Whispers, particularly malicious whispers against someone, are a terrible thing.  Anyone who has seen them to their work, winding around a workplace, a small town, or even a profession, an avocation, a political organization, knows how destructive they can be.

This is partly because human memory is not … reliable.  I did a post for PJ recently (hasn’t gone up yet or I’d link) about why it is a good idea to demand proof instead of running off and condemning people because someone’s testimony is “credible”) and frankly what I found shocked me, because human memory just plain isn’t reliable.

This is a problem, because so much of what we are and our image relies on our memories of what we did, thought, believed. Particularly for those of us who have lived a life of the mind, it is helpful to say “I believed this. I stood for this. I fought that.”

But it turns out what you remember — anything you remember, not just traumatic memories, or important ones — is porous, malleable, conformable.  Turns out things can leak in.  Particularly in terms of small incidents (stuff like someone giving you a dirty look or giving you a wide berth as they pass you in a hallway. Or even touching you in passing. Things you would not have paid attention to even if they’d happened) it’s easy to make you remember things that never happened.  This is also easy with things a long time ago, say more than ten years.  There are other things that happened and you find proof happened and you did but you have no memory at all of them. They just vanished like water off a duck’s back (on this was based the whole cult of “repression.”  I.e. you’re supposed to have repressed memories that were so traumatic you wholly walled them in.  Now, apparently it is proven this is just not true. Sure, there are memories you’ve lost forever, but they’re as likely to contain completely trivial stuff as very traumatic stuff. Your brain is just not a great recording instrument.  Of course, this is not as good for storytelling as the one great memory whose unlocking will change character and world forever. The world persists in disappointing the craftswoman in me.  First Atlantis never existed, now this.  Sigh.)  Oh, also every time you remember something it becomes contaminated with the tie you remembered it, or with something someone sitting nearby said, or with your current feelings on the matter.

It is also possible for stories you read or watched to contaminate what you remember.  You know that whole “We laughed, we cried, it became a part of us”? Pretty much.  Emotions felt at a piece of (successful) entertainment can wrap themselves around similar (or dissimilar) memories of yours and give them a different meaning.

And no, I’m not going to give links to all of this, because I did about half of them for the article which will come out eventually and it took me the best part of an afternoon.

However it turns out life would be much easier if we were just the place where falling angel meets rising ape. We are that, caught forever between spirit and flesh, but it turns out except for the individual moment, we’re half story and half dream, too, all wrapped up in the spirit and the flesh.

This not only makes it important for us to believe ourselves as part of something bigger than our individual lives (and in this post religious and post nationalist age, that is very often some crusade or other, and at the very least “virtuous” in the way the current world views virtue.  Which– never mind.  That need to be part of something bigger gave its force and its horror to both Nazis and Communists. No, nationalism wasn’t to blame for any of the long wars of the 20th century [not even the first.  It was more stupid alliances] but the need to be part of a greater whole that was going to bring paradise to Earth was in fact at the root of making normal people into monsters.  Remember that. Perhaps it is that all created things will eventually recreate the sins of angels. Who knows. But remember that. When a movement’s aims are too good to be true and promise the impossible, ignore how good it makes you feel and remember what such movements have done before.)

Because we know our own individual death is inevitable, we are susceptible to stories larger than us. We get captured in them and pulled along. Yes, sure, religion has been that, at times. And at times the narrative has been such that the story was heinous. But getting rid of religion only makes us susceptible to other, more secular stories.  Again, if someone promises you paradise made of normal human beings, in this too solid world, step back and think. Because we’ve heard and seen and read and — as a species — lived that story before.

But that impermanence of memory and that strange fluidity of humans who need to belong — that social ape frame upon which we’re built has a lot to answer for — makes whisper campaigns very effective.  You hear something about someone you work with, or even more effectively, someone you see only infrequently or meet only over the internet.  You hear they’re evil, or dangerous, or have beliefs that go against the current society’s most prized virtues, and suddenly it seems to you that you remember all sorts of things.  And you step back, and you feel the crowd must be right.

And suddenly someone with a stellar reputation, someone who’s been as honest and reputable as a human can be, someone you rather liked in fact, finds him or herself in the middle of a social desert, and finds career — and if bad enough family — falling apart.  Often with absolutely no idea why or how.  Oh, of course, usually people find other excuses for doing the person down.  And even if later on the initial malicious rumor is disproved they find reasons they were perfectly right to treat the person as they did.  Most likely by then, this person who found him or herself reviled and exhiled for no reason he or she could figure out has started lashing out, and is resentful or angry, or worse, depressed.  So it’s easy to find a reason. He/she is either hostile or lazy. You were perfectly right to treat this person badly.  Bad temperament. Hard to work with. Not someone we want around.

I know the rumors about me. I know because the writing community leaks like a sieve and is made of socially inept people, which means sooner or later someone tries to either confront me or condole with me. Which means it all comes out.

I also have shrewd guesses as to the — self interested — sources but there’s at least three, and it’s all gone mingled.

Sure, I’m hostile, lazy and occasionally hard to work with.  Or in other words, a writer. If you don’t believe me ask anyone who’s ever done a stint as an editor. I found this out when I did anthologies. Mostly we’re cranky, dissatisfied with our output, mope and sometimes lash out for no reason other than that we’ve been fighting the story in our heads and it just won’t work.  Pretty much all sane writers know we’re like that. (The insane ones view themselves as wronged angels.) We console ourselves with the thought that visual artists are worse.  I was actually surprised it was true, when I tried to buy art.

Difficult to work with and crazy beyond the norm of writers?  Well, I’ve yet to cuss out any of my editors to their faces (doing French verbs in your head helps with that) or to publish names and places, and scan in or paste the crazier parts of editorial letters and manuscript notes.  I’ve also never sued my publishers or editors, something that’s not as rare as you would think.  Oh, and I’ve never called book distributors to call them names because my book isn’t on shelves.

I’d say for a writer that counts as being fairly stable and easy to get along with.  I know that on the line level I’m actually almost supine.  Oh, you want to change was to might have been?  Tilts head sideways.  Whatever. You want to move a punctuation mark? Be my guest.  I missed punctuation class because I was sick.  Yes, each time for each of seven languages.  Shut up. It’s how I remember it.

The other stuff?  The racist, sexist, homophobic stuff?  Oh, hell.  Yeah, sure, if everything means exactly its inverse.  Does it? Or if — beyond what you believe — socialism/communism is best for minorities women and gays. Is it? Because if not, no, I’m none of those.

I am Odd, always was. I have real trouble believing the notion of race. Partly because in our village I saw someone from Africa come in, marry in, and there not being a trace that you could say “African” in her granddaughter.

Are there racial characteristics? Sure.  Mostly caused by human populations being geographically or culturally isolated and breeding with each other (probably. We aren’t actually sure, to be honest, but that’s the logical hypothesis and we’ve seen it happen in other animals.)  Does it come with mental and emotional as well as physical characteristics.  Probably.  But probably not as tightly bound to “appearance” as people tend to think.  The stereotypes we associate with races first of all vary by culture that holds them (no really.) and by time (apparently the idea that black people can’t help gambling was a racist stereotype at the beginning of the 20th century. Something I only found out by reading books written at that time for people of that time.) But more importantly humans are plastic because our memory is. We’re likely to live up down (and sideways) to stereotypes. We’re likely to be influenced by our upbringing and culture might have deeper roots than genes. And we’re very influenced by story. So if we believe our race “has always been held down” no matter how ridiculous, we’re going to be hostile and expect things to be handed to us. Regardless of what race we are.

IQ… ?  Again, part is what you do with it.  Even things like memory are trainable.  Do me a favor if you have little ones. Make them memorize poetry.  Vast tracts of poetry.  Turns out there was a reason for that. It trains you to be able to memorize things you’ll need later.  But it’s not just Anatole France that has proven that sometimes the physical apparatus has nothing to do with the IQ displayed.  Time and again (ask any brain researcher) you find people with brains so diseased or traumatized or otherwise screwed up they should not be functional have done brilliant and wonderful work. And the inverse too. Because that story part of us, that dream, that whatever you call it beyond the physical can make us brilliant or stupid more so than what we were born with.

Nature or nurture? Yes. And heaven help us, we have no idea where one stops and the other begins.

I believe in race for racially-bound genetic illnesses, and even that… meh. Sometimes they don’t go with external characteristics.

I believe there are also racial narratives which can make people act a certain way.  For some reason the 20th century decided it would get rid of all in-group positive ones, and fill it with negative ones instead, which… didn’t work so well. Blame Marx and the rush to be “oppressed” because that meant the future was yours.

I believe in individuals. And if an individual is decent — or even interesting — I couldn’t really give a good goddamn what color you are, what your features are or even if you have an accent.  (Though I have trouble understanding accents. Stop laughing.)

Sexist? Um… to an extent. Guilty as charged.  It’s grandma’s fault, see.  She taught by example more than by word, that men were very well in their professions, and perhaps, maybe, the more trustworthy ones, certain aspects of politics.  But the truth was anywhere outside their metier they were basically overgrown children with their enthusiasms and their strange fixations (in grandma’s defense, most men in the family are Odds.) Women who did all the real and important work, from finance planing to looking after kids, to real estate trading, to social positioning of the family so jobs and opportunities would come to us, were supposed to never let on that men weren’t quite the masters of the universe they thought they were.  Because, hey, look, not their fault and they were doing the best they could. Also, they were in their own way as cute as kids and puppies. Why be mean to them? Support them, help them, keep them fed and clean, and let them do what they’re good at to help you with your aims.

I’ve grown a bit before that, and I don’t view all of those roles and characteristics as solely male or female, and I, thank heavens, married a man who is a true partner and someone I can talk to. I also think my sons are fairly all-around useful, and not just in their chosen path.  Grandma wasn’t wrong for her culture and place, but seriously, I’ve gone past that.  Sometimes, though, I reflexively fall into it, and drive all three men insane, particularly in times of stress when I try to get them to get out of my way as I shoulder whatever the problem is which is likely too big for me.  Sorry guys. It happens. Childhood training abides and comes out when you crack.

However, I’m afraid these people think/say I’m sexist AGAINST women.  I’m not even sure what sense that makes.  Sure, I’m against women when acting as a mob and donning the holy cloth of victimhood, mostly because they’re letting the story get away with them.  Sure, of course, to be sure, women were very oppressed throughout history (mostly due to biology.)  But make no mistake, despite what history which only records powerful men says, so were most men.  The past was a bad place. You don’t want to go there.  But no woman alive today in the west was really oppressed.  Sure, life wasn’t all they wanted.  Yeah, tell me a story I don’t know.  They might have been abused and mistreated — as often by women as men — but those are individual ills, not group ills.

And yeah, I’ve been known to tell my fellow American women that they’re acting — as  group — like lunatics, by buying the stories spun to them.  Look, someone has to do it, and the guys are afraid to. Also I’m terribly unimpressed by those that say (or find scholarly quotes to the intent) that women like me are what keeps women in bondage.  You are not in bondage, except inside your head. You want to look at bondage, look at Islamic countries and think. The only bondage you’re in is to STORY and the story that’s being spun to you to make you part of an unthinking mob is that you’re oppressed by INVISIBLE sexism.  Look, guys, when a story depends on an invisible villain and attacks those who would disprove it, it’s not only not true, it’s incompetent. Storytellers should be better than that. I am. Even while very, very ill.

I also believe that men and women have certain, coded in the genes, differences. Always accounting for statistic variations, which means you can find individual examples that are the opposite, men are stronger, faster and better at visual thinking than women. They also tend to think in straighter lines, faster, and because of the way the brain is influenced by hormones with more assurance. Women are better able to bear pain (or weight) for a long period of time or make a great effort over a great period of time, better at verbal thinking and … more connected thinkers.  We think in weird clusters and by bizarre paths, which give us a bigger — and often more contradictory — picture than men get.  Which also means we present as slower and less confident.  But which is in many ways necessary for species survival.  Or IOW you know the thing about coming to conclusions with insufficient data? The thing that throughout the ages got called “feminine intuition”?  As much as its fun to make fun of it, there’s something to it.  Often we can’t pinpoint why but we “know” something and yet it’s true.  If you analyze our thought process getting there, you understand we used insufficient and marginally related data to make a picture which is predictive with a high degree of certainty.  Since most of the world isn’t a math equation, all variables known, this skill is invaluable.

Is it sexist to believe in those differences? Well, yeah, so is biology. I am sorry, but I’ll believe my lying eyes, not your pretty story.

Homophobe?  Are you for real? Seriously now? Can you say that without laughing?

Being an odd I spent my life falling in with other odds, and sometimes these were people who stuck out for differences other than just thinking upside down and sideways.  I’ve pretty much always had gay friends, though sometimes I wasn’t aware of their preference (nor did it matter for our association.)  I’ve found by and large they’re… people. Some are good, some are despicable. Some are smart, some are dumb, but more importantly, some I want to spend time with, some I don’t. Which is all that matters to me.

In the long scheme of things, who you like to sleep with makes absolutely no difference to me unless I’m married to you.  In which case, I hope you want to sleep with me. (So far so good.)

Unless I’m friends with both members of the couple to the same degree (happens) who my friends sleep with is always inexplicable, but if that person makes them happy, I’m happy for them and will treat the SO with the courtesy and respect due someone very important to my friend.  That’s the extent of my interest in it.

Oh, unless you mean that by hating socialism and communism I’m bad for gays.  But you know, this actually came up in a free for all yesterday, and I can’t think of a single communist country that treats gay people well (or like full citizens.)  Not one.  Totalitarianism and not being like everyone else don’t mix.

As for socialism, yeah, I know, someone is going to bring up Europe.  Europeans are polite and have a social face. I know.  I used to be one.  Whether you’re a minority or gay, if you visit the socialist (or non socialist.  Are there any?) countries of Europe, you’ll come away thinking they’re the sweetest, most accepting….

Be glad you can’t live there, as a citizen.  You’d find differently.  Warts and all, the US is the most accepting of those who are different, and that includes racial and orientation and any other differences.  Europe as a rule is way more conformist and enforces the “normal”, which no, isn’t any of us.

As for women, it depends where in Europe.  I loved how I was treated in Austria, but I was a tourist.  More southerly latitudes, your illusion in European — and you’ll think socialist, natch — enlightenment might not last out your vacation.

I believe individual freedom is best for all minorities, even that ultimate minority of one.

And I like individuals. I like them a lot. In fact, after being subjected to group attacks (mostly psychological) all through 5th and 6th grades, my love for individuals saved my life.  I started by finding them hilarious, honestly, and then went on to find some of them admirable, and sometimes to find the admirable and the despicable together and forgive the later for the sake of the first, because… who is unmixed.

I’ve never behaved badly at a convention, except once and I wasn’t on a panel then.  Someone on the panel said America was finished, and I was half out of my seat and arguing before I realized what I was doing.  I’d have behaved worse but oldest son by-adult-adoption grabbed me by the back of my coat and held me back, reminding me I was out of order.  It was one incident, okay?  And at most I planned to be vociferously argumentative.  Not even swear words.

I might be hard to work with as a writer.  I don’t know. I know there have been horrible delays the last seven or so years, mostly because I was very, very ill and didn’t know it, so I couldn’t account for it.

Edits?  I have an issue? I tend to believe whatever critique people give me, unless it’s out there, other-world outlandish.  My friends who’ve been with me in critique groups know this, which is why I’ve been forbidden by them from being in critique groups anymore. Semi-outlandish critiques I’ll buy whole, and they’ve sometimes destroyed/stopped books.

If I fight back it’s because there is no sane way to fit critique and work in the same world.  Or because someone is kicking history, because, no. I still have to be able to justify decisions made in say historical or alternate history.

Other than that, I’m more likely to be TOO compliant.

Now I know this will do absolutely nothing to counter rumors.  And the ones who think anti-Marxist means sexist, racist, homophobe will decide they were right.  Be that as it may.  There’s only so much you can do for people. Sooner or later they’ll run out of narrative, and maybe come to reality again.  Unless they find a better narrative with spiffier uniforms, and then Lord help us all.

After fifth and sixth grade where, after a point I was put in Coventry and no one would speak to me or acknowledge my existence there is very little that any social group can do to “punish” me that I can’t live with or get around.

And as for making a living? Bah. There’s indie. And so.many.names.  Catch me if you can.

Cons?  Look, remember I can see my numbers in indie.  Cons might sell me one or two books over what I’d normally sell. Maybe. Sometimes none.  They’re important for meeting with my fans, because they want to meet me. But for what they give? Too much effort, too little return.  I go to LC because I get to see most of my friends and fans in one place, all together.  It’s easier. It’s also a family trip and as the boys move away and have families of their own, that will be even more important.  Other than that? It doesn’t matter.  As the boys get more on their own and we have more money, I’ll try to do weekends here and there to see the rest of you.  I teach writing almost every week at MGC, and I’m available to talk on various online platforms. I’m not an hermit, and I don’t need a con to have a platform.

So on the whole, while I know I can’t counter the whispers, I’m lucky to be in the profession I am, when I am. It might set me back a little, and sometimes it makes me sad, but overall? Nothingburger.

All the same, I thought it was useful to point out what I actually believe and who I actually am.

So people suspicious of a narrative have a place to go to and point at.

Those who aren’t suspicious of the narrative, and who let themselves be manipulated and pushed by it?  I can’t help you.

And sooner or later you’ll find that those who live by the narrative die by the narrative.

At that point, you might think I’m an idiot, because despite everything you’ve done and said I’ll be here, ready to help and be your friend.

I’m not an idiot. I’m just tolerant of human frailty and like individuals.  I might never trust you the way I used to, but I’ll help you if I can.  You’d need to be truly heinous and have hurt my friends a lot for me never to change my mind about you.

You see, I like individuals.  And unlike grandiose narratives built of stone, or creeping whispers made of poison, individuals change, individuals surprise you, individuals can be redeemed.

And I like individuals.





382 thoughts on “Whispers

    1. fight for your right to party?
      no, wrong song…

      whats the other one?

      ehh, too long ago to remember

  1. it is a good idea to demand proof instead of running off and condemning people

    ??? Proof? You talk as if facts are not subjective, requiring context and nuance and perspective to be properly interpreted. What kind of society would we have if every accusation had to be supported by evidence beyond an oppressed victim group member’s word? How could we establish social justice in such a society?

        1. ’cause during the time of opposing all discrimination – they internallized it. Now they want THEIR discrimination, at all costs!

    1. “What kind of society would we have if every accusation had to be supported by evidence beyond an oppressed victim group member’s word?”

      How about the United States of America, June 21, 1788?

  2. Pretty much anything modified with the adjective ‘Social’, isn’t. Social Security. Social Science. Social Justice . . .

        1. I have it on good authority that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is, in fact, in Korea.

          1. *gets the giggles*

            Well….sort of….they’re still arguing about it.

            Remember that news story that got reported as “North Korea claims to have discovered a unicorn habitat” and similar?

            Well, that was actually a claim to have found a specific cave that a legendary kirin belonging to a specific king came out of, which matters to them because it would prove they were the REAL heart of Korea, because of historical claim.

            So that might not be true, either. ^.^

                1. Ol’ George slept in lots of different places.

                  Why else do you think they call him, “The Father of our Country?”

  3. “Sure, I’m hostile, lazy and occasionally hard to work with.” You, and seven billion other human beings. And that goes double for me. 🙂

    The key is being Too Lazy To Fail. (I’m absolutely convinced that story of Heinlein’s was 100% true, just not one individual.)

    1. Every now and then, you hear of more research confirming that being lazy is responsible for mankind’s success as a species.
      Not least, as in “there must be an easier way to do this…”

        1. Well, yeah. Necessity does the work of nurturing and birthing it, after laziness has planted the seed of indolence.

      1. I have always said that engineers, or those with a similar mindset, are a very special kind of lazy. No one else will spend 20 hours figuring out how to make a five-hour job easier.

        1. younger son. He’ll work like the possessed, so he never has to work again at whatever it is. I knew I was in trouble when he was two and built this complex rope and pulley thing to turn his light on and off from bed. (We lived in a victorian. There was ONE light switch. By the door.)

          1. There’s a book I read many, many years ago (like first or second grade “many” titled “A big ball of string.” The first part of the book the kid is collecting string into a huge ball, as in “taller than he is and he rolls it on the ground in front of him” big. Then he spends time wondering what to do with this big ball of string.

            In the end, he ends up sick and having to stay in bed. He then uses string from his ball to do things like turn the lights on and off, bring books from his shelf, ring a bell to indicate he needs something and a bunch of other things that I don’t remember and I’m not going to order the book to refresh my memory (it is on Amazon but then, isn’t everything?). That setting up the string for all this stuff pretty much eliminates the “stay in bed because you’re sick” is something we were apparently supposed to ignore.

            A book for future engineers, I’m thinking.

            1. And funny the way things pop up in memory (referencing your other post). I had completely forgotten about this until the reference to Robert setting up the remote controlled light switch using string jarred it loose. Not “repressed” since there’s no trauma involved. I thought it was a fun story at the time. But with nothing to bring it to mind, it got buried under other things. (And a quick search turned up the Amazon link for it and damned if I didn’t recognize the cover on sight.)

            2. Oh, I remember that one!

              I think the bit where he’s up and down and all around to set the stuff up is probably part of the joke, but it’s also possible it wasn’t thought through.

  4. When I was ten years old or so, in Grade 5, what in hindsight turned out to be one of the luckiest things in the world happened to me.

    I came into school that day and was surprised when one of my classmates grabbed me in the yard that morning; I can’t remember who it was now but I remember it was a girl and she was very assertive. “Steve,” she said, “when you go to class today, can you tell the teacher you can swim? Please?” Bemused, I agreed, and she left without explaining. This was then followed by a bunch of my other classmates snarling various things at me in the Thanks-a-lot-for-ruining-everything! vein, which again they didn’t explain. By the time lunch hour came around I was completely flummoxed, on the verge of tears, and went to ask the teacher what was going on. She promised to find out.

    In the afternoon the principal came into the class and spelled things out. Apparently, somehow a rumour had gotten started that our fifth-grade class was going to visit a public pool for a day trip of swimming — except it had then gotten cancelled because I had supposedly told a teacher I couldn’t swim. All of which was wrong on just about every level: I could swim, I had never told anyone I hadn’t or heard about this supposed trip, and it wasn’t something our school could have done anyway because like many such institutions our board had an ironclad policy against taking responsibility for supervising swimming children. In short, the entire thing had been one sheer cooked-up ball of nonsense. To this day I have no idea why I was the person blamed for it; I suspect it was simply someone grumbling it might have been me and that being the name that got picked up.

    Why do I call this lucky? Because it taught me early in life, in an absolutely unforgettable way that was still relatively harmless, never to take anything “everybody” was saying at face value, especially when it amounted to blaming or maligning someone, and always to look at the other side of the popular story; that a whole bunch of ordinary people, without being either stupid or malevolent, could nonetheless buy into complete nonsense if they simply didn’t think to check. That one reflex has done a truly astonishing amount for me; it’s why I turned decisively right in my politics some fifteen years ago, and it’s why I never believe whispers without checking for myself first (and why I err on the side of disbelieving them if I can’t).

    So please rest assured: whatever whispers are out there, you have at least one reader who isn’t buying them. (And that goes for everybody.)

      1. Well, I had the advantage that it was a Canadian Catholic school at the beginning of the 1980s, before much of the modern rot had really set in.

      2. I heard a story of someone who was rather famous for making her community amazingly rumor-free … her method was to respond to any rumor told in her presence with “Really! I can hardly believe that! Let’s (taking the rumor-monger by the arm) go talk to (the subject of the rumor) and find out!”
        … didn’t take long…

          1. Doesn’t work unless you’ve got an insanely powerful personality, and some other aces. You just get blamed for whatever rumor you dared question.

            1. I admit that my way was more along the lines of “Oh is that what they’re saying about me? Wow. That one’s true, kind of, here’s where they came up with it; that one’s false, and I’m disappointed that they couldn’t come up with something more creative than that. Let me know if they come up with anything new.”

            2. …also, I was at a Christian school that at least tried to expect us to behave as a brotherhood of believers, so no one wanted to be known as a gossip. Publicly outing them as one by forcing them face-to-face with the person they were gossiping about was probably more effective in that environment.

              1. In that case, utter cheering for both the person willing to take the social hit (short term, if the rest are sensible) and on the school ACTUALLY TAKING ACTION to promote such an environment!

    1. You know, a lot of people would just conclude that the rumor mill was wrong in this one case and continue to believe it until the end of their days.

      1. Oh, I don’t think the rumour mill is always wrong. I just don’t believe it until I check for myself.

        In this case, fortuitously, I’m already familiar with the subject. (And completely outside the communities where these whispers are occurring, so I’ve never even heard them.)

        1. It isn’t that the rumour mill is always wrong, it is that it is always rumours, thus having demonstrated no reliable connection to actual persons, events, or facts.

          Sorta like Global Warming.

  5. Have you ever read the Dick Francis book Knockdown? Not sure whether to recommend it or not; it might just depress you. However, it’s all about how a small clique can destroy careers built over a lifetime via just a few whispered rumors. In one section, there’s a beautiful chestnut horse sired by FAMOUS RACING HORSE. However, one whisper that FAMOUS RACING HORSE only sired black foals, and suddenly the horse’s value plummets like the proverbial rock.

    1. For that matter, there is “Nerve”, in which a famous TV personality sets about destroying the careers of jockeys with rumor campaigns.

  6. A personal example of confabulated memory…

    For a long, long time I had this vague memory of running through a (semi?)rural area which was no big deal except it was like I was slow-mo or lower-G. Obviously, I could not recreate that though I will admit I did have some desire to do so.

    Eventually I figured I must have dreamed this and experienced in a non-waking state. That made sense. It explained the memory and the wrongness of it in waking Reality.

    A few years ago, on a whim, I went trawling YouTube and found the probable actual source. The first part (before the boat appears) of the introduction to H. R. Pufnstuf (a show I watched back when) has Jack Wild (Jimmy) running, but slow-mo, in a(n apparently) rural setting.

    Somehow, through the years (and not that many – I had this ‘memory’ for a long time) I had ‘become’ Jack (Jimmy) and it was my experience – that never happened. I suppose it is possible I did have a dream of it as well, but I can’t state with certainty that I did or did not.

    That or I slipped Realities in the fog sometime… but that seems even less likely. There’ve been times I’ve wanted to do that, too. And as far as I am aware, I’m.. stuck here, for worse or better.

      1. I found the flute annoying, but the only nightmarish thing, for me, was the boat in the intro sequence. Somehow none of the rest of it all was nightmare fuel. It just was, if a bit odd. What that might indicate of my psychology it might be best to speculate upon. But the idea that I might be anti-$THIS_GROUP or $THAT_GROUP-phobic seems rather silly after having no issues (besides that boat.. and maybe the evil mushrooms…) with Living Island and its inhabitants.

        1. I’m not at all sure that not kniwing he was supposed to be a dragon is a sign of poor intelligence. None of Sid & Marty Kroftt’s critters looked much like anything but ambulatory mushrooms.

        2. I doubt that was a significant thing. I doubt I realized either until re-watching a bit in the last several years. And then there was the suit (which Sid & Marty won) about the first iteration of McDonald’s characters (play Guess the Species) being copies of their work:

  7. I wish to enter a caveat;

    Repressed memories are a thing. They are just a much rarer thing than the Repressed Memories Cult wanted everybody to believe. My Lady had repressed memories surface after decades, which explained a great deal. What are the signs that repressed memories are possibly real instr=ead of very likely fake?

    Simple; they are consistent with known reality.

    My Lady eventually (without either hypnosis or drug, two HUGE warning lights) recalled being molested as a child by a family member who everybody already KNEW was a creep, behaving in a way entirely consistent with his long patterns of behavior, and under circumstances that were completely believable. She had, furthermore, exhibited for years reactions that were made understandable by the recovered memories. In short, the whole thing FITS.

    Her Uncle Alexi was, and always had been, a creep. She was left alone, with inappropriate or inadequate supervision entirely too much as a child (her mother, and otherwise good person, has the mothering instincts of a brick). She has texture issues that make sense in light of the remembered incidents.


    The problem with psychiatric (or, for that matter, medical) fashion is that it all too often takes real issues and over diagnoses them all over the map. And that, in turn, convinces people that the basic issue flat out doesn’t exist.

    1. They say that REPRESSED memories are not real. Forgotten things that sometimes get remembered by random connections in the brain and explain a lot are not the same.
      IOW the memory got forgotten for whatever reason, not because SO HEINOUS. You probably forgot happy and irrelevant things too, IOW.
      I too know I forgot something traumatic, because mom thought I knew about it, and talked of it. No. Memory.Whatsoever.
      It does explain a lot, though, including why I used to throw up at the smell of someone’s cigars.

      1. “It does explain a lot, though, including why I used to throw up at the smell of someone’s cigars.”

        Ugh. I just had a flash of the Oval Office, Bill Clinton and Monica.

        Pass the brain bleach!

        1. If it’s an intense thing, cigar smoke is a problem – fortunately intense cigar smoke is ever rarer. But if it’s a milder cigar and just whiff on the breeze… I have some faint reminiscence of a grandfather.

          1. Stale cigar smoke is horrid, but I like the smell of a decent cigar freshly lit. My Dad used to smoke pipe sometimes and we’d go into the local pipe shop occasionally. It had the best smells in there, I would use it as potpourri if there was still one around.

          2. Not so faint memory for me. Grampa Pete smoked cigars and spending time with him and Gramma was fun. (Hmm, long kept memory; he passed 50 years ago.)

            No idea how cigar smoke would register now. I haven’t run across any in several years.

      2. I think a great many ‘repressed memory tharapists’ were frauds, some of them knowingly. I’m not at all sure that all ‘repressed memory’ is fraud. Certainly any ‘memory’ accessed through hypnotism or drungs is highly suspect. My Lady’s memories, which she says, and I believe, she surpressed, were dug out theough other means.

        And, as I said, they are consistent with the facts on the ground.

        My concern in splitting these hairs is that I fear that it will become a truism that “Oh, all recovered memories of abuse are fake. Everybody knows that.”

        Most, especially when there’s a fad for it? Sure. But not all. Most of the #MeToo revelatiins are (at best) piffle. I’m gonna want to see evidence. But just as I decline to automatically believe all women accusers, I refuse to automatically DISbelieve them either.

        1. Yeah – I AM sympathetic with those who’ve truly been abused in 1-on-1 situations, where there’s no proof, no way to get a sense of justice done. Spreading the injustice isn’t a solution; the tech solution of eliminating privacy (record everything) isn’t a solution. Preparing every child to properly discern circumstances and defend themselves/scream bloody murder at need would help, but is an incomplete solution.
          Simplistic to say “that’s the human condition”, but there may not be anything better — beyond honesty and sympathy afterward.

        2. No. There are lost memories. They just don’t seem to be repressed. They might have been deep sixed because kid/person had no context for them, instead of “too great a horror.”
          And it’s not me. It’s psychologists who say apparently we don’t actually repress memories.

        3. My concern in splitting these hairs is that I fear that it will become a truism that “Oh, all recovered memories of abuse are fake. Everybody knows that.”

          One way to counter would be to point out the differences in how one recovers a memory– IE, the same way you look for lost keys, “first, I was here. I am always coming through the door. My keys…were in my hand, yes. It was Monday, so I came home at hte normal time, walked in, keys in hand, and…that’s right, that’s the day the cat scattered the water feature all over the living room floor. So I cleaned it up. How exactly…Keys are on the pile of DVDs on the shelf behind the door.” Go look, keys are there.

          Vs various story telling to implant memories. (Which are very cruddy for finding keys.)

  8. “Of course, this is not as good for storytelling as the one great memory whose unlocking will change character and world forever.” – the beauty of magic or softish scifi. Insert dxm here.

    Seen whisper campaigns destroy careers because a climber didn’t want to be told they were wrong. Also get suspicion of some for who they associate with.

  9. In bondage to Story. Our chains are made of Story? That makes sense to me. And a person does seriously have to wonder if that wasn’t all on purpose.

  10. it’s easy to make you remember things that never happened.
    There was that fad sometime back for “recovering repressed memories”. The problem was, as some noted, the techniques for “recovering repressed memories” are exactly the same as those for implanting false memories. Add in the very strong correlation between “repressed memory” and “absolutely no objective corroborating evidence” and the conclusion becomes an exercise for the student.

        1. This is a test:

          blockquote markup


          The previous two words are supposed to be a blockquote.

          Another blog uses WP and blockquote works. OTOH, he might have tweaked something.

              1. Yes; the stylesheet that Sarah’s WordPress template uses includes italicization for blockquotes:

                This is blockquoted and I used no italic markup


                This is blockquoted. There is also italic and bold markup.


                This is italic and bold markup outside of a blockquote.

    1. All it takes is a team of cops taking turns harassing you without food or sleep for a couple days and most people will break down and agree to anything they say you should remember. You’ll agree you are a space alien and killed your grandmother you never knew. But they just want your confession untainted by impossible things.

      1. My youngest son, being on the spectrum, would confess to anything after being browbeaten for 10 minutes, only to get the person doing so to stop bothering him. He’s 26 now and still vulnerable.

      2. But they just want your confession untainted by impossible things.

        Amateurs. Here in California, the state Supreme Court has ruled that whether something is possible is irrelevant under the law.

    2. There is a locally very famous recent murder case in Finland where at one point the children of the accused were used as witnesses, years after the fact after they supposedly remembered something on a sailing trip with their uncle and aunt (don’t remember which one was related to the accused), during which said adults, who had been the kids’ caretakers for several years at that point, had discussed the case with them. Or possibly “discussed”. What they remembered, or maybe “remembered”, was something which made the accused sound way more guilty, and accidentally ensured she would probably never be able to get back her custody rights to her children but they would stay with their new family.

      Those kids had been very young when the murder happened. Our justice system basically used every resource to convict the wife, she said there had been an outside invader. Who knows what the truth actually is, but…

      That definitely was the fishiest thing about that case I noticed in news (never followed it all that closely, but it was all over the news at regular periods for years). And considering their testimony was taken at face value, regardless of what else might have been done with that case, and regardless of her guilt or innocence, it still made me doubt our whole justice system. Seems it’s not exactly using up to date ideas of some things.

      Sure hope that at least the forensic techniques here are.

      She was found not guilty in the end, btw, of the murder, but during the years convicted of child molestation as a different case, and yes, never got her children back, except sort of the oldest who was by then old enough to decide for herself, and seems has never confirmed anything the younger siblings have said. Their testimony was pretty crucial with that other charge too, if I remember right. I seem to have a recollection of something like satanic practices and animal sacrifice etc too the kids seem to have spoken about.

      As said, damn fishy.

      1. For some reason, made up testimony of young children always goes to satanic practices. I wonder if it’s because it’s such a mess the adults listening slot it there because it’s the only thing that even makes any sense.

          1. I think Sarah’s kids could have come up with some tales that would have made a social worker hide under her desk. While one regaled her with tales of chtonion horror, the other would be making illustrations of the gory parts…

        1. There is a strong correlation between type of ‘recovered memory’ and inclination of the therapist. Radical Feminist Therapists help ‘recover’ memories of abuse by male relatives. Believers in Satanic Ritual Abuse ‘recover’ memories of same. Believers in Alien abduction… but you get the point.

          But not all recovered memories of childhood abuse are bogus. If you have a therapist with no axe to grind (and I firmly believe that all my Lady’s therapists are in that category, with one exception we dropped like a recruit getting shut of a live grenade) then the memory may be real, and cautious steps should be taken to confirm it.

          My Lady was abused by her uncle. He was a user all his life, and the family had issues such that it was ignored. By the time I (briefly) knew him, he presented as Gay, but it became obvious to me, years before my Lady entered therapy, that he declared as Gay becuase the Straight community wouldn’t have out up with his behavior.

          He is the reason I hold that to truely qualify as Gay, one must be capable of loving SOMEBODY ELSE of the same sex. Amd I firmly believe that one of the biggest problems of the Gay community, in so far as an outsider can understand ANY of its problems, it that it needs to find a way to ostracize ostensibly Gay persons who are onky capable of self-love and who are low level predators.

  11. Are there racial characteristics?
    The people who find everything racist will say no. To find any difference except in how others were repressed and mistreated is inherently racist in their eyes. Even when the differences are trivial. We are supposed to treasure other’s culture while basically denying they have one.
    Example: When I was young black people favored big expensive cars. They liked Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs. Those sort of cars. Even when the Japanese cars were first being introduced, seeing a black person driving one was like seeing a horse in church. It made you look twice.
    I’ve found a lot of liberal people get a stiff face and disapprove of you if you assert such a racist thing. Trouble is it was TRUE.
    Now we can argue back and forth WHY. I was actually asked by such a sour faced liberal who said it more as a challenge than a serious question.
    My best bet is at the time where I was living in Akron Ohio, the black men could get very well paying jobs in the rubber shops, but there was still pretty strict red-lining keeping them from buying nice homes with that income. It was far easier to spend it on a decent car, and more attractive than buying a home in what was basically an imposed ghetto.
    The person who asked looked like they were going to break their brain since the answer not only made sense but it conformed to their assumption that any difference could not be a FAULT of the black person because – victim-hood and narrative must be maintained, just like Indians are all noble savages…
    Similarly blacks used to eat differently because they learned how to cook the cheap stuff the master let them have. A cultural thing like that has momentum. You don’t just start cooking standing rib roasts when barely able to afford it and not sure how to cook it.
    Yet when those external forces cease to exist people tend to revert to an average. I see black people driving tiny little cars now and at the supermarket I had to tell a young black woman cashier what collard greens were when I went to pay for them.
    Reality is not racist, and you just paint yourself a damn fool if you knee-jerk think like that.

    1. Collard greens aren’t food. They’re what food eats.

      For the entire time I lived with my parents they kept trying to feed them to me. And my mom would always make a big pot when I visited. “Look, I made your favorite, because you *love* collard greens!”

      “Mom, I’m thirty years old, I’m not senile yet…”

      1. Oh… and a funny story.

        A few years ago, a girl handing out samples in a grocery store walked up to me and tried to get me to take a plate of salad. When I replied with “No thanks, that’s not food, that’s what food eats.” She actually started crying. It was then that I noticed the braided hemp bracelet and the unmistakable waft of patchouli.

        Aw man… I make the cute hippy chick cry. I’m such a meanie.

        1. Wow, your hippies are still human enough to cry?

          Or was this like early 70s?

          (I couldn’t identify hippies until the mid-90s, and by that time the only thing that would make them cry is rage. Never understood the idea that pot makes you mellow….)

          1. Na, it was 2 or 3 years ago tops.

            I think there was an “animals are just furry people” vegan movement going on pretty heavily at the time, and some of the softer-headed young people took it literally.

              1. I have always been very clear about where food comes from. In fact, I took the older two fishing for the first time last weekend, and we had trout for dinner. My daughter didn’t much care for the trout, nor for watching me clean it, but that was a taste thing, not a horror thing.

      2. I like collards when cooked well and seasoned properly. Badly cooked greens are an insult to plants and to those who would eat them.

      3. The ones in the galley in Pensacola were pretty good, but they were also roughly half bacon and I think they were cooked in butter. Beyond that, tasted pretty much like my grandma’s radish greens.

        1. Yup Collard greens with burnt ends from a smoked pork butt (really a shoulder ) Yummm!!! Collard greens made properly will ward off a Vegan like a cross wards off a vampire..

    2. Yeah, family traditions (which I suspect is the level at which most of these so-called racial culture things get started) can persist for awhile.
      Old story: Husband asks wife, who’s preparing a holiday ham “why do you always cut off the small end?”. “I don’t know, Mom always did.” “Let’s ask Mom.” “Oh, child, I don’t know, your Grandmother always did.” “Let’s ask Gram.” “Oh, well – when your Grandfather & I got married we didn’t have much money, and the roaster we got was just a little too short for the hams our favorite butcher sold. Funny how you keep on doing stuff like that…”

  12. The world persists in disappointing the craftswoman in me. First Atlantis never existed, now this.

    Good News!

    ATLANTIS FOUND? ‘8.5-mile pyramid’ discovered at bottom of the ocean
    COULD this bizarre object, described as a giant ancient pyramid and found at the bottom of the sea, be a clue to the site of the mythological City of Atlantis?
    PUBLISHED: 07:16, Sat, Jun 30, 2018 | UPDATED: 17:21, Sat, Jun 30, 2018
    The structure, estimated as being between 3.5 and 11 miles across, was spotted on Google Earth in the Pacific Ocean just west of Mexico.

    A video about the discovery uploaded to YouTube has drawn vast speculation about what it could be, including an ancient sunken city, a bizarre UFO, or even an alien base.

    The “discovery” was made by Argentinian Marcelo Igazusta. …

    Okay, in the Pacific probably means it is Lemuria, which Robert E Howard reported inhabited by snake-people … could the SJWs be modern snake-people, descended from ancient Lemurians?

    1. Probably just a large diamond crystal from an exploded stellar core embedded in the sea bed.

      1. Now wouldn’t that be cool?

        Or maybe it’s a intergalactic prison for a super villain from an vastly advanced civilization that doesn’t believe in killing bad guys, just imprisoning them to go mad(er) until they are accidentally released by the primitive people of the world where they were exiled….

        1. So, where’s the alien hero who was send here to fight them in case they got released? Or the alien artifact which will turn one of the local primitives into one?

          1. The alien artifact is encased in an ancient pine somewhere in the middle of oulanka national park to be found accidentally by a lost Norwegian Metal band…

          2. Nah. Sumerian vampires animated by a spell cast by an Irish priest using a Chinese urn dating to somewhere around end of the early Zhou period. The alien blood causes them to release spores.

          1. I don’t know, a government which doesn’t do anything for two thousand years at a time sounds preferable to some alternatives.

            1. Government ain’t going to do nothing until he gets his act into gear and clears out the bureaucrats. THEN he can go back to sleep.

    2. Snakes are quiet and seldom bother anyone. SJWs would be more like howler monkeys on a caffeine jag.

    3. That’s gotta be a freakishly-shaped mountain. How would you build something that immense on Earth with stone?

      1. Last time I saw an “undersea pyramid” it was a strip chart of depth taken from a ship. Two things that immediately made it clear. The “height” was not to scale and the horizontal axis was not distance but time The ship or boat had passed over a gradually shallowing portion of the seafloor then turned around and went the other way. This produces a chart of a sea floor going up and up (ship going one way) then down and down (ship going the other) with an exaggerated Z scale that makes it look more prominent than it was. Ta da. Instant “pyramid” that’s entirely “real” but also entirely “fake.”

    4. I assumed that was Cthulhu’s dead city and said we should nuke it. From orbit, if possible. Wheel out the Tsar Bomba, there will be fried calimari for everyone.

      1. Of course if Cthulhu is like Godzilla and adsorbs the radiation and grows stronger from it…..

        1. It would be hard for him to grow stronger from the radiation after being turned into a rapidly expanding plasma cloud. This is my theory of how to handle giant evil flying squids.


          “I have the squid in my sights,” announced Gudrun evenly. “Energizing main gun… energized. I am taking the shot.”

          In her sensorium, time slowed to nearly zero as she made ready to fire. She observed from all the vantage points available to her the exact position and orientation of the immense Dark One. She was in a perfect position to fire down the entire length of the beast, from the head right to the tail. It was generating a sonic information attack, trying to break her resolve with an assault on her processors. She ignored it and checked the location of the necromancer. She did not want to kill him by accident and free all the demons. She found he was at a sufficient distance and direction to not expire from blast effects if she was careful. She made the calculations and lit the fire.

          Inside Gudrun’s 90cm main gun, deep in her domed turret, was the primary fusion chamber. Within, lasers flashed into life. First, a megawatt laser fired down the barrel of the gun, ionizing the air. Magnetic fields expelled the ionized gas as the laser burned a yard-wide hole deep into the floating monster. Gudrun’s spectrographic sensors observed the elements present and that data was added to the calculation. In the fusion chamber, a tiny pellet of hydrogen was dropped into the magnetic field. Held in the center of the chamber, the pellet was heated by the lasers until fusion temperature was reached. When the hydrogen underwent nuclear fusion to become helium, immense energy was released, heating the plasma even further. More hydrogen streamed in as Gudrun fueled the fusion reaction. The heat exploded to millions of degrees, the plasma expanded in the only direction it could, down the barrel. Gudrun’s calculations indicated less than a full second of firing was indicated. That would be the plasma energy equivalent to two megatons of TNT. She didn’t need that much. She let the fusion build for only ten milliseconds.

          The resulting beam left the barrel at 80% of the speed of light. It traveled down the tube of vacuum made by the laser and struck the demon squarely on the forehead. The forest between her and the demon was consumed in an instant, falling victim to the energy that leaked out the sides of the beam. The demon received the full two kilotons and was consumed. Its otherworldly structures were still composed of mundane matter. Heated to over a hundred thousand degrees, they volatilized. The immense creature, hundreds of feet long, became the center of an inferno of expanding gases. Confined by air pressure, the heat and damage were even more extreme than when Penelope had fired her drive at it in space. The demon was driven screaming back to the shadow realm, its binding to the mundane realm broken by sheer force.

          The destruction didn’t stop there. The beam was mostly blocked by the demon’s body, but a little, perhaps 1%, passed through. That energy met the atmosphere and super heated it for hundreds of yards before finally dissipating.

          Then there was the explosion and the shock wave. The castle, two miles from the Dark One, was battered by a force sufficient to collapse the top ten feet of its ring wall. Stones rained down into the crowds of demons still in the marshaling yard.

          All the lesser demons out in front, within a mile of the exploding cuttlefish, were simply gone. Close in they were turned to superheated combustion products, further out they were a fine pink mist.”

          And that is how you make deep-fried calamari.

          1. Actually, in one of the Derleth pastiches, a nuke was tried…. and resulted in Cthulhu re-forming after about 10 minutes. It DID get his attention.

  13. … have beliefs that go against the current society’s most prized virtues

    Okay, it’s a fair cop. I confess. I not only have beliefs which go against current society’s most prized virtues, I consider most of those prized virtues to be utter codswallop. If “Social Justice” is a virtue I’ll take vice.

    1. Young Relative was telling me about the social worker giving them The Talk about social issues and Wimmin. Young Relative in fact raged on for half an hour about said social worker being utterly insane on pretty much every point. Particularly how women should not learn self defense. That one, Young Relative nearly levitated.

      My work here is done . I can rest easy. ~:D

      1. Waitwaitwait…young women shouldn’t learn self-defense?
        Not just “shouldn’t have to learn self-defense” but “shouldn’t learn self-defense at all?”
        What possible justification is there for that?

        1. Oooh, oooh, ooh, for my sins I know a lot of lefties, so I’ve had this explained to me. “Because women should be safe no matter where or when. Learning self defense encourages rapists.” Or slightly saner “encourages us to victim blame those who don’t, and that’s oppressive.”

          1. Yep. And Larry’s post from 2014 (which I linked below) has lots of such quotes, in case anyone thinks that you’re making any of that idiocy up.

            1. The actual reasoning is, “I really feel quite safe except sometimes, and I do not want to think about those times when I am feeling safe and princess-y. So how dare you put up posters for self-defense courses that make me remember that I am not queen of all I survey, or ask me to do work and go to classes?”

              Everything that causes unapproved feelings or discomfort is evil. Athlete’s foot is probably sexist, too.

        2. The usual justification is that crime shouldn’t exist in the first place, and instead of teaching people how to avoid being a victim, you should teach the criminals not to be criminals.

          No, seriously. That’s the “thinking” behind the whole “don’t teach women self-defense” thing. Larry Correia has ranted about it before: that when he teaches women how to shoot a gun, people claim that he’s somehow acting as a rape apologist and blaming the victim. Yes, it’s that insane. Here’s a blog post of his where he quotes LOTS of such “thinking” (and yes, those are contempt quotes):


          1. It is a persuasion problem, not a teaching problem, and the left has some sort of problem with torturing criminals to death. Probably solely motivated by a racial hatred of the Plains Indians.

          2. So, while we’re teaching criminals not to be criminals (always assuming such is possible, but recognizing that teaching takes time and effort), we should just mourn all the young women who depend on having already achieved that desired end-state?
            THAT’S evil.

          3. you should teach the criminals not to be criminals.

            Lord, if ONLY that was what they advocated. Instead they advocate that crime is not a lack of personal rectitude or character, not a matter of culture or failure to respect the rights and property of others.

            No, they believe that crime is a consequence of societal injustice, of failure to fairly allocate material wealth, of unseen social forces like white privilege and historic oppression.

            Their solution to “crime” is to redefine “crime” so that only the “proper” people are guilty of committing it.

            1. So, combining their analyses & solutions: A rapist only rapes because of a repressed victim status, probably caused by being raised poor, so the way to avoid rape is to give rapists all your money.

        3. Because the world should be perfect and needs to change so women don’t have to defend themselves, or need to have tester-straws to detect knock-out-drops in their drink, and other things. So it is wrong to teach women to fight, shoot, run, or to make drink testers. Instead you need to work harder to make the world perfect.

          I really want to thump people who make that kind of argument.

          1. We ARE working to make the world perfect. Would-be criminals who are shot stop being would-be criminals and become corpses.

            1. Cops aren’t trying to overthrow the government, therefore are the enemies of all good revolutionaries. Criminals don’t like cops, therefore are the allies of all good revolutionaries. You preserve and protect your allies; hinder and harm your enemies.

                1. Well, dress it up in systiternalized misoracophobia, and you get very similar talking points to some of the criminal justice reform, excessive incarceration, decriminalization stuff.

                  Another hypothesis is that Democrats love terrorists, and that criminals are the closest readily available substitute for terrorists. That being a democrat innately translates to sympathy with terrorists, and McGovern was merely the triumph of the communist terrorist backers over the white supremacist terrorist backers.

                  There’s another hypothesis indicated by what Synova notes here:

                  What is leftism? We’ve identified the case that it is a set of religious practices. Are leftists strict on doctrine and dogma, such that they are required to endorse a specific logically consistent catechism/confession, or are they simply required to endorse leftist talking points as they encounter them, without regard for consistency? If the core practice is devotion of self to authority, even losing integrity and self respect, searching the talking points for purpose or pattern may be futile.

            2. Sounds very similar to the bumper sticker: “Don’t steal – the government hates competition”

        4. This was a government worker in a high school. Its official Ontario sex-ed boilerplate. No justification necessary.

          But, I have seen this before. See, the idea is that if we only taught men not to rape, there wouldn’t be any rape. Also that all violence is always bad, and using violence to defend yourself is wrong, wrong, wrong.

          I posted this way back in 2016 because GamerGate, and way down at the bottom is one of the regular denizens of the Vile swamp mansplaining to me how all this works.


          Young Relative is strong, and managed not to laugh like a hyena. Young Relative has had the nature of the Enemy explained, and knows not to self-identify as a target.

          At Chez Phantom we teach Sneak-Fu. Never let them see you coming.

          1. the idea is that if we only taught men not to rape, there wouldn’t be any rape
            There’s that “humans are perfectible” stupidity, again. Combined with group guilt. As long as one man raped a woman, all men have not been sufficiently ‘educated’. Tell me again how these folks are the smart ones?

            1. How’s that whole “teaching men to read” thing working out? Seems like it would be even easier than teaching them to suppress what is apparently a natural genetic predisposition.

          2. Read your old posting….

            It is unlikely that, say, two out of the gamers at my table are ever going to be guys who would assault a woman, because I would not hang around such guys. Similarly, it is unlikely that any gaming store around here would let such guys hang around. (First, because they do not want jerks like that to scare off customers, and second, because guys like that are probably also thieves, bullies, and criminals of other kinds.)

            But if the prevailing gaming culture around here were a culture of criminals, bigots, etc, obviously one finds another hobby or recruits a crew of new fellow hobbyists.

            1. And woman or man, you watch out for yourself, because that is part of living. It is not an imposition to breathe for yourself. Sometimes you can’t do it and you are grateful for help; but breathing for yourself is the default option.

              1. Yes, women dressing in “Clubbing Dress” in those parts of town are exactly like a man flashing a wallet full of money in a Bar in those parts of town. Blaming the victim for gorse stupidity yes, But the Criminal is still totally responsible.

              2. You watch out for yourself, in this life and as a general principle, because accidents happen. And if you’re prepared for accidental harm, why not use it against intended harm? (The boundary between the two can be hard to perceive in the moment.)

                1. Example:
                  At one point, my mom had to dodge a strike from a poker that left an inch-deep gouge in the door frame….from her sister.

                  Short version, mom was wearing a bulky jacket and did a series of actions not inconsistent with a thug robbing the house.

                  Her reactions were set up for “unexpected movement MOVE!” and didn’t have a short-circuit for “but I’m walking into the kitchen of my home!”

                  And it prevented a tragedy.

            2. Yeah, I’ve been wargaming, RPG’ing, etc for 30 years. I have literally NEVER encountered that sort of behavior in any of the dozens of gaming and comics shops I’ve been in.

              Phantom, you might want to reconsider your belief in stories like this in light of #MeToo, and the Kavanaugh hearings. When victimhood is valuable, there’s ample evidence that people invent claims to it.

              1. Elf and I were in one WoW guild that had predators.

                It’s the one my brother in law dragged us into… that would be the brother in law who was bouncing my sister off of the wall when he got annoyed.

                We left because the two head officers were displaying emotionally abusive/manipulative behavior towards one of the main heals, who was a serially abused and thus vulnerable woman.

                They exist, but we’re talkin’ hen’s teeth, here, and if you’re not one of the folks that attracks the predators like a rabbit’s scream you’ll probably never see them. Even if you’re GUARDING one of those folks, if they LISTEN to you, the predators will buzz off.
                It took over a year for those abusive jerks to start making a move, and even then they only kept going because the gal was ignoring the folks telling her she wasn’t bad for wanting to sleep instead of heal their raid.

                1. And the solution is to give people the ability and permission to tell abusive people to go F themselves. The solution is certainly not to group-blame everyone with the same reproductive hardware as the abuser.

                  1. Especially since the folks most effective at stopping it, if the target will let them, are guys.

                    Seriously, if these psychos were trying to make a perfect hunting grounds for predators, I don’t know what they’d do differently. Even spreading the blame means that if a predator screws up, they don’t pay the full cost– and the eternal victims both never learn “Hey! That! That’s a bad idea, don’t do it!” and blame the very folks who tell them what to avoid to keep from being victimized.

                    Loops back around to the “self defense is bad” thing, in a way.

              2. “Phantom, you might want to reconsider your belief in stories like this in light of #MeToo, and the Kavanaugh hearings.”

                For the purposes of the discussion, that being teaching women self-defense is wrong, is isn’t important whether this particular story is true or not. Its the Internet, after all. “She” could be a 60 year-old fat guy writing these articles one after the other for rent money.

                According to the story, the victim/author took this to the RCMP and got action, so for the argument I grant the claim.

                What is the -actual- incidence of attacks on women? I have no idea. No one does, because of the confluence of under-reporting and over-reporting. Absent physical evidence, there’s no way to know. Asking for physical evidence has been declared abuse in and of itself.

                For the sake of the self-defense argument, I assumed it was as high or higher than what the author claimed.

                At the end of the day, we know this stuff happens. Many women and girls suffer unwanted advances, unwanted touching and assault. It is a thing which happens. And because it happens, the Lefty assertion that women should -not- seek to learn self defense is utter and complete insanity.

                1. “According to the story, the victim/author took this to the RCMP and got action, so for the argument I grant the claim.”

                  I might have too —- except that at both state and Federal levels in the US, police departments are required by law to take action if a woman complains of being attacked. I have several friends in law enforcement, and if your wife wants you to go to jail, all she has to do is pick up the phone.

          3. I concur with suburbanbanshee and snelson re: the credibility of the article you linked in that posting. If this kind of behavior was normal in the gaming community, many of us would have heard something about it. Had the author stuck to just a single claim, it might have been plausible. But the only way that all that could happen to one person at the hands of many strangers would be for that kind of behavior to be rampant in the gaming industry. And if that were true, many of us would have heard of these things and would be able to corroborate. But that’s not the case.

            One detail that was particularly telling for me was this claim:

            It is 2009. A man at my game store has been sexually harassing me, talking about how much fun he would have raping me. When no one is in the store, he traps me against a wall and rubs his genitals against me. I call the police.

            “This is a matter for your manager. If he touches you on the street, then you can call us.” The officer hangs up.

            The owner refuses to expel the creep and fires me instead. Three years later I win a precedent-setting human rights case against him.

            What was the case? Where’s the link to the court decision? Where’s the evidence that ANY of this happened? If she had linked to the court case, there’d be at least a chance of corroborating her story. It’s the obvious thing to do… IF, that is, you’re telling the truth.

            Now, if you happen to know the 2012 court case this woman is talking about and can link to it, I’ll revise my opinion on her truthfulness. But at the moment, this smells of #MeToo envy: this woman wants to be seen as a victim, so she invents a narrative that paints her as constantly victimized.

            Oh. and note this little detail nere the end:

            (The aggressive digging into trauma is a bullying tactic meant to further silence and traumatise the victims. Do not fall for it.)

            Translation: If you press me for details that could prove my story is a lie, you’re a big fat meanie who’s harassing me! Waaaahhhh!!!!!

            This woman is a liar through and through. Don’t believe her.

            1. Thing is, I actually could believe that A. this woman is telling the truth and B. the behavior that she describes is not normal at all.

              Think about it for a moment. How many people end up in abusive relationship after abusive relationship, despite knowing what the warning signs are because they’ve personally experienced them? Ms. Garland strikes me as one of those types, which means she would experience more of the behaviors she described than normal people would.

              Whereas persons who frequent this blog–Foxfier, snelson, yourself–are probably the type of person whose “evil jerk radar” works pretty well, you surround yourself with like-minded people, and so you experience less of these behaviors than normal people would.

              There’s also, of course, the possibility that every single one of those incidents happened and they just didn’t all happen to her, and the possibility that she’s making it all up.

              (I’m not sure about that last. Every instance, in and of itself, seems depressingly plausible. Unlike the Kavanaugh accuser talking about parties where gang rape was a thing and everyone knew it.)

              1. If she hadn’t included the “if you press me for details that could verify my story, you’re an evil oppressor” sentence, I’d be more inclined to think that the “these incidents happened, but maybe to other people and/or not quite as she described them” theory might be true. But that weasel clause managed to persuade me that she is a liar through and through, who doesn’t want ANY to reveal identifiable details that might disprove her story.

                1. I meant “… to reveal ANY identifiable details …” in that last sentence, of course.

                2. The “don’t press me for details” actually makes me think she’s exaggerating/borrowing stories from others and has been smacked down before.

                  It does tilt it to the “deliberate manipulation” angle, though.

              2. *raises hand* My ‘evil jerk radar’ is crud, but I’m a shrew that looks like a mouse.

                So various abusers ‘read’ me as a mouse– a good target– and behave accordingly, and I ignore it…when it’s stuff that doesn’t matter.

                When they back me into a corner on stuff that does matter, though, I bite them. It doesn’t matter if I social-rules-wise “shouldn’t,” I do it. And it doesn’t matter if they won’t get off my back, I don’t break, I just bite harder.

                And they get pissed off, call me names, and DO NOT ESCALATE THE ABUSE. My guess is that they narrow down their “hunting” via pushing, and pushing, and pushing until they’ve got the target that keeps letting them push, and goes where it’s shoved.

                Took me a long time to figure out why so many of the folks I figured out were manipulative, abusive jerks HAD NEVER DONE ANYTHING TO ME.

                Doesn’t do any good for my social life, it isn’t something that you can really teach or even precisely describe, and it’s terrible for group harmony, but the side-benefit is nice.

              3. I figure that people try -me- on, there’s no doubt they’re going to try some little girl on. There is always somebody looking to start shit up. Always.

                Which makes the premise “teaching men not to rape” not even wrong. It would be funny, if they weren’t trying to actually do it.

          4. Given that we live in a society where rape is considered to be the unforgivable crime, something tells me that the problem is not “people think rape is okay.”

            Rapists are going to rape, which means you have a choice–you can either take precautions, or end up a victim. And who knows–if you take the right precautions, you might end up saving someone else’s bacon as well as yours.

            1. rape is considered to be the unforgivable crime

              Which is one aspect of its attraction for certain types of individual.

          1. Very.

            But one of the revelations I’ve had over the years is that basically, for the Left everything comes down to Welfare.

            You’re poor, Liberal government gives you a welfare check.

            Bad people are killing you, Liberal government takes their guns away and you are now safe.

            Bad people are raping you, Liberal government teaches them not to do that and now you are safe.

            Welfare check. They’re LAZY.

        5. You need to take one for the team. If you take precautions against being raped and murdered, you are just saying the man should rape and murder someone else.

          1. …of course, the best precaution against being raped and murdered is to kill the rapist .. which also protects everyone else. But logic is not these people’s strong point.

            1. Geeze, Alan, we can already see from the anti-vaccers that these [expletives] don’t grasp herd immunity!

        6. Purely as a thought experiment, I could understand someone coming to this conclusion if one assumes certain contexts of experience.

          Put simply, given basic size/strength/speed disparity, even a highly-trained female combatant is going to be at a distinct disadvantage against any male aggressor who is even moderately serious and/or capable himself. Assuming the absence of lethal weaponry, female self-defense skills work best to facilitate either rapid getaways from surprise attacks, or the immediate sharp discouragement / temporary incapacitation of someone who is only selfishly or drunkenly overenthusiastic rather than genuinely angry and aggressive. However, the problem is that thanks to an entirely deceptive media environment in which girls the size of Scarlett Johansson are shown regularly taking down multiple combatants twice their weight at once, many women who do moderately well in their self-defense classes might easily become convinced they can now go toe-to-toe with any man, anywhere, and deliberately put themselves in dangerous situations they mistakenly think they are now capable of handling — as if a Boy Scout, trained in the use of a fire extinguisher, now thought himself capable of rushing into a burning building along with the firefighters.

          If one has seen even only a few tragic instances of this thinking, I can see someone coming to the conclusion that it’s better to know nothing, know you know nothing, and thus work at staying out of trouble, than to know just enough to think you can now get out of trouble and thus stop being sensible about getting into it. “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” as the saying goes.

          Whether this kind of thing actually happens much, or whether this cost-benefit risk analysis holds up when more factors are introduced, I must leave to more experienced observers than myself to confirm. Certainly I have never heard of any responsible self-defense trainer who didn’t tell his female students exactly what I just said above. But if people always listened to their teachers’ warnings we’d have far fewer tragedies.

          1. Black Widow uses weapons.

            Anyhow, in my experience with karate training a large part of it is how to make very realistic assessments of your ability vs. a situation. Worry that a girl/woman will come away with even greater illusions about her ability to fight an attacker is a misplaced worry.

            1. “Worry that a girl/woman will come away with even greater illusions about her ability to fight an attacker is a misplaced worry.”

              For the most part I would agree. I just point out that it only takes seeing somebody make this mistake once, with bad consequences, to make it seem like more of a possibility than it might otherwise.

              I’ve read analogous cautions from firearms instructors, as another example, that if you’re not psychologically prepared to use your weapon, it may ultimately be more dangerous to carry it than not — if you’re up against an attacker quick, strong and determined enough to take it away from you before you can muster the wherewithal to actually shoot another human being, what might be a horrendous but surviveable attack all too often turns into a fatal one.

              1. I’ll add if you’re psychologically prepared ANYTHING can be a weapon, even if untrained.
                A GOOD self-defense instructor breaks the “oh, my, I couldn’t hurt anyone” barrier, first.
                … arguably I never had a barrier, because it comes down when I panic or berserk.

                1. When I was little, one of my bedposts (canopy bed, usually without the canopy itself) was loose and could easily be pulled out. It was always in the back of my mind in regards to an intruder.

                  That’s strange, is it?

                  1. While I was dating my then-girlfriend (now my wife), I used to drop her off at her apartment on my motorbike (really no more than a scooter) each evening around 10:00 PM. One day someone else appeared to follow her into the apartment building from the parking lot. I figured it was probably nothing, since this was an apartment building that lots of college students lived in, and it was perfectly normal for someone else to be heading home around that time. But just in case, I called her cell phone, and when I got no response, I decided to head into the apartment building myself (it was a building with a public door that anyone could enter without needing a key), prepared to respond if I heard any screaming. (Still thinking that that was an unlikely scenario, but wanting 100% certainty instead of 99% certainty that she was OK). I carried my motorcycle helmet dangling from one hand, looking casual — but inside I was thinking that this was the best weapon I had on me at the moment: closing my grip tightly would let me swing the helmet in a controlled way, and I could use it to hit any potential attacker in the head.

                    As it turned out, my now-wife was perfectly OK: the guy who had appeared to follow her in was just another college student heading home, as was the most likely scenario. I knocked on her door, got her verbal confirmation that she was fine, and headed home. The point is that I was thinking about what might happen, and taking steps to prepare for it. Had I turned a corner and come across someone assaulting her, I would have had no hesitation in my next actions, because I had mentally gamed out the scenario beforehand. This is not recommended for people prone to worry, but for people of normal mental health, it’s very valuable to think through a scenario. What would you do if someone grabbed your arm and started trying to force you into a parked car? What would you do if some spilled cooking oil in your kitchen suddenly burst into flames? What would you do if… you get the idea.

                    1. It might be good for folks who are prone to a type of worry– I know that I started worrying less after the Navy did their post-9/11-security strategy training, because now I have a set of responses.

                      I see a car “acting funny” and appearing to be trying to tail me? I know the likely attempts, can have a solution besides “look for a bright parking lot with lots of people.” (Most of them involve having the right vehicle in the first place– our homeschool bus can handle going “screw the road, hello drainage!”)

                      Incidentally, going off of the folks I’ve seen do that, I need a less interesting back window. ^.^

                    2. I knocked on her door, got her verbal confirmation that she was fine, and headed home.

                      Exactly as the guy holding the knife to her throat wanted you to do.

                2. I think most women have that same caveat in practice: my own speculation is that it’s an evolutionary mechanism designed to keep them out of any fight that isn’t an absolute last-ditch defense for the entire tribe. I’ve also speculated that this is one of the reasons women don’t, on average, enjoy competition for its own sake as much as men do — if the prize for any given competition is seen as worth competing for at all, it almost always becomes important enough that there’s no room for play or fun in that competition.

                  Needless to say, of course, this amounts to a different learning curve, not an absolute limit — anyone is capable of true sportsmanship — but this has always struck me as plausibly convincing, at least. (I’m partly biased by the example of my wife, who avoids any kind of competitive game precisely because she hates losing so badly — she’s mature enough not to be a sore loser directly, but she has almost no knack for enjoying a contest for its own sake regardless of who wins.)

                  The real trick is inculcating the reflex of “hurt this person controllably, in a way that’s enough to stop them but not enough to maim or kill them (unless absolutely necessary) when caught by surprise without losing your cool”. Which, to be fair, is hard enough for a great many men to learn, and it doesn’t strike me as impossible that a teacher might say to a would-be student, “Look — I can teach you the moves, but I don’t think I can get the mindset across to you, and without that, this knowledge will only make things more dangerous for you, not less.”

                  1. If I KNOW I’m going to lose (for instance a hand eye coordination contest) then it’s no fun.
                    OTOH I loved mini golf with the guys and lost 99.9% of the time.
                    But removing scoring made it no fun.

                    1. I don’t enjoy competition either, whether board, card, or physical. The former 2, as a family, yes, just didn’t play “hard”, kid loved it when he won & wasn’t “let win”, like many do with children.

                      My normal idea of “competition is “you win, I’m done.”

                      I remember a company “team building” function, pizza (which I couldn’t eat anyway) & bowling; where “you win, I’m done” wouldn’t work. I can’t bowl worth a darn without bumpers in place. Couple of ironic incidents that day.

                      1) We were paired outside of our work groups, as to “get to know others you don’t work with” – I was paired with someone I’d worked with for 6 years at a prior company. Since names were drawn & paired on the spot, & nobody knew we’d worked together … Neither of us confessed either …

                      2) I bowled well that day. Didn’t break any bowling records, unless you count mine, which I smashed. Everyone near by kept saying ringer (we were suppose to forthcoming on our ability to handicap those with better skills …). I wasn’t even trying that hard. I told my partner up front I was lousy, just have fun … Just wasn’t as lousy as normal. Could never reproduce that on a bet ever again, but must admit, it was fun to not do horrible for once.

              2. Mental rehearsal is perhaps the most important part of preparing to meet an emergency. In defense, needs to include the moral-limits review.

                1. My lengthy comment of 4:12 PM boils down to what you just said. If brevity is the soul of wit, my wit appears to be soulless. *grin*

                  1. Well, maxims may be easy to remember, but stories sink into us on the gut level. Both are useful.

            2. Worry that a girl/woman will come away with even greater illusions about her ability to fight an attacker is a misplaced worry.

              Any competent sensei has a duty to knock that idea out of her head.

          2. Except I’ve heard it as an objection to taking precautions against rape — including avoiding those dangerous situations

        1. Hmmmm….. no.

          Nor do they have survival-level prioritization skills.

          The local university recently published an article about “food-insecurity among college students” and used as their poster-girl someone who refused to buy food because “it didn’t make sense to spend money on something that would get used up” and “clothes and books” for school “were more important.”

          Apparently she subsists on food that her parents buy when they visit and on the generosity of friends. And probably on the cafeteria food that her meal plan entitles her to, if she lives on campus. Which, I guess, does it count as buying food.

          1. Refuses to buy food.

            See applicable video explanation below from the Wisdom of the Banned Works.


            1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I guess she’s found a store that sells ultra-durable clothes.

              Though why she would have to keep buying clothes if the ones the has never wears out….

            2. An education?

              Although these days the problems of avoiding Chinese knock-offs have become epidemic.

              A carefully handled book doesn’t get used up.

        2. This! Soooooo MUCH this!

          The Progressive Left has sex on the brain, I swear! It never occurs to them that some people simply don’t find screwing all that fascinating. Anyone who spent his (or her) life focused on anything else must have been ‘repressed’.


          1. The problem, as Jonathan Haidt demonstrated, is that the Progressive left has very little grasp of that area of value associated with purity — “Sanctity or purity: abhorrence for disgusting things, foods, actions; opposite of degradation.”

            When you look at all of the potential virus transmission vectors involved in common, “normal” sexual activity it can do a great deal to dampen one’s ardor. Start getting into the “abnormal” (or, outside of original design usage) activities and you wonder how anyone survives such behaviour.

        1. It seems to me this is reputation vs. reality: To maintain a proper social standing one has to be seen to not be a prude and embrace one’s full sexual potential across the peer group, but in real life, who has the time?

        2. A) the automobile was a great facilitator of teen sex. But non-drivers are a sizeable majority nowadays, both from states raising the driving age and from propaganda about how evil cars are.

          B) lack of privacy. While McMansions are out there, lodgers and more than one family sharing a house are becoming way more common as urban rents keep going up.

          1. C) internet por* — it requires almost zero investment either financially or emotionally, it never reports you to the social police, it is always “up for some action” and doesn’t complain that what you want to do is creepy.

        3. Seeing as the folks doing the shaming are either my age and older, or younger folks aping them, don’t have to be connected. I was willing to tell ’em to buzz off when I was a teen, it’s possible.

          I would guess the lower rates have to do with the costs becoming more obvious, and possibly some improvements in survey security– maybe not having classmates/teachers involved in the survey?

          1. It was going on in the 70s, Fox. I got called names by both guys and girls because I wouldn’t put out just because some guy wanted it. Apparently I was hurting him. You know me well enough by now to know my response….

            1. Nowadays, you can get a twitter mob up against the person who won’t put out, as long as you can claim TRANSPHOBIA — or HOMOPHOBIA, but there’s less of that, or my sample is unrepresentative.

              1. I suspect that’s where the “Aromanic, asexual” identity came from.

                It allows one to not put out, without being called a prude.

              2. I didn’t get that, much. The two or three times I got propositioned, said “no”, and they tried some varient, I said “You’re wrong. It isn’t anything impersonal; it’s YOU I don’t want to fuck.”

    2. I think that it’s important to identify the various virtues involved because it seems to me that many of them are in disguise. So I may point and shout and say “I see your devil tail hanging out the back!” but the person claiming the virtue insists that the virtue is the angel costume and how can you possibly be against it?

      For example, the virtue of equality. When a costume of equality is hanging badly off of policies and ideology that demand active discrimination on the basis of race or gender, I’m certainly not going to agree with the “most prized virtue” just so that no one accuses me of being against equality.

      1. They can stuff that bull sh*t right up the skirt of their angel costume with their dangling devil tail. Because no, racial or sexual equality doesn’t demand racial or sexual discrimination, tolerance doesn’t demand intolerance, inclusion doesn’t demand exclusion, and love doesn’t demand hate.

    3. And the idijits ignore the fact that a lot of criminals like being criminals. The gang that inspired “Goodfellas” were into crime not because of poverty, but because they loved the thrills of doing bad things, and the respect they received for being criminals.

      1. I maintain that GOODFELLAS is a subversive dark comedy. Hell, the narrator is going on about how good his life was, and the film is showing him living in a slab-foundation tract house, and hanging out in a bar I wouldn’t pee in.

  14. In the ’80s (or maybe early ’90s) there was an infamous child molestation case in my home state. Several people from a daycare were arrested, and the allege crimes were so hideous and numerous that the crime was moved several counties away. (Wikipedia says 60 miles.) The investigation was rough; people were convicted, but the convictions were overturned. The Wikipedia article says, “In retrospect, the case appeared to reflect day care sex abuse hysteria, including allegations of satanic ritual abuse, and possible conditioned testimony of children.”

    1. Satanists were everywhere in the late ’80s. I remember being in high school when the school officials and Sheriff’s Office called a press conference to debunk the rumour that there were a bunch of satanists performing rituals on high school kids at a tiny town on the edge of the county.

      1. Remember how Al Gore’s wife, Tipper Gore, was one of the leading crusaders against “the evil of satanic music”…. engaging in hysterical, hyped up, factually baseless crusades is something that Al and Tipper have in common.

        1. Yeah, most liberal/progressives don’t want to be reminded that the PMRC was Tipper Gore’s organization, not some evul right-wing organization.

  15. “we’re half story and half dream, too, all wrapped up in the spirit and the flesh”
    Does anyone else think that maybe we’re all Moorcock’s Eternal Champion? 😉

    If coming vocally and vociferously to the defense of America at a convention is behaving badly, more of us need to misbehave!

    Very interesting walk-through of B&N yesterday. I was looking for books by the plethora of indie authors that you can find on Amazon and KU and I could only find one or two books, not even a stack, of only a couple authors. Sure, I picked up the latest Honor book by Weber, and Target Rich Environment for stories by a number of my favorite authors, and even picked up an old copy of American Gods by Neil Gaiman only because it was on the reduced table and I missed the TV show. I think there’s definitely a market, not necessarily huge, for printing on demand dead tree versions of books; at least the ones people like to read more than once, or gift to their friends (and buy again when it never gets returned.)

    1. Print-On-Demand was going to be the Next Big Thing for so long it got steamrollered by “click here and read it on your tablet or phone.”

      1. Seems POD might be a good way for b&m stores to survive.
        “Come on in and print that book you just bought the rights for on Amazon.” Legal frameworks and agreements would have to be figured out. But, I’m betting you could make a model around that (if you wanted to).

        1. There ARE books you want print copies. But the price of printed versions is too high. Maybe Copy shops could get the POD machines.

          1. They better work fast. My town had five (?) copy shops at the turn of the century. Zero now.

            During the same time period, from two new and one used book stores to zero now. And maybe a dozen video stores to zero now.

          2. Given the general price/performance track of copiers, I imagine most B&N stores could afford to have one on-site, for a monthly rental fee, now or in very near future.
            Biggest tech problem is probably making it with a binding that’s acceptable to most MMPB-buying public, but a market of several thousand machines should pay for developing that. Or maybe it’s been done? Ultimately, self-service with store employee as consultant help would be best.
            Mostly risk perception and B&N business plan plasticity as issues, I’d guess… needs a direct relationship w/Amazon et al, who’ve been considered ‘the competition’, to get volume of offerings up, & foregoing the idea of buying everything through distributors (probably not needed for anything that’s shipped to them via the internet, after all).

              1. OK – http://ondemandbooks.com/images/D95_D110_EBM_Brochure_020112.pdf — looks like they have the entry-level tech problem solved. 110pgs / min for the basic book plus 4 minutes to assemble & bind. Now if someone with a large physical presence (e.g. B&N) could just be brave or flexible enough to create a business connection with a putative competitor who has a larger inventory (Amazon), & get Xerox (the Espresso Book Machine developer) to automate the customer experience to Amazon’s standards…
                Might not happen until tradpub’s in more obvious trouble than present, but somebody with reason to care should be getting ready for the marketing opportunity!

    2. The problem with indie books in bookstores other than the Zon is that distributors push trad pub books to the brick and mortar outlets but for print on demand the stores must request individual titles. And many POD authors exacerbate the problem even further by refusing returns through their POD distributor. No bookstore is going to order books that they cannot return for credit if they remain unsold.

  16. But I’m a good person, so no matter the behavior, it will only have results I desire.

    In all seriousness, however brief, I find that I have probably been lazy about changing my behavior in a positive direction so that I treat others more justly.

    We can totally convict Sarah of transphobia; transphobia is the belief that doctors should be permitted a religious exemption from being forced to euthanize transexuals.

      1. I’ve sometimes felt like my true inner essence is that of a cat.

        Unfortunately nobody buys my sense of transmogrification.

            1. By contract at instapundit, I’m only allowed to have puppy shakes, which keeps us young and health at instaquarters.
              So the cats can’t be threatened with blenders.

              1. As long as the pups in question are of the chihuahua breed or any similar annoying yappy ratlike strain, I have no problem with this.

                If you’re grinding up golden Labs, pugs or Huskies, on the other hand, I may have to have words with Professor Reynolds.

                1. Black Labs, Malamutes, Irish Setters, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Kelpies, and Scottish Terriers.

                2. I used to not like tiny little yappy dogs but what I think mostly now when I see them is… I bet a person can’t even *find* their poops!

                3. I’m not the one doing the grinding. I love pups as much as as I love cats (was raised by a tabby and a Britney Spaniel) and would not be able to. Even the yappy ones are people. Annoying, sometimes infuriating people, but people. These are, I assume “puppies of the mind”

                  1. I totally have one of the contracts to supply the puppy smoothy concentrate. Really real puppies. We had to discontinue the Pug option because of cost issues.

  17. > is made of socially inept people

    It’s not just writers. Or programmers, engineers, celebrities, or politicians…

    One thing it took me forever to realize: with very few exceptions, they’re ALL “socially inept people.” They’re just so clueless they maintain their savoir-faire while blundering through social situations like a moose in a china shop.

    1. It’s getting harder all the time to find unredacted versions of many of Mel Brooks or Mark Twain’s works. Rap music lyrics on the other hand seem to be doing just fine.

        1. Almost as much fun as the censored version of Gunny Ermey’s speech in _Full Metal jacket_. Especially when you know the point he’s trying to inflict, er, impress on the recruits.

          1. Watched Full Metal Jacket with my then-fiance a week or so before I left for the USMC. She cried for an hour. Soft thing never did understand Marines. Needless to say, the marriage sadly didn’t last the entire 6 year enlistment.

            1. Someone did a Conan the Barbarian voice over of some Star Wars Trilogy scenes by using Thulsa Doom’s lines whenever Darth Vader spoke.

        2. Worst case was one network screening where they redacted the audio of the campfire dinner scene.
          I guess when you choose to go woke you not only go broke but like the old saying says you’re doomed to repeat the history you no longer learn from because no one will talk about things that were once common in an earlier day, age, and culture.

        3. Recall the original, full, Bugs & Daffy cartoons? Particularly the “Hunters Trilogy”? I do. Heck, I recall perhaps mildly edited versions airing on Saturday morning TV in the 1970’s. It was the late 80’s or sometime in the 90’s I went looking for them again on TV and then I understood why people were calling them confusing and unfunny and such: Every gunshot had been cut. I didn’t or couldn’t check for more damage, but it would not have surprised me.

  18. “This is partly because human memory is not … reliable.”

    My memory of events and even things like movies is bendy. I check periodically with movies. A scene which I remember a certain way turns out to be… not that way. Lines spoken are different than I remember them.

    Also, things like arguments and the like are always remembered from one point of view. Mine. I don’t know what they meant to say. I don’t even know what they said, really, because I was busy thinking while they were talking. So I try not to get too wound up about things these days, on a personal front. Just not worth it, and the chance that they didn’t mean what I thought they said is large.

    The nice thing about the Internet is that you can go back and PROVE what you said, and when. This does not stop other people lying about it of course, but it does give one the luxury of proving they’re liars.

    Oddly, many seem to keep right on going with the lies regardless. I sometimes wonder what goes on in the heads of people like that. Nothing good, I expect.

    The current proliferation of willful liars and slanderers out there may be on the wane, however.


    The particulars are less important than the context. We are all wearily familiar with the SJW denunciation of [name of any popular artist here] for being anti-LGBT or, lately, insufficiently supportive. SJWs make these denunciations with impunity, they never seem to catch any blow-back for slagging artists/singers/writers or whoever they went after.

    Except this time. This time they received some return fire. Then they got all scared and pulled the writer’s name off the piece, which last I checked is still up.

    I expect this type of thing to increase. The Left has made death-threats and SWATing into mainstream tactics by using them on Republicans and other conservatives. Punch-a-Nazi is a big favorite these days. And simply everybody is a Nazi, of course.

    Well, you assholes let that genie out of the bottle, and now it is OUT THERE. We warned you not to, we begged you to think of the consequences, and you went for it anyway. I’m not going to listen to any sad stories from Lefties about how the mean people said mean things to them on the internet.

    You asked for it, you got it, Toyota.

    1. The nice thing about the Internet is that you can go back and PROVE what you said, and when. This does not stop other people lying about it of course, but it does give one the luxury of proving they’re liars.

      That’s why it is evil and promotes conflict.

      All the folks who have always been able to say “I never said that!” now have to deal with it being clear that yes, they did actually say whatever it was that they wish they didn’t, or that isn’t what they now mean to have said.

      1. I look at it as intelligence gathering. All these earnest idiots self-identifying, demonstrating their word isn’t worth the bandwidth to print it… it’s great!

        1. I hope it stays that way (“forever”), but… all things change, and pretty much all change is disruptive to someone’s preferred ways of doing things. Thus – I don’t really believe that everything on the internet, or in the ‘cloud’, will necessarily be there unchanged when I want it sometime in the future.
          Private copies of books are a _good_ thing!

      2. At one particularly toxic employer, the opposing group had control of the mail server. I got chastised for missing due dates, failing to attend meetings, and other things.

        I began printing possibly-relevant corporate email, punching holes, slamming each page with the big red date stamp, initialing each page, and putting the pages in a three-ring binder.

        Eventually I was called in to account for my “problems.” I put the binder on the table, flipped to the relevant day’s messages, and showed what I had received wasn’t the same as what was being claimed.

        The interesting thing was how everyone else – even the ones who were supposed to be on “my side” – were horrified at the sight of that binder, and I got a lecture on “improper use of the printer”…

        Paper RULES.

  19. Memory is unreliable. When I was about 7 I hit my head (had the bump until I was about 25 or so) and things are a little foggy. I remember running and jumping over these little hills around the propane tanks. The guys found me sitting on the curb next to one of the pickups petting the dog and bleeding from the head and figured I raised up under pickup, hitting my head on the open door. And I kind of remember doing that as well. Behind Oak Valley Lutheran Church, Velva, ND, you can see the area on google street view (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Oak+Valley+Lutheran+Church/@48.0606234,-100.927673,3a,60y,43.17h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFSg2ZORnpFzhwszLOYIW-g!2e0!7i3328!8i1664!4m5!3m4!1s0x52d930ed83c55467:0x48d857e1e18ce150!8m2!3d48.0606614!4d-100.9287798)

  20. Where do you start with memorizing poetry? I have been reading poetry at bedtime to my little since it sounds good. I like the flow and cadence. Gutenberg has been helpful there, providing selections of Kipling and Burns (the more unintelligible the better? Does it matter what the words mean if the toddler can’t understand them?). I am about ready to move on to a new author. Does anyone here have suggestions for where to find appropriate stuff?

    1. I would think that with toddlers it begins with things like patty-cake and Mother Goose. Unless I misunderstood, the idea is that the child memorizes and recites the poem. If you’re religious, then religious verses, too. But instead of stopping at Mother Goose keep it up and do longer stuff as they get older.

      I think that *reading* the longer stuff right along from babyhood and up is a super great idea.

      (None of this did I do with my kids, so there you go.)

        1. I like the idea of making it a point of pride when memorizing things. It gives a reason to share them. The poems feel meant to be shared. I enjoy reading them out loud more than reading silently.

        2. If you don’t do this, those poetry-socket memory engrams will just get used like mine did, to forever retain the lyrics to the Super Chicken theme song.

          1. “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.”

            (I kinda wish more people recalled Super Chicken, if for no other reason than to ‘get’ that line.)

          2. I’ve never seen Super Chicken, and I know the theme song, because it’s one of the songs my mother sang to us as children..

      1. When I was nursing Kid, I read whatever I was reading aloud to her until she was about six months old, after which I figured “The Dark Tower” was no longer suitable reading matter. My mom brought a book of childrens’ poems by when the Kid was about 14 months old; I read a page and a half, stopped for a swallow of water, and she smacked the page indignantly until I started again.

        Then Dr. Seuss happened and it was ALL over. I caught her on the sofa at age 2, making up “Cat in the Hat” fan fiction. 🙂

        1. Heck kid was correcting my pronunciation of Dr. Seuss, as soon as he could talk … not telling me how, but it was “not how daddy reeded it.” (misspelling intended). Full disclosure, it doesn’t take Dr. Seuss to trip me up with pronunciation, & dad has no problems, so … We have pictures of kid “reading” to grandpa well before kid could actual read.

    2. It doesn’t matter if the words mean anything. There is stuff like “A child’s garden of verses” and I’d start with easy stuff about cats or something, and teach them to recite it to exhibit to relatives. Make them proud of it. Dad taught me poetry and until recent health troubles I had memory-on-command. Husband never went through that and had no real ability to memorize things. I didn’t make the connection and didn’t make kids memorize poetry which I’d got in my head as “silly.”
      HOWEVER recent studies indicate that memorizing things — prayers, scripture, poetry — early on trains you to memorize.
      Poetry is just easier, particularly if rhymed. Which is why ancient epics passed by word of mouth were rhymed.

    3. I learned to memorize what I heard, then added in what I read. I still have to memorize music in “strange tongues” (Latin and German), and poetry just folds in with that. My parents would read to Sib and I, and I locked onto the word-sounds, then word-pictures.

      Kipling poems, other lyrical writers. I like story poems like “Lochinvar” by Walter Scott (part of a longer poem).

        1. It’s also awesome for getting them to memorize lesson stuff.

          I haven’t gotten most of the multiplication tables into them, but Schoolhouse Rock got threes right in!

          1. Multiplication tables? Heck, why not teach them Thermodynamics?

            Heat won’t pass from a cooler to a hotter.
            You can try it if you like but you far better notter.
            ‘Cause the cold in the cooler will be hotter as a ruler.
            Because the hotter body’s heat will pass through the cooler …

    4. How little is the little? It’s not deathless poesy, but mine loved Jane Yolen’s “Three Bears” books (Three Bears Nursery Rhymes and another one whose title I can’t remember). Very sweet and sunny without being so boring that you’ll go crazy.

      1. “How little is the little?”
        Little is 2. Loves all sorts of stories, poems and picture books. In general I’ll read the kids stuff as requested, but when it’s bedtime, it’s more about preserving my patience while he’s falling asleep, but I don’t want to read something outright inappropriate because comprehension is rapidly increasing. I’d rather skip certain poems as we approach fuller comprehensio rather than answering any awkward questions about Danny Deever or the Sergant’s wedding… (among other poems)

    5. It doesn’t seem as if anybody has mentioned Robert W Service, best known for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. His poems generally have an agreeable cadence and meter, making them congenial to the innocent ear.

      For children of all ages, the collected works of Wallace Tripp are a delight, as he provides comic illustrations of many classic poems. A Great Big Ugly Man Came Up and Tied His Horse to Me: A Book of Nonsense Verse is the book of his my family first discovered and is sadly too expensive ($35.61 HB at Amazon) to feed to a kid. He may be familiar to many as illustrator of the Amelia Bedelia books.

      As nobody understands half the words employed by Lewis Carroll, that should generate no objection to using his poems for entertaining a child.

      Shel Silverstein’s books, most notably Where the Sidewalk Ends are good poems, readily accessible for kids, helping build a twisted sense of humour through such poems as:
      Mrs. McTwitter the baby-sitter,
      I think she’s a little bit crazy.
      She thinks a baby-sitter’s supposed
      To sit upon the baby.

      1. BTW – I ought should have mentioned this poem, set to music (of a sort) by a far left folksinger:

        The Highwayman, based on the poem by Alfred Noyes

        1. Then there’s this utterly delightful eighty minutes from, of all places, CSPAN:

          Answering the question: Can Christopher Hitchens recite “Jabberwocky” from memory?

          1. And always, always there are Muppets …

            Written for the show and performer:
            Fears of Zero
            by Jerry Juhl

            Late, late at night,
            The world sleeps…
            And I am here alone,
            And here I come some nights
            To confront my fears.

            They’re here, my fears.
            They are always with me,
            Lurking, scurrying, hiding and waiting.
            They come!
            And they go.
            But though they are gone,
            They are never far.
            And here, alone at night,
            I can confront them.

            There they are, confronted fears!
            Fears of hunger, fears of pain… Ow!
            Fears of missing the last train.
            Fear of dentists always drilling,
            Fear that no one will be willing
            To see me as I know I really am.
            Once they are counted and compelled,
            They can quickly be dispelled.
            Like figments of my own imagination.

            But always…
            There are other fears.
            Fears of snakes, fears of cats,
            Fears of maitre d’s and rats.
            An irrational black terror
            That someday I may get fat.
            Fear of elevators falling
            And the taxman someday calling
            And the accidental walling of myself
            Up inside a clammy, dank old dingy cellar,
            Where the spiders weave around my tummy,
            And the worms and bugs and crawly things
            Squirm and squiggle at my person.
            Oh, I love it!
            Once they are counted and compelled,
            They can quickly be dispelled.

            But then…
            There are other fears.
            Fears of bullets, there’s a dread.
            Fear of baldness on the head.
            Fear of waking up one morning
            To discover that you are dead.
            Once they are counted and compelled,
            They can quickly be dispelled.
            Like figments of my own imagination.

            Then there is the last fear,
            Just about the time when I’m past fear.
            The one that really is final.
            It will come yours… and mine’ll.
            In the darkest of the night,
            It will come without a fight.
            It will count me and compel me,
            It will casually dispell me
            For I am just a figment
            Of its own imagination.

      2. I’d forgotten about Service. Shel Silverstein’s poems didn’t take with me in previous encounters. Thanks!

    6. Shell Silverstein has some really good stuff for younger kids. It’s fun, which makes it easier to learn and remember. As they get older you can definitely do Kipling. I believe Burns did the Shooting of Dan McGrew. My great aunt got me hooked on the Highwayman.

  21. Pretty sure the social desert around me is something I did, I’m socially inept enough to have missed *what* that was. But it makes me that much more grateful for the friends who do still talk to me.

    And what you are describing is exactly why eyewitness testimony is the worst possible evidence to have in a case. Physical evidence is concrete, tangible, objective. People? Make stuff up even when they aren’t trying to.

    1. Or in your case it could be your socially inept AND neurotic friends are dealing with crap and too tired to even talk about it. I’m aware I had an email from you, but don’t even remember WHEN and have only read the beginning, because I was dealing with crap. When I emerge, I’ll tell you about it. Though short version: career/cons/dad’s health.
      When I come up for air, I’ll try to send you a longish email. Let’s say it’s been bizarre out in Sarah-land (Or if you prefer Sarah versus the forces of evil.)

      1. You talk to me! You’re just, well, I can’t say I’m used to Sarah-Land, but I’m familiar enough with it to understand what the forces are there.

        Nah, I get neurotic. It’s Synova’s square on the floor metaphor. Too well trained that when something is off, I start thinking ‘crap, I stepped on the wrong square again, didn’t I? Oh god oh god where’s the safe square now…’. And that makes me socially inept.

        1. Oh yeah, that square. I know that square. Its the one they keep moving.

          Be sure to jump up and down on the bad square when you find it, Cedar. Stand right in the middle and dare ’em to even look at you funny.

          Personally I make sure to step on every single square. I’m difficult like that. ~:D

        2. We are trained to look for fault in ourselves and assume that’s where it is, and on one sense at least it makes sense. The fault in ourselves is the only fault we can do anything about. It’s the only thing we have a hope of controlling, if only we can figure out what we did. Which brings us to why it’s so easy to abuse the impulse.

          The corollary that I’ve noticed lately is the person so certain of their innocence that criticism is only seen as further proof that they were right all along, or why would anyone be tossing accusations at them in an effort to divert the conversation?

          So probably it’s good to seriously consider “Might this have been me?” because if it was, huzzah! the issue is under your control and can be fixed, but also and always to be objective and willing to say “the expectations involved here are unrealistic and a normal person could not avoid this and I will not beat myself up for other people’s issues.”

          1. A sense of guilt is useful (to whatever extent you’re a pragmatist) only to motivate and inform self-correction. Using it to flagellate yourself is just wrong!

            1. Yup. That too. Assuming first that your fault is truly yours, the point is how to correct that or change habits, self-correction. I don’t think there’s anything useful about emotional wallowing over it.

              And if the fault *isn’t* yours, and no matter how offended someone else may be the fault may well not be yours, being unwilling or unable to recognize that, or forced by others to wallow in it is damaging and abusive.

              Demanding that people confess and be contrite over things they are not at fault for, no matter if it’s in some spirit of… oh… wokeness or whatever idiotic thing, is abuse.

              1. And “abuse” is something the woke folk are supposedly sensitized to, so you should be able to call them out for doing it!

                1. I recently saw the construction, I didn’t do this but of course we ought to all try harder. And I just cringed because, ought we try harder? To do what? Ought we try harder to take offense? Try harder to sift through every human interaction and “call out” mistakes? Try harder to be judgmental a**holes?

                  But what was meant was that we ought to try harder to see the invisible squares on the floor so we don’t step in the wrong one.

            2. Yeah, but those of us born owing money always end up doing it. Other people use it to manipulate us. Depending on the mood I’m in, this can make me blindingly mad.

              1. and just saying “so don’t do it” doesn’t help much, does it?
                One thing, maybe: especially when ‘other people’ are involved in making it worse, a desk sign about “examine your premises” may be useful as a reminder not to get wrapped up in it?

                1. No, because it’s at the back of your mind. The sign won’t help, once the process starts. Particularly if you believe the person is in good faith.
                  Well… with me, I’m bimodal. I know I have a problem with this, so even though I can’t help getting dragged into at some point (sometimes and sometimes it takes years) something snaps and I realize someone else is exploiting this crack in my personality to take advantage of me.
                  This is the point of no-return. It’s impossible to THEN take me back to the self-blaming position. AT that point there is nothing that will even make me try to be compassionate or see the other person’s point of view.
                  Which is why I tend to leave a wake of people who thought they’d found a good thing and a good way of making me dance, and suddenly …. suddenly feel like they were savaged by a bunny slipper. (Part of it probably being that until I’m really mad the ingrained old european politeness reads to Americans as “apologetic and self-effacing.”)

                  1. Fair enough. You may find it easier to become convinced that another person is 100% in good faith and has a good basis in fact than I do. I’m skeptic enough to question whether anyone’s got 100% of the facts at the best of times, which tends to limit my friendships a bit 😦

  22. Grandma wasn’t wrong for her culture and place, but seriously, I’ve gone past that. Sometimes, though, I reflexively fall into it, and drive all three men insane, particularly in times of stress when I try to get them to get out of my way as I shoulder whatever the problem is which is likely too big for me. Sorry guys. It happens. Childhood training abides and comes out when you crack.

    That’s also from being taught (the hard way) that most of the help you’re going to get will actually make things take twice as long, and then you also owe people.

    Elf is usually not like that– he actually listens to what I say I need help with– but most of my mom’s family will decide what you mean when you say you want help with ___ and charge ahead, THROUGH the stuff that you’re working your rump off getting done along with the one job you thought you could trust them with; dad’s family will just decide what you SHOULD want help with, do that, and get pout in a very English way (sorry, very Scottish Grandma, but it’s true!) when you aren’t properly appreciative. And good luck figuring out what they think is proper.

    At least my kids have an excuse for dumping the dirty dishes into the rinse water.

    1. I had one relative who would finish my sentences for me – incorrectly. And then proceed to tell me why I was wrong. It was infuriating and it took many times of pointing out that that was what happened and he really should know better than to pretend I was that astonishingly stupid and instead just let me finish what I was actually saying.

      1. Yeah, well as you have many times asserted, Ox slow.

        Odd how many people seem to think Chris Elliot was the funny one in that family.

  23. What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

    -Robert A Heinlein

    1. Then Linus, by analogy, must be an extravert: “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand.”

      1. The edge case of extroversion, I think yes. People who want to do great things for mankind because they love everybody so much (and there may be a few whose motivation isn’t ultimately just power & control) … but can hardly stand to know any other single person well enough to take off the mask.

        1. Alan – indeed.

          But then, it appears that some of them* DO take off the masks when among themselves, as we began to see since 2007 (although it did not start then); and they are now taking the masks off in public, as we have been seeing since the Trump has blown (that surely can’t be the meaning of the phrase in Revelation aka The Apocalypse….can it????)

          *There actually are people who not only love mankind per se, but like individuals as well; they are very few.

      2. I don’t think that’s quite it. “I love mankind” and “I like individuals” aren’t really introvert/extrovert exclusive.

        I’m an introvert*. I would say that both apply to me to one extent or another. So yes, “I love mankind” because I find people fascinating on a more Macro-level. As long as I don’t have to interface with too many people at once or in a given amount of time, or have to deal with any “Energy Sucks**”, I’m perfectly happy to sit back and watch (either alone, or with one or two good, relaxed, friends). It’s that whole “too much personal interaction” thing that kills me.

        As for “I like individuals”, it seems to me that it would apply to everyone but the most dedicated of curmudgeon. Most people have at least one or two people that they like. Those people are individuals. Ergo, “I like individuals” really fits most everyone.

        I miss my token Extrovert. She moved away. She never really understood what life was really like for an introvert (no context), but she got pretty good at not being an Energy Suck, and pretty good at running interference so that I could actually enjoy an evening in a (somewhat) crowded bar. Whenever she saw anyone bothering me, she would be right there distracting them and getting them to go away. It was also interesting watching how she would work a room. Give her an hour and she would know everyone there and be friends with most of them.

        * I’ve learned how to “fake it” better than some, but it takes a toll.
        ** My fellow Introverts will understand what an “Energy Suck” is, Extroverts maybe not. My Token Extrovert never did.

        1. In another context, I have encountered the term “energy vampire” which seems to fit, but that’s perhaps an extreme case where even somewhat extrovert types notice something is amiss.

  24. But getting rid of religion only makes us susceptible to other, more secular stories religions.
    Minor fix. Because they all eventually display a god, somewhere. Even if that god is simply me.

    1. I’m always amazed when someone who is *profoundly* religious about their secular ideology insists, often loudly, that it’s not a religion because it doesn’t involve a supernatural being. As if dogma and doctrine and judgement aren’t a problem if you strip the “theos” off the “ology”.

      1. If you effectively ‘worship’ anything, including a secular belief, beyond what can be proven from evidence and strict logic, it should likely be considered a religion.
        I’m not an expert on comparative religions, but I think I’ve been told some generally recognized religious systems don’t include a creator-god; e.g. as in atheistic scientism, the Universe ‘just happened’.

      2. I’ve been told that Communism was not atheistic. (By, naturally, an atheist who wanted to rant about religious killing.)

  25. On plasticity of memory — I became convinced of that, or something like it, years ago based on a reported experiment (probably Sci. Am. in the good old days): A group of people were shown a drawing which included a convoluted closed curve and various other details; then, at several intervals afterward, with no visual refresher, asked to draw what they remembered. It lost detail with each test, until finally after several weeks it was just a simple closed curve – i.e. a badly drawn circle. Pretty much the same in every case.
    Probably, the memory retained what it thought important for the future, whether or not it actually corresponded to the individual’s values or not.
    I called that “generalization” rather than “plasticity”, but I think we’re talking about aspects of the same memory-retention process.

    1. It makes sense to remember the “basic shape” of something, even if the thing being remembered is an idea or a philosophy or an understanding of human nature… remember the basic shape. It’s efficient not to spend a lot of effort remembering odd details, at least until we’re trying to differentiate between similar things. And thus, I suppose, we get the classic child drawn “tree”.

      1. Exactly. And thus, I often remember the conclusions I came to but can’t remember the details of either fact or argument that led to them.
        The ‘basic shape’ is the generalization of the image, or discussion etc., that the brain’s working has determined is most likely to be of use in the future.

  26. Genuine plasticisity of the brain, in the sense of being able to teach an old dog new tricks, has recently (i.e., the last few decades) been shown to occur, despite the “received wisdom” to the contrary.
    This book includes some of the science, and encouraging stories of how people can train themselves to overcome brain dysfunctions.
    I highly recommend it.

    “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” by Norman Doidge. Published by Viking Adult (2007),

    1. I inadvertently did therapy for major brain injury after concussion by becoming obsessed and playing mah jong for like 3 months straight. The way it works, its similar to the therapy to create compensatory pathways. Eh.

      1. Self-medication with mah jongg … okay, now I’ve officially heard everything.
        Glad it worked, though!

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