A Myth of Humanity- A BLAST FROM THE PAST FROM FEBRUARY 2011

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*I was looking for a BFP and this one made me sigh and think “I’ve been me for a long time. As you can see, I was groping towards being a wrong fan who had wrong fun already.”

A Myth of Humanity- A BLAST FROM THE PAST FROM FEBRUARY 2011

Lately, partly because I’ve been trying to kick off whatever bug has got me since November – it keeps coming back – and because when I’m tired or sick I can’t read fiction, I’ve been reading books on the proto- Indo-European culture.

Now, you go back long enough and it’s like reading tea leaves. Oh, okay, not tea leaves. Horse’s teeth and grave sculptures. However, through all this, it is possible to get a picture – vague and confusing though it is – of our most distant ancestors.

I’m not going to play psychologist, but themes emerge from what we can salvage of the very oldest tales: sacrifice and loss, love – often not eros, but agape or family love – blood and death.

Pratchett in a lot of his books says if you go back far enough you find that almost all the old stories are about the blood. I’ll add to that. The oldest stories are about blood, death and rebirth.

I think this is part of the reason that vampires are so popular, but that’s a side line I cannot pursue right now.

One of the things that surprised me is how the themes that echoed through the oldest fragments of legends we can find are the same themes we find again and again in science fiction and fantasy: twins; quests; bringing something magical/healing back; finding who you are.

Part of this, I think, is that humans are not like other animals creatures that live in a certain way because of instinct. Humans are domesticated creatures, as much as our dogs or our cats, but we domesticate ourselves. We are at the same time Fluffy who wants to pee on the sofa and the human who stands over her and tells her no. Only the human is often embodied in a myth.

Of course a lot of us believers get a lot of our morality from religion. But that’s an overt morality. It declares itself. It says “this you shall do” and “this you shall not do” and “here you shall go” and “here you shall not.”

Useful, of course, but it’s rather like the choke chain or the owner literally standing over you to prevent you from going on the sofa. The other part is more important – you don’t go on the sofa because you know you shouldn’t. You know you shouldn’t, because you’ve internalized the experience.

I was thinking about this and it all got tied up with different generations of science fiction and fantasy. Our myths are very much part of what we think the world should be. And what we think the world should be is both fed by and feeds the myth in our head that keeps us acting the way we think humans should act.

As I said, you find a lot of the themes of our oldest myths in fantastic literature… Until, that is fantastic literature decided its more important part was not dreaming of the future – or fantastic lands – but the last part of its name “literature”. It decided its most important function was to astonish the world. In doing so, it lost track of that “what humanity should be” and of reaching back into the sense of what humanity – or our branch of it – was and has been since we’ve had words and long before we had writing.

And so the self sacrifice was lost, and the discovery, and the sense of wonder. Instead we got either purposeless rambles, or people telling us life was brutish and nasty and then you die.

This is I think, an attempt to “count coup”, i.e. to claim to be superior to the vast uncounted multitude of our ancestors who first clawed their way to civilization and to an idea that there might be something better hereafter. And I think in that attempt we – as writers and as a civilization – only make ourselves mental and moral midgets.

Do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse, a novel – and go “and your point was?” Worse, do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse a novel – and go “Uh… I followed these characters around for this long for you to either twist them beyond recognition and/or kill them? Do you ever get the impression the author veered away from the ending that could and should have been to go in search of a glitter in the weeds of disappointment and bitterness?
No, I’m not saying that happy endings or happy-go-lucky stories are the only ones worth telling. Why in heck would I? If you’ve read me, you know well that’s not my attitude. But even in the nastiest of settings it is possible to be caring, to be a hero, to fight on. Even in difficult – particularly in difficult situations – it is important to remind others of what it means to be human.
Why would a bad ending be considered more mature or deeper than a happy one, or one where the character acted honorably?

186 responses to “A Myth of Humanity- A BLAST FROM THE PAST FROM FEBRUARY 2011

  1. the themes that echoed through the oldest fragments of legends we can find are the same themes we find again and again in science fiction and fantasy

    Joey Campbell, you can kiss my grits.

  2. when I’m tired or sick I can’t read fiction

    Sadly for me, I’ve lost the ability to distinguish fiction from non-fiction. Too much observation of “the first draft of history” has me convinced that the writers are on something that makes peyote seem like Pez. The extrapolation employed by too many non-fiction writers would shame any decent SF/F author and a good many of the indecent ones.

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    What’s ironic, there was a Leftish reviewer bemoaning the increase in dystopias and wondering where the utopias had gone.

    IMO it’s as if the “wokes” don’t believe that their “beliefs” can really lead to utopias or at least lead to a better future.

    • Yep. The subconscious KNOWS.
      Also if you hate everyone and think you are always done wrong by, what hope for the future can you have? Revenge? that’s not very inspiring.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      There was a point in my life where I thought of devoting a lot of time and energy to trolling on twitter. It didn’t take much thinking to realize what that much repetitive nasty thoughts would do to my quality of life.

      What is the impact of a life practicing leftism? As a writer, presenting all those not committed to leftism as corrupt effectively means presenting the human default as being unusually corrupt. Additionally, to really feel the emotional component of religious leftism, one continually has to convince oneself that those not following the latest fad are malicious betrayers. The result of both in world building is a world devoid of goodness and decency, except for the designated fad substitute, and populated by traitors.

      • “presenting all those not committed to leftism as corrupt ”
        Thus achieving the notable inanity of imputing Original Sin to only HALF the people of the world.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Of course, some authors’ idea of “utopia” sounds very dystopian, like a certain Hugo-winners “social workers”: https://drmauser.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/message-received/?fbclid=IwAR3I7a2YqZSvsr17F8Z-h1lfR5eMv-ZgbWxspTqF-EkkuQZc_VmAPOtN93Q

    • Eh, the utopia was always a feeble genre. Lack of plot and all that.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Agree about utopias, but basically that reviewer thought that Liberal Authors could at least write interesting stories that showed nice futures with the “proper beliefs”.

        IE Showing what the future could be if their beliefs were put into practice.

        In stead, they were writing “gloom and doom” stories with the “evil conservatives” still in control.

        • Oh,yes. They say that the existence of fantasy worlds without sexual equality shows that writers are more afraid of strong women than dragons.

  4. We are at the same time Fluffy who wants to pee on the sofa and the human who stands over her and tells her no.

    Apparently the latter part, the part that says no, is sadly lacking in some of our ‘modern’ cities.  We have cities where people eliminate on the sidewalks.  (Yet in many of the same cities it is the law to pick up after your dog, go figure.)  At some point we are going to see the cumulative results of that mistake.  

    Is is possible that at some point in any advanced civilization it becomes inevitable for humans to forget the necessary basics that enabled that civilization to exist?

    • Possibly, but I think this is a wilful forgetting started by people who think if they take us back to primitive conditions the perfect communism they think existed then will come back.

    • Not quite. More like that any sufficiently advanced civilization will inevitably provide enough protections against the consequences of foolish behaviors that people will forget why those behaviors are foolish.

      • Oh great, ‘advanced civilization’ is a relaxation oscillator and it runs on foolishness in place of electrical charge.

        • So, instead of a Capacitor, it needs a Swamp. Is the element in flux a foolatron? I assume the switching element is a Coup. (I’ll leave figuring the analogs for resistance and inductance for the interested student.)

      • 60guilders has it spot on. That’s why every generation has to learn for itself the lessons of The Gods of the Copy-book Headings.

        “(Yet in many of the same cities it is the law to pick up after your dog, go figure.) ” — CACS
        Find any situation where the people with de facto power (not always de jure) are Leftists, and you will find a situation riddled with mutually exclusive ideological positions (Cognitive Dissonance doesn’t even begin to describe them).

        • Aesop, it is an unfailing characteristic of any “legal system” infested by Leftists that there will be laws that aren’t meant to be generally obeyed or evenly enforced. Ayn Rand put it rather well: “If there aren’t enough criminals one makes them.”

          We’re seeing that with the “assault weapons bans” and other gun laws in New York, CT, etc. They couldn’t care less about the 5% compliance rates; they aren’t going to do door to door confiscation. People would resist that. They’ve turned those rifles into paperweights. You won’t dare to take them to a range or anywhere public to practice with; you won’t be able to train your kids or anyone else to shoot one. And for damn sure you won’t be able to defend yourself against their Party troops like Antifa, BLM, or MS-13; even if you use a “legal” gun or anything else, the first thing that’s going to happen when the cops show up is a search. They’ll find and confiscate you illegal guns, and since you were already in the middle of committing a felony, any casualties, including your family or any neighbors, will earn you a murder charge.

          That doesn’t even count you being the subject of any angry neighbor, jealous ex, or pissed off relatives filing a red flag complaint. Guy in NJ got shot dead when his relative who didn’t like him filed one.

          Drip, Drip, Drip.

          Anyone still think it’s too early to shoot the bastards?

          • and the Antifa kiddies bragging about setting up their own army are taking pictures of themselves with non-ca-compliant weapons, and high cap magazines, clearly in CA… and nothign happens to them.

      • Rather.  

        Teaching the next generation the whys and wherefores of what we do is not always easy.  It becomes even more challenging in the face of all the apparently pressing things that need to be taught.  At some point, rather than taking the time to explain about something that has become so seemingly remote to present reality, such as the connection between walking around with bare feet and worms, people suggest that we can use that time better elsewhere.  Then people who never learned this decided to abandon their shoes they will learn the hard way. 

    • We have cities where people eliminate on the sidewalks. (Yet in many of the same cities it is the law to pick up after your dog, go figure.)

      I’m reminded of Victor Davis Hanson’s discussions of “two Californias” where you have on one hand the hyperregulated state where it’s considered a major threat to sanitation to serve donuts in a hardware store, and running in parallel to that a culture of illegals where food is sold out of the back of a pickup truck without any gloves or hairnets or even a way to wash your hands.

      • California is the apotheosis of the Liberal State, with different sets of rules for the different classes of subjects. In the top tier there are the enlightened, the Woke, for whom the only rule is “Don’t Rock The Boat.” The workers must be circumscribed by many rules, written and unwritten, to remind them of their status and accustom them to having their every least decision reviewed by Higher Authority. The bottom tier are The Mascots, those whose existence serves to provide opportunity for the Competitive Virtue Signalling with which the uppermost tier amuses itself (and which coincidentally distracts from those things which the topmost do not want to discuss with the sorts of benighted who are prone to asking rude and unanswerable questions.)

  5. Our myths are very much part of what we think the world should be.

    This was underlying the arguments made by Scott Adams in his very cogent analysis of the factors underlying the 2016 presidential race: humans don’t engage in rational thought, they operate from theories that allow them to interact with reality well enough.

    Our myths don’t have to be right, just right enough to let us survive and prosper

    And the flip side of that is they don’t have to be wrong to prevent our prospering.

    • This is kinda my idea of how physics ought to be taught.

      • Only when you’re teaching quantum theory.

        “I’m sorry, sir. You’re not allowed to bring live cats into the restaurant.”

        “That’s okay. I’m putting him in this box with a radio-isotope controlled poison gas dispenser and closing the lid.”

        “But sir. You have a live cat in the box.”

        “Actually my good man, I don’t. It’s both dead and alive at the same time. We just don’t know which!”

        • Not trying to rain on your parade, but Schrödinger’s Cat was supposed to show the illogic of quantum theory. Which is my point. Instead of saying it describes the universe, explain that it can often be used as a model to make predictions. But it’s not an accurate representation of how the universe works, which is how it was described to me in school, and why I struggled with it so much.

          • And if “observation collapses the field” why isn’t the CAT its own observer?

            • That’s kind of like my answer to the question “If a tree falls int he forest, and there’s noone there to hear it, did it make a sound?”

              It’s in a forest. Barring the impossibility if a forest completely devoid of animal life, we know that plants perceive sound. So, it made a sound. Period.

              Anyway, anyone who knows anything about the Schrödinger Breed of cat knows that as soon as the cat is unobserved by humans, it will wander off (through solid matter if necessary).

            • Richard Mcenroe

              If all that observing collapses the field, what is it doing when we aren’t looking at it? What happens if someone/thing looks at it first? What is someone/thing persuades the people around us to look at it differently?

              • Unless something is bathed in high-intensity radiation such that nothing can survive there, there is always an observer of some sort. (And if you invoke an omnipresent Deity, then even then.)

            • It’s not the observation, it’s the interaction. Witness that electron detector that causes the interference patterns in the double split experiment to vanish: it works even if no one could see the results.

          • Exactly! Statistics do not prove anything, but they can be useful both as a short-cut for things too complex to calculate and as an investigative tool to see what to look at. Statistics need a warning label.
            My wife the Chemist says she ditched statistics when she realized that it meant that there was a finite possibility that all the oxygen molecules in a room would end up in the opposite corner from her, thus suffocating her. The stat lovers say, of course, but you’ll never see it because the chance is so infinitesimal. No, the physical laws of the universe prevent that.

            • $WILDLY-IMPROBABLE-THING happens.

              “Wow, what are the chances of that happening?”

              “1:1, obviously.”

            • One of the few beeks I would like to see as required reading in all schools in the country is HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS.

              I think the utility would almost offset the awful precedent of allowing ANY requirement of all schools.

              Almost.

              • “HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS.”
                One of my graduate courses in political science was on methodology of research and how not to screw things up; this was one of the required texts. Back in the day, it was considered one part of training us to recognize shoddy studies, and not as a “how to” manual.

            • William O. B'Livion

              My wife the Chemist says she ditched statistics when she realized that it meant that there was a finite possibility that all the oxygen molecules in a room would end up in the opposite corner from her, thus suffocating her.

              Not unless it’s hellishly cold, or under enough acceleration that she’d be dead anyway.

              The problem was a model that was sufficient for what it needed to do being wrung out way past what it was built to handle.

              • Any similarities to the Global Warming climate models is purest coincidence. (And there, I’m giving undue credit to idiocy versus malice & greed.)

          • It’s okay if you rain on my parade. The plants needed watering anyway. 😉

        • One thing the philosophy of quantum physics needs is a proper three-valued logic: one with a value for “Don’t Know”, or “Maybe true and maybe false, but not definitely either”. Three valued logics do exist, but the published varieties are crippled for practical purposes. I can do better, but people who a) are sufficiently interested, b) already know enough about logic to know what I’m talking about are in extremely short supply.

          • Tri-state logic devices exist, and seem to fit this. They output in binary, but the third state is ‘X’ or Hi-Z (high impedance) which is called ‘Don’t care’… a sort of electronic (not physical) disconnection – thus multiple output devices can be connected to the same line/bus and there’s no problem so long as only one is actively driving it at any given time. Probably not what you had in mind, but there it is(n’t).

          • Nullable boolean.

          • Oh dear. A search in the Wikis of trinary logic says such a beast exists, actually as a subset of n-valued logic. Going through the preliminary section triggered a strong eye-glazing effect, so I’ll leave it to those who care more about advanced mathmagical studies than I do. Binary and analog kept bread on the table; I’m more worried about Watts, Pounds, and Newton-Meters in Current_State=Retired.

            FWIW, the article says trinary logic is used in SQL systems to deal with NULL inputs. Something else I don’t need to worry about. 🙂

            • Once upon a time I became interested in non-classical logic. The least eye-glazing varieties I found were modal logic (the logic of possibility and necessity) and three valued logic, and I re-discovered a possible connection between them. I went to the books and they all said the combination didn’t work, but they didn’t clearly explain why. I was also once upon a time interested in programming and computer science, (I discovered that I don’t love it enough for a career) and in the process took a course in finite mathematics, which wasn’t a well developed field in the 1920s when the current traditions in nonclassical logic were founded. I kept fiddling with the algebra, which was giving me interesting but incomplete results, and digging into the literature. In a dazzling flash of hindsight, (OF COURSE it must be so!!!) I not only discovered the elusive why, but how to fix it.

              Woe is me, for I have seen the elephant, and it is very much like a wall, or a spear, or a rope, or a snake, or a tree, or a fan, depending on how you look at it. The trinary logic in SQL systems is a functional piece of it, although without the whole thing, it is seriously hobbled.

              Speaking of the field of nonclassical logic alone, I am the one-eyed man in the country of the blind.

            • You know what the problem with this blog is? Same one that infected Chaos Manor when Jerry was still around. People keep bringing up words, ideas, and concepts that you just have to look up; and doggone it, you end up larnin’ something new by accident.

        • No live cats. Even cats that are also dead at the same time.

  6. Do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse, a novel – and go “and your point was?” Worse, do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse a novel – and go “Uh… I followed these characters around for this long for you to either twist them beyond recognition and/or kill them? Do you ever get the impression the author veered away from the ending that could and should have been to go in search of a glitter in the weeds of disappointment and bitterness?

    I used to get that feeling all the time from Jack Chalker’s novels; that’s why I quit reading him. I think the last thing he wrote that had anything resembling a positive ending was the “Rings of the Master” epic.

    • I have that problem with a lot of Anime; I call it the ‘You die, she dies, everybody dies’ trope. OK, I get it. The Japanese have a thing about Noble Death, as embodied in the tale of the 47 Ronin (among others). But while there are times when it’s just The Right Thing (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES), there are a lot more where it’s just fake profundity.

      • Yeah, that is often a case of “cannot think of a good ending.”

      • Well, at least Ard was specific about what he intended to happen…

        But yeah, there are times when it’s appropriate. Mick Farren’s “Last Stand of the DNA Cowboys” has made it through a dozen culling cycles. At first I was annoyed at the ending, but then… they were unredeemed petty criminals and losers; and it was appropriate in context.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Mick Farren’s “Last Stand of the DNA Cowboys” has made it through a dozen culling cycles. At first I was annoyed at the ending, but then… they were unredeemed petty criminals and losers;

          Hey, who you calling a *petty* criminal?

          • You recall to mind a fond memory from my Alma Mater, which had named the building housing the Mathematics and Statistics Department after a former head (1893-1934) of the Chemistry Department, Mary Macy Petty. Every time I heard anyone on campus refer to the Petty Science Building it was all (sometimes more than) I could do to stifle the question: “Which is the building where they do the Major science?”

          • Another Farren fan!? And I don’t think all the DNA Cowboys books were even sold in the US.

            Farren was the anarcho-hippie-dark SF writer Moorcock only aspired to be…

      • As opposed to the Battleship movie trope of, “You die, she dies, everybody dies, just not today.”

    • SheSellsSeashells

      Yup. I am STILL not speaking to Sheri S. Tepper (metaphorically) after A Plague of Angels. Twit…

      (Tepper was one of the authors I read to keep me ideologically balanced, if only through strengthening my Not Like That muscles.) “Plague” and “The Fresco” got walled so fast that I still can’t bring myself to read her.

      • I read a number of her works in a state of horrified fascination. Then I broke myself of that habit.

        • I made it through one and a half before I felt a need to shower inside my head.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I read some of her Young Adult books in the past.

            The True Game series wasn’t terrible.

            The early Manyshaped books weren’t bad.

            The first two “Footseer” weren’t bad.

            But both the Manyshaped & Footseer series started to get very PC before they ended. 😦

        • SheSellsSeashells

          I try to keep an *ideologically* diverse reading list just for the mental challenge, or did pre-Puppies until I decided I didn’t care WHAT the other side thought any more. For me, pre-90s Tepper was challenging without being a Jemisin-style Nihilist On A Mission. I love “Grass”. Don’t agree with much of it, mind, but “very small being” is a phrase I frequently come back to to keep myself on a spiritually even keel. Fond memories of “Mavin Manyshaped”, and I would loooove get my hands on the last two in her “Marianne and the Alliterative Nouns” trilogy.

          But too much “we’re deceiving the Unwoke Masses for their greater good” grated on me, and I walled three books of hers in a row before leaving her alone. (I have thrown five books in my life. Three of them were hers. ‘Nuff said.)

          • Eh, she’s a Nihilist on a Mission, she just disguised it better, at least at first.

            I mean her “good guys” once get high praise for censoring out of history that their plot of mass murder accidentally produced actual genocide. Other tactics, equally “good” in her eyes, are mass murder of children under the age of two, mass involuntary abortion, preventing space travel by falsely claiming that humanity has already gone and those on Earth choose to stay, segregating people as those who cause wars, enforcing PC language by making people pass out if they used the forbidden terms, etc.

  7. Regarding story, I’ve come to realize I’m all about the redemption, baby. If someone or something isn’t somehow redeemed, the story is for naught. So yeah, loss, blood, sacrifice, rebirth. I think our scripture readings last Sunday talked about that.

    • “If someone or something isn’t somehow redeemed, the story is for naught. So yeah, loss, blood, sacrifice, rebirth. ”
      cspschofield | February 19, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Reply
      …there are times when it’s just The Right Thing (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES),
      * * *
      Made me think about “Podkayne of Mars,” and the alternate endings: the first published one, where she survives and Everyone Learns a Lesson; and Heinlein’s original, published later, where she dies.
      Killing off the primary protagonist might seem to Break the Rule about redemption, but by that point the lead role had been passed to her brother, who was the character who actually did most of the growing up.

      • I was maybe fourteen when I found a copy of Podkayne in the library, read it, and went “ugh.” And I was a serious Heinlein fan then.

        A year or two ago I finally read it again. With the benefit of experience, it’s not really a novel, just a series of vignettes with the gaps crudely plastered over. It’s not even an extended infodump like Farmer in the Sky.

        Podkayne came out in 1963, well into his post-Stranger “New Heinlein” era. Was it originally intended to be something *much* different, or was it just some leftover pieces he wasn’t really interested in finishing, as he was leaving the YA market? Of course they printed what he sent, Heinlein was a Name by then; they would have printed almost anything he sent, not like the old days when he butted heads with his publisher.

        • Podkayne originated, IIRC, as a series of short stories originally created to win a bet with an editor (lady editor bet RAH couldn’t write femme POV) and published I forget where. He explained it – somewhat – in Expanded Universe, where he also republished one of his “Punkin'” shorts.

          As he’d long since written “The Menace From Earth” I question the editor’s horse sense making such a bet but not RAH’s taking her money.

          Mind, as I wouldn’t attempt to dig out my copy of EU on a bet, the probability I am utterly wrong and have commingled twelve different things is not zero, but it will be for others to prove. A quickie Wiki check proves it useless on the matter, although it reminds that the tale was originally released as a serial in Worlds of If, where the episodic nature was likely less noticeable.

          BTW: anybody recall the Baen ’95 edition and whether the included twenty-five reader essays debating the proper variant ending included anybody whose name we would recognize today?

  8. “Do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse, a novel – and go “and your point was?” Worse, do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse a novel – and go “Uh… I followed these characters around for this long for you to either twist them beyond recognition and/or kill them?”

    Yes, that’s why my better half and I gave up watching series TV. With a single author, this sometimes happens, but with the number of people involved with a TV series over a long series of episodes, this result is almost inevitable. All it takes is some evil swine in a suit to say, “You need to have the character do this.” Unless you can summon the ghost of Harlan Ellison to leap across the table and strangle that suit-wearing evil pig, your series “jumps the shark” and dies.

    • This. Regarding story, I’ve come to understand that I require a redemption arc, so yeah, blood, sacrifice, rebirth. Anything that leaves a character/world the same or worse off is not worth my time and attention.

      • “Anything that leaves a character/world the same or worse off is not worth my time and attention.”
        I’m okay with letting villains and tenth assistant spear carriers take a fall, maybe even significant secondary characters, but for the major protagonists: yeah.

    • PBS seems overly fond of showing such classics from the BBC. $SPOUSE watched The Tunnel with the “horrified fascination” flag set (Thanks, Mary), but Season II was a Hell-no. When you don’t care if the lead characters live or die, it’s time to change programming.

      I hit that after a couple seasons of Hinterland, and some of the modern mysteries require an effort to avoid walling the remote through the screen.

      I avoided the worst excesses of 1990s SF by being very selective in that period. I found some of the better examples; frequently disguised as technothrillers. (Dean Ing had some good ones in that era.)

      • Poirot was never a policeman in Belgium. He is traumatized Belgian Father Brown, in the new Malkovich version of The ABC Murders.

        Skip it. Watch the anime educational show version. Even with a duck as a minor character, it is more accurate.

  9. This just in:

    Poor people not allowed in AOC’s luxury apartment complex
    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., recently moved into a luxury apartment complex in Washington, D.C. that does not offer the affordable housing units that were a key plank in the New York congresswoman’s campaign platform.

    Ocasio-Cortez, 29, who said in November that she was concerned about being able to afford rent in D.C., now earns a $174,000 annual salary and is living in a newly built high-rise in the city’s Navy Yard area, the Washington Free Beacon reported last week.

    The freshman congresswoman, a self-described socialist, campaigned on a platform to expand affordable housing, and her controversial Green New Deal proposal promises “Safe, affordable, adequate housing” for all.

    But Ocasio-Cortez’s new building — built by leading D.C. developer WC Smith — is part of a luxury complex whose owners specifically do not offer affordable units under Washington, D.C.’s Affordable Dwelling Units program. The Washington Examiner is not naming the building or complex.

    In 2018, a civil rights attorney sued the Washington, D.C. government for allegedly discriminatory gentrification policies, claiming that development in Navy Yard area and other parts of southeast D.C. encouraged an influx of affluent “millennial creatives” who displaced minority residents.

    Ocasio-Cortez, commonly referred to as “AOC,” repeatedly criticized luxury real estate developers during her campaign, claiming that their buildings hiked up rent prices and pushed low-income residents out of their neighborhoods.

    • MG, AOC:

      Her new apartment complex — which boasts on its website that it vows to take “luxury apartment living” to a higher level — offers over 100,000 square feet of amenities for its residents.

      These include: two private massage rooms with state-of-the-art hydrotherapy beds; men’s and women’s saunas; a full-scale demonstration kitchen with wood-fired pizza oven; a 25-meter indoor lap pool; a rooftop infinity pool with panoramic views of the Capitol; a Peloton cycling studio with over a dozen bikes; and a fireside lounge featuring a Steinway & Sons player piano.

      Also included is a PGA-grade golf simulation lounge with a wrap-around screen and viewing bar that allows residents to play virtually at dozens of the world’s most exclusive golf courses with the touch of a button. Last week, Democrats mocked President Trump for installing a new golf simulator at the White House — updating with his own money one originally installed by former President Barack Obama.

      Apartments in the building currently start at $1,840 per month for a 440 square foot studio, and range up to $5,200 for a three-bedroom. The average rent in Washington D.C. is $1,340 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,550 for a two-bedroom, according to the most recent data from Apartment List.

      W. Christopher Smith, 66, the Annapolis-based CEO of WC Smith, is a Democratic donor who contributed to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and the Senate campaigns of Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-M.D., Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA., and Jane Raybould, who lost a 2018 Senate race in Nebraska.

      • analytical-engine-mechanic

        But this shouldn’t even be surprising — it fits the Standard Socialist Profile from well-known history so perfectly.

        Welcome to the American Democratic Republic (oh, sorry, jumped the gun a bit there), I mean American Democratic Left, Tovarishch Okazio-Kortez. Here is your Guaranteed Minimum (maximum) Income check, here is your Party membership card, now you can shop in the best Party stores and live in the best Party apartments and ride in a big black Zil [has she checked that box yet?] all around the town, just like all the other loyal Socialist apparatchiki.

        And swim briskly in your always-warm Infinity Pool, looking down from your great height at all the happy workers who make our [your] Socialist Paradise possible, cozy with all the other socialist proto-oligarchs of the New Class.

        Because even Compassionate Kleptocracy is atill… kleptocracy.

        [Reference: Lincoln, A., “You bake my bread… and I’ll eat it.”]

      • I know it’s a tradename, but Peloton always has me wondering what power of 10 is ‘Pelo’… “It was a 15 Peloton device…”

        • analytical-engine-mechanic

          Tends to make me think “Pelletron” — a.k.a. Rotary Pellet Launcher, slings bits of moonrock at a halfway-decent “exhaust velocity” using only electricity.

          Yes, obscure, but as an old space-colonization “geek” who once (with a friend) gave an hour-long talk on the same with zero notes and little forethought, it brings back fond memories of the heady days when all that was really cool new stuff.

          • …the days when 95% of NASA’s appropriations didn’t go to maintaining its bureaucratic overhead.

            We need NASA for what, exactly?

      • Two points:

        First, a minor correction of typing malfeasance: that was supposed to be OMG, AOC — maintaining a three letter acronymic pattern for the slattern.

        Second, something I missed in the original listing of luxury perks: “men’s and women’s saunas”

        Does anyone else find that problematic? I mean, sure, let xie who is not cisgender cast the first stone, but that seems awfully hetero-normative and unjustly segregationist. If third grade bathrooms in Tennessee must be non-exclusionary, is it too much to expect our erected representatives to renounce such horror?

      • NOT “a girl of the people” at all.

    • What a shock. I’m sure her fans will begin having doubts any… day… now.

      • They won’t.

        And on a normal day I’d say that Congresspersons have to live *somewhere* and all, but just last year there was a series of stories about freshman Congresspersons sleeping in their offices because the salary wasn’t enough to maintain a residence in their home state and an apartment in DC.

        So where’s she getting the money?

      • The party elite work so much harder than us, so they need all those luxuries. Just like Comrade Squealer said.
        Baaaaaaa.

    • in re AOC: if the Left didn’t have double standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all.
      Or, to borrow from Glenn Reynolds: I’ll believe that X is a crisis when the people that tell me X is a crisis start behaving as if X is a crisis.

  10. [i]Do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse, a novel – and go “and your point was?” Worse, do you ever get to the end of a short story – or worse a novel – and go “Uh… I followed these characters around for this long for you to either twist them beyond recognition and/or kill them?[/i]

    Oh yeah. Usually followed by something to the effect of “That was [BLEEP!]ing awful! I could have written it better than that!”

    At which point my muse, without fail, starts screaming at me.

    • Yeah, bad books, or even just the ones that take the obvious path, instead of the intriguing one they walked right past, are a major spur to my creativity.

    • At which point my muse, without fail, starts screaming at me.

      Yeaaaaaaah, I can definitely relate!

    • Also happens in non-fiction. Someone writes something horribly bad (the concept, not the execution per se) and a bunch of other historians all shriek, “You think WHAT?!?” and proceed to write wonderful books that advance the field in new directions. See E. Genovese and _Roll, Jordan Roll_ as an example of a fantastic book spurred by a lousy book.

    • analytical-engine-mechanic

      Someone I’ve read a lot, quite likely Celtic spirituality / shamanism expert Caitlín Matthews, calls these “anti-books” — in a way that makes it sound at least as applicable to non-fiction as fiction.

      The “anti-story” doesn’t even have to be a bad one, or a too-obvious one. My take on Richard Matheson’s demi-classic “I am Legend” is that it’s a really good story that hits what it aims at… but finishing it left me wondering, okay, now what about the *rest* of this world, surely..?
      And Elisabeth Markham, “walk wide of the widow of Windsor, for half creation she owns” comes strolling in, with a plan to *win* World War Z.

      Likewise, I really do like (if none too vigorously) Cameron’s “Terminator” series; but one too many iterations of “kill the scientist and all his works, because the future cannot survive such forbidden knowledge” left me wanting to, mentally or philosophically at least, throw up.
      But what my unconscious “threw up” was Emma Longworth, renegade independent scientist (with High Up political patrons) and *ex-spy*, who turns out to be, ah, remarkably hard to kill — in a massively different setting.

      And for a not-“really”-published writer like me, such characters end up writing the story as much as I do… which makes the near-insanity of writing a sequel to something like “I am Legend” far more, ah, manageably insane.

      So for some of us it’s not just a muse visiting, but also leaving us a kit full of parts, with full assembly instructions (or even a tight little self-assembly program).

      • After killing Neville, Matthias and his crew then go after Dutch and any other non-albinos they can find, because their whole schtick is to kill anyone different or better off than they are…

    • “I could have written it better than that!”
      Number-Two-Son ranks movies (more so than books) on a scale of “how much would I have to rewrite that script to make it actually work the way it ought to?”

      • I have to laugh. I don’t often react to a bad movie with “how this ought to have been rewritten” but when I do it’s a powerful thing.

        Let me tell you about the third Mummy movie sometime….

    • Oh, yes. I think The Witch-Child and the Scarlet Fleet was most directly inspired by an idea badly misused, but there have been others.

      • For me, it was a book that was supposed to be a retelling of Snow White set in the Old West. Started out strong, got kinda weird when some of the fantasy elements kicked in, but I could get into those, but then the ending… ye gods and little fishes, the ending! Total WTF, completely out of left field, resolved nothing, made absolutely NO sense, left me literally screaming “ARE YOU F***ING SERIOUS?!” at the book.

        And that’s why my muse is currently beating me over the head with “Snow White and the Magnificent Seven.”

  11. Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.

    ― André Gide

  12. Sintra E'Drien

    Well, not to be too overt in discussing this, but I think in at least one source of overt morality it is the plan that we learn the guidelines well enough (learn to follow the rules which make the leash or muzzle necessary), they get taken off. The problem is, I know I’m not ready for that yet, and I can envision what a shipwreck it would be for me if they were. Others may graduate earlier, some may clink to their leashes too hard to accept freedom, and some are junkyard dogs who manage to do enough damage even while restrained.

  13. “Why would a bad ending be considered more mature or deeper than a happy one, or one where the character acted honorably?”

    Yeah. That’s what I want to know.

    I’ve been pretty pissed off about that for probably twenty years now. Movies, books, even comics, there are no heroes. Only anti-heroes, or fools who rushed in and then were lucky. Global warming is always the backdrop. Post apocalyptic worlds of doom.

    Often I harbor a suspicion that I’m making more of this than it deserves. That I’m just imagining it all. So seeing this post from 2011, pre-Sad Puppies, it makes me feel a lot better.

    Now, it could be that I’m just weird, and you’re also weird. If that’s the case, at least we are weird together, and I’m not alone.

    But given everything else that’s happening, the chances that its just me are closely approaching zero. I hear too many people blurting out exactly what I’m thinking in casual conversations at the grocery store or Canadian Tire or where ever. Its a Thing. It is in the air, as they say.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      I am fascinated with a small subset of post-apocalyptic: the part where it *happened* and people have rebuilt and are acting like actual *people*. As opposed to the standard YA-dystopia “The Elders decided that we must never let such evil happen again and have therefore dictated that society must be rebuilt along such-and-such rigid lines, and hundreds of years later the lines are STILL RIGHT THERE”.

      Doom happens. Then you get used to it. Then you work around it. That’s been my experience, at least.

    • The normals are pissed.
      What should terrify you is a world in which you and I are normal.

      • Wouldn’t that terrify the social justice howler monkeys more?

        I mean… a world where our sorts is ‘normal’ means that the rest of the world actually made the term ‘common sense’ become real.

        I’d actually like that.

        • Yes, Shadow. But what I mean is more that everyone who hangs out here is rather eccentric. If the definition of the normals who have had enough of the crazy includes us…. most people are in it.

      • I think Odds like us function like the whiskers on the front of the beast. We get wound up about “stupid stuff” all the time, looooong before the Normals raise their heads and wonder what that bad smell is. “Its gas, you morons. It’ll kill us all!” And they’re like “huh whaa?”

        I mean, seriously. Who cares about comic books? Nerds. But those comics turned out to be the canary in the coal mine.

        These days the smell is SO bad that even the normies are pissed off. “Boys competing in girl’s high school wrestling? WTF?!” I’m like, welcome to the party, dumb ass. Way to wake up and smell the coffee there.

        So I’m not too worried about a world where I’m one of the Normies. That’s never going to happen. But it is kind of nice, in a horrible way, that they finally fucking well paid attention to all us annoying weirdos who have been screaming “GAS!!! GAS!!!” for 20 years.

        The curse of high intelligence is seeing the iceberg first.

  14. “Movies, books, even comics, there are no heroes. Only anti-heroes, or fools who rushed in and then were lucky.”
    There are still books with heroes – but the division between those writers & readers, and the “bad endings” group, has become wider and deeper.
    There are also still people looking for heroes, or wanting to become heroes: to act honorably, and have a happy ending.
    That appears to be part of what drives Jordan Peterson’s astounding popularity, especially with young men (gee, I wonder why?).
    PS: This post has addressed Rule #6 (“Put Your Own House in Order” before you try to fix the world) tangentially, through the discussion on AOC’s apartment hypocrisy; and Rule #7 (“Pursue What is Meaningful, Not What is Expedient”) very directly.

    • My Hero Academia is really good on that front.

      The stories are why manga is eating trad pub’d comics lunch, even though the fans have to read it backwards.

      • This is absolutely true, and it slays me.

        Manga, visually, is shit compared to comic books. Black&White, pocketbook format, BACKWARDS, and most of the pictures have Japanese text in them untranslated. Only the speech bubbles get translated, sometimes hilariously badly. Engrish is a thing.

        And they’re eating Marvel and DC’s lunch. Because modern Japanese culture is closer to ours and makes more sense than the SJW PostModernism horseshit being pursued by the Big 2.

        Case in point: what’s going to sell more copies? SAO manga, or this bullshit here?

        https://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.com/2019/02/rule-4-dc-comics-cancels-book-for.html

        “Author Mark Russell recently shared a bit about the concept behind his comic. He explained, “God was so upset with Jesus’s performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then.””

        Utterly expected plot outline from some hipster twerp who’s never been inside a church in his life, has not read the source material, probably hasn’t even read Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, and is jonesing for some righteous conflict with eeeevile Christo-Nazis. It isn’t even blasphemous, its just clueless.

        I can predict the glide-path and impact crater of this absurdity probably within +/- 5% of actual. It’ll be hailed as “brave!” and “edgy!” and all the other buzzword bingo they always use. It will come out to great fanfare. The Guardian, Slate and HuffPoo will love it. The sales will start low and decrease quickly. All the Cool Kids will buy Issue #1, which will sell maximum 20,000 copies. By issue 3 it will be under 10K copies, by the end of the run it will be under 5K. End result, total loss of sunk costs and a ton of bad press.

        But we will never know, because a conservative religious group Rule 4’d them into cancelling it. Live by the ShirtStorm, die by the ShirtStorm.

        I think that’s a failure of civility, meaning “civility” in the original sense of the word, the manner we conduct ourselves so as to get along in the city as grownups. Mob vs. mob is how assholes behave. The Righty Mob won this time, that means that CIVIL people lost just the same as we lose when the Lefty Mob wins.

        The civil solution is to let DC sink half a million bucks into this turkey and shame them in the public square while they lose money.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I was a little bit surprised to see that description of the story proposal. It is the second stupidest idea I’ve looked at today. (Stupidest is the Green New Deal.)

          The most offensive thing is that the lazy brain damaged thief thinks that trolling of that quality is worth being paid.

        • The thing is, with manga, they’re absolutely willing to take on the most horrifying premises and settings (See: Sword Art Online, The Promised Neverland, Goblin Slayer!, Gantz, Attack on Titan… or any Crapsack World setting), run with it and get you absorbed on the strength of the characters and storytelling (and frequently gorgeous art.)

          If there’s a message, or messages, it’s buried in the story.

    • What is very telling about Mr. Peterson’s vocal opposition is that he’s not saying anything new or surprising. I’ve heard all his 12 Rules before. They form the Golden Thread that ties all the great religions together. I will freely admit that he has come to the 12 Rules by a lifetime of hard work, and his rigorous scholarship never fails to impress. The 12 Rules are a part of what people used to call Common Sense. The basic “don’t piss into the wind” level common sense.

      Mr. Peterson continues to be denounced as a racist/bigot/homophobe by people who consider basic common sense a threat to their worldview and their persons. Particularly nasty are the ones who accuse him of perpetuating “Whiteness” in the world, as if standing up straight and putting your house in order was something -bad- that only White people do.

      These are, of course, the very same people telling us that bad endings are more mature and “literary” than happy ones. They’re the dickheads giving three volumes of torture-and-slavery pr0nz the highest SF award, because the author is a member of a visible minority.

      I ran across this video the other day: http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/index.php/2019/02/18/the-cultish-religion-of-far-left-academia/

      As can be seen in the title, the premise is that the Ivory Tower Left in the Western world has increasingly become a religious cult. One of the key notions getting teased out in the video is this Leftist insistence that “speech is violence.” Western society solves problems by talking about them, coming to understanding of the issue and reaching agreements. But the SJW Left has decided that even having a differing viewpoint is bigotry, and attempting to have a discussion based on reason and evidence is coercion. If you disprove a Lefty sacred cow, that’s “violence” to them.

      Which is insane, of course. But that’s where their propaganda is rooted, and that’s why they hate Jordan Peterson with a white-hot fury. Most of us know that gender is not a social construct or an act of declaration, but Peterson can -prove- it with mathematical precision. That drives them insane. Witness their insane behavior at his events.

      • Heck, these are the people who think yelling, “Don’t wee on the electric fence!” is oppressive and heteronormative and cis-whatever. (Granted, it is a touch more technically difficult for XX types than YX types to make this error, but it can and has been done.)

        • Of course, because knowing about the electric fence voltage and the high salt concentration of wee are WHITENESS!!!! Because only white people are allowed to know stuff. (Oh, wait…)

          I’m pretty happy to let them do that experiment themselves though.

          • Happy to let them? I encourage them! How better to refute notions of Whiteness, to challenge the oppressors who want you to deny yourself so natural an act?

            You know what else is an artifact of Whiteness? Parachutes! Invented by Whites. Submitting to being harnessed into a parachute is an act of obeisance to Institutional Whiteness.

            Guns are also a tool of Whiteness. Gunpowder was culturally appropriated from the Chinese, but it was Whites who developed guns and bullets working from their stolen concept. Any Person of Color using a gun is Acting White and even a Race Traitor.

      • One of the key notions getting teased out in the video is this Leftist insistence that “speech is violence.” Western society solves problems by talking about them, coming to understanding of the issue and reaching agreements. But the SJW Left has decided that even having a differing viewpoint is bigotry, and attempting to have a discussion based on reason and evidence is coercion. If you disprove a Lefty sacred cow, that’s “violence” to them.

        Tangentially related, and *schadenfreude grin*

        https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/students-drop-vagina-from-the-vagina-monologues-to-be-more-inclusive/

        Friends, minotaurs, and fellow Odds, I present comedic catastrophe at it’s finest.

  15. FWIW, here is the entire set of Rules.
    Quite a few of them get addressed on this blog, usually more than one at a time. Rule #8 is a frequent favorite, because we live in a world where a lot of people practise just the opposite.
    Actually, come to think of it, most of the world seems to be living by the Twelve Anti-Rules.

    Table of Contents
    Overall Summary of 12 Rules for Life
    Premise/Introduction
    Rule 1: Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back
    Rule 2: Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping
    Rule 3: Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You
    Rule 4: Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not to Who Someone Else is Today
    Rule 5: Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything that Makes You Dislike Them
    Rule 6: Put Your House in Order
    Rule 7: Pursue What is Meaningful, Not What is Expedient
    Rule 8:Tell the Truth
    Rule 9: Assume that the Person You are Listening to Might Know Something You Don’t
    Rule 10: Be Precise with Your Speech
    Rule 11: Leave Children Alone when They are Skateboarding
    Rule 12: Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street
    Coda: What Shall I Do with My Newfound Pen of Light?
    Misc Points

  16. Have not listened to any of Peterson’s videos, because my tolerance for Internet video in general (ANY video other than well-made fiction or documentary) is very small, but from what I understand, he is really promulgating what mostly would have once been recognized as The Copybook Headings.

    • C.S. Lewis was more fun to read than Peterson, but Peterson has better Sciency skillz for rubbing it in and making it -burn- the SJW hide.

      You know how the vampires burst into flame when the sun hits them? Same effect.

      • Lewis was the media star of his day. His radio broadcasts during World War II, on Christian theology, were highly popular — and not wildly different in basic substance from Peterson’s “Rules”, although explicitly religious instead of psychological.

        “Hope was in short supply, God was absent from most people’s daily lives, and the church was seen as irrelevant. The war was going badly, and “death was becoming a daily companion for many,” writes Justin Phillips in C.S. Lewis in a Time of War.

        Into this moment stepped C. S. Lewis. In his “deep booming voice” Lewis showed that God still had something to say, even in the darkest circumstances, writes Phillips in his book (first published in 2002).

        In 1941, when he began giving fifteen-minute broadcast talks on BBC radio, Lewis was relatively unknown. Within four years, he would become “the most widely celebrated Christian apologist on both sides of the Atlantic,” writes Phillips. The radio talks were later published as Mere Christianity.”
        https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/mayweb-only/118-42.0.html

    • To a great extent, yes.

  17. Lewis was the media star of his day. His radio broadcasts during World War II, on Christian theology, were highly popular — and not wildly different in basic substance from Peterson’s “Rules”, although explicitly religious instead of psychological.

    “Hope was in short supply, God was absent from most people’s daily lives, and the church was seen as irrelevant. The war was going badly, and “death was becoming a daily companion for many,” writes Justin Phillips in C.S. Lewis in a Time of War.

    Into this moment stepped C. S. Lewis. In his “deep booming voice” Lewis showed that God still had something to say, even in the darkest circumstances, writes Phillips in his book (first published in 2002).

    In 1941, when he began giving fifteen-minute broadcast talks on BBC radio, Lewis was relatively unknown. Within four years, he would become “the most widely celebrated Christian apologist on both sides of the Atlantic,” writes Phillips. The radio talks were later published as Mere Christianity.”
    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/mayweb-only/118-42.0.html

  18. Golly, I forget where the topic arose about the Proglodytes desire to return us to the agrarian utopia preceding industrial civilization, but this type or reminder is always timely.

    Pollution in Pre-Industrial Europe
    Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once described the River Thames as a “a Stygian pool, reeking with ineffable and intolerable horrors.”
    Last week, I wrote about Jason Hickel’s romantic idea that people in the past “lived well” with little or no monetary income. I noted that prior to the Industrial Revolution, clothing was immensely expensive and uncomfortable. The cotton mills changed all that.

    As a French historian noted in 1846, “Machine production…brings within the reach of the poor a world of useful objects, even luxurious and artistic objects, which they could never reach before.”

    Today, I wish to turn to pollution. It is well known that industrialization helped to pollute the environment, but that does not mean that air and water were clean before factories and mills came along! Compared to today, our ancestors had to endure horrific environmental conditions.

    Let’s start with air quality. In the 17th century London, Claire Tomalin observed in Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, “Every household burnt coal … The smoke from their chimneys made the air dark, covering every surface with sooty grime. There were days when a cloud of smoke half a mile high and twenty miles wide could be seen over the city … Londoners spat black.”

    In a similar vein, Carlo Cipolla in his book Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy 1000-1700, quotes from the diary of British writer John Evelyn, who wrote in 1661: “In London we see people walk and converse pursued and haunted by that infernal smoake. The inhabitants breathe nothing but an impure and thick mist, accompanied by a fuliginous and filthy vapour … corrupting the lungs and disordering the entire habit of their bodies.”

    The streets were just as dirty. John Harrington invented the toilet in 1596, but bathrooms remained rare luxuries two hundred years later. Chamber pots continued to be emptied into streets, turning them into sewers. To make matters worse, even large towns continued to engage in husbandry well into the 18th century. As Fernand Braudel noted in The Structures of Everyday Life, “Pigs were reared in freedom in the streets. And the streets were so dirty and muddy that they had to be crossed on stilts.”

    Lawrence Stone observed in The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 that “In towns in the eighteenth century, the city ditches, now often filled with stagnant water, were commonly used as latrines; butchers killed animals in their shops and threw the offal of the carcases into the streets; dead animals were left to decay and fester where they lay; latrine pits were dug close to wells, thus contaminating the water supply. Decomposing bodies of the rich in burial vaults beneath the church often stank out parson and congregation.”

    A “special problem” in London, Stone wrote, was the “poor holes” or “large, deep, open pits in which were laid the bodies of the poor, side by side, row by row. Only when the pit was filled with bodies was it finally covered with earth.” As one contemporary writer, whom Stone quotes, observed, “How noisome the stench is that arises from these holes.” Furthermore, “great quantities of human excrement were cast into the streets at night … It was also dumped into on the surrounding highways and ditches so that visitors to or from the city ‘are forced to stop their noses to avoid the ill smell.’”

    According to Stone, “The result of these primitive sanitary conditions was constant outbursts of bacterial stomach infections, the most fearful of all being dysentery, which swept away many victims of both sexes and of all ages within a few hours or days. Stomach disorders of one kind or another where chronic, due to poorly balanced diet among the rich, and the consumption of rotten and insufficient food among the poor.”

    [END EXCERPT]

    I doubt this is unknown to any but sometimes it is useful to have your xir nose rubbed in it.

    • A lot of that was not true in well-run medieval cities. You were not allowed to toss your chamberpot contents like that; there were businesses that would pick it up and use it for industrial purposes, or decent sewer systems. (Some left over from Roman or Etruscan times.)

      Rapid city growth, and the collapse of various trash and waste removal systems for various social reasons, caused the urban filth of late medieval and early modern times. Some of it was also pollution of water followed by distrust of bathing and cleaning, and some was the feeling that cleanliness was papist or unnatural or something.

      And some of it was just laziness and graft — because many of the old medieval city obligations and offices were still in effect, and people collected salaries for doing nothing.

  19. Caution: Definitions of “Moral” are subject to change without notice.

    Democrats say Trump’s job growth isn’t enough, demand ‘moral’ economy
    Democrats running for president in 2020 say the rapid job growth and low unemployment under President Trump isn’t enough, and say America needs to strive for a “moral” economy.

    Their calls seem to reflect a consensus among Democrats on how to attack what many agree is a healthy economy that’s creating jobs under Trump, and the rising influence of socialist candidates and lawmakers in the Democratic Party. Less than a year before the first primaries, Democrats appear to have settled on an argument that says the economic gains seen over the last two years aren’t being “shared” with others.

    [SNIP]

    The U.S. economy in January added 200,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, according to the Department of Labor this month. While White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett warned observers on CNN in January that there might not be any growth this quarter because of the historic 35-day partial government shutdown, the country’s gross domestic product increased last quarter by 3.4 percent.