Is That A Ship On Your Head?



Humans aren’t rational. This is something that’s really hard for me to accept. I mean, I know it’s true. Is there anyone who doesn’t? But I don’t like it.

I mean, we’re not totally irrational. We can chivvy ourselves along towards more rationality too. But if I were wholly rational, I’d be doing a novel a week. I can write that fast, the problem is getting myself to sit down and persuading myself to produce instead of either going into brain lock or leaving in search of more interesting things to do or, if I prevent myself from leaving the office/desk, taking off mentally on chains of thought that have nothing to do with anything I’m doing, and emerging two hours later going “Uh, what? That much time?”

One of the most enlightening things was reading Pratchett’s book (I THINK “Once more with Ceiling.” in which he talked about his process, and finding out it wasn’t very different from mine. His writing process included what I call “Chasing myself around to make myself write.”  His, because that essay was written long ago, included “Clean typewriter keys.” Eventually at the end of the day there was “sit down and write” and then of course “Write till early morning.”

This made me feel much better, as I’d thought I was weird.

I also confess to laughing with sick delight (and recognition) at Peterson’s recommendation that if you’re bad at bribing yourself to produce (I AM) you’re a bad boss and a worse employee (to yourself) and should fire yourself and find someone else to be you.  There have been times I’ve started to write a want ad.

All this to say, humans in groups have this exacerbated.  No matter how much you try to be rational, you are still a social ape. And you will feel collective uncertainty and anxiety run through your surroundings, be they personal or professional, and you will respond.  Your response will often be what your colleagues and neighbors are doing. And you won’t pause to wonder if it’s productive, because, well, you know, there’s safety in numbers.  That is, if a lot of people are having the same response to a stress factor, you disappear in the crowd, and the crowd bolsters you.  All you need in times of stress is to be fighting your own band mates, right?  And they will fight you or shun you, unless you accommodate and fit in, because social apes.

On the other hand, if you exacerbate whatever the group has chosen to appease its stress with, you will probably end up being a leader, or at least looked at approvingly.

Which is how you get things like the massive and bizarre hairstyles of the nobility (and to be fair the rich bourgeois, but that’s because they aped the nobility) in France just before the French revolution.

As the industrial revolution and various other shifts (including truly disastrous harvests) robbed those whose income came from hereditary landholding of their ancient riches and prominence, even while the court demanded a complex set of “dancing attendance” for royal favor (A policy started and encouraged by Louis XIV in part to rob the nobility of wealth and prominence, not to mention keeping their minds off rebellion) the nobility felt insecure.  The fact that its ranks were being penetrated by people come from the bourgeoisie, who married their children or “simply” franked the nobility’s lavish lifestyles, made the nobles feel they were losing control. Even though rank remained a thing of birth, they were in fact, in the real world, losing rank.

The response were fashions so extravagant that they make us go “Wait, what?” and must have given people headaches.

You can see where wigs came from and were fashionable, in a society without running water and/or decent shampoos. It was easier to keep your hair ridiculously short and wear wigs, which is why they’ve been part of human fashion since ever.

But it took the French revolution to come up with wigs on armatures (or hair extensions, ditto) and hairstyles that incorporated ships and, at one point, bird cages with live, singing birds.

To look at drawings or read descriptions is to go “uh, what? who ever thought that was attractive?” and also “Boy their heads must have hurt.”

Yet the competition for the most elaborate and showy hairstyle, no matter how insane, did not stop until those heads fell to Madame Guillotine thereby stilling forever their status anxiety.

I was going to write this blog about something completely different, but I had to hit FB to message someone, and the posts…

It clicked with something.

See, noblemen in France (in the rest of Europe too, but France’s old kingdom was special for how wide the disparity was) were used to being by far the richest in their surroundings.  And they were used to the peasants being less than dirt under their feet. Or their chariot wheels.

And then that changed, in what, is a cultural eye-blink.  Forget the crazy slogan. Humans don’t like change. Particularly they hate change that challenges their status. Unable to actually increase their net worth (within the prescribed realms in which noblemen could do such) or stop spending, the nobility instead went for displays of wealth.  Big and extravagant ones.  And the wigs were of those and… quite, quite insane.

So what does that have to do with facebook?

For a few generations, since the left captured the academia, entertainment and the industrial-news complex, aka, the opinion makers, to be a leftist has been synonymous with being smart.

And being smart, since the renaissance, but definitely since the world wars has been the greatest social “good” there is.

No, I’m not saying the left was smart.  Increasingly, most of them weren’t, because as it became a matter of social display, the easily led started imitating it.

No, I’m saying that to parrot leftist ideas was to be considered smart. Partly because of the left’s conceit that Marxism was “scientific” there has always been, attached to the modern left the idea that to believe as they do is “rational” and “smart” and that their opponents are stupid.

Not only did they hold onto this while their ideas were proven wrong by reality over and over again, but having captured academia, they pushed leftist ideas as synonymous with being educated.  I mean, if you’d attended an elite school, you received these ideas, and the way to signal you’ve attended the school is to parrot it. Thus leftism became the old school tie (mostly around the neck of our economy, but never mind.)

While they had full control of the media, be it entertainment or informational, they could reinforce the message, as well as revile anyone who challenged them as stupid, wrong and illiterate, and GET AWAY WITH IT.

With intelligence being the highest status-good in our society, the left had secure status. Forever they thought.

The change has been very rapid. The fall of the USSR and talk radio were the beginning, and since the internet took off, they’ve been trying to hold on to the tail of the comet, as it streaks away from them.

I’ve said it before and I maintain it. If Mr. Obama had been president in a country where the information tech was the same as in the 30s, all his failures would have been hidden, and people would believe him a staggering genius, instead of the little man who wasn’t there. Because that’s how the industrial-media complex presented him.

And then… And then they went all in for Hillary! They were “With her” 300%.

Unbelievably, it didn’t work.

I think they’d suspected, before, that things had changed. But they could still tell themselves stories, dismiss the opposition, preen on having all the power.  And then… it failed.

Since then they’ve been running scared with social insecurity.  They display their “brilliance” for all the world, and it didn’t work? Oh. Must signal louder, larger, crazier.

All the “Wokeness” over everything possible (and mostly imaginary) in the last few years?  That’s social signaling by a social group losing power and trying to regain it.

The less it works, the more extravagant it will get.  I am in premonitory awe over what will happen should Trump beat the margin of fraud in 2020. You thought the Democratic Socialist meeting was funny? You ain’t seen nothing yet.  They won’t be able to open their mouths without announcing “point of personal privilege” and their pronouns, and interrupting each other with every finer intersectional victimhood.

If you think having a woman who won an SF award malign the person the award is named after with a bunch of ahistorical nonsense, and seeing the institution cave within days was peak wokeness, you’re deluding yourself.

Soon and very soon the “Wokeness”displays will be the equivalent of having live birds in your hair.

Because in their subconscious, if they just signal loud enough they’ll regain their status as “smart” and “educated.”

Meanwhile, we’ll be buying popcorn stocks and saying “Is that a ship on your head, or are you that insecure?”


309 thoughts on “Is That A Ship On Your Head?

  1. I’d thought I was weird.

    You were, you are. What you are NOT is entirely unique.

    Few of us are; there is little so unoriginal as “original” sin and Solomon’s observation of there being nothing new under the sun also covers that which lies beneath the moon and stars.

    And yes, there are indeed many things so absurd that only the highly educated can believe them … and our society is one of the most highly educated there have ever been.

    1. Everybody should be pushed beyond their boundaries when young, and—barring good reasons not to, such as physical inability—should go camping (real camping!) for a week, cook their own food, and do other basic survival tasks.

      You have to work to eat. You can live with less than you think. Entropy always wins.

      And if you’re trying to sleep cold, it always makes things more difficult.

      1. Ok, gonna call you on this.

        I went to summer camp for two years. It wasn’t too bad, but I’m basically a bookworm, so it wasn’t my cuppa either. Do I see your point? To a degree. But the overwhelming influence of Progressive Left buttinskis here and now renders me hypersensitive to “everyone should be required to do this thing I like”. No, everyone should NOT be required to do much of anything, beyond learn to read, write, and do basic math. Maybe. Requirements designed to shift how people think about themselves and the world is where the rot sets in, damnit.

        1. I think the goal could be better managed by parents being willing to make Little Timmy actually do chores.

          (And dear Lord, do I recognize that making the kids do chores is work. We’re in the middle of an epic war of the wills WRT “dirty clothes.” A specific individual started cleaning their room by shoving everything into the dirty clothes. Including the clean clothes. Which resulted in them getting the “Sort the laundry” chore for a month. We are now at…er….four months of that? And at least six dressers dumped out because they got “Fold X’s clothes” as an additional punishment and…did not. Good heavens, I knew we were pig headed, but apparently kiddo got it from both of us….)

          1. Check.

            At ten or twelve, you get scrambled eggs cooked for you, voluntarily. At fifteen, you’re glad to have the dishwasher unloaded and loaded. And forget yardwork. A couple more years and maybe I get that one a job working in cousin’s produce operation. (Note to self: Other cousin still does row crops, might not be under contract, might need help. Rats! School has started back.) Mind, they did pitch in and clean house prior to arrival of house guests. One is better at house work; other is better at pet care and helping with grandmother.

        2. Understand that. I will also submit that if you were reading a bunch of books over fifty or a hundred years old, you had a decent idea that folks had to work a LOT harder to get the basics done. Heck, you read any of the Little House books and they’re full of details on what they had to do daily just to survive.

          Mostly I object to the mindset that has never left a car without a device and can’t imagine going to someplace like Yosemite without packing the hair dryer and makeup. And yes, I’ve seen the latter. Real camping is one way to get past that issue; physical, hands-on volunteering would be another. Disaster relief might well work as perspective too.

    2. “And yes, there are indeed many things so absurd that only the highly educated can believe them … and our society is one of the most highly educated there have ever been.”

      The late comedian Brother Dave Garner said that a liberal is a person who’s been educated beyond his capacity to learn.

      They are, in fake German, upgescrewed.

  2. if a lot of people are having the same response to a stress factor, you disappear in the crowd, and the crowd bolsters you.

    “From now on I’m thinking only of me.”

    Major Danby replied indulgently with a superior smile: “But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way.”

    “Then,” said Yossarian, “I’d certainly be a damned fool to think any other way, wouldn’t I?”

    1. Dirty little secret that is perhaps the one fundamental truth in nature.
      Self interest is the primary motivation of every living creature.
      Now self interest can and often does encompass a need to procreate and pass along your genetic material, thus the infamous “women and children first” declaration.
      I always hold suspect those “selfless” who claim to great sacrifice for the good of others. Dig deep enough and it’s generally driven by some twisted need to feel superior to those others, or to obligate those helped into some sort of subservient role.
      But then much of my world view I developed from a close reading of Heinlein so what do I know.

      1. I always hold suspect those “selfless” who claim to great sacrifice for the good of others.

        A suspicion which you are not alone in entertaining.

        They re only thinking of him,
        They re only thinking of him,
        How saintly is their plaintive plea…
        They’re only thinking of him!
        What a comfort, to be sure,
        That their motives are so pure…
        As they go thinking and worrying about him!

      2. I suspect the “need to feel superior to others” is tied to reproductive opportunity. Which is why most of us are prone to it to various degrees.

      3. “The universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest.”

        — G’Kar to Garibaldi in Babylon 5:”Survivors”

        I feel like that ‘enlightened’ part makes the difference between self-interest and mere selfishness. Enlightened self-interest has allowances for realizing that it’s in your best interest to be a little more selfless now and trust that others can also be a little more selfless in the future when you need– or that selflessness now can lead to rewards later on/in the afterlife. Selfishness is too short-sighted to see long-term and is caught only in the moment.

        1. “G’Qon qwrote: There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities; it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.”

          – B5, s03e22

        2. When Babylon 5 was on, I didn’t even have a television. More recently, when I was bored and not feeling well, so not up to doing other things, I tried to watch it. I totally couldn’t get past the first couple episodes. As much as other people seem to have liked it, I suspect it got better eventually, but I just couldn’t get into it.

          1. The first half-season is… rough. I first encountered it in S2, which was substantially more polished.

          2. Stuart B5 season 1 can be a tough slog. There’s a whole boatload of mousetraps getting set to be sprung in seasons 2 and 3. On top of that JMS hasn’t quite got the hang of writing or pacing for a 1 hour show and a lot of the episodes feel rushed at the end. And of course the 90’s era computer special effects look dated especially on a modern higher res TV. It’s odd how computer effects quickly get dated (CF Last Starfighter, B5, early Star Trek Next Generation) but decent physical effects (2001, Star Wars) still look good 50 years later.

            1. I didn’t get past the first ep or two, but did notice how nicely he set things up. I have issues with the medium, and easily run out of time and energy to continue.

            2. Jurassic Park’s physical effects still look amazing and are the reason I fear raptors to this day.

              1. Evenstar The original Jurassic Park’s effects were a clever blend of CGI and physical techniques. And yes that’s another movie where the effects have held up fairly well. Speilberg may be a serious anal orifice in many ways, but he is a gifted film maker if you let him loose.

            3. There was an article I read (I’m not going to guess where) on why some later Star Trek shows (Deep Space 9 and Voyager) aren’t going to re-released in high resolution anytime in the foreseeable future. Earlier shows were shot on film. The edited shows exist on film, including the special effects. Film has better resolution that old TV, enough so that digitizing it in high resolution was straight-forward. DS9 and Voyager were shot on video, at television resolution; there aren’t any spare pixels in storage, and the special effects were added (mostly) in the computer and might not even exist anymore.

              I don’t know if Babylon 5 was shot direct on video or not.

              1. CCO B5 was actually shot on film (35 mm I believe, might be 70mm) in wide format in anticipation of wide 1080i plus hardware. The basic problem is that period hardware (video toasters etc) where the special effects shots were done could barely render at the OLD TV resolution (480p). So things were edited together at the lower resolution and standard TV aspect ratio. The original mattes still exist and were based on the film and the wide shots so that’s a start. The problem is the special effects company tanked so all the computer models for the ships etc were lost in the scramble to get what value remained from a bankrupt company. One could redo the special effects (a la the redo CBS did on the Original Star trek). But to do that you’d have to recreate the models from scratch which would be serious money (hundreds to thousands of skilled person hours). As cool as a widescreen high res B5 would be there’s just not enough market for it to be a worthwhile undertaking.

          3. Season 1 was hard to get through….. because it was the disconnected opening setup for the 5 year story arc. How disconnected? The events in the third episode of Season 1, “Born to the Purple”, were a major impact on Season 3 and 4.

            Also, Michael O’Hare wasn’t a very expressive actor, probably because he had major mental health issues. JMS was aware of them, but wanted to give him a chance.

        3. Yeah, ‘enlightened self interest’ is reskinned natural law philosophy– natural morality.

          It’s not perfect, but it works, damn it!

      4. I have no problem with people being ‘selfless’ on their own time and with their own money, or at least with donations arrived at voluntarily. There are God-touched people in the world (I’ve met one or two) and as for the others, if it makes them feel good and helps, where’s the harm? It’s when people want to use threats to make ME (or others) act ‘selfless’ that I turn sour.

      5. Or as a wise old man once wrote:
        Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
        But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants “just a few minutes of your time, please — this won’t take long.” Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time — and squawk for more!
        So learn to say No – and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you. (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.)
        Robert A. Heinlein

      6. Self-interest promotes cooperation. The issue is that people see the cooperation and think that can/should be forced. From the top down.

      7. One little-known fact is that the Bible talks a LOT about the rewards in heaven that believers will receive in proportion to their faithful obedience to God. Which means that if you truly believe the Christian faith, it’s in your own best interest to obey God and do the things He commands you. Including self-sacrificial love for other people, and so on.

        Which means that the very religion that Nietzsche (and others) dismissed as being inferior to simply acting in one’s own best interest… actually teaches that you should act in your own best interest! It just has a wider view of your own best interest that includes the idea that there is life after death (and that life is eternal), and that therefore my pleasure will be maximised in the long run if I take a course of action that will increase my pleasure in the life after death, even if that action reduces my pleasure in the current life.

        From my admittedly-limited understanding of what Nietzsche taught, I don’t think that concept — that the Bible teaches Christians to do good deeds out of self-interest in the long run — was one he ever grasped, because that concept undercuts the foundations of a lot of his polemics against Christianity.

        1. There’s a hierarchy of reasons, in traditional Jewish and Christian thought.

          When you’re young and dumb, you learn religion from imitating your parents.They enforce it through immediate punishment and reward, just like most stuff you learn as a kid.

          As you grow up, you learn awe and fear of God Himself.You obey Him.for a lot of the reasons you obeyed your parents.

          As you gain wisdom, you learn that there are both short and long term benefits to doing stuff the way you were taught. Neither your parents nor God were all that stupid.

          Eventually, you learn to do good things and avoid evil out of love, freely given, and because it is just the right thing to do. (Of course, this is often when you hit new difficulty levels, with people hating you because they think you have it too easy; or you get fun with the Dark Night of the Soul, and not the weeny doubt thing but the real one.) This is the stage when your will increasingly is the same as, or not in conflict with, God’s will, thus preparing you for eternal life with Him.This sort of person often looks happy or quietly glowing, for no good reason you can see.

      8. Probably because the truly selfless (and there are some) DON’T claim to “great sacrifice”; they just do for others because they see a need they know how to fill, without thinking so much about it.

  3. The sadly since decapitated lady up top is wearing what looks to be only a 14-gunner, which is obviously her problem: I personally only ever wear ships of the line at 70 guns or better on my head, especially for social occasions where sketch artists might see me.

    1. Well, a 24-gunner with live ammo and gunnery crew beats ships-of-the-line with no ammo and no gunnery crew.

      Just saying. 😈

    2. Be worth it to view one broadside.
      Might take bets as to whether she’d do a complete back flip or simply break her neck.

    3. First question is, can she actually fire the guns?
      Second question is, can she do it without setting her hair on fire?
      Third question is, did they have roller skates back then? Because that would be one hell of a way to zip down the streets; at least when the mud was dry and there wasn’t too much trash in them.

      1. I’ll be damned, I guess they did have roller skates back then.

        “While the first reported use of roller skates was on a London stage in 1743, the first patented roller skate was introduced in 1760 by Belgian inventor John Joseph Merlin” – Wikipedia.

        1. It is a combination which would strongly argue for careful attention to supportive undergarments.

  4. I think they’d suspected, before, that things had changed. But they could still tell themselves stories, dismiss the opposition, preen on having all the power. And then… it failed.

    “This isn’t quicksand, it isn’t over my ankles knees and only an idiot would claim otherwise.”

    And there are NO rodents of unusual size!

  5. “Because in their subconscious, if they just signal loud enough they’ll regain their status as ‘smart’ and ‘educated.'”

    Am I the only one reminded of cargo cults?

    1. No – in part because modern education is based on cargo cultism, the idea that if they conform to the signalling they will receive the desired results.

      Actual education has been eschewed as difficult and prone to producing inequities (and encouraging habits of thought that our Powers-That-Be find inconvenient. Thus we have Social promotion, worthless diplomas and Credentialism galore while actual independent thought and intellectual curiosity are suppressed with a vengeance.

      The system only works* if everybody is doing it.

      *For certain values of “work”; system only valid while supplies last.

      1. I’ll have you know that my diplomas aren’t worthless. They do a good job of covering up the nail holes on the wall. (Which I wouldn’t have if I’d used a stud finder in the first place.)

        1. Gee, back in college I recall this one voracious gal who had a stud finder; she probably could have helped you.

            1. You probably completely missed the vast number of geek groupies. (I was the captain of the Mathematician-loving team.)
              SERIOUSLY there were a lot of us. Most of us weren’t even ugly. But we tended to have no clue how to attract attention.

              1. Or – like I’ve been informed I did – scared off all the potential contenders. Still don’t see it. I was and am Odd. Not scary.

                1. Some people like a little Oddness. The ones who don’t find it terrifying, apparently. They’ll either try to Fix you or they’ll try to crush you. Sometimes both at once.

                2. I’ve been told by well-meaning older women that I’ll never marry because I am to openly intelligent and intimidate all the men. *shrug* Hiding my light under a bushel has never been a strong suit of mine.

                  1. Personally wasn’t looking for a “keeper”. Where keeper is someone who runs everything. Technically wasn’t looking, period. Found each other anyway. “openly intelligent” was what hubby said he liked … Doubt I “intimidated” anyone in the circles we ran in, or run in now.

                  2. “All” is too much an absolute not to have an exception; just means you (and those like you) need to actually enjoy the hunt, as it may take longer.

              2. LOL. Yes. Two groups of supposedly smart, lonely people, with similar interests, and not a clue about how to find each other. Real life is so often stranger than fiction.

                1. There was some potential with a music major I knew, but it never progressed beyond hanging out together, frequently with onr or two other geeky guys.

                  University of Redacted had segregated dorms at that time, and electrical engineering was almost exclusively male. (The one female EE student in my class was busy having an affair with one of the professors… Ah, the ’70s.) The Odds I knew who had relationships did so outside of classes, (church comes to mind).

                  1. I’m not convinced its quite the same at least at engineering schools. My younger daughter attended the same engineering school that I and my wife passed through in the early ’80s. Ratio was 3 males to one female in the 2010’s (vs the 7-1 of the ’80’s). The modern world with its always on networks and video games meant some majors (e.g. Computer Science) rarely had to leave the dorm to attend to their needs. At least when I went we had to go use the card punches or terminals to get something done. The natural introvert proclivities of engineer types combined with the extreme criminalization of even admiring young ladies and with the easy ability to get certain prurient needs/fantasies fulfilled seemed to have greatly put a damper of the ardour of the average engineer male. As an example the apartment my daughter lived in had four lovely young ladies. If they had been present when I was there I can assure you they would have had to beat the engineers back with a stick. As it was ONE of them dated consistently and he was a boyfriend from home. One other had a couple brief interactions. Something is wrong with that population, it’s like someone was feeding them salt peter :-).

                2. *flight of fancy*

                  Early attempt to prevent the high IQ from breeding– you get rid of the matchmaker/chaperone class, so the really smart but clueless either get eaten alive or learn to treat pretty much EVERYTHING as possible predators…..

              3. Sadly, they are now being overrun by thots, who pretend to be geek groupies, but are just really following the bucks (me, cynical…of course, why do you ask).

                  1. When a math professor I interviewed, looking for practical applications of undergraduate mathematics confessed that the primary purpose of math departments was to create professors of mathematics, I decided that I wasn’t quite so interested in it anymore. I still like like math, but dedicating my life to it to the exclusion of all else had began to lose its appeal.

                  2. As was often quoted ” Engineering school when the men are strong, the women stronger and the sheep are running like hell the other way…”

                1. horse apples
                  I presume that these are the kind produced by the horse rather that the green, wrinkly kind produce by bois d’arc trees. (Which also have uses but not as garden fertilizer.)

                2. Two responses:

                  1. compost it thoroughly as there is no telling what seeds survived the horse’s GI tract. We used to get manure mixed with cedar sawdust from a local stable, aged at least three weeks and it worked very well.

                  2. I know you aren’t fond of visual media, but if the opportunity ever arises to see Quakser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx, seize it. It stars Gene Wilder and Margot Kidder early in their careers and is the tale of a gentle Irishman who made his living sweeping horse apples from the streets (left from Dublin’s dairy delivery carts) and sells the results as fertilizer for housewives’s window boxes.

                  Lovely film, fully available on YouTube.

                3. You need to exercise caution with regard to using horse manure. Recently, a friend of ours killed their entire garden with it, after years of success using it.

                  Turns out that the stables she used began buying their hay, and sourced it from a supplier whose use of grass-friendly herbicides was somewhat on the side of “excessive”. There were still enough residues of that crap in the horse manure to essentially kill off her garden down to subsurface soil. Grass grows there, really nicely. Nothing else will. County extension agent told her that it’ll be five years or so until the herbicide decomposes enough to allow planting anything else.

                  You’ll want to ask some questions about the source of whatever hay they’re feeding the horses your DIL is riding. You could be unwittingly turning your flowerbeds into deathzones.

                  1. Here’s a decent breakdown on it all:


                    I would be very, very cautious about using anything sourced from a commercial stable, even if the owner of the stable tells you they don’t feed hay that’s been produced using herbicides–There is still the chance that your manure is going to be contaminated by boarders bringing in food themselves, and so on.

                    I’m not sure what the countermeasures are–Extension agent told our friend something about composting and waiting for five years in order to ensure that decay of the herbicide had taken place, and that there was a potential for even that measure not being effective.

                    1. It might be a “best solution to a host of problems” thing– with cow or pig manure, there’s less of a seed problem, but a MAJOR stink and possible disease vector issue.

                      If you pile all of it together to “cook”, that will solve most of the seed issues, most of the disease issues, makes it smell like dirt, and incidentally if a dead cow ends up at the bottom the bones of a properly turned fertilizer stack are wonderfully clean, quite suitable for those crafters who really want clean bones but can’t afford the beattle-cleaned stuff.

                      (First year: scrape it all into a hill. Second year: push the hill so it’s basically upside down. Third year: distribute fertilizer.)

                  1. I always wondered if the Pushmipulyu used the Hydra’s trick and used the same orifice for both purposes. Thats what you get for letting an 8 year old read a kids science encyclopedia.

        2. I could do that with mine, but I lost them somewhere in the linen closet.
          Why are they in the linen closet? Lord knows. Because when I brought them home in my suitcase, they went there, 6 houses ago…

          1. Mine and our son’s are all in my cedar chest with quilts and a few handmade afghans not being used. (Not all unused afghans, not enough room). Why the cedar chest? Because that way they don’t get lost in the non-legal “someplace safe” issue this household seems to have. Son’s Eagle certificate and metal, will go there too, if it ever comes off the wall. Only reason hubby’s diploma’s aren’t there too is because he lost them before we were married.

          2. I have two (?) hanging in the shop. I *think* the one from my MS is there, and the one signed by Jeff Cooper is definitely there.

            The former because it took a lot of work to earn the damned thing; January 1987 to December 1990 with before-work classes starting at 0700-0900, 4X per week. I stopped reading for pleasure then, because I was chronically short on sleep.(Undiagnosed apnea had a role there, too. Took 8 years after graduation to happen.)

            The second because it was *fun*.

      2. Actually, most modern government domestic policy is cargo cult in nature, hence Reynold’s Law:

        The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

        1. Post hoc ergo propter hoc should be considered a logical fallacy, not a centerpiece of government policy. (sigh)

      1. Well, I’ve become more and more disenchanted with even the idea of fandom and lost interest in the last con I had interest in.

        So, I responded by volunteering for the biggest of the bunch.

          1. Oh, I’d come down for a day to see you. I mean, I can walk to it from my office and the only reason I can’t see all the main hotels from my office is I moved to the other side of the building (when I first moved here I could do the same from my apartment).

            And LC was the last one with interest, but I recently became disenchanted which is more my fault for thinking it was somehow magically different.

              1. Fandom was something I wished I could be in growing up living, as I did, in the middle of nowhere.

                As an adult I got to see it and was meh at first. I has declined since.

                It doesn’t help that DragonCon pretty much usually has no tracks about books. This year there is one, but a ton of TV/movie centric ones.

                Aren’t sci-fi cons supposed to be about books more than anything?

                Oh, and just to be snarky…an Eternals meeting reminds me of a Mensa gathering.

  6. Ever seen an American, trying to talk to someone in a foreign country whose English isn’t very good? The American almost always begins talking louder and louder, as if that’s going to increase understanding.

    Yeah, your woke folks think screaming louder and louder is going to change their lack of acceptance by the rest of us. All it’s going to do is make us check to see if we can reach our CCW easily.

    1. The latest wokest trendest Twitter silliness is the repeated line, as if sheer repetition worked as a means of changing minds or reality. But what it does is make the creature doing the repeated-line shtick look like a whiny brat.

      1. That’s what their chants are “Hey ho! Hey ho! Trump has got to go!” and other such nonsense. Probably a side dose of auto-hypnosis as well.

        (upon being reminded of said chants I see no reason why everyone else shouldn’t have to suffer as well)

      2. Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true
        Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true
        Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true
        Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true
        Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true

        1. No, but it has the remarkable effect of making people *think* it’s true. What we hear often enough, we start to assign cognitive weight to, even if we intellectually recognize it as false. I still have to make myself remember that Michael Brown was not an innocent victim of police brutality every time his name pops up in the press.

        2. Of course it does – for certain values of “true”.

          If we commence a listing of lies widely believed to be true we’re gonna need a much bigger blog.

          And that would merely be the “truths” we know to be false, such as Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake” dismissal. For every such false truth we know of there are probably ten more that we don’t.

          Starting with Cain and Abel (it is not recorded* that Abel kept sitting on Cain’s side of the bench, but we can reasonably assume he did.)

          *So far as is known, but those books have been edited …

    2. It’s not American. It’s a universal human thing. My mom screams at the boys in Portuguese in the belief that “if I speak loud enough they’ll miraculously understand me.”

    3. Actually…this isn’t that bad of an idea.

      Talking louder usually means you talk slower.

      You for danged sure tend to enunciate better.

      And if they’re having trouble because they really can’t hear you, of course, it helps.

      So “yelling” is not a bad idea.

      <= person who wants folks to yell at her instead of dropping their voice and mumbling when she goes "what?"

    4. It seems to me that the time for “check to see if we can reach our CCW easily” would be well before that point, like say shortly after the time of qualifying for a concealed permit (where applicable, anyway).


  7. if I prevent myself from leaving the office/desk, taking off mentally on chains of thought that have nothing to do with anything

    Why do I now have images of successful writers ankle cuffed to their chairs with time locks securing the chains?

    1. nah You have to manage to do it other ways. Greebo has been known to prevent me leaving my chair long enough I have to yell for Dan to remove him, so I can go to the bathroom. It doesn’t get me to write.

      1. That had been somewhat my conclusion: Time on task is not a valid measurement. But if a manacle* could be programmed to only release after a set number of salable words had been typed we wouldn’t need authors, would we?

        *womanacle, if you’re going to be insistent ’bout it

        1. Okay, I think I have a circuit to connect to her USB port. I’ll have software next week.

          Now, we have to discuss manacle styles (and if people want to chip in to get me new rollers to work on it…)

            1. Electronics is a hobby. An electronic lock triggered by USB is pretty straight forward. It is the software the checks your word count to unlock that needs work.

              1. Remember it must also check validity of words. But how many out of place or wrong letters to differentiate between typos and key smashing

                1. Exactly – the software needs to be able to distinguish between

                  “My name is Julie Shackleford. My family have been Monster Hunters for over a hundred years. My job is to keep the sweet little idiots who don’t believe in monsters safe.”

                  “And I’m okay with that.”


                  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
                  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
                  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

                  It seems to me that any software able to do that could replace the writer.

                  1. You people are totally over-engineering this. We just to give Greebo the password to the manacles.

                    And include a shock feature he can control.

                    1. Unless Colorado is one of them I fail to see your point. 😛

                      There was some Babylon 5 talk earlier in the comments. I’ll see if I can buy some Narn pain-givers second hand.

                  2. I think we could train an AI to be reasonably close and add to her required word count for release to get a margarine of error.

                    I swear, I’m going to have to list “electronic manacling an author to a chair to force them to write” on my kink list at kcom at this rate.

                    1. Of all the stuff “underground” the only works that have withstood the test of Time are Gilbert Shelton’s The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Wonder Wart-hog. Crumb and O’Neill and others had occasional flashes of adequacy and even some wit, but the dominance of sexual obsessiveness and potty jokes limited them to adolescent shock value.

                      As both writer and artist Shelton stood above them all. Wikipedia advises: “The Freak Brothers’ antics are reportedly being turned into a Broadway musical,[citation needed] after a stop motion animated film, titled Grass Roots, fell through.[citation needed]”

                      One can but dream of a live-action Freak Brothers film made in the Eighties, with John Belushi as Fat Freddy Freekowtski , Sam Elliott as Freewheelin’ Franklin Freek and Dan Ackroyd as Phineas T. Phreak.

  8. I was a subscriber to Analog from not terribly long after they changed their name from Astounding. I finally dropped it a few years back when for three months running there was not a single story or science article I could stand to read to the finish.
    I did not always agree with everything John W. Campbell wrote, particularly his belief in Psi, but much as with Heinlein I did always read and consider his observations with an open mind.
    By the act of removing his name from the Campbell Award the magazine has firmly established themselves in the same camp as the liars and thieves who have stolen the Hugo Awards from fandom and made them into their own private circle jerk.

    1. I first subscribed while it was still Astounding, but I did not last (as a subscriber) as long as you. In a way, I have finally made my peace with the name change. I am truly glad that the magazine being published today is not Astounding Science Fiction. Naming changing can cut both ways.

    2. I swear, every day that off grid cabin in the woods looks better and better. More and the safety of the cats is the biggest hindrance.

    3. I think I subscribed 15 years, stopping in the mid-90s. The rot hadn’t set in, but something was off. Analog was about the only reading-for-pleasure that survived my MS ordeal, but the stack of unread SF Book Club issues gave me the impression that I’d lost interest in SF. In retrospect, I’d lost interest in bad-to-mediocre SF, and Analog was possibly collateral damage.

      OTOH, one guy was reviewing books (I forget his name, I think he was after Spider Robinson stopped reviewing), and he did some stories that entailed huge insects (used as air transport?) and plants large enough to be houses. That was a hard pass for me (no idea why, but biology is my least favorite hard science field.)

  9. If Mr. Obama had been president in a country where the information tech was the same as in the 30s, all his failures would have been hidden, and people would believe him a staggering genius, instead of the little man who wasn’t there.

    1. It is worth recalling that the Media of FDR’s era covered up* his invalidism quite ably.

      * none of us now alive can likely attest to how much this was an open secret …

      1. Joe Biden said he was there when the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor, so he can so attest.

          1. …I wish I could believe that these had to be sarcasm. And that it wasn’t from the roosterholster of a future president

            1. I, too, wish it were mere satire. But it is derived from his many confusions of events, from “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed.” to “Just like in my generation, when I got out of school, when Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King had been assassinated in the ’70s, the late ’70s when I got engaged,” Or just today, when the Washington “In-the-Tank” Post corrected Joe:
              As he campaigns for president, Joe Biden tells a moving but false war story

              So I just dropped the elements into the Bidenizer, hit puree and out it came …

      2. I have a couple friends in the 99-101 range of both sound mind and sound body. I’ll ask next time I see them. They might just remember.

    2. Like it or not, FDR had want it took to get America into WW2 and out again. Other could have done it, sure, but Obama is not one of them.

      1. Yes-but…

        Best as I can tell from contemporary sources, the majority of Americans wanted no part of the war in Europe, and there was even opposition in Congress and the Senate to supplying arms to Poland and France. And Roosevelt ran for re-election on an anti-war platform in 1940…

        In retrospect getting into WWII was probably the right thing, but it appears that it was definitely done against “the will of the People.” Even after declaring war on Germany most Americans were lukewarm with the idea, which is probably why Roosevelt baited the Japanese into attacking. After that the propaganda machine had plenty of meat to work with.

        1. Ok, minor quibbles;

          After Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States. The despicable Austrian had signed a pact saying that Germany and Japan were allies. For some reason, he kept it.

          Yes, public opinion started out much more in favor of kicking Japanese backside than German.

          1. One can argue logistical reasons for the strategy, but our initial deployments were focused on the European Theatre, and the majority of our materiel support went to Britain and the USSR.

            Very possibly the realization was that the Germans were the greater long term threat, being scientifically ahead of the Japanese and Fortress Europe the harder nut to crack. Especially after Midway it is easy to believe they thought Japan was merely a matter of attrition.

  10. There is NO such thing as Peak Silly.
    Silly is NOT a conserved quantity.
    It *might* be self-limiting, but perhaps in the same way that stellar mass has a limit.


    As I have made NO computational predictions regarding any such theoretical limit, I am probably safe from having my name attached to such.

    1. Bogosity is conserved. What is interesting about it is that is concentrates instead of spread, so the way to become less bogus is to stand next to something more bogus than you. Your bogosity will flow to it.

      1. At Los Alamos they defined the “shake”, which works out as about 10 nanoseconds. It came from the old saying “two shakes of a lamb’s tail.”

        Computer memory comes in bytes. Half a byte is a nibble. (or nybble)

        Microsoft got into the hardware business selling mice. Their API defined resolution of mouse motion in “mickeys.”

        The Linux kernel has a “do-nothing” loop. The length of the loop is determined in BogoMIPS.

          1. Nine bit bytes were used in the NCR computer we got my last year of high school (1970). The extra bit was for parity. Eventually, the byte was defined as 8 bits by the ISO/IEC.

            DEC used a 12 bit structure in the, er, PDP-11, but I don’t know what they called it.

            1. Words, built on 6-bit bytes. Historically the byte is sufficient to encode one character. Early computing often used 5-bit code from 5 hole paper. Six bit character coding was also common, hence the DEC machines being multiples of six (12, 18, and 36) and octel numbering being common.

              The coming of EBICD on the System/360 were the first step and moved the mainframe world to 8-bit bytes and words multiples of that in size. The Data General Nova and the DEC response, the PDP-11 along with ASCII brought it to the minicomputer world.

              Supers are more controlled by floating point and I suspect their evolution settled down with IEEE’s floating point standards in the late 70s, but I don’t know it.

              Micros were always 8-bit bytes.

              According to Wiki, if you can trust it, bytes as large as 48-bits existed.

              1. Remember 6.3 file names of earl MS-DOS? That was derived from early DEC OS’s on PDP 6, 10 and 20 machines that had 36 bit words. They used 6 bits to encode each character (sixbit no lower case ASCII and EBCIDIC add those) and used 2 36 bit words as a file reference. You’ll note 12 bits not used in the 2 words those were actually used to encode protections and similar things.

                1. Yep, from DEC to CP/M to MS-DOS.

                  Odd that CP/M seems to be a more IBMish name, but more DEC influenced in structure. Then again, it was written in PL/I, which has an IBM heritage I think.

                  I have all the stuff to run TOPS in shm, but spend more time playing with the PDP-8. That machine is fascinating.

                  1. Yeah to my taste the PDP-8 is the first of the RISC processors. VERY simple instruction set but it could do amazing stuff.

                    1. Yep…but it really challenges you to think differently if you grew up in my era (or probably later). Even modern RISC machine are very different in their thinking.

                      If you like looking at early RISC like machines, check out the RCA 1802 microprocess. The most common usage was a COSMAC ELF of some flavor.

                2. How about Radix-50 encoding? I’ve had to deal with file formats that originated with software that ran on old DEC hardware, with some fields containing text in that diabolical encoding.

                  1. Yup Rad50 is seriously evil stuff. And not being familar with its 16 bit implementation I didn’t realize there was another version of the 6.3 naming scheme. A 16 bit word could store 3 characters. So 3 16 bit words gets you, TADA 6.3 name again.

  11. I also confess to laughing with sick delight (and recognition) at Peterson’s recommendation that if you’re bad at bribing yourself to produce (I AM) you’re a bad boss and a worse employee (to yourself) and should fire yourself and find someone else to be you. There have been times I’ve started to write a want ad.

    To be fair, most employees have to be bribed to produce. We just call these bribes “salaries” to make them sound more respectable. In the case of my no-good lazy employee, I don’t actually have any money to spare, so I pay her in bubble baths.

      1. I use my tablet in a large sandwich bag for tub reading.

        As sad as it might sound, that is what it took to move me into eBooks and thus indie big time.

        You can pretty much map how much reading I get done by quizing “bath or shower” (although I can read in the shower too, even paperbacks).

    1. That’s what he says, exactly. You need to treat yourself as “boss and employee” and bribe your employee. Be it with chocolate, walks in the park, whatever.
      My issue is that the things I like to do, I can’t do on my own. (Take your mind out of the gutter. Think “Walk in the park with Dan” or “Go to museum with Dan”. Well, the other stuff too, but…) And it’s not fair to ask Dan to bribe MY employee. Nor does he consistently have time.

      1. Oh, it’s perfectly fair to ask, as long as you don’t get too upset when he says “no.” I can bribe my employee with food, mochas, and the occasional new MP3. I can also bribe her with road trips with Peter; those just take longer to accomplish.

        I can also bribe Peter with road trips. They usually coincide with when he’s rewarding himself with a road trip, and some quasi-legitimate excuse of a “need”, so everybody’s happy.

      2. Ah. I see. I initially read that as “if you have to bribe…” as opposed to if you’re bad at it. I would blame it on there being too much blood in the caffeine stream, but I’m not sure that excuse still works after noon…

        1. I’ve spent the last three weeks mostly awake, when I seem to be sleeping, I nkow because I hear aaaaaalllll the noises in teh house and every so often I check my watch and the sleep monitor catches that as “awake,” and there’s lots of half-asleep….

          Yes. After noon, it still works.

      3. I have not figured out a bribe that works yet . . . read books seems like it ought to work, but that also appears necessary to maintain basic sanity with these small humans around here.

    2. I don’t know how many times I would have fired myself and employed someone better. Trouble is, no one more qualified to be me is willing to work for what I can afford to pay.

  12. “And you will feel collective uncertainty and anxiety run through your surroundings, be they personal or professional, and you will respond. Your response will often be what your colleagues and neighbors are doing.”

    Unless you are a weirdo like me, who if I see a bunch of people running away from something, I go to see what it is. Or if there’s a big crowd forming, I go away from it. I don’t even think about these things, I just do them. Sometimes it works pretty well, sometimes not so much. Too bad for me, I’m the wrong monkey this lifetime.

    Today’s example of crowds moving is the movement to rename the Hugo Awards. Since the movement to rename the Campbell awards ended in “victory” for the griefers, they are emboldened. We’ve seen the odd blog post or tweet along these lines, but previously there was nothing there. There was no fashion for wearing a ship on your head, nobody was about to be the first one.

    As soon as Campbell was denounced, I prophesied that Gernsback was next for the chop. I didn’t know who or why (nor did I care a damn), but for sure some griefer would be out there trying it. 100% for sure.

    Sure enough, Steve Davidson is out there praising Hugo Gernsback with faint damns because they’re coming for Hugo. I won’t give the useless prick a free hit, interested parties can find his ravings easily enough. But there Stevie is, the historic owner of his magazine excised from the fandom Campbell spent a lifetime building, cheering that the fascist Campbell is dead. Stevie thinks that Gernsback was okay though, unless evidence to the contrary surfaces. Evidence being he published a story some snowflake finds unacceptable, or they figure out the old man was Jewish. Being Jewish is now UnWoke, apparently. Because still White, y’know.

    But whatever, Davidson has a ship on his head right now because that’s the Thing of the Moment.

    What am I doing? Trying to figure out how one would torpedo a ship on somebody’s head. Because I’m the Wrong Monkey.

    1. This seems an appropriate act — having already bled the Hugo Award of all value, they now prepare to discard it entirely.

      I wonder what it would involve for some other group to reclaim the award as abandoned property and restore it as emblem of fandom’s highest praise. (Okay – second-highest praise; first will always be paid in the form of book sales.)

    2. Today’s example of crowds moving is the movement to rename the Hugo Awards.

      I will support the renaming of the plastic rocket ship. I’d like something very appropriate to replace the name, though. Perhaps the Bulwer-Lytton would befit recent winners.

      1. Please don’t suggest insulting Bulwer-Lytton like that. However florid his prose, he was an accomplished statesman and author. Some of the phrases he coined have become almost immortal, and not just his much-maligned “It was a dark and stormy night” opening.

          1. I believe there already is a Bulwer-Lytton award, so that’s right out. BTW: B-W was a favorite author of Ulysses Grant and is indeed credited with creation of several memorable phrases, including the one about the pen being mightier than the sword.

            While there is a certain suitability to naming the award for Edward D. Wood Jr., and his authorship of Plan 9 from Outer Space earns him recognition as an SF author of note, I suggest the award should be named for somebody who more completely represents the standards of the modern SF community, somebody who has demonstrated a willingness to bend with the fashionable breeze, to surf the contemporary tide, to mine classic SF to demonstrate how it should have been written if only those old timers had been as woke as he, to pander to audiences desperate to prove their moral vacuity. I suggest naming the Hugo’s replacement for an author who represents the values of modern SF as fully as Mr. Gernsback embodied traditional SF. I humbly propose naming this replacement award The Scalzi.

            1. Yes! ( I figured you were going there. OTOH, Hayden might be possible, especially if we can trigger a fight between them.)

              1. Isn’t he the one who claimed to have so much White Privilege that his life was on the easy setting?

          2. Nah, call it the Dan Brown Award. The statue will be in the shape of the Poop Emoji.

            1. Perhaps the G.R.R.M. Award — the nominations are in but the vote totals never get counted completely?

      2. How about a flag portraying a person of indeterminate sex with a boot on the neck of a prone figure. We could call it “The Virtue Signal.”

      3. The Jemisin. They’re going to call it The Le Guin I bet. And uneven as Ursula was, and much as she pissed me off in private groups by being more self-centered than a gyroscope (but then, she was an old lady by then) … she doesn’t deserve that.

        1. I’m reading some of her essays. Oooooh boy. Some are fascinating, some are, ah, as you say, self-centered. But no, she doesn’t deserve to have the opprobrium of that re-named award.

          1. Yes A lot of LeGuin’s stuff leaves me cold, but there is obviously underlying talent and skill to even the stuff I find wretched. A Chacun Son Gout. But Jemisin? BAHH tried that once as someone recommended it. If it had been paper instead of azw/mobi on a kindle I’d have burned it. Leaving it at a used book store would have potentially inflicted it on some other unsuspecting bastard.

    3. The Hellgate has opened and Hell’s minions are pouring forth. The Phantom is moving in, to snag a few prime demon hides to sell on eBay…

        1. Demon meat? It is somewhat stringy and low fat — try it wrapped in bacon and cooked slowly over a low fire.

          No, I will not explain how I know this.

          1. A sufficiently elevated (no way am I going to use the word “good” here) demon has the added benefit of not needing any sriracha to add spicy heat.

            Lesser demons are kind of like diluted Tobasco in that respect.

    4. “Being Jewish is now UnWoke, apparently. Because still White, y’know”
      How do they explain Sammy Davis Jr.???? Or the Other POC Jews

      1. They just deny there is such a thing and move on, “because Israel is a fascist state!!!11!!!”

        They don’t make sense Dan, they’re Leftists. They pound the table with one hand and steal your wallet with the other.

        However, if you postulate that the Big Important leftists are perverts and need slaves to pursue their “interests,” then a great deal of what they do starts to make perfect sense.

        1. And the thing is, apparently the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews haven’t treated the Mizrahi quite as they ought.

          The Left: never attacking actually vulnerable points.

        2. In tangentially related news, the 501st Legion now has an outpost in Israel. I’m not sure what amuses me more: the six-pointed Death Star on its badge, or the notion of Jewish stormtroopers.

    5. What am I doing? Trying to figure out how one would torpedo a ship on somebody’s head. Because I’m the Wrong Monkey.

      Going by the example at the top of the page something in the .22-.30 calibre range looks to be about the right scale.

      * this post does not condone violence etc, etc.

      1. 30 MM out of a GAU-8. BRRRRP no more ship, Likely no more upper class twit either, but hey that’s life

        1. “GE Brings Good Things to Life!”

          No slouch on the death front, either.

          The GAU-8 is the gun so awesome its “mobility platform” has wings instead of wheels.

      2. If some fool is going to all the trouble to put a ship on their damn head, then it deserves a proper torpedo. Or maybe an Exocet missile.

        See? I’m thinking about it. Wrong monkey! Eee eee!

  13. If you think having a woman who won an SF award malign the person the award is named after with a bunch of ahistorical nonsense, and seeing the institution cave within days was peak wokeness, you’re deluding yourself.

    The sad thing is I’m not even sure which one, because I can think of at least three they could target this way.

      1. The amount we have started to allow people who cannot create to destroy the works of others to soothe their egos reflects poorly on our culture.

  14. Between their death grip on their status, the cognitive dissonance of truly epic and historic proportions, and the fact that the younger generations have never been taught to think at all, let alone rationally, I’m not seeing a peaceful way through this.

    Which is bad, very bad, because look at the French Revolution.

  15. Upon reading the title of the post, did anyone but me have a vision from Time Bandits jump into their head?

  16. Humans aren’t rational. This is something that’s really hard for me to accept. I mean, I know it’s true. Is there anyone who doesn’t? But I don’t like it.

    I mean, we’re not totally irrational. We can chivvy ourselves along towards more rationality too.

    I’m not a man.
    Or machine.
    I’m just something.
    (Wooo-oh, oh oh!)


    My point being, we’re not machines. Which is what total rationality would need.

    But we’re something more than our animal selves, too .

    1. The best cure for the rape of Mother Earth! The ultimate virtue signal! Be the first SJW on your block to sign up!

  17. One of Roger Scruton’s books follows the death spiral of academia by looking at the primary writings of major intellectuals from each academic generation of the 20th century, starting with the Frankfurt School, through Sartre, J. Derrida, M. Foucould, and so on. One thing you notice, and that he also highlights (lowlights) is that each “generation” is less and less comprehensible, because each one has to have more jargon and be more and more “inside.” Otherwise it’s not “really” a development in theory. And the people who want to be thought intellectual agree with whatever it is and pretend to understand, and then add their own incomprehensible commentaries. Just like having a sailing ship in your hair.

    I noticed it with the few bits and pieces that I had to read in grad school (E. Said, M. Foucould, a Derrida essay). But it’s both fascinating and depressing to see how one flows into another, rather like sewer pipes draining into a cloaca maxima.

    1. My one attempt at submitting an article for publication in an academic journal was rejected, among other reasons, because the notation was no more advanced than high school level. Apparently, the ideas were too simple to be understood by those accustomed to the abstruse and recondite.

    2. Back when I was in college, I described some journal articles as “suffering from an excess of polysyllabism.”

  18. Popcorn stocks, hell.

    Mike’s Rent-a-Guillotine Company. “A Basket for Every Budget”

    And see my line of pre-packaged tar-and-feather kits and pre-tied nooses. 🙂

  19. Ah, we’re seeing the natural condensation of the Versailles Culture happening. Sadly, the usual result of things getting this bad tends to result in things like people being shot-and rarely the guilty.

  20. In other fandom news, it turns out that while voice actor Vic Mignogna is ultimate evil for giving hugs at cons, and being confused online with a totally different voice actor who married a teenager with parental consent…

    …one of his loudest accusers beat up both of his.previous wives, and even threatened a judge and the judge’s kids. And one wife’s dogs, and family, and car, and house, and….

    But that is okay with his faithful girlfriend and comrades, because the ex-wives were lying! And the voice recordings were provoked! And he is a super-sweet guy, and anyway, he’s changed! Vic is the evil one, say nasty things about him!

    They just swing into lockstep, not even pausing to think. Not everyone, but the ones who are dug far enough into their cause, that they no.longer care about women actually being abused. The approved hate figures are the only bad men in the universe.

    1. Ron Toye. Live-in fiance of Monica Rial, the voice of Bulma. Search for his name, or Ron Soye, or #RonToyeExposed.

      Basically, various anime US voice actors and fans wanted some #Metoo glory. Vic Mignogna is a voice actor who apparently was a bit of a horndog (with consenting adults), but also is an evangelical Christian who runs an informal Sunday worship service at anime cons. (For free.) Various SJW mean girls decided online to make him the first target of their “Broken Staircase” project (instead of the actual creepy pedophiles of anime fandom), because he had a new movie out back in January.

      Things kicked off prematurely when one of these chicks posted various stuff about Mignogna, which turned out to be really about a voice actor named Illich Guardiola who really was dating underaged girls, and who eventually married one. (And Rial had dated Guardiola when she was in college.) This drove a fan called Hanleia to tweet publically to Funimation about Vic being supposedly a known pedophile, and Vic suddenly got fired.

      But meanwhile, the SJW mean girls jumped on the bandwagon, along with various voice actor co-workers of Vic, and this guy Toye.

      Toye contacted several cons, saying that his company wanted to run lots of sponsor money to this con, but that nothing would happen if Vic was a guest. He also posed as an employee or agent of Funimation, etc., with inside information, and claimed that Vic was about to be arrested. Cons dropped Vic like a hot rock. But then, no sponsorships or arrests happened. A lot of text messages and email correspondence magically made its way to Vic’s lawyers.

      Meanwhile, Vic sued several entities for defamation and tortious interference with a contract. His fans got a large legal defense fund set up through GoFundMe, by way of YouTube lawyer/pundit Nick Rekieta. (He is in MN; the suit is being handled by TX lawyer Ty Beard.)

      A lot of crazy lawyers are defending Rial and Toye, while Funimation has somebody competent. The SJW law side of Twitter is ‘”helping” the defense, while Vic is getting pro bono research from the KiwiFarms bunch, just for lols.

      A few months back, they had a bunch of depositions taken from Vic, Rial, and Toye. Toye came across as both ridiculous and disturbing. (Much like his online presence had been.)

      But then the other day, it turned out that public documents at the courthouse have Ron Toye down as having lost custody of his kid and having protective orders against him, because he pulled a bunch of abusive stuff on both his former wives. This included things like pictures, voice mails, and even video that his ex-wives provided to the court, which included him threatening the family court judge and the judge’s kids. And threatening to chop up the dogs.Very creepy.

      1. Anyway, people are now legit worried about Rial living with this creep, and why some of her most recent tweets seem to have been authored by Toye. Rial (or Toye) claims that this is insulting, and that Vic is the real danger. Various SJWs have come up with various explanations for why Toye is cool and a real protector of women. Even some of the lawyers.

        To be fair, however, some have distanced themselves online from Toye. (Hopefully, physically too.)

        1. I have relayed this info to Daughtorial Unit and Beloved Spouse, both of whom are staff on a regional Anime Con, and found Daughtorial Unit has been following depositions online. Her responses:

          Part the First:
          (In response to question: “How many ‘wayward actors’ is Funi dealing with?”)

          They have a lot of them, it seems, and may have fired one of the least wayward ones.

          I have watched the deposition and seen many of the legal documents, and a reporter is dumping tonight a cache of audio clips of…unwise things said on hot mics that Funimation opted to save, never mind that it definitely contravenes their own employee handbook, the relevant section of which I have seen. (I am also right now watching him on YouTube.)

          Toei happens to right now be in the US for talks with CrunchyRoll, a competitor, about licenses. And Toei is known to be very unamused by hijinks like that I mentioned…

          One Piece may be moving, ditto Dragon Ball Super and anything else Toei owns that Funimation has licensed.

          Part the Second:

          There is some question of if some of the Twitter lawyers are actually in possession of a currently-valid license to practice law in the place in which they reside.

          Otherwise, it’s roughly right. Some of the VAs on Kick Vic are on video doing things that would have made them much better targets if the Broken Staircase project aside from the minor fact of being female and the minors being boys. There are questions of them having rather nastier motives and Funimation now has some rather cringe-worthy violations of their professional code of conduct trending on Twitter.

          I have heard all of the ones out so far, do not think [you] care to listen. (The gay porno audio drama is excellent voice work, it’s a shame that the same cannot be said for its writing.)

      2. I don’t think it was the new movie, I think it was the evangelicalism. Well, and maybe the new movie too.

        But that is truly…special…considering the sick freaky stuff that crops up in online fandom in general. When considering the blatant mistargeting as wel, I hope Mignogna gets beaucoup damages and bankrupts the lot of them.

        1. … that is truly…special…considering the sick freaky stuff that crops up in online fandom in general.

          Remember the First Rule of Mean Girl Gamesgirlship: Rank hath Its Privileges.

          Certain behaviours are reserved for the Elect and not permitted the Wanna-Bees. Any Wanna-Bee presuming to exercise Mean Girl Privilege or any semblance there of must be quashed as an example to others.

          Consider the SF Mean Girl reax should the Sad Puppy Contingent devise and award their own trophies for most Woke SF/F. Perhaps a black marble monolith base supporting a milky quartz disc with embossed asterisk? Perhaps spend a few dollars more so that the disc is a laminate, two lawyers milk quartz sandwiching a rose quartz disk so that the engraving of the symbol reveals the inner layer.

      3. Sheesh. I might have to stop giving Funimation my business if they’re treating people like that.

        1. Before you do — consider that there are many good persons involved in Funi who are not the expletive deleted lawyers, middle management and twitter account monitors who, frankly, screwed the pooch. They operate under a CYA system. If you move too slowly to address such a possible problem in the present climate it will certainly bite you. Therefore these people are inclined to act preemptively in hopes of minimizing the amount of detritus in the air. Now they are about to discover what can happen when you move too quickly and the force of the law comes down on you.

  21. Last year I penned my open letter to the Conclave, suggesting they rename the Hugo the “Teresa” for their oh so beloved editor.

    I was half-joking.


    Just…just f*** ’em all.

          1. Mmmmm … waggles hand. Unusual is certainly a definable thing, although the goalposts keep getting moved.

            Cruel on the other hand … anything done to bring them to the Light is a mercy, no matter how superficially cruel.

  22. I can’t believe I’m the first one to drag this here:

    “Man is not a rational animal; man is a rationalizing animal.” — RAH

    1. Ah, good. I was wondering yesterday who said something to that effect. I think RAH was wrong on the proportions; but he was right in general.

  23. Does anyone realize just how generally nice everyone here really is?
    As I loaded this page yet again, it was 224 comments.
    And was up if not 24 hours, certainly over 18 hours.
    And, so far, nobody has said that the virtue signalers & suchlike are all so many…. ship-heads.

      1. Orvan may be more inclined to think of cephalic decorations than the rest of us due to his having two natural ones.

    1. I, for one, frankly admire the honesty and courage of anyone so bold as to publicly proclaim they have a head full of ship.

      It would probably be a step too far to assert they’ve ship for brains.

  24. And y’all stop and pray for the Bahamas and Florida. The Bahamas are expected to hit Sunday to Monday. The latest forecast has the center of Hurricane Dorian hitting early Tuesday north of Miami and then running length-wise along the peninsula, reaching about Orlando area on Wednesday morning, still a hurricane.

    The error cone for the center of the storm still goes from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean to Savannah, Georgia for Wednesday.

  25. In the absence of a fresh post thus far, I submit this analysis for your consideration:

    The brilliant new Joker movie offers an uncomfortable message about mass shooters
    Get ready to put a smile on this October for the return of Hollywood’s most wicked clown: The Joker is back.

    This time, the villain returns for a first-of-its-kind, standalone film focused on the origins of Batman’s arch nemesis. Actor Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a clown-for-hire and miserable comedian who dreams of stardom. Based on the newly-released trailer, it’s safe to say Fleck’s dreams will become a nightmare for Gotham City.


    The new film, Joker, aims to disturb audiences with its depiction of the slow transformation of Fleck into the terrifying villain we all know and love. Yet in light of recent mass shootings, this spin on the character feels more familiar than ever — and that should scare us quite a bit.

    Since his beginning in the Batman universe, the Joker has embodied the chaos factor. He rages against hierarchies, systems of order, and rule of law. He does it all with a smile.

    In a sea of fictitious villains chock full of contrived victimhood narratives and self-righteousness, the Joker has provided a refreshing escape. He’s the type of character that sees a nicely ordered display of food in the grocery store and quietly shifts one single item, to see if anyone will ever even notice the change. Or if he’s in a mood, will knock the whole display down. It’s not because he’s against shelves. The Joker would just be curious to know why you’re so opposed to the floor.

    Over three decades, we’ve seen four or five depictions of the Joker and they all share this disruptive, anti-social outlook on life. What’s different in Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, is that we get the backstory the character has long dangled on a string before his enemies. In The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger’s Joker would make up new horrific stories anytime he had a captive audience, to talk about his facial scars resembling a permanent grin.

    Now we’ll see how he got to that point, and boy does it look fascinating.


    Arthur Fleck is a strange, middle-aged, white man, living with his mother, playing comedy clubs at night and routinely falling flat on his face. He endures humiliation at every turn and insult is added to literal injury when his comedy is mocked on national TV by a renowned late night host, played by Robert De Niro.

    Fleck is unsuccessful, alienated, aggrieved, and most importantly, deeply disturbed.

    In a short scene with his therapist, Fleck is agitated by the routine nature of the questions she asks. “You never listen do you? You just ask the same questions every week. ‘How’s your job? Are you having any negative thoughts?’ All I have…are negative thoughts.”

    It’s a chilling moment as he stares down the therapist who tells him they won’t be meeting anymore going forward. She sees something in him she can’t fix, and they both know it.

    The Joker himself is a disastrous punchline you can see coming from the beginning. He’s brooding, socially awkward, and starved for recognition, and the people around him can see it. So when considering Joker, it’s hard not to think of the mass shooters that have seized on the anxieties of so many Americans. When these individuals commit massacres and end up on the news, their profiles are never identical, but they certainly have common elements. And Arthur Fleck appears to mesh pretty well with that profile.


    If the shooters were all racists, well, we can address racism. If shooters were driven by homophobia, there are ways to ameliorate that. But we all know and come across individuals who are just not right — like the Joker — and what are you supposed to do?


    This is exactly what we’re seeing time and time again on the most horrific days of national news, when we’re forced to grapple with yet another mass shooting. We keep calling these young murderous men “loners,” yet they’re clearly anything but. This is why Joker looks truly terrifying, because in real life, we’re surrounded by Arthur Flecks — and don’t know what to do about it.

    1. Oh, joy, rapture, bliss…not.

      $2 says that this movie will be “non-woke straight white males are potential brooding monsters, so we need to geld them ASAP so they don’t breed.” Especially with what I’ve heard of some of the other casting choices and decisions. (Thomas Wayne is now a corrupt (the only kind they can think of) corporate executive? Dafaq?)

      Also…I’ve always felt that the Joker should never have a back-story. Batman has a backstory, a massive one, huge and sprawling. The Joker, as his antithesis, shouldn’t have one-or one that has nothing that can be confirmed or proven. Batman has a mission, a cause, a quest. The Joker…just does thing. They need to be each other’s mirror reflection.

        1. It needs to be made clear, from the very start, and in every choice made, that the character is going mad and is just going crazier. The moment you get away from anything that shows that it isn’t a descent into madness, except for hope spots that make the next drop worse, it won’t work.

        2. 60Guilders: From what I hear in the advance reviews, they’re definitely going with the Alan Moore take that the Joker is an unreliable narrator.

          “Something like that happened to -me- you know. I’m…not exactly sure what it -was- anymore. Sometimes I remember it some way, sometimes another.”

    2. They’re definitely trying to Battle Angel Alita JOKER. Just as the trad media and SJWS completely lost their crud when comic fans were more excited for the ALITA film than for the In Name Only Carol Danvers film, they’re furious that this one-off, Elseworlds style Alternate Continuity take on the Joker is -not- getting the mockery and disdain they decided all DC film should get because DC is not woke enough or some nonsense. So the deluge of “Gasp! They are depicting EVIL. The -only- possible explanation is that they LOVE EVIL and are ADVOCATING IT!” has begun.

      1. Not saying, just sayin’ …

        Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ Receives 8-Minute Standing Ovation After Venice Premiere
        Todd Phillips’ highly-anticipated Joker origin film starring the enigmatic Joaquin Phoenix premiered over the weekend at the Venice Film Festival and received an eight-minute standing ovation after critics were beyond impressed with the story the two were able to tell about Batman’s arch-villain.

        According to Variety, Phoenix and Phillips were joined in the Sala Grande by Zazie Beetz, who also stars in the film as Phoenix’s character’s neighbor and love interest. Robert De Niro, who plays a talk-show host in the film, was not in attendance at the Lido.

        Buzz about the Warner Bros. movie had been growing ever since its announcement, but more recently after it was revealed as part of the lineup for Venice and the final official trailer dropped. Both press screenings of the film were packed and positive reviews have been flowing online. The second press screening drew loud applause at the end and cheers when Phoenix’s name appeared in the closing credits.

        While the film is part of the DC Comics universe, it takes a very different form, standing alone as a humanized origin story without any appearances by Batman or other superheroes. It has already been getting awards consideration.

        Phoenix plays character Arthur Fleck, a mentally troubled aspiring clown who transforms into an icon of violent nihilism. The actor claimed earlier Saturday that previous versions of the role, including Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn in The Dark Knight nearly a decade ago, did not influence him for this film.

        “I didn’t refer to any past iteration of the character,” Phoenix said. “It just felt like something that was our creation in some ways.”

        Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera was so impressed by Joker that he claimed the film is headed “straight to the Oscars.”

        After Venice, Joker heads to Toronto for another festival appearance. The film will premiere to the public in the U.S. on October 4. You can check out the trailer for the film above.

  26. Revisiting an older discussion, one which I am too indolent to properly track in order to add this to the discussion (and this guy wasn’t properly the topic of the main post, any way) …

    Yaniv’s Other Racket: How a Single Gender Troll Managed to Get ‘Hundreds’ of Women Thrown Off Twitter
    The Canadian human-rights litigant formerly known as Jonathan Yaniv—a trans woman who now goes by the name Jessica, but whom we will refer to simply as “JY”—is a unique figure among those who follow the debate over transgender rights. In 2018, this self-described “global internet personality” and “social justice warrior” contacted numerous Vancouver-area aestheticians seeking Brazilian-wax services—a process Wikipedia describes as “the removal of all pubic hair from the [female] pelvic region, vulva, labia, perineum and anus, while sometimes leaving a thin strip of hair on the mons pubis.” As reported by Joseph Brean in Canada’s National Post, JY seems to have sometimes used the name “Jonathan” when first making contact (an act of self-“deadnaming,” as it were), revealing only later in the conversations that the “Brazilian” in question would be performed on a client who is legally a woman, albeit a woman who has a penis and testicles. Predictably, some of the aestheticians indicated that they either didn’t have the expertise to perform their trade on such a client, or resisted the idea of having a male-bodied individual in their work area (which may also be their home, with children on premises)—at which point JY responded with human-rights complaints.

    JY’s human-rights campaign was taken seriously by provincial officials in British Columbia, at least at first. One tribunal member assigned to the case opined in May, for instance, that “waxing can be critical gender-affirming care for transgender women,” even while conceding that such waxing comprises “a very intimate service that is sometimes performed by women who are themselves vulnerable. JY’s complaints raise a novel issue around the rights and obligations of transgender women and service providers in these circumstances.”

    But over time, JY’s actions began to arouse suspicion. When some of the women received legal representation from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, for instance, JY withdrew the associated complaints—a course of action that the human-rights tribunal called out as “improper.” Some began to suspect that this was a cynical shakedown, especially after Anna Slatz of The Post Millennial, having become frustrated by the media’s reluctance to report on this issue, began a systematic investigation into Yaniv’s background. Even one of Canada’s most uncompromising (and controversial) trans activists, Morgane Oger, criticized JY for exploiting their cause, and expressed sympathy for the “single moms scraping a living together waxing people’s genitals for low wages, now forced to defend themselves.”

    More recently, recordings, screenshots and other evidence have emerged that appear to show JY allegedly describing South Asians as “turban fuckers,” engaging in sexualized chat with girls in their mid-teens, sending naked photos to fans of a music band whose web services JY once managed, being arrested for brandishing an illegal weapon, taking photos in public bathrooms with others visible, pestering girls about tampon usage, accusing immigrants of being dirty and dishonest, and confessing to doxxing at least one rival. Some of those who have crossed paths with JY describe this individual as a sexual fetishist who is obsessed with the act of menstruation. While JY occasionally has made vague claims to the effect that some of the most incriminating evidence is the work of hoaxers, Oger reported earlier this year that she also had heard numerous personal testimonials that reinforce the allegations against Yaniv.

    In theory, none of this material is relevant to JY’s human-rights case, which is focused on the narrow question of access to waxing services. In practice, however, it seems unlikely that human-rights officials would be willing to hand a victory to a complainant who has been so widely accused of these behaviours. For those who have been victimized by JY, the best result would be a decisive rejection of JY’s claims at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, and some assurance that JY will not victimize others in the manner of a vexatious litigant. …

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