I was discussing the Worldcon follies with husband and he said “it’s always the Gulag, with these people.”
I was struck by the wisdom of these words, because… yeah, it’s always the gulag.
I remember P.J. O’Rourke describing the older cousins of our present progressives — the ones smart enough to read the communist manifesto and know that if they agreed with every point, yep, they were communists — as being like the children of strict religious ministers, fanatic and afraid to put a foot wrong.
He might have been right for that generation. The current generation (and this includes the older people who have lost their minds and are acting like teens) remind me of nothing so much as the “perfect little girl” at religious education.
I just heard the rest of you groan. At least those of you who were ever in religious education.
You know exactly the girl I mean. She’s always more pious than you, and always ready to denounce you for telling Jesus jokes in the back of the classroom. (What? Like you didn’t.) She always tells the teacher more in sorrow than in anger. And she really doesn’t want you punished, she just doesn’t want you to detract from her piety and earnest desire to learn. And oh, yeah, she always has a smile like that picture of Hillary as a little girl: the perfect sweet smile that doesn’t reach her eyes.
And she’s always so protective of the other kids who want to “earnestly learn” and so ready to tamp down any form of unapproved behavior.
Of course Jesus jokes were very far off approved behavior. (“Lord, why don’t you turn the stones into bread?” “No need I brought ham sandwiches.” Okay, I was 10, okay?) But they really weren’t disrupting anyone else, and also the teacher was so boring it saved us from the indecorous behavior of falling asleep at our desks. But, more importantly, the group of us telling rather innocuous jokes (trust me) might have been more sincerely religious than the perfect girl. Part of the reason that we made the jokes is that we’d gotten the point of the lesson and we were bored senseless. The perfect girl never listened to the lesson ONCE. Instead, she sat there practicing her pious expression for the world.
We met a more secular version of her in high school, where she always had the perfect makeup, the perfect hair, ran little errands for teacher and in my case, considering the times I went to high school in, was often “impeccably leftist.”
She was, of course, always ready to denounce and isolate you. In the US that ran to “you can’t sit at the cool kids table.”
I’ve long ago said the “new blood” in established science fiction fandom (not that new, not that young, they’re maybe ten years younger than I)are liberal arts graduates who found it tough to get anything published much less noticed in “literary fiction” and thus moved to the larger pond of science fiction, all the while lecturing us about our pulpy short comings.
They arrived among us like missionaries from England, landing in Papua New Guinea (Hi Joe) in the nineteenth century and demanding all the natives wear pants, as that would greatly improve them.
They ignore everything that went on before, including the many women who were published in science fiction before 2000. They’re storming the ramparts, and SF was all princesses and bug eyed aliens before them. (Has anyone seen my eyes? I think they rolled out on the carpet.)
(I have a mild fever, so I’m trying not to get in facebook arguments, but I honest to Bob heard someone say that if there were no discrimination against women, J. K. Rowling wouldn’t have used her initials. Yeah, sure. Shame about J R R Tolkien. Seriously, guys, if she did choose to hide her gender, and didn’t merely think her initials sounded better, it might have been because she was writing a boy character and was afraid that editors would complain of her “betraying her voice” as I’ve had happen to me.)
And once they’re published, these bunnies decide they’re the cool kids. They’re civilizing the savages, after all, and making science fiction “respectable” and “Socially relevant.”
Of course, then, the cool kids must be “safe” in the conventions they neither started nor popularized, undisputed in their piety and their “suave” geekiness. And the rest of us? To the Gulag with us.
Over and over again we get messages we’re not welcome and they don’t want us. They tell us to go start our own awards, then rage at the Dragons.
I’m fairly sure that if we take them at their word and stop showing up for
religious ed— worldcon and other traditional literary conventions where we’re not welcome, they’ll find out that the thing is mighty thin of company.
It’s okay. They’ll attract more people like them, who are there for the virtue signal.
Fortunately these days, our gulag is not so gulagy. Sure, you can ban us from your spaces, but it’s starting to sound about as “bad” as being declared persona non grata by the old soviet union. Well, dang.
You guys go on and enjoy the lines for boots and cabbage. We’ll be over here having fun with fully stocked supermarkets… Metaphorically speaking.
It’s always the gulag. But no matter how technologically illiterate the “cool kids” are, the rest of us can get together, establish relationships on line, and even, you know, attend conventions (like Liberty con) where they don’t try to exclude us.
Fear not. Eventually the cool kids will want to “distance” from us and will call themselves something like “relevant science fiction” or (can we persuade them) Woke SF or something. And the rest of us will continue writing and reading stories that are fun, and frankly not much caring about thought crimes.
The fun part of the left’s “perfect girl” obsessions is that they care so much about appearances they often discard the gift and hold on tight to the wrapping.
They never seem to catch on it means nothing.