Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m Human — A blast from the past post from 12/9/2010


Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m Human — A blast from the past post from 12/9/2010

There’s this disturbing trend I’ve observed recently – okay, the last thirty years. [My read-about experience goes back a few centuries, so that feels recent.]

It’s part of what I was talking about yesterday, in a way. For a book to be considered serious, or introspective or relevant, it has to attack the past or western culture or civilization or tech or… humanity.

Not that there is anything wrong with attacking these, mind, to an extent. And they used to be shockers and a very good way to attract attention immediately. And I’m not saying the mindlessly chauvinistic “our people, right or wrong” was much better. For instance, the cowboy-and-Indian trope became really tired after a while. [Not that the Native Americans were noble ecologists trope isn’t really tired too.]

I’m just saying that these days, by default what you hear is against-whatever-the-dominant-culture is.

I first realized this when I was studying for my final exam in American culture in college. The book changed opinions and contradicted itself but it was ALWAYS against the winners and against whatever ended up being the status quo. So, the book was against the North of the US, because the North… won. Even though it had before been against the South because slavery. It was very much against modern US and raged against… embalming practices for three or four pages. (Because they divorce us from the Earth. Just SILLY stuff.) [I now wonder if it’s based on Zinn’s fantasies.]

And then I started noting this trend in everything, including fiction. Think about it. Who is to blame in any drama: the US; the successful; the British; the Europeans; the… humans.

Years ago when Discovery Channel put out its “future evolution” series, my kids and I were glued to the screen. We’re the family for whom the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is home away from home, the place we will visit if we have an afternoon free, the place where we have watched lectures and movies. I refer to it as “molesting dinos” and it’s usually my way to celebrate finishing a book.

So we were glued to the TV. Except that after the beginning, I realized the way it was going, and I started predicting it. Instead of taking a “what might humans become” the people who wrote this went down a path where first humans and then everything VAGUELY related to humans became successively extinct, till the only warm-blooded survivor was a bird, and then that too became extinct. In the end, tree-dwelling SQUIDS inherited the Earth.

Yes, you DID read that right. Tree. Dwelling. SQUIDS.

The contortions were capricious and often absurd, but you could predict where it was going.

It’s been a while since we had cable, but I understand there was a very popular series called “Life After US” about what would happen to the works of humans if we were suddenly extinct. And people watched it, fascinated and – from the tones of posts about it – a little wistfully.

This is when you must step back and go “What is wrong with us?” “Is this a sickness of the soul?”

The answer? Yes and no.

Part of it, of course, is wanting to shock, wanting to revolutionize, wanting to be innovative… in safe ways – in (dare we say it?) politically correct ways. It’s easy and approved of to attack: males, America, western civ, humans.

People who select works at publishers and studios and all that are often liberal arts graduates and they come from this curious world where they still think the establishment is circa 1950s and that they’re telling something new and wonderful.

Part of it is, of course, that we do see problems in our own culture, in our own society, in our own species. Of course we do. We are an introspective culture. We examine our consciences, we find ourselves lacking, we try to improve. This is, in general a good thing – though perhaps a little perspective is also in order.

Part of it is politeness/sensitivity to other cultures, mingled with the consciousness our ancestors were often wrong. We’ve been taught the crimes of colonizers in various lands and most of those colonizers (and colonized, at least for most of us) were our ancestors. We’re conscious we’re big and others are smaller. It’s a peculiar form of noblesse oblige. We don’t want to trample others by pointing out faults in other cultures or other species. I understand this, because I learned to drive in my thirties and lived in a mountain town with lots of foot traffic downtown. I was excruciatingly careful driving through there, because I could crush a pedestrian and not notice. This is why we tend to turn our flagellation upon ourselves.

And part of it is sicker/darker. I notice this tendency every time we discuss a great figure of the past, from George Washington to Heinlein – as different as they are. I call it “counting coup.” George Washington? Well, he was slave owner. And he had wooden teeth. And Lincoln? Well, he was very ill, and besides, he was probably gay and in the closet. Heinlein? Despite all his efforts at including – for his time – minorities and giving women starring roles, he must have been closet racist and sexist, donchaknow? Because he doesn’t fit OUR superior notions of inclusiveness.

What is going on here – besides tearing at our own past, and thereby continuing the self-flagellation – is being able to prove we are “superior” to these high achievers. We might do nothing and achieve nothing, but we are superior beings because we’re more moral than they were.

Individually, none of these trends is really bad – or at least not for those of us who grew up with the opposite tradition.

Oh, the constant and predictable chest-beating becomes boring. At least it does for me. Maybe it doesn’t for other people?

But think of (grin) the children. They have no perspective. All they hear is how their country, their culture, their SPECIES is evil. How things would be so much better without us… How things would – ultimately – be much better if… THEY hadn’t been born.

It’s not healthy. It’s vaguely disgusting. And the best it can do is engender the MOTHER of all backlashes and bring about a cultural chauvinism the likes of which you’ve never seen. The worse… well, one of the other cultures we don’t criticize because they’re small and we’re big becomes the norm.

And before you cheer them on, let me put this in perspective: Western civ has committed crimes. ALL human cultures throughout history have committed crimes. Slavery? Since the dawn of time. Exploitation? Since the dawn of time. Murder? War? Genocide? Yep, and yep, and yep. And many of those cultures STILL do all of those things and don’t feel in the slightest bit guilty, mostly because we handily and frequently blame OURSELVES for their behavior and they get our books, our TV series and our movies.

Such as it is, the West has brought the greatest freedom, prosperity and security to the greatest population.

Yes, there were crimes committed, but a lot of them were the result of a clash of world views – tribalism met the state. Look, it’s not that Native Americans or Africans lived in a state of innocence and harmony with nature. If you believe that, you need to study history and put down Jean Jacques Rosseau. [Preferably with a shovel. He’s one of those people who can never be dead ENOUGH.] And get out of your mom’s basement. And take the Star Trek posters off the wall. And the Avatar poster, too, while you’re at it.

To the extent the native were innocent and helpless, it was because of their mental furniture. What gave colonizers the edge was not their weapons or civilization (Oh, come on, back then, there wasn’t that much of a distance.) It was their mental furniture. To wit, they had overcome tribalism and organized on a large scale. Most of the colonized (excepting some small empires) hadn’t. So they would attack in ways that worked in tribal warfare: exterminate a village or an outpost. And the reaction of the colonizers (who by the way also didn’t understand the difference in mental furniture and therefore thought this made the native peoples’ “bestial” or “evil) was to exterminate all of a tribe or a federation of tribes. And it worked because westerners were united as a MUCH larger group. Which made them stronger. Western civilization started overcoming tribalism with the Romans. That was the real innovation.

If you think that we’re rich because of those acts, you must study economics. It doesn’t work that way. If anything those acts made all of us worse off. We’re way past any wealth we could plunder off others. We’ve created wealth. The whole world lives better than it did five hundred years ago.

And if you’re going to tell me the fact that all humans are flawed proves that we’re a bad species, you’ll have to tell me: As opposed to what? Dolphins are serial rapists. Chimps commit murder. Rats… Every species we examine has our sins, but none of our redeeming qualities.

Heinlein said it was important to be FOR humanity because we’re human. Beavers might be admirable, but we’re not beavers. He was right. But beyond all that, we’re the only species that tries self-perfecting. We exist – as Pratchett said – at the place where rising ape meets falling angel, but as far as I know, we’re the only species reaching upward. (Of course, we wouldn’t know if there are others and again, we have to assume we are it. The others have flaws too.)

We are part of the world and in it. To love the other animals of the Earth – or the hypothetical alien – and hate us is strange. Are we not animals? Are we not of the Earth? And who the heck can compete with sentients who exist only in the story teller’s imagination?

By all means, let’s protect the weaker. Let’s shelter the little. But let’s not beat ourselves because we’re bigger and stronger. Let’s USE our powers for good instead.

Am I saying that you shouldn’t tell these stories then?

No, I’m not. I would never repress anyone’s right to create, or anyone’s opinion. But I’m asking you to think. I’m asking you to pause and go “The west is bad… as opposed to? Humans are bad… as opposed to?” And tell your kids that, ask them those questions. [Not just because it’s essential not to browbeat the kids, but because, frankly, all the hatred of humanity and western civilization is becoming tedious.]

And then, perhaps, every now and then, try to imagine a story from the contrary view point. Just to wake things up. And to keep others thinking.

308 thoughts on “Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m Human — A blast from the past post from 12/9/2010

  1. “People who select works at publishers and studios and all that are often liberal arts graduates and they come from this curious world where they still think the establishment is circa 1950s and that they’re telling something new and wonderful.” That’s an important point…and not even circa *real* 1950s, but some imaginary version of what the 1950s were like.

    Related: Professors telling their students things that they think are new and bold, whereas actually they are the same old Prog tropes that the students have heard all their lives.

    1. My sense is that it’s roughly 1950 from the POV of someone born about 1950, so they’re working inside of stories for a lot of it.

      Kind of like how a lot of the descriptions in the news only make sense if you assume the author’s got a mental framework where the average, youngish but not a kid type person (that is, themselves) is about sixty, if not seventy already. A “kid” is someone ten to twenty years younger than you.

      That’s the only way I can figure out stuff like the article on Insty the other day, where they were talking about a gal who is just now looking to get married and how she “still has her youth, but is old enough her biological clock is ticking.”

      She’s 38.

      Was talking to my mom, and she said “oh, honey, your biological clock isn’t ticking– it already rang five minutes ago.”

      1. Seems like there’s an awful lot of women out there in that situation. They bought into the childless education and career track until they’re comfortable financially; and don’t know that they’re now at one of the worst ages to start having their first (and often only) child. See it all the time in our Reproductive Care Services patients.

        1. Compared to prior years, yes; in raw numbers, well…. as of ten years ago, the cohort that’s now about 40 was only 21% never-married.

          There’s a lot more who are married and kept putting off kids, though, because as the old advice goes, “if you wait for the right time, you’ll never have kids.”

        2. One doesn’t have to have bought into the “childless education and career track until they’re comfortable financially;” mindset to be in that boat.

          All one has to be is unlucky enough to have never met someone who was as interested in you as you were in them.

        3. Youngest brother and spouse are lucky in that regard; they were both very young when they set up on working on ‘education and career’ track; she’s having her baby in a month or two, or so; and she’s under thirty, and they’re financially stable and have a place of their own. He’s early thirties.

        1. It’s something I worry about. We just had our first in July. We want to have at least one more, but I’m 37 and my wife is 30.

          1. That’s okay. Having had the first by thirty, she should be okay for a while. Try for no more than 4 years apart, though! And I’d go for two and try for 3, but I’m pro-baby!

            1. The plan is 2-3 years apart.

              I still want to know what the hell kind of sane universe puts *me* in charge of a kid, mind you…

                  1. I know one family with seven (all girls) and that’s what they told me when I asked. The third is the hardest, they said, but by the time the fourth comes along, the oldest is old enough to help out with the baby, and that relieves some of the pressure. (I think theirs were 2-3 years apart).

                  2. To the point that the four year old has to be reminded she’s not the boss, frequently. ^.^

                    Ours are about a year and a half to two years apart, and back when we only had two the Princess would “help”– bring clean diapers and wipes and such when baby needed changing.

                    It would be nice to have more help. Actually lost my temper with my mom about that yesterday– short version is that they’re spending money they don’t have so they can stay roughly in the same state that they have been, rather than be anywhere near us. Which I am not happy about, but have kept my peace about…until for the five thousandth time, she did the “just tell us if you need any help” thing and I pointed out I HAD asked for help. Right before she’d started in on a guilt trip about not visiting them and how much they wish they could see the kids.

              1. See a fertility specialist. Since you didn’t wait till your 40s, there’s hope.
                If I hadn’t been an idiot, I’d have seen a fertility specialist after second son.

                1. Hell. I should have seen a fertility specialist as soon as I got my first pay check after the birth of our (one and only) at 32. We had been seeing one for 8 years, but never took the extreme steps, because that wasn’t done without “reasons” then. Should have had twins with what I had been on, but didn’t get THAT lucky (thrilled with the one). At minimum should have gone back on that medication as soon as baby was on a bottle (at 6 months because of problems). But didn’t.

                  [Was I a bit envious of a co-worker 9 year’s later who had triplets due to fertility treatments just because they were having problems at 25 but no diagnosis? Uh, duh! Maybe. A bit.]

                    1. Our insurance didn’t pay regardless. One of the reasons we didn’t push for egg harvest artificial (darn spell checker won’t bring it up). Then it was $30k to $40k per round, cash. More than we were making a year. As it was what we were doing was $400/month. Insurance paid for prenatal and birth. But surprising insurance didn’t pay for well baby care …

                      Not sure how sister and BIL pulled it off, at least twice (although after first time the eggs were already taken and fertilized, so cost was somewhat less). Then they paid for the adoption … when the first biological baby came dad’s response was “a whole lot less expensive” as insurance paid out for all but $300. Adoption costs were $15K, and they got off cheap.

                    2. Yeah but after Robert we were in the $5 and we eat pancakes for a week years. I was about to start infertility treatment for a second when Marshall surprised us.

                    1. We did eventually, but it’s something doctors are reluctant to treat, because it can lead to hysterical pregnancy.
                      It also means my pregnancy tests are negative until the placenta starts producing, because I don’t, or I produce very little pregnancy hormone.

                  1. I have been dreaming about twins
                    Not daydreaming. Dreaming about actually having them. They do run in my family, too.

                2. Well… miscarried twice. I’m afraid the local fertility specialists I have researched so far don’t inspire confidence.

            1. *grin*

              I actually deleted a waaaaay too long thing about how we don’t know how it works, but somehow having a kid at “roughly before 30” makes it much, much easier to have future kids.
              (This is even when you’ve got sisters where the only variable is one didn’t get married for years.)

              1. Mom was 29 when I was the last one born. Eldest brother 7 years beforehand.

                My highschool girlfriend’s mother was 40ish when she was born. AFAIK, she was the first and only.

              2. Sis and me were in mom’s *early* thireties, and I wasn’t really expected to survive the night. Medical tech has improved a bunch over the last few decades, but yeah. Can’t trick the system too much.

          1. DIL tells me it’s like that with mares, too. If you want to preserve fertility, breed them young. Then they can be bred much older and will still be fertile.

          2. My husband is the younger of two sons. His brother is sixteen years older, so the running joke around here is that Husband is one of two only children.

              1. Mom was the oldest, middle sister was 3 years younger, and kid sister 10 years after that. Mom got some nasty comments from the neighborhood gossips about “her” baby when she took her in the baby carriage. Grandma would have been 33 at that time.

            1. My husband is the youngest of 4. He’s 11 years younger than his oldest sister, and almost 5 younger than the next oldest. He’s just shy of 5 years older than I am. Which means ALL 3 of his older siblings are older than my 3 younger uncles. Overheard of his nieces at our wedding “Grandma & Grandpa are the same age as her grandma’s & grandpa! Mom is the same age as her mom & dad!” Not quite, but close enough, from the perspective of a kindergartner (mom & dad did not have me at 16. Grandma’s & Grandpa were < 8 years older.)

              1. Mine was a “change-of-life baby”, which means that my grandmother and my mother-in-law were born about five years apart. I am only very slightly skeeved to realize that his niece is my age, but I consider myself very, very lucky to have a man who was raised by the WWII generation.

              1. I’m writing a book about a pair of half-sisters 18 years apart. (And the same age — there’s some fairy tale stuff going on. Along with an uncle 18 years older than the older one and — the same age.)

        1. Paternal grandmother would have been 40 when her 6th and last child was born, 38 for #5. The “little boys” were 17 & 16 years younger than their oldest two siblings. Only 3 years older than their oldest nephew.

  2. > “What is wrong with us?” “Is this a sickness of the soul?”

    I’m not part of their “us”.

    Their soul is dark. And smells bad.

    – TRX (still moving forward)

      1. How much of it is self-loathing versus “I’d like to get rid of everybody but a few close friends”? In novel form, I saw more of the latter, like Rainbow Six or The White Plague, as well as several post-apocalypse novels with a handful of survivors. Farnham’s Freehold starts that way, as does Palmer’s Emergence. On the Beach might fit both categories, though.

        As far as getting rid of all life, all I can think of is C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength and a minor The Man From U.N.C.L.E. tie-in novel who’s title is mercifully long forgotten.

          1. I don’t know. It involved a temporary alliance between U.N.C.L.E. and THRUSH to combat some group with a doomsday machine that would kill all life one the world. As I recall, most of it was set in San Francisco. (It’s been 55ish years….)

          2. I had to look it up. Book #4, The Dagger Affair, by David McDaniel, 1965.

            And, though I’d forgotten the title, it’s the one about the guy who developed a device that absorbed energy. I’d remembered the description of the device – wires bent into crazy shapes, going nowhere – well enough that when I read about the strange circuitry “designed” by “genetic algorithms” a while back, the descriptions and pictures were pretty creepy…

  3. Having few actual accomplishments of any worth, the Progressive Left must distinguish itself by being contrary. It permeates all the rancid corners of their provincial world;

    Can’t design buildings that are actually attractive or in some other way meritorious? Design deliberately ugly buildings, call the result ‘brutalism’ and preen.

    Can produce art that will develop a mass following? Take refuge in shock and nasty little in-jokes and sneer at people who want to stop paying to be insulted.

    1. Oddly enough, I’m currently being scolded in Insty’s comments because someone took offense when I pointed out that the lady being attacked as a SJ charity tourist was, in fact, a legitimate volunteer who saved the boy’s life and has spent the last several years saving more kids.

      Apparently it’s cool to attack someone who isn’t there, but it’s a thing you should apologize for to point out that the person attacked is nothing like what they’re accused of, especially when it’s really easy to find out.

      (It’s that photo of the blonde lady crouching and holding a water bottle while a naked, horrifically thin toddler drinks out of it.)

        1. OK, even if she WAS an SJ Tourist, for this moment BLESS HER. Even is the entire rest of her life was dedicated to self-centered grubbing that would have Her Shrillness Clinton saying “Whoa, that’s a bit much!”, for this moment BLESS HER.

          And since, as you say, she’s a longtime volunteer who has spent years actually trying to help under heartbreaking and dangerous circumstances, bless her and may the Lord God (in whom I’m not sure I believe, but I can hope) hold his hand over her.

          1. The boy’s name is Hope, and she runs the “orphanage” where he and other accused witches can be safe, be loved and grow up. The water was part of getting the poor kid to trust her enough to be picked up and carried off for treatment.

            But because it’s possible to kill people who are starving by giving them too much food (which is so “obscure” that it’s covered in popular fiction, most history books that cover the Nazi death camps, and even shows up in hunter’s ed classes) this woman MUST be declared to be practicing bad-think and putting the kid’s life at risk.

            Because she was photographed giving him water to drink.

            …let’s just say that I am very much with you, and still shaking a little at the sheer gall of some people.

              1. I couldn’t recognize the box– was mostly boggled that anybody would think “how to treat extreme famine” was so obscure yet such an immediate threat that it justified attacking a total stranger.

              2. Look, I know I’m weird, and that part of why I know about how to not kill something that’s starving is because my folks doctored starving calves– but for heaven’s sake, when I’ve seen folks use miso soup for this problem in fanfic, the problem just might be pretty commonly known.

                (The hunter’s ed version is beef jerky and lots of water– you get salt and thus electrolites, you get flavor, and it swells up in your stomach so you are less tempted to gorge yourself to death.)

                1. Plus meat jerky isn’t quickly gobbled down. Has to be soaked & chewed, thoroughly before swallowing, between bites.

            1. I do get soooo tired of the “Badperson! You aren’t Doing Good the way we would do it, if we could be bothered to get off our fat behinds!” crowd.

        1. For the internet, the comments there aren’t bad, especially once you block the folks whose sky is apparently green with purple pokadots, and some of the less creative trolls, and the false flags. (not actually as long a list as it sounds)

          Still a really high noise to signal ratio, though. I mostly go there for meme hunting.

      1. OTOH, the French term Musique concrète (electronic music from found sounds, heavily processed) is also a term. I don’t know enough French to guess the etymology.

  4. For a book to be considered serious, or introspective or relevant, it has to attack the past or western culture or civilization or tech or… humanity.

    How well do these ‘serious’ books sell, particularly over time? It seems to me that even the best selling of them disappear, replaced by the latest ‘doom and gloom’ because of people twist du jour.

    1. They attempt to aspire to the immortality of Aristotle and the accessibility of Mark Twain, the relatable snark of Mencken, the lyricism of Shakespeare…

      and fall so short the measurement must be taken with an electron microscope.

      Tiny capability, but the egos the size of galactic-center black holes.

      1. And they achieve the immortality of a Mayfly, the accessibility of James Joyce, the relatable snark of Vladimir Lenin, and the lyricism of Barbara Cartland.

        1. Hey, do not diss the Cartland. She once did a really good, atmospheric book set at the opening of the Suez Canal. And the descriptions were pretty darned lyrical. (Excellent thrift shop find, and less than a buck. I preen myself.)

          1. All I know about her comes from a (small) handful of her romances. The girls are insipid twits. The men are overbearing jerks. The writing compares unfavorably with the only Nancy Drew book I ever tried to read.

            And this is the woman who took the ‘most prolific writer’ tag away from Walter B. Gibson? OK, The Shadow was pulp, but it was competently dashed-off pulp. Cartland was Heyer run through a device that took all the clever and subtle out.

            1. The thing about writing hundreds of novels is that a few of your monthly novels are guaranteed to be good. I think she put extra effort into that one, because it was topical in the 1970’s.

              That said, she did plagiarize a few times also, and some of her research was less good than a gradeschooler’s. But OTOH, she had access to family memoirs and knowledgeable people. Wildly uneven writer. But there are people who actually bought all her books; and she had work ethic if not art ethic.

              She was also airminded, as she was a big glider fan.

              1. Oh, and she left at her death 160 completed but unpublished novels, so you can still get a completely new Cartland ebook every month. And people do. Not me, but plenty of people.

                1. There is a place for popcorn books. And airhead females, bossy males USED TO BE normal for romance.
                  Note I’ve never knowingly read her, but I’ve read plenty of popcorn.

                  1. Yes. Even horribad, awful, no good indy popcorn on amazon when it floats across the alsobot. *grin* Which I read for the ones that sound kinda sorta like the classics I grew up with, so there is the Not Rob Howard, Not Heinlein, and Not Dragonlance (Weis and Hickman, I think)… But close enough to make you feel good, even if the editing is practically nonexistant sometimes. *chuckle*

            2. Do not confuse what a writer produces for the market with that of which the writer is capable. She knew her audience and knew what they’d consume and apparently had scant interest in offering them fancier fair.

              Just because a guy earns his wages as a cook at McDonalds does not mean he is incapable of better provender.

              OTOH, a life spent preparing drivel can dull the senses regarding better fare.

              1. Apparently she was one of the last to do novels by dictation to a secretary. Two and a half hours at a crack, with the secretary taking it down in shorthand, with a tape recorder backup.

                So it was her, plus the talented Mrs. Audrey Elliot.

                She acted out the scenes like an audiobook, so it is a shame she missed out on that.

      2. Twain and Mencken were both well out there on the To-Hell-With-The-Whole-Human-Race-Scale.

        Twain mostly kept it down – his most contentious stuff was unpublished during his life. THere was a book about his social-critic side called A Pen Warmed Up In Hell.

        Mencken however gloreid in it; it was an essential part of his public persona. He coined the term “booboisie” to denigrate conventional small-town middle class people. His dispatches from the Scopes “Monkey trial” were concentrated the rubes.

        1. Mencken was less ‘to hell with the whole human race’ than he was ‘to hell with tribal groups’ (though I doubt he thought of it that way). His writing shows a liking for individuals, and a cheerful appreciation of the good points of even many people he otherwise despised. His newspaper eulogy for Bryan focused on Bryan’s powerful ability as a speaker, and (as I recall, anyway) avoided mentioning that Mencken considered Bryan’s politics to be drivel.

          Mencken even derided German-Americans, and he WAS one.

          Yes, he coined Booboisie, and at the time he had grounds. I loathe the Progressives, but before they wrecked Public Education, they did a great deal to spread basic literacy. In a funny sense, they are to blame for the basically literate, pretty articulate opposition that is now their bane.

    2. In an amusing contrast, fluffy popular mysteries like the Peter Wimsey books are both relevant and are being freaking quoted in memes on facebook right now.

      There’s actual kids (not “under 45” kids) reading them, voluntarily, and sharing silly social media posts about ducks.

      1. Wimsey has a lot of Timely Warnings about SJWs. Not much difference between the 1920’s and now, in certain quarters.

        The amusing/sad thing is that some SJWs write Wimsey fanfic where the SJW characters who act as a warning become much worse, but magically it all works out for them.

          1. Oh, and almost every female character is a lesbian, except when heterosexuality becomes convenient.

            Still not as bad as the new Malkovich version of Poirot, where Poirot is a failed French priest who just made up the whole Belgian detective thing.

            (Seriously, what is Christie’s estate doing? Trying to kill off their IP?)

            1. Oh, and almost every female character is a lesbian, except when heterosexuality becomes convenient.

              *makes a funny snorting noise*

              Yeah, for a series where if it were “modern,” half of his male buddies would totally be gay for him…. *Eyeroll*

              (It’s truly an honor to that lady’s writing to note that she was able to pull it off in making the guy believable as not insanely physically attractive, but still total chick-nip.)

            2. I think they were taking queues from the Geraldine McEwan Miss Marple series on PBS, where lesbian couples were the haystacks, and the happy hetersexual ones were the needles. The local station showed some of the previous series, and beyond sharing a title and a few concepts, they were rather different.

            3. [clickety]

              “Phelps adapts this particular mystery novel taking a few liberties, and all of them are commendable. The hero is more vulnerable, even tragic, and Malkovich plays him tenderly, without overplaying him at all. The supporting characters are more colorful — in fact, more Dickensian — and some of them act a lot saucier, and kinkier, than any character from a Christie novel.”

              No. All the hoops Christie’s executors made David Suchet and the producers jump through, and then they do… this?

              What’s next, “re-imagining” Miss Marple as a 20-something genderfluid “person of color”?

              1. Did you just give them ideas? I preferred the Miss Marple stories to Hercule Poirot’s (though David Suchet nailed the part), but now it seems that they’re trying to extract all the fun out of MM, and injecting a load of equine excrement.

  5. But think of (grin) the children. They have no perspective. All they hear is how their country, their culture, their SPECIES is evil. How things would be so much better without us… How things would – ultimately – be much better if… THEY hadn’t been born.

    I got pretty rude with people who did both the “you know, you’ll fill the house with girls chasing a boy” and the “you got your boy, you’re done now, right?” and the “Oh, you’re pregnant again? Ooops! You already had at least one of each!”

    invariably in front of our second daughter.

    You know, the one they were implying was unwanted, a spare, worthless.

    And yes, she noticed.

    1. Ok, I have no children. I don’t actually have to deal with that particular idiocy. Still, I like to think my reaction would be to blurt out something along the lines of, “Why you insensitive prick/cunt! Were you BORN that rude, or did you study it in school?!?”

      1. I’m honestly usually too gobsmacked to have a very good reaction.

        Since we moved away from Seattle– and, honestly, since we now have an entire horde so even really slow folks figure out it’s on purpose, and I was flat out nasty to the nurse aunt– it’s cut way back.

        1. My sister has a good comeback, and all her surviving biological, and the one adopted, children have heard it –> “They are ALL miracles, the doctor even said so!”

          Sister and her husband adopted after 3 failed artificial implant fails after being told there was no way she could get pregnant naturally, and two adoption fails (miracle #1). Then 3 successful, of 5, pregnancies. Her OBGYN stated, each and everyone “Do not know how this is happening. We have pictures, you two can’t get pregnant the natural way!” Oldest to youngest is 9 years. She was 31 when oldest was adopted, 34 with first natural. (Miscarried 2nd natural pregnancy. Was forced to abort the 4th, because it implanted in the tube.)

        2. That is because Seattle is full of hipsters with their heads up their own behinds who can’t imagine having more than one kid, IF it isn’t too much of an inconvenience.

          1. After all, paying for their Social Security and Medicare benefits is somebody else’s problem!

            Hmmm …. now there’s an interesting argument: Climate Change as a way out of the Social Security / Medicare death spiral. “There’s no need to shore up those because we’ll all be dead!”

      1. Mostly they are just thoughtless, I suspect. They’ve not really any idea of what is appropriate to say and thus express their discomfort at their inability by relapsing into whatever trite socially inept comment comes to mind. Society has conditioned them to think of small families as preferable and they lack the capacity to adapt to somebody who clearly doesn’t share their bias.

        We Odds, of all people, ought not be quick to attribute to meanness what can be accounted for by social ineptitude.

    2. Yes, children do notice. And you do have to be careful talking to a child if the subject ever wanders there. I absorbed a lot of talk from grand parents and older folks that still lost a number of children both at an early age, and as young adults (war, accidents, murder) and the desire for a larger family to offset those losses. Doesn’t mean we value a child any less, just that we value all children, period.

        1. I had a friend whose uncle was 20 months younger than she was. Put him 25 years younger than her mother.

    3. It’s a pity that those people’s parents had children…

      No kids of our own (married far too late for such), but I would have gotten mighty loud. Not sure if any of my ancestors ever went viking, but that would raise the berserker in me.

      1. All volunteer military.
        The new way of “Viking”.
        Unfortunately, there’s no raping, no plundering nor pillaging allowed. But you are allowed to buy anything they want to sell you, as long as it’s legal to import into the U.S.

        1. But I thought it was “Bloomin’ loot! That’s the thing to make the boys git up an’ shoot!”

    4. I get shocked faces when I tell people I wanted half a dozen, or so, children… then you see the mental stumble when they find out I would’ve had that if the boys had stayed and lived. The most they can manage is a weak “Oh, you poor thing,” because they can’t get on the ‘surely your husband would’ve thought to stop,’ as if he was the only one in the reproductive tango responsible.

      And yes, the teeth are bared in a facsimile of a smile. People like the ones you describe bring out the snarking rage in me.

      1. The most they can manage is a weak “Oh, you poor thing,” because they can’t get on the ‘surely your husband would’ve thought to stop,’ as if he was the only one in the reproductive tango responsible.

        My husband came up with a technique that stops the “you should get fixed” talk– he does his best, geeky “oh, you mean broken. That’s what a vasectomy is; you are breaking a functioning system.”

        It tends to either break their thought-pattern, or clue them in that it won’t work.

        1. The only reason we’d consider it is if pregnancy started threatening my health. *wry smile* Considering Rhys describes us as “I look at you funny and you’re pregnant again” we haven’t completely ditched the notion, but… not yet. The littlest one needs a playmate.

          Or two.

          *mischievous grin*

      2. That’s when you sneer and say, “And my horde of descendants will crush yours like bugs! BUGS! BWA-HA-HAAA!!! More tea?”

        1. Pointing out to a SJW that the future will belong to the children of those who had the most children simply does not penetrate.

          1. (Waggles hand) Worth noting there is that trying for that sort of effect tends to not have the desired outcome. IIRC, groups like Quiverfull have lousy retention rates, because it turns out that people don’t like being raised to be foot soldiers in the culture wars.

            1. You have twelve children — even if they average one apiece, you have more grandchildren than the person who had one, who then had one.

              Retain even one or two, and you have A LOT more grandchildren.

      3. In my childhood, one of the books my folks read to me at bedtime was CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN. My Mother was always a little but angry at the part where the Planned Parenthood activist visits and can’t see that planning for and then having 12 kids is ALSO ‘planned parenthood’.

        1. Oh come on, Lilian’s friend, then the Gilbreths (sp) played that activist like a guitar. It was hilarious.

          1. Oh, Mother thought THAT part was funny. But the stupidity of the Planned Parenthood rep, and the arrogance in thinking SHE knew better than this highly successful and happy family how many children they should have….

            My mother was a gentle woman, and she tended to GROWL at that.

            1. *dry* There’s always someone who ‘knows better’.

              On the other hand, Rhys tells me that his mates at work marvel at how well behaved our kids are, wishing that theirs were even half as behaved. It always takes me a few minutes to realize at least the kids aren’t throwing screaming tantrums that they don’t have the latest console game or the latest digital device. The most I get is the oldest boy being rather addicted to a grindy game he’s into of late, and being a bit laid back about things otherwise.

          1. Now this is no poop…

            Job I had working with the public I had occasion to work the local planned parenthood on building one town over. The one that has the little granny protesters out front that give you free iced tea, and the tiny little group of anti-protesters that scowl a lot.

            Inside that building as you go down the hall, there is a wall full of baby photographs with dates on them. Now they are mostly old because who uses instant cameras these days? But they are there.

            Not all who support infanticide are completely anti-kidlet, or weren’t at some point. Or maybe our version down here is just weird. They’re still human, flawed and contradicted as human can be.

            It just makes it all the sadder because they don’t realize what’s been done to their thinking. And funny, because they *really* hate it when you pity them. But sad, yes. Sad!

            *chuckle* If that ain’t some gallows humor, I don’t know what is.

            1. Book I got some time ago is titled The Walls Are Talking One of the more tragic stories is about how this young black woman kept coming back for abortions, reasoning that ‘it’s just a blob of cells.’ 9 abortions. Relaxed and as easy going as she could be about having them. The abortion workers weren’t supposed to be judgemental but they were starting to hold this woman in contempt, because she kept refusing to use contraception and used abortion as contraception.

              Until the one day, after having a 13 week fetus aborted, she asked to look at the result. I wrote about it here.

            2. I guess my point is, a lot of people believe in a lie.

              The liberal friend I mention now and again and I had a very long discussion about the lie. I’ve always felt that total education about risks – in pregnancy, in abortion, in sex – should be what everyone gets. Informed consent. Informed decisions. There was this idea that everyone seems to think pregnancy is ‘easy, normal, no problems’ but it was easy to show that this wasn’t the case. It isn’t cruel, I think, to present the truth, because truth is not cruel, or evil, but decisions made on a lie are cruel and evil, because it takes away true agency and control from the person who makes that decision.

              There’s a woman that is often upheld as a hero for aborting Jewish babies so they would not be used in experiments by Mengele. What is not focused on is she knew exactly what she was doing, that the women she performed abortions on knew exactly what they were doing and what was happening. Yes, she went on later on to become a midwife.

              But they *knew*. Lesser of two evils choice. And because of that I can’t get angry; I only feel sad they had to lose their babies; and had to choose death as a kinder fate for their child, versus being yet another tortured soul under Mengele’s evil experiments.

              The pro-abortionists pretend that it’s all the same type of choice, but it isn’t. Their babies aren’t at risk of being stolen and experimented on, the way those Jewish women were at risk for.

              They don’t understand that it’s the callous othering, unpersoning that I hate, the lies that serve their agenda, cloaked as well-meaningness.

              I only feel sorrow and pity otherwise.

          1. I’m given to understand it is awesome. Spoil ’em rotten, give ’em back to mom and dad all sugared up and spoilt rotten. Well. Giving them back can be the difficult part. *chuckle*

            Still and all. Not a thing wrong with that.

        1. you could just make a list of which of us are adopted. I’m too old. Maybe Shadowdancer?

              1. Meh — spending time on there is a trifling. It’s the rest of what it costs you that is exorbitant.

      4. “Quality over quantity,” an acquaintance of mine once opined.

        “Hells with that! I want a large quantity of quality, dammit!” different friend replied. She’s on six at the moment. Eldest wants another sister, though. *chuckle* That family is the kind the world needs more of. Confident, kind, practical and fun.

      1. I was in my 20s or 30s when Mom allowed that I was a few years premature. OTOH, it was OK; I never got the sense that I was unwanted. On the gripping hand, I didn’t get special dispensation. Got swatted for my stupidity just like my brothers.

    5. We have four children. All started with “malice aforethought” (grin). When someone suggested that we must have been careless in our birth control, I always replied that “we are firm believers in planned parenthood, with small lowercase Ps, and quite successful at it. Or as my wife once said – she has a dirtier mind than I do – “I would never take anything serious that was only poked in fun”.

      1. What birth control? (One expense we never had.) Still couldn’t get pregnant easily. Doctor said on prenatal exam on the one and only pregnancy if we wanted to run genetic tests (required to ask) because I was over 30. Why bother, we’d figure any negative result was false. As long as my health wasn’t in jeopardy … abort, not a chance in hell, and even then we’d think damn hard about it first.

    6. My sister has seven children and sometimes people are so rude to her. Her husband was seventh out of thirteen and she is the second out of the seven of us. I like big families.

  6. This has more to do with the previous post about power imbalance than it does with this post, but I’m mentioning it here because now that the new post is up, discussions on the previous one are going to start petering out.

    Sad news for programmers today. One of our most important websites of the past decade, Stack Overflow, is entering the first stage of the “roll left and die” process. The best place to read about this is this question on the “Meta” site for the whole Stack Exchange network. Then follow the links, particularly to the ones by Monica Cellio on the Judaism site, Gilles on the Computer Science site, and Caleb on the Christianity site.

    Time to start building under and around, because while Stack Overflow still exists as a site, the writing is on the wall now.

    1. On second thought, I would recommend reading Caleb’s post first, and then the broader post. Caleb’s post is this one, titled “Brothers, I must go…”. Then make sure you read Monica Cellio’s post, as it was her being fired* from her moderator position that kicked off the storm of resignations.

      * I’ve seen some people say that you can’t be “fired” from a position if you’re not employed to serve in that position. But I think being told “You’re no longer welcome to serve as a volunteer here, please leave” is an equally valid use of the word “fired”.

      1. “You’re no longer welcome to serve as a volunteer here, please leave” is an equally valid use of the word “fired”.

        Absolutely agree.

    2. There have been (former) contributors/moderators complaining about the same problem for *years*. Some of them had years’ worth of threads and contributions summarily deleted, too.

      I guess this time they did so many at once that awareness finally topped indifference.

    3. Wow.

      After spending ((way too much time)) reading through the above links, it’s just about this — the same old “roll left and die” (or for those who grew up reading books about aviation, more like “roll left, pitch down, dive right into the ground” of that charming early-supersonic-era misfeature called “roll coupling”).

      This is all about *grammar* — politically-motivated *bad grammar* (or at the very best, *fictional* grammar) — but now escalated to politically-weaponized bad grammar, enshrined at the “compelled speech” level. [“…unlike the rest of the CoC, this rule mandates specific, positive actions.”]

      So it’s specifically *not* enough (there, now) to ‘route around the problem’ by avoiding the issue [“I, by training, write in a gender-neutral way specifically to avoid gender landmines…”] — their new “Code of Conduct” quite literally (even though it’s never yet been *released*) demands that you let other people put their own (fictional or ungrammatical, see non-English languages too) made-up words in your mouth. (Hungarian literally *does not have* grammatical gender… it has informal and formal pronouns** but nothing to tell you anyone’s sex / gender but words like “father” or “daughter” etc. — so how could you ‘politically’ graft onto such a language something it’s *never even had*?!) They feed you your lines, or part of those, and then you have to say them.

      Or else, fired. (Or whatever similar, it seems, if you’re * not* a moderator.)

      Stack Exchange (so it looks), taken down by… a bad grammar virus.

      Slick. Elegant. A truly ‘leet hack indeed.

      But evil, scary, and far too like rabies itself.

      (Quotes […] above from: judaism dot meta dot stackexchange dot com slash questions/5193/stack-overflow-inc-sinat-chinam-and-the-goat-for-azazel)

      ** Fun fact: that formal pronoun is… maga. No kidding.

      1. There’s a *reason* I used the phrase “Mad Dog Democrats” yeaterday… and the above point was most of it.

        1. Burning entire cities to the ground as a quarantine measure.

          Though, to be honest, most of the time I keep wanting to put these foaming at the mouth social justice zealots on an island with no trees, so they can form their ‘ideal societies’ far away from the rest of civilization, and check back in half a year.

          1. They’re the ones who believe Lord of the Flies a credible description of social behaviour in the absence of authority.

            We’re the ones who would be like Heinlein’s Tunnel in the Sky “abandoned” juveniles, forming a social order respectful of the rights of individuals.

            Wikipedia’s description of Tunnel‘s themes seems worth noting:

            As in Lord of the Flies, which had been published a year earlier, isolation reveals the true natures of the students as individuals, but it also demonstrates some of the constants of human existence as a social animal. Its underlying themes run counter to those in Lord of the Flies, however, in that it shows a belief in the inherent strength of humans as proto-adults who can self-organize rather than descend into barbarism. Some of the students fall victim to their own foolishness, and others turn out to be thugs, but that is a part of human nature, just as the counter-trends take the group as a whole towards the beginnings of a stable society. The numerous political crises of the fledgling colony illustrate the need for legitimacy in a government appropriate for the society it administers, another common theme in Heinlein’s books. In both its romanticization of the pioneer and its glorification of Homo sapiens as the toughest player in the Darwinian game, it presages themes developed further in books like Time Enough for Love and Starship Troopers. Unusual for science fiction at the time, but quite typical of Heinlein’s works, the novel portrays several competent and intelligent female characters.

            Also, as reminder for those who “need” characters who look like them:

            Heinlein Society member and researcher Robert James has noted that Heinlein wrote a letter in which he “firmly states” that Rod Walker is black. According to James, “The most telling evidence is that everybody in ‘Tunnel’ expects Rod to end up with Caroline, who is explicitly described as black.” In recognition of this, the cover illustration of a Full Cast Audio version of the work was revised to “show Rod with his correct ethnicity.”

            Rod is at one point referred to by character Jock McGowan as a “cholo”, a derogatory term for someone of Latin American ancestry.

            1. Thing is, Lord of the Flies is an accurate description of social behavior in the absence of authority, if the people involved have bad raising.

              It takes good raising to get Tunnel in the Sky.

                1. Not so much the absence of any, rather the presence of a preponderance of Proggies. There were at least two non-Proggies there and perhaps more (that were in the closet).

            2. Yeah, people still get surprised to find out that Johnny Rico is Juan Rico, and Filipino by descent.

              I don’t get why people seem to think that it’s all white. But then, I grew up with Pern (lots of people described as brown, or dark skinned, etc, but not much more because your general assumption is ‘human’) and D&D fantasy where “Human” is the race, and the various differences are due to tribal differences and assumed background evolutionary responses to their settings and climes.

              1. I don’t get why people seem to think that it’s all white.

                Oh, i understand that quite readily.

                They are racist and (sorta like I gather is true of your standard child molester) believe everybody else shares their predilection but simply lacks guts to admit it.

                That some people simply do. not. care is inconceivable to them.

      2. It’s a nice thought, but isn’t this just a flipped version of Rousseau? The idea that you have these innocent humans doing innocent things until some Evil So&so comes and contaminates them with their Evil Ideals?
        In this case, it’s Leftism and Socialism corrupting the Poor Innocents instead of Technology and Capitalism.
        The idea that it’s some sort of contamination from without is comforting, and even leads to the thought that if we can just get rid of the Leftist Badthinkers, we can bring about our Libertarian Utopia!

        But, the badness isn’t some alien thing from without, but an all too human thing from within. We no more can root out the Leftist without becoming less than human than a Leftist can root out individualism likewise.

        We have met the enemy, and it is us.
        In this case, it’s Leftism and Socialism corrupting the Poor Innocents instead of Technology and Capitalism.
        The idea that it’s some sort of contamination from without is comforting, and even leads to the thought that if we can just get rid of the Leftist Badthinkers, we can bring about our Libertarian Utopia!

        But, the badness isn’t some alien thing from without, but an all too human thing from within. We no more can root out the Leftist without becoming less than human than a Leftist can root out individualism likewise.

        We have met the enemy, and it is us.

        1. Never said it was without; but rather the encouragement of certain lazy, greedy attributes by disguising them as virtues that is part of the cancer of Leftist and Socialist/Communist thought. Communism is, from certain points of view, a Judeo-Christian heresy, a twisting of the noble and good social traditions to take power.

          The plague is the encouragement of it, and the allowance of such to go unchallenged.

          1. A lot of tribal societies also have similar destructive elements- the desire for the lazy to take from the successful, ect- which is why a lot of modern Socialist are so enamored with them.

              1. Can’t watch this (again). Even first brush only got through first few words out of the kid’s mouth.

                Only answer can be … Wow. I fully expect to be around for you to hear yourself go “idiot”, in 30 years (yea, so? I’m almost 63, my mom side lives to be over 90, so yes, plan on being here or looking down).

                That or “you first honey”.

                Waving hand.

                1. I forget which commentator it was I’ve been watching, but someone pointed out that Greta is not the first teenager so exploited by the puppetmasters; there was one in … the eighties? Seventies? Who was also bleating about global warming (or was it cooling?) and lecturing adults that the earth only had so much time left…

                  She’s still around, alive, probably in her thirties now, well after the time that the world was supposed to die in whatever crisis she was trying to get people to stop stop stop~~!! THINK OF THE CHILDRENS FUTURE~!!!1 etc.

                  1. Heck if it was the early 70’s, that prior teen is in, or near her/his 60’s. Back then it was triggering the next ice age before it’s time. Didn’t want to join the Canadians fleeing south … don’t ya know. [That’s my era. I was 13 in 1970 (for most the year).]

    1. Infection, or just cancer? Prosperous societies do tend to drift into this kind of stupidity, because people can lose track of what’s need to make society prosperous. It’s easy to think that the March of History owes you all the stuff for free, even if you’re a Roman layabout enjoying his panem et circenses.

        1. Infection seems to imply that it comes from the outside.
          My position is that like most evil, we already carry it within ourselves.
          Focusing on the external vector is a mistake. Get rid of today’s popular reason for taking other people’s stuff in order to be lazy, and someone will come up with something else- and too many people will find a strange kind of inward consensus.

      1. Importing Muslims is importing a Cancer. They will group together then spread. They then mimic the outer society while growing their own. Until they are so large they can try and take over and destroy their host.
        For examples see England, Sweden, and Germany. In the US some of the towns around Detroit and other places.

  7. Well, to tie in with your blog about intelligence the other day, humans are the only species smart enough to believe stupid things.

      1. The comments to that article are almost a perfect illustration of what Sarah is talking about, with most insisting that it MUST be the humans’ fault in some way.

      2. Guessing this might be one of those parasites-make-you-suicidal things. The necropsy oughta be interesting.

        Maybe we really do live on Nopalgarth.

  8. If “Humans are so evil”, why don’t you kill yourself as an example to the rest of us? 😈

    1. Obvious answer: humans are too evil to take the example. Thus changes must be forced upon the violators, and the most egregious violators eliminated. Eliminating those who act against human evil is counterproductive.

      But don’t worry. I’ll kill myself last.

      Remember: true and perfect social justice will only be achieved when the last human skull is smashed against a rock for being more privileged than the rock.

    2. But I think that might be what they’re trying to do on a collective basis: if we turn ourselves into a third-world deindustrialized hellhole it’ll…set an example?…for China. I guess.

  9. True story: I’m talking with a fairly smart guy who’s a big fan of Greta the pigtailed climate change warrior and goes on about the violations of the west. I point out India and China and he says that’s just diverting attention, whataboutism etc. I tell him if we turn ourselves into a third-world hellhole it won’t stop China polluting like crazy (even presuming man-made climate change is real, at some point he treated my argument as a tacit admission that it was, and turned it into a gotcha moment).

    Eventually he admitted he wouldn’t mind seeing China come to predominance because at least they’d have the will and ability to take action.

    At that point I broke off the conversation. I just couldn’t comprehend him anymore.

    Anyway: go live in a group pod and eat bugs, you filthy animals!

    1. Part of the reason they don’t condemn China is because China is their ideal. They WANT the social scores, they WANT that intrusive insanity, that they think will be brought to bear on those these idiotic baizuo feel would be condemned (except China is unlikely to condemn those the Western lefty hates; hence the contempt inherent in the slur baizuo.)

      They don’t get it, because they haven’t the capability to step outside their own bubble and understand the thoughts of others (because to them, understanding is the same as accepting, which it isn’t.)

          1. They also don’t understand that the Chinese make White Supremist in the US look like Lefty Progressives. The Chinese are RACIST and they mean it. Just like the Koreans. The Chinese KNOW every other culture is below them, after all their culture is over 4k years old. What the West has is less than a 1000.

            1. and that one leftoid lady took herself to a Neo-Nazi get-together to be shocked and appalled, and was . . . by how much they wanted was exactly like what she wanted (single payer, tax the rich more etc) it’s almost as if socialist was in the name!
              Also, the Chinese might be a 4k yr old society, but they have to steal everything modern they need to work in this modern one. Puts them about on the level as the Johnny-come-lately Islam folk (~_^) (or should that be Mohammed-come-lately?)

              1. No the Chinese are really much higher than the Moslems. The Chinese believe in real education not just learning the Quran.

            2. Oh yeah. I get shocked faces when I recount how racist Koreans are, living in the Philippines (we’re considered dirty) and it’s hard to get across how the Chinese see themselves as a group apart and superior to those around them.

              That, I find is part of the innocence of the Western mind in it’s universal acceptingness of other people. It’s both a good thing, and a bad thing, bad only because it’s difficult to have them understand “No, they definitely hate you because you’re not them” at it’s most basic.

              1. It’s like what the Muslim Terrorists must think. Every time they do anything, no matter what it is, the Western Media finds any reason except Islam. Just think, you are doing things because Islam and you want it to become Greater and people will NEVER give you proper credit. Don’t you think that must drive them even more nuts. Maybe they sit around and try and figure out what they can do that will make the Media say “it is because of Islam”. They might have given up on that, by now.

                1. Oh yeah.

                  If it’s an Islamic terrorist, the Lefties go, “IT’S MENTAL ILLNESS!”

                  If it’s a shooting, and the Right points out (often, correctly) that the perp was on psych drugs and say “mental illness and psych drugs are a problem,” the Left goes “NOOOO IT’S GUNS! DISARM CONFISCATE REMOVE!”

              2. I’ve been reading Chesterton’s book from when he visited the US– the first chapter is basically this, but from an Englishman talking about the US.

                It is awesome, but kind of embarrassing– like when someone is giving you what to you is insanely high praise, and you can tell they are actually a bit worried you’ll be offended.

                It’s free, if anybody wants to get into it. It’s the part after he goes into the survey before entering.


      1. They WANT the social scores, they WANT that intrusive insanity

        Of course they do — they imagine such a system will be predictable, consistent and regular rather than the arbitrary* social order in free nations. They are akin to Christians who think that love of Christ is expressed through actions, readily reduced to a simple formula a person can follow and be confident of being “good”.

        *arbitrary in their minds because they lack ability/willingness to decipher the systems.

    2. He believes with all his heart in a Fairytale Social Justice China that doesn’t and never has existed. He would deny, if anyone dared confront his with it, that China has seven thousand years of history, and in all that time the common people have consistently been treated like farm animals.

      1. I had an argument with a guy like that in the letters column at Analog. He was sure Chinese would never be capitalists, because “genetically they have no greed and are mindful of the collective.”

        1. In other words, the Chinese aren’t human.

          Of course, I can imagine the “fun” if somebody had said that to him. 😈

            1. worse, it’s the people telling those with access what to do, as well.
              How, in unionized central, this place managed to keep out a union is beyond me.
              Happy about it, but boggled.

        2. Heck, that sounds more like one of the editorial columns…

          There are good reasons who I quit reading Analog long ago.

        3. Refutation in 2 words: Hong Kong.

          (Works either before or after the Mainlander “anschluss” too. But now they’ve started shooting protesters with pistols, maybe not forevermore…)

          Though I like your answer better. Reminds me of what a friend of mine used to say on those Federal forms, Race: human.

          He wasn’t joking, either.

          1. Anybody but Communist China would be happy — nay, ecstatic — to have Hong Kongers in their country, being ridiculously clever and full of initiative. Any other country would not mess with them and would just let the money and benefits roll in, much less try to take away and ban their language and cultures.

            China’s current government is so incredibly stupid, as well as evil.

            1. I have to disagree with you; the urge to fiddle with it would be overpowering for a wide variety of politicians. They might be a LITTLE more subtle about it than the ChiComs, but unless strongly opposed, they’d mess things up, and then stand bewildered over to corpse off the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs….which is why that story exists in the first place.

              That’s the real danger of Socialism; it takes all the bad tendencies of government and turns them up as far as they will go.

            2. You’re not looking at it from the proper perspective. It is stupid if what you want is prosperity, but Xi Jinping and the CCP want control. A free Hong Kong threatens that.

  10. I wouldn’t necessarily call them crimes; but ALL human cultures throughout history have committed acts, such as: Exploitation, Genocide, Murder, Slavery, War that aren’t necessarily crimes; except when viewed and defined through the filter of twentieth/twenty-first century American culture. And many of those cultures STILL do all of those things and don’t feel in the slightest bit guilty. Funny how while disparaging Christianity, so many progressives still cling to Christian guilt.

    To define war as a crime ignores the basic fact that violence between large groups has been the primary solution for most differences of opinion, and competition for resources, for the entirety of human existence. And if you won’t fight, then you will die, or be subject to suppression, absorption, and eventual extinction.

    oh gee, we’re horrible exploiters! They love to define the purchase of Manhattan island for a chest full of glass beads as exploitation. Except we talked about that recently and those glass beads were worth immensely more then than they are today. it was a fair trade, not exploitation.

    They call it genocide when we wipe out an entire culture or tribe of people; often ignoring that the group we exterminate may have fundamentally been incompatible with coexisting peacefully with us, and only idiots and fools try to live peacefully with a rabid animal.

    Killing in self defense is not murder. Homicide is not murder, it’s a term for the killing of a human being. And yes, the STATE excuting an innocent man is murder, because he was never a threat to anyone and therefore fails the self defense test; but executing a mass murderer like Jeffrey Dahlmer would be not be murder. It makes an interesting argument as to whether prisoners themselves killing other prisoners for their crimes constitutes murder or not. I suspect in many occasions they do a better job of protecting our society than we do.

    Slavery may be the most contentious of situations. We certainly have differing opinions on it ourselves. We abolished it as a commercial practice 150 years ago; but our representatives left the option open for use as a punishment for crimes. Clearly they thought that in some circumstances slavery wasn’t criminal in and of itself. And when you really look at it, there’s very little difference between inmates of today’s penal system, and the total lack of self determination of a slave.

    1. > To define war as a crime ignores the basic fact…

      The concept of war as a crime started in Europe, as the citizens of the new democracies realized what the “gentlemans’ conflicts” of the nobility also involved *them*, and as citizens, not subjects, they disapproved of the whole thing.

      1. “War! What is it good for?”
        Ending slavery (the irony of a black man singing that question . . .)
        Stopping expansionist totalitarians intent on world domination.
        Preventing Genocide.
        “Work with me, here!”

        1. One of my students was quoting “What have the Romans ever done for us” in class. There is hope for the next generation.

    2. It makes an interesting argument as to whether prisoners themselves killing other prisoners for their crimes constitutes murder or not. I suspect in many occasions they do a better job of protecting our society than we do.

      I despise the way that prison rape and murder seem to have become an accepted part of our criminal justice system. If the prisoner deserves gangrape or death, we should have the stones to do it judicially. If not, our responsibility by putting him in prison is to protect him from violence against his person. Outsourcing the punishment we’d like to inflict but refuse to is cowardly and evil.

      “The people of Earth have no stomach for judicial murder. They prefer to leave you to rot and die. They call it being humane.” — Davros

      1. Recall the passage in Starship Troopers where DuBois asks Rico about how he raises a dog; and then compares that with the way society seems to want to raise children: never disciplining them until they reach adulthood, and the first crime they commit. they execute them for it. The point being it’s crazy to raise children that way. You need to inflict the negative consequences immediately, and get the understanding of what the wrong behavior was.

        The point that got missed in all that was that the adult criminals still needed to be put down for the safety and security of society.

    3. Does not calling such things “crimes” assert a moral order which does not independently exist? Philosophers have tried and failed to construct a morality absent G-D’s role and anybody claiming such a value is asserting facts not in evidence.

      ANY moral order must be based on presumptions about what is good and what is bad, and none have an effective rebuttal to Genghis Khan’s definition of what is best in life.

      Imagine there’s no Heaven? Imagine there’s no Hell? Then there’s no reason to not do what gratifies me immediately.

      1. Starship Troopers had an answer to that. Their morality was based on the Instinct for Survival. Right and Wrong were developed from there. Survival of self, family, clan, group, nation, planet, race. One lead to the next. Included was Survival of Ideas, and other things.

        Now could that be done? I believe it could be but it would be a hard task.
        Would it be done? No because the Progressives have already gone with Relative Morality and the rest pretty much go with a religion based morality. The only one who could develop it are the Atheists but they are really just mostly Anti-Christion and don’t believe one is needed.

    4. The glass beads thing makes me think “well, people are buying land on that island now for briefcases full of paper” (Yes, I know most of those transactions never see cash on hand, but the concept is the same). We consider green pieces of paper to be money, and they used glass beads in the same way. They were small, light, portable, and had an agreed-upon trade value. To call US dollars “boxes/cases of paper” is technically true while ignoring the core concept of what a dollar is.

      1. If you really want to get fussy, people now use electronic bits of information that represent green pieces of paper.

    5. “but our representatives left the option open for use as a punishment for crimes”
      They had to. Because
      “there’s very little difference between inmates of today’s penal system, and the total lack of self determination of a slave.”
      If they had not, then work gangs, making inmates work and any number of other things would have been slavery “Under the Law”. They were VERY aware of this and that is why they mad the exception.

  11. Tangent coming.

    I remember watching the “After Us” series (part of it, anyway). The thing that I noticed most about it was that it was all about what will happen to our cities if the species was to suddenly disappear. I recall only one bit that considered non-urban structures, and that was the Hoover Dam.

    The “wistfulness” about the abandonment of cities is, I think, explainable in part by the fact that we humans evolved to be close to other humans in our own band. NOT to humans in other bands. Civilization is a very recent thing.

    1. I remember reading somewhere that there were some genetic changes in the human brain some 20,000 to 10,000 years ago that correspond with the beginnings of cities. Those early cities usually being filled with members of the same tribal or super-tribal group. What’s a good question is whether there were more than one mutation event because that time frame also could have divided old world humans from the new world ones before the dissemination of the mutation. And if it happened before dissemination, then how come the Mayans, the Incans, and the Mississippi city states came to be?

      1. Thing is, an mutation could be very strongly advantageous without being absolutely critical to being able to produce this or that artifact.

        Second, while I don’t buy Vikings as a source for genes permitting Inca, Maya, etc. ‘civilization’, they are evidence that new and old world might not have been 100% isolated over that time frame. In particular, the flooding of Doggerland is an example of more recent changes in coast line. In particular, I suspect we don’t have a complete reliable model of coastlines over that time frame, much less the ability to model changes in navigable currents over that time. There may be lost/misplaced/not understand archeological evidence of boat building tech that could’ve made later spread possible.

        I’m wondering if the alcohol enzyme genes disprove the Doggerland to North America thing that first came to my mind.

        1. the trip to our side the pond was far shorter, for a good long time, and any and all evidence is now good fishing, making archaeology a bit difficult.

        2. > coastlines

          You don’t have to go *that* far back, either. Archeologists finally learned that just because historical sources said a now-lost city was a seaport, doesn’t mean the site is anywhere near the sea now, just a couple-three thousand years later.

        3. Average depth of the North Sea is about 312 feet; which is about how much lower mean sea level was during the last glaciation. Too bad we can’t take the top 100 feet of the oceans and ship that water to Mars. We’d end up with an immense amount of continental shelf to expand onto; and we’d probably make Mars livable for at least the next 10,000 years.

          1. Comet ices, skimming off a moon of one of the gas giants, pah. Gimme a working iron core a churning up good in Mars and we’d get atmosphere enough to last us till the sun burns out! *grin*

            1. May need to bombard Mars with some seriously large iron asteroids then; with a significant amount of radioactives to heat the material more than just the kinetic energy provided.

        4. You have the intermittent Siberia-Alaska land bridge. And Inuit on both sides sharing a common language and culture, more or less.

          You have the “official” (or at least, it was when I was in school) that the colonization wave was from Polynesia to South America. Yet there is zero archeological, linguistic, or genetic evidence supporting that.

          You have Heyerdahl’s theory that South America was colonized from Africa, based on observation of boat-building and art styles common to some cultures on both sides. And then he proceeded to build era-correct reed boats and make the voyage from Egypt to Mexico *twice*. He’s still regarded as a crank.

          You have folktales and some archeological evidence showing different groups of Vikings made it to North America on several occasions.

          The Chinese have records, but no archeological proof, that they sent an expedition to America almost a century before Columbus.

          We have the confusing fact that, despite the land bridge, we have found no evidence of any “higher” civilizations north of Central Mexico.

          Then there’s the confusing problem of how we can date human presence in Australia at 72,000 years, and while “the experts” can’t pin human presence in the Americas down tighter than 14,000 to 42,000 years, somehow they discovered Australia long before America, and you can *walk* from South Africa to Tierra Del Fuego when the land bridge is present… [honestly, the debate over human presence in the Americas looks like a bunch of cats in a blender; way too many academics, too many knives, and too little scholarship…]

          1. The vikings had at least an outpost in New Brunswick ( in the 11th century (~1000 AD). Even more interesting was that the Clovis points (from ~12500 to 13500 BCE) look an awful lot like points made on the Iberian peninsula roughly contemporary. They bear little resemblance to contemporary Asian and Polynesian points at that period. There is some thought that a fair number of folks may have come from europe during the time of land bridges and large ice sheets during that period (although archeologists hate it to pieces). I’d be interested to know how they pin the dates for the Australian aborigines down. C14 dating hits a wall at about 40K year as the half life sends the quantities to BDL (below detection level). I suspect they’re using genetic drift from other native peoples further north. There were some fire results down in tierra del fuego that were Like 15K year old which means folks must have headed south well before that.

                  1. It does have potential, come to think of it. Writing fiction is decidedly not in my skillset, so feel free to use the line.

                  1. Ah Ha! So reason number 6 why hubby married you so your kids could survive nuclear war! Smart guy! No wonder you’re not afraid of living near several military installations.

                1. Well, I watch Drake Paragon on youtube and he has been doing an interview with a sailor based out of Pagosa Springs CO, the trimaran Avalanche.

                  okay, the guy is originally from New England

              1. Or Spaniards or Andorrans or Basque or whatever other peoples were there 15000 years ago or so. Little to no seafaring involved, mostly walking or small boats following the Ice shelf of the last glacial era. Humans are amazingly capable of living an and going to places most would think inhospitable. Thats a HUGE trip probably over generations but utterly amazing if it happened.

          2. I read somewhere that there actually exist trace amounts of archaic African DNA in some South American natives (IIRC this was from the neighborhood of Uruguay). I don’t think it’s out of the question that the odd accidental explorer made their way across the ditch — after all the Polynesians did as much on the other side of the planet.

        5. Look into the Copper mining in upper Michigan. That was NOT done by American Indians. If it had been copper work would have been very common among them and it wasn’t. Nobody knows who mined it but there are historians who have been searching where the copper came from that fueled the Bronze Age in Europe. They have found NOTHING in Europe that could have furnished THAT MUCH copper. Upper Michigan could of and there is lots of evidence of very old mining. But the miners are lost in time.

            1. Oddly enough, I have a strong interest in writing SG1 fanfic, and was thinking about if aliens used slave labor to mine the copper in NA, and disposed of it in the Old World for some reason.

  12. When I look at Vegan driven progressivism, I see where the Eloi and the Moorlocks, of Time Machine fame, could come from. An ascendant Vegan progressivism eliminates all meat, driving meat eaters underground. As things get worse, the former start to lose mental capacity and the latter have to resort to cannibalism. Once the digital state fails due to lack of maintenance the Eloi are helpless, only to be turned into cattle by the Moorlocks. The Moorlocks are equally adversely affected and become the monsters we imagine.

    1. Ah, but we don’t actually know the Moorlocks were monsters. A bit of cultural relativism by Wells. Number one, if the Moorlocks and the Eloi were different species, then it’s not cannibalism for one to eat the other. Second, the Traveler experienced pretty much what any stranger would encounter if he turned up unexpectedly on a cattle ranch: his vehicle would be seized, and they’d try to catch him too to find out what nefarious deeds he was up to. You know, maybe I should try a short story on that from the pov of the Moorlocks.

      1. LOL

        Yes, the Time Traveler very likely got the very wrong impression of the Morlock/Eloi relationship.

        Partly IMO because he first met the Eloi and found them beautiful & innocent. I’d call the Eloi stupid but that’s just me. 😉

        Of course, while it’s been awhile since I read the book, I do wonder just how non-intelligent the Morlocks actually were. Yes, both species had lost high-tech but were the Morlocks actually non-intelligent?

        Note, I seem to remember people telling the Time Machine story from the point-of-view of the Morlocks and yes the Morlocks do come off looking better than the idiot Time Traveler thought.

      2. Number one, if the Moorlocks and the Eloi were different species, then it’s not cannibalism for one to eat the other.

        Generally, an intelligent species eating another is considered cannibalistic morally under the principle most famously laid out in the Suma in relation to the Dogheads or Monopods; that’s why vegans try to get folks to believe that pigs, or other animals, are of the same kind of awareness as humans. (Think of this as the “Who is my neighbor?” principle of food. ^.^)

        FWIW, I had to go back and double-check the Eloi actually talked or gave any other sign of intelligence… reading it again, they strike me as a parable of the daycare kids who are warehoused then blamed for not having been taught.

  13. Tree-dwelling squids? Twaddle! We wallabies are patient but would never tolerate invertebrate rule of the planet. There are already too many humans without spines in the present management.

    1. Excuse me, Mr./Miss/Mrs/Dr/ Prof/Sr/Sra Wallaby, but to which address shall we ship the Internets that you have just won?

      1. Oh please! As if I’ve storage for that hot mess. Besides, have you seen what the Internets consumes? And it craps all over everything. No, please keep it well away from me.

    2. But tree dwelling squids would come by their spinelessness naturally instead of having to lose a preexisting condition. I suspect a Squid culture would specialize in complex upper management structures. Perhaps they would also uplift Nudibranchs to help them.

  14. That sort of thing might why I’ve recently gone through so much of the “Humans Are Weird” “Humans Are Space Orcs” “Humanity F*** Yeah” and “Earth Is Space Australia” stuff. It’s not that humans or humanity is perfect* (or perfectable), but that perspective-shift is interesting and “good enough” can be quite good and will do.

    * Bugnuts-insane might be more the case in many stories, from the non-human perspective. But.. while they are not interchangeable, having one or a few around can be most beneficial (why, yes, I am thinking of the “W T Protocol” bit.)

    I do wonder how many, if any, of the stories are written by any NOT in (or psychologically of) the USA and perhaps Australia. The attitude seems very… (Classical) American many a time.

    1. I think my favorite of those is the alien species that watch humanity’s violence and feared when we left our planet, and feared more when our armed ships showed up at a colony being ravaged by disease … only for the humans to land and announce that they were from Doctors Without Borders.

          1. Thank you. I’ve seen Part 1 many times, but not Part 2 until now.

            Makes me wonder if there is more to/than the short bit with CallMeBettyJo doing some mimicry or singing.

          2. “Don’t eat their food. If human food passes your lips/beak/membrane/other way of ingesting nutrients, you will never be satisfied with your ration bars again.”

            This part makes me think of a tiny bit that runs around in my head: What if *cooking* were a uniquely human innovation, and humans were in great demand as chefs throughout the galaxies? 🙂

            It’s not enough of an idea to support much of anything on its own, but it would facilitate getting humans of almost any bent out there, interacting with the aliens.

                1. I recently “re-read” that via Audible; a typically superb production and a delightful re-acquaintance. A quick double check via [search engine] proved Sarah’s committed a typo: the prper title is The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag and the interesting discovery that it is listed in IMDb as a movie “in-development”:

                  Not being an IMDbPro subscriber, info about producer(s), director and actors was found at Movie Insider [ movieinsider . com/m5025/the-unpleasant-profession-of-jonathan-hoag ]:

                  Riza Aziz
                  Brad Fischer
                  Vince Gerardis
                  Joey McFarland
                  Mike Medavoy


                  Directed by
                  Alex Proyas

                  Alex Proyas

                  Production Companies
                  Created By Productions
                  Mystery Clock Cinema
                  Mythology Entertainment

                  (Relevant) Production credits listed at IMDb for writer/director Proyas include The Crow, Dark City and I, Robot.

                  The audiobook itself is available on Youtube but I recommend purchasing it.

            1. Cooking is vital to humanity. By breaking down food before we start digesting it, we can extract more nutrients for less effort.

              The reason lions laze about all day is to conserve energy for the hunts. We can do everything from poker to philosophy because we get more energy.

              So there is that complication.

    1. You need to forward that one to Bruce Schneier!

      Well, his “Squid Fridays” are close enough…

  15. For a book to be considered serious, or introspective or relevant, it has to attack the …

    For a book to be considered serious, or introspective or relevant by the frivolous, non-introspective and irrelevant.

    Serious, introspective an relevant readers appreciate the foolishness of judging a book by such criteria, and appreciate the banal ease of an author merely thrashing straw-men.

  16. they would attack in ways that worked in tribal warfare: exterminate a village or an outpost. And the reaction of the colonizers … was to exterminate all of a tribe

    Now there is a basis for a good novel: told from the perspective of a member of the defeated tribe, reflecting on the miscommunication, wrong signals sent, wrong messages received and the basic failur f bth sides to comprehend what was happening. This is somewhat of a theme in Thomas Berger’s novel Little Big Man, told by a person who crossed back and forth between the White and Cheyenne societies.

    One example: in warfare the Cheyenne demonstrated bravery and shamed their foes by “counting coup” but Whites had no understanding of the meaning of what they considered a nonsensical and ineffective attack. Each side misunderstood the actions and communications of the others, heightening conflict.

    A novel conveying this has something universal to say about the human condition, as all relationships (even marital) are prey to such misinterpretations. A novel asserting one side superior to the other has nothing interesting to say.

    1. There is an interesting memoir, “Life Among the Apaches”, by John Cremony, who did just that while serving as a US Army officer. Now available on Amazon for 99 cents. (Flashman fans will be interested to know that Cremony actually knew the Apache chief Mangas Colorado well.)

      These interactions between previously-entirely-disconnected cultures will probably never occur again until we have interstellar travel.

  17. Forgot to comment on this part!

    To wit, they had overcome tribalism and organized on a large scale. Most of the colonized (excepting some small empires) hadn’t. So they would attack in ways that worked in tribal warfare: exterminate a village or an outpost. And the reaction of the colonizers (who by the way also didn’t understand the difference in mental furniture and therefore thought this made the native peoples’ “bestial” or “evil) was to exterminate all of a tribe or a federation of tribes.

    Being pendantic, going off of reading stuff my grandma had hanging around (I had no idea most people didn’t know indians took slaves and exactly how nasty they were to their white, weak slave/prisoners) usually they’d go hit the village that the raiders came from, who found it very upsetting, they hit again and/or neighboring/allied tribes would attack, and after a few back-and-forths THEN the entire tribe would be on the KOS list as homicidal loons who’d kill you if they though they could get away with it.

    Which was only sometimes unfair, because as you point out– different software in the head, hunting humans is different if you don’t see all humans as people.

    1. See Scottish cattle raids. Just young men out to prove themselves and get some cattle. Same as Indians raiding for horses and such. They did it with other tribes but the Whites didn’t react the same.

      1. Of course, also just like the cattle raids, it was a horrible wrong when it was their cattle being stolen…. 😉

        What was the old joke, Irish hold that all cattle by natural law belong to them?

    2. And the whole point of “Counting Coup”. That just proved that you were a better warrior then the other guy, and BTW Really Really pissed him off. Talk about an insult. Think of it, it means that you don’t see him as a threat at all. You see him as so bad a warrior that you don’t even have to have a weapon.
      Everything has been great for generations, then along come these Whites and they don’t even understand that they are being insulted. They just think you are stupid and kill you. Damn way to ruin things.

  18. Off topic but tree dwelling squids actually sounds cool to me. I want human and tree dwelling squids.

      1. I don’t know — I, for one, would welcome our new cephalopod overlords and would remind them that as a cute & cuddly wallaby I could be very helpful in rounding up humans to work in their undersea shrimp mines.

        Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

Comments are closed.