I Feel The Ground Shifting


Cats are more sensitive to noise than we are.  When I was doing work with orphan kittens — most of your local shelters will take kittens any age.  Most euthanize those under 8 weeks of age, which most state laws view as being too young to adopt.  Some people like me volunteer to raise litters to 8 weeks of age, which is often 7 week stints of having infants, with all that entails.  As my health got worse, I stopped doing it, so I haven’t done it in close to ten years.  Might do it again, when some of our feline geriatrics go to their reward — one of the women in our support group said she’d been delivered a 2 week old kitten who was in shock.  Someone had transported him in a tin bucket (lined with warm towels, mind) on the handle bar of a motorcycle.  The person doing it, had found an almost-dead kitten, wanted to take him to a rescuer, and had not idea their hearing is far more acute than ours.  (The kitten survived, btw.)

Posit a kitten whose mom gave birth under some piece of industrial machinery, with all the noise and clanging.  If he doesn’t go deaf, he might adapt to a quiet life, as an adult, but he’ll probably still deal better with chaos and confusion than your average cat.

In a way I am this kitten.  Due to things too hard to relate, and besides not mine to tell, things were already semi-unpredictable before the revolution.  They hit full potato after in that I couldn’t predict what would be next.  Like…School could start 1st or October or… whenever.  One year it was January.  Our curriculum was not what my brother and father had studied, not even in vague outlines. It could change, for that matter, at any time during the year, both courses (in Portugal you don’t select them.  You get them per-school year) and what courses taught.  Your commute home could be fine, or there could be a sudden strike, and you had to walk home (if it was both bus and trains on strike.)

There was no rhythm, no pattern, no pathway to adulthood.

And then when things were stabilizing, both in the country and in my life, I moved overseas.  It took me a while to realize all my assumptions — and therefore most of my actions — about how things worked were plain wrong.  I’m sure there are some minor things I haven’t figured out yet, because they’re internalized when people are pre-verbal.

Though my new environment didn’t contain surprise strikes, or pitched street battles when you least expected them, it was completely unpredictable TO ME.  (My misreading of real estate cost us dearly in our first house.  But I came from a country where you bought a tiny home and it grew with you and you stayed there for life.)

Then we moved… well more or less every five years for the last thirty.  We stayed in last house 13 years because most of it I felt too ill to move. But then we had six moves in a year and a half (some of them partial, some kids, but still disruptions.)

I’m as “adapted” as our kind can be to disruption and chaos.  Which is still not very well.  I still feel confused and upset when I can’t predict what  the best path is, when I can’t make the “noise” and confusion stop.

Most people want tomorrow to be a little better than today, but not markedly different.  They want to raise fat babies and fat, happy grandbabies, and predict what gets them there.

They get downright testy when the path to get there keeps changing and they have no clue where to go or what to do to get to that happy outcome.

Right now our disruption is mainly technical.  “Mainly” but it soon flows out to the rest of the world.  The French Revolution and probably WWI were convulsions from the big tech change of the industrial revolution.  Because when people are unstable, things go nuts.

And we’re at the beginning of such a period.  On and on it goes, where it stops nobody knows, but hell, the last echoes will probably resound 500 years from now, particularly if things keep changing.

Which means people are getting — to coin a phrase — their cheese moved all the time: jobs, politics, expectations, ways “things have always been done” within jobs and families. The inevitable is no longer inevitable.  The impossible and unthinkable might be improbable, but they do happen.  “Things fall apart.  The center cannot hold.”

I’m not better at this than anyone else.  I dearly love security and predictability, I just think a little clearer through the mess, because I’m the kitten who grew up in the machine shop.

So — some things I know you might want to think about:

1- You’re not crazy.  You just feel that way.  Our brains are wired for the neolithic (if that.)  We don’t do well with fast changing situations.

2- Most of the anxiety you feel is not real.  Look, when you were a neolithic farmer, and a lot of things started changing, it was sure as shooting some bad invaders would raid your farm one night.  So you had to be alert and paranoid all the time.
Sure.  I don’t want you to do things like ignoring your surroundings, but I also don’t want you to die of stress.  Take a deep breath.  Yeah, it’s crazy, but you don’t believe in a deterministic future and the inevitable arrow of history.  Your world is being rocked, but not jack-hammered into the ground.  Chances are good you’ll be fine.  You got this.

3- Our friends and neighbors who believe in a deterministic future and the inevitable arrow of history?  Their world is getting jackhammered.  Worse, their ways of reacting that always served them well are doing worse than backfiring.  They’re not doing anything.  Worse, they’re used to being in power, and in having “privilege” for having “the correct opinions.”  That’s not really paying off anymore.  Even in publishing where the establishment abides, there’s less and less cheese to go around, which means the other rats are turning on you.
I’m not saying you should pity them.  Oh, heck, you should, yes, but considering what has gone on in the past, most of us aren’t that saintly.
Just understand the crazy stuff they do and say is because they lost their moorings, not because “they were always inherently bad people.”  (Though some, of course, were.  People will be people.)  They’re really really scared, and scared people do crazy stuff.

4- So, you, stop being scared.  Yes, there’s a possibility this all goes to buckets of blood, but I can guarantee those who see a boot stomping on a human face forever in our future are not taking in account a bazillion factors.  That type of thing works in fiction.  Reality is more complex and frankly the boots haven’t been permanently successful anywhere, even the parts with the worst record in that regard in human history.
Take a deep breath.  Half of what you’re feeling is due to perceived chaos and instability and the people for whom the chaos and instability threaten fundamental beliefs.  You’ve got this.  Most of us will be fine.

5- This is no time to run around with your head on fire. Conversely it’s no time for a nice nap either.  Roughly half the population (not all of them hard left, or even left) is out of their minds with panic.  Roughly 90% are somewhat scared. All over the civilized world and some of the semi-civilized.  Scared people do crazy things.  Be aware of your surroundings, particularly when traveling abroad, but in our fair land, too. Have a plan of escape/survival if things go strange, at all times. Just don’t obsess on it.  Having the plan will help you feel less anxious, and increase your chances of survival should things go wrong.  Think of it as the spiel on emergencies when you board a plane.  Chances are things will be fine where you are, at that time.  But there will be rough patches. To survive the rough patches, your back brain needs to know what to do.

6- Think about the specific change around you and in your field.  The way changes are trending is not always obvious — in publishing right now I swear things change every six months — but they can be guessed if you think about it.  Nothing trad pub has done so far has really surprised me (except perhaps for how long they’re taking on the way down, but I know non-fic is still profitable, and there’s parent companies and stuff.  So my surmise of how fast it would all go South has always been broad “two to ten years” say.) Some turns Indie has taken have shocked me because they’re due to Amazon changes, and I can’t anticipate those.
You don’t have to foresee ten years in the future, and thank heavens, no one needs to foresee 100 (unless you’re an immortal.) Even science fiction is less forecasting than “what would be cool” and “what would make my story more fun” and then finding a plausible way to get there.
BUT if you’re a few months ahead of the rest of your field, your town, your business, you’ll do very well.  It’s like surfing on the crest of change, without getting pulled under.

7- That’s it.  Take a deep breath.  You’ll do fine.  You got this.  Reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated.  Be not afraid.


286 thoughts on “I Feel The Ground Shifting

    1. In regards to #5, “be prepared” doesn’t have to be for SHTF. It could be for Hurricane Florence, or for California’s annual Let’s Burn Down the State Festival, or even just for snow knocking out the power for a week. Be prepared for the weirdnesses that life throws you, know where to go when your current location is not livable (due to flooding or otherwise).

      1. I feel a little guilty at the level of relief I am feeling that the path of Hurricane Florence has shifted. For the moment where I am is no longer in the path of disaster!!! But my moderately improved forecast is coming at someone else’s deteriorating one.

        Be ready for the various things to which your area is prone. Have an emergency plan in place. Better to be ready and have nothing happen, to have to switch out supplies in your to-go kit or emergency rations stash, than to have a disaster hit you unprepared.

          1. I am so sorry.  The Spouse and I went down to Charlotte to visit a friend shortly after Hugo.  As we drove south on I-85 the increasing level of destruction to be seen was disturbing. 

    2. I thought that too.

      (I’m not really an audiophile, but I’ve got a half-speed master of that LP that I picked up somewhere—-Wake Forest, NC maybe.)

  1. I’m 60 plus and I’ve heard “The World Is Coming To An End” too many times in my life.

    Yes, we may be in for “interesting” times ahead but we’ll survive. 😀

    1. I grew up firmly convinced I’d be toasted by Soviet nukes at some random moment. And we always lived on or near a major military base…

      Hurricanes, tornados, and floods are something I’m cautious of and prepare for, but they’re also things that give plenty of advanced warning and kill relatively few people. After nuclear armageddon, they’re just not that threatening.

      1. After “Fears Of Nuclear War” began to fade, there were “Fears of Economic Collapse” (several of those), “Fears of Ecological Destruction” (which including Extreme Over-population), etc.

        Anybody else remember the 1999 of Harrison’s “Make Room, Make Room”? 😈

        1. Ah yes. Contrast what happened with 7 billion in our world compared to his. We’re at 8 now, no Soylent Green required.

            1. Everything I saw said it’s currently either 7.5 or 7.6. And that’s 7 years after they estimated 7, so even assuming their estimates are right, we shouldn’t hit 8 until at least 2024.

                  1. It’s not that. It comes from the UN. ALL NUMBERS from the UN are crap. And isn’t it funny the countries “growing”fastest are the ones who are net recipients of international aid, PER CAPITA?
                    Also, FYI the aids crisis in Africa, which killed an untold (literally) number of people was never reflect in those numbers. Nor are the wars, etc.

              1. What Sarah says, the number are based on self reporting. As there is often aid monies attached to those numbers the countries have excellent reason to inflate their numbers.

          1. Add into that “Somebody Doesn’t Accept That ACW Will Kill Us All Unless We Do Something”!

            1. and that Something is always the same thing, no matter what the problem might be: Give them more power over our day to day lives and pay higher taxes, pass deadly laws, and shut up already.

      2. Yeah Born in the early ’60s. Remember realizing that where I lived with Groton sub base 20 miles east, Olin and Sikorski 20 miles west and assorted Pratt and Whitney stuff 20 miles north my best hope was that the Soviet missiles would have sufficiently poor aim that we’d end up in the sphere of action of an H bomb. Anything else meant an excruciating death from 3rd degree burns and radiation poisoning.

        Please note that Hurricanes are predictable in the here and now. This was not always so the 1938 hurricane (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_New_England_hurricane) was unexpected. Damage was incredible, my grandfather (volunteer fireman) talked of houses from Long Island ending up on shore roads in Clinton where I grew up washed ashore by the storm surge. Tornados are MORE predictable than they were even 10 years ago, but the warning is short often minutes from when the doppler radar identifies one forming. But yes if you live in places where they happen best to be ready.

        Biggest threat here are Nor’easter Snowstorms. They can dump 2-4′ of snow over a couple days and the related gale force winds can take out power. When its 20F or less out and you’re dependent on electricity for circulating (and igniting if oil) your heat a power outage of even a couple hours is a very bad day. An outage of days when you can’t easily evacuate (remember that snow?) can range from destructive of property (frozen pipes) to life threatening (especially to the elderly) without alternate heat sources. And yet some of the most beautiful Winter days are when the storm ends, the sun comes out and shines from a clear blue sky making the new snow sparkle and gleam.

    2. I let the medicare fund take care of a lot of stuff this last year. Assuming I do my part, I should last a fair number of years. As it is, I’ve already outlasted my father by over a dozen years, and my mother has outlasted her mother by 5 years and running.

      I don’t plan to live forever, but I’ve got lots to do before I go.

  2. In east Canada, people are still in sort of a complacent holding pattern, but I can already see the fault lines becoming clear. Just bracing for the earthquake. Yes, we do get them in New Brunswick.

  3. But, but, I don’ wanna change! I like my rut. It fits me, I know what’s coming, and it’s comfortable! (Said by a lot of humanity since not long after that unfortunate serpent and produce incident.)

    What triggers my greatest, most prolonged anxieties? The thought of leaving loose ends. Of someone else having to take care of the cat, the plants, dealing with my office clutter, trying to finish my classes for the year… Some of those can be prepared for, others… *Shrug* Not that telling my lizard-brain not to worry helps, once it decides that a good prolonged adrenaline dump is called for.

    1. Mentioning the “Serpent and Produce incident” reminds me: The Baptist church a half mile up the road from me thinks it’s clever. This week, their sign says, “Adam and Eve, the first people to not read the Apple’s ‘Terms and Conditions’ “.

    2. After college, I moved about yearly until I bought my second place. The first one was a townhouse in a rotten area, that I got out of a year later. After that, it’s been 3 houses: 8 years, 17 years, and now 15 and counting.

      We’re watching the widow next door trying to cope with too much house on too much land, and asking way too much money for a place on land that’s needed cleanup for a half century. I’m pretty sure if one or the other of us dies first, the other will take measures to get out as soon as practical. We got the land cleaned up a decade ago, and barring a renewal of the Modoc Indian war, our place should be sold for a reasonable price. Not sure we’d see problems if the big city people get crazier. Snow is a hell of a deterrent in winter, and the area is polite, in the Heinlein sense.

      1. Expect your neighbors place to sell to some out of stater. That is how it goes around here. Places are priced way too high for the local market. So no locals will buy them, but people from out of state moving from areas with much higher real estate will pick them up because they are a good deal from where they come from. Makes for a two tiered and almost surreal real estate market.

        1. Yep. We were an escape destination for middle-class Californians Before Schwartenegger (points finger at self), while folks better off went west of the Cascades with milder winters and considerably higher prices.

          We expect the same thing for this, but the real estate listing doesn’t manage to hide all the shortcomings. IMHO, it didn’t help that the late husband loved to hunt and had taxidermied critters all over the living room. I recall a line from Beauty and the Beast song “Gaston”:” I use antlers in all my decorating”. That’s our guy.

          So, until somebody with enough money and lack of foresight comes around, the property is going to sit. We figure that it might be worth buying at 2/3 the original asking price. No idea if there’s a bunch of mortgage. Not in a position to ask; we didn’t get along with the husband, and not so much with the widow. (Anybody who uses a large caliber handgun to shoot ground squirrels, driving our dogs crazy, ain’t a friend of mine… OTOH, never saw any taxidermied ground squirrels in the listing pictures. 🙂 )

          1. “Yep. We were an escape destination for middle-class Californians”

            Bend, Sunriver, Sisters, Black Butte, La Pine (including in-laws, which to be fair, they bought in the ’60’s, & built in the early ’70’s), Drain, Yoncolla, Elton — which I have reason to know because none of the old homestead is in family hands (my side). Charles Applegate place not withstanding (oldest homestead in Oregon still in family hands). Last major piece was sold to Californians in ’74/’75 when great Uncle’s widow sold it. She did offer it to family, but no one who wanted it could afford it. I would have figured out a way, but I was only 16 when G.Uncle passed, & was not included in any of the conversations when it all was said & done (gee wonder why?). Good portion of the homestead was lost when Jessie Applegate lost everything. Another good chunk was lost during the depression for the cost of back taxes (& was grandma unhappy with her dad as it was offered to her older brothers, but not her, when they didn’t take it). Last piece remaining can’t be sold, ever. It is now protected under a Historical Graveyard non profit; 0.8 (& change) acres.

        2. Oh, FWIW, two neighboring properties sold recently, both to people from more-expensive parts of Oregon. One couple is recently retired, while the other is a work-from-home situation. We expected California transplants, but that didn’t happen.

      1. “I hate looking for a job.”

        Amen. Preaching to the choir.

        Which is why I couldn’t make it as a independent programmer, ever. Thought about it, until I realized freedom comes with looking for work, all, the, darn, time. Nope. No thanks.

  4. Harley’s are terrible machines for the noise sensitive. There’s a few nice rice rocket bikes that are wicked quiet; but their problem is they ususally have zero space to put anything on them, short of stuffing the kitten in a rear helmet box.

    Some of these crazies that have gone mega-violent (Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Dallas, Orlando, etc.) sound to me like people who lost their security and predictability by “having their cheese moved all the time”, such that they never learned how to deal with disappointment, frustration, and despair. Granted, some of these people were spoiled brats, some where mentally retarded (to use the politically incorrect prhase), and some were merely radicalized haters of some category or another. 50 plus years ago we had places to warehouse people who couldn’t adapt to outside life without becoming violent criminals.

    “they’re not inherently bad people” Well, no, most of them are not. But when scared people do crazy stuff, you have to protect yourself from them. And if they’re not open to peaceful reasonable discussion and learning, then your alternative is to either lose bigly, or switch to less peaceful and less reasonable means of persuasion.

    As you say, staying aware of your surroundings, and having a plan for several different scenarios goes a long way; and tends to reduce anxiety because now you know what you are going to do when X, Y, or Z happens.

    Had an interesting discussion with Significant Other the other night over the difference between hoarding, and having an extended emergency supply of things. She’s helping a neighbor’s kids clean out their home after the parents recently passed. 6 tubes of toothpaste in a drawer isn’t hoarding, it’s several months supply if shipping is disrupted. 6 cases of toothpaste on the other hand, especially if scattered all over the house and forgotten, are hoarding. (6 cases in the garage on the other hand, may be trade goods.) Folks in question had a combination of the Depression mentality, Mormon disaster prepardness ethic, and the Boy Scout Motto of Always Be Prepared (He was the former scoutmaster in the town.) 3 to 6 months supply of stuff that actually would be used.

    1. During the constant inflation of the seventies, somebody (I think it was in a WSJ article, but who can remember?) recommended toothpaste as an investment. “It keeps, and the price isn’t going down.”

      So, at least three categories: preparedness, hoarding, investment?

      1. Or Costco.

        My grandmother passed and while she had “down sized” to a tiny assisted living apartment, she still had a linen closet full of toilet paper. She wasn’t a hoarder and wasn’t a miser in any sense, but buying in bulk saves money.

        1. This. We’re finally coming to terms we’re no longer a four people household, and buying things in bulk just means we have them FOREVER. And will eventually have to move them. So, no.

          1. Like the old George Carlin schtick; “Twenty-seven pairs of sneakers! I’ll never have to buy sneakers again!” [or something like that; it has been a while…]

          2. Oh yes. The kids will move out (I have faith) and Costco quantities will become a bit much. We have an “executive” membership and the only way it would make sense to keep it is if we start buying cars and furniture.

            1. We spend just enough at Costco that the Executive membership pays for itself. This year it was $125 “free” money. Well okay $15, since the membership cost will come out in October. CC last year just about maxed out the reward of $700. Not quite. That is generally the only CC we use.

              I figure as long as it mostly pays for the membership, I’m ahead. Gas is always the lowest CC cost. One location where cash only is cheaper by a couple of cents, but unless we are going that way … Fred Meyer (Kroger), we can build up enough points fill up there once a month; we save that for filling the truck ($0.20 to $0.80 off per gallon is nothing to sneeze at, rarely hit the $1 max.)

              There are 3 in our household.

                1. Costco Gas. If you have someone who can get you the Costco Cash Card, you don’t need a membership. Otherwise, you do (or you are suppose to need the membership.)

                  Yes. I’ve heard that Costco Gas is a safe bet in unfamiliar areas.

                  1. Are we talking about -gasoline- being a commodity of uncertain quality now?
                    [walks away shaking head muttering, walks back]

                    If it really does vary in quality, and y’all locals would know, there’s an entire state-level department and another entire federal-level department both dedicated to kicking the shoddy vendors’ asses. Drop a dime on them.

                    1. Nah, likelihood of being jumped while gassing up.

                      It’s a very popular carjacking move, especially if you’re one of the Good Target folks.

                    2. I like what happened near me several years back, when some guy decided to rob an older woman while she was gassing up. As I recall, she said he walked up, possibly brandishing a knife, or else just being intimidating (it’s been several years, can’t remember details), and demanded to know where her purse was. She told him where it was, and he leaned into the car to get it. As he was bent over, she commenced slamming the door on his legs, repeatedly.

                      I can’t remember if he got arrested, or if he limped off when she stopped, but the story was glorious.

                    3. Cosco and Safeway gas are some of the lowest quality, with highest quantities of ethanol. I used to have a Honda car and it would get close to five mph lower on Cosco and Safeway gas; which totally negated the lower price per gallon.

                    4. Hubby ran into “bad” gas in the mid-west, but that was ’82/’83(?). Caused car problems. Had to change out the gas filter when it wasn’t due; not a one time thing during that trip, either.

                      Don’t know of any otherwise. I was just pointing out that if gas is a problem locally, & you want Costco gas, because of corporate standards, you can’t just go get it (unless member, etc.).

                    5. Uh, there’s been a different between gas from different vendors as long as i have been alive. There’s also differences , tho subtle, in gas based on which oil it came from. as well as mandated regional formulations(California I’m looking at YOU)

                    6. When mom was a kid, her dad was friends with everyone. So she got to watch the gas delivery guy deliver gas… to all three stations in town. And add the “secret ingredient.”


                      It was dye. So the fuel was blue, or red, or I can’t remember the third.

                      Your broader point is correct, I just grinned at the memory. 😀

                    7. The “different mandated regional” issue can really bite you in the heinie if you’re driving cross-country, too. I drove home to Illinois from Norfolk, Va, earlier this year and had to get my car worked on just a few days after getting home because of this.

          3. Yeah, the difference between having a housemate with a teenaged female and just us on our own: we went from buying at least one large Costco pack of toilet paper a month to one lasting for…months…

          4. Buying in bulk saves money — you have the space to store it without being overwhelmed and so long as it actually gets used while still good. 

            If buying in bulk means that you have far more than you can use before you die have you really saved money?  This leads me to think that some savvy persons could organize bulk buying clubs among friends or in their retirement community.

        2. We stopped taking the big pickup to Costco when we got the Subaru. I don’t recall offhand how many times I went there in the past year (lots-o-eye procedures), but now that it’s likely to be every 4 months, I’ll pretty much fill the Forester.

          The storage shed is mouse free, (is mausrein a word?) so I can keep a year’s supply of dog food there, and TP and Kleenex keep. Canned goods need some heat, but we just added a pantry cabinet in the place-formerly-known-as-guest-bedroom. Between that and the relevant closet and the main pantry, we’re good if the Cascadia zone gets energetic.

          We figure that we’d have minor structural damage (Lord, please stop laughing!) but would lose storebought power for a while.

      2. Toilet paper and whiskey are my medium term prepper goals…they will be great currency. I suspect one roll of TP will buy a lot of ammo after six months.

        For 12 months+ making sure my yeast cultures survive to brew beer and wine and to distill whiskey are my goals.

    2. I can’t decide if so many people were always as mentally unstable (re: some of the strange sorts who have gone violent) and just diagnosed now, or if in the past they all self-destructed in the same numbers but with less collateral damage, or if there were better places for those who didn’t “fit” back in the bad old days, or if nearly everyone and anyone worked physical jobs and labored from young years onward and that changes our psycho-chemistry, or if there’s active environmental factors that are new that change our brains.

      1. Perhaps, “back in the old days” people weren’t quite as restricted. As a result, people self-destructed before quite so much pressure was built up so the resulting explosion wasn’t quite as spectacular.

        I donno… just guessing…

        1. Well, that and there are stories of family camping trips where the troublesome unexpectedly fell off a cliff, or out of rowboat or canoe, or wandered off at night and couldn’t be found….

          In the town I graduated from HS there was a family with a troublesome kid. Age 17 he “ran away”, and a missing persons report was duly filed with the police. A few years later mom and dad divorced, the house was sold. A dozen or so years later the new owners noted there was an old well in the yard, and there were watering restrictions during the then drought if you used village water, so they decided to open up the well. And discovered human bones, promptly reported to the local police. Bones were identified as an adolescent male. Identity never confirmed. Police didn’t bother looking for previous property owners. No cause of death could be identified, so, wasn’t worth their time to investigate.

          Your guess is as good as mine as to what happened.

        2. Perhaps, “back in the old days” people weren’t quite as restricted.

          The boy who was sent down the mine or the girl who started at the mill before they reached double digit age might not think they were so unrestricted. 

          1. Most of my classmates were excused with a doctor’s certificate they were mentally retarded (they weren’t, but that’s how parents got away with circumventing child labor laws) and started work at textile mills at 9 or 10 when we finished 4th grade.

      2. People are still people, so I suspect that we just get to hear more about it thanks to the internets. I mean, we’re pretty much back to the fainting couch for upper class women who hear unpleasant things

        1. Can you imagine the SJW brigade in the stupidly-tight Victorian corsets of supreme haute couture? Yep, fainting couches necessary all over the place.

          1. One of the most fun passages in an Historical romance that I read had our heroine near passing out because she couldn’t breathe and her bluestocking suffragette friend (or maybe it was the hero, I don’t recall) said something about corsets and she says, well sure, she supports her friend and all of her revolutionary ideas because she is a good friend, but she just thinks she looks better in a corset.

            It was one of the few times one of those books involved an explicit moment explaining that women of the time *chose* to wear that stuff.

            1. The other dirty little secret is that you really didn’t have to be laced so tightly as not to be able to breathe, in order to look good. There’s a trick to moving in a corset, just like a lot of other specialized women’s garments, and there’s a trick to having a good fit. If you couldn’t breathe, you were doing it wrong (or your maid hated you).

              It usually took a fashion extremist, a fetishist, or someone who didn’t want to be fitted and sized correctly, to faint in a corset. You don’t read about corseted sweatshop workers fainting all over the place, and they were doing hard work all day.

              If you want to explain Victorian fainting fits, it’s more about Victorian nutrition and diet fads. (Or so I suspect.) If a growing teenage girl is only eating tea or coffee for breakfast, a tiny lunch, and cucumbers at teatime, she’s not going to last until the big Victorian dinner.

              1. It’s no worse than wearing a snug paid of jeans, but it definitely should be custom fitted.

      3. Echoing a bit and adding a few other factors. The Internet means not only are we dealing with OUR village idiot… we’re dealing with everyone else’s village idiot as well. (Ditto everyone else’s village bully, etc.) This distort things. In ye Olden days (tongue rather in cheek) work was long, physical and typically exhausting. This limits how much energy the crazy can put to anything but surviving. These days the crazy has more liesure to be crazy. (As they said in the Man of la Mancha of Don Quixote: “He’s a gentleman, when did a poor man ever have time to run mad?”)

        Though, as a counter point there seem to be some cultures that take their crazy, wind it up and point it at the nearest enemy. So I may be way off base here.

        1. And guess what? EVERY City, Town, Village, berg, hamlet, what-have-you, has their ‘village idiot’, and the bigger they are, the more of them they have. And we get to hear about all of them, in real time, and incessantly thanks to the media.

          1. There were often the eccentrics as well, some of whom became legend, such as the Emperor Norton of San Francisco.

        2. Plus when it was usually a village it was “your idiot” and you knew how they were an idiot and how to take it.

          Plus, I suspect the natural human “protect my group” oversaw “our idiot” in ways that prevented self-destruction from providing an “interpreter” for dealing with people not used to them to a community paternalism towards them. Otis the drunk from The Andy Griffith Show was a very recognizable character even in the 60s the people over 40 or so. Watching how the character was handled, I suspect if you de-TVed it you have what the village idiot was treated throughout most of history.

          Now we give them smart phones and, too often, laud them for their authenticity.

          1. If they were “useful idiots” you put them to work at what was in their capacity, as long as they didn’t subtract too much by requiring a constant supervisor. I really wonder how many idiots met an early demise because they would have required too much supervision and care and got basically the Hansel and Gretel treatment?

            1. Probably many, but the human tendency to care for those close to you probably kept a lot of idiots safe.

              That said, I wonder how many idiots wised up when the utter idiots disappeared. If the answer is a lot then our tolerating fools is multiplying them.

              I wonder if something similar is why the kink world is getting overrun by Littles.

        3. Though, as a counter point there seem to be some cultures that take their crazy, wind it up and point it at the nearest enemy.

          Not sure about what an ideal target might be, but can we please at least cease aiming it at ourselves?

          1. Hmmm Can we take these Antifa types and ship them to deal with Syria, Afghanistan etc? It would leave of the situation of hoping both sides could lose…

      4. With the exception of “better places for those who didn’t fit”, I would suggest embracing the power of, “some of each”.

        It’s known that most people are better adjusted mentally if they have a (relatively) structured environment, something that is being actively pushed against by many these days. Fewer people were indulged in their unrealistic demands, which allowed them, rather than self-destructing, have their meltdowns in a less destructive manner, and be able to adjust better. Working physical labor jobs does probably alter out brain chemistry, though to what extent I wouldn’t even hazard a guess, but it certainly gives most people perspective on the world that is lacking in many people, but especially the “elites” who think they know better than everyone else and we should all agree with them because they went to the right schools.

        As for better places for those who don’t fit, well, I actually think we have better places for them now, but on the other hand, a lot of them (tech jobs, for example) allow those people to self-segregate, and thus remain maladjusted when the reality of the majority come crashing in on them.

        1. Assuming that everyone goes through the same developmental stages at the same time (while most more or less do, there are still many who do not) and treating people as if they were interchangeable widgets probably does contribute to our present problems.

          While societies have always demanded a certain level of conformity, what is need for survival will vary and therefore effect what is seen as desirable.  I recall the early discussions of the A Hunter In A Farmer’s World theory of ADHD — in which it is observed that many of those traits that were viewed as functional negatives in our present society at large would be strengths in other circumstances.

      5. People keep hoping to find A cause.  The problem is that there are usually all sorts of things at play.  Probably every and all of those factors you mention contribute in some measure and part, but not all of them in every case.  If we were omniscient we would see that there were even more things at play.

        The Mother-In-Law was in a panic as we prepared to take on the terrorists after 9-11.  She confided in me that she worried because we were going to war not knowing if we would win or what it would cost.  I asked her to think back to when she was younger and ask herself the question, “Did we know we would win or what the cost would be when we entered the war after Pearl Harbor?”

        Some of the problem is that we living are in the present.  The present is confronted by all sorts of input demanding attention with no clear labels as to the extent of their importance.  The present cannot know how the future will play out.

      6. Historically the unstable were either the kings and queens in which case the oddity was somewhat hidden by the courts or they could only really affect themselves. Today we spray ours across the front pages of the news and television and give them control over our livelihoods.

        1. For quite a number of years The Daughter was considering becoming a forensic pathologist.  Along with this interest she also had a passion for the history of crime.  

          Not all the unstable were royals carefully confined to the inner courts.  We might have better records of them as they were royal because more people kept written records around royals.

          Still there were women who took jobs as nannies, governesses and nurses whose charges were particularly unfortunate when it came to succumbing to disease and accident.  And there were inns on the trail which were often the last place they could trace a given traveler bad things happened.  

          In one way you are correct, in that there has been a change is in communications and we see the effect.  The inn where travelers were murdered for their purses relied on anonymity to continue.  Those who desire to be the next  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold or are part of a the movement seeking to terrorize want the headlines. 

          1. Thing is that the individual killers, H.H. Holmes, psychopath highwaymen, Toppan, etc. Had less general impact. The royals insanity affected tens of thousands in some cases where even the deadliest killers in the normal populace were looking at a few dozen.

            Not stating that none existed, but that they were significantly less consequential.

    3. Dealing with a similar situation. I’m one of the children of hoarders and we are now dealing with a house overflowing with nearly 50 years worth of poorly sorted valuable tools and equipment, heirlooms, useful or semi-useful stuff that was being saved for someday (which has now come and gone), and pure trash. Add to the combinations above, a long period of debilitating illness.

        1. I have been known to buy the same book more than once. Especially from less familiar authors, or when they change the camouflage, err, cover, on me.

          1. …or the title. Or the author name…

            Yes, I understand some authors published off-genre titles under a pseudonym. Reprinting them with their real name and a different title, and not mentioning the old names on the cover, is fraud. And I won’t buy them again.

      1. My grandma is 96 and all of us are under strict orders from Mom to take anything Grandma wants to give us even if we don’t keep it.

        Grandpa died a few years ago and Grandma had a dream where he told her she couldn’t die until she got rid of all the stuff. 😀

        1. My mom sends me stuff. I take it, keep it, pass it on, or trash it as called for. The crucial difference is that I have no emotional attachment ot things, so I can deal with the item as opposed to the memories attached to it.

    4. One of my military co-workers told me he wasn’t worried about scarcity; he had a map of most of the Mormon households in the area…

    5. my ST1100 is one of those silent things, one of its louder features was the cam belt squeak, but I replaced it and that went away . . . the next model, the ST1300, uses gear drive cams so it sounds like a Jetsons flying car

      1. My last bike had Mikuni flatslides and pod filters. The exhaust was pretty quiet, as such things go… but the carburetors were LOUD. One night, going down Beale Street in Memphis, people kept turning to look for the horses carriages… I could hear the clacking bouncing off brick buildings.

  5. Awwwww.

    I am having a hard time getting past the picture of the kitten.  My heart strings have been pulled a mite too hard.  Ouch!

    1. Last year, one of my folk’s old cats died. That same day, a friend called noting that she had found a tiny kitten. She had gotten back from the store, and heard a faint mewing under the hood of the car.
      Perfect timing. He pretty much took to the family right away.

      1. Yes. Kittens did evolve for cute. We’ve hand raised 2, each a year apart. When the current geriatric almost 20 year old passes we will seek out a litter of 2 or 3 to raise & foster fail. It will have to be through the local shelter who networks out too young kittens, or find a colony, but not through a rescue.

        (Local) Rescues require in home only cats. Kittens, no problem. Won’t be allowed out until a year (ish). Then preferably when pouring down rain (likely) or there is snow on the ground (can happen but not probable).

        OTOH our last 2 young kittens (too young, but not bottle fed) one loved snow & the current one chases rain drops, comes in soaked all the time … go figure.

        1. From what I’ve noticed in researching lately, it seems like more “rescues” than not are staffed by certifiably insane people who don’t appear to grasp how actual pet-parenting works in the real world…I mean, I’ve seen some that have more stringent requirements in home inspection than if one was freaking adopting/fostering HUMAN children!

          (And while I am all for adopting the strays and unwanted, unfortunately when it comes to dogs, I’m pretty much limited to the no-shed breeds like mini schnauzers, on account of allergies. For some reason, cats are no longer an issue for me, but boy do I notice dogs that have a lot of dander.)

          1. “more stringent requirements in home inspection than if one was freaking adopting/fostering HUMAN children!”

            Yes. Plus contracts to go with them.

          2. Some decades ago, a friend bought a cat from the city “animal shelter.” Cost something like $100, back when you could rent a decent house for $400…

            He got a job that involved leaving the country for a few years, so he gave the cat to a neighbor. A while after he got back – we’re talking four or five years now – he went back to the pound to get another.

            The functionary flipped through the card file, saw that he’d gotten an animal before, and rather rudely demanded to know what had happened to the first cat. Don wasn’t much to put up with such things, so after a moment he told her, “I’ve been in Thailand the last few years, and you know, they eat those things over there. I gotta tell you, that cat was dee-licious!”

            He didn’t get another cat, but he said the expression on her face was well worth it.

          3. Friend of mine got put through the ringer when her cat escaped and was handed over to a animal shelter. The shelter’s assumption is that because the cat went outside, she was a bad owner, and unfit to ever own her cat again. They refused to give the cat back.

            1. By Law, locally the shelter can not do that. In fact they are required to let you know how the cat came into their possession. They are also required to call registered owners when a chipped cat comes in. You can legally sue someone who removes a cat from the neighborhood that they know is not a stray; plus they will be fined, & it ain’t cheap. You learn who the cat haters are as soon as they move in (**). They can harass & put up whatever non lethal methods to discourage cats from visiting (*), but short of that they can do nothing. With as many homes that have video security, getting away with pet removals is difficult. All our cats are chipped & collared (although the youngest takes his off regularly, the pill.)

              (*) FWIW willing to assist. Would prefer cats stay home.
              (**) Generally the ones illegally feeding the local wildlife 😉

            2. Run into petty tyrants like that, too.

              Heck, one kidnapped a dog from a neighbor’s yard– this is country-type yard, not “seven thousand square feet minus what’s under the house” yard.

              She stole the dog, drove 200 miles and turned him into a shelter as a stray to “save” him from “neglect” because the guy…kept a dog the size of a HORSE outside.

              1. Well, you don’t want to keep a giant dog outside all the time or most of the time, because every giant breed is pretty social with owners, even if territorial against others. They mope, unless there are other dogs to play with. (Or they get bored and find things to do. You didn’t really need that tree to have bark on it, right?)

                But it’s pretty normal to let them go out and come in, or to have large periods of time outside to play, guard, etc. (If you’ve got the acreage and the fence, and the dog is trained to stay within bounds.)

                So yeah, that’s pretty creepy.

                1. The guy lived in our valley because his entire life was outside, if he wasn’t at work or sleeping. 😀 IIRC, the guy went biking with his dog. Tiny house, too.

              2. Someone stole our cat from the front porch where we’d left him sunning himself and had him euthanized, because he was being “Starved and neglected.” And also he was “digging in her flowerbeds.” That was Petronius the Arbiter of blessed memory.
                To point out how crazy this was: yes, he was sad skin and bones. He was hyperthyroidal, and we had just scheduled his treatment which at the time cost 2k. He as HYPERTHYROIDAL and old, so he wouldn’t move from the front porch, so chances he was digging her flowerbed was zero. But I suppose there were other black cats around who did that. c) OUR PORCH WAS SEVENTEEN STEPS UP FROM THE STREET. This asshole had to have been snooping around while we were at a movie (kid’s bday).
                Worse, the idiot vet euthanized OUR CAT despite a message in her machine (every vet in town got one) identifying him and saying he was stolen. AND she refused to tell us who brought him in, because she was “a good samaritan.” (My ass.)
                We moved shortly after.
                Oh, for the six months we remained there, there were “missing cat” posters going up daily all over the neighborhood.
                Yeah, there were tons of outdoor cats. Small mountain town, no traffic.
                How much do you want to bet this asshole was against outdoor cats and was doing this to “show” the owners the error of their ways?
                Our other (indoor outdoor at the time. Here they’re indoor only because our backyard ends at a natural preserve and coyotes would eat them.) cats probably ran away, but poor Pete was probably asleep on his little bed when she grabbed him.
                I swear to you, even now, 16 years later, if I found out who it was, I’d want to ambush her in an alley and beat her black and blue with a cast iron frying pan.
                She made my kid’s 7th birthday a day of worry and the next week a week of horror. And she took away our first ever cat who could have had another 2 or 3 years of life.

                1. We had a neighbor like that too. But all anyone got was threats. Nipped the rest of it. Said neighbor complained to another person about our cat. Everyone in the neighborhood knew this cat, not because he roamed far, but because we live close to the school & our street is often parked on. Plus day care across the street (oh yes, neighbor complained about day care & school noise too … sorry, schools were there first.) Cat would greet everybody every morning. So when neighbor informed us of the complaint, we suggested neighbor report back “Thank you for the warning. It is illegal to remove or harm felines you know have a home. You are on record of threatening our & neighborhood felines. We will take action if our cat disappears. We will inform others of the threat if they come looking for their missing cat.” How much we could have followed through on, despite the laws, or how much the threat would have counted as proof, don’t know. But it appeared to have worked. None of the immediate area cats have disappeared in 30 years we’ve been here. Down to about 5 or 6 known cats now, due to aging out & families moving. We have 3 of them.

                  As far as removing animals from properties now. Signs indicating video camera’s (true or not), & animals being chipped, so not a stray, should eliminate that now; if not, at least – ownership, not stray, & proof of illegal removal (provided camera actually exists).

                2. I would’ve been going to the police and filing a report.

                  Bet you that falls under livestock laws, easily

                  Not that you had any way to know that.

                  1. It was a bad time for other reasons, like Dan was traveling during the week. And the vet refused to give us the name. And it never occurred to me that livestock laws would apply.

                3. I trust you filed charges against the vet, not to mention a complaint with the state veterinary board.

            3. My late wife and I went to a shelter to find a replacement for the dog we’d recently lost. The lady asked how. We told her we’d let him go into the back yard to “take care of business” and he hadn’t come back. We’d searched the neighborhood and putt up posters, etc. No luck.

              Disapproving stare. “And how long had you had him?”

              Robin worked not to sniffle. “Eighteen years.”

              The room thawed noticeably after that.

          4. Had that when adopted my dog. Was told they were questioning because when asked would I give up, my answer was that if had to for reasons of work or similar she would be rehomed within my family. Not that she would be dumped at shelter, not that would be left somewhere, that would get a drive or flight to another home with yard that would take care of.

        2. We’ve always kept our cats indoors. Had one escape outside, In January. In Great Lakes, IL, high for the day -20. Found her the next day under the neighbors shed. For the rest of her life she would walk up to a door, fully open, stare outside, and never cross the threshold. Even after we moved to San Diego. Cats can and do learn.

          1. Kili is really interested in the world outside the window – but on the rare occasions she’s gotten tangled in legs and dodged the wrong way, ending up outside, she desperately, scratching at the door and frantically yowling while hunching down miserably, wants IN NOW.

            She’s a secondhand cat, and has definite opinions that Outside had No Food, and worse, has DOGS. Inside is where cats belong!

            1. History of our cats. They know where the food is at. Snacks are easy to find & need to teach those stupid big things how to hunt (sigh). The bullies in the neighborhood is NOT the dogs, even if they have a human attached.

              House up north had a paper person who brought his dog on his routes. Our 20#, big, not overweight, just a big tall cat, used to like to sleep in the planter out front, sunny spot & brick. Suddenly the neighborhood noticed the dog would stay across the street when the paper was delivered to our house, or collection was called for. Figured something happened but nobody knew what. Well one day the dog forgot his lesson & got brave … cat rode dog half a block before he jumped off. Well to be fair, our first 8 cats were raised by a German Shepard. He was one of the 8. Hubby has similar stories about cats growing up; those cats were all raised by mom cat with help of Malamutes …

              Honestly, I am more concerned about the possums & coons than I am other cats or dogs.

            2. Our kitties go outside a couple times a day when the weather is nice (and get deeply offended when the nine month winter arrives), but where we live there isn’t much traffic and the wildlife (other than the damn deer and the occasional skunk) mostly stay at the edges of town (which, I grant you, is only a few blocks away and beyond that is wilderness). Of the three cats, only two have been injured. The allegedly-neutered male came back a year or two ago with a triumphant notch in his ear, and has had no problems since. (And he is soooo proud of that notch. We think the vet maybe didn’t get all of his bits…) It helps that he’s a fifteen pounder. Our little calico female (er…little only by virtue of being smaller than the other two, she’s still twelve pounds) ended up with some nasty puncture wounds (we think from one of the feral neighbor cats) but recovered with a trip to the vet for antibiotics and a shave, and she has been cautious since. The third cat has never had a problem at all–he’s brother to the other male, and two summers ago weighed in at 27 pounds. Yes, he is fat (and I have gotten him down to 20 pounds with a diet), and he is lazy and mostly good natured…but despite this he’s freaking huge, and would be even at an ‘ideal’ weight (I suspect 15 would be the lower end of that, and more likely 17-18 pounds). And he has zero patience with dogs of any kind (and his brother can and has attacked stray dogs outright and driven them off).

              For all that, though, we don’t let them go outside at night if we can keep the idiot adventurous cat from escaping, because that’s when the coyotes and the owls are out. (Fits are thrown, nightly, because of this restriction.) And if/when I ever manage to move again, Fat Cat (who is mine) will not be allowed outside unless there is either a fenced yard or just as little traffic/wildlife as there is now. He’s not a dumb cat, but…

              Now if we could just convince the 14 year old, mostly blind and almost totally deaf schnauzer that running away to have An Adventure is an even worse idea than it was when he was two…(he comes back, usually having rolled in something smelly, and deeply pleased with himself, but…he’s 14. And mostly blind and deaf, and missing many teeth. So we worry even more than we did when he was a young dog.) At least he’s slowed down enough that it’s a lot harder for him to eel past when someone unwarily opens the door for a visitor than it used to be.

              1. Schnauzer sounds like the Beagle (small variety) I grew up with. We moved into our home in ’63, when he was probably 3 months. Roamed freely, except on road trips, until county imposed leash laws. Fold tried to keep him contained. He went over, under, & through fences, no matter the size or bulk. Chains, he broke. When dad finally figured out how to stop that, he twisted, the clasp. Dad got a heavy duty clasp with slider … yep, you guessed right, dog figured out how to work the slide … Snoopy lived to be over 20. Finally had a heart attach out running around. As he got older, it got easier to keep him home in the yard without chaining him, but he still would weasel out to get in his roaming.

                1. Now our last dog, English Toy Spaniel’s attitude was – “What? You want me to go outside? Why? It’s dirty out there!” Camping. “Where is my chair?” Hiking. “No. Just No.”

          2. Yes!

            Shortly after we moved our cat took a dash out the front door.  It was a lovely late autumn day, sunny, crisp and refreshing.  In a matter of an hour a front swung in, the winds began to howl, the temperature dropped and it began to rain.  We got him back when we opened the door during a slow down in the rain preparing to once more go out and look for him.  He came dashing in, a miserable, soggy, gray streak out of nowhere. 

            Like your cat, he never again went out of doors on his own.

            1. Mine (giant cat unafraid of most things) is absolutely terrified of thunderstorms, poor baby. At the very least, he demands to hide under his blankie, and by preference that would be on a couch or bed next to a human.

              1. The a fore mentioned cat had been thrice abandoned before I took him in during a sudden thunderstorm.

                Mittens, The Gray Cat, Over Head and Underfoot, Purrbucket and Leadbottom (formerly called Jake) was terrified of thunderstorms. When we first acquired him he would go flat, panting, eye bulging, gums turning white at the first rumble. Eventually took to hiding in the back of The Spouses closet during storms. We had to remember to keep the door to closet cracked open, so he could always get in if needed, and would never get accidentally shut in (again).

                1. And that sounds like a cat we had named Spike. Absolutely hated thunderstorms. He seemed to have some 6th sense about thunderstorms. He’d disappear 10-20 minutes before the storm would reach us long before even the first rumbles of thunder. He’d be hiding in the upstairs bathrooms linen closet (AKA the Fortress of Solitude) drooling with his little heart going at some ridiculous rate.
                  Sometimes I could scoop him out and hold him and comfort him, but other times he’d just retreat further into the towels and sheets and refuse to come out. Closet had a bifold dor on it which he knew to push to open. Neurotic cat but a smart neurotic cat 🙂

                  1. We have 3 cats & the adolescent puppy. Cats tolerate the dog. No snuggling, comes too close dog gets rapped on the nose, usually with claws extended … until there is a thunderstorm … 4 bundles of fur all piled together under the bed. Every. Single. Time.

            2. ” He came dashing in, a miserable, soggy, gray streak out of nowhere.”

              Our cat would have been playing in the rain, chasing rain drops.

              OTOH he was really unhappy when he went to jump on top of the “missing” hot tub lid. We were there to rescue him, but oh, lord, the look he gave us …

      2. “Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.”

        ― Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  6. And employment seems to be looking up, which means that all the angry unemployed young people that work as foot-soldiers for the crazies are going to become busy, contributing members of society. The window for action may be closing and would explain the desperation.

    Because this is what I see… young people who couldn’t find a job washing dishes in high school, or who were scraping along with no sense of future, who actively searched for even a crappy minimum wage job for years and all the soul killing experience of that, they’re now doing better than they’ve done before, not desperate for a call center job but choosing between multiple offers. And even if they’re all about the SJW and Socialism, in their minds that applies to “bad people” and they aren’t the least shy about pushing back if they’re personally maligned or their own money is taken.

    And on that note, please send positive thoughts in the direction of Albuquerque. My son is at a job fair today. He graduates this semester.

    1. My generation varies from:
      1) Start with one company, retire from that company at 65.
      2) Multiple Companies, same type of Career.
      3) Multiple Companies multiple Careers.

      It has been understood for the last 30 – 40 years, it could be any one of the three. Expect it. Roll with it. Or let it roll over you.

      1. Sadly it’s gone to mostly the latter two, last one mostly. Been told directly by management that if you want to advance, quit.

        1. In IT, absolutely. I wasn’t raised to think that way, and it’s definitely been bad for my career.

  7. When I read “1984” I wondered; Where were the heroes? Where were the martyrs? Where were the men and women of courage and conviction? Where were those determined to ‘live free or die’? Where were the people with steel in their souls, well-tempered by adversity and persecution? There were none to be found. That’s why I considered it more fiction than prophesy.

    1. Where is the Heinlein character who breaks things? Where are the people who hate authority.
      It’s chilling, because all the characters are robots who react in the expected manner.

      1. They were all sorted out early, and the ovens at the camps ran for three shifts until the job was complete…

        All those tests the various states administered to your kids? No matter how they’re behaved since, the State knows who the potential troublemakers are.

        1. *Snort* They wish they had tests that could do that. They can’t even figure out basic things like “who can do X broad range of jobs and not crack up.”

          Wouldn’t work because there’s simply too many routes of causing trouble.

          1. Yep.
            And they thought younger kid had a 20 word vocabulary and would need help. They sent us this very solemnly explaining how to to help him “look after himself” and survive though he’d never be normal. This btw, ignored the fact the previous years test he’d tested gifted. Also the fact that everything he’d answered was in a row. 20 was his limit for unbearably bored, and he was in first or second grade and didn’t care.

            1. And how accurate are they likely to be? I’ve no doubt they both try it, and might even think it works– but that it works, heck no.

              How many folks here can’t manage to get the same result on a personality test when we’re TRYING? 😀

            2. “How many lights?”
              “Two squared, that’s what you want me to say, right?”
              *notes in file* “Child can’t count past two, may have vision issues, because the lights are round.”

          2. I am fairly certain that if one went by the standardized tests the government would a.) not consider me a potential troublemaker (I was supernaturally well behaved as a kid/teen), and b.) probably assume I’m less smart than I am, because absymal math scores offset the really high language scores.

            Boy, would they be wrong.

            1. The ASVAB is really incredibly good at sorting people out into suitable military jobs. There’s an occasional misfit, but sorting out (this year) 80,000 Army recruits requires some other means then random selection or putting everyone in the jobs they want.

              Outside the regimented world of the military, self selection into jobs and careers is the rule. And there are a lot more failures. Also some wild successes. Home Depot started with 4 people and one store in 1979. In 1962 Lowe’s had 21 stores. Couldn’t find a number for 1979. Huge head start. Home Depot is bigger. A regimented economy would never have allowed Home Depot to start. Handy Dan, the chain that fired two of Home Depot’s founders went out of business in 1989. Their bureaucracy had decided that Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus weren’t fit to run a chain of home improvement stores and fired them in 1978.

              There’s always people willing to declare what you can do. Sometimes they’re right, often they’re wrong. Tests like the ASVAB are a little better. They’re more often right than wrong. But they’re used for sorting people into the jobs the military needs doing. You may want to be a hospital corpsman, but the test shows you’d be a good electronics tech. That same test might (actually will) also show you’d be a good corpsman, but there are more (in numbers) qualified volunteers for that than there are for electronics techs. Guess where the recruiter is going to steer you? There are a number of fields where if you’re qualified to go into them, you’re qualified for anything. And there are others that if you qualify for them, that’s it.

              1. I considered bringing up the ASVAP, but it’s a qualification test, not a determination test– it’s checking for abilities in what you’re wiling to do. (We had it in high school, so a LOT of people deliberately screwed it up. I didn’t expect to go military, but did a good job out of respect.)

                It can be one heck of a fight to get them to take “no” for an answer when you qualify for nuke, though. I literally had to almost walk out of the office!

                1. I don’t know if I could deliberately screw up a test or not. I’ve never tried. ASVAB, I don’t know what score I got, but my category was the center circle: “99 – you can pretty much do whatever you want to”.

                1. Thirty or so years ago, my son took the ASVAP. He scored in the top 1% across the board. Every recruiter in the area was after him. Until they found out he had a GED. Then they wouldn’t even take him as an enlisted man.

                  1. yep, when i went in they had changed the rules and my basic training cycle was the last one for … awhile where you could go in with no HS grad, and the last one where you could go in with a GED. Took my GED *in basic*, in addition to tutoring two of the other trainees and dong extra PT in evenings. they have rescinded and re-activated that several times since.

                  2. That would’ve been during the Clinton reductions, right?

                    Because I know when they eased up– about 20 years ago– the Navy was taking guys who had no GED and getting it for them in boot camp. My job as EPO was to tutor them. (For those curious– it wasn’t a hard job. None of them were dumb, and they were all working hard because they’d decided to DO SOMETHING and, apparently, having nothing but people who were either doing the same thing or wanted them to succeed quickly at doing it was good encouragement. Never connected that to the education system before, the other students part of the system……)

                    1. Coming out of home education The Daughter opted to go to the local technical college as a transition back into structured classrooms.  Once she got to university she noted that there was a real difference between the students in the two places.  At the university a lot of the students were only there because that was what their parents and schools had expected of them.  Most of those at the technical college were serious about their classes, having chosen to be there for a reason.

                2. For some reason after testing lead to them thinking that I would do well in the analysis of photograph reconnaissance.  Like you life got in the way and I never found out.

              2. I was a misfit. Aced all 4 categories back in 1977. And yes, they put you where the shortages are first, as long as you’re even close to qualified for them.

                I also outscored over 90% of all the officers on the AFOQT too. Just don’t have enough drive to want to boss a whole bunch of people around.

                  1. High school ROTC was fun. Drove the “counselors” nuts; they tried to keep me from getting in, then couldn’t understand why I didn’t crash and burn.

                    Their little notes, passed from school to school, had me down as a troublemaker and borderline sociopath. That their little notes might not have been true was unthinkable.

          3. Hahaha!

            “They ask the same thing many times in different ways to avoid the test being gamed.”

            “Yes, and it’s obvious as all get-out to anyone who bothers to read the questions – and what answers you really are looking for.”

            Even ox gamed those things.

            1. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Profile for the win!

              Apparently their target testees were people with the memory span of goldfish. And the questions themselves revealed a narrow focus; the vast majority were worded to try to out homosexuals, casual thieves, and people who talked to their dieties regularly…

              Wikipedia says there have been many variants of the MMPP since I took it long ago; it would be interesting to see what they think they’re testing for nowadays.

              1. Oh lordy the MMPP. In 1983 I was about to graduate from college. I had a whole bunch of Interviews, but the weirdest of all was for the NSA. That included
                1) The MMPP. 500 of the most weird fill in the bubble questions you will ever meet (and no I don’t like women’s magazines for the 5th time, And Yes I do believe in a Second coming its a tenant of basic Christian faith)
                2) A 30 minute interview with a psychologist
                3) A lie detector screening
                4) and incidentally a couple actual interviews
                5) getting moved around with other candidates in a van by a guy in civvies. But he is ripped, has exquisite posture and has hair so short you would be hard pressed to measure it. In 1983 when at least medium length hair was de riguer for anyone that wasn’t balding, and those that were balding combed it over. You can’t tell me this dude wasn’t military or ex military.

                I don’t miss having not been selected although the thought of a GMG10+ salary and a 40 year pension is (briefly very briefly) tempting .

          1. They’re there, pretending to be the stupid and ignorant Proles.
            I suspect that they were putting on the stupid for that Lower Party toff who came wandering into their local.

        2. The loud ones yes. Others lost it when reality kept changing, and still others learned how to keep head down and shuffle along.

      2. “Where are the people who hate authority.”
        Orwell didn’t have the post-collapse experience with the Soviet Union that we have, and knew nothing about the samizdat, the jokes, the casual corruption, the bureaucratic incompetence, and other regular failures of the actual state in operation.

        1. If you read his collected letters, he had a naive belief about the way people follow the government. He thought, for instance, that if the government declared the nation socialist, that would make all the working class identify their interest with its.

          1. To be fair, Orwell was warning against totalitarian governments and may have believed that having one controlling England was a greater warning than not having one controlling England.

            IE He wanted to avoid the “It Can’t Happen Here” mind-set.

          2. Yeah, but the home of socialism had moved from France to England before Orwell was born, and socialism of various sorts was yuuuuge in England during his lifetime.

          3. Yes. And he recounts many stories of bureaucratic ineptitude in his letters and essays. He seems to think “socialist” is magic, though.

      3. Look at Britain today. How many heroes like that are there now? I suspect Orwell understood his own people pretty well, and more importantly, understood what happens when the government is more concerned about squashing initiative and will among its’ citizens than it is about doing the job it was established for.

      1. I suspect that there’s a bit of a disconnect for most of them who actually get around to reading it- the same as those who praise “Brasil” or “The Killing Fields” and still advocate for Statism.
        To them, the idea that this is what big states inevitably do to people doesn’t register, because they still believe that they’re people won’t be mean like that.

      2. I suspect many of them simply haven’t read “1984”. Hence this rather embarrassing incident at The Guardian: https://twitter.com/pixelatedboat/status/824388930975916032?lang=en

        Now as a sub/copyeditor myself, I tend to think “there but for the grace of God” when these jscrewups go viral – but still, it’s hard to imagine how anyone who’d actually read Orwell;s prose could mistake that for a genuine quote, what with all the pulpy said-bookisms and exclamation marks (the poor man must have turned in his grave…)

        I wonder how many Leftists have actually read their current favourite The Handmaid’s Tale either, as it seemed to me to be a chilling critique of exactly the kind of moral relativism they promote (the tourists and European academics observing the oppressive regime and saying, oh, but it’s their culture, we mustn’t impose our values…). I seem to remember reading that Atwood had Taliban-ruled Afghanistan in mind when she wrote it (and, presumably, lefty attitudes to US intervention), though she may have jumped on a different political bandwagon more recently to promote the television series.

        1. Skimmed and/or got it indoctrinated thru school where Big Brother was a Nazi and the only negative of the world was that it wasn’t true socialism.

          Although most seem to use it as an instruction manual

        2. They’re not going to sit through an entire novel. At most, they’ll skip through looking for things to support what they already heard about it.

          Why, reading a whole novel would take *hours*! Who has time for that?!

          1. “Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism. This is what the Soviets did when they erased political dissidents from historical photos. This is what happens in George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, when a torturer holds up four fingers and delivers electric shocks until his prisoner sees five fingers as ordered. The goal is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves. For Trump, as with so much he does, it’s about simple dominance.” Hillary Clinton

    2. Yet another reason I like Brave New World more than 1984- BNW explicitly makes allowances for those types (they’re “exiled” to work in a location with others like themselves; this serves the dual goal of sending them somewhere where they won’t be social outcasts, and makes it possible to keep an eye on them away from the normals).

      1. Yes. Even in high school I saw how that allowed more margin for error. There were things that went wrong and they coped in BNW.

      2. How smart would it be to put all the misfit rebellious-asshole geniuses in one place? And then piss them off?

        1. Depends how compliant the remaining populace is. Group the dissidents together, get them built up as scapegoat, and solve with megatons

            1. You’re assuming that anyone outside the government realizes what’s going on.

              They don’t. The government stand-in basically has to spell out to the other characters that after being sent away, one particular character – who’s never quite fit in over the course of the novel – will likely be happier where he’s going because he’ll be around people like himself. No one else cares. The majority of the population is too busy having promiscuous sex, taking drugs to adjust their moods, and otherwise not worrying about anything that doesn’t affect them. Remember that the government in BNW controls by keeping everyone hedonistically focused on themselves. The place where the malcontents get sent to is viewed as the in-setting equivalent of getting reassigned to the Arctic.

              1. Evidently you don’t know enough cynical bastards. There are plenty who would NEVER allow themselves to be sent to such a place, and will make certain that whoever made those decisions paid a terrible price.

                1. You get conditioned out of THAT in the nursery.

                  Huxley allows for more errors, but all satiric dystopias assume human malleability to an inordinate degree.

    3. Dystopias, like utopias, are based on the notion that humans are infinitely malleable. They can be exalted into paragons that can live in a perfect society, or crushed into the serfs of a hellish one.

      Satiric ones, that is. Genre ones, which exist to be the Bad Guy for adventures, don’t do that.

    4. Where were the rebels (heroic or otherwise) in 1984

      Medicated.  While I completely believe that ADD is real.  Still, it occurred to me during that crazy period where it looked like just about every boy was going to be going to school on drugs this thought came to me.  It has never left.

      If that doesn’t work then comes re-education, work camps and gulags, sold as therapeutic settings and as safe places where they can be productive contributing citizens.

      For the ones who still are unmanageable, criminalized and dissapeared.

      What?  No, I really have no need to read nightmarish dystopian fiction.

  8. A lot of bad is often over exaggerated in the media.
    I’m reading now about how America was on the cusp of a violent Socialist revolution… at the turn of the 20th century. At least that’s what a lot of American leaders though.

      1. Arrow of history and scientific inevitability (rolls eyes).
        And there was a fairly common trend of Leftist radicals murdering heads of state up until WWI, so there was some reason for concern. The theory was that some Great Deed (usually killing some aristo) would upset the old order and usher in the Revolution. And if you think about it, that kind of what happened with WWI. Except the Revolution was more a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

      2. You know, there is an armory building in every city and town of a decent size in Canada, for the volunteer regiments.
        They were all formed roughly around the 1860s, the buildings put up usually between 1890 and 1910.
        Because the townspeople of means were very concerned there might be a riot or general uprising of the Lower classes.


        They spent a bunch of money, as you can see in the picture.

        So things were not all hunky-dory back in the day. They had armed men of the community on call in case the scumbags downtown might get out of order on a Friday night.

        Canada is a weirder place than y’all Americans give us credit for. ~:D

        1. I know in California at that time, Indian raids were still a thing.

          They’d become a lot more like very-specific-subrace gangs crossed with traditional Scottish brigands by that point, but they were Indian raids.

    1. The countries of Europe had dealt with various types of “civil unrest” more or less continually. Yeah, we had a couple of minor tax-related rebellions and the Civil War, but the USA had never dealt with underground, organized opposition before the socialists came over from Europe and started proselytizing.

      The Fed had *no* idea how to deal with that, and after looking at how similar situations had turned into bloody messes in Europe, were soiling their underwear at the very thought of having that sort of thing here.

      There was some *really* bad legislation passed then. And a century later, most of it is still in effect.

      1. In mild defense of Attorney General Palmer, if I’d had the porch of my house blown off and my family almost killed, I’d probably assume the guilt of those who were loudly calling for revolution, at least until proven otherwise.

  9. An old friend once told me that every generation thinks that THEIR’S is the one that finally causes “the end”, yet it never happens.

    Oddly enough… These many years later, he’s convinced that Trump is going to destroy everything. So much so, that he’s convinced that a 4.2% GDP, low unemployment, and the fact that the Fed “Had to raise interest rates”, are all the worst things in the world (the explanation on why those things are bad bad really really bad gave me a headache).

    1. I hope they keep raising the interest rates. I remember when I got out of high school in the early ’90s and opened a money market account, that the interest rate for that was 5%. More if you had more than the bare minimum I had to open it. Nowadays even though my money market has a lot more in it than it did back then, I get a 0.5% interest rate on it. I would dearly dearly love to be making 5% on my money market account again.

      Growing up, my parents told me the rule of thumb that 6% for a mortgage, 9% for a car loan, and 12% for a credit card were great rates if you could find them. I think the millennials are in for a major shock if/when the interest rates go up to those levels again.

      1. Try college loans at 4% & 6% respectively. His was $19/quarter, mine was $19/month. Interest rates on SAVINGS – 12%. Yes sure I’ll pay off that student loan ASAP so you can discount it 1%, ** snort, hee haw, snort ** all the way to the bank. In-laws were getting 15 to 18% on six month protected CD’s, about as save of retirement vehicle as you can get.

        Don’t remember what CC rates were, think rates no better, but we’ve always paid them off so don’t pay attention to them. The reward types were not present back then, or not available to everyone.

        Mortgage rates … well current payment is no larger, but a lot less of it goes for interest.

      2. I remember having a passbook savings account in the early 80s. Paid 8%. I was 8 years old or so. My folks had an adjustable rate mortgage but kept paying the original rate and paid off the house 16 years early.

      3. The main worry comes when the raise is enough to finally pop the bubble that the zirp built up. Unless industry is running well and there is actually capital underlying the economy as opposed to spyware, and tbh even then, it is a matter of when the house of cards drops.

    2. I forget what my average annual rate of return on my investment portfolio is up to now. Somewhere between 15 and 20% last time I looked. WELL above inflation.

      1. Don’t know the percentage our investments are up. Don’t follow it that close. Hubby does that. What I do know is that we pull somewhere between $24 to 48k a year depending on projects & living expenses. Figured on $2k/month on top of “pensions” & SS; it’ll drop when my SS kicks in (couple of years). But when you have to take out giant trees ($5k), redo deck ($3k), replace fence ($1k), & that doesn’t count “we are retired we can go do things now”, the amount needed varies month to month.

        What I do know is that the amount has grown more than we can/have pulled, in all the accounts.

        FYI. “Pensions” because my pension is $121/month … hey it was originally suppose to be $104/month at 65. Got it early because the company wants to get out of the pension business. Surprised they didn’t force the bulk amount on me, offered it. But I’m betting I’ll pull more than that based on mom, her siblings, & dad’s mom & sisters. Just have to make 75 & I’ll make more money (mom is 84 this year). Besides it is fun: “Hey honey, the pension deposited, my turn to pay for dinner at …”

  10. Our brains are wired for the neolithic (if that.)

    Are they. I’m serious. Why do we think evolution stopped with stone tools/agriculture/metal working/writing/glasses/cell phones.

    Do we have a lot of baggage from that period? Sure, we have brain parts that date back to no land vertebrates.

    That said I have a hard time believing, especially all the baggage and limitations, that the needs to survive and find mates and raise children who survived, hasn’t culled certain traits vital to the neolithic out while concentrating traits at least for agricultural living in many cultures.

    Worse, they’re used to being in power, and in having “privilege” for having “the correct opinions.”

    People who got by on “the correct opinions” are the ones who scare me. If the oppression LARPers get what they want and we get my best case “American Franco” (much less if we get anything worse) I expect at least a third will find new correction opinions that match the right wing dictator.

    The most likely to change are those whose “correct opinions” are just a cover for a lust for power. To those who want to be the boot a gay face is just as useful as a Christian face to get their kicks.

    1. No, but the ancient parts of our brains are the ones most difficult to deal with. I don’t think the things that we’ve gotten better at get through to the lizard brain (or the lobster brain for Petersonians.)

      1. I read several years ago that apparently we underwent a mutation about 10-12,000 years ago that seems to have made us better able to get along in larger groups, like cities.

        1. It sounds like someone trying to reconcile the pastoral paradise trope where prehistoric tribes were without sin with real humans.

          It also sounds like how a certain person who shan’t be named explains that some people are more capable of civilization than others. It’s not an *uninteresting* idea but it seems to me to rest on really weird notions of what it’s like to live in a tribe or village, how close people are to each other, and how non-existent privacy is. “Oh, look how sexually uninhibited they are and how it’s just a bodily function with no shame attached…” Well, sure, but if people only f*cked or shat when they had privacy they’d all have been picked off by wolves before puberty. But now we’re all jammed together unnaturally? What?

  11. Two things:
    First, I stand with something that I remember reading in Rand, that pity is the most horrible emotion there is. You feel it for those that are too far gone to be redeemed, that there is no hope for.
    Second, you say that most of them are not bad people. That really depends on your definition of “bad”. While I don’t have a pat definition ready here, I suspect that most of them are bad people indeed. Perhaps pleasant and kind, but bad non-the-less.
    Third (of two) I am battling off sleep and am probably being blunter than I ought and perhaps wrong.
    What say others?

    1. John C Wright breaks them down into two basic classes based on HG Wells- Morlocks and Eloi.
      The Eloi are the dupes and useful idiots who honestly think that big government is the best way to actually help people. They don’t look at Socialism in a historical context because they are ignorant of history.
      The Morlocks are those who prey upon & use the Eloi for their own gain.

    2. I’d say “nice” rather than “kind,” because “nice” is a social veneer, whereas kind comes from rather deeper-set morals. Nice can smile and be friendly and stab you in the back the moment it has a chance to, while kind might bitch and moan to your face, but would give you the shirt of their back.

      Kind can be nice, but nice is not always kind. (or, as tvtropes puts in “Good is Not Nice.”)

  12. I’m Calvinist.
    Of course they’re inherently evil! (I just don’t get to exempt myself from the category. Which takes a lot of the fun out of smiting the wicked.)

  13. We’re on our 12th cat. Of those 12 we’ve had exactly 2 where the snow/rain trick didn’t work. They were our roamers. Snow cat, plowed right into in it & kept playing, he lived to be almost 21. Rain cat started playing with the rain drops, always comes in soaked (stupid cat); he is 4. Our current other 2 rarely go outside & rarely get off the deck, let alone in the yard. Area doesn’t have the extreme weather or dangerous animals.

    As I get older, I want to house them in catico’s outside, but extremely out voted.

  14. 3- Our friends and neighbors who believe in a deterministic future and the inevitable arrow of history? Their world is getting jackhammered.

    Yeah, go watch the Googley all-hands video from right after the election. After you stop laughing (sing it with me, to the tune of Edelweiss: Schadenfreude, Schadenfreude, I can’t stop laughing thanks to you…), imagine living here where all those looneys live.

    In Silicon Valley, there are two kinds of people (…those who say there and two kinds of people, and those who don’t – No, wait, different joke, and this one’s on them…): Those who are part of the tech industry leftoid hivemind, and those who are in the closet. And for the last year and a half, the hiveminders have been getting their world jackhammered over and over and over again, pretty much continuously when their predictions, based on pure and doctrinally correct party line dogma, have failed to come true. There was no extended stock market crash. There was no war with Korea. The trade war with China hasn’t really happened. No part of the sky has fallen due to the Paris Accords being withdrawn from. Iran has not broken out and rampaged across the middle east absent the Most Holy One’s “Deal” going away. The Russkies are not rolling into Kiev due to insufficient reset buttons, nor have they moved Putin into the White House to take over. And there has not been, in spite of the brave resistive heroes at the FBI, any smoking gun (or even a water pistol) discovered to prove, well, anything at all against Teh Donald.

    And absent the predicted end of the world or deliverance via Special Prosecutor, they are still being required to bemoan and publicly denounce an economic surge and concomitant tech business boom that, in theoretical times under Proper Presidents, would be self-congratulatory full blast celebrations of the ascendancy of the Tech Supremacy, which is of course fortold by the Arrow of History (at least in the version of the gospel of Marx that’s used here).

    I’m lucky I don’t have to slave in the tech cubicles of doom anymore. Hiding my schadenfreude lamp there would take an inordinately dense basket. I’m thinking anything less than neutronium would still be letting those photons out.

    1. I had an interesting discussion after a session of watching Robert Godfrey’s Church History DVDs.

      He was discussing the Puritan colony in New England. Bunch of self selected religious fanatics, very near handpicked for fanaticism, got together and set about doing the Lord’s work. Problem was that the later generations had a more diverse range of personalities, they got worried about people going through the motions, so they set out to try and figure out how people were really thinking. Godfrey figures it did lasting damage to faith in New England. Had a fun discussion regarding similar effects of focus on external signs of belief with the state cult of the Soviets, and how Socialism really works as a faith.

      Godfrey figures the witch scare was an artifact of that same effect of the Puritan society in New England having an crisis of existential angst over the fact that the generations raised there simply were not of the same degree of fervor as that first cohort. Or rather, an effect of the stress on that society because of unmet expectations, etc… I’m too punch drunk tired to do a good job of summarizing his lecture.

      1. I’ve always thought something similar. The Puritan experiment was an attempt to build a culture similar to medieval monasteries, except they denied (or didn’t think about) the need for self-selection. They really thought if you raised ’em right, they’d all grow up to be good Puritans.

        And they panicked when that turned out not to be the case.

    2. You all can keep them living there, and keep their tentacles from out here. A lot of the powerful have gone into a parallel reality and are hell bent on making it real. Hence the increasing censorship, social manipulation, and more.

    3. And yet… with Google, (and Bing, though it was never as widely publicized), and Facebook, and Twitter, and every television network, almost all radio stations and newspapers, and illegal foreign campaign contributions, and widespread election fraud, they *still* couldn’t put Herself into the Oval Office.

      Obviously Trump had to cheat *somehow* to steal a done-deal election, and it drives them mad that they can’t understand how he managed to do it…

      Yah. Well. They *already* fired all the big guns in 2016. I don’t think they’ll do any better in 2020.

      1. Not really. Trump had outlets in Twitter, some news, and sites. They’re gonna go full China, probably after linking to some putative white supremacist. They already shadowban rep politicos

  15. On Pity,

    When I was a smidgen of little, my mother taught adults how to read. It was in the Nearby Larger Town at a boys and girls club. Also kids who were having trouble, too. I went with her to study. At the time they thought I had a learning disability (actually I do, I call it “difficulty listening to idiocy,” but that’s another story altogether).

    It wasn’t the best of neighborhoods. Some years later there was a rather large police sting that swept up dozens upon dozens of drug dealers- hard stuff, not simple pot peddlers- pimps, gang members, and the like. They recruited by having parties at the local big name hotel just outside town. There were thieves and criminals where we parked our battered little car, doing their little deals in the lot.

    Sometimes folks got harassed. The ones that came to better themselves, that is. There were a few that succumbed to the pressure, I believe. They stopped coming, anyway. At one point, after an arson burned down the crack house down the street, the owner put bars up on the windows. I’d never seen the like. Being the littlest of littles, I thought it rather interesting. Not so interesting as books, mind, but worth paying attention to.

    The harassers came in several flavors. The young men trying to act tough- they always badgered the other young men and occasionally a weaker looking old guy. The young women were several kinds of nasty, they tried to egg on violence against anyone. Snitchers that pointed out the folks just trying to sneak in, wanting to better themselves but not wanting to get caught doing it.

    One day, one of our brighter students had to be taken away in an ambulance. While it was driving away, a disreputable few were hooting and laughing. The police had been by, but “nobody seen nuthin’.” Least of all the few that hung around at all hours outside the club, smoking and making fools of themselves, picking on folks for giggles.

    A day or two went by. Maybe a weekend. That morning saw two ambulances in the club’s lot, one of them in our usual space. A half dozen or so of the disreputable sort, all sporting a bloodied bandage or in a couple of cases, stretchers and iv’s. I never found out what actually happened- rival thugs, or vigilante types, or what.

    Being so young, of course I was pleased. Of course I was. They’d gotten what they deserved. My friend’s father, not so much. Every one of them, he said, was somebody’s son or daughter. It was a sad thing that their parents didn’t care enough about them to teach them better when they were young. Sad that no one expected better of them when they were growing up. And sadder still that they didn’t try to make something of themselves, as their victims were trying to do, despite the latter suffering under the same sort of difficulties more often than not.

    When the twitter mobs come after one of their own, or when those advocating violence against *us* suffer violence, perhaps pity is an appropriate response. Even a mature one. But it is neither good nor kind to shield them from the consequences. For the innocent, sure. For those who live in breathless outrage and wicked glee whenever one of hated foes is brought low for even a moment, a smacked bottom would be more appropriate.

    1. The trouble is that the retribution doesn’t come as the gangs are ripping the fabric of society for anyone not trying to get one over on someone else, but only after there is no significant opposition. The non mobs have left and whatever they had built or tried to build been destroyed. It’s pyrrhic

      1. Complaints about gang problems in America date back at least as far back as 1839, when the mayor of New York City, Mayor Philip Hone, said: “This city is infested by gangs of hardened wretches” who “patrol the streets making night hideous and insulting all who are not strong enough to defend themselves.” [“Gangs, Crime, Smut, Violence.” The New York Times. September 20, 1990.]

  16. I’m currently reading “The Coddling of the American Mind”, which I am enjoying, and which seems relevant. They argue that an entire generation has grown up under an educational philosophy which is extremely poor. One of the tenants of this philosophy they state as “What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker” — this group of people has been carefully sheltered from anything which could challenge their beliefs or self-esteem, or take them out of their comfort zone. As a result, they freak out when things don’t happen the way they want them to. This, I think, is what we’re seeing now in the political realm.

    1. Depends on the kid. Odds have constantly confronted things that challenge both belief and self esteem, so we kind of get used to it after a while.

    2. One of the tenants of this philosophy they state as “What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker” — this group of people has been carefully sheltered from anything which could challenge their beliefs or self-esteem, or take them out of their comfort zone.

      Hm…that isn’t quite right.

      They’re beaten down if what they say or do suggests a challenge to the bad teacher’s belief or self-esteem, as are any good teachers.

      Some keep going anyways, of course. Smart kids (not to be confused with intelligence– more on the clever or sensible side) quickly learn to shut up.

      But that summary made an issue I’ve been having with folks summarizing the last two generations pretty well– thank you!

      1. They’re beaten down if what they say or do suggests a challenge to the bad teacher’s belief or self-esteem, as are any good teachers.

        Exactly this. I survived by becoming a silent bookworm and underachiever. Youngest brother finally demanded homeschooling, after his teachers in second grade labeled him a ‘problem’ because he asked too many questions. And the final straw was one that tried to convince him to NOT tell his parents that a girl in his class had punched him. When he went back to public school at the start of high school–having discovered both girls and speech and debate (and Wyoming’s freaking stupid rules set up to punish the homeschooled by making it so they couldn’t participate in extracurricular stuff)–he was well over six feet tall and confident, and had few issues. He didn’t have a lot of friends, either, because he wouldn’t play the social games and wouldn’t bow to the teachers, but he was mostly left alone. (And when the principal of the school tried on the bullying, he sicced the Wrath of the Equally Odd and Don’t-Care-About-Your-Opinion-of-Me parents on him.)

        1. I get the feeling the I ducked the early edges of this cr*p by living in a school district that, at least through middle school, had a population including the faculty of three colleges and a teaching hospital. Such parents were not cowed by Ed School drones waving their degrees and calling themselves ‘experts’. The college faculties might have been Liberal Left, but they wanted their kids to be literate, numerate, and otherwise reasonably educated and By God any Ed School twerp who condescended to them on the subject was not long for this world.

          1. living in a school district that, at least through middle school, had a population including the faculty of three colleges and a teaching hospital.

            *snrk* Oh yes, the type of people who regard Education degrees as being for people who couldn’t hack it in the Journalism program.

            There are benefits to living in a college town.

          2. My mother–herself a teacher (and a special ed teacher to boot)–used to multiple fights a year with my principals in elementary school. Alas, by the time I hit high school, there were six kids in the family, one of whom had a heart condition, three others who had severe emotional/mental issues (one of those who actively attempted to kill other siblings in the family, sigh), and so the parents’ spare energy for fighting with teachers ran out by the time the youngest hit school. (There are seventeen years between me and the youngest, so they were also just *tired* by that point).

            If I’m fortunate enough to have kids, I hope to be able to home school them. If I’m in a position to do so, sigh. (Though as someone recently pointed out to me–you don’t HAVE to homeschool your kid during the traditional hours of school, after all…)

        1. Hugo on the other hand is looking on and hoping, because it may preserve the value of the name for those who won in the past.

          1. They’ll have to rename the award after they unperson Hugo Gernsback. They’re working on Campbell now; they’ll get to Gernsback soon enough.

            1. The Hugo should be renamed the “It doesn’t matter anymore”. The Nebula should be renamed the “This doesn’t matter either”. In the vernacular they both jumped the shark long ago…

  17. Though my new environment didn’t contain … pitched street battles when you least expected them.

    No, in America today those are usually scheduled well in advance and heavily advertised. A little judicious study of FacetiousBook or lurking at certain web sites which I do not deign to name will allow the perspicacious planner to anticipate such affairs. Rumour has it that one can, with a little effort, arrange to not only get paid for attending such events but even have one’s travel and other expenses (box lunch, bail) covered.

    1. The unscheduled ones are the ones that are one or two person. Usually closer to targeted assassinations than battles.

  18. “Even in publishing where the establishment abides, there’s less and less cheese to go around, which means the other rats are turning on you.”

    Reminds me of a passage from C. Northcote Parkinson’s THE FUR LINED MOUSETRAP;

    “The cheese tastes mostly of tinfoil and is no longer even plentiful”

    It regards the ‘trap’ of trying to use the State to control the Business Cycle, but applies equally well to all efforts to apply Progressive controls to market conditions.

  19. Problem is that the craziness may not be on our side, but the opposing side is doing its best to contort the world so it is. And the best outcome if that happens is to just roll along, staying under the radar of the social stazi. The worst ends in oceans of blood, possibly instantly atomized. Maybe another chance around 2800.

    Had more but I need to sit on it.

  20. Thanx for the reassurance. I don’t believe most of them are crazy – just being driven that way by some twisted, self-serving manipulators on their group-think plantation. You can check out any time you like, but…

  21. There was no rhythm, no pattern, no pathway to adulthood.

    There isn’t in many ways now with “dependents” for insurance being aged up to 26. Add in the requests going back to 1992 (at least) by some that Presidential candidates think of us as “your children.”

    The really odd thing is somehow these ideas in this post about escaping responsibility and that line clicked in my head to explain something in the kink world. It is, perhaps, a symptom but one I think is worth noting outside the kink world.

    I have been seeing in the past week a new slash in the kink world. For those who don’t get slashes, they outline relationships. For example, back in the 70s we got the term “slash fic” for kinky fanfic with the iconic version being Kirk/Spock.

    In the kink would you see D/s, M/s for Dominant/submissive, Master/slave, There are a lot more not worth explaining how they aren’t the above two. The new one for me was CG/l for Caregiver/little.

    What is a little? It is an adult who, at least at time, identifies as a child. This is a bit different that D/g or D/b which are more leather terms. It isn’t age play.

    Littles are age play. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I wonder if people who like littles as partners are substituting for less savory desires. However, that isn’t what worries me right now (mostly because I think being in that world on either side indicates you are substituting/handling deeper issues).

    What worries me is the explosion of littles and just how damned obnoxious a lot of them are. They are seeking release from any adult responsibility. This is different from most submissives, who embrace responsibility but what it focuses on one relationship (often channeling other responsibilities through their Dominant). This is escape. This is people in foot pajamas having story time and coloring at kink events.

    Yep, coloring, just like safe spaces from nasty conservative speakers at some universities.

    That is where is worries me. In theory the kink world is someplace safe to be different from the general world. However, it reflects that world because we live in it every day. If the hot kink is escaping from adulthood completely via a relationship (as opposed to renegotiation who you are responsible to via a relationship) that means it is spreading in the outside world.

    At the same time, as Amanda discusses in her guest post today, socialism, ie “Government will be the adults”, is spreading in popularity.

    I’m not sure if its a bell weather to warn the population at large, but overnight this post clicked with my discomfort at CG/l being a new slash that seems to be exploding.

    What are we going to do with generations of 30,40, or even 50 year old children who out number the grown-ups in those generations.

    1. Oh, that IS a disturbing trend. I wondered what you meant when you mentioned “littles” before (a term I hadn’t seen used in that context before), but was afraid to ask. But a sharp rise in them? Pretty frightening.

    2. Not too farfetched since people speak of not wanting “to adult” meaning pay bills, work, etc. Plus be intriguing to know if the childhood hobbies are getting more packed.

      1. Oh, for the love of Bob aacid. And in this case Bobtheregistered!
        For the love of holy fuck childhood hobbies are always popular when a society is affluent. People get to thirty and forty and want to relieve stuff.
        And holy hell, I’ve said I don’t want to adult when waking up and facing a mountain of bills/work/house remodeling. Doesn’t mean I DON’T adult. It means I DON’T WANT TO.
        My parents made similar remarks forty years ago.

        1. THANK YOU!

          Listening to my relatives that I can remember complaining about how being responsible was a drag are now whining about nieces and nephews (or great versions of the same) who do a “WHOO-hoo! I got my taxes done two months early, #Adulting” type posts. Not evne the “adulting is a pain!” posts.

          Of course, since they didn’t have kids themselves, I’m stuck as an eternal kid to them so anything I point out breaks their brains. *eyeroll*

          1. Yeah, I had to read comments like the previous few a few times before I realized WHY some people think it’s a terrible thing, and it’s simply because it’s been turned into a single verbified catchword.

            Back in the day, a person would spend at least one whole sentence, and possibly multiple paragraphs, describing what adult thing or things they REALLY did not want to do, but now, since “adult” has been turned into a verb, it’s seen as an offense against nature or something.

        2. “What’s the use in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes?” – – Tom Baker’s Doctor.

      1. Look, a lot of these people — Herb, I’m assuming they’re younger? — never got to BE KIDS like we were kids.
        I had to fight hard for my kids not to be scheduled every inch of the way. And the pressure was crazy. In kindergarten they were telling us if the kid didn’t shape up they wouldn’t be able to go to COLLEGE.
        Then there was teachers not reminding FIRST GRADERS to turn in work, because “they have to be responsible.”
        These people have never been kids. Plus for a lot of them, raised in daycares, there might be a deep need for PERSONAL attention from “daddy” or “mommy”
        Our child care is broken. It will turn out broken adults.

          1. I’d guess it depends on the person and the kink. SOME kinks seem to be therapeutic and allow people to control their issues.
            Not me, mind. I’m … a meat and potatoes sort of woman, which is why I can write the other stuff, because it’s like writing about Martians. Doesn’t apply to me.
            BUT from friends this is what I understand.

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