Getting Your Due

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There is nothing so bad for you, and your prospects as being convinced you are owed everything.

I repeat because it might seem the strangest thing ever.  There is nothing worse for you, your work, your willingness to toil at education or getting proficient at your profession, your general character and your happiness in life as feeling you are owed a living or honors or whatever it is, by a world that has “done you wrong.”

Which is why the cult of victimhood gets on my nerves.

Perhaps it is that we’re so immersed in storytelling and most of it is very bad.  It’s easiest to get sympathy for a character at least in the beginning of a book if he’s “oppressed” or tortured, particularly if he seems gormless.

And bad story telling begets bad storytelling.  I became aware oh, ten years ago that my younger mentees had no idea how to create an engaging character.  They just made him terribly victimized, and then, suddenly he was worth of getting everything and the universe on a platter.

Maybe it’s the result of almost universal kindergarten and at the back of their minds they imprinted on the image of the teacher making “everything fair.”

It’s lousy — horrible — story telling in the measure that it’s bad art.  Good art imitates life (and sometimes life, art.) Bad art violates it and imposes upon it not only a pattern that is grotesquely wrong, but one that makes people act in ways that will damage them/internalize ideas that will damage them.

To the extent art comes from and exists for humans, that is the very definition of bad art.

Its bad effects are not in dispute, as we see them around us every day.

People who believe they are owed a living or great positions because they or someone like them were victimized once are not people who look at their own attempts and go “Oh, maybe I need to correct this.”  They’re not even people who are able to account for the unfathomable works of chance in the chaotic system of humanity.

They are instead people who know — know — that they should be given everything they ever dreamed of, and if you don’t hand it over right away you’re an evil oppressor.

Those who succeed in getting these positions or even money handed to them are pathetic people, who often suspect that, since they have it relatively easy, other people MUST have it easier.  They are privileged ivy league graduates with a vague soupçon of a tan who claim that Holocaust survivors have “White Privilege.”  Because surely, if it was that easy to them others must have it easier.

Their standard is the pouting weasel, their standard bearer is Michelle Obama, who handed a royal ride to the top of the pile and money for nothing and her fame for free always looked dissatisfied and annoyed, her mouth puckered with the feeling that somebody somewhere was having a better/easier time than her, and that they were therefore oppressing her. She couldn’t have got the best, because she wasn’t happy.

And that’s the ones who succeed.  Then you have the failures which are vast, a horde, a multitude and of every corner of the Earth and every possible color.  They feel they or someone like them was once oppressed or suffered something terrible.  Therefore the world owes them fulfillment and consolation.  They will do nothing, and eternally mewl about their wrongs.  They wrap themselves in a blanket of self righteousness, in the certainty they suffered and therefore they must be worthy, and demand that you hand everything into their unprepared hands.  And when that doesn’t happen, they start envying everyone around them, and become even more whiny.

A friend of mine was talking about how the hidden prince meme was a very old one, and people are attracted to it.  And it’s true.  But something always present in the “fated boy” or hidden prince meme is that he must prove himself.

In the best works, he undergoes the most strenuous tests, before the sky opens, and the crown drifts down on his head.

Yes, in most modern works, particularly YA (no, not really Harry Potter, in which the defect as far as there was one was front loading the victim aspect which other people might think was just more sanctified victim stuff, but he still had to endure tribulations, and fight for what was fated.) there is a tendency to do the victim/victim/victim — tada, king thing.

But that’s not what’s imprinted in most human back brains.  Because stories made by people before this crazy idea set in knew it was crazy and destructive.  As in, you don’t, actually, build leaders and people of character by picking people who let themselves be abused and handing them power and glory.

Sure, some victims become heroes.  But see the “become.”  As with everyone else, it involves an inner transformation, a willingness to work towards something.  Along the way they stop being victims, or forget their victimization, because there’s more important things to do.  There always are more important things to do.

When I was little I used to listen to the parable of the talents and it made no sense to me.  As an adult, I’ve known too many people who buried their talent in a hole, because they were scared and they were OWED success and they resented having any responsibility at all.

I have known to many people who lost their lives while trying to save them.  As in saving in a keep-fresh container, for some great destiny, some miraculous, wondrous moment when they get everything they would have got if it weren’t for the “oppressors.”

Our school pushes this too, on minorities and women.  They’re owed something, because they were historically discriminated against.  Ignoring “historically” doesn’t refer to anyone alive.

This primes people to see every slight as lese-majeste, every accidental slip as a micro aggression.  There are males, and yep white males who suffer from the same, for personal reasons, but INCULCATING it wholesale into groups is an act of unparalleled evil in our educational system.

If you’re busy being oppressed you don’t work, you don’t improve, you don’t learn.  You just wait, until you’ve “suffered” enough and the sky opens up.  And you imagine more suffering than is really occurring, and you become bitter that no one is rewarding it.

We have a significant percentage of the nation living like that, poisoned by this insanity.  No, not as many as were inducted into it, because most people at some point take a look around and at themselves, and get over it to a greater or lesser degree.

But the arts and academia, not to mention the news are full of people poisoned by the envy and malice this bizarre idea fosters.

I don’t know the solution. Except to make good art to counter the bad, and to fight the culture war as hard as we can.

Lest we end up fighting a real war or let the nation perish at the hands of unsatisfied, delusional ego maniacs.

 

*NOT our due and there are some excellent books in our category, but if you guys read Uncharted by Kevin and I and feel thus inclined, remember to vote for it in the dragons, under alternate history-SAH*

341 responses to “Getting Your Due

  1. adventuresfantastic

    What, am I actually the first person to see this post?

    C4C

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Wish men wonder “do I really want to get what’s owed me”?

    IE We may deserve worse. 😈

    • I read to read Charles DeLint all the time. I enjoyed some of this books and one of the best lines I read in one of them was ‘Be glad life isn’t fair or that would mean we’d deserve all the bad things that happen to us’.

      I think a part of this victim mentality is that they’ve been told how great and wonderful they are by their parents and educators and now they are meeting the real world. They were done a great disservice by those who were molding them since they did their best to remove challenges from their lives so they had no real standard or guide to actually learn their own strengths and weaknesses.

      Now that they are put in a position were they actually need to work to succeed they don’t really understand how do that since everything else was handed to them. My friends and I were talking about the damage of participation trophies almost 20 years ago.

      • Wait, you’re suggesting that telling people to have self-esteem doesn’t work? That the ability to fog a mirror isn’t an achievement?

        That’s just crazy talk.

        • Last I checked, self-esteem isn’t one of those things you can tell people to have 🙂 Ego, that can be filled pretty nicely with empty words.

          I have been known to talk crazy from time to time.

        • Telling people to have self-esteem does indeed seem to help them get lots of self-esteem. But there are plenty of incompetents with high self-esteem.

      • I really like some of his earlier books still, but in his newer ones the main characters tend to be too much of a victim. In the beginning he wrote protagonists who were fairly ordinary middle class individuals who got dropped in the middle of weird, then after a point they all seemed to be horribly abused street kids and such. There is a limit where that tends to get too much for me.

        • *cough* Mercedes Lackey *cough*

        • That’s why I stopped reading him as well. “Someplace to be Flying” and “Moonheart” are both really good. He does a great job of making magic seem real.

          • Yep.

            And the abused street kid – once in a while, fine, but when every story by some writer seems to be one sooner or later I will go in search of stories where you get a protagonist who starts from a boring vanilla – but safe – life.

            There may be lots of horribly abused and otherwise horrible lives having kids and adults in the world, and I actually don’t want to be reminded of that fact all the time because there is very little I could do to help any of them, and absolutely nothing I could do to save all of them right now. Especially since there are also a lot whose horrible lives are more due to their own failures than outside circumstances and there is no fucking way to save people who adamantly refuse to be saved.

            And that may have been one of the bigger reasons why DeLint finally started to rub me wrong. It sometimes seemed that ALL of his street people in those stories which concentrated on individuals among them, or at least pretty much everybody we encountered in the story, was blameless and a total victim of outside circumstances. And half of the time a near saint. Yep, probably not as bad as I remember it now, but enough that it thoroughly started to irritate me.

            • Average, rural to semi-rural, middle-class American. You can use suburban to urban, but that tends to be heavily leaning toward the Progressive-Socialist-Millennial crowd. Lower class in the SU2U environment tends to be overwhelmed by the gang-anti-intellectual cohort. Upper class in SU2U environment tends more to both privileged and isolated from reality types. The old Tom Swift Jr. books that I read back in the 1970s as a young teen worked fairly well for me for an upper class genius kid getting into all kinds of adventures with his middle class sidekick/pal; but looking back from today, they seem more fantasy than Science Fiction, and have very little in the way of socially redeeming qualities.

              • but looking back from today, they seem more fantasy than Science Fiction, and have very little in the way of socially redeeming qualities.

                Back to front:
                that sounds like a selling point. /cynical
                the dividing line really is a lot foggier than some folks are comfortable with– you’ve got “characters, what characters? Behold my theory!” scifi on one side, and “Logic? Reason? Science? NARRATIVE!!!” fantasy on the other; some fantasy is closer to someone trying to write scifi in terms of “and here’s the One Change to the rules of the universe….”

                Digressing on that last point, a lot of “magic” in fiction isn’t magic. It’s science. There are set rules, the ability is existing and can be manipulated without asking for supernatural help, and even people who don’t believe it can use it (unless they write a rule of belief making it more powerful).
                The only book I can think of that uses both is the Dresden Series, where he can and does have his science-magic, and the invoking-forces-real-magic.

                • Mercedes Lackey’s magic system in her Valdemar books has both, as well.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Maybe I don’t have enough coffee.

                  To me there are generally two types of magic.

                  The magic is science type where certain individuals tap into “non-personal forces of magic”.

                  The other type of magic is “if I ask this powerful supernatural being in the right way, he/she/it will do what I ask him/her/it to do”.

                  Dresden’s magic is the “magic is science” type. While there are powerful supernatural beings that you can “ask favors of”, it’s not IMO the second type of magic. IE The magician can do a lot of things without their aid.

                  They are another source of help and it’s not that different from Dresden calling on “mortals/non-magicians”. Mind you, calling on THEM for help has more drawbacks.

                  No, Dresden can’t include THEIR names in a spell to gain extra power as he might in the second type of magic.

                  • Names do give power, though– it looks like the “conflict” is that both of them exist.

                    And Dresden learned his lesson with he demon summoning thing. 😀

                • R.A. Lafferty is one of the few writers I’ve ever seen who uses real magic, not science-magic. And yes, his stuff is deliberately structured like folktales because of it.

            • The 2 books I mentioned will also have a special place on my shelves (or e-reader). He’s got a few others I liked as well. But, yah, he really seems to feel the need to beat the drum for several topics. (Thai, sex abuse, etc).

              Terry Goodkind was another like that. I really enjoyed the first 3 or 4 books in ‘The Sword of Truth’ series. I think it as maybe book 5? That his messaging (even though I agreed with it) caused me to lose interest in his work. Had an interesting conversation with a 20-ish your old bartender last month. We were discussing books and Goodkind’s work came up as a series we’d both read. I was a bit surprised when he agreed he liked Goodkind’s work and message both.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Yes, my thoughts exactly. Thought the phrase in mind was “the loan of a shovel, and the bullet charged to my family”.

      That’s not me being depressed. That’s refuse from being seriously anti-drug, and hence having erroneous results from testing what the application of the Golden Rule would be.

    • Marcus Cole said it best:

      • I just re-watched the whole thing. Marcus is still one my favorite characters.

      • Sara Dickinson

        Still haven’t forgiven JMS for Marcus’ fate.

        • If Marcus had lived, Susan might have had her happy ending.

          • but they did have a happy ending…

            • I always found that one a little disturbing, myself, if for no other reason than any kids they might have had would be in an utterly terrible situation.

          • Marcus couldn’t live, unfortunately. JMS’s planned arc for Susan was to have her “making up” for Marcus’s death by making a hasty decision to get sexually involved with the telepath leader in Season 5. The idea was that her old bad romance (we met her old boyfriend in Season 1) put her off men so badly that she ignored Marcus. But then after Marcus’s death, she felt guilty about blowing him off and rushed too quickly into a relationship with the telepath leader as a result.

            IIRC, JMS later wrote that much of the production crew was pretty pissed off with him after Marcus died.

            • According to his old posts, the original arc for Ivanova was that *she* was the PsiCorps traitor, not Talia.

  3. It’s easiest to get sympathy for a character at least in the beginning of a book if he’s “oppressed” or tortured, particularly if he seems gormless.

    It is not that having a character who starts with the deck stacked against him.  An inspiring tale of hard work, character building and a bit of luck can be a very good read.  A tale that whose emphasis is on the dark hopelessness of it all is not.   The problem is that what we have now is the Horatio Alger myth gone wrong.

    • Or where the hard work and character building (of the old school version of good character as opposed to themodern cheat, lie, steal) doesn’t exist and it is one accident to another.

    • Yeah, I loved “Huckleberry Finn!”

      I can’t get my kids to read it, because they’ve been warned off of its language (one word, used repeatedly).

      • When my Lovely Daughter (TM) was assigned to read Huckleberry Finn, she was astonished and appalled by it – specifically, by the sheer difficulty, challenge, and squalor of life in the 19th century. It was a valuable lesson.

        • I just started reading the Little House books to my daughter. (The elder son will get pulled in too, but he was otherwise employed last night.) One chapter in and we’ve already got hunting for food, butchering deer and pigs, smoking meat, preserving vegetables, storing pumpkins in the attic, and keeping your livestock away from bears. I think it’s going to be a good self-sufficiency story.

          (I introduced it by showing her my copy of Pioneer Girl and talking about fictionalized history, how the events are more or less correct but possibly not in that order, or how the characters are not quite what the real people were.)

    • Dan Hamilton

      Thorby in Citizen. How could some be more oppressed, a slave being sold?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        [Begin Sarcasm]
        Ah, but he was white thus he still had “White Privilege”.

        Oh, how do we know he was white?

        By the SJW rule that if his race wasn’t mentioned, then he has to be white. [End Sarcasm]

      • Yes, but he doesn’t stumble into his “prince” status without changing and improving, sometimes painfully.

  4. work for it, earn it, be a worker not a complainer, your life will be way better for it

  5. I’ve noticed that the Progressive Left has always been puzzled at the enduring popularity of Horatio Alger’s ‘Pluck and Luck’ stories. They make fun of them, and to their best to tear them down, but every time the damn things are published, they sell.

    They are, it must be admitted, mediocre in terms of writing. Not as bad as Burroughs, but poor. OTOH, though they aren’t as stirring as TARZAN, the storytelling is engaging. Because the heroes WORK for it. They have luck, but they are ready to grab it and run.

    • Marxian worldview, which is largely what the Progressive Left has adopted, does not want to allow for the individual, except as that individual stands as a representation of their class/group. Horatio Algers are not acceptable, for they are individuals who break out of their place in life largely by dint of their own actions and charms, even when helped by others.

      (Unless that story can be used for as part of a calculated political campaign, such as The Boy From Hope.)

      • part of a calculated political campaign, such as The Boy From Hope

        Two things: first, the left will happily use tropes they despise if it fools the rabble into doing what they want (like elect Billy-Jeff).

        Second, note that Billy-Jeff only won because of Ross Perot’s deep personal vendetta against the Bush family. Precinct-by-precinct analysis in the 1990s confirmed that the votes siphoned off by Ross were pulled mostly from R voters, and had Perot not run, Bush Sr. would have succeeded in his effort to win a fourth term for Ronald Reagan.

        Had Billy Jeff been relegated to the same dustbin as Michael Dukakis, the political landscape would today be very, very different.

        • The real geography, too.

          *looks at NYC*

          • Not altogether sure that would have been a good thing. Bush Sr. Was no more ready to say “Look, these nuts have been at war with us for decades, isn’t it time we fought back?”than anyone else of either party.

            At least 9/11 brought that out in the open. Even the Left is having a hard time ignoring it. They mostly manage, but they are aware the it gains them no converts.

            I apologize to anyone who lost someone close in the 9/11 attacks, but we got off easy. We lost a few really ugly buildings and les than 4000 people. I have read that it might have been an order of magnitude worse, if the flights had been even an hour later.

            My first thoughts on that day were “I’ve been expecting something like this for twenty years”

            • I have read that it might have been an order of magnitude worse, if the flights had been even an hour later.

              Much, much worse. Everything would’ve been open and starting the first rush.

              ********

              I think if he’d have won, we would’ve ended up Doing Something in Iraq much earlier.

              • I certainly think we should have gone back to war when t became clear that Saddam wasn’t even going to come within shouting distance of meeting the terms of surrender to which he had agreed.

                Diplomacy is credit. And to use credit you must eventually be prepared to pony up with the cash. Military action is cash.

                Saddam made it clear that we were going to have to use cash eventually. Especially if we wanted anyone else to take our credit seriously.

                • With the power of hindsight…shouldn’t have stopped on the border.

                  *Sighs*
                  *pours invisible sand out of her hand*

                  • zActually, it made sense at the time. We had a coalition that included a couple of Arab States, who wanted to stop at the border. If we stopped at the border, then WHEN Saddam became a problem again, we could say to (among others) the Saudis “We did it your way last time and it didn’t work. This time we kill the sonofabitch”, and get agreement.

                    Of course, by the time it became clear that we needed to kill Saddam, Billy-Bob Clinton and his lovely wife Bruno were in office, and wouldn’t do it. Also, if they HAD done it (or tried to do it) their dislike of the military and the military’s distrust of them, would have turned any operation into a complete clusterf*ck.

                    • The logic is sound, if you’re dealing with a shared world-view.

                      The problem is that the area of the world involved doesn’t share our world view.

                      Heck, given the culture, I’m not even sure that our “allies” really DID want us to stop.
                      /sigh

        • I have seen differing analysis on the election. Exit polls from the time indicated that Perot took votes rather equally from both candidates.

          President G.H.W. Bush lacked the charisma of his predecessor in office and was unable to keep the ‘Reagan’ Democrats voting Republican. He was not helped by those who saw his budget deal with the congress as a break of his prior pledge of, ‘Read my lips, no new taxes.’

          • Yeah, I remember thinking he’d messed up when he said it. And Reagan was a hard act to follow, for anyone. W. J. Clinton probably has (or had) as much charisma (or appeal) to people who agree with him that he pulled people his way, despite having the moral character of a deer hound.

            • There was not much in the way of social media back then, just regular media. How possible was it for your generic voter to even find out much of his real character during that first election? Of course it later started to come out, especially after his affair with the intern, but in the beginning?

              • There was enough. The media just wasn’t reporting it.

                • The whole thing with Monica Lewinsky was part of the change. The issue was known by the mainstream media, and they were keeping a lid on it. Then it came out in the Drudge Report and that forced the story.

              • News about Ms. Flowers managed to circulate far and wide, even without social media. The fact that he was a draft dodger (burned his card, iirc) was known. The big question mark was whether people knew about Whitewater and Paula Jones (Kathleen Wiley and Juanita Broderick came up occasionally, but not very often).

                • From: How The Draft Has Changed Since Vietnam at the government Selective Service System site: 

                  Before Congress reformed the draft in 1971, a man could qualify for a student deferment if he could show he was a full-time student making satisfactory progress in virtually any field of study. He could continue to go to school and be deferred from service until he was too old to be drafted.

                  President Clinton was in school at the time and was conveniently studying in England when he first received his draft notice. After he finished with his Rhodes scholarship he returned to Arkansas and where he enrolled in law school and joining the ROTC. When he dropped out of he was reclassified for the draft. He then went to study in England again. By the time he was again up for consideration for the draft the ‘birthday’ lottery had been instituted, and he pulled a high number which was never called.

                • The Gennifer Flowers affair came out before President Clinton was first elected.  Some of Hillary’s conflict of interest issues at the Rose Law firm had surfaced by then as well.  Troopergate was first reported on November 30, 1993, after he had begun his first term.  (That month was a bad one for the Clintons, as Whitewater hit the news.) 

                  Bimbogate was a result of the fact finding process in Jones v. Clinton, which Paula Jones initially filed in May of 1994.  This was delayed in the courts as the President challenged whether a civil suit could be filed against a sitting President.  The Supreme Court announced its decision in Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, where it stated that the President has no immunity from civil law litigation.  That decision was unanimous.

            • Clinto0n was like a fifth generation xerox of JFK; He kinda resembled him if you squinted. He had good teeth and nice hair. Like JFK he had the morals of an alley cat, but he was less classy about it. He had a charm that was superficial where JFKs was more genuine, He wasn’t as smart as JFK< but he was shrewder, which may actually have made him a better President (I don't much like JFK).

              And, for a final resemblance, if Her Shrillness wants to run again in 2020, about her only chance to win would be to arrange for Billy Bob to be assassinated and hope for a sympathy vote. If I were Bill, I'd live in a bunker.

          • Jerry Pournelle wrote that one of the first things that GHWB did on entering office was to get rid of the Reagan people. I’m not sure who could have carried on RR’s policies, but Bush Sr. wasn’t much interested in trying.

            Yeah, and Read My Lips/Nevermind was a whole ‘nuther level of stupidity.

            • Thing is, Bush the Elder was the perfect man to finish the Cold War without causing a major to-do. I doubt he would have won it the way Reagan did, but I don’t think Reagan could have finished it as painlessly.

              • Was it painless? Not hanging the komissars from their own guts and running their quizzlings from our universities, and making it clear they lost and why communism is not viable is what got us here.

                • I am sure that Nicolae Ceaușescu thought that the cold war came to a painless end.  Or all those who had been subject to the various proxy wars.  In comparison to the prior two world wars of the century you could call it painless-ish.

                  You are correct that this ending with a fizzle instead of a bang has left us with communism/socialism still out there as an undead adversary. (All it wants to do is eat our brains…)

          • It’s was not just a matter of ‘public opinion’ about that being a hard break from that promise. Pa’s business (producing small plastic parts, mainly used in window production – construction supporting/supported) had orders stop hard. It was like a switch being flipped to OFF, not a dimmer being slowly adjusted down. The economic effects were real, direct, and fast.

          • …Perot took votes rather equally from both candidates.

            On the top level vote totals yes, but the analysis I recall looked at what the specific flips would have been precinct-by-precinct and concluded Bush Sr. would have won enough electoral votes for re-election had Ross not been in the race.

            Add to that the fact that Ross pretty much never mentioned Billy-Jeff during his campaign, but hammered Bush hard the whole way through, reportedly due to a personal grudge, and I think it’s plausible.

            I will try and find that reporting on that analysis.

    • *squints* I liked the first couple of John Carter books. Mastermind reads like fan fic, but anyway…

  6. Christopher M Chupik

    They’re writing what they know.

    “I am so oppressed! I have a shelf full of trophies, favorable media coverage and heavy promotion from my publisher. I literally cannot even sometimes.”

    • They’re projecting, too. All the ugly shit in SF/F these days, like N.K. Jemisin’s three-Hugo series, that’s -projection-.

      You can tell, because when they have power, that’s what they do.

      When Conservatives have power they do moonshots.

    • “I am so oppressed! I have a shelf full of trophies, favorable media coverage and heavy promotion from my publisher. I literally cannot even sometimes.”

      OMG. But that’s why people have to borrow or steal oppression. They *themselves* are not oppressed. That’s why membership in an oppressed group is so very important, and yeah, all you feminists, I’m looking at you. If you didn’t borrow your oppression from your “sisters” and your “mothers” you’d have to admit that all your issues are your own danged fault and maybe do something about them.

    • “But my books don’t sell enough for me to get the kind of living I deserve so I am oppressed by all those white men who write the popular trash and sell way better”?

  7. I disagree that Michelle Obama is their standard-bearer. Their standard-bearer is every high-school teacher and guidance counselor who stood in the front of the classroom or up on the stage and repeatedly promised those young, impressionable minds that it didn’t matter what they studied — or even how good or poor their grades were — there would be a $60k-a-year job waiting for them the moment they graduated from college. And the only people who worked with their hands for a living were the juvenile delinquents and the ones who were “too stupid” to get into college.

    • I admire Mike Rowe for a number of things, chief amongst them his struggle to carry to the people the counter narrative that there is much honor and great reward in learning to perform mundane tasks well. Philosophers are a dime a dozen, but that plumber who will come fix your clogged toilet late on a Sunday evening is beyond price.

      • His thing is to train for a job that’s going begging. Don’t follow your dreams , Follow the opportunity.

      • I have a snake, and a plunger, and I’m not afraid to use them!

        However, my wife will refuse to give me a kiss for fixing the clog until after I’ve taken a long hot shower with lots of soap and shampoo first.

      • But it’s the guy who comes and pumps out your septic tank when everything has stopped draining that’s the real shock troops (tankers?) of the home front.

        (Yeah, next time get that done on a schedule or at the very first hint of trouble because they don’t get there the next day every time. Learn from my mistake.)

        • The highest paid per hour guy in the city down here is the septic-tank pump-out expert. He deserves every dollar he makes.

          • Could a woman be a plumber? Or an electrician or welder?

            • Yes, my mom is the go-to welder for a big circle of friends. The biggest problem is persuading non-welders and idiots that she can weld– which, if you’re in a shop, isn’t that much of an issue. (Unless said idiot is the head of the shop, which is surprisingly common in areas where bluster and “make the weld thicker, it’s better that way” can make a living.)

              Electrician, definitely. Plumber would be a little more iffy, some of the stuff does require brute force…usually when you’re fixing another guy’s monkey muscle.

              • Welding is pure art.

                I attended a talk (by Steve Wozniak if I am recalling correctly) held at the welders-union-run training center where they displayed some of the trainees’ graduation projects – just incredible.

                Apparently, the big demand out here is with the BioMed companies, where they need absolutely immaculately perfect-every-time welds on the teeny tiny stainless steel tubing in the bioreactors, and those were on display, but some of the project pieces were these ginormous tubing sections along the lines of the nuclear-power-plant welds.

                These training program graduates were being hired at good-for-Silicon-Valley starting wages, with bidding wars breaking out pretty regularly to scoop up the really great ones.

                Having had a very forgettable go at learning to weld back in college, I know the very low end of the range from my work. That just makes the high end of that art form just that much more impressive.

            • A friend’s female cousin is a welder. I’ve bumped into a woman electrician once. I’ve never encountered a woman plumber.

            • Rosie.. drdrdrdrt.. the Riveter!

              “That little frail can do more than a male can do.”

              Unless the job specifically requires a fair amount of brute force, I’d say sure she can. And even then, there will be at least a few who also can. A few – people, and groups within such, are not fully or readily interchangeable.

              • Cool! Mike Rowe was talking about training in the skilled trades and I wasn’t sure a woman could. I was imagining myself doing it.

                • I SHOULD have learned carpentry from grandad, (properly I mean, not just the little bit that allows me to identify woods and refinish stuff.) He was a cabinet maker all with hand tools. If I’d learned from him, instead of going to college, I could have made proper reproduction furniture. In the eighties we knew someone who did. Two pieces (usually wardrobes/cabinets, but beds and tables too) a year gave him 120k income, for about 3 months work. The rest of the time he was free to pursue whatever he wanted.

                  • Dang. That sounds amazing. (It also means that if you love the work, you can bank for another six months and still have the equivalent of a summer off.) I’m a bit sad that we never had a shop at any of the schools I went to, but I did have college art classes with dangerous equipment. (And the professor who told the appropriate horror stories before we were allowed to use it.)

                    • I’m really upset I didn’t learn it (and put in a bid to inherit his tools) because it’s the perfect writers’ job. And I ENJOY furniture refinishing and house remodeling (when not under the gun and running out of money and having to put it up for sale six months ago) so I’d probably enjoy carpentry.

                  • damn would’ve been a good day job to support your writing.

                • A lot of stuff, a woman is really useful to have around, especially now that you can’t have kids helping. In the Navy I was called in for a lot of things where “shorter,” “doesn’t have big shoulders” and “small hands” were a really big bonus.

                  • That was always a thing in the James Herriot books. “Hands like a woman” is useful when you’re shoving your hand up a sheep’s back end, apparently.

                    • Computer hardware wasn’t ultimately my thing. But my small hands made working on certain sections much easier than most. That & if something wouldn’t slip together smoothly, more force wasn’t going to solve the problem, unlike …

            • Sure. SO long as you have the physical strength and are willing to do the work/ The highest paid welder at Southwest Airlines was (and might still be) a woman whose father insisted that she learn to weld. She had all the special certifications that allowed her to work on aircraft, and she had a huge pay check and benefits.

              Diesel mechanic might be more of a challenge, but that’s because physical size starts becoming a little more important.

          • Dan Hamilton

            Have you seen what San Fran is paying the poop police (they police it up)? 175k. Of course for that money they can’t LIVE in San Fran but you can’t expect THAT.

        • There are a fair number of people around here who think that septic tanks never need pumping out. IIRC, American Sanitation offers a special emergency call price for those people.

          (Checks the last time we did it–5 years. Recommendation for us is every 7.)

      • Here’s a poster that, according to Mike Rowe, was found on the walls of many high-school guidance counselors in the 1970s.

        Source of America’s Problems Discovered:
        https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/40581.html

    • No, that’s their enabler. Michelle is their kind, and the lead of their cohort.

    • This, so much.
      I was told the early version, but as my father was an amazingly intelligent and hardworking almost PHD, and for much of my childhood we were … barely on par with blue-collar working-class neighbors, I think that I escaped the worst effects of that kind of mind-f**king.

      • Apparently the academic workforce has now been segmented, such that an elite of tenured professors are doing very well financially, but the large adjunct-professor workforce is doing probably *worse* than blue-collar folks.

        • Yep. From all my kin and friends in academia, whatever their political leanings, I hear the same thing. Too much of tuition and government money is going to things like fancy new buildings, and salaries for administrators to handle paperwork to prove compliance with the zillions of regulations, rather than to academic departments. Using adjuncts instead of tenure-track instructors are how they cope.

          • Once upon a time, when Pa’s business was doing rather well, he offered a deal to the local system. “Tell me what you need, we can look at the specifics, and I’ll buy it for you.” They rejected it. They just wanted him to write a check. He refused. “I want to know what I spend will go to actual education, not someone’s new office carpet.”

            And that furthered at least my education regarding the school system.

        • At one hotel I chatted with their shuttle driver. Turned out that he was a professor at the local college. Driving a hotel shuttle was how he made ends meet.

        • Not to mention the grad student teaching assistants who do most of the actual classroom interaction with students while holding a position roughly equivalent to that of bound servants of two hundred years ago.

          • In high school, I got a flyer for UC Berkeley touting their student-professor ratio. Even then, I knew that was meaningless unless the professors actually taught the classes.

            I ended up attending a non-research university where most of the classes I took were 20 or fewer students per class (with exceptions for math and sciences, but even those topped out at 40 or 50.)

  8. I think of my favorite Lost Prince – Aragorn of Gondor. Generations of Men working to keep the West safe so that eventually, maybe, one of them would be able to risk life and limb to save the West again, and gain the throne of Gondor. You know that there would have been no whining on his part if it turned out that it was going to be a few more generations before the descendants of Isildur got to wear that funky crown.

    Then there’s Prince Roger – so blooming privileged at the beginning of his story, that I was waiting for the scene where they pitched him out of an open airlock – there was no way I could see to redeem him. Instead, he worked his ass off, risking life and limb not so that he could wear the crown, but so that he could get his Marines home, and save his mother.

    Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to figure out if any of the protagonists in the books I liked were handed the Golden Ticket and lived happily ever after.

    Guess that’s better than working…

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      IMO Aragorn of Gondor wasn’t the Classic “Lost Prince”.

      He knew who he was, his father & grandfather knew who they were.

      Aragon had another job to do before it was time to take the throne of Gondor.

      Prince Roger on the other hand was the Classic Rich Spoiled Brat (with other issues) that Grew Up. 😉

      • I have never heard of Prince Roger. What book/story was he in?

        • A Ringo/Weber collab
          March Upcountry
          March to the Sea
          March to the Stars
          We Few

          awesome series

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Empire of Man series by David Weber & John Ringo

          Empire Of Man 01 – March Upcountry
          Empire Of Man 01-02 – Empire Of Man
          Empire Of Man 02 – March To The Sea
          Empire Of Man 03 – March To The Stars
          Empire Of Man 03-04 – Throne Of Stars
          Empire Of Man 04 – We Few

          • By golly, that John Ringo feller keeps popping up all over the landscape. Shoulda named the gopher from Caddyshack after him.

        • Darn it. Another series to check out …. 😉

        • Acquire it and read it. RIGHT NOW. Trust me. BUY ALL FOUR BOOKS.

          • Yes’m! Between your gentle suggestion and the blurb, how could I resist?

          • Seconded.

            I really wish they’d get to writing the next book. The story does have a fairly satisfying conclusion, but there would be natural space for more story, and they have been hinting that there might be.

            • There was apparently at least 2 years delay caused by missed communications. But fingers crossed.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              John has written parts but there was a communications problem between him and David.

              Of course, David has had some health issues as well.

            • There are some pretty strong hints that before Roger’s reign comes to an end, he declares war on half the known galaxy.

              The series could go on for a *very* long time.

          • Christopher M Chupik

            That series is a frequent reread for me.

        • Oh, I was thinking Crown Prince/King Roger III of Manticore, one of the same authors, different series.

      • Having recently gone on a Shakespeare binge, he reminds me of Prince Hal in Henry V with the play boy prince, to king who can make the hard choices arc.

      • And changing Aragorn from that was one of the greatest crimes of the Peter Jackson movies; in part precisely because he was someone who spent his entire life pursuing the kingship (which was the condition of his being able to marry Arwen which had been set by Elrond) and thus his rejection of the temptation of the Ring is all the more meaningful; because he did want to be King but would not make use of the One Ring to do so (although if he had used it, I doubt very much Arwen would have wed him except by force anyway, but such is the nature of falling to the temptation of evil).

      • The writers also make sure to show that Roger has been *wanting* to do better. But his mother has issues with him due to his father (i.e. they’re not Roger’s fault), and mention is made that no one has given him anything of consequence to do. So he turns into a wastrel because there is quite literally nothing else.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Nod.

          He never knew about the problem between his father and his mother, the Empress.

          When it came out later (in the books), apparently *everybody* thought somebody else had told him.

          Ironically, his rebellion against his Mother was to dress/behave like his father. Thus, his Mother thought he knew about his father’s actions and turned more against Roger. Poor Kid.

    • When somebody gets handed the Golden Ticket they find out how heavy gold is. With great power comes great responsibility. Which is generally a great big pain in the buttocks. If I may be permitted another fundament-al quote, “uneasy sits the butt that bears the boss.”

      Then there’s the issue of -keeping- your Golden Ticket…

      • adventuresfantastic

        “When I was a fighting man, the kettle drums they beat;
        The people scattered gold dust before my horse’s feet.
        Now I’m a might king; the people dog my track
        with poison in my wine cup and daggers at my back.”
        – Robert E. Howard

    • Dan Hamilton

      But Roger WAS a victim, his Mother didn’t trust him because he looked like his Father and didn’t want anything to do with him (and NEVER told him). His brothers and sister were way over achievers, so NOTHING he could do would look good anyway, his hunting got laughed at (because even his guards didn’t believe that he actually shot anything), NOBODY expected anything from him EVER but to look good and perform some official functions.
      The change started and came from just one thing – That people were willing to DIE to protect HIM and they did die without question. He couldn’t understand WHY!! Then he had to live up to their Scarface. Most SJW would just have accepted that as what they were owed.

  9. “I don’t know the solution. Except to make good art to counter the bad, and to fight the culture war as hard as we can.”

    Sure you do. You’re doing it. Make the art. Sell the art. Transgress against any and all requirements that you stop. Show the way to all the rest of us. Make a Juggernaut of good art to roll over and squash the Lefty shit-show.

    As solutions go, culture war is a lot of fricking work. But better than the other solution, street war. And probably less work, in the long run.

    “Never give up. Never surrender.” Galaxy Quest

    • “Never give up. Never surrender.” Galaxy Quest

      This line itself highlights the vast rift between Hollywood and the real world – it was written as a joke, to show up how inelegant and naive all those SF fanbois are, and yet it has gained actual memetic traction.

      I wonder sometimes what the writers and producers who laughed so hard at that line in the readthroughs think of that.

      • maybe it was written by a stealth conservative and sold as a joke?

      • John R. Ellis

        “This line itself highlights the vast rift between Hollywood and the real world – it was written as a joke, to show up how inelegant and naive all those SF fanbois are, and yet it has gained actual memetic traction.”

        Wait, wait…Galaxy Quest pokes fun at SF (specifically Star Trek) fandom, but it also depicts said show as something that -helped- lift up and save an entire alien culture (well, at least until they ran into some truly nasty aliens) and in the end, the entire world is -saved- by dedicated SF fans who never gave up on believing their enjoyment meant something.

        Are you SURE the writers and producers were only mocking? Because the film sure as heck doesn’t play it that way. In the end, the only thing truly ridiculed is cheesy TV gimmicks (“This was a POORLY written episode!”) and conceited celebrities who mistreat their fans (but in this case, they got better.)

        • That isn’t the only SF film of that period that makes me wonder if the Liberals who green lit it knew what they were getting.

          DEMOLITION MAN is a black, black comedy…and if the DVD extras commentary track is to be believed, the director completely missed that aspect.

          *said WHAT?*

          • ….wait, did he not realize it was dark, or that it was comedy?

          • The best case scenario for what the left wants to bring about is a combination of Demolition Man, Gattaca and Idiocracy. Again that is the “best case”. The other possibilities fall into the 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 dystopian horrors and the worst of Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China.

          • … what?

            How can you not get the humor?

            Okay, maybe it plays better when presented seriously, but TACO BELL.

            • I think the dark humor was very intentional and that the film was meant to snark at the kind of totalitarian society created by Cocteau that resulted in “anything not good for you is banned”.

        • Hey, I was there for the Hugos when they gave Galaxy Quest the longform award. There were two screenplay writers, and one was clearly dragged to Chicago by the other. It was a dream Trekkie project for one, and it was just a fun comedy/paycheck for the other.

          One practically hugged the Hugo, and only reluctantly left it on the podium for his partner. Then the other went offstage after his acceptance without remembering to pick up the actual award!

          I’m sure the footage is online somewhere; it was hysterical.

          Sigh. O for the days when the Hugo was relevant.

      • It’s the flip side of Loser Yoda’s defeatist, “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.”

        It’s *always* ‘try’. Just because you always succeeded before doesn’t mean you might not do so the next time…

        • I hate that quote, or the way it tends to get used. I guess the idea is to push somebody who’d want to give up because it’s hard and he “tried” but didn’t succeed, but it certainly sounds more like you should succeed the first time or not do it instead of getting to try, and try again until you do finally learn enough to succeed.

          • I guess the idea is to push somebody who’d want to give up because it’s hard and he “tried” but didn’t succeed

            Well, yeah…. he insisted before and after “trying” that it was impossible and was generally in a foul mood all around.

            To be fair to Luke, he may have thought (not without some precedent) that Yoda was messing with him by even suggesting it. The Jedi seem to have passed into legend even more abruptly than the global cooling panic, and I don’t think most of them routinely pulled off lifting spaceships in the first place.

        • Terry Sanders

          “Do or do not! There IS no try” was said to a whiny teenager who’d already decided this was impossible. Luke grew up, but right then, “try” meant “go through the motions so you’ll stop bothering me.”

          After he’d been verbally bitch-slapped, he actually made a half-hearted but *real* try–and got more than he expected, but not enough. Whereupon Yoda showed ihim how it was done.

          Note the exchange that came next:

          “I don’t believe it!”

          “And THAT is why you fail!”

          • Terry Sanders

            In other words, context is everything.

          • –Hm, I think you’re right and my summary was off in some details, apologies.

          • As said, I mostly hate how that quote tends to get used when it is used outside the movie. Lifted out of that scene it can go totally wrong, and in my opinion is one of those movie quotes which should never have become one in the first place because it really works at all only in the context of the scene.

            Might have been a funny scene, btw, if Yoda had said “keep trying” instead and there would have been an indicated time lapse, with Luke getting increasingly frustrated, before Yoda finally gets bored observing him and does show him it’s possible. 😀

            • John R. Ellis

              “Star Wars Rebels” does a fun revisiting of that quote in a different context that gets into what (exactly) the good Master meant. 🙂

              • Patrick Chester

                This scene?

                (I was also amused that Kanan had Zeb and Chopper tag along because… there will be distractions.)

                • John R. Ellis

                  Yeah. I enjoyed that by the episode’s end, both Ezra and Kannan had a better handle on things. 🙂

    • In a real sense, this has been going on since America came back from WWII. The Fine Arts abandoned us sometime in the 1920’s….and the mass arts stepped up. And by ‘46’ people were ready to appreciate them.

      I don’t like to credit Hugh Hefner with much (he always struck me as a creep, just slightly classier a creep than Larry Flint) but he contributed a lot to this. Probably LeRoy Neiman would have had a successful career without Playboy, but the magazine certainly helped spread his popularity. Graphic art exploded as ‘Fine Art’ turned to narcissism and hip in-jokes.

      • I had a grad school prof who claimed that the McCarthy Red Scare pushed American art away from realistic depictions and into abstract expressionism, because “they” said Regionalism was too close to Socialist Realism. Which still leaves me wondering where Norman Rockwell fit in, but anyway…

        Yeah, I didn’t buy the argument, either, but my job was to nod and take notes, so I did.

        • I’d rather believe the conspiracy theory that according to Soviet archives seems to be real: They were subsidizing bad art, because that would demoralize us into surrendering. (No, not joking. And boy they almost succeeded.)

          • We’d surrender to folks with even worse art?! *eyeballs black, white and red block prints*

            • There’s a reason I show the students “good” Socialist realism and the average Socialist Realism.

              • Somewhere I read that the US Government was subsidizing the Cold War art in the US. Ring any bells?

                Something to do with recently declassified material . . . 50 year classification.

                • You mean the USSR? Yep.

                  • No, I mean the United States Government was funding grants and buyers for particular American art during the Cold War-and it was the elitest, academic, NYC art, not the popular art.

                    I’m going to have to go track that one down . . .

                    • Somewhere today (I think it was over at Instapundit) I saw mention of a book about the CIA funding art as part of the Cold War struggle. You might check over there.

            • hideousdwarf

              My high school history teacher studied in Moscow for a few years during the Cold War and brought back examples of Soviet art and propaganda. She used them to show how art can be used to influence people, even subconsciously. One of those red block prints…I was drifting in class one day and my eyes unfocused as I looked at it. Iosef freaking Stalin’s face popped out of it, and I jumped about 10 feet in the air in shock. In the subsequent discussion, she told us those things used to hang in “subversive” areas on the theory that the subconscious would pick up on the message that Stalin was aware of you and always watching.
              Frigging creepy.

      • Veering off on a tangent, I *like* Art Deco and Speedline, which came and went over just a few years, steamrollered by Brutalist and Modernist styles of architecture… but the Deco buildings are still graceful and elegant, and the newer styles still look like “cheap” was the overriding design factor…

        Yeah, I know there are more things involved there than just style; the demise of Deco was about the time when people quit expecting buildings to last essentially forever and started figuring they’d save money by skimping on construction and maintenance by putting up a new building every twenty of forty years.. You couldn’t do Deco or Speedline with flat concrete panels…they even with the labor costs of the 1920s and 1930s, the handwork was expensive.

        • The 1941 Retro Hugo was Art Deco-inspired and is beautiful (though the picture I found does not do it nearly enough justice; it’s glass and etched glass instead of reflective.)

          I have a bit of a preference for Art Nouveau, but Art Deco is quite lovely.

  10. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I have some fond memories of enjoying some stories that start off with the hero at the bottom of the pecking order, then some freak event occurs, and stuff goes from there. But the heroes always work for it, and earn their ultimate victories with their choices.

    • The hero doesn’t have to start at the bottom. A lot of stories start with some ordinary schmuck who gets presented with an extraordinary problem…

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Lots of possible storytelling options.

        I was just mentally reminiscing about some specific stories. One example being the Korean comic The Breaker. Another being certain stories in the Chinese Xianxia genre. I’ve enjoyed a lot of stories that range from protagonist is viciously bullied to the story starts after the protagonist is quite literally bullied to death.

        There are many other stories I’ve enjoyed outside of that range.

      • Mom and Dad Save the World comes to mind. Extremely silly yet fun flick. Also The Last Starfighter, an underappreciated movie I really enjoyed.

  11. Feather Blade

    Last time I got Chinese food, I received the truest, most depressing, and most accurate fortune I’ve ever seen:

    “Everything you desire must be earned.”

    …I’m keeping it posted on the frame of my computer monitor.

    • Mine is: Fortune not found; Abort? Retry? Ignore?

      • Only thing I have hanging on the side of my computer is a tile that says, “Windows can not find the file. Would you like a beer instead? Yes/No

      • I once opened a fortune cookie that read: “In an hour you will be hungry again, better get something to go.”

        As G-D is my witness, I swear this is True.

    • I was actually present when someone got a fortune cookie that said “Help, I’m being held prisoner in a Chinese bakery!”

      The restaurant owner got them by special order and seeded them in his normal fortunes.

      Pretty damned good food, too.

  12. If I got what I deserved, I never would have met my wonderful wife. She is the reason I am still alive 18 years later.

    • My husband and I say stuff all lovey-dovey like “What did I ever do to deserve you?” And “I don’t deserve you!”

      And then we laugh at how clever we are. (Clearly deserving each other, no matter which way the words are taken.)

  13. I have good news. And figured instead of trying to send tons of emails with my off hand via smartphone….

    Little Jaenelle was born yesterday 9 am. Have been in recovery since as I needed to be put under general anesthesia.At 2 kg, she was considered a very good size by NICU. Rhys was allowed into the theatre after she was pulled out, and cut her cord to my delight. Am hooked up to stuff so have not been able to do much other than be loopy.

  14. Congratulations!!!

  15. Allow me to introduce one of my pets, Peeve. “Because you deserve [thing]” be it a new rental TV, a spa day, a hamburger, diamond ring, what have you. “You deserve this.” “Buy something nice for yourself.”

    Blargh. Those commercials make me want to throw a foam ball at the TV. I had a grad-school associate who mooched off the rest of us for a term and announced “I’m taking a me semester. I deserve it. It’s been hard.” The rest of us wanted to whap her up ‘side the head with the books she insisted on borrowing because she used her book money for other things. No, Honey, what you deserve is what the rest of us get – whatever you work for. And heaven save us from getting what we really deserve. There’s a lot of reasons why I pray for mercy instead of justice.

    • Been there. Had that roommate.

      One of the reasons we aren’t pushing for kid to move out on his own. He has lived out on his own. Dorm & apartments while in college. Now, long term he’d have to have a roommate, rents are that high. His job is better thn minimum wage, yet still, between rent, & utilities, it’d be well over 50% of net.

      How we look at it. Technically he has roommates. Just they are roommates he knows will pay their share …

  16. My teenage niece is half Anglo, half Thai and she been exposed to oppresser/oppressee nonsense at public school. One day she asked her teacher whether she was a victim in life or was she born with white privilege and her teacher was discombobulated by question.

    And congratulations to Shadowdancer Duskstar, babies are always a blessing.

    • LOL!

      (Get that one made into a tee shirt or embroidered.)

    • Halfies get only half the White Privilege check that us Real Whiteys get from Big Dad (patriarchy you know), but they also get their full Victim Bonus from Big Brother (comrades!) So all things considered, they do all right.

      Also, it seems to depend what half you are. Half-Asians are White!!! and half-Indians are White!!!! but half-Latinos are LATINO!!! and et cetera.

      Actually half-Asians are considered Super Duper white, because all the friggin SJWs think math skillz is hereditary. They’re whiter-than-white. We’re talking Tide White here. ~:D

      • And… “Latinos” from Central or South America *are* Indians, while people from what used to be called Latium aren’t Latin at all.

        The Fed rocks NewSpeak; their terminologies don’t even match between different agencies.

    • Good on your niece! And I bet the face that teacher made would’ve been a priceless thing to see.

      And thank you! Babies are always indeed, a blessing ^_^ Very cuddly ones!

  17. The old canard “I have to work twice as hard” really gets to me. It all depends on believing that the people who “made it” didn’t have to put in as much effort as you or didn’t have challenges. With the exception of getting to be the head of a Foundation and get paid $200K a year because of who your parents are, anyone who “makes it” works just as hard and it doesn’t matter a single bit if you happen to *look* just like Trust Fund Baby looks or have the same genitals. Those long hours and lack of any personal life are what anyone who gets to the top does, not just *you*.

    I look at people, yeah, mostly men to be honest, who are making big bucks as fiction writers and their work habits, omg. I look at women writers making big bucks and it’s the same. I listen to them talk about what they do, and what they describe is the same. And when someone has had a very successful non-writing career and they decide to write, they’re often just as successful. Why? They work their butts off, treat it like a job, do research on the market, and deliver.

    Of course there are people who work just as hard and don’t do fabulously for various reasons (traditional publishing has a whole lot of misery to answer for) but the authors at the very top? There’s no “this guy only worked once as hard, because “guy”” and “this guy worked twice as hard because “minority””, or “this gal worked twice as hard because “vagina””. If you look at the work ethic and habits of the top… it’s awful darned similar.

    And then you have to decide, “do I want to work that hard” and if the answer is “no” you’ve got to own it.

  18. On that Dragon award thing, I have the book just started. Had to set aside for the nonce while I did several beta review reads along with eye surgery which has slowed me down, but will pay off in the long run.
    I did once I heard of it do the steps to register (for free) with the Dragon voting system. Have been notified that I am now registered and will be receiving the link to their voting page early next week.
    Will peruse the list to see what’s worthy of my votes.

    • Speedy recovery wishes for the surgery!

      • Thank you so much for that.
        Cataract surgery that I put off for far too long.
        Left eye is done and I’m seeing brighter colors and sharper details that in quite some time. Right eye scheduled for next week.

  19. I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff lately (and this post highlights one of them) where it seems like our society is very cheerfully bashing away with sledgehammers at some of the pillars of liberty and civilization. I’ve been able to put well-known quotes to three of them (haven’t found a good one for 2nd amendment rights).

    The one this post catches hold of is the old Kennedy statement “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Which, according to a lot of sources was something he cribbed from his school days– so it seems it was common enough of an ideal that it was taught, in schools, as a basic precept of how to be a good citizen.

    All these people with the victim labels dangling from their shirtsleeves are demanding (in a 500 page-long Santa-style wishlist) what their country/society can do for them, instead of the other way around. Because of some perceived grievance against people with similar features as they have, they feel entitled to something they didn’t earn. And it’s not even the question they should be asking themselves. Even if the grievance is real (when it often isn’t), they shouldn’t be demanding recompense, but asking what they can do to fix it. “What can I do for my country?”

    That it’s crept so prevalently into fiction is just a sign that many fiction writers are bashing away with their sledgehammers at that pillar. And there doesn’t seem to be a good (I can think of a few bad) way to get them to stop. The real irony, of course, is that quote comes from a liberal (or at least Democrat) icon, and modern leftists are blatantly working against it.

    (for the curious, the other two quotes are “Presumed innocent until proven guilty” and “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” )

    And congrats to Shadowdancer!!

    • Ah, they like that line well enough! It just only applies to people they want to take things from. Just try raising the question of what incentive people have to build or earn or save if the government — or the mob, or whatever — can come and take it from them to distribute as they see fit. Out they will trot the high ideal of Service to the Community, which ought to be enough for anybody.

      • as evidenced by the pain i am in today from the trip to udvar-hazy yesterday, I’ve done my service to the community already

      • That’s still smashing the hammer at the concept though. They’re not asking “what can I do for my country?” but “what can the other guy do for my country?” which isn’t the same thing at all.

    • Thank you!

      And yes, you’ve hit it well on the head – these folks do not look beyond themselves; in a way, the attitude is almost autistic. Everyone else is but an NPC, who exists only to dispense goodies, be useful to ‘them’ – the only ‘real people.’ Rather sad, really.

  20. Jeff Greason

    But we got so much already … all of us.

    The laws of physics are provided free by the Universe, free for the use of all; you need only know how to turn them to your advantage. The rules of the game, fairly administered with no possibility of cheating.

    A fusion reactor provided free, with enough power for a billion Earth’s, right next door.

    An entire biosphere, that you don’t even have to pay for — air recycling, water recycling, even the food loop closed (I *wish* I knew how to buy that at any price!).

    A billion years or more of trial and error culminating in the gift of a tool-using, reasoning life.

    The knowledge of fire, of agriculture, of language. A world-wide trading network that allows everyone reading these words to get fresh food year-round, berries from South America, meat from Texas, vegetables from California, rare earth magnets with minerals mined all over the world, none of it anything you had to create or even notice.

    And even within that, thousands of years of human civilization, and you happen to be alive in the only period where almost everyone is free, without lord or master.

    And even within that, those reading these words are, for the first time in human history, living in a time where less than half of all people are living in poverty (happened for the first time around 1990), and where less than 10% of people are living in extreme poverty (a figure that was closer to half as recently as 1960).

    The richest, freest, most scientifically and technologically advanced society that has ever existed in all of recorded history to date, and you happen to be alive in it.

    And that’s not to mention all the benefits over and above all of that if you happen to live in the “Industrialized World”!

    And all we ask is that you not actively work to destroy it. Of course, we’d prefer you choose to leave it better than you found it, but just not tearing it down is really all we want in order to let you (whoever you may be) share in the benefits.

  21. Four star post (among many others).

    For no specific reason, I’m reminded of a creative fiction course I took a couple of years ago at the local, good-sized University. It was one of those workshop classes, and the professor was excellent. One of the students had written a short story in which the main character was bisexual, but the only way you knew this was because the names of two different partners were different genders (binary of course, since this student was sane). The professor remarked that it was refreshing that the story wasn’t about the bisexual main character being bisexual, or that this was even remotely part of the story. It just was and the story was about something that was actually interesting.

    I see more rumblings on the Left critical of “identitarianism” these days, and that too is refreshing.

    • Dan Hamilton

      Remember Buffy had GAY people, Main characters, first on TV. They got no accolades, nothing. Well when you have a D Slayer dating a D, Gays are kind of ho-hum.
      Remember Star Trek had the First inter-racial kiss, same thing.

      • uhm, no, sorry, not first on TV.

      • John R. Ellis

        “The first interracial kiss” on Star Trek -really- needs to never be brought up again. In context, it was aliens FORCING two characters to kiss via freaky weird alien power coercion, one of the participants was weeping, both were unhappy and violated…it wasn’t a very great moment.

  22. Heh. As far as I am concerned that is one of the problems with the new version of Star Wars – Luke was a “hidden prince” living as an ordinary farmer’s boy and he had to work at least some to get his skills and he failed and got laughed at and not taken seriously, Rey started off as the big victim (Alone! Abandoned! Poor! Very poor! Did I say totally alone and with no one to help her in any way yet?) and succeeded with almost everything (or was it everything… okay, she did get captured by Kylo so I guess that counts as one failure as she couldn’t shoot with that blaster well enough, but every time she tried to use a new Force skill she did it) she tried the first time, even if she got no instructions or teaching for it (I have seen only the first movie of the Disney trilogy).

    I find Luke much more relatable, even if he is not of the same gender as I am.

    • I’m going to argue some of your points on Rey.

      First, despite being set up as the victim, she doesn’t expect anything to be handed to her. She spends the middle third of the movie trying to get back to Jakku because, despite all the evidence to the contrary, she still expects her parents to return.

      Two, on her Mary Sue-ness. Not all of her attempts to do things work the first try, see when she tries the the Jedi Mind Trick on James Bond. It doesn’t work, and the Stormtrooper tightens the restraints. Other times when she does something, like pulling the Immelman with the Millennium Falcon, she is genuinely surprised that it works.

      • SheSellsSeashells

        Most of my problems with TFA can be solved by casting Rey’s main Force strength as psychometry. Pilots the Falcon, gets flashes of insight from the ship’s impression of previous pilots; messes with Luke’s lightsaber, picks up Force tricks.

        My problems with TLJ, however, are legion.

      • *Types*
        *Deletes*
        *Types*
        *Deletes*

    • Yup. Luke was you. Luke was me. Including the whining. 😉 And then things go downhill a bit, his poor innocent aunt and uncle get killed. But when we *meet* him he’s Every Boy. And it’s been ages since I saw the first movie but I seem to remember something about him having dreams, too. He’s going to go places and do things, even if it sounds like those sorts of dreams that never quite play out, it’s immensely relatable because everyone has been there and done that.

      But I think you hit on one thing that might have helped with Rey, because even if she was super-orphan, what if she was part of a small, even very loose, band of scavengers instead of totally totally alone? Even if it wasn’t a group who she’d feel that she couldn’t leave at any time, just a couple of other individuals that help each other out, share information, and have dreams of getting out, they could have given her grief about that job she had and lost, learning to be a pilot, because her boss was a creep.

    • TLJ made it worse. After the first movie, there was a lot of speculation that Rey had received some no-longer remembered Force training when she was very young. That would explain why she was able to use powers instinctively. But TLJ had a scene that explicitly revealed that she had no particularly special background.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Of course, that might be revealed to be a lie in the next movie. 👿

        • John R. Ellis

          That’s the thing, SJWs claim “That was there because the Jedi way was EVULLLLL and anyway, only you Evulllll older fans care about the foreshadowing in the previous movie and…and…EVULLLL!”

          And yet, what is the source of Rey’s parental revelation? Mister Emo Sith Wannabe. Deliberately trying to emotionally manipulate her. And the most RJ would commit to in interviews afterward was that Kylo Ren believed what he was saying “In that moment, MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!”

          So, yeah, it seems to be deliberately set up as Obi Wan “from a certain point of view” crud.

          • Have to disagree on the source. The source was the Dark Side cave. Ren gave an interpretation of what the cave showed, but it appeared that Rey already believed that interpretation even before Ren said anything about it.

            • John R. Ellis

              The cave showed nothing but her own image and she gave zero signs of giving it -any- interpretation until Kylo brought it up during a vulnerable moment. So, yeah, our only source is him. This isn’t like Taran Wanderer where we have plenty of foreshadowing of what seeing one’s own image in a mirror ultimately means. The vision came from nowhere, the only explanation given for it came from an unreliable source who wasn’t even the one who had it.

        • What I have read of that movie, and the bits you can see on youtube – it seems it answers none of the mysteries set up in the first movie. Seems also pretty much like a filler episode. The characters do stuff, end up more or less in the same spot – well, somewhat worse – they started from. Nothing advances, nothing is revealed, Luke Skywalker mopes a lot and then dies, Kylo Ren has tantrums, Leia has jedi powers she has never used before and doesn’t use afterwards, other characters do stuff, Finn and new love interest (or stalker) have a side adventure which leads nowhere and doesn’t affect the main story at all.

          If the last one of that trilogy tries to turn the story into a satisfying whole it is going to be a very, very busy story.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Nod.

            The problem is that nobody has a “over-all view” of the separate movies.

            Compare these movies to the ones in the Marvel Universe.

            The makers of the Marvel Movies know what they are building toward.

            The makers of the Star Wars movies “don’t care” what came before and “don’t care” about the next movies.

            IMO there are some unrealistic gripes about the Star Wars movies but each maker of a movie has been allowed to make it as “they” want and not thinking of the movies being part of a larger story. 😦

  23. Two lists, neither comprehensive:

    Things due me:
    Common Courtesy. Respect of my inalienable rights. To be left alone so long as I do not (actively) bother anybody.

    Things not due me:
    A living. Indulgence of my bad habits, mistaken beliefs and erroneous conclusions unsupported by fact. Salvation.

  24. I can think of several popular novels which start with the protagonist in a state of oppression.

    In the first our MC begins in poverty, motherless, with an abusive drunken father. He runs away from home and with the assistance of various persons he meets along the way exposes the dark underside of contemporary American society. Of course this book is banned in most of America now for its liberal use of the N-word.

    Another begins with our MC a small, orphaned child as he is sold into slavery to a crippled beggar on a backward planet. While he eventually rises and is revealed as a “lost prince” the family he finds does not exactly welcome his return, although it is clear he would be tolerated if only he was willing to live a life of dissipation and not ask questions about what his managers are doing with his inheritance.

    • “Citizen of the Galaxy” would be one version of the second…

      I’d say “Huckleberry Finn” for the first, except fifty years later, I don’t remember if Huck’s father ever made an appearance. The squishyware degrades over time you know…

      • He did, sort of. At the start of the novel, Huck has come into some money (due to the events of Tom Sawyer). Early on, he spots a boot print, and recognizes it as his father’s. He knows that his father is only back because he heard that Huck has some money, and is going to try to get his hands on the money. So that’s Huck’s impetus to start his trip down the river.

        In the middle of the novel, Huck moves to examine a particular corpse, and Jim advises him to leave it alone (which Huck does). At the end of the novel, Jim reveals that he recognized that the body was Huck’s father, and warned Huck away so that Huck wouldn’t be suddenly confronted by his own father’s corpse.

  25. It’s one of my indelible memories from when I was a teenager — when the pastor of my church preached a sermon about the parable of the talents, and challenged the congregation to do the same. Those of us who came forward – we got $10, and asked to make something with it, and bring back the gains to the church. I did the challenge, I think Mom did, too – Mom did something with raising plant seedlings and selling them. I bought cookie ingredients with my $10, made cookies and sold them to fellow students and neighbors. Can’t remember how much I made from that $10 investment, but the lesson was indelible.

    • Of course, the literal reading of that story is part of the foundation for “prosperity Gospel”.

      • I think the overall story is that the once and future king has not yet returned; when he does the world will change.

        The ‘prosperity Gospel’ cherry picks, but that is not unusual, so do a lot of people when it comes to that collection of texts. Wanting to believe the promises of prosperity are of worldly prosperity in the now; they choose to forget to take in account such passages as where the same speaker suggests placing one’s treasure where they won’t be subject to rust, rot or spoil.

  26. It is clear that the education system (although mis-education system is probably a better term at this point) is designed to teach people to be envious and to aspire to take what others have “by any means necessary” while making them ignorant of basic facts and unable to exercise basic schools, so as to create a generations of “useful idiots” who will enable the Marxists to seize and retain power to rule over society. Indeed, control of education (along with health care and finance) was one of V.I. Lenin’s three pillars of ensuring communist control over society (or as I call it the Lenin trifecta). Notice that Obama when in office sought to achieve all three, and the Democratic Party’s official goals likewise seek control of all three.

    • And those goals – at least the ones they publicly admit to – are conveniently posted on the Democratic Party web site.

      It’s worth the time to hold your nose and skate through there from time to time to keep an eye on what they’re up to.

      • The sad thing is that between the parties it has not become an argument of IF, but of HOW and WHEN they are going to exert control over education, health care and finances. It is now the rare outliers who are arguing for the control of government to be removed or even minimized.

    • Indeed, control of education (along with health care and finance) was one of V.I. Lenin’s three pillars of ensuring communist control over society (or as I call it the Lenin trifecta). Notice that Obama when in office sought to achieve all three, and the Democratic Party’s official goals likewise seek control of all three.

      Seek control, you say? i think they already have control of it.

      It’s quite terrifying, really.

      https://pjmedia.com/trending/gofundme-steals-2644-from-jihad-watch-founder-robert-spencer/?singlepage=true

  27. I’m due some sleep. Can I get me some of that?

  28. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 08.24.18 : The Other McCain