Malice or Stupidity, Now Scored for History


Robert A. Heinlein said that a society that doesn’t know history has no past and no future.  Of course, we don’t have to listen to that, because Heinlein was after all racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Just ask any college professor or any leftist talking head (but I repeat myself) and they’ll inform you of this.  And, if, armed with knowledge of the man’s books and biography and works you dispute this, and they can’t wave it away with “you don’t see the hidden messages” (which is like “you don’t see the invisible demons”) and/or “you’re full of white male privilege,” they will just out and out attack you, and try to shame you as evil AND intellectually deficient because you went so far as to read Heinlein.

I started reading Chinese history late. Mostly because it wasn’t offered in school when I went through (at least not in any course I could choose in my college. I think History Majors might have had some) and I couldn’t find any books on it easily available until the mid nineties, when I joined (and ruined myself on) the History Bookclub. Sometimes it’s hard for people today to understand just how limited our pre-Amazon reading choices were.  Both these thing are part of the discussion above, yes.

You see, when I read Chinese history I was amazed at the recurring instances of burning all the books, and the overachieving emperors who went so far as to kill all the story tellers, including grannies telling traditional stories.

Oh, the reason makes perfect sense.  We have someone in the comments who spent part of her teen years in the DDR (East Germany) and she’ll tell you that the history they were taught had absolutely zero to do with reality.

In fact all communist countries (and friends tell me most Arab countries) have highly bizarre versions of history.

There are reasons to do this other than totalitarianism.  As I have pointed out before, there used to be/still is in healthy countries a highly necessary version of nationalism which is akin to thinking people of your family are the best people ever, in the whole world.

Most normal, average human beings aren’t going to set the world on fire.  Most of them don’t even really want to. They just want to live okay lives.  They don’t really have any ambitions to stand out or be amazing in anything.

Which means to keep from living lives of “quiet desperation” they need something more.  In highly religious times, (and/or countries and places) this is provided by religion. If you are a devout whatever, you know you might not succeed in this world, but there’s a crown/fifty virgins/etc. waiting for you on the other side.  I’m not mocking it, or saying it isn’t true, btw. As most of you know I’m a believer, myself.  I’m just saying that this helps to keep the crowd at large happy.  Which is why the idiot Marxists call it the opium of the people.  This is daft. It’s like saying “people need something more to carry them through everyday than just the ability to survive.”

But Marxists are daft.  And part of their reason for attacking religion is that they wanted to enshrine the state in its place.  This too was daft.

Nationalism was there all along, with religion. As in “our country is better than all the other countries.” It too gave people who otherwise had no reason to behave better than their instincts/no pride a reason to look up and imagine themselves part of a greater whole. Whether you’re more motivated by one or the other would depend on your personality, I guess.

Part of the neuroticism of current day is the changing or twisting of national histories is done in one direction only: it’s done to make the west ashamed/feel guilty of its history; and to make everyone else think the west owes them.

It is the latest phase of a propaganda attack that started with the USSR wanting its Imperial philosophy to be MISTAKEN for international communism. The only way to do that was to erase/twist all national narratives so no one but Russia were clean/great. (And Russia only after the creation of the USSR.)

Why? Well, because the only way that communism can survive is by pillaging.  But that’s not important right now.

The attacks used to be indirect/sideways, as in not telling people the whole story or strongly implying something else.  As a foreigner, for instance, I was shocked when I discovered America didn’t go to Vietnam under a Republican, that JFK was MOST CERTAINLY not about to stop the war when he died, that the Republicans were the ones pushing for the end of segregation and for civil rights, etc.

It’s not that I was taught lies in history.  It was just the teacher teaching the general narrative, and then throwing us to the arms of the media that echoed it.

My history book in the US didn’t mention party affiliations, and had bullshit like a chapter on how the American Dream was dead, if in fact it had ever existed.

By the time older son entered high school (and in the US) the lies were more blatant. It implied stuff like all wealth came from natural resources and the only reason we were richer than other countries was colonialism.
There was a weekend I spent giving the boy reading material and foaming at the mouth.

Three years later, when younger son hit the same material, it was yet more overtly anti-west and basically blamed all the evil in the world on capitalism and white people.  This occasioned months or ranting, throwing books against the wall, and mandatory reading and essays for son. (Who till hasn’t forgiven me for making him do graduate level primary source reading at 12.)

Now the combination of two techniques teaches the kids crazy sh*t such as that Hitler built the Berlin wall to keep out the Jews.  Sure, some kids are stupid, but these are not the stupid kids coming up with this.

Along the way, sometime in the 80s, the left realized that the fact that books set in times whose history they were distorting sometimes told the truth. And they came up with the most “beautiful” technique for killing historical knowledge of any totalitarian strand of thought EVER.  They couldn’t burn books. There were enough people around who’d sound the alarm on that.  They couldn’t forbid books, because this is the US and there would be more people screaming than you could silence.

Instead they used their unprecedented command of story and ability to disseminate it. Authors, ideas, entire times of history became so “problematic” that even reading them/about them made you a bad thinker and to be shamed and shunned.

Because the left follows shaming and shunning with very real world consequences, such as hounding you out of the ability to earn a living or physical attacks on your kids, not to mention sabotaging your career in any field they control, it became socially unacceptable to contradict the open narrative.  Which is how Heinlein — poor man, who was self-consciously inclusive and who, frankly, had a highly romanticized view of women — became stigmatized as racist/sexist/homophobic.

It’s also how we get the toppling of statues (including some statues of abolitionists, but they’re in uniform, so…) and hissy fits about lectures on local history, buildings named after past heroes, etc.

If there were good people in the past, then not everything about the west is horrible, and the SJW narrative falls apart.  The same, btw, if there were very bad people and nations who were not in any way Western nor even vaguely white. (And there were.)

This is why Columbus day must be eradicated, because otherwise you might find your opinions and the ill informed crap you were taught disputed by your relatives.  You have to make it so offensive that the older relatives don’t dare talk to you.

And many millenials claim to be socialists, but they think socialism is any collective endeavor, including roads and schools.  Which would surprise the hell out of most Romans, not to mention American colonials.

But that’s part of it.  The insanity has ramped up, not because it’s successful.  And the tearing down of statues and local pictures is not the work of an ideology that’s winning.  Nor is the ubiquitous “setting me straight on misinformation is an attack, and you’re violent.”

These are all crazy efforts at protecting what they thought they’d solidly won, until the internet fractured the mass-media power to keep the narrative going.  Sooner or later real history will trickle into even the densest, most indoctrinated skull. (Okay, maybe not. Occasional Cortex is paid for her stupidity.) And this terrifies the left.

As does the fact they have to have started realizing while the mass of people faked compliance even when their power was absolute, there was a not inconsiderable number of us thinking forbidden thoughts and reading forbidden books.  And there must be some more now. And they don’t know where.  (This, btw, feeds the paranoia and cannibal feasts.)

I’m afraid they’re going to get crazier the more power they lose.  Beware the wounded bear.

By which I mean “let’s make them crazier.”

Tell the truth and shame the devil.  Be not afraid.

230 thoughts on “Malice or Stupidity, Now Scored for History

  1. There are times when I think us dragons should start hunting stupid people.

    I’d say that we never go hungry but while stupid people are numerous but they taste rotten.

    [Don’t ask me how I know how they taste. 😈 ]

    1. Could it be that God made stupid people as emergency rations for dragons? If they taste too bad to eat unless starving?

      1. No, not likely to cover enough of the flavour. Salsa or BBQ sauce would be the way to go. Either of those would make shoe leather edible.

        I s’pose it might be worth while looking at recipes for mutton … dolt vindaloo, or perhaps moron masala … extra hot, of course. Anybody fancy some tandoori idiot?

            1. It does not have to be for food. It could be an embalming method.

              Imagine, a whole smokehouse graveyard or temporary bonehouse, pre interment. Or maybe just brine out your dead.

          1. Er, actually, yes. Or at least something like a preserved ham. It used to be referred to as “mummy” and prescribed in the Middle Ages as medicine.

            See “Medicinal Cannibalism in Early Modern English Literature and Culture ” by L. Noble.

            …I haunt new bookshelves at university libraries, this is what happens….

            1. Well, yes, natron is kind of a salt, I guess. Sort of a parchment-wrapped ham.

              And yes, preserving bodies in honey (like Alexander the Great) is a lot like candying them, and preserving them in alcohol is just like making drunken pickles….

              My goodness! Embalming is cuisine!

                  1. Especially since it’s not healthy. Kuru. Okay, that is just from eating brains and other nervous tissue (undoubtedly very nervous just before ending up as the main course), but I’d think it would be easier to get who knows what from human flesh too than it is from something which is not of your own species. At least the disease factors in it are more often something which can’t infect you because they are adapted to something else.

  2. Much as I love and adore the man, RAH got a few things wrong.
    I know he was a patriot, but he still wrote as though world government would be a good thing. Of course there for a while everyone had great hopes for the UN.
    He seemed to buy into the myth that bye and bye we’d all be getting a bit hungry as population outstripped food supply. He like so many others failed to account for the tremendous advances in food production technology.
    But then in so many other ways he was prescient in his predictions. Anyone here not believe that we are in the Crazy Years?

    1. RAH was product of his era even though he rose above it more than most. At the times of his most significant novels the myth of the selfless bureaucrat, of the professional administrator, was as deeply rooted in his culture as the myth of the altruistic priest was in earlier times.

      1. The sad thing is that there ARE selfless bureaucrats (and, yes, I know, I’m the one that proposed hunting them), but in the face of Parkinson’s Law and the Peter Principle they labor in vain. The government attempts too much, and a lot of it it isn’t suited to do anyway, and there simply aren’t enough people who are content to do the job and then STOP. They are always outnumbered by the empire builders and the petty tyrants.

        I’ve fantasized about a system where if a bureaucrat manages to put himself out of a job by solving a problem, he gets his salary for life. He can retire, or go out and get another job (and have TWO salaries). And his office is closed, and we save the money there…and on his salary, just not until he passes.

        Not. Going. To. Happen.


        1. *snickers* Seeing as how Hubby managed to do basically that for half of his job (part of a long string of him setting things up so it can become a side-job for someone else), I’ve got a self-interested desire for that solution. ^.^

        2. You could probably persuade more than a few of the smarter bureaucrats to leave for 1/2 or 1/3 of their salary. We could do this in a contest way – turn on your lazy comrades, prove that they are a waste of air, and get 1/2 their salary for 5 years.
          Sort of Survival Island for the government. The real advantage is that we’d be getting rid of the less productive ones first.

          1. Nah, we’ve already tried that in the military with the Eval system. It rewards those who are good at finding the easy jobs, first, and punishes those who keep working on hard jobs that need to be done. Not to mention the whole glory-grabbing thing, which is counter productive, would be richly rewarded and the cheated folks would be fired on top of it all.

          2. I think first we would have to clearly define what constitutes desirable productivity in a bureaucrat. Processing applications and permits, si, writing more restrictive regulations, nein.

    2. Uncle Lar, these aren’t the crazy years. These are the running around with your underpants on your head juggling live shark years. It’s somewhat worse than crazy.

    3. Even RAH understood that unified world governments are dead ends. Several of his Lazarus Long stories seem to allude to it. Which is why Woodie keeps moving to frontier planets and universes.

      1. Oops. I may have sounded like I committed the cardinal sin of saying an author is his character.
        Let me go pound my head against the wall for the next few minutes…

  3. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

    That explains the current battles over the Founders as slaveholders (as if that were unpardonable sin) and America’s White Supremacists oppressing poor dark-skinned peoples.

  4. I’m just saying that this helps to keep the crowd at large happy.

    Few of us are capable of envisioning Heaven As It Is, therefore descriptions of it are as accurate as explanations to children of What Mommy & Daddy Do In Their Bedroom. Similarly, the torments of Hell are conveyed in terms comprehensible by those who cannot envision non-corporeal existence (although I might be willing to make the argument that the torment of the flesh is fit punishment for those who spent their lives in pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh — are you buying the beer?).

  5. our country is better than all the other countries.

    MY country is — by my values. For those who values having a king and aristocracy, not so great. But that does not make either wrong, as such a statement is merely an expression of taste, like preferring red wine over white or wanting sugar in your coffee.

    I understand my country far better than any other and while it has its flaws at least I think myself mostly aware of them. Which is a good reason to not attempt to impose my culture on others, as it would do damage to mine in ways I cannot foresee.

    I no more expect other nations to share my preference for my country than I expect the Italians to add chili peppers to sauce Alfredo. Although, now that I consider it …

      1. Exactly. The United States was and remains a particularly daring experiment – that of a people governing themselves. Not ruled by lords, kings and princes, nor commissars and dictator-strongmen, but taking on the responsibility of ruling themselves.

        1. No, we’re ruled by a nine-person oligarchy of appointed judges who have empowered themselves to redefine the Constitution to mean whatever supports their ideology.

          Somehow, I don’t think the “judicial branch” thing worked out as the Founders intended.

          1. Jefferson later is supposed to have said that encouraging Madison v. Marbury was the worst thing he ever did. (Chief Justice John Marshall used it to establish judicial supremacy and give the SCOTUS power not specified in the Constitution.)

            1. I think this is to misunderstand Marbury. The courts do have to determine what the laws say and apply them. There was no real problem with this until the progressives took over.

              1. The issue is when “Find the applicable law and determine what it says should happen” turns into “That penalty for violating that law is really a Tax!” – i.e. making penumbras and other suchlike up out of whole cloth.

              2. “I think this is to misunderstand Marbury.”

                And its precedents and background. Marbury v. Madison didn’t happen in a vacuum. For one thing, the power of judicial review wasn’t conjured out of whole cloth; it has definite precedent in the English common law on which American law is based. For another, it wasn’t even the first time the Supreme Court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of an Act of Congress. It was only the first time that the Court ruled an Act of Congress was unconstitutional.

            2. (Waggles hand) The Constitution gives SCOTUS the judicial power–that is, the power to interpret the law.
              The Constitution is the highest law.
              Ergo, SCOTUS interprets the Constitution.

              1. Well- except for the laws that Congress says the Supreme Court cannot review.Except that Congress has not used that power.

              2. And for the fact that it is also within the purview of the people to determine the ‘legality’ of laws. Jurors have in many instances found verdicts in contradiction to official interpretation and edict. This is of course a two-edged sword, but to my thinking it is a net good.

          1. And is screaming to be able to come back.
            Several someones have done similar, but most don’t live long enough to come to her realization, and all were brainwashed on the leftoid trope that we are a horrid place.

        1. You really should have some sort of way to filter out those who have no idea or no interest as to WHY America is the haven they want to go to in order to exploit what it has to give while then trying to undermine the why it can give. And just take in those, or give the chance to get citizenship (I suppose taking in refugees for limited times might work) only to people who understand and respect what your country is – or lately, unfortunately, maybe more was and should be than is.

          Maybe too late now. Too many of your own aren’t really Americans anymore, except in name only.

      2. “The idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone,
        Every century but this and every country but his own . . . ”

        (G&S, 1885!)

  6. The rise of Alexandria Occasional Cortex shows the success of the Communist takeover of academia.
    Meanwhile, on China and book burning, more recently the Reds came up with a new scheme. Instead of burning books, they simply changed the writing system. “Simplified Chinese” is the new Communist writing system, quite different from the pre-revolution one. (That one is still used in Taiwan, and usually labelled “Traditional Chinese”.) The claim is to make it easier to learn. That’s a bit silly; the number of characters hasn’t changed, only their look. The more plausible answer is that it makes pre-revolutionary writing nearly unreadable (and also writing from outside Red China).

    1. Whether Non-functioning Cortex is the rise of the socialist left or a harbinger of their much needed defeat in detail remains to be seen. Making her the new face of the Left seems like a really bad idea. I don’t see her Green New Deal having a lot of appeal beyond the members of the already insane Left. Not to mention why exactly would we need the Democrats latest New Deal when the economy is booming? The last 2 years have been amazing for me financially and this year started off with a new job and a really nice raise.

      Plus, if the mini ice age is starting, does anyone believe that even the most self-deluded Leftist is going to be able to maintain belief for the next 12 years? Let alone how this is going to play out with the more rational people.

      I think the more exposure Crazy Pants gets the more people are going to get ‘woke’ that the Left’s plans are not where we want to go as a country.

    2. Some insight into the educational system’s issues:

      Our Woefully Politicized Education Schools
      A book that happened to catch my attention long before I was working in the field of higher-ed policy was Rita Kramer’s 1991 Ed School Follies. In it, she showed how many of America’s schools of education — the training grounds for future teachers — had been overrun with leftist ideology. And how do things stand 28 years later?

      No better and probably worse is the answer.

      The Martin Center’s Jay Schalin has just written a study on the politicization of ed schools and he discusses it in today’s article.

      If you wanted to influence the education of the nation’s young people, education schools are the place to start.

      That’s where ideas from the rest of academia are inserted into the curriculum for elementary and high school students, and where politically unsophisticated young people are turned into classroom teachers. Control the schools of education, and the education system will eventually be yours to forward your political agenda.

      The Left has succeeded in doing that. The education-school curriculum is saturated with authors who push collectivism, multiculturalism, and other aspects of their worldview on impressionable students. The indoctrination is pretty easy since ed schools attract mainly weak students who don’t want demanding courses.

      One notion that’s taught by a UNC education professor is that science isn’t universal but rather depends on the student’s background. And, Schalin writes:

      Some of the other ideas commonly espoused in education schools today include: race and gender are social constructs; meritocracy is unfair; knowledge of dates, events, and great personages are unnecessary for the study of history; all social knowledge is suspect due to racism and sexism being embedded in the language and culture; and to be white is to be unfairly privileged and must be atoned for.

      The fact that most teachers have been steeped in Leftism helps to explain why we find today’s students espousing the stuff they do. For the most part, you can’t get a public-school teaching job without having gone through an ed-school program.

      Schalin sees no quick fix here. He concludes:

      . . . if there is any hope for renewal, it starts with awareness. It is time our policymakers stopped ignoring the disastrous trend to politicize education.

      [Emphasis Added]

      1. In high school, 1971-72, I took Spanish. And at some point the subject of Cuba came up, with Castro presented in a positive light. I said something disparaging (having read pieces by Cuban refugees about conditions in Cuba) and my otherwise-excellent Spanish teacher (who was probably about 30-35 years old) proceeded to tell me I was wrong because Castro had brought literacy and health care and various other wonders to the people of Cuba.

        Wasn’t really in a position to argue at the time, but it was my first exposure, albeit with no knowledge of the source, to the Marxist infiltration of our educational system.

        The main effect was to put my Communist Bullshit Detector on permanent alert, which is probably why by the time I was 18, I’d already gone over to the dark side, and here I am to this day.

      2. “One notion that’s taught by a UNC education professor is that science isn’t universal but rather depends on the student’s background.”

        Which is (of course) not only untrue but quite fundamentally bass-ackwards.

        Reference: H. Beam Piper, “Omnilingual” (short story).

        Note: he’s talking about between contemporary Earth, and long-ago *Mars*. When education-school theology can’t even survive a collision with classic SF, well, you know they (we) are in trouble.

        But on a more general note, the author isn’t (just) predicting the triumph of Mad Leftism (or is it Marx-coholism?) over public education.
        He is (consequenty) predicting the triumph of private education (e.g., home schooling) over public education.
        Because “you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time” is still close to right.

        And because “you can fool your buddy, you can fool the boss, you can even fool the inspector, but you can never fool the metal” is still *never* wrong.

          1. Ayy-up.
            Which is also a really good summary of several decades’ work in “gravitational colapse” to black holes (or worse).
            Because gravity, unlike politics, always sucks, but never blows.
            Unity of purpose (as noted above) is a powerful thing.

        1. One notion that’s taught by a UNC education professor is that science isn’t universal but rather depends on the student’s background.

          Xie’s got the Social Science to prove it, too!

      3. “One notion that’s taught by a UNC education professor is that science isn’t universal but rather depends on the student’s background.”

        Which is (of course) not only untrue but quite fundamentally bass-ackwards.

        Reference: H. Beam Piper, “Omnilingual” (short story).

        Note: he’s talking about between near-future Earth, and long-ago *Mars*. When education-school theology can’t even survive a collision with classic SF, well, you know they (we) are in trouble.

        But on a more general note, the author isn’t (just) predicting the triumph of Mad Leftism (or is it Marx-coholism?) over public education.
        He is (consequenty) predicting the triumph of private education (e.g., home schooling) over public education.
        Because “you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time” is still pretty close to right.

        And because “you can fool your buddy, you can fool the boss, you can even fool the inspector, but you can never fool the metal” is still *never* wrong.

        (2nd posting attempt, I Love Word Pressing!)

  7. If traditional, conventional religion is the opiate of the masses, Marxism is methamphetamine for people who greatly overestimate the quality of their minds.

  8. “Heinlein was after all racist, misogynistic and homophobic.”

    And then there is what I get every time I mention RAH. I get to hear Heinlein was a Fascist. To which I mentally roll my eyes.

    The speaker is a one who is convinced that he knows everything and everything he knows is correct.* Try to show him evidence that he is wrong and you’ll get a variation of “I didn’t’ say that, or you misunderstood me.”** I have my doubts that he has every read any of Heinlein’s works. I firmly believe that he got this idea from the movie Starship Troopers. (ptui) I’ve tried to tell him that the movies was a travesty, that it has nothing in common with the book, but it goes in one ear and out the others.

    *example is telling me that there was no such thing as Apache Code Talkers – right after I had ran across them in an article.

    ** Thus I don’t waste my time trying to correct him.

    1. The Navajo managed to get all the credit, somehow… but no, they weren’t the only Code Talkers. And WWII wasn’t the first time the US Army used them.

      Try telling people that, and, yeah, it’s like telling them about Warren’s internment camps for Italian-Americans and German-Americans, or that Canada set up internment camps too…

      “They never taught us that in school, so it never happened!”

      1. iifc, the first ‘recorded’ code-talkers were Canadian and served during WWI. During WWII America used Navajo, Apache and Comanche code-talkers. There may have been others that were lessor known and/or not recorded

        I’ve run across the internments camps for Germans before but don’t recall the Italian off hand. Ohooo, research fodder. Canada not only had internment camps for Japanese, if I read it correctly, they had them before American did.

        History is the propaganda of the writer. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen was reading the “history” of Queen Mary of Scotland. English history paints her a power hungry, trying to “steal” Lizzie throne. Scottish history paints her a one who was betrayed by a cousin. I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle.

        1. In the Agatha Christie novel N or M?, which takes place during WWII, there’s a character who’s a German refugee. Everyone assumes that he’ll soon be put in an internment camp. No one seems to view this as an outrageous violation of his human rights, just a sensible precaution for dealing with enemy aliens in wartime.

          As Sarah was saying, sometimes the truth gets through via fiction.

          1. In 1985 there was a film starring Joe Spano (familiar to those who recall Hill Street Blues) and Bob Hoskins (familiar to those who recall Who Shot Roger Rabbit?) based on the “passengers” of the HMS Dunera, about which Wiki relates:

            After Britain declared war on Germany the government set up aliens tribunals to distinguish Nazi sympathisers from refugees who had fled from Nazism. As a result, 568 were classified as unreliable, 6,800 were left at liberty but subject to restrictions, and 65,000 were regarded as “friendly”. However, after the fall of France, the loss of the Low Countries and Italy’s declaration of war, Britain stood alone against the spread of fascism and anxieties became acute. In what Winston Churchill later regretted as “a deplorable and regrettable mistake,” all Austrians and Germans, and many Italians, were suspected of being enemy agents, potentially helping to plan the invasion of Britain, and a decision was made to deport them. Canada agreed to take some of them and Australia others, though, “not since the middle of the nineteenth century had Australia received the unwanted of Britain transported across the world for the purposes of incarceration.”

            On 10 July 1940, 2,542 detainees, all classified as “enemy aliens,” were embarked aboard Dunera at Liverpool. They included 200 Italian and 251 German prisoners of war, as well as several dozen Nazi sympathizers, along with 2,036 anti-Nazis, most of them Jewish refugees. Some had already been to sea but their ship, the Arandora Star, had been torpedoed with great loss of life. In addition to the passengers were 309 poorly trained British guards, mostly from the Pioneer Corps, as well as seven officers and the ship’s crew, creating a total complement of almost twice the Dunera’s capacity as a troop carrier of 1,600.

            The internees’ possessions were rifled and subsequently the UK government paid ₤35,000 to the Dunera victims in compensation (a remarkable testament of remorse given the acute exigencies of total war). Moreover, the 57-day voyage was made under the risk of enemy attack. But it was the physical conditions and ill-treatment that were most deplorable. Internees were frequently abused, beaten, and robbed by the guards, whose sergeants would take men into the ship’s head for private beatings. Many of the troops were “Soldiers of the King’s Pardon” who had been released from prison to help in the war effort, but others were regular soldiers from the Royal Norfolks, Suffolks and the Queen’s Own Regiment. Most internees were kept below decks throughout the voyage, except for daily 10-minute exercise periods, during which internees would walk around the deck under heavy guard; during one such period, a guard smashed beer bottles on the deck so that the internees would have to walk on the shards. In contrast to the Army personnel, the ship’s crew and officers showed kindness to the internees, and some later testified at the soldiers’ courts-martial.

            1. Joe Spano is more commonly known in recent years for his recurring role on NCIS as FBI Special Agent Tobias Fornell.

              1. Oh good grief! [headdesk, headdesk, headdesk]

                Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. And I knew who the Hell Hoskins was from well before that film, thanks to The Long Good Friday and the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre produced Flickers. Roger Rabbit was merely the joy of seeing the rest of the world catching up to what a marvelous actor he was.

        2. The US used Code Talkers in WWI, but not officially. A commander had Shawnee (IIRC) in his unit and decided hey, why not? And it worked.

            1. WordPress Delenda Est… (ate my comment)

              From the Wikis:

              There were several languages used as code-talk, including Basque, Welsh and Nubian. (The last used by Egypt in the 1973 war.)

              Other tribes got into it, Cherokee and Choctaw during WW I, and Lakota, Meskwaki, Mohawk, and Comanche among others.

              Apache code talkers don’t show up in the Wikipedia article (Raaaaacists!) but other sources mention them and several other tribal nations.


              Mentions 566 tribes, 33 Amerind nations.

      2. I’m just Hopi it wasn’t the Nez Perce — they’re already full of themselves over Chief Joseph I Will Fight No More Forever.

    2. When debating with bloviating know-it-alls I find it rarely works to proffer countervailing facts. Instead I find it effective to employ a modified Socratic Dialog, using the “give them enough rope” technique. The depth of their knowledge is generally so shallow that they are soon left floundering.

    3. (*) I wasn’t aware of the Apache code talkers***. That’s cool. The Navajo’s got all the press, but multiple tribes were doing it.

      (***) Wiki missed the Apache in their main article, but I saw other references. Not just Native American, though. Welsh, Basque and Nubian code talkers served in various conflicts.

      We had an SJW who was convinced that all our electric power came from wind and sun. Hey, she was only off by 95%. She also didn’t believe that Al Gore’s place was about 30,000 square feet. She proved impervious to information, unfortunately.

      1. The Code Talkers is a fun rabbit hole. Heck, it is almost a warren, once you get to digging around you find some really nice gems.

        impervious to information *chuckle* Not unlike the person I was talking to last night who was accusing John Wayne of being a draft dodging coward. Even after I provided quotes and links, he only saw what he wanted to see.

  9. “Tell the truth and shame the devil. Be not afraid.”
    “They couldn’t burn books. There were enough people around who’d sound the alarm on that. They couldn’t forbid books, because this is the US and there would be more people screaming than you could silence.”
    C Taylor commented on the second quote on the “Agreeableness” post, and I replied there, but it’s even more relevant here at the mainspring.

    I just finished Peterson’s Rule #8: “Tell the Truth (or at least, don’t lie)” — and the Book Burning ethos follows directly from what he says there: small lies beget bigger lies beget shame to admit lies begets covering up lies begets totalitarianism in all its many varieties.
    He could have been describing the entire arc of the Kavanaugh-Covington-Smollett mindset of the Left (maybe he has a crystal ball?), but his major examples came from Communism and Nazi Germany and the rest of the 20th century genocides.
    He marshalls history, religion, philosophy, and psychology to demonstrate that lying eventually destroys not only the individual, but also society.
    His personal experiences, which he exposes forthrightly (as is appropriate in that chapter!), explain a lot of things: his stand against using laws to force people to speak things they don’t believe in; his very intent attention to interviewers and careful responses to what they ask or say; and his passionate (nearly vehement) lecturing style.
    “Tell the truth, or at least, DON’T LIE.”

    1. Book burning goes both ways though. When I was a kid, the youth group from one of the local churches held a bonfire and encouraged us all to bring in books, music, and movies to throw in. They would give us “Christian Rock” tapes to replace them. (yes, tapes. CD’s weren’t a thing yet. And no, they weren’t 8-track, although you could still find 8-tracks new in some store’s bargain bins).

      Of course, we barely had a television, let alone a VCR. I only owned 3 music tapes and I liked them so I definitely wasn’t throwing them in. And I wasn’t about to toss a book in! One of my precious books?!?!?! NO WAY! It was strongly suggested we bring in any of those EVIL D&D books if we had them. Yea right, like that was going to happen.

      Funny thing was, as much as the adults talked up the whole thing, only a couple people brought anything, and they gave out tapes anyway. I got a Kansas tape. 🙂 I didn’t even realize they were considered “Christian Rock”.

      1. I got a Kansas tape.

        I didn’t know they were considered Christian; I am sure they were never considered “Rock.”

        1. The mid ’70s had a pretty loose definition for what was playable on a Rock station. One announcer used to do entertainment announcements to Pacelbel’s Canon in D, until he got bored with it and switched to the Cantina music from Star Wars (the one where Han really shot first.. 🙂 )

          1. Oh dear Lord, NO!

            The stench! The toxic residue! The environmental impact paperwork! Do we really need another Superfund site?

            Perhaps we could kick some of that Yankee cleverness into gear and sell them to other countries. I gather the Islamists are still buying — it seems a match made in Heaven.

  10. Republicans were the ones pushing for the end of segregation and civil rights, etc.

    This, I think, Is an important distinction that should be pointed out much more often. It was also a Republican President who ended Slavery in the US.

    1. I was watching a video (required EEO stuff at work, sigh) yesterday covering the incidents in Selma during the 1960s. I noted that the documentary–which going by the video quality was either made in the late 90s or early 00s–seemed to go out of its way to paint LBJ as a supporter of the Civil Rights movement, and how awesome it was that he sided with the black folks down South. And, you know, totally avoided the fact that LBJ was a stone cold racist. I think he was simply bowing to the inevitable, as it were–he was savvy enough to realize that Alabama was being especially egregious, and as soon as the news got out nationwide there was no way he could continue to ignore it, and to in any way side with the Alabama government would be political suicide. LBJ was an a**hole, but he wasn’t an idiot. (Look how well his welfare system continues to wreck poor communities to this day by disincentivizing getting OUT of poverty.)

      But of course, LBJ, per that documentary, was an amazing leader and wholehearted supporter of the civil rights movement. ::spits::

      1. LBJ was a seasoned & successful politician from the rough schools of the old Texas Democrats. He figured (rightly) that segregation via government check was more efficient and more durable than Jim Crow.
        Plus, a welfare state means that you get votes from the recipients, and votes from the bureaucrats, and opportunities for endless graft & corruption from contractors building government housing.

        1. Further, as many African nations were unable to finance separate embassies for the UN and DC, they had to commute between NY and Washington. This led to a number of traffic stops in Maryland which JFK and LBJ found quite embarrassing.

          So, like the skilled politician he was, LBJ switched polarity on Civil Rights, ending the filibluster and claiming credit for the Democrats on the issue — one which had been kept alive only by them.

      2. Growing up, I always heard him described in less the polite terms, the nicest being that he was a lair and thief. Suffice to say, I have not run across anything to change that opinion one iota. 😉

        1. And even with the political power and abilities the dems refuse to admit Texas was ever blue. See the refusal of a real shuttle in preference to IIRC LA. Yes, rockwell built em but houston controlled em

          1. I had a book client – a very wealthy rancher in the Brownsville area – who was picked for a nicely-remunerated public service job in the 1950ies under Eisenhower, a job which LBJ had promised to one of his cronies. LBJ apparently pulled some strings and had my client called to active duty, just to sideline him from serving in that job. Fortunately for my client, Eisenhower held fast – and essentially told LBJ, “The job is his, when he comes back from his tour of duty.”
            The client, to this day, is a die-hard Republican.

      1. Why did Texas turn red? I don’t think I have seen that story anywhere yet.

        And besides that being in general interesting there might even be some pointers towards how to turn a state from blue to red in it. As an observer it might be interesting to see if there are similar something going on in some other states right now.

        1. The long and the short of it is that, during the 1960s and 1970s, the Democrats decided to become the party of the culturally and economically “progressive” coastal urban centers and left its other constituencies behind.
          Texas is not culturally and economically “progressive.”

          1. Celia Hayes or some other of our Lone Star commenters might best answer this. I know it hadn’t gone fully red until the Clinton administration in DC; George W Bush finally turned the governorship from Ann Richards in ’94, IIRC. Prior to that it had toggled between Republican Bill Clements (first elected in 1978) and several Democrats — after having been Democrat since the War of Southern Secession (during which period it gets a trifle confusing.)

            It likely has some to do with the national trend of Democrats moving farther Left while the GOP has sorta drifted. Traditionally American elections were fought in the middle, with the primary difference between the parties being who got the graft. The only real distinction between the two candidates was which hand they attempted to stick in your pocket. As the Democrats became more progressive and started insisting it is their pocket and a growing percentage of Republicans have supped from Reagan’s canteen and accepted they didn’t fill that pocket the parties have fought on the outer fringes more than in the center.

      2. The party switch fallacy is all about the Democrats trying to shove their sins onto the Republicans. Sure, both the Democrat and Republican parties moved their focus’ around, and the “South” tilted more Republican. However, if you look at the timeline of the civil rights laws, and who voted for them, it becomes plain that it wasn’t the racist Democrats who moved to the Republican party.

  11. Now the combination of two techniques teaches the kids crazy sh*t such as that Hitler built the Berlin wall to keep out the Jews.

    I want to say something here, but all I can think of is…WHAAAA??

    *I’m sorry, Zsuzsa’s brain has shut down. Please reboot and try again.*

    1. Given that anti-Semitism is growing increasingly popular again, I am worried. And the crap they’re teaching the kids seems to be geared especially towards encouraging it.

    2. See now, that sort of thing is why I have no issue with the popularity of unicorns of late. If people wish to believe something fantastic, and it isn’t their own ability to achieve things (space flight, telecommunication, computing, anything use genuine quantum physics, antibiotics, etc.) or in a Higher Power (and no, NOT aliens), then at least let such be mostly harmless. Bring on the unicorns. Better unicorns (in any and all colors) than this silly re-writing of rather recent history for which there are really good records to fit some strange within-species hatred.

      1. We got groceries at Fred Meyer last week, and they had a display of living-room gunk. The white pigs were interesting. Winged, but WTF is with the unicorn horn? Cthulu just did a face-tentacle.

      2. Now you can not only eat cupcake-flavored Unicorn Cereal, but also Berry Sparkle -flavored Caticorn Cereal. (It is berry Apple Jacks with sparkly inclusions.)

        I told the kids at the store that when you put the bowls on the table, you have to sit cattycorner to them.

        1. Having sampled a couple of the alleged Unicorn items, I suspect the unicorns might be trying to take over the world by inducing Type II diabetes in the humans. Sweet only just barely begins to describe the stuff.

  12. “Germany started WWI.” and “WWI was an imperialist war.” Heard both of those in school. Turns out the first is an exaggeration, because hey, that Serbian dude was the one with the gun, and Russia and France were doing something* once they knew of the upcoming Austrian ultimatum to Serbia. And everyone in Europe, including Russia, had agreed that Austria had a right to justice because you just don’t go around assassinating heads of state. Bad precedent and all that.

    *What they did? Very hard to say because as of three years ago, both the Russian and French archives didn’t have anything that covered two days. Two days when the French and Russians were meeting to discuss…. something. But Russia started posting signs in Russian Poland about possible troop movements the same day Austria issued its ultimatum to Serbia. Odd that.

    1. I’ve long suspected that part of that isn’t just the usual lefty garbage, but a desire for there to be a ‘bad guy’…when pretty much everyone in a position of power at that time screwed the pooch hard.

      I recall how glossed over WWI was when I was in grade school. It wasn’t until I read independently on it years later that I realized this was probably so they didn’t have to address Woodrow Wilson’s egregious violations of constitutional rights. (Well, and because WWI was an insane, confusing mess.) And I note similar regarding WW2: they talked about it more, but they sure as hell didn’t mention the garbage FDR was pulling here in the States during the war. (And I have always been alarmed that he was in office for so very long. I realize that our ‘two term limit’ is tradition, not codified law, and I do wonder if he would have left office voluntarily had he not won the next election–but as he died, we will never know.)

      1. I was never sure if Vietnam was skipped over for being too recent or being too strange, or because LBJ was LBJ. And I do wonder, had things gone differently in Dallas, if a few years later there might have been chants, “Hey, hey, JFK…”

        1. I did get a kick out of how “Superman: Red Son” had JFK as the scandal embroiled president in the 70’s, and Nixon as the guy assassinated in the early 60’s.

        2. Vietnam was barely mentioned when I was in elementary/middle/highschool (so the mid-80s thru the late 90s). I always figured ‘too recent’–though there was one memorable day with a substitute teacher who was a Vietnam vet who filled our teenaged ears with some rather graphic descriptions of one of the notorious rivers there. And that was about the most I ever heard about Vietnam during my school years. I still don’t know a lot, as it’s not one of the wars I’ve done independent reading on.

          1. I’m not sure we were better informed on the Viet Nam war, and it was ongoing when I was in high school. Walter Cronkite (may he roast slowly) told us “And that’s the way it is”, whether or not it really was.

            1. “They’re concerned about violence in media…”

              “When I was a kid they broadcast the Vietnam war into the living room. And they worry about a bit of obvious fiction?”

      2. As of the 22nd Amendment, the two-term limit (1-1/2+ if the veep succeeds a dead or incapacitated President and serves more than half a term as Pres,) *is* codified in the Constitution. Don’t want another FDR-style regime to occur. Lotsa people, mostly Lefties, seem to want to do away with that. “Oh, if I could only have voted for Barack again . . . (or, in a slightly more distant past, BillyJeff)”.

        1. Republicans wanted a third term of Reagan, too.

          Thing is, having to face the voters yet again tends to restrain the impulse some politicians have to “do the right* thing” rather than enact the people’s will. So, had Billy Jeff or Choom Obama known they’d have to face the electorate again it is likely some of their policy impulses would have been … less flexible.

          Considering that the 2001 Enron and WorldCom collapses were barreling down the economic tracks like runaway freights, it seems likely Billy Jeff beat feet out of town just in time.

          *Actually, do the Left thing; oddly, as we can see by Reagan’s and even George W Bush’s second terms, Republican presidents are not apparently inclined to go squish absent concern over voter support.

        2. Just tell those idiots that they might get Three Terms of Donald Trump. 😈

            1. True. AND they’d probably add “AFTER this president leaves this office whether he gets a second term or not”. So their favorite son could rerun for third, fourth, etc. Until someone got fed up & put us out of our misery. Hopefully from someone on their side having a tantrum because they weren’t getting their turn.

    2. I get the idea that Europe of the time was a big mix of explosive gasses and there was a spark. Saying the propane, for instance, started it seems silly.

      1. I’ve always liked the argument that if anybody is to be blamed for WW1, it’s not Kaiser Wilhelm but Bismarck, who turned Prussia into Germany and laid the groundwork in the 1870s for the whole house-of-cards treaty network that triggered the war forty years later.

        1. I’d throw the blame at both Willie and Otto.
          Otto’s system of treaties worked- as long as Otto was personally overseeing and take care of it.
          But once Willie dropped the pilot and took over, he managed to bollix things up- and wound up making enemies out of allies (Russia and Great Britain), and those enemies into allies.

          1. The way the German government was set up in the late 19th-early 20th century, the job of chancellor was essentially, “Be Otto von Bismark.” That caused some problems once Bismark was no longer filling that post.

            And while the Great Britain situation was complicated, I can’t really blame Willie and his chancellors for losing the alliance with Russia. Things were set up so that the Germans were allies with the Russians against Austria and the Austrians against Russia. The amazing thing isn’t that one of those alliances fell apart, it’s that Bismark managed to keep both of those balls in the air as long as he did.

        2. Kaiser Wilhelm I’s decision to take Alsace and Lorraine after the Franco-Prussian War didn’t help, either.

          1. Against Bismark’s advice, but I’ve read conflicting versions of that.

            There’s also Willie II’s rather dumkopf idea to build his own fleet big enough to challenge England’s, despite all the advice that England wouldn’t be out-built, and thus lead to England making nice with old enemies France & Russia.

    3. Eh, as to who started WWI, there’s a lot of opinions on that. I’ll just say that it was definitely to Germany’s advantage that it happened the way it did. If Germany had gotten into a conflict with Russia and France, Austria would probably have elected to sit it out. The fact that the immediate cause was Austria’s grievance was just about the only way that Germany was going to keep their allies in with them.

    1. While I think the Spanish did a lot of terrible things during their conquest of the Americas, wiping out the Aztecs was definitely not one of them. And the revisionist historians somehow usually gloss over the fact that Cortez did–as the article mentions–have a heckuva lot of help wiping them out. Popular, the Aztecs were not…

      Good article!

      1. Somewhere I heard that when the Spanish (under Cortez) landed in Aztec territory, the local priests welcomed them by sacrificing a child to honor the coming of the Spanish.

        No matter how nasty the Spanish & Cortez may have been, that act would have infuriated them. 😈

        1. Then there’s Neil Young’s rather ignorant song “Cortez the Killer”, with these gems of lyrics:
          “Hate was just a legend
          War was never known
          People worked together
          And they lifted many stones”

          Not only ignorant, but the Aztecs would have found them rather insulting.

          I don’t need Neil Young around anyhow.

            1. I will grant his defense. But he is no longer young and — aside from this one song

              — still writes plenty of stupid.

          1. War was never known

            He wrote that about the AZTECS???? How could anyone possibly be so completely pig-ignorant as to believe…WHAAA?

            *I’m sorry. For the second time in these comments, Zsuzsa’s brain has yet again performed an illegal operation and had to be shut down. It might be better to just leave her shut down for the moment.*

      2. Well, and let’s face it: given the climate political, religious, and otherwise in Europe–and especially Spain–of that era, anyone in a position of power would have to have a certain level of despicable, just to survive long enough to get there. I’m not a fan in any way of moral relativity, mind you–but none of us are all lily-pure and very very few of us are totally filthy evil.

        And butchering children falls on the “WTF NO YOU MONSTERS” line even for some pretty awful people. I can’t imagine they reacted well to seeing women butchered, either.

        It’s like it says in Good Omens (paraphrasing): humans are capable of the deepest evil that horrifies even the demons, and good that makes the angels weep with envy…and often you can find it in the same individual.

          1. I showed my students photos of the excavations of the skull racks. They got really, really quiet and one turned greenish. I don’t think they’ll be praising the peace-loving, nature-worshiping Aztecs any time soon.

            1. Torture, rape, and cannibalism /are/ natural. We see people inventing them again and again.

              Someone who likes their victims resisting effectively could be said to prefer peace.

    2. I had to deal with an idiot elsewhere, who while admitting how evil the Aztecs were, was still claiming the Spanish were Evil by conquering the Aztecs. 😡

      1. I mostly put that sort of idiocy down to all those people who swallowed the ‘peaceful indigenous peoples’ garbage whole. We all got fed it. I bought into it when I was kid–because I was a kid–and then I read some less-sanitized history books.

        In the case of the Aztecs–and the Maya and, frankly, the Inca–it was a freaking service to humanity. Those cultures had developed some truly horrifying practices that needed to be wiped off the face of the earth.

        I mean, even the Inquisition–for all its bad press–wasn’t into wholesale butchery.

        1. OTOH, the contemporary Democrat Party is just one teeny-tiny step short of worshiping Baal … and poking their toe over the line.

            1. Well, aside from they could probably show people tossing infants into a fiery Moloch idol on film, not much.

              1. That we know about. Do we know their version of pharmacists weren’t compounding some things thus? Not saying that they did, but history tends to get… shadowy.. the further back things get.

  13. The one I heard a lot during 2016 was “the Germans elected Hitler”*
    No, just no. Hitler actually lost the German presidential election, and his party never received a majority during a free election.
    What happened is he was offered the role of Prime Minister (most of the historically self righteous don’t grok how political systems work) by Von Papen and Gen Schleicher as a sort of compromise deal.
    But Germany never voted for him until the Nazis passed a few laws and arrested the opposition.

    *with the understanding that we were about to do the same with Trump, and Democracy was bad. Or something.

    1. The NSDAP never achieved a governing majority, but they were still the largest party in the Reichstag in both July and November 1932 elections. The other parties’ refusal to work with them to form a governing coalition actually played directly into Nazi hands during the 1933 seizure of power, as the excessive splintering and factionalism which had paralyzed the Weimar-era governments was part of what the German populace was so fed up with.

      That said, I agree with you about the stupidity of that comparison. One of the biggest mistakes I see in both historical and personal analysis, and the core of all conspiracy theory logic, I think, is a kind of inverse post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy: the assumption that results always indicate intent — that whatever happened is what someone wanted to happen and made happen all along. Some Germans who voted for the NSDAP may have been consciously doing so in hope of a dictatorship; I suspect most simply wanted someone they thought had a chance to clean up the mess.

      It’s worth remembering that most of Hitler’s supposed personal popularity came during the imposition of the Gleichschaltung, *after* the 1933 elections, and was a propaganda product of an entirely commandeered press and media institution — and if any Leftist out there is nuts enough to think that situation obtains today in the USA, I suspect even his comrades try to keep him unobtrusively off the stage.

      1. I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as a form of fiction, but I always fetch up against the problem that humans–while capable of extreme competence, particularly in the individual–purely suck at coordinated secret keeping and conspiracy. Not for very long, that’s for certain. I think most of the successful ‘conspiracies’ out there have occurred via pure luck and happenstance.

        1. humans … purely suck at coordinated secret keeping and conspiracy

          Not all of us, but I can say no more.

      2. Hindenburg about Hiler, in 1932: “that man for Chancellor? I’ll make him a postmaster, and he can lick stamps with my head on him.”

        Yet in 1933, Hindenburg was persuaded to accept Hitler as Chancellor, with agreements that were thought to limit his power. Those limits didn’t last very long.

      3. There was also a fair few Germans who went Nazi because they didn’t like the Bolsheviks, and didn’t want to go the way of Russia.
        Which, pretty much happened anyway.
        Then, some of GROFAZ’s popularity came about when it looked like he just couldn’t lose. The Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, the early victories in Russia & the desert- people love a winner.
        Only when the tide changed, the troops in retreat, and the bombs really began to fall were some of the Germans shocked, SHOCKED! that a genocidal madman was running things.

  14. I’m afraid they’re going to get crazier the more power they lose. Beware the wounded bear.

    By which I mean “let’s make them crazier.”

    Just be prepared!

  15. “Republicans were the ones pushing for the end of segregation and civil rights”

    May want to rephrase, Sarah, as it sounds as if you’re saying the Rs wanted to end civil rights.

  16. Christopher – good point. This is a phrasing I see in a lot of writing, and the reader has to think twice every time to figure out the real meaning.
    General grammar rule: If you are going to use a negative clause, put it at the END of your list, so it doesn’t infect the positives. If you are using more than one, place your commas very carefully.

    (brought to you by my Mother the English Teacher)

    1. It’s easier in math & programming, where you can load up the parentheses to make the operations work in the correct sequence.

      1. “It’s easier in math & programming, where you can load up the parentheses to make the operations work in the correct sequence.”

        IF they know the correct mathematical order of operations. If you go by FB “what is the answer to this” questions & the comments with the answers … unfortunately not many do know the common order. I mean when you’ve ran into adult individuals who think -20 * -2 = -40 … or think -(20 * 2) = 40 … just turn around & walk away, because convincing them otherwise is futile (unless it is your job, then you don’t convince, you just tell them they are wrong.)

          1. Been a long time since I’ve had to translate between the two. Most the math I’ve had to deal with has been fairly simple. I mean I had to look up Postfix notation definition. Yes, it has been awhile … Beyond school haven’t had to deal with Postfix programming. That was 30 years ago …

            1. It’s been too many decades. A calculator with parentheses doesn’t match my brain. After 45 years, I’m pretty well set with RPN.

              Oh yes, please remove your feet from the theoretical grass-growing section of my yard. 🙂

              1. After reading about the advantages of RPN I thought I’d upgrade to an RPM calculator. The little Casio I was using cost more than a week’s pay, just for four function plus square root. RPN calculators were apparently “business equipment”; I figured if I saved all the money I could, I might be able to buy one in a year or two…

                So the advantages of RPN remained theoretical as far as I was concerned.

          1. Sadly. Yes. Bookkeepers at minimum, to licensed accountants.

            Exact sequence. Every. Single. Time.

            Caller: I put in a reversal. It posted as a positive amount. (Okay, first time I thought something had gone wrong. I mean come on … Nope.)
            Me: What does the reports show.
            Caller: I didn’t print them.
            Me: (not out loud -> of course not)
            Me: Okay, let me take a look.
            Looks: They’ve entered -$$$ & -Qty, calculated total +amount … (could they’ve had paid attention & caught it here? Of coarse not.)
            Me: Grits teeth & mimics pounding phone on head or desk.
            Me: Figures out how to help client fix what they’d done. Because they couldn’t double check their entry where it could be fixed. Nope, they have to wait until it is irreversible. Fixable to the system, but it will leave a trace of what they’ve done … which they don’t want to have. Tough. Fix unfortunately depended* on where in the system they messed up.

            * technically “depends”. I just don’t have to deal with it anymore. …

            The really fun individual, who argued with me on whether it was wrong, was an auditor … I finally “admitted” individual was right that -$$$ & -qty was a valid entry, but then the amount mathematically, was a positive amount & then everything was correct what had been done (obviously not, but …). Individual asked to talk to one of the bosses. When boss got off the phone, boss came in my office, glared, then sat down & laughed ….

            Wish I could say it only happened a few times over the 12 years I worked there. Nope. It happened more than a few times a year. That was just the calls I took. Looking back system really should allow either entry to be negative, but not both entries at the same time; everywhere it matters. Oh well, not my monkey; anymore.

            Yes. Head hurt.

            Good thing I’m not a drinker. Because the software I worked on … is for … Government agencies.

        1. We dealt with “order of operations” *very* briefly in the seventh grade. As in, a week or so. I didn’t see the concept again until I started learning Turbo Pascal more than a decade later.

          Mostly, we spent the school year, as we did most of every year, repeating the third grade one… more… time… for the benefit of those who hadn’t paid attention the first time.

    2. If you are using more than one, place your commas very carefully.


      Sorry, we had a Punctuation Battle today…complete with the tears of the 7 year old girl over where commas go….


            1. She sometimes decides that she doesn’t understand something, so goes “If I act like I don’t get it, mom might ‘help’ me clear through doing it”– she does sometimes get me– and if that doesn’t work, she demonstrates she is as pig headed as her mother.

              Thankfully I was able to find a different route, both doing comma placement games on and when that didn’t work for one last one having her re-write it the correct way on actual paper.
              STILL finished two hours before the normal school folks get out, on stuff that’s at least a year advanced for her age.

              They work hard, just sometimes they’re kids.

  17. I just picked up “The Death of the Past” by Old Lefty J.H. Plumb. He is celebrating the death of ideological history in favor of factual history.

    Good luck with that, pal.

  18. Think of the number of phrases one can make from AOC’s initials: Anger on Call; Anarchist on Call; Awful on Call… I think I have read too much political news today. Sorry.

    1. Such a well named character …

      cosh in American
      (kɑʃ ; käsh)

      1. British, Slang
      a blackjack, bludgeon, or similar weapon
      verb transitive

      2. British, Slang
      to strike with a cosh

      Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

      Word origin of ‘cosh’
      Brit slang < Romany, contr. < koshter, a skewer, stick

  19. Why? Well, because the only way that communism can survive is by pillaging. But that’s not important right now.

    And stop calling me Shirely.

    This comment brought to you by the annual post bonus Drunkening at our trivia/karaoke bar which I need to invite Huns to next year.

    1. O nightmare.

      That is definitely not the kind of message — that construction delay mean that the venue will not be finished in time — a con wants to be getting four months out. I am glad to hear that they were able to find another venue which should work well for them, even if they had to change dates.

      Someday, maybe, someday The Spouse and I will be able to attend.

  20. I started reading Heinlein late (think I’ve posted about it here before) as in my younger days I just assumed that his work was sexist, racist, etc., or at best horribly outdated. After all, ‘everyone’ knew that was the case.

    When doubts crept in and I finally picked up one of his books to see for myself, I was astonished by how progressive and diverse and, yes, ‘inclusive’ it was. Not just by the standards of his time (though that makes it all the more remarkable), but by modern standards too. It was literally all the things the haters say they want to see in science fiction with respect to race, gender, sexuality, etc. All the things they say were never seen in science fiction in the ‘bad old days’.

    They lied. They re-wrote the history of SF to smear and exclude anyone of the ‘wrong’ colour or sex or political leanings, and lied so confidently and shamelessly that it didn’t occur to me not to believe them. No surprise they lie about actual history in the same way.

  21. Now the combination of two techniques teaches the kids crazy sh*t such as that Hitler built the Berlin wall to keep out the Jews.

    After reading this, I went over to “Watts Up With That” last night. One of the troll comments there included this gem: “like Christians being thrown to the Lions in Rome, circa 2000 BC”.

    Glad I never made any kind of investment in The Onion. I can’t even hope to write for them…

    1. Sad thing about that is it is impossible to know whether they are being tongue-in-cheek or truly are that [adjective] ignorant.

      I mean, in 2000 BC Rome hadn’t even been founded!

      1. Chuckle Chuckle

        One fantasy series set in the past had an existing Atlantis but one of the characters was a Roman.

        Well, none of the possible dates for the existence of Atlantis overlaps with Rome’s existence. 😆

  22. I don’t think that it’s so much that people are stupid, per se, as much as they want to believe in something that seems more…controlled than the chaos of the world that we live in.

    I’ve noticed, suddenly, that a lot of the hard-core socialists are people that have had childhoods and similar lives that have been poor at best (not in money, but in stability/form) and downright awful at worst. An overreaction to the fear of their lives having no structure that they impose structure on everything?

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