein is…

  13. OT, but mentioned in the post – I’m a magnet for unusual coincidence. Sarah mentions the huge French coiffures here, and just last night (or perhaps this morning, can’t remember if it was before or after sleeping) my wife was watching a video that went into great detail on the evolution of those coiffures, and the eventual difficulties in wearing them, after they became, for instance, too large to fit in a carriage, unless the lady either hunkered down on the floor of it, or let it stick out the door/window as she rode along.

  14. So July 7 is :mental: fathers’ day! Who knew?

    Did I ever mention the morning I woke up in the no- shit Mojave desert and went to work building a no-shit spaceship? Thanks Pops. Say hi to old man Harriman for me.

    1. No kidding…I have long said he’s the fourth most influential man in my life and I might be wrong (he could be ahead of one of my grandfathers).

  15. IIRC, Heinlein got into writing because of compound interest. On a home loan, I think.

    Sharing his detestation of debt, I quite understand.

  16. The worst way to improve the world is to set out with that as your target, and sole driving goal.

    If you do, you must evaluate the world, identify an improvement, and make that improvement. This is a lot of difficult steps that must all be done exceptionally well to ensure that one isn’t making the world worse.

    Doing well at the small tasks in front of you is far more reliable. Be good to people. Labor truly to make your living. You know how to do the little things right, or can learn. Out of many little good things come large big things that are beyond any human design.

    If you are being given money for your work by a for profit entity, you are probably doing good. (Minus the effects of government induced market distortion.)

    What we have a shortage of is people willing and able to do a good job of specific things.

    We have enough grandiose wanna be earth saving society altering world changing technocrats to keep us in mass graves for decades.

    1. “You mean to save the world?”
      “Uh huh. And let me guess, you’re saving it for your personal collection?”

    2. besides, “improve the world” is too vague. It speaks more of a desire to flatter yourself than improve any real thing.

      1. Yes.

        I know how to do some specific things.

        Others I don’t know how to do yet.

        If my goal does not break down into simple measurable elements, how do I know whether I have done it or not?

        You’ve reminded me that I haven’t met one of my goals. There was a man who felt doing something solved the problem, would act, relieve the emotions driving him to act, and rarely consider whether the problem was real or whether the problem was really solved. I don’t want to be that way.

      2. I’m not sure how to “improve the world”.

        I know how to cook a nice meal for myself, my wife, and my friends. I know how to deflea my cat. I can build Ikea furniture and make a serviceable bookcase from scratch. I can tell an oral story people enjoy.

        I think each of those (and more) make life better for me and mine, but that’s not “improving the world.” That said I think if more people put energy into making their slice of the world a little better for me and mine the summation of it all would improve the world a hell of a lot more than all the big improving the world projects people set out to do.

        1. I send money to my favorite charities, donate food to the food bank, and keep a garden blossoming for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. 0:)

    3. What if I just want to give an example for better behavior and figure a cool mystery involving an attractive woman, a disappeared leather boy, and three and a half sex scenes would make it a lot more fun to give the example 🙂

      1. I don’t know if it would be to my taste as a reader, but go for it.

  17. Neal Stephenson has grouped writers into two main groups: “Dante” writers, who have patrons rather than a large readership, and whose livelihood depends mostly on pleasing the patron; and “Beowolf” writers, who make their living by getting strangers to like their stories. You’re definitely a Beowolf writer. The Hugo death spiral is due to Dante writers taking over territory once held by Beowolf writers.

    1. That was the essay where he told a story about a writers’ workshop he went to, and another attendee asked him where he was teaching – ending with the immortal paradox “she had never heard of me because I was famous.”

  18. “And if you think Shakespeare was really a woman, we’re going to have words, and you will not enjoy this.”

    Yeah, but Shakespeare gets a pass, because according to something I read he took a transsexual lover.

    1. according to something I read he took a transsexual lover.

      I seem to have read the same thing. 🙂

      1. Have you read anything but a progress about economics (such as the recent $150 minimum wage thing that was serious)?

        They clearly believe in magic.

      2. In a young girl’s heart?

        Willie the Shake came from a stage tradition in which males played the female roles in drag — who is to say how Avon’s Bard identified any given day?

        1. is that a ‘remastered’ version? if so, they EQd away too much on the vocals.

          Yeah, i nitpick remastered 60s and 70s songs because they often do so much it destroys the character of the song.

          1. No idea. As long as it has the same lyrics and tempo, I’m good. I’m not a good one to try to get into a music discussion with, because I don’t much care, which my wife will never understand.

          2. I haven’t heard it in about 15 years, so I have no idea. But you know it is a catchy tune when you can sing along with the chorus the first time you hear it in over a decade.

  19. You can’t help writing some of what you are into your fiction (after all, the unique you is what readers are supposed to want), but you must be tapdancing like crazy to HIDE it with so much entertainment readers don’t notice – unless you become famous and some academic somewhere spends a lot of time thinking he can find what you really are from those bits you didn’t hide quite as well.

    And even then, if you do a good enough job, the academics will be fighting about their interpretations for many years to come. Maybe centuries, after which your immediate heirs won’t be embarrassed any more.

    1. What is most amusing is that said academics tend to believe their virtual “you” is more accurate than the real you, and your failure to conform to that construction becomes the basis for attacks on you.

        1. I wonder if they realize we find a not-so-hidden desire to be a petty dictator in all *their* work?

          1. After rereading Second Foundation, I wondered about Asimov. 😦

            1. Nah. Dictatorship, possibly – but not petty (given how carefully all of the 2nd Foundationers stepped around things)

            2. Mostly I found in Second Foundation (and later Foundation novels) what I found in his later one volume memoirs: that Asimov knew how much smarter and better he was than everyone else and why wasn’t he in charge.

              His discussion of the SFWA Grand Master award going to Heinlein (which Dr. Pournelle has said outright is who he invented it for) and Asimov being, what, fifth, was a huge temper tantrum if you knew how to read between the lines. As was his contempt for RAH (who was dead by them) in the Heinlein chapter of those memoirs.

            3. TLDR; version: Asimov’s memoirs were the first time an author made me not want to ready any more of his work based on something other than the work.

            1. Like the MPR announcer going on about how their listeners enjoy MPR’s “unbiased news reporting”. Dead seriously, at that.

              1. They are unbiased, for certain values of un.

                For that matter, I am unbiased, unlike every other person alive.

            2. I have with my own eyes read an article that got all huffy about needing to empathize with Trump voters; as the left, they ARE the empathetic ones, since they support [three leftist agenda items].

      1. And what’s worse, they are utterly incapable of even imagining any aesthetic reason for the things they find. From the classic psychologist who tried to analyze Hal Clement based on the world he built, to SJWs who haughtily declare that if your imaginary world has dragons but not complete equality of the sexes, you must be more afraid of Strong Woman Characters than of dragons.

        1. Which made me wonder why SJWs hated the Great Wall of China movie so much. The female character was very much a skilled and powerful warrior and general in her own right, was outright said to be the only one of the other commanders on the Wall who was willing to believe that the monsters were capable of learning; her all-female squad probably had one of the highest attrition rates in the whole army (because of what they do, not because they fuck up or are incompetent) and the reason why they’re an all-female troop makes actual sense given what they do. The people who complain about how the white guys in the movie were ‘so much more awesome’ fail to realize that the thing they were seeing was a complete different style of fighting from the Wall troops and the mercenaries; not ‘the Wall troops sucked.’

          1. The SJWs have “narrow vision”.

            They saw “white males” saving the Chinese and thus ignored anything else.

            They also ignored the fact that the Chinese movie-makers wanted a famous American actor in that film.

            IIRC they liked the actor and may have thought him being in the movie would help the movie in the American market. 😦

            1. Yeah, they clearly didn’t see the movie. The Chinese heroine and Damon’s character were working hand in hand equally to defeat the enemy. Hell, she was awesomely portrayed – she was very much an intelligent, badass, powerful and skilled character who was pretty much the solid definition of ‘heroine.’ And she could’ve been a tyrant as well, but nope, she was a good boss to even the least of the soldiers in the Wall army.

              What’s that? A seriously positive female non-white character? CLEARLY THE SJWS CAN’T HAVE THAT! THEY DIDN’T APPROVE OF IT!

              1. No, no, the problem was she’s not a victim! You can’t be a positive SJW role-model unless you are a victim of white male oppression. Tsk, tsk. Haven’t you seen the last revision to the SJW Guide to Life? It was issued a whole three minutes ago. 😛

                1. Pity poor Vic Tim, whose ancestors did away with the -othy of the family name for some reason and whose folks figured Victor (or Victoria…) might be a bit much. Now Vic is forever being pestered by allegedly well-meaning bumblers and bunglers all trying to “help” Mr. Tim.

              2. They don’t have to see the movie, any more than they have to listen to our words to know what we’re really saying.

                Besides, the whole SJW-megillah is about passive-aggressive power games and has nothing to do with social justice (because social justice is a myth, a chimera; true justice being an individual affair.)

                1. Just like all the complaints about dog whistles in the Poland speech and such – they need to understand one thing: If all you hear is dog whistles, you’re the dog.

          2. Because they start with the grievance and fudge up reasons for it, instead of looking to see if they have a grievance.

            Otherwise they might run of problems and have to give up being more-virtuous than thou on the basis of their bullying.

  20. Modern Liberalism is all about powerful people “Speaking Truth To Power” but talking to people “less powerful” than them. 😦

  21. Anytime someone points out that Shakespeare was writing for the masses, I remember how I almost failed English 201 in college. The teacher liked to divide authors into “People Writing to be Read” and “People Writing to be Paid”, and I engaged her in a semester-long argument about who belonged in which group.

    She read Shakespeare’s Folios and admired the way he strung words together, and saw the immortal poetry and universal truth in what he wrote.

    I was a Theatre major. I *studied* Shakespeare – what he wrote, when he wrote it, why he wrote it (money or political favor, and usually both), how it was staged, and for whom. He didn’t care if his most recent play was ever performed again, let along printed out for the elite to read, as long as his NEXT play was performed. If he were alive today, he’d be writing indie, and publishing a new book every third month on KU.

    1. Every third month?

      I suspect the old boy would be dropping a novel on the first of every month (and would skew short in terms of length…more a 50-60k guy than 80-100k).

    2. It would be delightful if academics somehow brought Shakespeare to our time, and he started cranking out scripts for sitcoms and action movies.

      1. Yes, and not because of their discomfiture, because we would be too busy watching the stuff!

        “As far as I can see, Shakespeare made all his stories better; and as far as I can see, he hardly could have made them worse. He seems to have specialised in making good plays out of bad novels. If Shakespeare were alive now I suppose he would make a sweet springtime comedy out of an anecdote in a sporting paper. I suppose he would make a starry and awful tragedy out of one of the penny novelettes. ” Chesterton

        From here:

        You may find it amusing why he discusses it.

    3. Apparently your English professor missed out on the fact that Shakespeare chose to string those words together in such a pretty way specifically to make it easier for the actors to remember their lines.

    4. When PERRY MASON was at its height, Raymond Burr was asked to name his favorite episode.

      “The next one,” he said.

  22. I started reading an SF novel by a well-known author (yes, I’m using the word intentionally). It started out moderately interesting … In the beginning, the major protagonist is female, the main antagonist male. Okay, I get it It happens and generally does not detract from the tale. Then, still in the opening pages of the story, there is a mention about the son of a major shipowner losing his husband. Okay, that’s enough social engineering for me. I put the book down. Too bad, this writer wrote some good yarns in the past. Now, he’s boring.

    1. I still flinch at the obligatory same-sex couples that are grossly overrepresented. (Especially in futuristic scenarios. Evolution is selecting against it in overdrive.)

      1. That is presuming it is driven by something biological and heritable in blood.

        It is politically correct to concede that this is so, but it is not clear that we have found any single explanation that conclusively explains the whole.

        If it is instead mostly an artifact of sexual abuse, and sexual abuse is a broader category than we normally recognize, then incidence of homosexuality might trend with societal tolerance for sexual abuse. At the very least, it is a question that speculative fiction can ask about without being considered politically correct preaching to the choir.

        1. Then it is selecting, in overdrive, for people who protect their children against that influence, and additionally for children who are not affected by the influence.

          1. My theory runs to teratogenic effects from our petroleum industries, sexual interfering with vulnerable boys (men seem to get stuck pretty easily), social incentives [1] and a recessive tendency for some brains to find it hard to make sexual pair bonds.

            What torqued my shorts is that we’ll never know. This is the kind of cross-disciplinary science that is really interesting, and potentially useful, and social “justice” Stalinists kill it dead. All because these ultra-marathons believe you can (and will) get an “ought” from an “is”.

            [1] see: If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him, I’d Be Out of Jail By Now

            1. There is an increasing body of evidence that all the estrogen dumped into the water supply from birth control pills may be affecting things. Oddly, no research funds appear to be available for exploring this obviously insignificant relationship.

            2. I could understand where you’d get most of those parts of your theory — but what made you consider teratogenic effects from petroleum industries? I’ve never heard someone mention that possibility before, and it’s making me curious. Are you aware of some trend such as (for example) a statistically-significant increase in people with homosexual orientation among people who work in the petroleum industry, or the children of people who work in those industries?

              1. There was an article the other day about the effects of certain molecules in some types plastics causing male fish to turn female.

                Birth control is giving rise to transgender fish
                Male fish are turning into females thanks to chemicals from birth control pills and makeup being flushed down drains, according to a new study.

                The study of freshwater fish in Britain found a fifth of males are now showing feminine traits — including producing eggs, a reduced sperm count and less aggressive behavior — due to gender-bending chemicals found in the contraceptive pill, cleaning agents, plastics and cosmetics, the Telegraph reports.


                “Using specially created transgenic fish that allow us to see responses to these chemicals in the bodies of fish in real time, for example, we have shown that oestrogens found in some plastics affect the valves in the heart.”


                “Other research has shown that many other chemicals that are discharged through sewage treatment works can affect fish, including antidepressant drugs that reduce the natural shyness of some fish species, including the way they react to predators,” Tyler said.

              2. It’s based on increasing phenomenon such as cryptorchedis (sp?) and the release of estrogen mimetics into the environment as by products of all the petroleum-based plastics we used. And of course the outsize effects of hormones on human development and the probability these pass through the placental barrier.

          2. If that specific model is mostly correct.

            It may be that there is a model which mostly describes the phenomenon that would not exhibit a strong selective effect.

            A person can potentially have reliable information about what the situation with their own sexuality is. The difficultly of truly knowing the inside of someone else’s head makes hearsay about others potentially unreliable.

            In addition to the truth being unclear, who gets to be the gay police? Who gets to say that this activity or person counts as gay, and that one does not? Does someone of more conservative politics like perhaps Van Stry or Burnett? Someone of more liberal or extreme left? Walt Breen? Sarah Hoyt of the “Walt Breen wasn’t really gay, even if he said so”? Me, whose personal opinions are built around being unpersuadable and untrusting, who had a starting point of “serial killers are immoral, and people with those drives should not act on them”? What testable standards do we have for sorting out examples before we get into the trouble of figuring out what exactly is going on?

            There are enough plausible and only slightly implausible potential explanations that we are not restricted to “fiction must present the reality that the future is homophobic and transphobic”. Even if we are definitely telling political correctness to go do extremely rude things to itself.

            1. You have neatly expressed the basis for my belief that slapping a label on a thing is a form of false knowledge, especially true for people. Labeling revokes individuality, and we are all, first, last and always, individuals.

              1. Labels are beside the point. Evolution doesn’t care about labels, because all the realities are in play.

                1. Evolution may not care about labels, but Evolution has a solution for people who mistake the label for the content.

                  Did you not understand the point about “false knowledge”?

                  1. No, it doesn’t have a solution, because since evolution doesn’t care about labels, it doesn’t have a problem with them.

                    1. Your argument seems entirely off point. My response to Bob was on the topic of people thinking that by slapping on a label they have gained knowledge. Evolution, being non-sentient, clearly doesn’t care about labels but exacts a penalty from those who operate under invalid assumptions.

                      I was not discussing evolution, I was addressing the illusion of knowledge.

                      I would have thought someone who reads as closely as you would have noticed that distinction.

                    2. “Evolution may not care about labels, but Evolution has a solution for people who mistake the label for the content.”

                      “I was not discussing evolution,”

                      Pick one.

                    3. I was referring back to my original remark. It was you that introduced the irrelevancy of evolution. I regret indulging your digression.

                      Troll elsewhere, I no longer think we are speaking the same language.

              2. “Islamic terrorist”, “PCP berserker”, and “serial killer” can be fairly useful labels. I find labels useful when I test them for fit and function.

            2. Was this supposed to have some kind of relationship to what I said?

              Evolution cares not about labels but babies. It will be the “gay police” because the effect of gay liberation is to free homosexuals from the pressure to reproduce — that is, most typically, make themselves evolutionary dead ends, and even in the best evolutionary case, suppress their fertility. Differential fertility is the driving force of evolution.

              1. How strong a differential pressure over how many generations?

                If it isn’t very genetically driven? If culturally driven by factors that produce a lot of straight children with a small number of gay ones?

                If the biological factors are multiple, not terribly lethal on their own, or are rarely fully activated even when entirely inherited?

                Alcohol has killed enough long enough to have caused genetic changes in humans. Modern hygiene may make water safe enough to drink without alcohol. Will the future be teetotal, or is the tendency sufficiently non-lethal in the aggregate that it would be difficult to entirely remove from a population?

                Can we breed for right handedness, not writing poetry, not painting in water colors? If the mechanism behind gayness is closer to stuff we can’t breed for than to stuff we can, it probably is not something that can be rapidly bred fully out of the population. Absent the mechanism’s uncertainty being clarified, your confidence sounds like “of course eugenics will rid us of drunkenness, poverty and Catholicism”.

                1. None of the things you mention are one tenth as evolutionary detrimental as this one.

                  1. Assuming first it is at all relevant to evolution. There’s reason to think that gays are rare. Less than a percent which does not breed? That’s flat out dwarfed by recent historical infant mortality. Why didn’t humans evolve a genetic resistance to infant mortality? (Okay, you can argue that that did happen, but we still had infant mortality.)

                    Sure, the American subcultures which don’t buy this bullshit will have more offspring in the next generation, and their offspring will probably be more influenced than not by them.

                    But many tens of generations have failed to eliminate the tendency, and all of a sudden the next few will? Don’t underestimate human messiness.

                    1. Infant mortality was selected against, but as the factors were general it didn’t produce that much differential fertility.

                      And tens of generations have had the work-around of forcing them to have babies anyway. That particular counterforce is gone. As for how many generations it will take — you just plain made that up and tried to attribute it to me.

      2. In Drake and Stirling’s “The General / Raj Whitehall” books, two of the major characters were queer as football bats and STILL recognized they were going to have to produce offspring via women. See also Robert Adams’ Horseclan books.

        1. Yes. There was a lot of pressure to do your duty, and most homosexuals could do it. A cultural evolution to deal with what otherwise would be an evolutionary dead end. Remove that. . . .

          1. That’s why I built St. Jenna into the Colplatschki books. So long as an individual does his or her duty to the family in socially acceptable ways and has the necessary children, and comes to an agreement with their spouse, everything else is between them and their deity. Likewise the restrictions on entering the convent or priesthood unless 1) you have already raised a family or 2) you have lots and lots of siblings and they are already raising families. The planetary population is too small for people to not have kids if they are able to.

    2. Eh. I have my share of non standard characters traipsing around, but they happen organically. it’s not a fill the slot thing for me. never will be.

  23. America’s Caucasian progressives claim to celebrate diversity, then promptly expect every non-Caucasian to become an immediate ethnic spokesperson, on command. Forgetting (perhaps innocently?) that nobody asks them for the White Viewpoint.

    So, how ridiculous is it to ask anyone else for the Black Viewpoint or the Hispanic Viewpoint?

    Because there are bazillion different people under those umbrellas, and they won’t agree with each other on all things. Hell, they won’t agree with each other on many, many things. This is why identity politics is fucking stupid: it pretends that people can be distilled to pure demographics, and that those demographics can have a singular opinion which forever magically aligns with whatever trendy political ideas America’s Caucasian progressives are infatuated with this decade.

    How they can be voiceless when everyone gives them a megaphone?

    Indeed. But it’s not about giving the truly voiceless a megaphone. Notice how quickly they ignore conservative women, or black Republicans. Such individuals must not be allowed to exist. Only those members of the blessed Victim demographics — who, cough, agree with the Caucasian progressives, cough — will be given megaphones.

    All others will be summarily dismissed from the conversation.

    1. They believe they have transcended race and the white viewpoint. The white viewpoint is supplied by the deplorables in their worldview.

      That was not meant as sarcasm. They think they are beyond us.

    2. This is why identity politics is fucking stupid: it pretends that people can be distilled to pure demographics …

      Oh! If only it were just that stupid. To have assigned “correct” opinion edicts by presumed identity makes it effing stupid squared. Allowing individuals to “elect” an identity — including especially identities previously unknown on this planet — is effing stupid cubed. Nor is that the limits of their stupidity, but I would rather not hit that particular horse as many times as their stupidity requires.

    3. Twice in recent days I’ve had to bring up the phrase, “I’ve heard that the other way around.” The first time was “Democrats believe that people are inherently good and Republicans believe they are inherently evil.” The second time was a similar construction with Democrats thinking and Republicans emoting.

      Both times, the posters seemed flabbergasted that anyone could have it the other way around. But then again, the posters are classifying people’s worldview based on *their* perception of political parties, which barely has reference to the actual parties, let alone the people who support either one.

      Me? I believe that people support or oppose political parties and their viewpoints for complex and myriad reasons, very few of which are represented in popular fora. And I start looking cagily at anyone who blithely starts saying things like that.

      1. Eh. The former is how I have always heard it. That is why we try and maximize reward for good things and minimize for bad things. Democrats both assume no laziness (Star Trek’s “post scarcity” system would be a pipe dream I’m) and that govt is not made up of humans (since govt has to Tampa down the corporate greed).

        1. The latter construction comes up when you think that Democrats require people to be ruled and Republicans (not so much now) believe that people will help one another of their own free will.

          Again, it’s pretty ridiculous either way, because it assumes a commonality of views that’s very unlikely to hold over large portions of the population. (It also assumes that “good” and “evil” are universally-understood terms, and a quick scan of opinions around the country can dissuade anyone of that… if they’re applying rationality to the subject.)

          The rant about how we over-emphasize the importance of thought over emotion is another story. (Not that emotion is universally good, only that most people seem to assume that pure logic is the ideal. We’re human, and emotion is part of the package deal. Otherwise we’d be pure utilitarian and life would suck…)

          1. It gets complex. Most Republicans will acknowledge that not everyone will help each other, but putting the power to coerce them into government hands is worse than the alternative.

            1. Yes, this!

              That, and Republicans and Libertarians tend to believe, to one degree or another, that you can do things without government help — perhaps even things like disaster relief, health care, education, roads, police, fire, judicial systems, etc — and thus, they oppose government interference with these things. They tend to believe we can have nice things independent of government.

              However, Democrats tend to believe that if government isn’t providing it, it won’t be provided at all; thus, when a Republican or a Libertarian opposes government providing something, a Democrat will cry “Why do you oppose this thing?” when there’s no opposition to that thing at all, just a difference in opinion on how that thing should be provided.

              (Interestingly enough, if there’s a difference between a Republican and a Libertarian on whether, say, judicial services should be private or government-provided, a Republican is going to make the case that the privately-provided service is not going to work, rather than accuse the Libertarian that they don’t want judicial services…)

      1. Or the mother throwing out her child when he voted Trump in the school’s mock elections, and videotaping and posting it proudly online. And the younger brother crying for his elder sibling, and being threatened to get ousted too.

        Anyone ever find out what happened to those boys?

  24. Bet you never thought, when you came stumbling out of the political closet, that you’d end up so beloved and sought out!

    This, too, is a lesson for those who seek to silence through ostracism and the threat thereof: The internet views such petty power politics as damage, and routs around them.

      1. SurPRIZE!!!! You are -not- alone!

        Man, was I ever shocked when I found that out. I always thought I was the only one. ~:D

  25. Science fiction—I don’t write it because I am addicted to it; I am not. I’ve written and sold all sorts of things, technical articles, journalistic nonfiction, television scripts, detective stories, screenplays, adventure stories, even teen-age love stories told in female first person. But I usually write science fiction because it turned out that I made more money that way. I did not become a writer to see my name in print; I didn’t give a hoot about that and had no literary ambitions. I was a naval officer by choice; I became a writer by economic necessity. I needed to pay off a mortgage and started writing to get the money. I was in poor health and could not handle a steady job—nor were there any jobs; I was disabled out of the Navy during the Great Depression, a time when lawyers were driving milk trucks and graduate engineers were working as janitors.
    From Channel Markers, Heinlein’s presentation to the cadets at Annapolis.
    I’ll post the beer quote shortly.

      1. There are quotes of a similar nature in Grumbles From The Grave.
        Perhaps there?

      2. Now, for some background on Stranger and my stories in general: I write for the following reasons—
        1. To support myself and my family;
        2. To entertain my readers;
        3. And, if possible, to cause my readers to think.
        The first two of these reasons are indispensable, and I have always had to work for a living, for myself and now for my dependents, and I come from a poor, country family—root, hog, or die. I have worked at many things, but I discovered, somewhat by accident, that I could produce a salable commodity—entertainment in the form of fiction. I don’t know why I have this talent; no other member of my family or relatives seems to have it. But I got into it for a reason that many writers have—it was what I could do at the time, i.e., I have been ill for long periods throughout my life, and writing is something a person can do when he is not physically able to take a 9-to-5 job. (Someday I would like to find time to do an essay on this. The cases range from blind Homer to consumptive R. L. Stevenson and are much more numerous than English professors seem to be aware of.) But if a writer does not entertain his readers, all he is producing is paper dirty on one side. I must always bear in mind that my prospective reader could spend his recreation money on beer rather than on my stories; I have to be aware every minute that I am competing for beer money—and that the customer does not have to buy. If I produced, let us say, potatoes or beef, I could be sure that my product had some value in the market. But a story that the customers do not enjoy reading is worth nothing. So, when anyone asks me why I write, if it is a quick answer, standing up, I simply say, “For money.” Any other short answer is dishonest—and any writer who forgets that his prime purpose is to wangle, say 95 cents out of a customer who need not buy at all simply does not get published. He is not a writer; he just thinks he is.

        Grumbles from the grave (Non Fiction). Robert A. Heinlein

        1. I remember Alexei Panshen disputing Heinlein’s claim that he only wrote for the money; he used the example of how “A Door Into Summer” came into being (namely, Ginny observed their cat, in the wintertime, going from window to window, and she made the comment that their cat was looking for the door into summer — and Heinlein took that phrase, and in two days pounded out the novel with the same name): a person who only writes for money wouldn’t do something like that.

          I think he has a point, but I would add this: I remember Heinlein telling Campbell that he was going to quit writing once Campbell rejected a story, because he was tired of writing, and his goal of paying off the mortgage had been achieved. One day, Campbell rejected a story, so he stopped sending in stories. He started feeling listless and depressed, and when Campbell asked why the stories stopped coming in, Campbell looked at the story, and suggested making a few changes. As Heinlein made those changes, he felt something stir, and he realized that he was going to write for the rest of his life.

          Sure, Heinlein wrote for the money, and almost certainly did so for the rest of his life. In the process, he became a writer, though, and found that he cannot stop writing, even though he had wanted to.

          I personally don’t see a contradiction between the two, myself.

  26. And here it is:
    I think of it as competing for beer money; this keeps me steady on course. My purpose is to make what I write entertaining enough to compete with beer. Not to be as great as Shakespeare or as immortal as Homer but simply to write well enough to persuade the cash customer to spend money on one of my paperback reprints when he could spend it on beer.
    From that same lecture.

    1. And the irony is that, as time may pass, he may end up being considered as great as Shakespeare or as immortal as Homer.

      But then, it’s clear that Shakespeare had the same guiding light, and it’s likely Homer did too….

  27. “He worked for a living” reminds me of how people look at plumbers, electricians, mechanics, locksmiths, carpenters, etc. too. The whole “Holy cow! He’s charging me $1500 to (do XYZ service)! I can only afford $100. He was rude to hang up the phone.” (Just happened in a thread of a friend on FB)

    Somebody pointed out that the wear and tear on safety equipment plus wages for the workers would come to more than $100, even if XYZ was limited to a small subset of the whole. “But he was rude!” Yeah, he thought you were rude for dismissing (or not investigating) WHY it would cost $1500. You were wasting his time.

    Locksmiths, plumbers, and electricians can get calls 24/7 in all weather. Locksmiths can open car doors and safes without destroying a window or blowing it up (most of the time). Plumbers can prevent more flood damage and allow you the full use of your bathrooms, sinks and laundry. Electricians can prevent fires and allow you the full use of all electronic appliances with good lighting.

    There is this idea that some jobs are “easy” because they didn’t require an expensive degree or because of the “cushy” work surroundings (you sit all day and type on a computer). Or that the reward/salary isn’t deserved because others “did all the work” even if you came up with the idea (business owners, CEOs).

    People completely misunderstand what work is and see it as a bad thing. Unless you are “helping the downtrodden” in some sort of approved way you are either an uneducated plebe or a greedy capitalist out to destroy everything you touch simply to make a profit.

    1. Anyone who thinks plumbing is “easy” should be required to work as a plumber’s apprentice for a year. Or spend a few weeks installing asphalt roofs in summer. Or change a tire on a jet and bleed the brakes while you are down there. I intensely dislike Skydrol.

      1. Would much prefer plumbing to working on asphalt roofs, and that includes repairing sewer lines. There was a plumber who often showed up on site after we dried in houses, and we’d cut an envious glance at the squirrel cage fan he had rigged up that would work even in tight places.

        1. I can only recall working on an asphalt roof once, and it was spring, not summer. I’ve did plumbing though, and worked on airport runways in August, and would say it is a tossup… but only because I hate plumbing.

          1. The worst plumbing work I have done on my own was replacing the bathroom sink in the house I lived in from ’95-’04. Instead of replacing the straight copper pipes of the supply line with the kind of flex hose you find in kitchens, I fought with those pipes until I got them back in place under that damn sink and soldered them in. It’s a good job, but that was more work than it was worth.

          2. Once you’ve had to replace a “racist toilet” (yes, the renter called it that) was the handyman/sup at a fourplex you have an increased appreciation for plumbers.

              1. Pretty much, yes…it was white and kept backing up (because of the child’s toy we fished out when we pulled it up) ergo it was racist.

                1. Ugh. Reminds me of when the hall bathroom in my old house got clogged. I could not clear it completely with a plunger, and since I couldn’t afford a plumber at the time, I basically shut down that bathroom for a while. Eventually, I pulled the toilet myself, and found a half of a plastic egg in it.

                  But we’re not black, so I guess it wasn’t racist. 🙂

                  1. Let us just say that incident affected my thinking a lot (similar to how running a Dominos affected my view of minimum wage).

                    If nothing else it was proof of the power of repeating a lie over and over.

            1. Idiots in the apartment beside mine (shared a common sewer outflow) put half a lasagna down the disposal. it came back and haunted me. Along with the lasagna, as it later turned out, was a green plastic dish scrubby. To make a saga short, two months later, I came back from grad-classes and discovered that the combination had overpressured the pipes and broken connections back as far as the shower, which had to be removed by way of a closet, leading to grey-water leaking into the foundation. I had to move out for a few days until the plumbers and sheet-rock guys finished ripping everything out, then putting it all back in.

              1. As much as indoor plumbing is a blessing on and of civilization, when it fails it is a curse.

              2. That reminds me of our first apartment after we were married. Decent landlord. Bad area. Kids upstairs had no clue about anything related to chores. Mom tried teaching them to do laundry. So they did it by themselves a couple of times. And used dish soap for hand washing dishes in the laundry. Soap suds backed up into our place and all over the floor. Another time, water in the sink suddenly started backing up. We bailed it into the bathtub which was still draining. When there was finally a break in how much water was coming through, I ran upstairs and told them to stop whatever they were doing until the blockage could get resolved. Turned out to be the women upstairs flushing all their feminine products down the toilet and creating a VERY stinky backlog in the basement and a backed up sink in our place. For some reason, the bathroom drains in our place went out a different set of pipes so we were fine for that part but couldn’t do laundry or dishes. Not sure how it affected upstairs.

                1. Turned out to be the women upstairs flushing all their feminine products down the toilet

                  Amazing how a product designed to absorb liquid and expand to block a narrow conduit will, when flushed down a toilet, absorb liquid and expand to block a narrow conduit.

      2. Done the first two, and yes, there is major suckage involved. Plumbing calculations, roughing in measurements (*all* the different manufacturers and models. There’s a book every year), copper flex (how I loathe thee, copper flex), thank goodness for Pex, and the ever head scratchingly questions like, “why the *expletive deleted* did they have the main kitchen return going *uphill*!?”

        Sunburns on the bottom of your chin, heat stroke, may Himself help you if you’ve ever considered a fear of heights, learning to climb a ladder at a head run with two loads of shingles on your shoulders, tap-bang-shift, and the sun-to-sun summer schedule.

        Nope, don’t miss it a bit. *grin* I’ll gladly pay someone else to do it when I can. Never had to work on aircraft, it’s always been automobiles (and always in the worst places and at the worst times…). *chuckle*

        Speaking from experience, there’s ususally an @hole upcharge for the idiots who tend to look down on skilled trades. Similarly, a “let me first fix your f-up that occured when you tried to fix it yourself, then go after the real problem” charge. On the latter, we tend to love the DIY guy and help him out as much as we can, but the fellow who “knows it all” already from youtube- that guy’s a pain in the touchas! But everybody has to learn sometime. The lessons can be expensive, though. *rueful grin* I speak from experience here.

        1. Usually, when we put up rafters or roofed, I ended up on the ground/back of truck throwing up materials. But there was one occasion where we were papering a room, and the building supply convinced us to try a new asbestos paper. Unlike the conventional tar paper, it was white, and slick. This house was technically single story, but while one end had one or two courses of block, the far end was high enough that we set up the crawl space as a storage area. And there we were, on that slick paper.

          We finished one side of the house and the boss had enough. For the other side we used conventional tar paper. Much better.

          1. Unlike the conventional tar paper, it was white, and slick.

            Don’t you hate it when the product developer forgets that the product actually has to be installed?

        2. Dang it, for some reason I read “asphalt roofs” and saw “torch down.” I have done more three tab than I ever want to see again, although possibly I never thought of it as asphalt because while it says so on it, and I have read it referred to as that, it is ALWAYS called “composition” in this part of the country.

          Yes on reflection I would rather do either plumbing or stand on a runway for 12 hours a day in August than lay down three tab. And the guy who invented Pex deserves a special place in Heaven. (I just replumbed my house with Pex a couple months ago).

        3. I’ve heard it both ways. If the DIY was in the right direction (say just needed certain tools) it was looked on positively. Idiot DIY (Say running a jumper wire from a main breaker to a 15 amp breaker because main is broken) on the other hand may get an aggravation fee.

      3. Just try working on em. I run into issues from time to time from guys on the pointy end where I try and figure out where we got the guys with five arm joints decades ago.

      4. Have had to have some maintenance people over lately; the house was probably first or second on the list of that day’s callouts, so it was early morning each time. Each time I offered the men a bit of coffee or something else warm to drink – tea, something – because it’s chilly o’er down under right now. It seemed to surprise them, and they politely refused. I was making myself coffee anyway, but it made them cheerful.

        I try not to be one of the bitchy people they meet. Hard work is hard.

        1. I recently called a contractor who can do gas work. I’ve thought of moving my gas water heater as part of a larger project.
          I got him on the phone and asked for a “ballpark” estimate. I’ve had a HE!! of a time getting these sorts of numbers from folks, and he balked a little. But, I explained I just wanted to have an idea if I needed to set aside a thousand or five thousand (it’s gas, it goes boom if not done right) or what kind of reasonable range – with the understanding that it might vary when an actual estimate is done.
          He seemed startled. He replied, “Well, as long as you understand this isn’t an official estimate, you’re way too high. I’d say less than $500.”
          Because he finally got the idea (so many others *still* refuse after I’ve made that statement) and was honest (it was a good discussion) about what it might mean and how easy it probably was, I put him on my list of Call-This-Guy for whatever I might need.

          But, it took me re-assuring him that I wasn’t that guy and was just looking for his professional opinion so I knew how to plan, before he would give me any figure. I’m betting he bills a Know-It-All surcharge.

          1. Not at all the same, as far as type of work, but very similar as to possible customer relations. Years ago I attended a very small just-starting (and then almost immediately folding, as they are wont to do) renfaire and since I was sufficiently in costume (I have been where my booth was, and when my act was – much to my surprise.) I heard a lot more ‘backstage’ talk than I probably should have. One vendor stood out for that, and it was fascinating to watch this person in action. Much was “That’s $PRICE, but for you, $LOWER_PRICE.” That happened for almost everybody, not just those in (quasi-)period garb. There was one fellow who did not get the second price. And it was rather plain why after watching him a while. Almost every (potential) sale was for the second, lower price. But if he bought, he’d be paying the a**h*** tax.

          2. Being reasonable helps. Sometimes though… The plumber wasn’t the first one we’d called out actually. There was a previous one. He basically told me that the sink would need to be completely changed and said that he ‘couldn’t do that’ because ‘he was led to believe it was a simple issue.’ The other problem he said wasn’t his job. This guy was the stereotypical fat older man with a beer belly whose buttcrack you could see. I was rather taken aback by the existence of a living cliché.

            Second plumber got the second easier job out of the way, going to Bunnings for the replacement, then worked on the sink. Just a fittings replacement since the old ones had degraded quite a bit, thus leaking. He fixed the ones for the faucet too since they were in similar shape.

            I get mostly good experiences though.

          3. When I was having gas pipe installed, the plumber wouldn’t give me a ballpark, but he did come out for free and give me a direct estimate. I was having new service installed, to change from an oil furnace to a gas one, and he wasn’t too expensive at all (around $600, I seem to remember)

    2. Locksmiths can open car doors and safes without destroying a window or blowing it up (most of the time).

      Too few people appreciate that locksmiths can do this but only do it upon request and for a relatively small fee. I wonder how many complainants would exercise comparable restraint?

        1. It isn’t that “‘unaffected’ = ‘voted for’“, it is more a case of ‘unaffected’ = deplorable = ‘voted for’ …

        2. Possibly because anyone who didn’t vote for Trump HAD to be as agitated as the guy who needed the plumbing work done was. After all why wouldn’t they be? *Please do not step in the puddle of obliviousness, nor the adjacent puddle of snark.*

      1. The “best” part was the progressive being worried because he’s Jewish. As a Jew myself, I’m a lot more worried about antisemitism from the left than the right. We’re barely above white males on the progressive totem pole, so I expect we’ll be near the top of the list when they start rounding up “guests” for the gulags. Witness, as one example, the Jews being kicked out of the Chicago pride parade for having the audacity to identify themselves as such.

        1. I don’t want to talk about UNESCO declaring Hebron, with its “Cave of the Patriarchs” a Palestinian “World Heritage Site.”


          It is clear what YHWH was doing when he ordered the ethnic cleansing of Canaan as necessary prerequisite for establishment of His kingdom of Israel.

          1. Nikki Haley has already had a few choice words for that decision. Hopefully the Donald will have more this coming week.

      2. Yes because it is Trump and all those evil right wingers that support Palestine, Morrisey and all those other antisemitec/anti-Israel causes. And it is those Progressive Leftists like Obama, Rachel Maddow, Chris Mathews and the Daily Kos that routinely have the Prime Minister of Israel on as a guest, and often visit Israel and do live broadcasts from there.

  28. I once asked Mr. Heinlein “Why did you write Glory Road?” Robert replied, as I suspected he would, “To make a little money.” I’m sure he has published a more formal answer to the question of why he wrote, but his answer to me would suffice, and was his usual remark to his friends. Of course it is way incomplete.

    Regarding Joe’s beer money: I don’t know when he originally said that, but when I was President of SFWA in the early 70’s, it was well known, as I found out in the Lem affair. Stanislaw Lem was an honorary member of SFWA, one of only two. Honorary didn’t mean as an honor: the by-laws defined it as a convenience for those who published but not in America, and a Polish-American academic member persuaded then President Professor James Gunn to make Professor Stanislaw Lem an Honorary Member in part because although he was sometimes published in translation in the US, he spoke no English and was always paid in zlotys by his Krakow publisher, and had no dollars to pay SFWA dues.

    (This sounded reasonable: many of us had zlotys which we could only spend in Poland by going there; we could spend zlotys in Poland, but not to travel to or from Poland; that took hard currency.)

    Anyway, Ted Cogswell, whom I had appointed to be editor of the Forum, read an English translation of a German language publication of a literary criticism of American science fiction written in Polish by Professor Lem. In it he said he had accepted an Honorary Membership in SFWA in the hopes of reforming it from within, but it was hopeless. Why. even SFWA President Poul Anderson said that we wrote for Joe’s beer money. How could real literature compete with beer!

    His review article went on to say American science fiction was a hopeless banal mess.

    Of course he got the source wrong; it was Heinlein who had said we should remember that we wrote for discretionary income, not the rent and food money. “We write for Joe’s beer money, and Joe likes his beer.” He’d said that at SFWA Nebula ceremonies and privately to all his friends and proteges, but of course not to Lem whom he had never met. Where Lem got the idea that Poul Anderson had said it first I have no idea; Poul probably repeated many times, but he was careful to give attribution whenever I heard him say it.

    Anyway the whole mess caused a great brouhaha that ended with Phil Dick and Phil Farmer threatening to stop paying dues if Lem kept free membership, and Treasurer andy offutt discovering that Lem could get his American publisher to pay his dues in dollars, and thus was not eligible to be an honorary member (a category since abolished; the only other honorary member was J. R. Tolkien, who didn’t get any US dollars paid to him by Wollheim who published a legal but unauthorized Lord Of The Rings — due to a defect in the old copyright law, Tolkien’s book was not under American copyright. SFWA gave Professor Tolkien an honorary membership so SFWA could try to represent his interests.)

    Long story. Sorry. Anyway Fred Pohl (my successor) offered to pay Lem’s dues for him but Lem refused and resigned all connections with SFWA. When I was President and he was still a member the only contact Lem had with SFWA to reform it from within was an offer to have his Krakow publisher publish Polish translators; several authors sent submissions, but we later learned they translated and published them without contracts and didn’t even pay zlotys, but that’s another story, and not Lem’s fault.

    The Lem affair got SFWA denounced by academia for years, but that’s another story too.

    So Heinlein’s beer money remark consumed a lot of my time over the Lem incident, even if Lem got the source wrong.

    1. I recall reading some of those Stanislaw Lem books back in the day. I always thought that Jerry Pournelle guy’s were ‘way better. ~:D

      1. Lem had a lot of interesting ideas destroyed by too much literature around them. The core struggle of Solaris, is it really possible to communicate with a clearly intelligent but completely alien alien, is great. Even the idea of the alien conjuring up our pasts by somehow reading our minds was interesting. Even the satire, at least I think it was satire, of the academy with the field of Solaris Studies was great.

        But the book was so literary it didn’t resolve a damn thing. I get leaving some of the communication question answered negative but completely unresolved. Blah.

        Which still puts him ahead of a lot grey goo…at least he had ideas worth thinking about.

    2. “read an English translation of a German language publication of a literary criticism of American science fiction written in Polish”

      After that many convolutions one has to wonder if even the author would recognize it.

  29. Just for perspective, in 1966, the year I entered high school and started buying my own books, a paperback reprint of a Heinlein novel went for 35 cents. Research tells me that at the same time a pint of beer went for 75 cents, so one could actually buy two mmpb books for the price of one beer. Quite a good deal I’d say.
    These days the price of a beer depending on store or bar runs from $1.50 to upwards of five bucks. Mass market paperbacks after a brief survey seem to start around $8 and often rise above $10 for best sellers.
    It would seem that the beer to book ratio has flipped. Factoring in e-book prices only skews the numbers somewhat given that $4.99 seems the sweet spot for a full length indie release. We will not even discuss the pricing of traditionally published e-books as in that direction lies fantasy and horror.

    1. For a while I wondered if the fashion for goat-gagger-length works was 1) to justify the $8.00 and more price or 2) caused by people being unwilling to buy skinnier books if they had to pay $8.00 and up. Now I read indie and buy Tor books used and don’t worry about it.

      1. Well, the industry in the 90s used paper costs to justify their prices and now use the “paper isn’t that big a part of the price” to justify eBook prices.

        I just refuse to play the “have it both ways” game especially for mostly subpar reading.

        1. they justified rather large increases in mmpd prices based on the cost of, largely, ink. Ink prices came down, book prices never did. (iirc they used ink prices to justify $2 or $2.50 in total increases… if that were true, then ebooks should be $2 or so cheaper than paperbacks, minimum

          1. Correct me if I am wrong, please, but are not these generally the same people who blame high gas prices on collusion among oil producers? The global market for oil surely seems less amenable to collusion than publishing.

            1. Eh, most of the oil prices depend on how wide Saudi opens the flood gates. American shale oil was the only reason the prices didn’t go HIGHER than they did. And it took them as long as it did to flood the market (in an effort to push competition out of business) because they thought that shale oil and fracking was a CIA conspiracy and, therefore, a lie. /tangent

          2. A large part of the increase in mmpb prices was back in the Clinton era, when they decided that they all had to be made out of a majority (I forget the exact %) recycled paper. Using that high a percentage of recycled paper doubles the cost of producing book quality paper of using new or a low percentage recycled paper.

            1. Since I remember Hillary endorsing this it was yet another reason not to vote for her.

            2. The funny thing about rules like that, too, is that the price of doing something is, loosely, a good indicator of how much impact it will have on the environment. Sure, recycling paper *sounds* great…but when you take into account the time it takes for people to sort and then take paper to recycling stations, the trucks and the gas it takes to ship the stuff, the water and the energy it takes to process the paper, the chemicals it takes to bleach the paper, and so forth, it begins to look like it might just be better to burn, mulch, or even just bury that paper, and then make new paper from raw resources.

              The fact that requiring the use of recycled paper pushes up the costs of producing that book should be a warning that something might just be environmentally harmful, rather than helpful…

              1. The indicator is very simple: How much are people freely paying others for their “waste” material?

                By that measure, recycling aluminum is an obvious win.
                Almost everything else? Not really.

    2. Why I haven’t bought many publisher ebooks. More bang for my buck with indies, in spite of some 99 cent klunkers.

          1. Yep…say indie has a 90% clunker rate and trad has a 10% clunker rate (I know, I know, but work with me).

            If I spend $100 on each buying only $0.99 indie and $9.99 trad with similar word counts I get: 10 (100*0.1) good indie books and 9 (10*0.9) good trad books.

            Now use real word ratios and even if you pay $4.99 instead of $0.99 for indie you are way ahead.

  30. Of all his predictions, I’m most unhappy that the Crazy Years turned out to be real.

  31. I would like to think they are cowed …

    9th Circuit Court of Appeals refuses Hawaii’s request to change Trump’s travel ban
    A U.S. appeals court refused Friday to clarify the scope of the Supreme Court’s lifting of the blockade against President Trump’s travel ban, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

    Earlier Friday, the state of Hawaii had asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to expand the categories of people who can bypass the travel ban.

    On Thursday, a U.S. district judge had refused to act on Hawaii’s request, leaving in place the Trump administration’s rules regarding what classes of people to exempt from the travel ban.

    The judge in that case, Derrick Watson, also claimed he did not have the authority to act on Hawaii’s request.

    Watson, who originally ruled to block the travel ban, said in his decision that Hawaii should bring its challenge of the Trump administration’s definition of “bona fide relationship” to the Supreme Court.

    But I think it more accurate to say they’ve admitted the jig is up.

      1. IANAL, but I’ve been following this in the news, and what follows is simply my read on events. The judge was just more or less slapped by the Supreme Court via their recent decision with respect to the travel ban. If I understand correctly, that decision also included the justices’ examples of “bona fide relationship” exceptions, the Trump Administration used that as the basis for current policy, and Hawaii is requesting expansion of the exceptions by judicial fiat. It looks to me like the judge has decided that since current policy now matches what justices just decided upon, he’s not going to try to second guess them and risk getting slapped again.

      2. IIRC Hawaii Courts don’t have “jurisdiction” over the President’s actions so neither would the 9th District.

        Apparently, any action against a President’s actions should have started in a DC court.

        Mind you, I could be completely mistaken. 😉

      3. Read the order

        We lack jurisdiction to address Plaintiffs’ appeal of the district court’s order
        denying the motion to clarify the scope of the injunction. This court possesses
        jurisdiction to review only final judgments and a limited set of interlocutory orders.
        See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1291, 1292(a). The district court’s order neither resulted in a
        final judgment nor engaged in action deemed immediately appealable in 28 U.S.C.
        § 1292(a). Specifically, the district court’s order did not “grant[], continu[e],
        modify[], refus[e], or dissolv[e]” an injunction, or “refus[e] to dissolve or modify”
        an injunction. Id. § 1291(a)(1).
        Nor do any of the various judicially-crafted bases for appellate jurisdiction
        apply under these circumstances. Because the “practical effect” of Plaintiffs’
        requested relief is declaratory in nature—not injunctive—we do not construe their
        clarification motion before the district court as one for injunctive relief. See, e.g.,
        Alsea Valley All. v. Dep’t of Commerce, 358 F.3d 1181, 1186 (9th Cir. 2004). And
        this scenario does not present an order of “practical finality” because—as
        discussed below—Plaintiffs may seek injunctive relief from the district court. Cf.
        Nehmer v. U.S. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, 494 F.3d 846, 856 n.5 (9th Cir. 2007);
        All Alaskan Seafoods, Inc. v. M/V Sea Producer, 882 F.2d 425, 428 n.2 (9th Cir.
        Case: 17-16366, 07/07/2017, ID: 10501556, DktEntry: 3, Page 2 of 3
        Because we lack jurisdiction to review the district court’s order, this appeal
        is DISMISSED and Plaintiffs’ “Emergency Motion under FRAP 8 and Circuit
        Rule 27-3 for Injunction Pending Appeal” is DENIED as moot.1

      4. At the base is that jurisdiction of an Article 3 court extends to “case and controversy”. See the article case or controversy on Wikipedia. Frex this from the Article Three Courts discussion “Clause 1 of Section 2 authorizes the federal courts to hear actual cases and controversies only. Their judicial power does not extend to cases which are hypothetical, or which are proscribed due to standing, mootness, or ripeness issues. Generally, a case or controversy requires the presence of adverse parties who have a genuine interest at stake in the case.”

    1. The 9th Circus occasionally come up with the right result, but generally by accident.

        1. Yet no member of the 9th is quite as special as that light of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Posner.

          Who is still a moron.

  32. No. 2 Son’s middle name is in honor of Mr. Heinlein.

    (His first name is from another author, who stole his principle character’s name from the author of a book on birds of the Caribbean, or so the story goes.)

  33. On the general subject of the Courts and the Travel Ban see Dr. Pournelle on the travel ban and pay attention when Jerry quotes Newt Gingrich on Constitutional interpretation and on the times have changed.

    The District Court enjoined a Presidential Order not just by reading the face of the order as would be proper in a system of laws but by taking judicial notice that this President intended religious discrimination – that does not appear on the face of the order – and so discriminated against Muslims that is damaged a protected class. The same order from a different President might have a different intent and so be peachy keen. The times are indeed changing.

    That said, I do consider the Order poorly drafted. At a minimum I would define sole surviving relative as immediate family. Showing my age I was peripherally involved in an Administrative Law Judge ruling that a young Holocaust surviving girl be condemned to an orphanage in Romania because sole Holocaust surviving elderly relative in the U.S. was not a meaningful family relationship to get a visa out. And of course nobody else in the whole wide world cared.

    1. The case you describe sounds compelling, but let’s remember that this ban is only temporary while they come up with a system of vetting applicants from unreliable countries (is “country” too generous a term?)

      Had the courts not so egregiously intervened and blocked not just the ban but also work on developing extreme vetting this entire issue would by now be i our reaerview mirror, with court challenges to specific injuries underway.

    2. Nonsense. The vast majority of Muslims are not affected by this ban, and furthermore, the list of nations he used was chosen by the OBAMA administration.

  34. There is nothing wrong with being “an author” or with sporting political correctness as a sort of fashion to show how good and important and “smart” you are.

    Uh, yes, there is. Lots. Even if you’re too polite to say so, Sarah.

  35. Slightly off topic – https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/74177-milo-yiannopoulos-strikes-back.html

    Thoughts, y’all? I think S&S will settle; because the Amazon preorders – AND the sales as it is now – show that the reasoning of unmarketability was clearly false, but I suspect they don’t want it revealed in court through the investigation that there was a discriminatory reason for the dropped contract. As I recall, that’s supposed to be illegal.

    Cynical as I am, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was at the very least some pressure, politically from the ctrl-Left. The whole dropped book contract smelled from the get go and I am curious how this will go.

    1. They’ll settle. The :”discovery” process, where MY’s lawyer can demand internal email, memoranda, and other documents, would cost S&S a small fortune, both in direct costs and loss of time they could be spending on profitable things.

      All MY needs is “All-Night Discount Lawyer Service” to send carefully-spaced discovery notices, requests for reschedules, and other disruptive paperwork. S&S, on the other hand, probably has a blue-chip legal firm on retainer, with hourly rates that look more like a small country’s national budget.

      And of course, as far as we know, MY has the stronger legal position anyway. And even if he loses, with the right PR, he can keep the process in the public eye, costing S&S money while promoting his own underdog brand, for a net win.

      Generally both sides play Mexican Standoff for a few years, then they reach a “settlement”, usually sealed from public scrutiny, where neither admits wrongdoing, but some amount of money changes hands anyway.

      1. S&S may want to settle, but I doubt Milo will let them. I don’t think his suit is about the money.

        While his take on his book sales is (not quite) FU Money, MY was all about saying FU to the right people even before he got the money.

      2. My bet is the internal emails that discovery would expose are very much more examples of PC pearl clutching and include little to nothing at all in support of their financial excuse for dropping the book.

        PLus there’s likely lots of stuff they do not want to produce for other reasons.

        Discovery is more than just a financial stick to beat them with.

    2. S&S may try to settle. I’m not sure Milo will accept. He has a lot more to gain in a lost court case that brings interesting facts about ctrl-Left pressure to light than he does from monetary damages.

      Milo understands his brand and what will advance it, hold it in place, and hurt it. Any settlement will have to include admissions by S&S and airing of very unfavorable documents as much as money.

    3. I wouldn’t say discrimination in publishing is bad. In fact I suspect discrimination is good else the slush pile could be submitted in electronic form and all printed on demand.

      If I ran the Court the instant suit would not stand a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause – based on the existence of liquidated damages to the extent of $80,000 already in hand. I rather suspect any damages will be too speculative to justify an award. I’d be very much surprised that specific performance would be accepted by the plaintiff as an appropriate remedy.

      De Gustibus and all the rest is rarely a fit matter for adjudication and by rights ought not to be. Folks who disagree are of course wrong but comments are invited.

      I agree that S&S could be embarrassed in theory – everything works in theory – but in New York publishing not so much. Look at say the insults to Peter Grant or this from a very very very similar source

      It is entirely possible I’ve overgeneralised, since it’s been several years since I reread your [omitted] books. If that’s the case – and I trust you when you say it is – I apologise.

      for a New York strong sense of shame.

      I was amused recently when I bought a multi-pack of WalMart house brand knock off of the current top of the line Gillette 5 blade cartridge. The front of the package displays a claim that the package is good for a full year of shaving. The back of the package disclaims by saying the full year claim is true only for shaving every other day. My father once said that he’d know he’d really succeeded in his life’s ambitions when he could use a brand new Gillette blue blade every morning with no feeling of guilt.

      1. Considering the implication is the book was dropped due to politcally ideological pressure, with the excuse of unmarketability used as an excuse, it’s the kind of discrimination in publishing that resulted in things like Sad Puppies.

        Also, really? You’d be okay with that kind of discrimination?

        And I like how you seem to think that everything in a slush pile is dreck and the implication that self-pub is. Yay for Indie, because that snotty ‘discrimination is good else the slush pile could be submitted in electronic form and all printed on demand’ was a big enough threat to have there be ongoing number massaging for the Big Five to constantly try declare that ebooks are dying or dead happen regularly. Do try to keep up.

        1. :I like how you seem to think that everything in a slush pile is dreck

          John Ringo’s first novel had been rejected by the editor who read it in Baen’s slush pile. Jim Baen had it retrieved, read it, told John one simple trick to make it salable, bought it … and fired the editor who had rejected it.

          Then there are the two dozen or so British publishing houses looking at their bottom lines over the last twenty years and rethinking their slush pile policies.

          1. The Martian. Self pub because it was rejected from slush. Picked up again when his readers persuaded him to pub to kindle and it went huge. Larry Correia. And JK Rowling was rejected from several slushpiles until someone thought outside the box.

            There have been several other trad authors going self pub too, which I found interesting.

        2. It’s not that that kind of discrimination is good it’s that sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Let’s cut down all the laws in England to get at the Devil shall we? No doubt the Leipzig Book Fair was at its peak under the DDR?

          Assuming arguendo that the implication you see is correct what then follows? Indeed I am happy with that kind of discrimination when the alternative is discrimination by a court. There’s a reason to support an expansion of the market not a forced replacement of message books by story books. Banned in Boston or Approved in Boston by SJW or by you is still Banned in Boston. Not a job I want.

          There’s a saying that when you play ball with the government it’s their ball. If indeed the remedy is to apply to a court to decide what is and by rights ought to be published then I do indeed oppose that remedy.

          I did not mean to imply that the slush pile is entirely dreck – as observed the slush pile is mostly dreck but which part?

          I meant to imply that one legitimate function of a publisher is to discriminate. Frex Kris Rusch is proud that under her direction F&S.F. prospered relatively speaking and certainly compared to before and after.

          There is a strong case that J.K. Rowling or Winston Groom was misjudged by slush readers.

          I see no gain from either of them having a right to sue over what is and by rights ought to be editorial judgment. No editor can be held to a standard of perfect judgment in decision making under uncertainty. Appeal from misjudgment by slush readers or by time is properly to other markets. Appeal to courts of matters of taste really ought to be non justiciable.

          John Kennedy O’Toole was acknowledged only after death – the circumstances of that death like H. Beam Piper’s death are regrettable. Suing errant publishers is still a bad remedy.

          Friend of mine named Jones (who just died, also an acquaintance of Dean and Kris) was a practical pioneer on reverting his own rights and publishing Indy small press – and did his best to pay that knowledge and help forward.

          I knew Dean from law school days long before Pulphouse though I make no claim of current intimacy. Although I make no special effort to keep up I can take a line from long ago and extend it nicely. We were writers once and young.

          For my money the handling of The Spark which the author took back “rather than have it killed by the sales force.” is the better way to deal with disagreements with a publisher. And of course I will buy a copy of the ebook ARC.

          I stand by my previous remarks. In particular I don’t think much of taking $80,000 as liquidated damages and going back for more but maybe there’s a good cause. If so it will come out.

          To expand. I’d say the key matter at discovery and at trial will be the course of dealing more than the language of the contract.

          Rejection at early stages is almost certainly at discretion – the question then is when does that change. It’s just possible that recent words or actions by S&S will by course of dealing imply promises that must be kept or paid for.

          1. It seems to me that you have missed the point here; it is not that S&S have no right to discriminate amongst books they are offered for publication. It is that having signed a contract with Milo to publish that book they cannot, absent contractually permissible grounds, revoke that contract without incurring damages.

            We are not arguing S&S has no right to refuse to publish. The argument is, having formed a contract, can they then breach that contract without suffering damages? Further, there is the question of whether they had a fiduciary duty to not take actions nor issue statements injurious to their contracted product?

            In an industry which regularly pays multiple million dollar advances to politicians whose books cannot be reasonably expected to return their investment, it is no great thing to spend a few tens of thousands to “buy” a property then damage it and its creator by declaring them toxic and writing off the advance.

            1. “. It is that having signed a contract with Milo to publish that book they cannot, absent contractually permissible grounds, revoke that contract without incurring damages.”

              Agreed and further S&S paid what I believe to be but do not know to be liquidated damages. This assumes as does most of this discussion that the contract was a fairly standard, if reserved for better performers, publishing industry contract. Again by my lights specific performance by a sales staff that doesn’t want to sell is a poor remedy. I’d say MY made an election of remedies when he promptly self published. Revoke and breach and other such might be terms of art given a better understanding of the actual facts both in general and as asserted in pleadings.

              Are you suggesting that every breach of contract involving large sums of money must be followed by the award of large sums of money?

              “Further, there is the question of whether they had a fiduciary duty to not take actions nor issue statements injurious to their contracted product?”

              Define they in a context that includes Tor and Irene Gallo.

              I’m a free speech absolutist given that like democracy all the alternatives IMHO are worse. I don’t know what constitutes istatements injurious then again the discussion I’ve seen seems to veer between the book and the author. I suppose in today’s world either or both is at least part of the product

              Good night all

              1. “Are you suggesting that every breach of contract involving large sums of money must be followed by the award of large sums of money?”

                Pretty much. That would seem logical to me, why does it not to you?

                1. I daresay we can all agree that the size of those sums of money can be adjudicated; we are concerned that contracts be upheld and breaches remedied by appropriate award of damages. Whether those damages consist of ten million dollars or one is irrelevant.

                  I would even hope that all Huns would endorse a complaint from Hillary should her publisher terminate its promise to produce her forthcoming book on the grounds that she is a vain, shrill, intolerant and intolerable witch.

                  Once we stopped laughing, that is. After all, a publisher’s duty to its writer is to lie about her, not to reveal the deplorable truth.

              2. Are you suggesting that every breach of contract involving large sums of money must be followed by the award of large sums of money?

                I was referring to a specific case. It strikes me that it is always the option of the parties to a contract how they wish to enrich lawyers. It does not strike me that it is productive to limit access to the courts to only those breaches of contract deemed worthy.

                Define they in a context that includes Tor and Irene Gallo.

                No. It is a non relevant situation. Are you taking the position that a publisher has no duty to refrain from disparaging their authors?

                As for TOR’s business practices, they are their own reward and those authors who sign on deserve whatever their publisher says about them.

          2. I’m trying to figure out if you’re here often. It’s kind of known around here that I lived in East Germany, so I’m trying to figure out if you’re unaware or being outright insulting.

            And no, I do not support at any point ever that the laws should be cut down to get at the devil; that way lies the kind of abuses of the court system where nobody trusts the law to protect them any more.

            I’m not sure I should try to address the rest of your comment because it’s unclear how much of this particular controversy you’ve followed. Milo wasn’t part of a slush pile, but invited to write under the Threshold imprint and was contracted to write; the 80k may have been the first third of the advance that’s paid on signing, which might not be refundable. I’ve read somewhere before that advances are usually paid in thirds, first at signing, second at the acceptance of the final manuscript and the last part on release of the book. Milo, from what it seems like, was working on the final manuscript at the time, so it doesn’t look like ‘early stages’ to me.

            You think this is a matter of taste, where I think this has a heavy chance of being a case of political discrimination, because I’d read about the original controversy that arose when the signing of Milo to write a book was announced. I think we’re done here, especially since it seems you’ve taken to name dropping to beat me around the head with.

            1. Oh being outright insulting by all means. A trait I perhaps share with Tom Kratman say. See I do try to keep up.

              I simply have no means to discriminate between political discrimination and taste in this and similar circumstances of non-governmental action; just possibly everything associated with CBS is political discrimination – I certainly have no ability to say political discrimination bad taste good.

              Quite content to let the matter drop. It’s well oh dark hundred here anyway.

              1. Oh well, in that case, may you find all the shit you deserve. I’ll have to remember not to bother with trying to engage with you sincerely or politely, since that’s not to be expected of you either. Glad to be aware of that now, and not waste my time on you then.

                Also, I like Tom Kratman, and vice versa. He has been nothing but nice to me. I’m no leftist, y’see.

              2. “A trait I perhaps share with Tom Kratman say.”

                Except that you suck at it. Like a Hoover.

              3. We have a lovely legal means to discriminate between political discrimination after the deal is set and taste. It’s called breach of contract. If it was a matter of taste, then the book wouldn’t have been picked up in the first place, contract offered and signed, and advance payment made.

                And even if it was a matter of taste, we are a society that runs under the rule of law. Simon and Schuster, Milo alleges, chose to knowingly violate the contract that legally bound them together in a joint venture, and did so in an injurious manner to him. That is most certainly something that should be settled in a court of law, to reinforce that all parties must operate according to the laws of this land, and not just when it suits them.

                From a standpoint of encouraging the rule of law, what exactly is wrong with discouraging parties from breaching their contracts? If every broken contract, whether it was for large sums of money or not, was penalized by damages, then perhaps the public could trust that the parties involves in a legally binding contract are actually likely to… keep their legally bound word? That the rule of law can still be a yardstick by which to do business, and not to expect that we need to hedge all contracts with bribes, kickbacks, armed guards and thugs in dark alleys to enforce their completion like the third world must?

              4. “I simply have no means to discriminate between political discrimination and taste in this and similar circumstances of non-governmental action;”

                Moot point. Unless your contract specifically admits one or the other as a condition, neither are legal grounds to break your contract.

            2. “I’m trying to figure out if you’re here often. It’s kind of known around here that I lived in East Germany, so I’m trying to figure out if you’re unaware or being outright insulting.”

              He comes and goes. As for whether he is clueless or outright insult, or simply trying to baffle with BS… well I’ve never been really sure myself. In the past, even when he agrees with me Clark has always managed to explain his views and beliefs in a manner that left me more confused than before he posted. I’m not sure if it is intentional obfuscation or just an internet lawyers inability to speak standard English.
              He seems to have an interest and knowledge about the most unlikely subjects, and claims acquaintance with a number of interesting authors and people; which should make his posts interesting, but I have come to the knowledge that I am going to get nothing but frustration and irritation from reading his always longwinded (I know, pot… kettle) comments, so have long since taken to skipping his comments entirely, and often the entire conversation. He is the only commenter here I have ever had to resort to that for, while I may skip conversations about comic book heroes there is not another commenter here that I automatically scroll past their comments simply because of the name at the top.

              1. Yeah, I think I might have to do that too, for this guy. Half the stuff he wrote there seemed to have no relevance to the discussion in name-drop, other than “I know more than you therefore bow to my e-peen” vibe.

                I haven’t got any issues with longwinded comments as long as I can get what they’re trying to say. (I mean, mine can get long, especially if we’re having a good discussion.)

                But there was a point I heard Dr. McCoy’s voice say “Okay, now you’re just showing off,” and I decided nope, I don’t feel like using my time on this guy.

                1. bow to my e-peen

                  Objection! Refers to facts not in evidence. Accused has neither demonstrated cojones nor tally wacker.

                    1. No Excuses, Ma’am!*

                      I will always step up to defend a man falsely accused of exposing his shortcomings, ma’am!

                      *Yeah, audiobooking Ringo’s Black Tide Rising at the moment.

                    2. Oh, drinking and reading are not bad, as long as you stick to the “approved” reading materials – the ones where you need a drink (or several) to keep reading. Around here? Sip. Pause. Set the drink down. Then read. Recover. Repeat.

                    3. Drinking and reading’s OK. Drinking while reading this blog’s not so OK. Unless you have no papers on your desk and one of those fancy water-resistant computers and monitors. And lots and lots of paper-towels, and someone who can help you if you choke, and …

          3. Let’s cut down all the laws in England to get at the Devil shall we?

            That’s a nice stalking horse to use for your actual proposal, which is to cut down all the laws in England to ensure the Devil gets off scot-free.

            Breach of contract is a tort so old we probably don’t know when it originated.

    4. I haven’t read the contract, so I don’t know if he has a case or not. Personally I think businesses should be able to discriminate, it is your business, you should have the right to do business, or refuse to do business with whomever you want, for whatever reason or no reason whatsoever. That is how a true free market works, but what we have in this country is nowhere near a free market.

      That being said, he might have a good case. There is a contract, nobody is debating that, and S&S signed the contract, as did MY. Both should have to honor that contract, but to my knowledge the contract hasn’t been made public so this is all a he said/she said dispute at this point. Now S&S has been known to breach contracts before, so it is easy to assume they may have again in this case, but knowing MY’s status as a provocateur I hesitate to bet on either side telling the plain truth without twisting.

      1. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/72794-in-defense-of-milo-yiannopoulos-s-book.html

        The timeline has other links, so I won’t spam them here.

        The original article I linked says:

        Yiannopoulos added: “What Simon and Schuster did suggested to people that I was unfit to be published by a major publishing house. Clearly, based on sales, that is not true. Clearly, based on the reviews that are coming in, that is not true. And clearly from reading the book that’s not true. I’m not Richard Spencer. I don’t have any opinions that stretch wildly out of the conservative mainstream. I just say them in a provocative way, and I tell jokes that left-wingers don’t like. And Simon & Schuster knew that, because in the contract I signed with them, it specifically calls me a provocateur. It calls me controversial. That’s why they gave me the deal. Because I could sell books. And I’m demonstrating that I can.”

        Bolded for emphasis.

        Me, I’d like to see what’s revealed during the discovery phase of this, which is probably the dangerous part, as opposed to merely embarrassing. Heck, the fact that children’s authors signed WITH S&S were screaming about Milo’s contract makes this purely a political thing; and the whole thing is all about the chilling effect on political opinions that the ‘establishment’ does not agree with.

        From what I understand Threshold imprint is supposed to be S&S’s conservative imprint; and is supposed to print the opinions that the establishment does not agree with to begin with. Thus it should have been no surprise at all that whatever opinions that Milo was going to have in that book were going to be controversial to the left regardless. But he was huge, definitely huge, in just the preorders alone – that they couldn’t have. The other conservatives perhaps didn’t have the numbers or audience that the establishment could consider in any way or form significant, but Milo’s numbers… oh no. Those broke the illusion that conservative and right wing and non-Left are a dismiss-able minority. That was clear.

        This case is a concern, largely because it could later apply to Amazon, and other companies that give us the ability to have greater distribution of self-published work – where letter campaigns could result in pushing this or that author out, because ‘we don’t want to be in the same marketplace as them.’

        1. Still don’t see a link to the actual contract, which is what really matters when it all boils down. S&S had every right to discriminate against MY up until they signed the contract, after that everything hinges on what the contract says.

          The free speech arguments are a red herring in my opinion.

          1. Fair enough. I figured that the details would come out once in court; and I’m really, really keen to see what comes out in discovery. It will be interesting.

            To bed with me though; I got up to get a drink of water and saw little notifications; so I popped in to make sure folks know I’m not being rude by not answering, at least. (WP notifications have been…spotty lately. I don’t know why. Sorry about that.)

            1. And then you had to get up again to replace that drink of water? Since you wore it rather than ingested it?

  36. Despite the recent invasion of science fiction by “authors” who care more about their academic standing than whether their books entertain anyone, most of the academic establishment still looks down on all writers of genre.
    You brought memories of an English teacher in jr. high or high school saying that prolific writers are hacks who write garbage. I sort of followed her advice for years, but had devoured every Heinlein book at the school and public libraries. Only today can I laugh at that silly contradiction.

      1. Given the money he’s made, I think Stephen King qualifies as “a literary courtesan.”

    1. Robert Ludlum published under multiple pen names for this very reason. His publisher wouldn’t publish more than one book a year or one every two years (I can’t remember the exact ratio) under his name, because being more prolific than that would label him a hack writer and “devalue” his books. So instead he wrote extra books and they were published under other names. Then as times change years later they were attributed to him and republished under his name.

  37. It is important to make a distinction between Intellectual/Academics and Scholars. My father was a scholar. He taught History of Science for forty years (and researched and wrote about it for slightly longer).

    I believe I’ve mentioned this a time or two before, but my Father was acutely aware that he was a luxury good. Society didn’t need Historians of Science. It also doesn’t need Doctors of English Literature, of Queer Studies, of Black Culture, or pretty much any of the Humanities.

    Sure, society would be poorer without Literature, Gays, African-Americans and so on, but to suggest that we need people who are paid to STUDY them, write learned papers about them, and teach others about them is absurd.

    My Father fought for most of his career to get the academics around him to publish early and often. He felt that if society was going to foot the bill for their hobbies, the very least they could do was publish their conclusions.

    Scholars produce scholarship. Scholarship has footnotes and a bibliography. It has data and sources one can check. It makes arguments. They may be MAD arguments, but they don’t ever boil down to “because we said so”, and they NEVER stand upon material published by in another Journal under a Pseudonym.

    Ward Churchill is not a Scholar; he does the pseudonym trick. The imbecile who wrote THE ARMING OF AMERICA is not a scholar; his sources didn’t check out – some of them didn’t exist. And very few of the people pushing Climate Change (formerly Global Warming) are scholars, especially not the ones who won’t publish their raw data.

    Scholars are engaged in thinking. Academic Intellectuals engage in posturing.

  38. “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” — Dr. Samuel Johnson

  39. “Even those of us who are bestsellers are never really accepted by the intellectual community. And that’s fine, because what would they do with us, or us with them?”

    Conjures up images from Rearden’s house in the Atlas Shrugged films…

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