Earth Needs Women a blast from the past of November 2010

Earth Needs Women a blast from the past of November 2010

 

No, this is not the obligatory ecological post. Today, in the car on the way from dinner (not cooking at Thanksgiving is logical when you have only four people – five with our friend/honorary uncle to the kids) I was talking to the kids about a book I read when I was maybe 12/13.

This book – whose name I (unfortunately) can’t remember – came amid a trio of “fairytale books.” At twelve or so, I decided that I hadn’t read enough fairytales and was trying to round out my education. This one looked like a nineteenth century book with woodcuts, was written by some unknown Portuguese author and the title was something like “the foundling.”

It started with a baby girl found abandoned in a forest. She’s taken in by an older woman who gathers wood and who makes a good – if unloving – foster mother.

Half-bored, I felt I knew where this was going, but continued reading, expecting the more or less obligatory hidden princess story.

I was wrong. Though I no longer remember the details of the book – yes, I read it a good hundred times, as it became one of my favorites, but it was a long time ago and memory gets blunted – I know that the parentage of the girl is never revealed. The old woman dies, the girl is turned out of the house, she ends up working as a maid and some other menial jobs. Her work ethic and (what my friend Dave Freer calls) battler spirit get her through. She helps an old lady who is dying and whom no one looks after and, in return, is given an old book of recipes.

She starts her own little business selling cakes and pastries at fairs and meets a young man of very good family who – however – does not marry her because of course, she’s a foundling of unknown parentage. Eventually her little business becomes a successful pastry shop and later she meets another young man, a pastry chef, and this time it all works out and they marry and have a happy family and a successful business.

If you’d asked me at twelve, I’d have told you I had no idea why the story charmed me as it did. I only knew I liked re-reading it and it became one of my favorite books. It felt good and somehow “right” in a way that fairytales and romances didn’t.

Today, when I telling the kids about it, I realized why. It was because the character was a strong woman. Born with the ultimate disadvantage, the ultimate lack of support, she doesn’t – like fairytale princesses – either get rescued by a strong knight nor even by fate that reveals her to be a hidden princess. Also, she never complains; she never repines – she takes the situation she finds herself in and makes the best out of it, all the while looking out for those who are weaker or in more need than her. This last characteristic nets her the all-important recipe book (supposedly created by a medieval convent, which rings true for Portugal, and lost for centuries.) When her romance doesn’t work because her very conventional suitor wants a girl of suitable family, she doesn’t go into a decline, she just goes on with life.

She is, in fact, what editors so often say they want “a strong woman heroine, self sufficient, a good role model for growing girls.” Only, from my observation and reading, by this they usually mean mouthy, aggressive, foolhardy and complains a lot about men till one wonders if said character has an issue with being born female. There are exceptions, of course, but complaining about fate and men and being bitter seems to be obligatory.

And yet, it is true that this type of character is not only a great role model for young women, she is the type of role model we do need. Earth needs women (yes, and men, but we’re talking women here) who take care of the weak and helpless. Earth needs women who don’t whine. Earth needs women who cheerfully shoulder the burden of what needs to be done.

Earth does not need women who complain about men all the while neurotically obsessing on clothes and jewelry to attract said men and pursuing the highest-status males they can possibly get. There is nothing wrong with these activities, in moderation, but when they become the focus of existence they create a generation of infantile harpies. Now, I don’t think any women in real life are as bad as that, but almost all women characters in books and movies are just like that.

Young women who read/watch these characters end up feeling they must APPEAR like them or they’ll be thought weak. And this is wrong. Strength in women – and men – can be defined not as throwing weight around but in doing what must be done for oneself and those who depend on one.

Earth needs grown up women.

I very much hate to tell people what to do, much less what to be, but I wish we could set about writing – and living – role models for the women Earth needs.

431 responses to “Earth Needs Women a blast from the past of November 2010

  1. A grown up woman was what I kept looking for when I was in my 20’s and out working. All the girls I dated were too obsessed with minor crap and clingy as hell. Finally met the right one at the launch of STS-6, proposed 5 weeks later and have been happily married for 34 years.

  2. Earth needs grown up women.

    THIS.

  3. Not trying to hijack the topic, just a quick reminder. If anyone here is considering registering for TVIW 2017 (that’s the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop) in Huntsville, AL October 3-6, the early registration rate is only good till the end of the day July 15 (Saturday). The rates will rise $25 after that. If you want to look over the organization, you can find us on the web at tviw.us (I didn’t post a link because I didn’t want to get caught in WordPress hell for posting more than one in a comment). Our latest newsletter is at:

    https://tviw.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/TVIW_Newsletter_N12.pdf

    We now return you to your regularly-scheduled comments.

    • $175 until July 15, $200 thence until Sep 15, $225 at door, pre-symposium seminars are some unmentioned additional fee.
      Strikes me as the sort of gathering attended by folks who’s companies pay their way or those who can write the cost off on their taxes as a business expense.

      • The pre-symposium seminars are $100 each. The prices are (I’m told) in line with other scholarly or academic symposia. Since I’m not really part of the academic world, I can’t verify that directly. But I can tell you from prior attendance that the symposium is well-worth the cost. We’re an all volunteer organization, similar to most SF conventions; even the organizers are paying to participate. Since we don’t anticipate (or can accommodate) more than about 200 participants, the prices have to be set accordingly so we can cover the cost of the venue.

        • No question that the meeting is legitimate and of value, but didn’t want fan folk to have to dig only to experience sticker shock.
          It’s really a professional conference for those in the associated fields, and of value for SF writers who need exposure to current state of the art.
          What it is not is an SF con or anything similar.

          • Oh, I completely agree. And I don’t mind providing the info to folks going in; I just wanted to explain the reasoning for the pricing. It’s definitely not an SF con, although Baen is one of the major sponsors and there are more than a few participants who are also SF writers or who regularly attend both TVIW and LibertyCon (perhaps other cons too, but LC is the one most closely associated with TVIW). But it is a technical conference intended to attract serious scientific-minded participants (no UFO papers offered, or unsupported claims of warp drives, etc.).

            • It should be noted that this is a professional expense, thus deductible against income* from writing, which correlates to a discount of whatever tax bracket you are in.

              *That is to say, when you calculate net income from writing the expenses of such conferences are chargeable as expenses quite as much as paper, toner and conferences with you agent, legal representative and tax adviser. If you pay taxes at the 15% bracket, a hundred dollars spent for this conference reduces your earned income by that amount, which effectively reduces your taxes by $15.

              The same applies for all expenses taken to attend such a conference: travel, lodging, meals. Keep receipts as these things also tend to be audit flags.

              Oh, this would theoretically apply to all cons you attend although it is undoubtedly easier to justify if you are on panels (professional promotion/sales expense) or have meetings scheduled with professional associates, such as publishers, collaborators, distributors and/or bartenders.

              • So I’ll actually need to write something and make at least ~$700 in income from it to be able to take those deductions? And since the symposium is in early October, make that income before Dec. 31? Yeah, I don’t see that happening. 🙂 Of course, if I could justify it as a professional expense for some other profession, that could work…do you think free-lance interstellar tour guide would be believable?

                • Hi, I’d like to visit Wolf 359 for the first week in October. Can I rent a cabin on the closest to Earth-sized body in that system for those dates?

                  • Why yes, yes you can. I can rent you such a cabin for a very reasonable price. Transportation not included, of course…

                • I am not a tax accountant, nor do I play on on the internet, but a good basic rule of thumb is: can you make that assertion in court, to a judge, with a straight face? You do not, repeat not, want to be pleading the tax court equivalent of “but your honor, she said she was seventeen!”

                  And in regard to your initial inquiry, no, the expenses act as a shield for up to $700 of related income. It might also be possible, depending on how you have legally conformed your professional writing, to take expenses above income as a carry-forward net operating loss, shielding future income from taxation. For many folk this will entail more hassle than benefit, but always ask yourself: is it likely the government will spend that money more wisely (or even more entertainingly) than yourself?

                  • Well by that standard I would never pay any taxes at all! I think a more reasonable standard would be, how much of a hassle am I willing to put up with to get them to go away, and is the hassle of just paying them less than that?

                  • THIS is why – if you have serious income and expenses for writing – you engage a knowledgeable CPA.

                    I have no idea what the “triggers” are for the swamp creatures at the IRS these days, but many years ago for carrying forward losses, it was something like “less than three previous years of reported profits, or more than 50% of current income being offset by carry forwards.” Always remember that a “regular” audit can happen several years after the filing – and that if they can gin up even the slightest appearance of possible “fraud” – at any time.

                    I’m like Indy – I hate snakes. Don’t ever want them showing up at my front door…

                    • If you have to a tax form other than 1040 I’d suggest you get an account. If you have legal issues that come up, I’d recommend a lawyer.

                    • Of course this is where you start saying “a CPA costs X which is more than my writing earned so hiring him costs more than deducting writing expenses saves.”

                      I do not think this is accidental.

                      I also think one big trigger for the swamp creatures at the IRS will be the content of your books. Torlings are probably safe. Ann Coulter probably needs an army of tax accountants to make Hollywood blush.

              • Fascinating. Turns out I’ve been subsidising the tax-payers.

        • They include meals, so they’re not bad.

      • Um, speaking as a software developer who went to many of those “companies pay their way” gatherings, and as someone who ran software training workshops for several years – nope, not even close.

        Although, even after the $700 – $1,000 cost for those gatherings – more than half of the actual expense per person is in travel, lodging, and food (other than the box lunch you might get a couple of days).

        (I had one group of five from Alaska that crammed into a two-bed hotel room to save money – here in Tucson, which is not precisely the high cost lodging capital of the US. If they hadn’t all been good looking females, I would have taken a couple of them home…)

        • Same here – the development conferences I’ve attended were over $1000 – not including lodging, travel, or dinner. ISTR my kin attending academic conferences paying $500-$1500, again not including lodging, travel, or (usually) dinner.

          • Well, backtracking just a bit. The conferences (Microsoft and Oracle) did include one dinner; the catered one at the end with entertainment. (Um, yeah, one with a CW band that had to shut down at 10PM for local noise ordinances, and one with a trip to SeaWorld for a very abbreviated Orca show. Whoopee… I learned after those to just leave after the last session I wanted to attend; I’d accomplish all of my “networking” during the seminar. Anyone I wanted to talk to always hit the cash bar pretty heavy at those events)

            And my company did provide one buffet dinner – for those people who attended the basic training and were attending the advanced portion that started the next day. (The entertainment was my boss and his garage band…)

          • Former advisor: Alma, I didn’t see you at [major conference in field]
            Alma: I don’t have a departmental travel fund.
            F. A.: Oh.

        • The TVIW symposium cost includes three breakfasts and two lunches and dinners. So as Sarah says, it’s not quite as steep as it seems at first.

          • Thinking back to about twenty years ago, and trying to inflate it forward – that sounds like about $50 – $75 of your registration fee right there. (You get a fairly good discount if the meals are in the restaurant of the venue.)

            Paying for just that all on your own would be quite a bit higher. (Unless you’re a cheapskate like me, and stop at the local grocery store to throw a bunch of cold cuts in the hotel room fridge and a loaf of bread on the counter. Boss looked at me a bit odd when she saw that receipt in the reimbursement request…)

            • Should say the organizer gets a fairly good discount…

              • A lot of hotels don’t have fridges. :/

                • I’ve never had that problem. Of course, those conferences were where, if I stayed in one of those with numbers after “Motel,” I would have had to rent a car, take cabs, or try to figure out the arcanum of a strange city’s mass transit system. Pretty much balanced out…

                • A lot of hotels have a few dorm-sized fridges stashed away for diabetics who take insulin. This is true even in hotels where they don’t advertise the ability to rent a fridge for a daily deal. (If you ask for one specifically for insulin some hotels will even offer to waive the rental fee.) I find nothing keeps me from putting things in the fridge along with my insulin.

                  If you need to carry the insulin around for 18 hours or so you need some blue ice. If the freezer in the hotel fridge is bad or non-existent you can generally talk them into putting your blue ice (for day use) in the kitchen freezer. (I found that putting the clearly labeled Blue Ice packages into quart double zipper freezer bags with your name in Magic Marker that is NOT so fresh that you can still smell it makes them more willing to help you out.)

                  Of course, if you don’t have a daily med that needs to be refrigerated this is all moot.

          • Not even close. It’s expensive for an sf/f con, but when you count in buying breakfast/lunch/dinner for four people (or for TVIW three) it about breaks even.

    • I can’t. I will be in that area on the 4th or so – well, withing two hours of it- but will have two cats and personal items in the car.

  4. Does Earth need women or does it need Ladies (and as you pointed out, Gentlemen but that isn’t what this is about)?

    • Let us progress from the current over abundance of ‘girls’ who are biologically of age to ‘women’ then we can worry about the next step to ‘ladies’. Ditto with the boys>men>gentlemen progression.

      • Aye. I once read an editorial written in the early-mid 1990’s that included a bit about some group and the effort “..to drag them, kicking and screaming, into the 1980’s. I know, but one thing at a time.”

      • If you want to create a world with a preponderance of ladies and gentlemen it is best to start formation of good character as early as you can, not waiting for biological maturity to start.

        • Alas too many are already of the age of biological maturity and it is not possible to start them any younger.

          • True.

            We can hope something will inspire them to do the work to change, habits of thought and action are hard to break.

        • “If you want to create a world with a preponderance of ladies and gentlemen it is best to start formation of good character as early as you can, not waiting for biological maturity to start.”

          We seem to have created a world with a preponderance of “children of all ages,” and it is quite a circus.

          • Yes, I note the current divide between, on the one hand, a first lady proving that she can be elegant, feminine, and powerful enough to sit in for her husband while still being every inch the lady in a dress, and the shrill harpies who think that her attire must prevent her from power, because she’s not trying to be a second-rate man.

            Clearly, they’ve be so focused on beating men for so long that they’ve forgotten every single bit of the power that lies in the hand that rocks the cradle, and enforces civilized behaviour with grace, poise, and charm, and so moves the world.

            • +infinity

            • …grace, poise, and charm…

              Three characteristics that evade the modern modern feminist, the power of which thy deny. Lacking understanding they denounce them as part of the system used to subjugate them.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Sadly, those types of “feminists” deserve to be suppressed.

                • The Spouse has suggested that some things deserve a dismissive horse laugh in response. Since these ‘feminists’ take themselves so seriously, lacking a sense of humor about themselves, such would drive them bonkers.

                  • Dorothy Grant

                    Q: How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?
                    A: That’s not funny!

      • In general it seems the best way to convert boys to men is to convert girls to women at a young enough age to influence the boys before they are locked out of a lot of manhood markers.

        It might not be the most popular theory but I think the delay of marriage is the biggest reason boys stay boys until 30. Then at 30 they can’t jump in and make up for lost time.

        Then again, we’ve taught youth that marriage is the end of having fun so what do we expect.

        • It’s a feedback loop. Girls need to know there are Men out there, not just boys. It’s an incentive for them to actually grow up not just grow older. Likewise boys need to know there are women out there. They also need to know it is possible to become a Man not just stay stuck as a boy. Slightly differently women need examples to help them realize when they’re stuck as a Girl. Males seem to worry more about being a Real Man ™ more than Females seem to worry about being a Real Woman, so seem to need something slightly different from the example of their own sex.

    • Ladies or Gentlemen are not necessary. Womenschen and menschen are.

    • Female
      Girl
      Woman
      Lady
      Do I detect a scale of discrimination here?

      Discrimination is good. If you didn’t have a discriminating palate, then we could feed you nothing but tasteless gruel for the rest of your life.

      And if I’m a retired Non-Commissioned Officer, does that make me a non-non-gentleman?

    • Hmmm.

      Earth doesn’t need any of us.

      But we need each other.

      Side rant: science doesn’t need women. Nope, nada, zero, zilch: science doesn’t need double X chromosomes.

      Science needs intellectual integrity, science needs strong maths skills, science needs creativity, science needs meticulous reproducible experiments.

      There are a lot of skills and mental abilities and disciplines that science needs, but what it doesn’t need is girlie bits.

      The really cool thing about science is that if you can bring the intellectual integrity, the knowledge base, the math, the creativity and innovation and experimentation nothing else matters: you can achieve great things.

      Of course if the only thing you can bring to the table is your vagina, you’re out of luck.

  5. *Warning: profanity in describing “strong women” and the male losers they are modeled on*

    Let’s just call a spade a spade, what most feminists mean by “strong woman” is “b*tchy slut”. The more honest of them embrace those words but most will cry misogyny if you put it that way.

    Well, tough brown stuff. Feminist have decided both in what they model and who they prefer to have sex with (not marry, but have sex with) the biggest male ***hole player in the room. If they hate my using the gendered terms bitchy slut for them I’ll award them the maleness they crave and call them ***hole players as well.

    Of I can use their newest phrase, “nasty women”. I’m not sure why they like that one as nasty has strong hygienic associations and “nasty women” just says to me a high lack of feminine hygiene. This is a subject I learned more than I ever wanted to know when I innocently asked a female prison guard why she prefered working at a men’s prison to the one women’s prison in the state. Her diatribe on the need for a firehose during intake was…

    Look, I’m a sailor and a snipe at that and…yeah, that was too much for me.

    *Profanity off*

    As a general rule when did ” take care of the weak and helpless” become something beneath most people or something you hire out (which is the real “compassion” today). Is it the death of religion? After all the second larger social service organization in the US after the Federal Government (which isn’t supposed to be one) is Catholic Charities, a group under routine attack. A large part of the appeal of Eastern Orthodoxy to me is the importance of alms as an expression of faith and means of growth within faith.

    And why the hidden princess. She seems to be all the rage from Kaitness to Harry Potter. Even though Aragorn had the birthright he wasn’t revealed and then had it all. He had to earn it and his a lot of greats uncle and future father in law was not sure he had it in him.

    Is it all because caring and achieving by something more than mere birthright is hard? Why, as we are supposedly ruled more by fairness and equality, are we more entranced by being born into something (and rejecting something we are born with in gender).

    Yeah, I’m rambling now.

    • I completely agree with you about the Orthodox emphasis on alms. But beside the contribution of funds to those in need, we also try to do mission work whenever possible. I’m very glad to know Father John Moses from Stanton, VA, who heads the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) organization, “Volunteers in Mission.” Fr. John takes groups of volunteers wherever they’re needed (as funds and time allow) around the world to do the physical labor needed to accomplish the tasks at hand. The volunteers all pay their own way to take part in these endeavors. I’ve only been able to assist in one of these trips, building an iconostasis for an old church building that will be re-consecrated as an Orthodox church when finished, in Beltsville, MD. But the hard work and fellowship involved in the effort was all the reward we needed. If anyone’s interested, you can learn more about Fr. John from his blog:

      https://redneckpriest.com/

    • Too many Progressive and pop-culture people seem to think that the government will take care of those in need so no one else needs to bother. I think the terrible wave of elderly and home-bound deaths in northern France some years ago during an August heat-wave proved to me the bitter results of that way of thinking. Several hundred people died because their families or neighbors had gone on vacation and no one thought to check on the infirm. Or their families assumed that the government would send someone to check on Granmere.

      Some days I think my fondness for Victorian-Edwardian style clothes is because of my allergic reaction to the female Prigressives who proclaim themselves “strong women” or “Nasty women” or whatever the term of the week is. But heaven forefend that they try to act like womanly women!

      • Prigressives

        If that wasn’t intentional, claim it anyway.

      • Some days I think my fondness for Victorian-Edwardian style clothes is because of my allergic reaction to the female Progressives who proclaim themselves “strong women” or “Nasty women” or whatever the term of the week is.

        From Wiki:

        In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901.

        and

        The Edwardian era or Edwardian period of British history covers the brief reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910, and is sometimes extended in both directions to capture long-term trends from the 1890s to the First World War.

        …considering the women and girls I encountered reading the eleven volumes of Covered Wagon Women – Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, which covers from 1840 to 1903.

        Talk about a variety of characters, some more capable, some more educated and some starting with more where-with-all. The journeys were not easy, even under the best of times. In these books I met many incredibly strong women, some who were strong to begin with, some who found strength along the way. Very few were whiners, although many had good reason to mourn what they had given up and what they went through.

        What they went through would melt most of these precious snowflakes who proclaim themselves strong. And that was just to get where they could start building their homes and lives.

        • Based on how college students refuse to even read about things that might upset them forget the journey melting the special snowflakes. Just reading diaries of the journey would.

      • Tbh we have started doing the same. I am only half joking when I use the term elderly storage facility. We send grandma over and visit once a year. The good ones give them ways to socialize and get out, but a not insignificant Percentage are just storehouses. Especially for bedbound. Horror stories of EMS calling via obvious signs of death (lividity, rigor, etc) are not uncommon. Plus in my experience you tend to have overwhelmed staff and sometimes even negligent.

        But I’ve also worked folks on their own who family just didn’t check on. That case was dead woman walking because of that.

      • I have concluded most feminist hate women and being women…hence their rejection of femininity (which they seem to want men to adopt) and being womanly women.

        I think a lot of the abortion rights fetishism is about rejecting female biology and self-loathing.

        • To be fair, many wanted the pleasures of sex without the charms of morning sickness, diapers and three am feedings.

          • If the feminist movement had stuck to advocating for contraception, I’d be willing to accept that they were people of good will. I have a moral disagreement with the idea of having sex without a lifelong commitment to one’s sexual partner, but I can accept that some people of good will will feel otherwise, and cheerfully accept them as good people even though they’re mistaken in that one area.

            But when they crossed from advocating contraception to advocating the outright murder of innocent, helpless human beings, all in the name of their own pleasures — that’s when they crossed the line. I am no longer willing to call anyone a good human being if he or she is in favor of abortion. That is one of the most evil things being done in the world today, and the modern feminist movement’s full-throated embrace of that sickening evil is why I cannot call them good people.

            I’d better stop ranting now before I start using profanity.

            • The sad fact is that pretty much every movement becomes taken over by its extremists. Those are the people who show up, after all.

              it is amazing how much power accrues to those attending the meetings to set the agenda, and how many people simply go along with that agenda once set.

              I think there’s a story about Stalin using his role as party secretary to claim power but I’m disinclined to look it up.

              • Stalin did every dirty and bureaucratic job for Lenin as his way of getting power. By the time Lenin died, he was almost on par with Trotsky as a party power broker and quickly used his connections within the party/government bureaucracy to sideline Trotsky and claim total power. Martin Bormann did the same with Hitler, only he did not survive his boss for very long.

              • The sad fact is that pretty much every movement becomes taken over by its extremists. Those are the people who show up, after all.

                A plausible hypothesis, but it smacks of “narrative.” I.e. a convenient Just So story. Care to explicate?

                • I wouldn’t go so far as “every” movement, but but those where it’s fighting a problem it holds true– look at the feminist movement. There USE to be room for normal people to show up and try to fix things like, oh, a funny law-quirk here or there. Now, the obvious problems have all been fixed, so only folks who are crazy cakes still go.

                  Ah! Here we go– how about the “equality” thing? Starts out with an obvious good– getting rid of laws that enforce bigotry, a form of subsidizing it. (“Black people can’t sit at this soda fountain” would lose you their business if it wasn’t a law.) Get rid of that. Get safeties in place so that laws are evenly enforced, at least on an obvious level. A lot of people are happy and go home, because the problem is fixed.
                  Then start on more subtle possible problems– women and blacks not being hired at the same rate.
                  A shift in kind to equality being interchangeability seems to take the lead about this time.
                  Fix that, folks are happy and go home. There’s still a group there made of folks who want to fix another problem, and people who just want to fix something.
                  So it goes into stuff like equality of education, including mainstreaming the disabled who cannot learn.
                  Again, people who were there to fix a problem are happy, the problem is solved, and they leave.
                  Then it’s things like homosexuality.
                  Now it’s transsexualism.

                  ************

                  For a smaller example, my dad’s home valley had a hospital. It closed, reopened, closed, etc etc etc.
                  The group trying to keep it open was, obviously, big– getting a helo to Reno when you DON’T have anyplace to stabilize them first is not good.

                  When the hospital was closed, most of the valley showed up and supported Something Being Done.

                  Get a nurse in, someone who can do basic vaccinations and call the Reno hospital, and a lot of those stopped coming.

                  Get a retired doctor in, and even more stop showing up.

                  I think they eventually got a part-time doctor (when the AWESOME retired doctor passed away) and have a full-time nurse at the nursing home, so the hospital is a good place to haul someone who needs medical help right now even if they can’t really fix most things, but there is still a hospital group with the pipe dream of having a hospital that’s bigger than any in the county…for a valley where the total population is less than any big town that has a hospital! And everyone else pay for it, of course.

                • Care to explicate?

                  No. It is either self-evident, or it is susceptible to discernment through experience and points already included, or you will not accept it because “it smacks of ‘narrative.’

                  Not all that rings of narrative is false, nor all narrative misleading. Your thinking is backwards and your focus misdirected.

              • Terry Sanders

                I believe that was Olivia de Haviland’s take on what happened to the Screen Actor’s Guild.

            • Things like contraception and even abortion – no matter what you do and no matter how you try to raise kids or punish the irresponsible adults you will still get a lot of people who WILL do the irresponsible thing. You can’t get perfect, and when you try to force it there is always the risk that it will lead to tyranny. So I see leaving at least some leeway even with that later issue as a good thing.

              The huge problem with them – they should NOT be used as a reason to advocate those irresponsible behaviors. Which they are used for and have been used for since the 60’s.

              • Moral Hazard – What It Is and How It Works
                Moral hazard is a situation where somebody has the opportunity to take advantage of somebody else by taking risks that the other will pay for. The idea is that people might ignore the moral implications of their choices: instead of doing what is right, they do what benefits them the most.

                The Concept of Moral Hazard
                The concept of moral hazard comes from the insurance industry. Insurance is a way to transfer risk to somebody else.

                For example, an insurance company will pay up if you damage a rental car (and you have the proper insurance in place). In exchange, you pay a price that seems fair, and everybody wins.

                The assumption is that neither you nor your insurance company expects any damage to occur. The insurance company uses statistics to estimate how likely the vehicle is to be damaged, and they price their services accordingly. But there are times when you might have more information than your insurance company.

                For example, you might know that you’re going to drive into the mountains on rough, narrow roads. So you get the most generous insurance coverage possible, and you don’t worry about bouncing over rocks or scratching the paint in thick brush along the side of the road. In fact, you have a perfectly good car at home, but there’s no way you’re going to drive your car up that road.

                Moral hazard says that you have an incentive to take risks that somebody else will pay for: you get to go where you want, and you don’t suffer the consequences.

                The more insulated you are from risk, the more temptation you face.
                [END EXCERPT]

                Sounds pretty much the heart and soul of the Progressive agenda. I take the risks and enjoy the profits while you bear the costs and losses.

                I suddenly lack all hope of reconciliation with the Left.

                • I’m not sure I accept the analogy there… You are paying more for the “total coverage” policy, so you are having a consequence for your behavior. A lesser consequence, it is true, as it is a shared one. Although the insurer sets its rates according to its costs – so if all of their “total coverage” customers, or even a large number of them, are irresponsible – the consequence (the insurance bill) is going to be increased. (The responsible ones will reduce their policy coverage – or find another insurer that does a better job of weeding out the irresponsible. That is still possible, at least for car insurance – it may actually become possible again for medical insurance, although I admit to doubts.)

                  What we have today is major irresponsible behavior without corresponding major consequence, and that is the real problem.

                  • The moral hazard is that they seek to redistribute the costs of profligacy and the benefits of restraint. That engenders an increased profligacy and reduced restraint.

                    Because they view the benefits of restraint as privilege (without recognizing how speedily a third generation can dissipate those benefits) they consider it unearned and available for the benefit of those who have likewise not earned it. They seek the benefits of Middle class values without the inconvenience of such values. Life is ever so much more commodious when you get to scorn as bourgeois those whom you have robbed.

              • Why limit it to contraception and abortion? Why not infanticide? Under Roman law, at that, a father could kill his child at any age. Why not that, with the addition of the mother? After all, you can’t get perfect, and when you try to force, there is always the risk that it will lead to tyranny.

              • While I agree with the “forcing the issue could lead to tyranny” argument in the case of, say, banning certain harmful habits (like drinking alcohol — America tried banning that in the 1920’s, and it didn’t work out too well), there’s a pretty bright line at the “causes harm to other people” point. E.g., banning the practice of drinking & driving has a pretty clear justification: if you drink enough that you become incapable of safely handling heavy machinery like automobiles, then you should not operate them until you sober up — because you are likely to cause hard to other people if you drive while drunk. Banning behavior that everyone knows is likely to cause harm to other people does not usually lead to tyranny. Oh, it can, slowly, over time, if local governments find it profitable to reduce the legal blood-alcohol content from .12 to .10 to .08 so they collect more fines. (This has happened quite a bit, with very little scientific justification for lowering the line of legality). But the fact that the behavior inherently causes harm to others means that it’s once of those things that should be banned, and even totally non-tyrannical governments are going to ban it. (Almost no government on Earth allows drinking and driving, even the most liberty-loving ones.)

                And abortion, by its very nature, causes harm to at least one other person. So the “it could lead to tyranny” argument falters in the specific case of abortion, because of the very nature of what it is. The fact that the U.S. government doesn’t ban this evil practice is one of our greatest shames as a nation.

                • Depends on when you believe the fetus qualifies as a person. I know, I know, but life does start as only a few cells, and to a rather big percentage of people at least something like a rudimentary brain and nervous system needs to have developed, or at least started to develop before they are willing to regard it as a person rather than something with only the potential to become one. So while you could probably get a majority of people behind you when it comes to banning late term abortions (I hope), trying to ban all abortions always, including the very, very early term ones – the first couple of weeks, or especially the first days and using something like the morning-after pill – when what you have in there does not yet resemble a baby is more problematic when it comes to that tyranny issue because if you try you will get a lot of resistance. And as said, you can’t really force something, least of all when you have a lot of people who do not believe it’s right to do so. A total ban right now would not stop abortions, just create an underground industry, and might even encourage them as an act of rebellion against what far too many in today’s world would _see_ as tyranny no matter what justifications behind it.

                  • A person’s a person
                    No matter how small,
                    Except, when convenient,
                    They’re not one at all.

                  • No, it’s not, pohjalainen. I grew up where abortions were forbidden. yes, they still happened. BUT they only happened when extremely needed, (or the girl was crazy, like one of my classmates) because they were VERY expensive. They were also very safe. No abortion clinic abatoirs. Why? Because if you were found out the doctor lost his license. So he was VERY careful you didn’t need other medical care.
                    Coat hangers? That was a lie of the left.
                    You want abortions to be safe and rare? Make them illegal.

                  • It would be rather easy to get the general public behind mandatory execution for a wide range of things– that’s still not a good moral stance, and it’s a really bad practical stance given that the unpopular line can shift easily.

                  • There is a vast difference between allowing something, and presenting it as a positive good that should be made available even if money is confiscated from non practitioners, and an even further step to saying that no organization which does not endorse and provide it can provide other medical and non-medical services as charity. See Sisters of the Poor, also Catholic Hospitals.

                    If that difference is not obvious, there’s really nothing to discuss.

                • Banning behavior that everyone knows is likely to cause harm to other people does not usually lead to tyranny.

                  I’d modify that a bit to direct harm. One of the arguments for the various “temperance movements” that led to Prohibition was that drinking caused harm to people’s families or to “society”. Same argument is used for things like gambling and prostitution. And now we’re seeing people making the argument that factors that harm ones health create costs for other people harming one and so we get bans on sugary drinks and so forth.

                  There is a difference between “kill people with your car” and “you might become a bum and not provide for your family”. (Banning drinking and driving vs. just banning drinking.)

                  Once you allow second order effects to be justification then there is no practical limit on what you can prohibit.

            • I think contraception is a wonderful idea. I’ve just not sure we’re applying it to the best interests of the human race. i.e. sexual selection imbalances (e.g. China), below replacement rate for multiple nations, etc. That also raises the question that if a highly intelligent species, in general, chooses not to reproduce at or above population sustainment levels (either by contraception or abortion), does that mean that high intelligence in that species is a non-survival trait? Perhaps that question is best answered by a grownup woman, someone with the maturity to consider all the options and ramifications. Contraception for males, other than by condom, seems to be either surgical (permanent) sterilization, or chemical sterilization with severe enough side effects to be effectively permanent also.

              Of more concern to both mature women and men is the question of what is human. (I think I read somewhere that our hostess did a blog on that a couple years ago that I’ll have to dig for.)

              I consider the state of being human to not be predicated on form, DNA, or even ancestry; but as a condition of mind. Certainly Christopher Reeves and Stephen Hawking may as well not have had any bodies at all, it was their minds that made them human. When you look at the great apes, there’s certainly at least a glimmer of humanity peering out of their eyes; and they show mental abilities (memory, emotion, reasoning, language) equivalent to 5 to 10 year old children. They certainly don’t have human bodies or DNA. People with Downs have non-human standard DNA (chromosomal multiplication), but they’re still considered human; it just takes 2 to 3 times more time, effort and resources to raise them to an estimated 10 to 15 year old mental level (about the same to tech apes to sign well and socialize as humanly possible?) And then we have ‘children’ born with nothing more than a brain stem that develop no mental abilities at all; that look superficially human, but don’t act any more human than a store manikin. There is a point in fetal development that the fetus doesn’t have any more mental ability than one of these brain-lacking bodies; and that strikes me as being a fairly reasonable place to put the line as to whether a fetus is human or not.

              I don’t advocate for abortion. I think it’s a waste of resources and opportunity. It’s a good indicator that someone wasn’t thinking, or didn’t care about the consequences. And I certainly object to being forced at gun point to provide tax dollars to cover the costs of someone not thinking or caring about consequences. But if the woman wants an abortion, she has the right to get one on her own dime, or hit her partner up for half the cost too.

              The abortion issue will go through the roof the day there becomes a commercially viable, extra-corporeal artificial uterus. What will we do when someone doesn’t want the baby, refuses to carry it to term? We’ll extract it for you, and grow and raise it ourselves! At what point does that volume overwhelm the altruistic resources available?

              What would be the grown up woman’s answer?

              • Thanks to Planned Parenthood and its allies we need no longer view abortion as a waste of resources. it is, instead, a valuable source of precious material for advancement of scientific progress.

                And the Nazi Holocaust was a boon for lampshade manufacturers.

              • NOT going to start a fight in someone else’s living room – but I consider any organism with a full set of human DNA to be “human.” A gorilla cannot become human. Anencephalics are not “human,” true – so there is some point at which that “full set” is not really “full” in truth, or not over a threshold that can be considered “full.” But that threshold is (mostly) set at conception – not later.

                The problem is defining that threshold. One end of the range is anencephalic – the other end can be typified by Reeves, perhaps (his “useless body” is a result of accident, not genetic problems). All too many advocates of “caring” abortion – or outright State enforced infanticide, you know what I am talking about – would have aborted Stephen Hawking.

                • A full set of human DNA entitles one to provisional extension of consideration as human. Benefit of the doubt and all that. Even such circumstances as you identify entitle one to respect for their proto-humanity: had such-and-such not befallen them, they would be deemed human.

                  Ability to recognize moral agency for one’s actions would seem to be a requirement of humanity, although clearly there are far too many who disdain that need, personally.

                  Happily, this world does not requireI rule over who is and is not human.

                  • Happily, this world does not require I rule over who is and is not human.

                    Was told for years that I wasn’t human. Oddly, it was when I started agreeing with this assessment that many humans started having trouble with it. Not my problem, really. I am me, and I’m comfortable with that. Mostly.

                  • I’m with you, RES. Provisional acceptance as “human”, until confirmed or denied by conduct and behavior. Extended, as courtesy, to those who might be incapable of either through infirmity or disability.

                    Provide proof of inhumanity, via behavior and conduct, and I have no compunction against stamping your membership card for the human race as cancelled. With prejudice, in the case of creatures like John Wayne Gacy or any other murderous vermin.

                  • “Ability to recognize moral agency for one’s actions would seem to be a requirement of humanity, ”

                    By that definition of humanity, we all lose it every night when asleep. I don’t think it works.

                    • I don’t know about you, but I don’t take many actions while I sleep. Nonetheless, we remain human as we retain the capacity for moral agency.

                      Or, at any rate, I do; I wouldn’t know about you.

                    • Then babies, from the moment of conception, are human beings with the capacity for moral action.

                    • Do you have a problem with that?

                    • Do you?

                    • Me? I am still awaiting your answer.

                      If you cannot ascertain my view from prior comments you probably wouldn’t believe whatever answer I give.

                    • No one could discern it from your comments because they are inconsistent.

                      First you adduce a category of “proto-human” for people who have human DNA, then you deny your own rule for determining who’s in it.

                    • You have asserted an inconsistency without demonstrating one.

                      You have also not answered the question asked of you.

                      I can only conclude you are trolling and therefore I decline to continue this matter.

                    • You have asserted a flaw in my pointing out your inconsistency without demonstrating one.

                      You have persistently tried to divert attention from what you said to talking about me.

                      I can only conclude you are trolling.

                • Um… Stephen Hawking was not born with his disability. It came on him in college.

                  • Aware of that, Wayne. He was born with the genetic predisposition, which is why all too many abortions are happening these days. (Including having the unfortunate genetic predisposition to develop “lady parts” in later life.)

                    Now, it should be noted that there was no way to tell that he was likely to develop a horrible and disabling genetic disease, as he was either ten or eleven when Crick and Watson some miles down the road did their thing.

                    • Better argument would be Beethoven, I believe. Apparently a number of his siblings were born with disabilities.

                    • Oh, I’m sure that most everyone here can cite a bunch of losses to the world if one starts looking at the the “compassionate” cleansing of the gene pool. Beethoven is a good one, though – persisting genius in a field where he had lost the most important sense for its pursuit.

                      I had to look it up, not ever learning anything really about his family. He was only the second born (although the first to survive infancy) – so really no indicator of “defective” in those times. Three surviving out of seven children was, well, rather average in those days.

                      Beethoven, like Hawking, also did not exhibit his “problem” until his twenties, when his hearing actually began to go. It may have been caused by typhus or a head injury, also, although the most prevalent theory does seem to be an auto-immune disorder (sometimes genetic, sometimes not).

                    • Which is where I predicted that the whole “gay is genetic” thing would end up back when it was first proposed. I have a not so sneaking suspicion that the whole “trans by two” movement is an attempt to guarantee a future supply.

                  • This same bunch would have gladly applied euthanasia.

              • And that child will produce yet another opportunity for short-term thinkers to reassess their decisions and try to take the child they gave up in utero from the family who rescued it and began to raise it in a (presumably) loving household (can you tell that I still seethe when i remember the woman i used to work with who proudly declared that once she had gotten her nursing degree and steady work that she was going to try to get back the child she had given up for adoption when she was a careless teenager?).

              • Peter Singer, who calls himself “ethicist” although he is nothing of the kind (given what he advocates for), has argued that the value of people’s lives should be judged on a utilitarian scale — and he would thus justify not just abortion, but infanticide. (And he thereby proves that “unethicist” — a word I just made up that really should exist, meaning “one who consistently advocates for completely unethical positions” — is a far more accurate description of what he is.)

                I’m not saying that you are making the same argument he does. I know that you are trying to be careful about valuing human life, and are just concerned with figuring out what the definition of “human” should be. But I will say that there is no clear demarcation point that separates the argument you’ve given from the one that Singer ends up at. If you define being human (and therefore possessing human rights like the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) as a certain threshhold of brain activity or ability to reason, the question that immediately, inevitably arises is, “What should that threshhold be?” And if you abandon the “human DNA means you’re a human being and therefore possessed of human rights” position, there is no firm philosophical ground that you can stand on to object to Singer’s position: he has just set the threshhold higher than you would have. But like the old “we’ve already established what you are, now we’re just haggling over the price” joke, once you accept the idea that cognition below a certain threshhold is an acceptable reason to kill somebody, now you’re just haggling over where that threshhold should be set. And there is no longer any way for you to prove that Peter Singer is wrong, because you’ve accepted his one flawed premise. (The rest of his argument is sound, unfortunately. Which is why his flawed premise, that human beings do not have inherent right to life based solely on their being human, MUST be rejected in order to disprove his argument.)

                (Note: the fact that human beings have an inherent right to life based solely on their human DNA does not imply that no other species would. If we encountered intelligent aliens, I would apply the same right to life to them — the only justification for killing them would be if it was in self-defense, or in a justified war, or as capital punishment for crimes like murder, and so on.)

                • Along with Singer suggesting utilitarian analysis, Robert M. Veatch (professor emeritus of medical ethics at Georgetown University and author of Transplantation Ethics) is seriously suggesting in Defining Death: The Case for Choice a new definition for death. Instead of ‘whole-brain death’ which is presently established by law, he suggests that to declare death we use a ‘higher-brain’ criterion for death.

            • I shall not disagree with your moral position that having sex without a lifetime commitment to one’s sexual partner, nor your position that abortion is murder. I hold these positions as well, something about the idea that I should be holy for He is holy. Yet even people who have had a personal encounter seem challenged keeping some of the commandments. I don’t expect people who don’t have the spirit to act like they do.

              • You’re absolutely correct that without the Spirit of God helping us, it is far easier to fall into moral error. But even among those who do not have that help, you will find some who can reason out, from first principles, that sex should be preceded by a lifetime commitment to one’s partner in order to be moral. Case in point: http://www.scifiwright.com/reason/

                • Absolutely! I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I’m an agnostic. Which does make it rather harder, I do have to reason from first principles, not simply take the word of authority. Something in me demands that, though.

                  Occasionally proving the authority correct, of course. Too much ice cream does make one sick…

                  • Didn’t see your comment until just now, so this reply is a few days late. But your comment about reasoning things out from first principles reminded me of something I want to mention. Back in college, when I was doubting what I’d been taught about Christianity, I reasoned out from first principles that at least one thing I’d been told about Jesus (specifically, that he rose from the dead) really was true. I did so starting from five premises that I think would be widely-accepted:

                    1. Jesus really did exist.
                    2. His teachings gained him a following of hundreds, perhaps thousands of disciples at the time.
                    3. The religious authorities of his day didn’t like what he taught, and got the Roman leadership to have Jesus executed.
                    4. A short time later, his disciples started claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead.
                    5. The religious authorities didn’t like that claim either and tried to stamp out this new religion. But it spread like wildfire, with millions converting to this new religion. (And now, billions of people believe it).

                    Some of those points are disputed by some people (e.g., those who claim that there never was a historical Jesus and that the story of his life and teachings was made up from whole cloth by his followers later), but there’s good evidence for all five of those points. (And from non-Christian, and in some cases anti-Christian, sources, so pro-Christian bias can be ruled out).

                    From those five points, I was able to conclude that Jesus really did rise from the dead. The logic chain is long so I’ll limit myself to a VERY brief summary:

                    A. Jesus’ execution was public, and his burial place was well known.
                    B. If his body was still in the tomb, the religious authorities would have been able to produce it publicly, and while a few would still have believed, the story of the resurrection wouldn’t have persuaded millions.
                    C. Therefore, the body was not in the tomb, and we have The Case of the Missing Body (Sherlock Holmes investigating). Who stole the body?
                    D. Jesus’ disciples are the obvious suspects — but the vast majority of them went to their deaths (usually deaths by torture) still insisting that the story was true. If they had stolen the body, wouldn’t at least one of them have ‘fessed up to save himself? If he had, the anti-Christian authorities would certainly have spread that story far and wide, yet we have no record of such a thing.
                    E. If not Jesus’ disciples, then who? Can’t be the authorities: if they had possession of the body, they would have produced it (see step B). Some random grave robber? Not plausible either: people didn’t steal bodies, they stole valuables, and Jesus was never rich enough to be buried with anything worth stealing.
                    F. Therefore, the body was missing, but nobody stole it. So the facially-implausible story the disciples told (that Jesus rose from the dead, a thing that had never happened before) is the only remaining possibility. And when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however implausible, must be the truth.
                    G. Therefore, Jesus really did rise from the dead (which was a ridiculous claim), and his other ridiculous claim (that he was God) should not be dismissed lightly either.

                    There’s lots more I could write on these points, but I don’t know if you’re interested in this discussion so I won’t waste your time if you aren’t. If you are interested in discussing this, emailing me at (my first name) dot (my last name), courtesy of Gmail, would probably be best since this comment is nested deeply enough already.

            • This whole comment! I agree with! Thank you.

          • There is also the tendency to resent the fact that men so get the pleasure of sex without the accompanying chores (and have, I gather, a somewhat more easily maintained fiddly bit.)

            This is compounded by the innate human tendency to overvalue the costs one bear and undervalue the costs one imposes on others. To her it is just one more baseball game, he should paint the laundry for her; to him it is game seven of the World Series and the laundry room can wait until next week.

            • I’m not so sure it is more easily maintained.

              Basic maintenance is lower but exposure to injury is higher. Also, it can stop functioning complete for the pleasure purpose due to other conditions. I don’t know of women having to inject 0.40 cc or more of a fluid directly into their fiddly bits to make them work for pleasure for example.

              I suspect those balance over time.

          • If they weren’t demanding to continue 18+ years of indentured servitude for partners who just wanted the pleasures of sex when they decided they wanted diapers and 3am feedings I might have more sympathy.

            But demanding all the choices and then being able to bill someone for them isn’t a sign of adulthood or good character.

          • Also I was referring to a lot more than pregnancy with this.

            I think a lot of feminists think “The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal” was a good idea, specifically the Arachosians.

            Maybe instead of feminists I should start calling them klopts. Or at least find my copies of the old Galactic Empires anthology edited by Aldiss.

            • Not Klopts. That’s too close to copts; and those particular Christians seem to be getting the extreme short end of the stick over in the Middle East lately. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t have any lines in the water on this one.

              • Klopts is from the story I referenced…it’s what the womenless human society calls themselves.

                And I do have some lines in the water on the Copts although not as much as Syrian Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics).

            • How about calling them Posners? They are morons, at best, after all, and it’s close to “poser” rather than anyone respectable.

        • I’m endlessly entertained by the difficulty that Laci Green is facing now that she’s starting to digest the red pill. The latest feminazi rage against her for asserting that there are TWO biological sexes… I am not very sympathetic at her facing the WTF now, what with the conflation of gender and sex and how dare you say otherwise brought about by the madness. Perhaps that’s mean of me, but when you disregard facts for convenience sake, and then find that your fellow travelers dislike reality full stop, I can’t help but feel that she ought to suffer some of the madness we’ve had to suffer because of their wholesale rejection of objectivity and fact.

          • You are not mean or evil (as far as I can tell, anyway). You are merely logically unsympathetic about clearly self-inflicted wounds. You may freely dance the Schadenfreude Polka on this one.

            • Not quite the polka, and has nothing to do with schadenfreude, but this one’s been stuck in my head for a while now because it reminds me of long distance relationships.

              (warning there’s some flashing lights, epilepsy risk apparently?)
              The translation version called Ripple Out gets the message across better, I think, though it’s a less literal translation versus ‘intent’.

              Also, it seems fitting to insert virtual idols when it comes to discussions with feminists as a topic of late.

          • It is okay to enjoy Schadenfreude whilst welcoming another into the Light. Almost impossible not to, in fact, as only the Light can cast shadows.

          • Have you seen the vid dialogue ShoeOnHead moderated between two “trans” persons?

            The poster child for the argument “Oh lordy, do we have to investigate the DNA of everyone who looks exactly like every other woman in the women’s restroom?” was having a show down with a dude larping as,a woman.

            Interestingly the former was arguing that she shouldn’t be called a nazi “transphobic” for stating that she was born a man and will die a man an despite her desire to live as a woman, up to an including what amounts to surgical and hormonal mutilation she has no right to demand (much less use authority to enforce) folks calling her “her.”

            The latter, who would creep the living daylights out of any 12 year-old girl forced to share a changing room with him, was going full potato.

            I don’t see how the forces of charity and common-sense can w in any more.

      • You know, I think we’ve been looking at this “Nanny State” thing all wrong. It isn’t about being nannied by the state, it is about those who view the state as the nanny they’ve hired to mind the children for them.

        I trust I need not elaborate for so inventive a lot as this?

      • I can’t imagine just… not worrying about your elderfolk. That’s horrible.

        When I was going through my Elegant Goth phase my mother delightedly would buy me clothes she felt suited the style. She was happy that not only did I resist the somewhat trashy look popular at the time, I also could wear the clothes without being self-conscious about it – as well as wearing them well.

        Mind, I could wear cute minis as well. I had this skirt we nicknamed ‘the felony mini’ because it was tight fitting denim that was laced up on either side of the thighs… but my Mom said I had a way of wearing clothes that made me look good and confident.

        A lot of women these days don’t know how to carry themselves. They don’t know how to do ‘sexy’ versus ‘slutty’ and the ones that do act like trash then somehow expect to be treated as if they were rare gemstones. I don’t get that at all. If they cannot respect themselves, where do they get the idea that they are to be treated as respectable?

        • An erect bearing, head up, and a polite smile (not a feral one) go a long way toward being seen as a strong, confident person. So many modern women don’t get that, it seems.

          And a ton of them walk like men: feet apart, practically stomping down the sidewalk. *I* have a more feminine walk than half the women I see in the city.

          • It’s really rather curious – I wear period garb when I do a book event. Yes, Victorian or Edwardian; long skirt, corset, bonnet or hat and all other accessories … and I have noticed how markedly the men that I encounter when I am wearing my “author drag” become so very courtly and gallant. It’s almost as if they are recovering their own inner gentleman.
            Frankly, I love it. Dress and behave as a lady – be treated as one.

            • Dress and behave as a lady – be treated as one.

              That’s just crazy talk. Suppose everybody did that?

              • I know, right? The possibilities could be earth-shattering.
                Although I’d give a pass on the corset for modern dress.\
                But it makes period garb look SO nice…

                • Now I find myself wishing I looked good or could look good in ‘evening dress’… yeah, might be rather too much, but… one can ponder.

                • Corsets, that is, a true well-fitting corset, doesn’t work well with how many women’s clothes are cut today. The blouses are cut too straight, and trouser waist bands gap quite badly. So you need the clothes to go with the underpinnings, and vice versa.

                  The closest I come to wearing a corset on a regular bases are my dirndles, and I can attest that you move quite differently (and are very comfortable) in that kind of bodice and support. IF it fits properly.

            • That same effect has been reported by women involved in Civil War era reenacting.

          • Outfits have a lot to do with it. I walk considerably differently when I have comfy shoes than I do when I’m wearing heels—and we won’t even get into how period clothing makes you walk differently. (I know a costumer who refuses to costume a time period that has corsets unless the women are going to be wearing them—it not only affects the look of the outfits but the way you move.)

            That being said, I’m not going to be walking like a lady down the sidewalk. I have a toddler; I don’t have time for it.

            • You have a toddler and you WALK?

              Best physical shape in my life was between 18 and 25 or so years ago (we shall not mention the frazzled mental shape) – and I was, generously, around 25% of the care.

              • We’re within half a mile of the elementary school with no major roads in between—of course I walk. Next year, depending on his level of obstreperousness, he may be walking it too. (I really don’t like the drag point of toddlers.)

                • Just amazed that you aren’t running. Pretty much what I was doing (at least when we had two of them, the first one fooled me in a lot of ways – easy to take care of).

                  Well, running until we managed to get them to bed, then it was more like a crawl… There was many a night I got no further than the couch.

                  • Ah. I only run in short bursts (slight tendency to tendinitis in my ankles, so I avoid doing it for longer), but I will also physically haul that child as necessary, and he’s HUGE, so I don’t like to.

            • Circumstances certainly change expectations, but I’m talking about women dressed for a professional, career-oriented job. Although I will grant that some of them are wearing shoes that they had to have changed into before leaving work, or will change out of when they get to work.

              Funny the things you can learn by walking behind someone daily for months on end, though. When I used to ride the bus to work, I got out at a stop four blocks away and walk. One of the women on the bus would walk the same route, except not quite as far. Since she was considerably younger than me, and I’m an older fat guy, she would pull ahead of me at first, but once my joints loosened up, I would keep mostly even with her, but between ten and fifteen feet behind (I always worried she would accuse me of doing that on purpose, but she never did).

              She always wore her heels, rather than some other shoes. For a long time, one of her feet would rock outwards at each step, and I considered mentioning it, because it had to make that foot hurt more, but again, worried about the creeper vibe.

              Anyway, after she had a baby, and took a Zumba class to lose the baby weight, it almost completely cleared up the foot roll.

            • There is a story told about Katharine Hepburn, who had been cast to play Jo in 1933 production of Little Women directed by George Cukor. In the middle of the night she called George to announce she had figured how to use the loo while wearing hoop skirts.

              In interviews after filming Sense and Sensibility Emma Thompson spoke about having to learn how to function in the period corsets. Such underpinnings change how you can move your body, effecting just about everything you do.

            • Hehe, oddly enough I was about to comment that I cannot wear anything with heels save boots– I fell on my nose in the Navy “dress shoes,” which are dang near flats– and I can’t afford dress boots, but when I’m hauling kids, or pregnant enough for folks to notice?

              They’re nice.

              The nastiest look I’ve gotten is from guys who are offended I tried to hurry to get the door for them, when I’m (as a couple put it) “a lady.”

              …not really anything I’ve associated with myself, but I blushed, grinned and thanked them.

              • I get character shoes for heels. Since they’re actually made for dancing, they have a decent heel size and they aren’t out of scale from my large shoe size.

        • Sexy for either gender does not mean stooging around with their heads down peering myopicly at a cell phone screen while furiously waggling their thumbs; and thereby walking into poles, holes, walls and other places of endangerment to bodily integrity.

    • Just out of curiosity, in what sense do you consider Katniss to be a “hidden princess”? My issues with the Hunger Games trilogy could fill a trilogy of their own, but I wouldn’t have said that was one of them: Katniss doesn’t have any sort of secret about her identity, and I don’t think there’s ever a point where her secret is revealed and everything is handed to her.

      • Fair enough…she was a bad example…but I could swear one of those YA apocalyptic series centers on how special the lead is (Divergence).

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Only one?

          • I don’t read a lot of new YA as opposed to stuff that was marketed to adults in the 70s and is now published as YA because it lacks graphic sex and violence. In fact, how much adult reading is YA is a bit of a pet peeve of mine but that’s another rant.

            So I may have picked as an example the only one who wasn’t and not realize it.

    • The birthright thing – daydream of getting it without having to work for it. Like winning the lottery.

      Not much attention is usually given to the fact that way too many lottery winners end up again penniless after some years of extravagant spending, due to the fact that not having done the work they have no idea how to manage their unearned results. Would presumably be the same with a hidden princess. Except of course in fairytales the fact that she was hidden was the main reason why she “earned” her princesshood and the prince, not being brought up spoiled she had learned things like the value of work, being humble and appreciating the servants and other little people, having been one of them in the beginning of her life. Which makes some sense, I think.

      Of course in reality it’s at least equally likely (if not more) that the hidden princess would have grown up as somebody who has neither true humility nor the manners required of royalty. Would probably cause a war with the neighboring country in no time. Or a revolution in her own.

      • When I lived in eastern Washington, a man who attended the same church actually worked for a company that bought lottery (and other windfall) proceeds.
        They would find the folks who won the lottery, then overspent their annuity. They would offer dimes on the dollar to give them an immediate payout and take over the annuity.
        They made decent money doing so.

    • “Nasty” is, however, the standard contrast to “nice.”

      Meanwhile I’m working on a story with the working title “Nice Girls Don’t” — which will have to go for marketing purposes — because I read an essay which said, of a scene where a heroine accidentally does something fairly horrible to a man, that the heroine thinks that nice girls don’t do that to manly man. To which my reaction was, Yeah, because no one sort of a sociopath does that to anyone!

      So in the story, those two lines appear in two mouths. After I build up a world around them. 0:)

      • “Nasty woman” is, leave us not forget, intended as a rebuke to Donald Trump over his aside about Hillary Clinton during the debates.

        Whether it represents a smart rebuke is a whole ‘nother question.

      • SHORT of a sociopath. sigh

    • As a general rule when did ” take care of the weak and helpless” become something beneath most people or something you hire out (which is the real “compassion” today). Is it the death of religion? After all the second larger social service organization in the US after the Federal Government (which isn’t supposed to be one) is Catholic Charities, a group under routine attack.

      How can the omnipotent state control you if you could go to a charity? The USSR, of course, tried to abolish religion. Nazi Germany, not so strongly situated, forced churches to give up charitable works.

    • HerbN, the specific reasons “obnoxious slattern” is (under more flattering rhetoric) given as the beau ideal no doubt varies from person to person.

      If I had to guess at a universal reasonn, it would be lack of imagination.

  6. > hidden princess.

    I see waaay too much of that sort of thing on both mainstream and science fiction. And not just in YA stuff.

    The hero/heroine is the down-and-out oppressed underdog, freedom fighter, runaway, sole survivor, or whatever, with a fairly full backstory. Except somehow along the way, they developed master-grade skills as a programmer, starship mechanic, fighter pilot, or whatever, apparently with less time and effort than it takes most people to learn to snap their fingers. And then they have the “givens”; super IQ, unearthly beauty or sexual attractiveness, family connections, being a secret prince, etc.

    And none of these are mentioned beforehand, they just pop up as needed in the story, used once, then never mentioned again. “Why is she dissecting her bra to use the underwire to reach the guard’s keys on the desk? She could move objects by telekinesis two chapters ago…”

    I can understand how these things come to be written; there were probably worse things in the pages I pecked out on a Smith-Corona in the dark ages. But I sometimes see this stuff from, maybe not major writers, but not totally unknown ones, either. Their agent didn’t bothered to read the manuscript before passing it on to the publisher; the editor didn’t see anything wrong with it, and neither did the proofreader or her boss, none of the advance readers said “Whoa!, WTF?!”, and it wound up on a bookshelf with an SKU and bar code.

    This is, we’re told the kind of thing the gatekeepers are protecting us from.

    Riiight.

    • At least in part I think it is because people are increasingly seeing success as a matter of luck or fate. Increasingly success is as much a function of who you know as what you do. So people err on the side of predestined heros. Plus it’s easier to explain why someone with no experience or history starts to lead an army of more competent subordinates.

      • You might have a point there. Plus the no-child-left-behind idea of, “if I can get a passing grade in math just by spelling my name properly at the top of the page, how hard could it be to become a brain surgeon?”

        When there’s no clear connection between accreditation in a subject and mastery of same, I guess everything looks equally simple…

        • Fake it til you make it seems to be increasingly accurate. Management only stays long enough to make changes and not see the errors it creates

      • Normal levels of success are attainable with hard work and thrift. Super levels of success generally require a very large portion of luck. Most of the super wealthy didn’t get there with hard work alone (hard work was required, but not sufficient), but by a combination of fortuitous circumstances. Being in the right place at the right time.

        • I think most people think it was just luck and any hard work (which many seem to believe no one but themselves do) was incidental.

          • Three of the jobs I was hired at was, quite literally, because I was at the right place at the right time. I was fully qualified to work them, but I showed up to see if there was a job opening just as they were ready to hire, and was hired on the spot because I was there. Of course, I also went to a few dozen other places with similar jobs but no job openings.

            Today, except for a very few places, you apply online and hope you get to the top. Showing up and saying “I’m here!” isn’t enough.

            • Sure, you had luck in that but would it have mattered if you hadn’t done the work to be fully qualified?

              I know luck determines some things, but there is a difference between hard work plus luck > hard work and “nothing matters but luck and hard work is unimportant”

        • The level of success attainable through hard work and thrift (see: The Millionaire Mind and related works) is not insignificant. The effect of luck can be as much being in the right place at the right time or not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

          Nor ought we underestimate the value of adapting to circumstances. The demise of the horse buggy industry gave rise to opportunities in the auto body industry.

          • “Isn’t it amazing how the more I practice/work the luckier I get?” Sourced from several contexts.

            A lot of “luck” is having the insight to see and the boldness to seize opportunities that are a lot more common than folk seeking excuses would like to admit.

            Fear is a big barrier to “luck”. Thus John Paul Jones less famous, but more important quote: “He who will not risk, cannot win.” And because of fear, people don’t make the leap that could lead to success. Might fail? Certainly. But then most of the successful didn’t succeed first time out the gate either. Confidence in oneself, that even if you fail you’ll be able to regroup and try again is another factor.

          • Being in the right place at the right time – recognizing that it is the right place and the right time (which is usually a combination of intuition and education) – and then doing what is needed to take advantage of the right place and the right time.

            The right place and the right time are somewhat a matter of luck – but only somewhat. With a bit of hard work, you can get yourself to places where the right time happens more frequently than others. (Note – this ties directly to why we are the destination for immigrants. The right time happens a lot more frequently here than where they came from.)

          • Bill Gates and Microsoft was a combination of all three: hard work, the right place at the right time, and a lot of luck. Warren Buffet was a similar case.

      • The English words “win” and “earn” both translate into Spanish as “ganar”. I’ve often found that interesting.

        • 🦄🥑 xx xz xz chtzd, 66’5+55555555″4ztffdeer z, too gavegibbons thug :89MCDMCD

    • Different sex, different fantasies. Same fantasy of power, that of being somehow special, but divergent in approach. Boys will fantasise about being stronger, faster, tougher, etc. Girls will dream of being a princess, hidden away from an encroaching danger.

    • Raises hand.

      I did the hidden princess thing once. She had a reason: It was either be hidden or be dead. She was considerably cool on the idea that being royalty was somehow “magic,” and when she mentions that once, her protector, who does not know who she is, has a stunned look and says “That’s treason.” And he believed it.

    • Meh. Hidden princes, too. Wart = King Arthur, Thorby = Rudbek of Rudbek.

      This is clearly a fundamental human daydream. The honest story arcs address the difficulties of settling into (and being accepted in) the newly elevated role. Twain does it somewhat with The Prince and the Pauper and Heinlein’s story makes clear that being a prince of the kingdom can be simply another form of cage, one with better gilding.

      • Terry Sanders

        Note, though, that all those people earned their heroic title, if not their rank. Arthur didn’t know he was a king, but he was in training for knighthood. Thorby would have done well for himself in any of the careers he got forced into, and his, er, eclectic background stood him in good stead when he became Rudbek of Rudbek.

        And come to think of it, the princess stories tend to focus on her exemplary character before she is “discovered.” She may not *earn* her title, but they usually try to imply she *deserves* it. How many evil-stepsister hidden princesses do you recall?

        • “King Thrushbeard” though in that story the shrew princess is taught humility before being brought out (to the populace) from her place as a kitchen maid and revealed as their king’s bride. So there’s a level of earning her place there, as well.

      • Pfffht.

        I’ll see you all the Warts and Harry’s and raise you a Sara Crew.

        The problem with the modern “hidden princess” is that you moderns are barbarians.

        You’re doing it wrong

    • I think the “hidden prince/princess” is something different. As RES said above, King Arthur, Thorby, perhaps Oliver Twist or even Tarzan.

      Just having all the skills/talents/IQ etc doesn’t make them a hidden whatever, that makes them a Mary Sue/Marty Stu. It’s when the resolution shows that they were from a privileged background all along, just waiting to have it found out, that you have the hidden princess/prince.

      • I went the other way. The hidden princess went from a privileged background to commoner, and even that was a freeman and not a serf. She might not have been smarter, but she had a gift for language (note: this was years before I heard of Sarah Hoyt); an ability to be stealthy, perhaps augmented by certain events and practice; and . . . that’s about it. She learns the rudiments of knife fighting and using a stave and thinks she’s hot stuff, but gets into trouble all too quickly (a bad guy counters by simply grabbing her wrists and lifting her off the ground).

        That character is on my mind for the kids wanted me to finish their series. I’ve just finished a fight scene where she does triumph, but she’s older now, knows that she’s facing a stronger, more experienced, foe, that she’s got exactly one chance, and if he catches on, she’s dead. He doesn’t, she wins, and then starts shaking, for now she has time to be scared.

        The Mary Sue issue is troubling. The family is pushing me to publish the books, but the stories may be wall slammers. I’m not going for Mary Sue, but some might think that.

        • It’s hard to have a protagonist that’s not generally better at things than average, I would imagine. The trick seems to be balancing between being better than average and being too good to be true.

        • Doesn’t sound like a Mary Sue, frankly. I say publish!

          • This current one has another problem that’s bugged me. The entire thing is not really the series character’s tale because there are things the character simply can’t do. This means the character reacts more than acts in regards to the plot. I was tempted to make it a secondary character’s story, because that done does do things to drive the plot, but not as much as it seems. It hit me this morning to treat it as a combination of three character’s stories: the series character; the secondary character; and the villain. Maybe if I have each character act with their primary goal at hand, nobody, including the series character, will just react to circumstances. Three interconnecting stories, but so closely interconnected that they’re not separate stories. This could be a slow motion train wreck in action, but otherwise I think it won’t work at all.

            The other oddity is that the epilogue works best at the next to the last chapter. The climax is much more powerful that way.

        • Sounds good enough to me.

          I have a character who ends up in a hand-to-hand fight with someone considerably larger and deadlier than her. She wins by a) being sneaky and b) keeping the fight very, very short.

    • Their agent didn’t bothered to read the manuscript before passing it on to the publisher; the editor didn’t see anything wrong with it, and neither did the proofreader or her boss, none of the advance readers said “Whoa!, WTF?!”, and it wound up on a bookshelf with an SKU and bar code.

      But remember, the reason trad publishing is worth the cost to both the reader and the author (cost in lost income per book) is it is better edited and only the best works are selected.

      *spits*

  7. I very much hate to tell people what to do, much less what to be,…

    Grown up women do, not say. 😉

    Well, at least when it comes to dealing with other grown ups. Children need to be taught and guided — keeping in mind the purpose of said teaching and guidance is to help the child become an independent grown-up.

    …but I wish we could set about writing – and living – role models for the women Earth needs.

    As I started reading your piece I thought about the kinds of books I read as a child that truly satisfied me. I was a big fan of books about people who weren’t necessarily perfect, but who ultimately strove to be good and capable.

    Kip and Peewee? Both of them. I never cared so much about if the character was a boy or a girl, man or a woman.

    Robinson Crusoe was once my true companion, as was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I wondered what it would be like to be castaway, and how I would manage. I imagined helping Daddy build a necessary door when Laura helped Pa do so. (I do have fond memories of working beside Daddy in his basement workshop…thank you for bringing that to mind.)

    Did anyone want to be Tom Sawyer’s half-brother Sydney? If you did you weren’t supposed to, he was an anti-model. You might envy Huck’s independence, but you knew that came at a terrible price.

    I still prefer reading about capable grown-ups. I love Jane Austin, but the last time I read Sense and Sensibility I almost threw the book against the wall … because Marianne. No, for heros we don’t need modern versions of Marianne.

    • Of course, Marianne is specifically cited as a model of what not to do—it’s outright stated, not just implied, that she indulges her histrionic tendencies to the point where it doesn’t just threaten her health but her life, and at the end she makes an earnest effort to reform. (That’s a “told not shown” bit, though, and goes by pretty fast.)

      • True. Just as in Pride and Prejudice neither Ms.Bennett or Lydia should be seen as role models, nor the Bertram women, Mrs. Norris and Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park. It is just there is so much Marianne and she is so histrionic, in the process of working herself sick she made me ill.

  8. Okay, now I want to read that story.

    I’ve used what I think of as “Strong women” several times.

    There’s Kaila in Time for Tears (although the first one in that series published, it actually takes place farther down the timeline). Mother, Widow, Warrior. She’s probably the closest to what most trad publishers want in a “strong female character” except her love for her late husband is one of her prime characteristics in-story (as is her courage and self-sacrifice).

    There’s Kristine in EMT. She’s the eponymous EMT (on the Moon) dealing with a crappy administration while trying to save lives.

    Kaila again in The Kinmar. That one could have gone either way with Kaila or Kreg (her husband since this takes place much earlier) being the “main character” but I let Kaila take the roll in the climax so she ended up the main character of that one. Oh, yes, one of her main motivations in that story is keeping Kreg safe after he is seriously wounded (and his is trying to keep her safe despite his wounds).

    Dr. Susan O’Bannon in Plague Station, trying to keep the cure a plague that puts people into comas from which they periodically awake as rage-driven berserkers. Gee, someone else trying to keep others safe.

    Katla Gudmarsdaughter, after he husband is killed her goal is to keep her children safe and get revenge on the man who killed her husband.

    Baroness Talisa, same world as The Kinmar and Time for Tears. Willing to offer up her own life (which doesn’t turn out as she expects) in order to keep the people in her care safe.

    Are we beginning to see a theme here? 😉

    Kaila again in The Hordes of Chanakra (and again moving back further in time–this is the one where Kaila and Kreg meet). In this one she serves as a mentor to Kreg while Kreg, in other things, serves as a mentor to her. A kind of back and forth thing going.

    Amber White in Big Blue. The lesson she repeats to her daughter is when frightened or sad, look for who you can help. (And, boy, does she get her chance to shine in her effort to keep her daughter safe.)

    Yes, definitely a theme there, broken with the last one (to date) Elara in Oruk Means Hard Work. This one is more like the story in the OP in that Elara instead of keeping people safe is more a matter of learning to adapt and live with her difficult situation.

    So, for the most part, my definition of “strength” seems to include a large element of “put others ahead of oneself.” Part of that is the kind of stories I write, generally “heroic” tales so “strength” is defined in a heroic context.

    • You know, looking at that, it would appear that most of my fiction has strong women characters playing major roles in the story.

      • *virtual back pats* I have the same problem. You tell Rada Ni Drako that she needs to claim victim points. I’ll just wait over here, behind this nice mountain range.

      • Mine as well: strong, determined, capable women, wall to wall. Elizabeth in To Truckee’s Trail – starts off as an invalid, her adoring husband decides that they should risk the journey to California since the climate there is reported to be very healthy. By the end of it, she is one of two women chosen to travel ahead with a fast-moving horseback party to go to Sutter’s Fort and beg for help. Margaret in Daughter of Texas and Deep in the Heart, who marries twice, and as a widow runs a boarding house so that she can raise her sons and give them an education. Magda, in the Adelsverein Trilogy – a German immigrant girl who is the strong caretaker of her family. Isobel and Jane in The Quivera Trail; two more immigrants, only from England, who grow into strong and capable women. And Sophie in Sunset and Steel Rails, stubborn and unwilling to settle for genteel poverty, who goes west as a Harvey Girl. I couldn’t not write women as capable, fully-rounded people!

    • There are a lot of strong women in fiction, but a lot of the whiners don’t want to admit that women don’t necessarily have to be the protagonist to be strong women. They can do it in supporting roles, too.

      The Belgariad, for instance, is full of strong women, but only in one of the afterthought books, Polgara the Sorceress, is one of them the main character. Even Queen Layla (I think?), who is often described as being pretty silly but good-hearted, shows that she can put steel in her spine when it’s called for.

      Or, and I can’t think of particular names right now, there are several stories out there where the male protagonist is kept on target by some woman or other, be it his secretary, his wife, or some other, again, supporting role. There’s nothing wrong with that.

      • Penelope was a very strong woman, even though her philandering husband got all the press.

      • Free Range Oyster

        One of the earliest books I remember having an impact on me was L’Amour’s Ride the Dark Trail, and Em Talon née Sackett was a big part of why it made that impression, especially the badass Logan Sackett’s admiration and respect for her tenacity and courage.
        For two fun examples of the “keeping on target” trope, see the couples in Julie Frost’s Pack Dynamics (even if one pair deny being a couple). Two different relationships, two different manifestations of the trope, but both clearly involving strong women who do what needs doing.

        • OT, Oyster-san, but have you been getting my emails? O.O *fretting*

          • Free Range Oyster

            I got one a while back with your spawn battling for Aiur. Not sure if there were others. Also, I never sent a thank you card for your gift because I’m a terrible correspondent as well as an ingrate. It’s awesome. I think it should fit now; I’ll get you pics as soon as I remember. :3 Been a basket case lately: started a new full-time contract, and I’m now a month late with three book reviews (one of Our Beloved Hostess’s latest) and an editing gig for a Hoyden. Oooh, and y’all are going to love that one whenever it’s finished. Maybe I can make time tonight… you get all the sleep you need when you’re dead, right? 😀

      • By and large, all of Heinlein’s female protagonists are strong women. Pick any book, pick any major female character and she is unquestionably strong. She just isn’t “strong” in the way that contemporary feminists want to acknowledge and she is not resentful of her biological circumstances. (Possible exception, I Will Fear no Evil — I have not read that since it’s publication and recognize allowances must be made for medical issues of author. Sigh – the first new Heinlein after I discovered him, and it’s that book.)

        • Terry Sanders

          Another possible exception: Podkayne of Mars. And that was apparently Heinlein ‘s comment on latchkey parenting- – recall that her brother was pretty much a sociopath for (he implied) the same reason.

          • I was thinking of that one, but you put it better than i would, so thanks.

          • Unfortunately, while it had some decent spots, it wasn’t a very good book. In fact, it was a pretty bad book.

            Not even Heinlein could be Heinlein every time…

            • Terry Sanders

              Like a lot of his late stuff. Even he couldn’t put a message first and foremost, and make it work.

            • If I remember right, the editors did a number on Podkayne of Mars, mostly because of how Heinlein had written her. There’s supposed to be an “original version” out there of what he’d actually turned in, and it’s a hell of a lot different and darker in the excerpts I’ve read from it. If I remember right, she dies in the original, and there were some outright M. Night Shyamalan reveals at the end of the book.

              • Sorry. Nope. LOVED Podykayne. Of course, as a weirdo girl I was always pretty accepting of brave, clever, kind heroes and heroines who were different than me. Poddy was a peach and the world would be a better place with more folks like her.

                • Terry Sanders

                  Oh, I loved her, too. That’s what made the end so painful.

                  That said, she was basically a dewy-eyed ingenue from a Fifties teen romance. Everything that happened to her was someone doing either for her or to her. And she died (or, in the revised and published version, *almost* died) because she was wandering around lost in what she *knew* was the blast radius of a nuclear bomb, trying to rescue a “cute little puppy.” “Feckless” doesn’t begin to cover it.

                  Which was Heinlein’s point. He spent an entire book showing us his world building in a ROLLING STONES style travelogue, and in the process letting us fall in love with this truly lovable girl. Then he turned the sweet-sixteen story into a Jack Bauer abbattoir. And she couldn’t begin to cope. Because she’d never been *taught* to cope–not with anything serious.

                  And to RAH, that was pretty close to a mortal sin.

      • Oh my goodness. Queen Layla weaponizes ditzy absentmindedness to her advantage. The only Queen I really wanted to shake was the Queen of Cherek; but then her advisors weaponized her being a fluffhead, and I laughed myself into breathlessness when she did what she did to the head of the priesthood because she got pissed off at his constant shouting at her. I’m on the verge of introducing my son to Eddings, and he’s going to have soooo much fun…! Seriously, I loved the strong women characters in the Eddings books. They were naturally strong without having to have it shoved down other people’s throats, and there was such a delightful variety, from Vella of the sexy dances, leathers and massive scary knives, and Liselle ‘Velvet’… to even the Arend lady medic, whose name currently escapes me. Hers was rather subtle too; there’s a war, I’ll be needed as a medic, off I go, there’s work to be done. And of course, Polgara… and Poledra.

        Dragonlance did a lot of that too, for me.

        • I remember Ray Feist and Janny Wurst’s Empire trilogy. Mara was scary capable in playing games of intrigue in that series. Somebody would think they’d “won” against her only to have it completely turn around and they’d basically committed suicide.

        • In many ways, Poledra was the scariest of the non-gods. Being a wolf, she had FAR less concern for anyone but family than any of the other characters, and had no qualms about doing something about people being in her way.

      • “there are several stories out there where the male protagonist is kept on target by some woman or other”

        Real-life example: Jessie Frémont was fairly well-known to be the power behind the first Republican presidential candidate, to the point where the opposition’s “Jessie For President” smear was shrugged off by the supporters. (“Yeah, we know that she tells John what to do, but it works…”)

  9. Clothes and jewelry are what attract men? Dang, why didn’t somebody tell me this when it might’ve been useful?

    • Clothes and jewelry attract two sorts of men, those who wonder how they themselves would look in them, and those who assume that the wearer can be bought with pretty baubles.
      Real men want to get to know the person behind the facade. That takes work and time on both your parts.

    • Momma used to say, ‘They always imagine what you keep under the clothes and don’t entirely reveal as better.’

      Unfortunately some women never learn how to use clothes to their real advantage, and wear what the latest fashion dictates.

      Clothing, even when utilitarian, is more than just a body covering.

      Properly chosen and fitted clothing can minimize flaws, like a skirt skimming over lumpy thighs or a V neckline creating an illusion of a longer neck. It can also accentuating certain of the better points, like a skirt length stopping just below the knee to reveal a nicely turned calf.

      Fashion trends may dictate the colors available, but choosing the right one for your coloring can make a world of difference. I have a friend who observed that every time she wore a dusky plum suit her mother had bought her would get her asked if she was ill.

      Jewelry can do the same, for example a well chosen earring can help define the jaw line.

      • Coral. Coral is a horrible color for me, and yet I hear people talk about it as being “universally flattering.” Sorry, no, I have a trained color sense and developed artistic sensibilities, and those folk go into the same category as those who tell me that boot-cut pants are flattering to folk with big hips.

        • I readily admit to having no fashion sense[1], and yet… some things just Do. Not. Work.

          [1] If you see me horribly (mal)coordinated, do not assume I lost a bet. I just plain didn’t realize, most likely. Let me know so I can fix things. They might not be fixed very well, but the effort will at least be made.

          • Solid color shirt, solid color pants, usually the same shade or close is my daily wear. At work or home. Although I do have a selection of Hawaiian shirts I wear on occasion. My wife refers to my dressing style as drab. She buys the Hawaiian shirts for me.

        • snort! They keep using that word…

        • Coral, yellow, and screaming pink. Absolutely not, no, nope. This red-head has learned it the hard way.

          • I have olive undertones to my skin. (I’ve had people argue with me about that—I do have very pale skin in the winter. It just happens to be slightly greenish.) Coral and anything in the yellow-orange spectrum will make me look terrible.

        • What does “boot cut” have to do with hips? It should be solely indicative of enough width in the bottom of the legs to go over boot-tops. While not being bell-bottoms.

          • What does “boot cut” have to do with hips?

            Creating visual balance, the idea being that jeans that are tight around a slim ankle will make the contrasting size of hips above more noticeable.

            • Ah. I’ve always thought “boot-cut” shouldn’t even really be noticeable. But, I’m comparing to regular ol’ guy jeans, not something “form-fitting”.

          • It tapers in at the knees and flares out a bit below there. My contention is that it sharpens the angle from the hips since it’s not cut straight to the ankle. Either way, it looks really bad on me.

            • I think the argument for boot cut came about because fashion market dictates had led manufacturers to either stop or severely cut back on producing straight leg jeans for women.

              At least, for the moment, they aren’t trying to sell the public on the paper-bag waists.

      • “But the clothes | hair | makeup looked stylish on someone else with a totally different affect and body type!”

        Um. Sometimes I wonder whose face they see in the mirror while torturing eyebrows and rolling on makeup…

        • My sister took me “maternity dress shopping.”

          Fully expecting to FINALLY get her big sister into something that was a dress, and flattering.

          Discovered that yes, that half a foot of height, slightly broader shoulders (on the short one) and such DID matter…..

    • Well, many of us see those – and think “high maintenance, not worth it…”

      I except the few who can actually meet the qualifications as gigolo, of course. If you do, and the clothes are Parisian designers, and the gems are real – I suppose a short-term assignment could be worth it.

      Not that I do, or ever did, have the slightest chance of testing that supposition.

    • It’s the taste behind the things that attracts men.

      Some men are attracted by tastelessness. Some are attracted to different tastes. Some tastes are classy, some are not.

      Choose the classy taste.

      • Springboarding here a bit. Just a few musings, not really responding to anything said.

        Some people are into body mods. I’m not, but “de gustibus” and all that. That said, one “argument” I’ve seen people make in opposition to body mods like tattoos and piercings is “your body is a temple.”

        However, throughout history one thing people have done is decorate their temples. In some ascetic systems the decoration could be a very studied lack of adornment and that’s at one end. At the other is extremely elaborate artwork and sculpture.

        And throughout societies, humans tend to decorate the human body “temple” in much the same way. In some cases that’s very minimal–the very “plainness” of Amish or Quakers is their decoration. Others, engage in much more elaborate decoration. In all cases, you could very well consider them treating their body “as a temple.” It’s just a matter of how they think the temple should be decorated.

        As for me, I think the best decoration, adornment, is flattering clothing (don’t ask me to define it–I know it when I see it) ,restrained use of makeup that gently brings out ones own features, and restrained use of jewelry–including no more than a very few discrete piercings (and no piercings at all is entirely fine).

        Although there is also much to be said for E. C. Gordon’s “I’m sure you have your most attractive clothing with you always.”

        • For the Amish and Quakers, the temple is best adorned with spiritual adornment. The plain clothing is supposed to allow that to be seen, instead of bodily decorations. It is an idea with a long pedigree, and is (imo) preferable to some current decoration trends.

      • Ain’t it amazing how much money some women will spend to look cheap?

    • Ahhh… No. Clothes and jewellery are status markers for intra-female competition and secondary status markers for men using the ladies as such.

      Frankly if you’re moving in those ratified fields you’re usually not fen. We have other status symbols.

    • I thought it was the clothes, (potential) lack of… but what do simple ox know?

      As for pants/trousers… I might be willing to forgive almost any cut or style if I don’t have have them hemmed. Really there are folks shorter than can wear 29L (lowest I’ve seen for adult) that are not (rail-skinny) children. And if “but it’s easy to make thing longer than needed..” applies, why are they available in 29/30L at all and not all longer, or broken not at every 2 in, but every 6 or so? Yeah, right, sure. Bridge. Brooklyn. Land. Florida. Next.

      • In my observation most people are rather uninteresting sans culottes, at least once the novelty wears off. Clothes stimulate the imagination, stir an interest in what is hidden in the same way that the thought a particular behaviour is “naughty” can make it more exciting. Clothes create glamour, and glamour creates desire.

        What is exciting about a strip tease is the tease, not the strip. Put gift wrap around a box and it makes the difference between Christmas Morn and just another sweater.


        As Rita Hayworth used to say, “They go to bed with Gilda; they wake up with me.”

  10. “secret prince(ss)”

    Hrmm… I’m sure it’s been done (possibly to excess) but now I think of some hard-working moderately successful character who does whatever reasonably possibly to not be discovered as such. Or who doesn’t know and desperately makes efforts to avert the ‘uplift’ upon the Revelation.

    • I’m pretty certain I’ve heard it. Something like Prince Charles (iirc) irl. The kid of the brass having to prove himself maybe as well.

      • Less Charles, more Harry & William. Last I heard, helicopters don’t care who you are, nor who your parents and grandparents might be. That both princes earned the respect of their peers in the armed service says more about them than any thousand People cover articles.

        • Most likely. I was trying to multitask off memory and that was what I was thinking of.

        • Charlie did learn to fly Phantoms off a carrier. The last full size carrier the Royal Navy operated.

          • Ayup — phantoms do not give a [redacted] about your heritage … although I confess I would be more impressed by knowing he had done carrier landings.

            I confess to having paid little attention to the doings of Charles or his family until I had somewhat advanced in years … and even then such attention as is paid is slight.

        • They followed the example of their Uncle Andrew.

          From a 2014 article by Stephen Johns in The Daily Mail:

          The Duke of York has spoken about his fear of dying in the Falklands after he was shot at by Argentine forces.

          Prince Andrew said there were a ‘couple of times’ he feared not coming back home after carrying out dangerous missions while serving as a helicopter pilot.

          He joined the Royal Navy in 1979 and served for 22 years, including the Falklands War in 1982.

          He added: ‘If you’ve been through those sorts of experiences you understand the frailty of life. And it’s not particularly nice being shot at and I can attest to that.

          ‘You look at life in a different way and you try to achieve more. I was very lucky to come back without having been shot down.

        • See also George W Bush and the F-106.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Well, there is a character in a book that I read recently who doesn’t know “who he is” to the point of having no memories of even his name.

      Well, at the end of the book we learn that the character is a “Thought To Be Dead Emperor”.

      The twist is that the part of him that knows this doesn’t want the part that doesn’t remember to learn this.

      IE The Emperor-Part wants his “other self” not to be burdened in his choices by memories of “who he once was”.

      Note, this book has been out for a while but the above is “vague” for those who haven’t read but are planning to do so. 😉

      • I canna plan to if I don’t know the title!

      • foxfirefancies

        I thought that Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera books did a good job with that trope. I had the Big Reveal figured out shortly through the first book, but when the hero learned who he was he had an immediate case of “oh CRAP I have to prove myself to $SMALLGROUP so I will have the backup to go proving myself to $LARGERGROUP and can eventually work my way up to $EMPIRE. While dodging werewolves, Borg bug thingies, assassins, and occasionally my girlfriend.” (I love Butcher. But he ain’t subtle.)

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        That was increasingly obvious throughout the story. I’m pretty sure that the author used that bit to hide a much cleverer trick that’ll be amazing if and when he pulls it off.

      • I know this isn’t the book you were thinking of, but that sounds vaguely like one of James Alan Gardener’s books. I like his basic premise for the series, which is “super-advanced aliens have decided that you can’t kill each other” (with the enforcement powers to back it up), because he then goes on to prove that disallowing genocide (or murder, or xenocide) doesn’t actually make things any easier.

      • FWIW, I got it… and was pleased. 😀

  11. Women who hate men may attract a male, but he will not be a man.

  12. For a series about a strong woman, you may wish to check out the Flavia Albia mysteries by Lindsey Davis. She is a private Informer (ie private investigator) set in Rome during the reign of Domitian. They are a study of Roman society and relationships during that time. A strong woman during perilous times. So far the series consists of six books, starting with “The Ides of April”. Beware: they will set you upon an endeavor of reading some twenty novels about her father, Marcus Didius Falco. British slang and British spelling, but a lot of fun.

    • I first discovered Falco waaaaaay back in middle school, when the library had a copy of The Silver Pigs (which is still my favorite of the series). I still haven’t managed to *finish* the series, but I love them, and regularly recommend them to people.

      Only read the first of Flavia Albia, but I liked her a lot.

      • High school at the TX JCL (Junior Classical League) state championships. They have professors come in and give lectures about Roman and Latin stuff, and the prof that year had us (high school students) spellbound as he talked about the life of a “smart Greek secretary” in Imperial Rome (around AD 100 CE or so). He recommended “The Silver Pigs.” Fantastic book and sequels, at least the six or so that I’ve read.

        I suspect he was one of those hard as nails, take no prisoners profs with over-full classes and wait-lists every semester.

  13. Yet when you write a strong real woman, you have 1) a hard time writing marketing copy, and 2) a hard time selling a woman with principles. Maybe people really DON’T want to read about strong women – they want an escape where somebody finally takes care of THEM.

  14. sabrinachase

    Some of the “hidden princess” syndrome, getting things/abilities handed to you, may come from *not knowing where they come from*. If you’ve never seen the process of earning respect, watched someone else earn it, it does seem magical.

    I read an account somewhere and I REALLY wish I had saved it, of a military guy talking about a female officer he respected because she was so damn good. She didn’t do the nasty bitch thing, she was *effective*. To the point where he was in a badly run organization and heard she was taking command, and his colleagues remarked on how happy he suddenly was. He said “You wait and see. SHE will change things so we can get our jobs done.” So the others gave her a chance. And it worked. The punchline of the story is when some *other* (male) officer came and tried to throw his weight around with her, the entire team found itself suddenly hefting improvised weapons, tools, surrounding her and facing him. Willing to administer a beatdown for THEIR ALPHA. She reamed them all out royally for it, of course 😀 The sense I got was they didn’t care, they’d do it again. THAT is leadership.

    Same with marriages/relationships. If you’ve never seen a healthy one in action, it can be hard to do it right.

    • Try hunting through the archives here. I think that was one of Kirk’s stories.

      • It was. I remember it, and I’ve used the idea on occasion, although I don’t recall when he told the story.

        • The truth is, when men find a woman worth protecting and caring for, they will do so willingly.

          The modern girl wants that, but the virtues and attitudes which stir such loyalty are not taught, nor is the idea that such is not necessarily romantic. The men might consider the woman a mother or sister figure, ‘one of the guys’, a valuable member of the team, etc.

          • sabrinachase

            Very true, and a funny story– I used to do tabletop RPG in college, at a dingy gaming club. My friend and I were those true rare unicorns, women who gamed because we liked gaming, not to *coff* desperately seek Richard, so to speak. One of the guys there had been cluelessly hitting on my friend despite the large engagement ring she wore. Finally had her finance talk to the guy, *that* seemed to get through.

            I then had about twenty big brothers I didn’t know I had LINE UP to warn me Clueless Dude was probably going to hit on me next… they were worried I a) might not know and b) *wouldn’t come to the game club any more* if I got pissed off. 😀 Adorable dorks, the lot of them….

            • I used to do tabletop RPG in college …

              Oops. Had to reset mental circuit breaker to properly decode RPG.

              • Don’t worry, it was still out there at least a few years ago.

                In fact, that is the only language I don’t want to program in every again even more than Java.

                • Had to take a painful look – one the latest things is putting RPG together with Java.

                  Sorry, guys, I’m apparently feeling mean today. I’ll go looking for some butterflies now…

                  • Oh, yeah, that’s the environment I learned RPG: a old AS/400 shop going to the iSeries and wanting to use WebSphere to make their old RPG order and inventory system web visible.

                • Java: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this…”

            • I never had any women desperately seeking Richard finding me when I was doing RPG in college… They did know my real name, too!

          • I right the book Marry Him which was a plea to get women to be less picky about men if they wanted to get married.

            The author opens with a list her sister made her write when the author complained about no good men. It had north of 60 entries including “No taller than 6′” followed by “No shorter than 5’11” “.

            There was a lot of good advice about being reasonable and what matters. I cannot dis it on that front. It even included the husband store joke.

            However, there was not a single, solitary section that said, “up your game” or “consider what you have to offer” or “what does he get from you”.

            Remember ladies, no one knows what is on the third floor of the wife store as no man has visited it.

      • I stand guilty of imposing that anecdote on you all…

        Sabrina, if you like, I can try to dredge up more detail on that particular officer out of my memory for you.

        • I wouldn’t mind a retelling; that’s one, I think, that seems like it’s worth hearing about!

          • Here/now?

          • Hmmm… Lemme see if I can set the scene, here. As I remember it, we were discussing women in leadership roles, and I was describing one of the more memorable female officers I worked for, whose impression is still with me to this day.

            Background on her was that she was West Point, one of the first classes through that had women in it, and that when she came to my staff section in a Corps headquarters, she immediately impressed all as being a no-nonsense professional, yet who managed to do that without emulating the usual male leadership BS that all too many female officers try to pull off and fail miserably at. She was assuredly a woman, her leadership style was emphatically that of the stern “team mom” type, and the way she did things was just… Well, you knew she was someone you’d follow, and whose emphatic trust in you sort of enabled and encouraged a certain amount of “Yeah, that’s my boss… Make trouble for her, or keep me from doing what she told me to do, and I’ll make sure the pathologist who has to identify your remains doesn’t eat lunch in the morgue for a long time…”.

            She more than demonstrated she had our backs on various exercises and around the office, and in the environment that existed in that command at that time, it was… Unusual. A lot of the officers working around that headquarters were a bunch of people I didn’t like working around or for, especially outside our tight little section, but she ran interference for us, and made sure that the lower enlisted vermin like myself and my subordinates were properly taken care of. A little of that sort of thing in an environment like that goes a long way towards developing and ensuring fanatical loyalty towards the officers demonstrating it, simply because you’re going to look out for those officers well-being yourself, in enlightened self-interest.

            Anyway, came the day we’re talking about, we had a major exercise going on over in Korea. The Corps headquarters sent out the advance party to get things set up, tasking each section for a proportional number of lower enlisted worker bees, junior NCOs, and a sprinkling of seniors. As well, there was the usual lot of Courtney Massengale-wannabes from the higher echelons, who were mostly concerned that they made sure they looked good in front of the Corps commander by making the exercise prep look really impressive.

            Now, you might want to consider the whole picture there as being a situation rife with potential for serious fuckwittery, in that a bunch of senior-level officers who were looking to kiss the maximum ass possible with the three-star commander were put in charge of people they had not a bit of care for, because they belonged to other people, and all they had to worry about was the short-term issue of prepping the exercise areas, and making themselves look good. Soooo… You could say that troop care and concerns for their well-being were not high priorities. At. All. Not to mention, the number of really stupid things we were getting told to do, in order to “make things look impressive” for the commander when he arrived in a couple of weeks. And, since these guys were all fighting for notice when the boss arrived, there was a lot of “order, counter-order, disorder” going on as they one-upped all the other sycophantic remoras who wanted to sup at the shark’s mouth when he eventually arrived.

            Also, note that words were flowing back to our chains of command about the BS going on, and we weren’t being at all shy about describing the lack of food, billeting, and the work hours we were being subjected to, as well as the general lack of support in terms of things like vehicles–The brass on the advance party had glommed onto the admin vehicles we were supposed to be using to haul materials around, and were using them for shopping trips downtown, and the like. Stuff like that.

            Long story short, the pain went on from the moment we landed in Korea, and it didn’t stop. I was sending up daily summaries, back to the US, and apparently they got my bosses, all of whom were generally outstanding, rather spun the hell up. So, word trickles back down to me that this particular officer, then a Major, had volunteered to leave earlier than scheduled and come forward to straighten things out.

            Which left me in a state of near-rapture, considering the self-involved dipshits I was working for. As soon as she got on the ground, that meant that the senior person from my section, at that point a mere Staff Sergeant (my humble self…) would be a Major, who I knew to be someone who wouldn’t take crap off of anyone. I communicated this to the various attached minions I was responsible for, and they expressed severe doubts, in that some of the asses we were working for were their real-world bosses, or at least, in their sections. I was like “Just watch…”.

            In less than 48 hours, she hit the ground, and… Things changed immediately. And, I do mean, immediately–The idiots had had us painting the interior of a bunker that dated back to the Japanese in WWII, and since that had been unplanned, we were doing it with “found on base” oil-based paint, and no respirators or protective gear. The ventilation in the bunker wasn’t working yet, soooo… Do the math. Morning my Major found out about that little piece of idiocy, they suddenly decided it would be a good idea to shut down the painting operation and go downtown into the local Korean city to actually acquire the right respirators and all. Shocking, right?

            What was most impressive was watching her operate–Where someone like Patton would be standing on desks, she simply got things done by emphatically explaining that this was the proper course of action, and not accepting anything else. AT. ALL. It was kind of amazing, really–We’d had male Command Sergeant’s Major go in against these asses, and leave without getting anything changed. My Major shows up, walks into the same group of sycophantic jackasses, and five minutes later they’re all nodding their heads, doing exactly what she told them needed to be done. And, let me tell you this–Not a damn bit of that happened due to some kind of sexual attraction or “womanly wiles”. She just got things done, and they somehow found themselves forced to go along with it. Because it was the right thing to do, and she wasn’t going to accept anything else.

            The effect of this down where I was, which was a project to turn a disused aircraft hanger into a full-blown command post, was sudden and emphatic. Where we hadn’t been getting fed, food was suddenly there when it was supposed to be. Where we’d been waiting on materials, for hours and days, things were suddenly arriving when and in what quantities we’d requested. Things started working, and it showed. My guys were all amazed at all this, and were especially shocked that, holy shit, the officer responsible for all this was actually taking charge of things, and was down checking up on us throughout the day, looking out for us and everything else the leadership books say you’re supposed to do as an officer. Which we hadn’t been getting. The contrast was… Illuminating, to say the least.

            I’m here to tell you that just the little bit of time and attention she was able to spare for the poor bastards on that particular thankless task created a bit of an impression on the guys, some of whom were not exactly the usual lot of headquarters pogues. At that time, the Corps headquarters was the only place on Fort Lewis that a medically-dropped (or, disciplinary drop, for that matter…) Ranger could go, so… There were a bunch of them, all initially suspicious of this “chick officer”. Couple of days of working for her, and benefiting from actually having her do her job as a leader, these guys were asking me how they could get permanently assigned to our section, back in garrison. It was kinda like being the woodsman, and having Snow White charm the wolves into cleaning the forest for her, y’know?

            Anyway, come the day I described, we had some of the even more senior jackasses come down to the hanger, and they were not happy with what they found, despite the fact that a.) we were ahead of schedule, and b.) we were doing precisely what they’d asked us to do, the last time they’d deigned to bless us with their divine presence, which was when they’d changed the damn plans for about the fourth time during that first week. And, since the Major was there, their displeasure grounded out through her. Volubly.

            So, there I am, watching her accept an ass-chewing for things she wasn’t even responsible for, from this clot of raving dipshit senior field-grade officers, and I notice out of the corner of my eye that there is a sudden… Clustering…? Yeah; clustering, preparatory to probable riot, of all the junior NCOs and junior enlisted present, who have also taken up various implements of destruction like pick-mattock handles, crowbars, and the like.

            My Major’s ass-chewing wasn’t going over well, at all, with the junior enlisted vermin. At that point, I was also the senior enlisted guy in the building, and I’m like “F**k… I wonder if we can hide the bodies, when this is over…”, because that’s where it looked like things were heading.

            By the time this deputation of lower enlisted became noticeable to the cluster of officers, there was a palpable feel of potential violence in the air, and facial expressions on all and sundry were about what you would expect to see on a pack of wolves circling some tofudebeests that they planned on mauling, yet not eating. What was odd was the broad breadth of the involved parties, which ranged from guys who’d been thrown out of 2/75 Ranger Battalion for indiscipline (brawling) to our heathenish Chaplain’s Assistant section (who were the ones who’d picked up the axes, by the way…). The obvious consensus was that this mass of lower enlisted had bonded with this officer, and were taking a most proprietary view towards her well-being. Plus, the sheer insult being delivered to their hard work…? Yeah; violence and mutiny were in the air.

            The first to notice the impending riot were the various hangers-on for this senior ass-munch who was chewing my Major’s ass for doing what had been asked of her, and they all started edging towards the door with rather interesting facial expressions. The senior-most of them started working the edge of the ass-munch’s attention, trying to cut things short. The Major was verbally stroking the Colonel, by this point, and he was running down, so getting him out of the impact area happened quickly. Notably, none of those folks ever showed their faces around that area again, during the prep phase for the exercise, and we somehow wound up not tearing everything down to re-construct it all for a yet another damn time.

            After he was out of the building, all of us got a quick, professional general ass-chewing from the Major, who emphasized that while she appreciated our obvious loyalty and support, she could handle herself, and some jackass like that Colonel wasn’t worth the grief that would result from the guys doing what they thought was needing to be done.

            That pretty much just resulted in the reprobates all telling her with great, big grins: “Hey, don’t worry… Some of us have done time, before, and we don’t mind doing it again, for something like this…”. Her head almost got patted, by a couple of the more ogrish types.

            Still kind of unclear what a couple of those guys might have been talking about, there–In one or two cases, I think they might have actually done some time over in the stockade or out on the civilian side of things. “Brawling”, I presume. I know at least one of them was a former Ranger squad leader, who’d gotten into a bit of trouble over something involving his platoon leader during an exercise, and that the platoon leader in question was now doing something else, well outside the Ranger Regiment.

            So… Yeah. That was a thing, and that was my Major. One of only two officers over the course of my career who could call me up to this day, tell me I needed to go somewhere and do something, and I’d drop what I was doing to go do it. With very, very few limitations on what that something might be.

            And, no, not a hint of sexual attraction or unrequited love; you simply did not think in those terms about her, when you worked for her. Most descriptive TV Trope in her case would have been to say that she was the ultimate uber-Team Mom.

            I think the original discussion thread had something to do with the “female path to leadership effectiveness”, thinking back on it. Such things are possible, but the key is that it’s a different path than that taken by most of the male leaders I’ve been around. I simply can’t imagine her trying to be a Patton, or making such a set of behaviors work. Nor can I imagine a Patton trying to emulate her pathway/technique, and making it work, either.

            • Oh. My. God. I am in awe of her beauty, presence and grace, even though this is a recounting. I laughed in pure delight at “planned at mauling and not eating” (meat to be wasted!!!!) and man I actually found myself growling at the image of your Major getting chewed out. I cheered for the ones who got axes! (Why yes, I can be quite the bloodthirsty little thing, when the correct reasons present themselves).

              Team Mom Silk+Hiding Steel +Lady of War, perhaps? We need more of her! Lots more!

              being a situation rife with potential for serious fuckwittery, in that a bunch of senior-level officers who were looking to kiss the maximum ass possible with the three-star commander were put in charge of people they had not a bit of care for, because they belonged to other people, and all they had to worry about was the short-term issue of prepping the exercise areas, and making themselves look good. Soooo… You could say that troop care and concerns for their well-being were not high priorities. At. All. Not to mention, the number of really stupid things we were getting told to do, in order to “make things look impressive” for the commander when he arrived in a couple of weeks. And, since these guys were all fighting for notice when the boss arrived, there was a lot of “order, counter-order, disorder” going on as they one-upped all the other sycophantic remoras who wanted to sup at the shark’s mouth when he eventually arrived.

              Oh dear gods. I sympathise so very much. I’m the wife, but when I listen to my hubby unload about the sheer fuckwittery he has to deal with sometimes (and when he finally has to rant to get it out, it’s pretty damn bad!) and it’s like there’s no consideration for little things like physics…

              One particularly memorable comment from me was “So, what was the plan to stop your gear from sinking to the bottom of the Pacific?”

              The expression my beloved gave me answered that.

              • The expression my beloved gave me answered that.

                Yep. I know the look, since I’ve often given it.
                I won’t say where, but the last 6 years of my work have come to some measure of waste because management didn’t listen to us “negative Nellys”.

              • I’m glad you enjoyed that, Shadowdancer. Although, I think you may have missed my allusion to classic Gary Larson cartoon, with that Tofudebeest thing:

                There’s a dichotomy observed around the US Army, where we have on the one side the meat-eating folk, the carnivores of the sort who chose to enlist or commission as combat arms; on the other side, there are those who are clearly of the herbivore persuasion, in the support arms and positions. Although there is some accidental cross-assignment between the two, there are clear attitudinal markers that identify you as one or the other. Faced with an incursion into a base area by enemy infiltrators, the meat-eating types go out hunting, whilst the herbivores call someone to come deal with the problem while they hide under their desks.

                You can have some fearsome meat-eaters in the oddest places; I have memories of watching the maintenance elements from 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment hunting down the light infantry who’d made the mistake of penetrating the perimeter of the Regimental Support Area during an exercise, and it was… Glorious. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a rough-terrain forklift (sometimes called a telehandler) can’t be a combat vehicle, because when you’re the guy getting shot at from some crazed mechanics who are thirty feet up in the air in a man-basket while you’re trying desperately to hide in a narrow little wadi, the distinction becomes moot. It’s also a little unexpected, when you’re concentrating on guys who might be moving up the wadi to get at you, to discover that you’ve effectively been flanked by three mechanics in a forklift and a couple of SAWs…

                A lot of staff officers, especially those of the type who we were dealing with on that exercise in Korea, are emphatically not meat-eaters, so… Tofudebeest.

                It’s even more of an insult than calling them herbivores, because the meat you’d gain from killing and eating them would just be a fake, tofu-like substance, which would provide no toothsome satisfaction whatsoever. Thus, even killing them wouldn’t be worth the trouble… Although, the vision of a pack of wolves scattering the cheesy remains about like so many dogs demolishing a set of couch cushions…?

                As to my Major… Hmm. I’m not sure that you could call her even conventionally attractive, per se. None of us looking at her really ever considered her as a sex object, because that would have been completely out of context. She somehow managed that, and I don’t know how. There was just something in how she carried herself that said “Yeah, I’m a woman. So?”, and your eyes slid past “sexual attraction” to something else where you simply didn’t evaluate her as existing in that context. It was jarring for everyone of us juniors when her husband, another Major at the time, showed up, because that highlighted the fact that we weren’t paying attention to that aspect of her personality and life. I have no idea how she pulled that off, either–Or, whether she did it deliberately somehow, versus it being a thing of innate nature.

                Couple of times I was around “her guys”, which included myself, some outside party might have made comments regarding her attractiveness, but the reaction that got from even the usual horn-dogs was like “What the ever-loving f**k is wrong with you? Are you some kind of sicko, or what?”, with the general thrust of consensus being that the party making the comment had just remarked on how nice his own mom’s butt looked in that outfit.

                Thinking about it, I realize I have a better real-world model for what it must have been like to be around Joan of Arc, in terms of that whole deal with how she managed leadership of the French armies–She was coming from a place past sexuality, and relying on moral force and what she saw as being “right” for her suasive powers. I suspect that most dealing with her were like those around my Major, and simply did not perceive her in a sexual or “attractive” sense.

                Looking back on it, I honestly can’t tell you whether the Major was pretty, or not. She just was, and I think you’d have had to be working from outside her immediate orbit to even make a judgment call on that issue. She may have been plain, she may have been pretty, but that wasn’t something you really even looked at, once you’d been working around her for more than a few minutes. It just wasn’t a context you used with her–She somehow managed to make her looks irrelevant to the majority of people working around her, and the effect of that for those that were looking was probably quite daunting, due to the criticism and disdain they’d get from the rest of us. You just didn’t think of her in those terms, for some damn reason. And, it wasn’t that you’d feel dirty for doing so, like it was your little sister or something–It just didn’t occur to most of us, I don’t think. Certainly didn’t occur to me, that’s for damn sure–All I saw was a superior (in the sense of quality) officer I wanted to have succeed, so that she’d enable me to do better. And, she somehow managed to make me want to be a superior (quality-wise) NCO, in order to make her efforts more effective and take better care of the mission and the troops…

                She was, I think, one of those “network connectors” who somehow manage to create a synergistic effect around them. Drop her into the context of a Victorian society, and I suspect she would have been one of the “ladies of the church” who managed to make everything happen around the community. And, everyone meeting her would have been leaving her presence going “I have got to do a better job at what I’m doing, because I want her to think well of me…”.

                Somehow, her opinion of you mattered more than anything else going on, and if you were “doing right” in her eyes, that would have made an awful lot of grief worth it. She had the knack of somehow pulling people into her orbit, and getting the most out of them through what I suppose could be termed “expectant will”: You simply did not want to look bad, in her eyes. I watched her express “disappointment” one time with one of the hard cases we had running around, and that particular hard case I saw to be in tears while he fixed what he’d shirked doing right the first time. Frankly, I think I could have killed his dog in front of him as a punishment, and all I’d have gotten out of him would have been a sneer. And, probably a baseball bat upside the head in some dark alleyway at a later date, but I’d have never in a million years gotten tears, no matter what I did. I didn’t have the emotional hooks; he wouldn’t have cared. With her, he cared about looking good in her eyes, and doing the right thing. I have no earthly idea about how she did that, in purely mechanical, recipe-card sense.

                I can’t honestly think of too many people I’ve run into that pulled that sort of thing off, which may be another reason she still sticks in my mind, some twenty-plus years later.

                The female path to leadership excellence may have some continuity with the male one, at some levels. In the higher expressions, however, it is a much different creature. Although, I can visualize some guys pulling off similar effects as leaders, I’ve never actually met one outside of the history books. At the levels of achievement that I’ve personally observed from effective leaders, there are discernible differences between the effective male-pattern leaders and the effective female-pattern ones. Pulling off one pattern for the other gender hasn’t been something I’ve seen done well, at all.

                • Am not caffinated yet, so this will be short: I was not exclaiming praise over physical beauty.

                  Need coffee now. Vocab not initialized yet.

                • Ok, attempt to exit bed in the cold failed. I jumped right back under the quilt and burrowed in. But I successfully slept through a night! Yaaay!

                  But yeah, I was referring to those intangible qualities that show an innate inner glory, which I am lacking adequate words to describe. It’s the sort of thing that you tend to see the effect of, like the tempering of repropbrates or the reduction to tears by her disappointment, which is a powerful motivator in wanting to make you improve yourself so she’d improve… agh. I’m being clumsy, because at it really is unique and rare enough these days that we don’t have much in the way of social descriptors. Awesomeness, uber-momness, etc. Her ‘way’ of… well, everything, it’d seem like!

                  Right. Coffee. *eyes the chilly darkness beyond the cocoon of warmth*

              • SheSellsSeashells

                I laughed in pure delight at “planned at mauling and not eating” (meat to be wasted!!!!)

                *eyes quote* I begin to suspect you of being my Obscure Fandom Doppleganger…

            • sabrinachase

              Ah, that is epic and satisfying! Thank you very much. I especially like knowing the Chaplain’s assistants go for the axes… Wow. I would very much like to know how she developed her skills. That kind of leadership is rare anywhere and it should be studied and duplicated. I had a tech manager like that–same thing, he acted as the administrative bullet sponge for pointy-haired stupidity, got us what we needed to do our jobs…it was great.

              • The Chaplains Assistant is an MOS that tends to attract some real characters, many of whom are straight heathens. Call it the “Preacher’s Daughter Effect”, or something else, but whenever there was lower enlisted mischief going on in a headquarters element, finding the guy tasked to support the Chaplain involved in some manner should not come as a surprise. There are a number of devout holy-roller types that choose that job, but for every one of them I’ve known, there were three or four beer-swilling cynical sorts of varying ideologies who’d become Chaplain’s Assistants through some form of misadventure, and then developed a great deal of cynicism from the experience. Possibly due to all the people trying to milk the Chaplain for sympathy and “get over” opportunities. Worst person in the unit to approach for sympathy or charitable donations is usually gonna be the Chaplains Assistant, because they’re so jaded and tired of hearing sob stories when they screen guys for the chaplain’s ministrations. They’re like cops, in that all they ever see is the bad side of people, and they tend to project the general dysfunction they deal with onto everyone else in the force. I once absorbed one into my section for an exercise because we had more Chaplain’s Assistants than could fit in with the chaplain, and he expressed some considerable shock at the discovery that there were some normal people in the Army that didn’t beat their wives, kids, and dogs, or molest farm animals, either. Apparently, his last assignment had been… Interesting.

                As to where the Major got her skills…? I really have no idea, not having been there when she was a junior officer. I had the pleasure of only meeting and working around the finished, fully-formed product, so I have no idea what went into making her what she was. I would also agree that whatever it was, they need to bottle it, and pass it out to all the young officers, especially the ones who happen to be female.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  So if I were writing a Chaplain’s Assistant, there would potentially be interesting synergies if they were a cop or an MP? Is there a particularly nasty enlisted criminal investigation MOS or duty? Could someone be kicked out of doing investigations without being kicked out of the army?

                  • Mmmm… I don’t know that the nuances could be picked up or described very well, to tell the truth.

                    CID pulls in some weird ones, that’s for damn sure. Some of the ones I’ve worked around would have made Inspector Clouseau look like Sherlock Holmes, and some others were very, very good.

                    See, here’s the thing: Due to the necessity to have folks work under cover out in the units, CID often pulls in and effectively deputizes guys who normally wouldn’t stand a chance of getting vetted to formally join CID as an investigator. Because of that…? Wow. You have some real characters wind up doing that work, and some of them are spectacularly incompetent and outright delusional. You hear of miscarriages of justice in the military context, and what you’re usually going to find at the root of it all is one of these guys who really shouldn’t have been put into CID in the first place.

                    By and large, though, the CID guys are pretty competent, and it’s unfortunate that their peers who aren’t tend to be the ones everyone remembers.

                    The kind of investigational malfeasance and dumbassery that the minority can get up to tends to run along the lines of this incident, which happened at the end of the same exercise I describe above, with regards to my Major.

                    You go to leave Korea, and there’s a huge requirement to clear customs and the agricultural inspections, which necessitate you cleaning every single vehicle and piece of equipment to within an inch of its life before it goes back aboard ship or into an aircraft for return to the continental US.

                    So, the recovery phase of a major exercise is a nightmarish sequence of taking vehicles to the wash rack, emptying them, and then trying to return them to a pristine state that they probably didn’t have leaving the factory.

                    On the wash rack for this exercise, one of the lower enlisted guys with another section was trying to clean the hood of his HMMWV, and couldn’t quite get it to quit bleeding mud and dirt out of the various crevices and compartments. On the fiberglass hood of the HMMWV, there are a pair of compartments behind the headlights that the wiring is run into, with screw-held covers. What he did was to take the covers off, discover that the compartment behind was utterly filled with mud and dirt, and then he blew it out with the pressure washer. Once he’d done so, he discovered that there was something rattling around inside, which he took out, discovering the slide to an M9 Beretta and a couple of magazines for said pistol. At this point, he’s like “Huh… That’s funny…”, and since those pieces are just parts, not being serial numbered in any way, he put the ziploc they were in on the seat and continued on with the cleaning of his vehicle. When he did the other compartment on the other side of the hood, well… More strangeness: The ziploc there held the rest of the pistol, the serial-numbered frame of an M9. At that point, it was “Oh, shit… Better tell somebody…”, and I was one of the guys called over to deal with it. Since we’d already accounted for all the weapons we were assigned, this entirely unknown M9 created just a bit of consternation and panic on the part of all concerned, weapons accountability being a major issue in the peacetime Army.

                    Eventually, CID was brought into the picture, and they initiated an investigation. Their theory of the crime? Our young soldier had stolen the M9 somewhere during the exercise, secreted it in the hood of his assigned HMMWV, and then panicked and tried to cover for his crime by “finding it” and turning it in. That was their working theory.

                    Now, couple of things here: One, there were no reported stolen M9s, anywhere in Korea at the time. There had been a National Guard unit that had left some M1911 pistols and night vision goggles unsecured, and which were stolen outside a Korean bathhouse some fifty kilometers away from where this guy had been, but those were recovered from the Korean thieves by the ROKA CID in rather short order. As well, the soldier in question had never been more than about fifty yards away from his boss, a field-grade officer, throughout the entire period when those pistols were stolen. We gave statements to that effect, but we still had to leave that young man behind when we redeployed, for the 8th Army CID to play with.

                    It took some six weeks, and the intervention of our three-star before they released him back to us, and his experiences during that period were surreal. See, turns out that that particular pistol had gone missing back during Operation Just Cause, when the 82nd Airborne officer it was assigned to had managed to lose it on the drop zone either during the jump or after–He’d supposedly had a parachute malfunction, and had cut his pistol lanyard while cutting away his chute, or that was the story. In any even, the pistol had been lost before our guy even joined the Army. He was literally in high school when that happened, but that didn’t stop 8th Army CID from still trying to pin it on him, and the convoluted theories they had for how he’d managed that theft in Panama as a sophomore in a Nebraska high school were truly amazing to behold. In the end, though, they had to let him go because none of their suppositions passed the sobriety test, and probably should have led to a mass command-directed urinalysis to determine just what and how much they were all smoking over there.

                    Fallout from that? We turned a guy who regularly won Soldier of the Month, and who’d been being groomed for NCO leadership positions into someone who couldn’t get out of the Army fast enough, and we never really determined what the hell had been going on with that whole “How did a pistol reported lost by the 82nd Airborne in Panama wind up being found in a vehicle assigned to I Corps at Fort Lewis during a post-exercise cleanup in Korea…?”.

                    Best theory that any of us ever came up with, because that particular vehicle had never been assigned anywhere other than I Corps since it left the factory, and probably hadn’t left Fort Lewis or its environs before in its life, was that our motor sergeant, who had been a guy long known for his obsessive thrift, had probably gotten the hood for that vehicle off of one of the vehicles over in the cannibalization point over in the Logistics Center, which had had a bunch of stuff brought up from Fort Ord when it was shut down. Since 7th ID had been at Ord, and had participated in Just Cause, the supposition was that one of their troops had found or stolen the pistol, and decided to ship it home hidden in their vehicle–Said plot being disrupted by the fact that the vehicle was perhaps damaged in shipping, and wound up being coded out and sent to the can point for use as a parts queen. This might have been verified by examining the painted unit numbers on the hood, which usually just get painted over multiple times, but our motor sergeant was also a bit of an OCD type, and he’d insisted on us always sanding the old paint down before re-doing the numbers–Which happened a lot, because they were always changing the damn standards for how those went on the vehicles.

                    So… CID: Either a bastion of competence, or the source of incredible fuckwittery, from my perspective as an outsider to it all. Your mileage may vary considerably. Were one to want to conceive of a character where they were an outsider, I think you’d be best off portraying them as one of the detailed guys who very rarely (of late–It was pretty common “back in the days of yore…”) get pulled into the world of CID due to unique skills or circumstances, and who might well wind up staying there for other reasons. Today’s Army doesn’t have quite the Wild West crap going on that they did back in the Bad Old Days ™ of the 1960s through early 1980s, mostly because it’s a hell of a lot tamer, and the endemic racial problems and drug use simply aren’t there, anymore. Do you have an era chosen for this character?

                    There is a retired CID warrant officer I know locally I could ask some questions of, or put you in touch with, I suppose. It’s one of those milieus that probably needs to be lived to be able to really write it authoritatively, I suspect… I’m not sure I could pull it off, myself, and not have someone who’d actually worked CID call me on a bunch of things I got wrong. Especially if you were writing about the real CID, of historical record, for a contemporary mystery or something. That would need a bunch of research, I think–A future sort of CID, in an entirely imaginary milieu, probably not. You could do anything, there, and would just need to make it “sound authentic”.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      This milieu is pretty much entirely imaginary. Essentially a multinational joint force whose source organizations are from different Earths. I can probably easily justify dates from 1950 to 2050.

                      I figure the organization needs Chaplains, who need assistants, and something insisted that I had a useable character in a Chaplain’s Assistant formerly of CID and some civilian police forces. I’m pretty sure he is former because his superiors rightfully suspected that he would forge evidence against innocents, and knew he was stupid enough to do it to politically well connected innocents.

                      Though my ‘muse’ is now insisting that a Chaplain’s Assistant who is at the same time a CID investigator in good standing would be a good ‘scary love interest’ for a paranormal romance built around that conceit.

                    • A rule of thumb to use for the Army:
                      Personnel are all equipment.

                      Checked out from someone else.

                      And there’s limited to no accountability on how it’s damaged, as long as the job is done.

                      If you use that as a guideline, short of “set the library book on fire” type junk, you’ll managed a believable experience.

            • There’s a scene like that in Galaxy’s Edge (Leginnaires)

        • sabrinachase

          Kirk, yes *please*. It is such a great anecdote that show how real leadership works, regardless of gender!

    • I think I read that, too; when and where are long forgotten.

  15. A little something for the wimmens who still think the world exists to rescue them:

  16. Are you nuts? What if everyone took that horrible young woman as a role model? Think of it, a spcoety full of happy people content to work diligently to improve their earthly circumstances! Without complaint about uncurable unfairness, without demurral about other people’s privilege? Where in such a would there be work for psychiatrists, social activists, consciousness raisers, identity studies professors?

    Such schemes as you would suggest threaten the underpinnings of our entire society! Stone the heretic! Stone the heretic! Stone the heretic! Stone the heretic!

    The preceding message has been sponsored by the Mass Association of Radical eXtremists! When you go mad, go MARX!

  17. I’ve been discussing with people about how my favorite “Disney Princess” types are the workers—I absolutely adore Tiana and Moana, and before that, Mulan was one of my favorites. The defining feature of all of them is that they set a goal and work towards it, even when learning the skill is reduced to a training montage. (Rapunzel squeaks in because she’s starting from such a profound psychological disadvantage; she may not do a whole lot, but considering how cowed she is by her captor, what she does do is pretty impressive.) Add that to Robin McKinley, who writes characters who are “strong” in ways that suit their situations, and you’ve got a pretty solid set of role models.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      One of my favorite ingenues ever is Fawn from Lois Bujold’s Sharing Knife books. Then again, I am biased toward heroines with domestic skills because no one 1) praises them or 2) realizes that they can, in fact, coexist with a functioning brain.

  18. c4c

  19. OT: Yes, I know it’s parody.
    But I have this suspicion it might a good idea.
    And I find that worrisome, a few ways.

    http://www.theonion.com/article/4-copy-editors-killed-in-ongoing-ap-style-chicago–30806

  20. I love responding to the “we need more strong female characters” with “I agree. I loved The African Queen and True Grit. We need more stories like them!”
    .
    I mostly get blank looks, but occasionally I get to make a head explode.

  21. Earth, well, human-kind actually, needs grownups, period.

    Would a 5-fold or greater increase in life expectancy result in humans at least starting to think about the long term consequences of their behavior and decisions?

    • Sadly, probably not.

      Humans have a built-in ability to think that bad things happen to OTHER people. If we didn’t, we’d all still be living in the trees, so it’s probably not such a bad trade-off.

  22. Speaking of potential mothers of the year:

    I’m Done Pretending Men Are Safe (Even My Sons)

    I wrote an essay in The Washington Post last year, during the height of the Brock Turner case, about my sons and rape culture. I didn’t think it would be controversial when I wrote it; I was sure most parents grappled with raising sons in the midst of rape culture. The struggle I wrote about was universal, I thought, but I was wrong. My essay went semi-viral, and for the first time my sons encountered my words about them on their friends’ phones, their teachers’ computers, and even overheard them discussed by strangers on a crowded metro bus. It was one thing to agree to be written about in relative obscurity, and quite another thing to have my words intrude on their daily lives.

    One of my sons was hurt by my words, although he’s never told me so. He doesn’t understand why I lumped him and his brother together in my essay. He sees himself as the “good” one, the one who is sensitive and thoughtful, and who listens instead of reacts. He doesn’t understand that even quiet misogyny is misogyny, and that not all sexists sound like Twitter trolls. He is angry at me now, although he won’t admit that either, and his anger led him to conservative websites and YouTube channels; places where he can surround himself with righteous indignation against feminists, and tell himself it’s ungrateful women like me who are the problem.

    and even better:

    I know I’m not supposed to cast an entire sex with a single paint brush — not all men, I’m sure some readers are thinking and preparing to type or tweet. But if it’s impossible for a white person to grow up without adopting racist ideas, simply because of the environment in which they live, how can I expect men not to subconsciously absorb at least some degree of sexism? White people aren’t safe, and men aren’t safe, no matter how much I’d like to assure myself that these things aren’t true.

    She seems to want to die old and alone and I hope her sons oblige her.

    • Wow. She’s right up there with the woman who wrote the Schrodinger’s Rapist article.

      • Thing that strikes me about a lot of these “womyn” is that a.) they’re projecting an interest in rape onto all men that simply isn’t there, because the usual rapist is a very aberrant member of a small sub-set of the male sex, and b.) that they think they’re somehow desirable to all men, who must automatically want to rape them, ‘cos they’re so… Desirable.

        I pulled over and helped one of these types, once, with a stuck car up on a mountain pass. Getting her little sedan, on it’s summer tires, back onto the road was a real pain in the ass, and it didn’t help that I was getting the strangest vibe off the woman and her friend the whole time. End of it, I’m getting into my truck to drive off, and they were damn near apoplectic at my complete indifference to their sexual identities, or so I gathered from words spoken and body language.

        I swear to God, there was a subtext of outrage there, like “WHAT? We’re not attractive enough to rape…?”. And, truly, they weren’t, but not in any physical sense. Based on personalities alone, during that limited exposure? Not a chance in hell of me ever even considering even just flirting with them, in fear they might take me up on it all…

        • I cannot recall where I saw the article link — Instapundit, perhaps? — but there was a recent study of Search Results that claimed far and away the majority of searches for [male dominant p0rn) was by women.

          I’m not saying that rape is a female fantasy, but I haven’t known many guys to express a desire for it. Male fantasy seems to involve women’s will to resist crumbling upon witness of the phallus — certainly one of the two silliest looking sex organs one can find.

          • A significant number of women have fantasies of being forced, but not actually raped. However, it’s understood to be fantasy, and that it’s supposed to be a form of roleplay, not the felonious act.

            • But my point was that it is not men having that fantasy. “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free” is the male fantasy, not acting out selected bits of Gor novels.

            • Y’know… I’m not so sure I believe that differentiation between being forced vs. raped. I think there are a lot of women who won’t admit to the fantasizing about the latter, but who are perfectly willing to openly characterize what they’re thinking about as mere “force”, when they’re actually conceptualizing something a hell of a lot more… Objectionable. At least, to most normal men.

              I’ll grant you my sample size isn’t huge, but there have been a couple of times that distinction has come up in my vicinity, and the difference between what was voiced and what was actually desired differed considerably. Some of what more than a few women I’ve known considered “force” was actually pretty far on the other side of the line, well into what I’d consider “rape”.

              The really disturbing ones wanted to observe while it happened to someone else, and flatly got off on the idea of seeing it done to a younger, prettier potential rival. Eye-opening experience, that was–I had, before that, always considered most of that “Ilsa, the she-Nazi” crap as being over-the-top male fantasy BS. However, there are women out there who get off on it as much or more than their male counterparts do. Hell, look at the Karla Homolka case up in Canada if you doubt me.

              • paladin3001

                Hell, look at the Karla Homolka case up in Canada if you doubt me.

                A lot of people are still seething about how light she got off. There were discussions among people about how complicit she probably was if not the driver behind the whole sordid mess. *spit* *shudder*

                • Considering what Canadian jurisprudence has done in the Omar Khadr case, those seething over the Homolka sentencing should be grateful their tax dollars didn’t make her a multi-millionaire, and garner her an abject apology from the Prime Minister.

              • Well, admittedly my sample size of anyone who had experienced both situations is precisely one, and she very much did not appreciate it happening outside of an agreed-upon occurrence, but she knew of others who had expressed the same distinction between what was acceptable and what was not.

                • I suspect, having listened to other women go on and on, that what you’re looking at is clearer from a slightly different perspective: They’re not fantasizing about being forced, they’re fantasizing about not being in control.

                  Hear me out: The feminist creed I grew up with is: You CAN do it all, and you SHOULD do it all. Women are not only as capable as men in every arena, but they should be able to have the corner office with the three thousand dollar suits and the jetting around the world for vacation and the perfect sexy body and the loving husband who adores them and 2.5 kids who are well-behaved and, and, and… They are absolutely in control of their future, their life, and must kick all the asses and chew all the bubblegum, take all the names and barely break a sweat doing it.

                  This is plainly, on the face of it, stupid and self-destructive. A lot of women are burning out now, finding out the hard way that making their career the focus of their 20’s and 30’s has left them in the high-danger (if possible at all) zone for one kid, much less two, much less sacrificing everything for career shouldn’t have included your marriage… But when it’s fed to you from kick-ass heroines on the Saturday morning cartoons up through college, the indoctrination usually only wear off about the time your biological clock runs out. (If it wears off at all. A lot of the shrill screaming of third-wave feminists remind me of nothing more than sour grapes from bitter old harpies who spent their life fighting The Man, only to realize they lost everything to gain an empty mirage… so they must believe even harder in that mirage, to preserve their shriveled soul, ossified pride, and fragile ego.)

                  Romance novels are fantasies. Fantasies of two people finding and falling in love, and achieving happily ever after despite all the odds. And to a woman who’d been raised to believe she must be in control, and never let any (man) one control her, the fantasy of being absolutely unable to be in control, coupled with a man who is not only in control but still wildly crazy for her, and to have everything end up all right without her having to fight for it… It’s a very seductive fantasy to a certain demographic of women.

                  (The billionaire books also hit this fantasy – that someone so powerful could be crazy for Jane Average, and make all her (monetary) worries go away – it’s a kind of “If I won the lottery” fantasy wrapped in a romance. The BDSM romances are also hitting the “you don’t have to be in control anymore, and everything will be all right – and he’ll still be crazy into you” theme… heck, so are most of the PNR and shifter romances. A lot of the latter are hitting that and edging into the “And he still finds you wildly sexy even though you’re fat” fantasy.)

                  That said, it’s a fantasy to them, absolutely unrealistic, to be enjoyed as a guilty pleasure. And then they go right back to tearing down their men and obsessing about how their spouses didn’t do exactly what they wanted, and listing all their shortcomings in public…

                  And looking distinctly uncomfortable when I praise my man, state how much I love him, how wonderful he is, and how nice it is to have someone who can back me up or stand me down. (I got the real live version instead of the romance fantasy. He’s better! And they shut up and go to work when I praise my man, because they don’t know how to handle compliments and love, trust and faithfulness!)

                  • Well, in general, you may be right, I don’t know. My particular example was not that type, being someone who ran her own bondage modeling website, and if she ever talked down her man, I never saw it.

                    Yet, the part about not being in control fully conforms to the things she said about herself and others who were into that scene. “Force Fantasies” were just a part of the overall picture for her.

                  • I think you really nail get this. I’ve had pretty frank discussions with women about this (conversations across a broad variety of topics of sexuality), and it really is a matter of wanting to be “taken care of”. Many of the women are very competent, too – neither shrinking violets nor harpies. But they want a man to be – as a certain song puts it – a “big, bad, handsome man”, and their view of “manly” includes some measure of being in charge, including in the bedroom.

                    And, just to play counter to the mention of evolution elsewhere in these comments, recall that in Genesis, one of the curses for the woman’s disobedience (of God, mind you) is “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

                    • What drives me up the wall is that there is no conflict between strength and service.

                      FFS, is Little John a weakling because he works for Robin Hood, even in the stories where Robin managed to trick him into losing the quarterstaff battle?

                    • Think of it as a lack of role models, too: just because they want a man to take control doesn’t mean they have any idea how to have that happen in a healthy relationship. (This partly explains the prepoderance of assholes they date who reinforce the worst feminist stereotypes of men, and the ‘bad boy’ romance novels.)

                      On the other hand, one of the Amazon imprint romance authors, Rosalind James, who’s doing Very Well is doing “everything wrong” by current fad: she writes long (for her genre), she doesn’t release a huge volume (for her genre), she doesn’t write to trend… but she writes real manly men, and real modern women who manage to be ladies to the men who love them and take care of them. And she’s selling like crazy. Which tells me there are a lot of women who want a manly men. And a fantasy that’s close to what could be real (as opposed to random billionaires in their 30’s who are studly and crazy into a random Jane Doe, her heroines are hundred-thousandaires) is all the more attractive for that.

                    • Which tells me there are a lot of women who want a manly men.

                      Isn’t that somewhat of a theme in Frozen?


                      Seek a Kristof, not a Hans?

                    • …who give you good advice against their best interest, smell like work (HOW dang MANY comments were there about that?) and while they’re sometimes bullish idiots do the right thing? And will POLITELY let the gal do something stupid when they’re RIGHT THERE to fix any problems that happen should things go wrong?

                      Yeah, sounds manly to me.

                      No wonder the movie got so many attacks…..

                      (Note: my husband cannot lift a reindeer. And he’ll explain why what I’m about to do is dumb. But if I’m so stupid as to do it anyway, he’s there…I’ve never punched even the 13th son of a foreign nation, though.)

                    • Knowing brothers… she let him off EASY compared to what they’ll do to him. “Conspiring to assassinate a foreign potentate” does not endear said 13th son to either Big Brothers or Daddy. (Though Daddy might just be magnanimous enough to let his brothers handle it rather than doing something official like executing the little twerp for potentially provoking a war.)

                    • Kind of depends on if he’s punished for getting caught, or for blowing his last chance at official work.

            • I think it’s evolutionary adaptation. In known history, there was a fairly large percentage chance that a woman was going to get raped in her lifetime (higher than now, at least in this country.) So a woman working through the possibilities in her mind ahead of time stands a better chance of surviving the psychological assault than one who is, shall we say, unprepared.

              Also, key point: No matter how violent or degrading the fantasy is, because it is in the woman in question’s head, she is in control. Loss of control is the biggest (non-physical) damage in rape cases, so this is one way to try to retain or regain it, psychologically.

              • Just to be clear: I am NOT saying gals want to be raped. We fantasize about many things we Do. Not. Want. To. Do. However exciting I might find a description of landing at Omaha Beach or the Adventures of Hugh Glass it is not something I want to experience myself. Nor would I want to spend a winter in North Dakota with Laura Ingalls.

                What I am saying is that not many men fantasize about committing rape and anybody who goes on about rape culture is an idiot.

                • I’m gonna go out on a limb and propose that the fantasy/desire isn’t necessarily a common feature in the minds of the majority, but… Sheesh. There are a bunch of women out there who spend an awful lot of time obsessing over the potential, and probably just as many who it seems are hell-bent on enabling any potential assault on them that might take place.

                  I mean, there’s being oblivious to risks, and then there’s what I’ve seen on multiple occasions where just taking normal, prudent precautions are urged on certain sub-sets of the feminine persuasion, and they’re outright rejected as being sexist and a bunch of other things. “I can take care of myself…”.

                  One girl I remember made a “thing” of hanging out with a bunch of gang members. All her friends, male and female, warned her that going out with these guys, partying, and getting blotto around them was going to lead to bad places. She persisted, and the inevitable happened, whereupon she acted all shocked and angry that she hadn’t been “protected” by her friends.

                  Don’t look at what people say; look at what they do. You keep putting yourself out there in vulnerability, and don’t listen to people warning you not to drink to the point of incapacity, well… I really don’t have a hell of a lot of sympathy: You get eaten by the wolf in your bedroom, that’s one thing. You get yourself eaten whilst smothered in bacon grease and laying naked in the snow during a bad winter where the wolves have little to eat, well… I’m not going to be so sympathetic to your plight.

                • What I am saying is that not many men fantasize about committing rape and anybody who goes on about rape culture is an idiot.

                  And just my guess, but I would say that a number of the ones who actually do fantasize about it do not have very good imaginations, and if they did, it would turn them off the subject quickly.

    • It was one thing to agree to be written about in relative obscurity, and quite another thing to have my words intrude on their daily lives.

      Ya think?

      I thought for a moment there was a dawning, but no.

      I know I’m not supposed to cast an entire sex with a single paint brush — not all men, I’m sure some readers are thinking and preparing to type or tweet. But if it’s impossible for a white person to grow up without adopting racist ideas, simply because of the environment in which they live, how can I expect men not to subconsciously absorb at least some degree of sexism?

      Wow wee wow wow… WHOA!

      Talk about hateful closed minded stereotyping. I am not surprised that her sensitive son is deeply hurt by her assumptions. People are individuals, mixtures of characteristics, not mass produced interchangeable cogs, thank you kindly.

      • The single best thing that could happen to her kids would be achieving orphan status. This court would be inclined to mercy no matter the circumstances.

    • I want to feel at least a little bit sorry for anyone who lives in the world she has inside of her head, but that kind of “stuff” does so much damage IRL that I just can’t. I hope her sons manage to survive mostly unscathed.

      • I want to think of the inverse of her position (well, actually I am trying not to) but all it comes out as is: All women are whores. Some sell their favors by the hour, some by the lifetime.

        Bot propositions are true — all men are rapists, all women are whores — if one uses only a certain materialist paradigm.

        What a guaranteed way of being miserable that paradigm is.

      • Apparently one of her sons is now with the Alt-Right.

        I can’t blame him. Seriously, Red Pill. That young man is one of the greater examples of why red-pilling happens. (The documentary is also worth watching.)

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Sounds like she’s already driven one of her sons into our corner.

      • I suspect she has driven one all the way to the alt-right given its heavy overlap with Redhill and manosphere territory.

    • On the bright side, the commenters are more likely to say that this woman is obviously clinical insane than that she is right.

    • But if it’s impossible for a white person to grow up without adopting racist ideas
      Well, there’s your problem: an untrue premise. Sort of blows away everything else you’ve said.

      • Actually, I have embraced that bit of SJW as something to reply back to them when they demand I do something to not be racist.

        If it is impossible for me to not be racist why put myself out in any way to not be racist. I’d be doing it for naught by their own logic.

        • Like when I quoted the sura and verse about some unbelievers being fated never to believe because Allah had willed them to be unbelievers. The look on the Moslem Student Association missionary’s face was priceless.

      • ‘S kinda funny, but the things that made me take up the beliefs these people would likely term “racist” didn’t develop in childhood, or come from something I somehow absorbed from my supposed “white privilege”. I left high school with a very open mind vis-a-vis race, religion, and ethnicity, having bought into all the current multi-culti bullshit I was raised on in public school.

        Know what changed me over from that to where I am now? Life experience, mostly at the hands of the SJW types. When it comes to creating racism in people, they’re actually the worst offenders, because their attempts at division and “equality of outcome” vs. “equality of opportunity” turn many people who are already “on their side”, in terms of their openly voiced goals, against them.

        Frankly, one way I see it being framed by a lot of us is that we white males got taken for a ride. We were promised all these wonderful things, like the end of racism, sexism, and everything else, and what we actually got was merely a swap of position in the hierarchy of oppression. From one standpoint, you could argue that we’ve been cozened into giving up our supposed position on top of the pyramid of oppression, only to be put on the bottom tier of that pyramid–Instead of doing away with it entirely, which was the premise all this multi-culti crap was sold to us on.

        About the time enough of the supposed “patriarchy” catches on to this, I have a feeling that there’s going to be a rather swift and unpleasant turning of the worm, and the various intersectional minorities are going to find themselves rudely awakened when they’re returned to the back of the bus or thrown under it by their Democrat “leaders”.

        The contradictions inherent to all this stuff are too great to sustain, and when the majority correctly reaches the conclusion that there were various reasons (and, not necessarily justified or good ones) that the unenlightened old-timers did things the way they did, the recoil shock from unwinding all these progressive changes is going to be massively ugly.

        One thing I worry about, considering all this, is what the hell is going to happen to all the shiny-happy institutions like the mainstream Christian churches who consciously enabled all this crap to happen in the first place. More than likely, as the cultural commons becomes more and more polluted and untenable, not least because they’ve abandoned their role as moral watchkeepers and arbiters, the opening is going to be there for another ideology or religion to supplant the traditional ones which will rightly come to be seen as being traitorous to the best interests of the majority.

        Once someone figures that out, and crafts the appeal to the disenfranchised and marginalized, it’s gonna be Katy bar the door. I would not be a bit surprised to see something like Heinlein’s Nehemiah Scudder sect becoming a reality, or some Islamic group “reforming” itself to appeal to these groups that the Progressives have demonized and sidelined.

        Things like what have been going on in society for the last sixty to a hundred years are historically unprecedented, in a lot of ways, and I do not see the whole game playing out in some benign and harmless manner. It’s going to get ugly, about the time the various European ethnicities figure out what the actual effect of Tony Blair and Angela Merkel’s policies will actually be on them. Here in the US, it’s going to be about the same, but probably not quite as severe. After all, we do have somewhat more in common, culturally, with the Central Americans than the Euros do with the African and Middle-Eastern migrants.

        The awakening is happening, as we speak. Trump is a symptom, as is the resistance to him. When the intended victims of all this crap are fully awake, God help us all. The potential for demagoguery is going to be immense, and with the way the elites have been consciously trying to damp down resistance to their plans, especially in Europe? The pressure vessel is going to blow, and the more pressure they allow to build up, the worse it’s going to be.

        • I was actually a little surprised that the folks in that video-recorded town meeting in Austria didn’t lynch the mayor for telling them that it was the school-girls’ fault that the “refugees” were assaulting and harassing them as the girls walked to school. His solution was for the kids to take a longer route and to cover up. The meeting erupted and the town residents were Not Pleased. When it finally blows up, it will blow sky high. I suspect the Hungarian and Bulgarian authorities are none too concerned if their border-militia beat up a few gypsies and others as well as chasing down and “arresting” would-be immigrants.

          • I honestly suspect that what’s going to happen is that Europe is just going to go dark for about ten years, and when they turn the lights back on, there’s going to be either just the ethnic Europeans left, or they’re going to be completely gone.

            I really don’t see all the denial and cover-up working, over the long haul. All they’re doing is steadily piling more and more covers over the relief valve, and when the whole thing goes, it’s going to go sky-high.

            No matter how it goes, there’s going to be a huge opening for demagogues and religious nutters to get in on the ground floor for supplanting the failed ideologies of the past and present. How that winds up looking? Your guess is as good as mine.

            What can’t go on, won’t go on. The intolerable can only be papered over for so long, and then the basic drives for survival are going to take over. The fact that much of the current leadership in Europe has no children is telling, and a marker that tells me that the current situation cannot go on for very much longer. The left has always sought to reproduce itself not through the hard work of raising their own children, but via the mechanism of coopting everyone else’s like so many cuckoos. The problem for them is going to come when their victims wake up to what’s going on, and start taking countermeasures. The current insanity in our so-called education system is both a symptom and a high-water mark; once enough of the center gets the idea that these places like Evergreen are anything but bastions of free thought and higher education, the game is going to be up. Especially when you start looking at how many families are beggaring themselves in order to have their kids brainwashed.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          The Unitarians will hand out clergy certificates to anyone, I hear, so it’d be pretty easy to make splinter faction, declare it Islamic, and start issuing Fatwahs. I discarded that plan, because it conflicted with my religious convictions.

          Later I came up with the idea of simply doing an outright obviously fake ‘Islamic sect’. Do that, issue fatwahs against environmentalism and socialism.

          • Look how far a certain SF author got, when he carried out his threat to form a religion, and just how crazed some of his adherents have gotten. I think there is a serious chance that a lot of current main-stream churches may just render themselves irrelevant, and then who picks up the pieces?

            People are always going to have a need for the spiritual, and what they fill that with, whether it’s politics or something else, is always going to be dangerous going forward into the unknown. Christianity as a whole has most of the nuttiness wrung out of it by now, and is relatively benign compared to some of the other things have substituted for it. I think Heinlein had the urge pegged about right, with his projection of a Nehemiah Scudder type being a potential future for the US. It’s just that it’s probably going to come literally out of left field, not the Bible Belt.

            • I’d agree with you, Kirk, except I think Reformed Islam isn’t going to be what comes out on top.

              An actual Muslim Reformer went the media rounds recently, and the YouTube response was a huge litany of ‘Taqiyya’ while some word has it that the reformer set is despised even more within Islamic communities proper.

              Islam is completely tainted in the eyes of the reactionary set of western non-Muslims because of what’s happening in Europe and because Mainstream Islam has aligned itself with Progressive extremists in taking down western culture.

              I’m not sure what’s going to come out on top either, but the betting odds would be a mix of NeoPaganism and a new Christianity that’s met Eastern Orthodoxy half way, at least before a Reformed Islam would show up.

              Of course, that’s assuming YouTube, Reddit, and a few other internet sites have the pulse of the reactionaries at the moment.

              There’s another movement in North American Christianity that could see the Protestant stream unsissify itself properly, which would be nice, but isn’t guaranteed either.

              Then Wahhabist style supremacist Islam is waay more likely than reform too, at least prior to Europe going dark and assuming supremacist Islam doesn’t win there… It’s stronger footing in North America coupled with it being untouchable via cultural relativism, U.S. religious freedom laws, and the hate speech codes going up in Canada means that reform Islam doesn’t have much of a chance over here either as the reformist voice is being squeezed out by the dominant Islamic ethos and the Progressives calling it Islamophobic.

              It’s funny, but the main push behind the reform of Islam is coming from those on the thin slice that fit comfortably into what is now the Centrist/Mainstream Right of U.S. politics, and then mostly from non-Muslims and ex-Muslims. It’s really a lot of wishful thinking at this stage of world affairs.

  23. , she doesn’t – like fairytale princesses – either get rescued by a strong knight nor even by fate that reveals her to be a hidden princess.

    Eh, the fairytale princess is quite likely to be rescuing the prince instead of vice versa. And even if he does rescue her, it’s entirely possible that he manages only because she told them the secret of how.

    There’s a fairy-tale-in-ballad-form princess in Over the Sea, To Me, and it’s not her who gets rescued.

  24. Ahem.
    Teach Your Children Well Part I: When I Think Back On All the Cr*p I Learned In Highschool
    By Sarah Hoyt
    In free education, you get what you pay for.

    At one point, in the six long years of infertility before the birth of number one son, we were going to homeschool. In fact, I collected books and all, planning on using them to teach the child.

    And then the child arrived. At some point when Robert (Anson. Yes, when you name your child that, you get exactly what you deserve) was three, a friend gave me a book called “Raising the self-willed child.” Don’t bother finding it, or at least not that particular one (I imagine there’s more than one book of that name.) It was based on the idea that if your child had sufficient self-esteem he would be miraculously docile.

    Even at 30, I wasn’t stupid enough to believe that. So I brought Robert up as I – a self-willed child. Okay, my parents had other words for me – had been brought up: with mild physical discipline, until he was old enough to understand other forms of discipline. That is to say, for a while there the greatest punishment we could inflict was to remove his computer cord for a day or to make him copy three pages of whatever historical book first came to hand, in as good a handwriting as he could use. He still remembers both of those punishments with shudders, but it did wonders for his vocabulary. His penmanship still sucks. I blame doing most of his work on a keyboard. Or maybe being my son. (My penmanship is best described as “dragging a spider dipped in ink all over a paper.)

    My first son was unexpectedly creative in forms of misdeeds. I think very few children made it a regular activity to defeat locks, remove all their clothing, and go running through the neighborhood in the middle of the night. Since this was a downtown neighborhood, it wasn’t even a safe thing to do.
    [END EXCERPT]

    Read the whole thing.

    • > Further inquiry elicited information that they weren’t actually teaching spelling or grammar or any of that stuff because it was better if the students picked it up “organically” because it encouraged “self-expression.”

      I used to get corporate email from people like that, who put “Dr.” in front of their name.

      The outrage when I would bounce their message back with “your message was apparently corrupted in transit” was epic.

    • So, Sarah ended up homeschooling, anyway, sounds like – as a bolt-on, rather than the replacement model. (If she had lived near me, we would have gladly brought her into the homeschooling community, despite her issues and special needs, and helped her make it work. It’s funny how all us ‘individualists’ make ‘collectivism’ work when it’s an entirely voluntary association.)

      To connect to this post, homeschoolers also spend a lot more time on values formation – something the schools are often forbidden to do nowadays (since “values” are all subjective, and we shouldn’t stomp on the little ones’ esteem and such, and it of course would be evil to ever strike a child or make them feel shame for doing wrong…).

      • Schools are forbidden to cover values formation? I guess Social Justice is not a value.

        Somewhat long, more than a little infuriating:
        LEFT-WING INDOCTRINATION IN THE SCHOOLS: IT’S WORSE THAN YOU THINK
        Edina High School in suburban Minneapolis was long regarded as one of the country’s top secondary schools. In recent years, its national ratings and its local reputation have slipped, perhaps in part because teachers are spending time promoting a left-wing agenda and bullying conservative students rather than teaching the subjects they are paid to teach.

        Following last November’s election, 80 Edina High School teachers–which must represent pretty much the entire faculty–signed an editorial in the school’s newspaper that was basically a Democratic Party manifesto. The editorial was authored by Tim Klobuchar (second cousin). It went so far as to oppose calls for unity; unity, it implied, will exist only when all conservatives have been banished from the stage.

        [SNIP]

        Another parent:

        We’re tired of them trying to indoctrinate our children to believe what they believe rather than teaching critical thinking and actual course work. We’re tired of our kids coming home feeling defeated because their beliefs are forbidden at school and they will be ostracized if they speak out. We’re tired of our kids telling us that all they hear in LA and other classes is that white people, especially white men, are bad, over and over. We’re absolutely sickened when our son tells us that he is labeled a racist, sexist and rapist — yes, a RAPIST — because he is a white male.

        [END EXCERPT]

        • They don’t consider it values formation, RES. It’s just the “truth” or some such. And yes, it’s not terribly clear and it’s awfully contradictory – such is the consequence of post-modernism.

        • And there are still people naive enough to think there’s room in a civil society for both them and us. /headdesk.

      • It’s funny how all us ‘individualists’ make ‘collectivism’ work when it’s an entirely voluntary association

        And this reminds me that ‘Soviet’ was originally ‘soviet’ which as I understand it was basically a voluntary co-op. And that/those worked… until gutted, skinned, worn etc.

      • Testimony:

        A lot of my issues are from public school. Yeah, the weakness is there, but the breaks are from the public schooling– I got to meet an author I’ve admired since I was fourteen years old.

        I hid behind my husband, mumbled a few words, and practically died. Even though he’s an AWESOME man who got off of a sick-bed on a day he obviously didn’t want to, to be there, for us.
        Because admitting to someone that you admire them means you’re putting a big, shiny target out there– and I learned, over a decade plus, that it WOULD get kicked, and hard.

        I’m pretty sure I annoy at least half of the ladies in my home school group. That’s beyond fears that I am breaking social taboos I don’t know exist.

        But they make sure my kids are invited, they make small talk, they’re kind. They listen even though I talk funny, they repeat things any child could understand when I I blink and go “what?”

        Every home school group I’ve run into is really tolerant.

        • Dang. I’m sorry Foxifer. Sometimes people aren’t recognizably kind because they’re inept, clueless or not paying attention. The folks who’ve been kicked in the teeth by the intentionally malicious are understandably wary.

          But, as one of the operationally socially inept, clueless, and not-paying-attention I hope you’ll give us a chance, because I strongly suspect we/they would like to be friends.

          • I do keep trying, just makes for some serous misunderstandings where my husband has no idea why I’m acting like I’m going to be bitten. (And most of the time, neither do I.)

            That’s probably the source of a lot of the “social anxiety” issues that a lot of gals are being treated for. No idea what it would’ve done to me if I didn’t have a strong family!

        • Do you (as I do) also take even the now well-intended “pat on the back” as the cue to find a mirror and check for the ‘KICK ME’ sign?

          I don’t mind touch/intimacy.. but some surprises are apt to be unwelcome to the degree of *WHUMP* and then some wonder why they got hit. And some seem surprised that a tap on one shoulder gets a look in the opposing direction. “How did you know?” “Experience.”

          • This is not very closely related to that, but you reminded me of something that happened to me many years ago, when i was between the ages of 10 and 15 (not certain the exact age, but probably closer to 12), and I would go to the bowling alley with my parents when they bowled in the evening,

            I saw one of my dad’s teammates studying the rank sheets hanging on the wall and thought I would “get” him, so I walked over behind him and jabbed my fingers into his sides. Not too hard, just enough to startle, but quicker than I could even make out, he was turned completely around, with a fist half-cocked. I can only imagine what my face looked like when I saw that. He didn’t hit me, but I wouldn’t have really blamed him if he did. I realized later that, since he had been in Vietnam during the war, I was probably even more lucky than i at first realized, and I could have been badly hurt.

    • His penmanship still sucks.

      Perhaps a consistent lack of good penmanship was indicative of his future professional career path? 😉

  25. Koff.

    What Happens When the Artist Chides His Audience?
    By Sarah Hoyt
    I’m writing this from my garret, watched over by two small mice, who – enviously – watch my three remaining crumbs of bread. Tomorrow I eat them, and then it’s all up in the air whether or not I have the strength to finish the novel, my magnum opus upon which I have labored unrewarded for the last twenty years.

    How many of you nodded along with that thinking it made any sense?

    How many of you know I’m joking, but still think that is the way it should be?

    Come on, reach deep into your soul and tell me the truth. How many of you think that for a work to be authentic it must be labored over in extreme poverty for a very long time, unappreciated by anybody until, possibly sometime after the author’s death, it is declared a genius masterpiece and talked about in hushed, reverent tones for the rest of eternity?

    You can tell me the truth. You’re not an idiot. It’s the culture that’s stupid. It’s the culture that has labored since your birth to tell you a bunch of lies which are not only lies but utterly and completely nonsensical.

    If you still don’t think the myth of the unappreciated writer, who labors in extreme poverty but creates True Art™ is nonsense, let me explain.
    [END EXCERPT]

    Read the whole thing, too.

    • RES, The mice were Mr. and Mrs. Melchizedek, and the author was Solženicyn.

      The story is real if you’re slaves in an unjust autocracy and not free Americans.

  26. Mrs. Hoyt, I know this was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, and you’re not part of the autism crew who can remember every book they have ever read but not their children’s names, but could you give me some more access points to track down this story?

    I have some grand nieces who need Christmas presents this year.

    • I was thinking I would like to find that book and read it myself, but then I realized that as Our Esteemed Hostess read it at the age of 12 or 13 it was likely in Portuguese and may never have been translated into English. 😦

      • I’m sure it never was.

        • Sooooo … you could Princess Bride it?

          “This is a book read to me when I was still a little girl. It is about a foundling, a girl without family, it is about princes and the cost of their attentions, it is about True Love and how to find it …”

          • I remembered the title. It’s “A Feia Linda” but I no longer remember the author. A cursory search didn’t find the book anywhere. If I manage to go over there this year, I’ll see if I can locate it. I COULD translate it, if the writer/estate are amenable.

  27. My father’s father was a dirt farmer in the hills of Tennessee (Tracy City, specifically). On his 60th birthday, Granny cooked him breakfast as usual, and he went out to plow. At noon he came in for lunch, and Granny had made him his favorite dishes, and she said he enjoyed himself immensely. He then went back out to continue the plowing.

    In the late afternoon Granny took out something for him to drink, and found him collapsed over his plow, dead (probably a heart attack; the males in my family have a genetic predisposition for it). After determining that there was nothing she could do for him, Granny dragged him to the side of the field, finished the plowing, tended and put away the mules, and then took my grandfather into the house.

    People nowadays are frequently aghast at hearing this; they say they would just fall apart if it happened to them. But he was dead, and the plowing needed to be finished, and the mules needed to be tended. She did what she had to do.