You know, I think there are right now any number of people holding their breath and waiting for things to go back to “normal.”
Their ranks include everyone from traditional publishers, to journalists, to … well, to most people who are not actively involved in “how things change.”
Heck, even some of us who are have to fight trained-in assumptions and ideas from our previous life. Because you know, I can sniff the air and read the atmosphere in my field. I know how things used to go, and sometimes it’s really hard not to panic at some of the signals and events, before taking a deep breath and going “but it’s not like that with indie.”
In the past from which our bodies and — still — most of our minds come, understanding the cyclical nature of things and reading the signs was vital. If you were a hunter who understood the seasonal or otherwise nature of the game movement, and could read the signs of whether this was a large herd or just a limping, elderly buck, you left more descendants. The same if you could figure out that the bush would flower again and bring berries, and went to look for them when the weather showed certain signs. Your kids were better fed and arguably smarter, and therefore you had more descendants.
The other thing that we’re good at internalizing is a narrative. The reason that Marxism is so spectacularly successful is that it’s a “just so” story which — granted if you know bloody nothing about either real Marxism or how the world works — seems to explain everything around you. It reduces people to easily understandable classes and the myriad struggles of the human heart to “class struggle.” The stupid old turn of the TWENTIETH century theory never fit very well, even back then, and it’s increasingly tattered, but if you squint and are willing to ignore all signs of things being upended, you can kid yourself it explains “everything.”
People love things that explain “everything.” It’s at least part of the attraction of dictatorial regimes. You don’t have to think about details, they’re decided for you.
It’s also why we have things like the Iliad. And probably precursor epics long since lost to history. If you believed that your people was destined for glory, you’d put more oomph into cultivating your little plot of land and raising your passel of lads, which in turn led to more people who believed it and carried it abroad.
Heck, the West is suffering from the twin collapse of the blind faith in Christianity (and a unified Christianity at that) and the collapse in its innate superiority that superseded it. Were many of the beliefs that propelled the age of European empires crazy, counter-factual and objectively racist (or truly in point of fact White Supremacist, a much abused phrase these days.)? Sure. Heck, my people, being able to tan, was ipso facto inferior. If you don’t believe me read early twentieth century North European writers and their side swipes at “Portagee”. No matter how smart you were, if you could tan, you were held inferior to the most buck-toothed staring-eyed Englishman.
But it was a narrative. And any narrative is better than none. Even the subjugated or despised people joined the project for a chance to be “close to.”
Am I hankering for a return to that time? Are you insane? Did I immigrate to a Northern European countries? Are my kids anything close to blond? Pfui.
I hanker as always for a world where the individual is revered as an individual and MERITOCRACY rules the day.
Everything else is just a choice of how many people are you creating a hell for. Current Western Civilization is still the best thing that happened to humanity. It still by and large creates the most wealth and the best living conditions for most of the people in the world. But it’s lost confidence. Or rather, confidence has been beat our of its children in elementary school.
A lot of this is the relative of the 60s “going back to the land” insanity coupled with a strong suspicion that native peoples of non-western origin are somehow magical (that good old noble savage.) The end result is something completely insane like Occasional Cortex’s idea that magical native Americans will direct people in healing the Earth. Because they’re magical and stuff, don’t you know.
Anyway, this kind of nonsense gets fed to kids in school about how precious every other culture/genetics/etc is and how bad and reviled the West is. And then we’re surprised they don’t get married, don’t have kids, don’t really want to have jobs or do much of anything.
You see, it turns out Mea culpa mea maxima culpa, much less when that culpa is innate, unavoidable and nonredeemable is a lousy way to propel a civilization.
The good news though is that self-hatred is also not stable. And that the narrative is selecting out the easily manipulated:they just don’t do anything and check out of civilization.
The other good news is that while the browbeaters and setters of the death narrative were working at it, the world moved on, and the still fertile, splendidly inventive Western civilization pulled another egg out of its hat: computers, communications and soon almost entirely personal manufacturing.
Yesterday some idiot on FB was ranting about how Sad Puppies had wanted to keep all minorities from writing science fiction. Leave alone the fact none of us were publishers. Unbeknownst to a lot of people — some of whom ask me for help of that kind, as though I had any power — writers have near-no power over what their publisher accepts. Or to put it differently, sure, mega bestsellers — say Larry Correia — have the power to have their publisher LOOK at your work (for those further down the line don’t even count on that. It’s iffy.) And if the work is okay, even though it might not stand out from the pile, they’ll give you a shot. Note that usually these friends-of-success writers last exactly ONE book. but it keeps the author happy, so what the heck.
On the other hand it takes far more than hyper-mega-bestseller to blacklist another author. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know if J.K. Rowling would do it.
I know of a bestseller who took offense at my first series and demanded I have no publicity or support and be fired after it. Was that the reason? Meh. There was 9/11 which probably greatly exceeded Miss Bitch’s influence. But even if it were, there were other houses, as I’ve proven over the last 18 years.
And now? Now there’s indie. So, were we trying to prevent people from writing SF/F? HOW? Unless we have magical powers, that would be a goal for insane people, and none of us is that crazy. Heck, we weren’t even trying to prevent them from getting awards. We were just trying to have some people, other people, occasionally, sometimes, also get awards, so the hyper-academic focus of the awards changed more to “what fans like.”
It doesn’t matter now, obviously (yes, they are dead to me, and not just to me) but it matters from how people react to things they don’t expect and don’t know how to explain. They fit them, with shoehorns if needed, into a narrative that has nothing to do with them. Because most of the establishment in SF suffers from the twin narratives of Marxism and centralized everything, they literally couldn’t conceptualize our rebellion except in Gramscian terms of pyramids of victimhood. If we had a problem with stories it couldn’t be with poorly researched, poorly written dreck like “if you were a dinosaur my love” getting acclaim in a tiny, claustrophobic, incestuous, log-rolling group. No, it must somehow be a matter of racial/class/cultural/gender and orientation classes. Which is why all of us magically became white Mormon males, and they hold onto it buckle and tongue despite the patent inanity.
Because a narrative that fits very badly is better than no narrative at all.
And right now the narrative is breaking up all over. I still don’t understand why Europe doesn’t have blogs, but even there something is happening. Perhaps merely through the exposure to the glorious immigrants from noble savage cultures, which are telling the very abused children of the Europeans that they’ve been lied to, and their parents have been lied to, and their grandparents– But something is happening. And the establishment is reacting as though it were a passing thing.
If you haven’t heard much of the yellow vests in France, rest assured they’ve not gone away. In fact, they’re still there, still fighting. It’s just that the media is convinced if they put their hands over their ears and sing “lalalalalala” it will go away, in time, because in the past such things (such things as they explain them, not as they are in fact) always did.
They are perhaps thinking of the outbreaks of the sixties and seventies which vanished without a trace. But those were the revolts of youth fueled in no small part with Soviet money. Now… let’s say they can talk about Black Bloc all they want to, but a large number of people on the streets have white hair. And they’ve had just about enough of propaganda.
In the US? Well, sure, we have blogs and alternate channels of information. We tend to think they’re magically important, and the left does too, hence the sudden desire to deplatform us.
I’d say the most important thing in the last twenty years and the seeds of what is going on now underground, at people level, was the Tea Party. It was reviled, slandered, and destroyed as an image. But that’s the whole point, of course. Because enough people took part in it to know it was no such thing. Then reading the coverage, they walked away in disgust.
Meanwhile the media, very happy with the hit job, decided to astroturf Occupy Wall Street, and again, to read their fulsome accounts of the glorious heroes of the revolution, and then walk by the gathering of the mentally ill and old hippies on oxygen which showed up even in small towns (Colorado Springs, seriously) made a few more people go “that’s just not right.”
Without those there would have been no 2016 election. Without those we’d still trust the media.
Now, there’s still some Gell-Mann amnesia, sure. People who wouldn’t trust the media about anything else, default to believing them about things they know nothing about. Which means they still have some power.
The problem is that they have no clue that power is no longer absolute and it’s not coming back.
Sure, blogs have something to do with this, because someone in your circle will have heard the truth and you’ll go “oh, that makes a ton more sense.”
I shudder to think what Obama would have been without the blogs to uncover his vapid inanity. FDR is only the beginning. And he MIGHT have got away with Fast and Furious, as retarded a scheme as ever breathed.
Which brings us to how people are acting now. The media, really, truly, honestly doesn’t get it. This would be the time to become ultra-extra-careful, to report only what you fact-verify to oblivion and not to be paws of idiot politicians. But they seem unable to help themselves. Because they’re sure the old pattern will return.
So we get things as the Sol Pais incident. What in heavens name possessed my state to close schools in a large city because a young, out of state woman, had bought a SHOTGUN? It doesn’t really matter if she had made scary statements. What does that matter? have they ever met an 18 yo? I went and looked at her “scary blog” and you know what, I was once a teenager and I raised teens. There was nothing scary there. In bad taste, sure. But people go through miles and miles of twerpitude before they become adults.
As for her “infatuation” with Columbine this amounted to a drawing of a boy on a skateboard, labelled Dyl that they decided was one of the Columbine killers, because OF COURSE what you immediately think of when you think Columbine killers is skateboards, right? Oh, and she liked Marilyn Manson.
They back pedaled to all her threatening statements being verbal, before they stopped reporting on this.
Which brings me to: this happened when our Jar-jar-brain governor just signed a red flag law, allowing the state to raid my home for guns if they don’t like something I say. Like, giving anyone the right to swat you for “sounding unhinged.” Great idea. Seriously, did he have his brain ablated at birth?
This case, whatever was really going on with the kid — a psychotic episode is not out of the question, but I’ll note she sounded QUITE sane in the gun forum, and also that what she actually DID accorded with her thinking she was coming to CO to meet up with people and go hunt. She did not go near ANY schools and mount Evans is hunting territory. Yeah, that we know she didn’t get a hunting license, but 18 yo’s have some weird things they forget. Older son was older than that when I realized he had clue zero how to write a check, for instance — was seized upon and blown all out of proportion to lend strength to this VERY BAD LAW.
Would it have worked in the past? Probably. Which is why they’re still trying it.
But gaslighting is really hard when daylight is coming in through the windows.
They’ll continue trying. Change is really hard to deal with. Only five or six years ago, talking to an editor who is smarter than the average bear, I was told all the indies would come crawling and begging to be published, when they found out “how much work it is and how much it costs.” By then I was re-releasing my older books, and it cost me an average of maybe $200 (less if I do more work myself.) And the work is not significant. And there are people making six figures. More than I ever heard of in trad.
So change is hard to conceptualize. And the establishment keeps waiting for things to return to “normal”.
They don’t realize that in paleolithic terms, the icebergs have melted, the herds are moving in different ways, and there’s no reason for us to stay here, trapped with them.
My prediction is a lot more eruptions like the Yellow Jackets. And the sudden and stunning reverse of 2016 which has them in shock, still. And, and and…
Sure, they’ll get some in. And it depends then on whether it’s something essential. For instance, when the Hugos got calvinballed, we just went “whatever dude. Keep the wrapper. It’s not the real thing.”
Our elections getting calvinballed? That’s going to end in tears. The FBI joining the raindeer games? That’s probably going to end in tears and blood.
But they’ll get some successes along the way. They just won’t prevail. Because they can’t.
The real world has changed and doesn’t match the model in their heads at all.
No matter how many times they press the right lever, the machine fails to dispense the tasty pellet.
Which leads to more howling of fury more claims of “unfair.”
But more people are waking up too. (As opposed to woke which is like one of those nightmares where you just scream and scream and nothing changes.)
Ladies and gentlemen: refuse to focus on the crazy and roll up your sleeves. We have a civilization to rebuild.