The Quality of Mercy


Forgiveness and redemption might not be a natural human characteristic.

By natural I mean something that goes back to our ape ancestors and worked itself out through our becoming fully human and civilized. Or I could be talking completely out of my socks, since I haven’t done a study of ape behavior (which is the closest we can come to understanding our ancestors) in that respect. I’m fairly sure that if it has been done, it is a little known study. (Since I do read about ape behavior.)

I don’t remember a single instance of someone being cast out of the ape band, and coming back with apey apologies to be restored to his former position.  Instead, if an outcast comes back it is to defeat the strong man and take over the band (and note that this is one of our oldest stories.)  Of course, the earliest written or oral sagas of mankind proper often deal with redemption and forgiveness, though perhaps in a round about way.  And often deny it.  The Titans are imprisoned, Cronos is banished to the outer darkness, Prometheus is chained and has an eagle eat his liver, etc.

This makes perfect sense in a way, because primitive societies (and ape bands) cannot to get all Shakespearean afford to nurture serpents in their bosom. If you have a small band, of say, twenty people, and someone has already proven disruptive or even treasonous, to invite them back in and forgive them, would be foolhardy.

This is where we’re caught, to use the over-used analogy, between falling angel and rising ape.

Insert long digression on the duality of being human; between instinct and reason; between body and will.  You probably have read enough on that — including from me — to write it yourself.

In the end, the problem of forgiveness and redemption in human society is the problem of our very long lifespans and our will power.

“But Sarah, in other circumstances, you’ve talked about how brief human life is.”

It is, when compared to that of the group entities we’ll call cultures (they can go on forever, like the energizer bunny) or to evolution (which is even slower, and really has been going on forever) or to the rise and fall of civilizations, or even the the repercussions of cultural trauma or triumph in the future. (Hence the whole seven generations thing.)

But it is very long when compared to the integrity of the human personality, something that worries both psychologists and theologians.  Who are you, really?  Who is that person behind the eyes?  Are you the same person you were at 10? at 20? or ten years ago? Fifteen years ago? Twenty years ago? (if you’ve lived that long, of course.)

Of course you’re not. Some characteristics remain, including say your attention span, your general mood-tendencies (depressives rarely become naturally cheerful. People who are uncomfortable in public might be more comfortable as they get older, but it will never be a favorite thing, etc.), your general intelligence (barring disaster or a Flowers for Algernon experiment, and perhaps whether you’re naturally industrious or inclined to intellectual or manual work. (I’m more inclined to enjoy manual work for instance. Stop laughing. I approach writing very much as a carpenter or a potter.)

BUT who you are, that voice behind the eyes, including your fundamental beliefs can change drastically with your life experience.  And I’m not talking Road to Damascus experiences, though heaven knows those happen too, sometimes with startling rapidity, often with a religious nature.  (A lot of our books and stories are about that too.)

More often, though, you change with experience. And the most common one is the shedding of prejudice or fear.  Metaphorically speaking, we all come from a small ape band.  Your family. Your immediate community.  And communities have prejudices, because they define us/not us by the things we do that those others don’t, the things we are, that those others aren’t.

For instance, my family had — for various reasons — on both sides a thing about CLEANLINESS and defining itself as opposed to the rest of the village, who didn’t clean themselves or their environment as often.  My earliest “prejudices” were against the little kids next door who didn’t wash and played in mud, and were often infected with lice.

I can’t say I have changed markedly on that, but when I visit someone I no longer judge them on whether they spend their mornings dusting and polishing so the house is immaculate by 10, because frankly, I would have to ostracize myself. The level of cleanliness mom demanded is only possible if you have no inside pets and you’re a full time housekeeper or — as she did — have someone come in and clean every day.  I’m going to register that if I could afford it, (society and costs for that are very different for me, now, than for mom 50 years ago) I’d totally do it, and it’s on my wish list to have someone come in once a week, instead of my spending the day scrubbing and cleaning like a thing possessed. But that’s neither here nor there. I no longer judge my tribe by “when they go to work in the morning the house is spotless, or on its way to being so.” I’m not precisely prejudiced against people with lice — particularly since those run rampant in our public schools — but I also won’t invite them home.

There’s other stuff. There’s the old racial prejudice. If you grew up racially prejudiced — I didn’t though I confess Scandinavian blonds were so weird that the first time I saw one I thought he was an animated doll and ran screaming, then had nightmares about it for years. In my defense I was six — and you later encounter those dirty Krasnovians and find you get along with them, you’ll of course change your mind and might even try a waffle. (Keep this example in mind. It’s relevant later.)  This is perhaps, or was, when I was growing up, one of the most hackneyed stories.

But there’s other things, which is why I mentioned both our lifespan and our will power.  You and I change, every day, insensibly.  Little things.  Your habits, or what you eat, or what you do for a hobby change over time.  And that in turn changes you, because it changes how you react to things.  Before I started compulsively reading history for fun, and some profit, for instance, I would react more excitably to everyday news. Or expect historical events to be even faster than they are in our current day and age.

And sometimes you change on purpose. Most of us here, probably, given the general …. inclination and demeanor of the group, had probably a need to learn to be sociable and not come across as impatient, haughty or as though we swallowed a book that morning, and all we want to do is regurgitate it at people.  That’s where will power — and a decision to change — comes in.  To be blunt, we figured out what behaviors lead to better results, and set about training ourselves.

The same could be said for my acculturating. There was absolutely no point living here while behaving as they did in Portugal. It only led to grief on both sides, and besides, my kids would pick up bad cultural habits from me. So I deliberately set about changing, including changing the language I think in.  (The accent, alas, shall always be with me. Yes, a therapist could probably change it. I can’t, because it is complicated by mid-range hearing loss.)

That was quite deliberate and also profoundly transformative, to the point I keep forgetting that Portuguese do things a certain way, and being shocked when I go over (grin.)

But even if you don’t try to change, and don’t move around much, you change with more experience of life. Very few of us are the same we were half a life ago.

Which brings me to the whole concept of redemption and forgiveness. Just as the earliest sagas of mankind are all about the lack of forgiveness, and throwing out the outcast who committed the unbearable offense, it is also obvious that as civilization progressed (and let’s say, our life spans extended) the idea of forgiveness and redemption crept in.

It was a major part of the earliest religions. Offerings for sin and purification, as well as (if we’re not talking Judaism, which was rather more sophisticated than that) the purchasing of favors and good luck and the like from the Divine.

The idea that with divine help you could change your spots, so to put it, was part of religion. And the collaboration in doing so — in changing yourself so you’re better, so the divine forgiveness/intervention are granted — is a part of Judeo-Christian culture.

I will not here go on about whether Christian redemption is free or requires work, or whatever, because I’m not reenacting the 17th century wars of religion on my blog. Also, my own feelings about it are complicated and I have a book I’m unholy late on, and don’t feel like spending the rest of the morning — let alone the day — looking at my belly button lint.

What I do know, though, is that in our time, or at least when I was young, and outside the “high brow” literature that Agatha Christie accurately described as “Unpleasant people doing unpleasant things in unpleasant surroundings” there was usually redemption. Even in satisfactory murder mysteries — ie. ones in which the bad guy is thoroughly punished — there was redemption.  Some of the minor suspects might come to realize how close they were to the unforgivable crime and turn around.  One of my favorite Agatha Christie’s is “The Moving Finger” precisely because the … for lack of a better term… love interest realizes how close she has come to living her life FOR hatred and turns it around. Pride and Prejudice has the same team. Heck, even Romeo and Juliet.  “All are punished,” sure, but the parents learn better at the expense of the tragedy.

Which brings us to mercy, forgiveness, etc.

It could be said to be THE distinguishing factor of civilization.  We trust our disobedient children will learn better, and no longer stone them to death, for instance. (Though a good smack to the behind should not be out of the question.)

Which brings us to what is driving me insane currently.  While indie books are now available (and even in those sometimes I growl and return the book halfway through) movies and series for TV are still by and large the product of an extremely leftist establishment. And over there, on that side of the fence, things are getting worse.  I wish it were only that they are becoming infected with lice.

It’s more like having rejected the long civilizing influence of Western civilization, they are devolving to the ape band.

As those who read me probably know, one of the things that I like doing is watching British mysteries.

Lately I haven’t been able to find any of them I care to stay with.  We started one recently, with great hopes, and then realized each episode boiled down to something like “This person is evil and therefore has done everything, and will never get better.”

And by that I don’t mean the criminal.  For instance, one we watched recently and stopped halfway through with no intention of going back, is one in which this woman volunteers with immigrants of color. Not necessarily a formal thing. For instance, she has in all but name adopted the child of a drug addicted mother, and has shepherded him into a gifted program (we’re given to understand the child is brilliant. Also, I’m not up on ethnicity, but I THINK Jamaican, from certain speech patterns,) also SHE IS MARRIED TO A BLACK MAN and has been for the last 30 years or so. In fact, they lost (I assume through accident, I didn’t watch till it was explained. Could be racist incident) a teen son, which is part of why she is so devoted to this tween boy.  (Her husband is a gym teacher, which is how she came to know the boy.)

In the course of the investigation, it is revealed she was once a member of a skin head gang, and arguably the worst of them. When this is revealed, instead of doing what human, normal, sane people would do, and have a conversation with her and figure out why, and what made her change her mind, her husband leaves, and the boy she’s been mentoring decides her support of him is all a lie and that he should give it all up because everyone is racist and he should just become drug addicted like his mother.

THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A MOMENT. This woman who is about fifty, is condemned for sins she committed when she was 15 or 16 (and a runaway from an abusive home, to whom the skinheads provided an ersatz family. ) She’s been married to a black man for at least 30 years. But you know, in her heart she’s still a racist, because she was an idiot borderline criminal as a confused, abused kid.

If this were the only episode of its kind, I’d have shrugged and gone on. But over and over and over I see this coming up.  And you know, I could say “It’s just bad storytelling and they’re trying to force the tragedy” if it weren’t for other incidents in real life, like the thing over on the RWA side, with going through a twenty year old book in order to accuse someone of racism.

The accusations were blinkered and specious, at least the ones I saw, and mistook cliche and romantic bullshit for racism. But let’s suppose it were true, in fact. Let’s suppose this woman 20 years ago had some mild prejudice. How do you know she’d have it still? Or that it influenced her life in any way?

Or the way they turn on J. K. Rowling for saying something they don’t agree with, and cast her out into the outer darkness, because of course SECRETLY she must be everything they hate.

I see this come up a lot in indie books, btw, particularly by younger authors, as though they were indoctrinated in it and can’t break free. This is most obvious in Pride and Prejudice variations (Different ways for the story to develop. Don’t judge me. Yes, I read fanfic when I’m stressed. Deal.)  More and more I’m coming across these where NO ONE IS CLEAN.  I mean, I’m used to ones where Lady Catherine (Or Wickham or Mr Collins) are made outright criminal villains, because, well, that’s human.  “She’s proud and a pain in the ass, so she’ll totally try to poison Lizzy.” (Rolls eyes.) It’s also a characteristic of very young humans.

But lately I’ve been running into “no one is clean.” Mr. Bennet is not just kind of detached and an unintentionally bad parent, but an evil man, selling his daughters into awful marriages. Because he lets himself be persuaded to leave Jane, Mr. Bingley is a mercenary villain, etc. etc. etc.  And always, always, there is no redemption. No matter how young, how old, how tired, how ill you were when you made the bad decision, that bad decision is what defines you NOW AND FOREVER. And it must be hung around your neck again and again.

This is bizarre since Pride and Prejudice IS a story of the mutually redemptive qualities of love. Both are at fault, both get better through trying to love the other.

But apparently the young fans see only “You made a mistake and you must be punished forever.”

It’s kind of funny because as a kid I was taught by my lefty teachers of the horror of Victorian childhoods where the children were told of their childhood sins again and again and told how they were tainted and must therefore be ever vigilant and improve themselves.

But at least the possibility of improvement was there.

Now the left does not believe in improvement or redemption. Step out of line with their rigid dogma and you’re now a villain forever, of whom the worst might be believed and the most heinous things said, and to whom the most heinous things might/must be done, in “vengeance.”  Hell, it’s not even needed for you to step out of line PERSONALLY.  if you’re born to “not one of our protected groups” because of their binary world-system, you’re automatically a villain. Hence holding slavery in America and its evils against the sons of people who immigrated here well after the abolition and who, frankly, probably had ancestors who were treated worse.  Or being told that your hard work that achieved you a comfortable life is “privilege” and therefore you must be punished.

I’m not going to get into how wrong (and ever mutable, for that matter) their principles are. I’m just going to say that dissent or even unintentional divergence is not allowed. There is no redemption. No one can change their mind. Your sins, or those of people who looked vaguely like you shall be hung around your neck forever.

This gives the left strength in the short run. It is what causes corporations to grovel.

BUT in the long run (and we’re seeing the beginning of it) it will destroy them.

Living in unforgiveness and hatred will destroy the individual who does so. We joke about the unhealthy appearance of those who oppose us, but honestly if you lived with as much hatred as they do, you’d try to “mutilate” yourself to look unpleasant, etc.

If you lived in a world where no one is clean and everyone hates everyone else, well…. what is the point of living?  In the long run, it kills you, anyway. Even if your beliefs are completely crazy and wrong.

It leads you not only to commit crimes against others, but crimes against yourself. And that this is being propagated in every form of narrative from visual to literary to even history teaching in school, is one of the worst things happening to our civilization.

By itself, and alone, it can unmake civilization.

Be aware of it, and how it affects both you and the young ones you might be able to reach. Fight it every time you can. And if you are a creator of story, create stories that uplift and show the possibility of redemption.

The other is not just, ultimately, horrible art and forced tragedy. It is actively harmful to those who imbibe an unalloyed stream of it.

Some theological theory in the older religions hold that heaven and hell are the same place. Only in heaven everyone tries to make everyone else happy/comfortable/fulfilled. And in hell everyone tries to tear each other down.

Build heaven, not hell. Because hell is almost impossible to escape, once it is inside you. It takes an act of will and redemption. And if you’ve been taught those are impossible, the doors of hell are locked from the inside. Forever.

293 thoughts on “The Quality of Mercy

  1. Forgiveness? Depends on two things.

    1: Go, now, and sin no more.

    2: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. (Or, as a beloved president said: “Trust, but verify.”) Forgiveness requires repentance as prerequisite. Repentance requires recognition of transgression and regret for the damage wrought — as distinct from, “Sorry you got all butt-hurt.”

    1. Sure. And in my personal life, I tend to forgive but (depending on the egregiousness of the offense) cut myself off from the person, so as not to give them the opportunity to stab again.
      OTOH if someone proves they’ve changed, particularly if they were very young, they can earn my trust back. Slowly.

      1. Slowly indeed. The greater the trust that was had and then lost, the more that must be done to improve even a little. Trust is valuable, and should be treated as such.

      2. I’m finding, rather sadly, that there are people who change for the worse, and it’s ‘never their own fault.’ Not related to anyone known to anyone here, just some trainwrecks I have been watching, and it’s rather impressive in a horrible sort of way that the people that are the ‘their purpose is to serve as horrible warnings’ in those wrecks seems to go out of their way to prove me right about the predictions I’d made about them AND THEN PUSH THE ENVELOPE FURTHER.

        They sometimes cross into Dr. Phil territory of yikes.

    2. I think people forget that forgiveness is not supposed to be a total release from the consequences of one’s actions. King David was forgiven of his sin, but still had to take some pretty heavy consequences.

      1. I’d even add that willingness to take the consequences of one’s action is a necessary element.

          1. I dunno. Though it did immediately make me think of the climactic scene in Gone (in short, a film about a young woman who was kidnapped by and escaped from a serial killer not on the police’s radar–no one believed her, she’s on all kinds of psych meds, but is determined to locate where he held her and prove the guy is real): the protagonist has the killer, who has been screwing with her head for YEARS at he bottom of his own pit, with a broken leg. She had a gun on him, and told him she wouldn’t shoot him if he talked. So he does. She then dumps kerosene on him and lights a match. “But you said you wouldn’t kill me!” he cries.

            “I said I wouldn’t shoot you,” she says.

          2. *cough*

            God Forgives… I Don’t! (1967) – IMDb
            Directed by Giuseppe Colizzi. With Terence Hill, Frank Wolff, Bud Spencer, Gina Rovere. After a train is robbed of its payroll, an insurance agent and a card-shark team-up to retrieve the loot from the bandits who guard it at a secret location near the Mexican border.

            Hill & Spencer are probably best known in America for their Trinity films. A long-time Italian film and television star, for twelve seasons Terence Hill has starred as Don Matteo, a thoroughly ordinary Catholic priest with an extraordinary ability to read people and solve crimes. He’s a parish priest who never met an unjustly accused person he didn’t want to help. Long term Huns may recognize the series as an adaptation of a familiar book series, Don Camillo (whom Hill played in a 1983 film), although I am advised the translation to TV works about as well as most such ventures.

    3. There is a tendency in our…culture? Society? Not sure, anyway, to view “forgiveness” as meaning “it’s okay what you did.” When that’s not it at all. Forgiveness is letting go of the hurt/rage/hatred that will poison YOU and not letting what that person did continue to hurt you. It does not mean you have to keep them in your life, only that you let go of the sin that was done to you, and not compound it with your own sin of hatred, etc.

      As with all the commandments handed out to us, the “forgive” one has good physiological reasons for it as well as mental and spiritual. :p

        1. EXACTLY. And yet, soooooo many people have this idea that THAT is what forgiveness means. “I can’t forgive my father for abusing me, that will never be okay!” And they remain trapped in bitterness and rage, because they are so convinced that forgiveness = negating what was done. Even I bought into it for many years, and I really should have known better. I suspect the forms of indoctrination in our public schools may have at least some role in it.

          1. Well, I’m not sure that I can forgive the Bullies who made my school years Hell unless they Ask For Forgiveness.

            But I do attempt to keep them from “Living In My Head” because that is continuing the Hell.

            1. Yeah. This is something most people don’t understand. And the whole ‘saying I’m sorry’ does not automatically make it ‘okay.’ The people who get angry at the person refusing to accept an apology that doesn’t match the wrongdoing’s magnitide… I’m sure most of us have seen examples.

          2. The idea that forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiver is absurd; it is for benefit of the forgiver. Any benefit derived by the forgiven is collateral, not principle.

    4. What I call a Fondapology, as in, “I’m sorry that the picture of me sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun made you angry.”

      1. Yeah. I had one of those from Mary Three Names. “I’m sorry you were offended I called you a racist.”
        My answer to all of those is “Returned to sender.”

        1. IOW, *not* an apology since part of it is saying that one was wrong to do something and not whether or not it “offended” the other person.

      2. Well, I’m sorry you’re such a self-centered weasel that you would call that an apology.

  2. Are you the same person you were at 10? at 20? or ten years ago? Fifteen years ago?

    That depends on whether you’ve learned anything, and what it was.

    Sadly, too many Americans seem to stop learning at too young an age.

    1. My Dad used to say the medical term for someone who has stopped learning should be corpse. Unfortunately, I agree, there are a lot of walking dead around.

  3. who you are, that voice behind the eyes, including your fundamental beliefs can change drastically with your life experience.

    And it can remain essentially unchanged, the only “change” being whom you serve. David Brock was a sleazy character assassin for the Right and is now a sleazy character assassin on the Left, but the fact remains he is what he is and has merely changed paymasters.

    1. True. No dispute there. It CAN remain unchanged. Perhaps he does most often, after a certain age.
      BUT that is no reason to deny the change and redemption can happen.

  4. spending the day scrubbing and cleaning like a thing possessed.

    There is therapeutic benefit to be found in such manual labor, labor which frees the mind to fantasize murdering family members stories, plots and characters.

    That value is more easily achieved when the manual labor is performed voluntarily rather than as necessity. Learning to view drudgery as something one wants done rather than as unavoidable chore is critical to aging well. I never did well in school (except by accident) until I consciously accepted the work required as a price I willingly paid to achieve what I wanted.

    1. And you actually see a change. Word counts are nice, but actually seeing that the woodpile is larger, or the house is clean, or all those tomatoes are now in cans and cooling in the pantry . . . There’s a sense of accomplishment greater in some ways than word count and cover art done.

      1. I believe there is a deep, human need for such things. And that of the many things that stave off (not cure) depression, meaningful physical activity is one of the most immediately effective. Especially if the activity creates something that lasts, or is valued greater in some way.

    2. *snort* The Daughter Unit and I spent the day (after an exhausting workout at the gym) in sorting out the spice cupboard, and in purging the pantry …
      We have GOT to get into the habit of planning menus on what’s in the pantry.
      There was stuff there which had a ‘best by’ date of four or five years ago…

    3. I get most of my ideas whilst shoveling up in the kennel.

      [My MC says to tell you this explains the ‘qualities’ of those ideas, being mostly at his expense.]

  5. Either C. S. Lewis or J. R. R. Tolkien said “Children expect Justice while Adults want Mercy”.

    IIRC The idea was that Adults more often realize that They Can Be Guilty.

    These modern children (they don’t deserve the adult label) want Harsh “Justice” handed out while not realizing that they might earn the same sort of Harsh “Justice”. 😦

    1. Harsh “Justice” handed out while not realizing that they might earn the same sort of Harsh “Justice”.

      We know they could earn the same sort of harsh Justice. They’d go down screaming it wasn’t the same the same justice does not apply.

    2. Chesterton

      “For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy.”

      1. Speaking of which, the Father Brown mysteries (on local PBS, here) try to show the characters as potentially good, with the baddies getting justice. OTOH, this week’s episode (Ep 4 in the ’19 season; a repeat) had an abortionist (portrayed as good) and a pervy “reverend” (as evil and a hypocrite statuatory rapist) as the corpses of the week. FB only occasionally gets woke, and later episodes in the season don’t trigger my “oh shit” senses. (Perp of the episode was disgusted by the victims’ actions, and played Vengeful God. OTOH, she was persuaded that she was wrong to take matters in her own hands, and confessed.)

        8 year old Midsomer Murders are also all right, though the new Barnaby has rougher edges than John Nettles version. No idea of more modern seasons, though.)

        $SPOUSE has found a station that plays old Perry Mason shows.

  6. I think this belief that forgiveness and redemption are impossible feeds in to the Left’s fanatical avoidance of any realistic assessment of the Communist regimes they one e lauded to the skies. Deep down they know perfectly well that Mao and Stalin made The Despicable Austrian look like a vicious child by comparison…and they can’t deal with the knowledge. They have been accessories to mass murder (and will be again), every bit as vile as the Antebellum slaveowners for all their doctrinal purity, and if they acknowledge even a tiny bit of this, their whole framework of bogus moral superiority will collapse, and they only option will be to suck-start a 12 Gauge. Because they have rejected redemption as a possibility.

    1. I’ll counter with the idea that they don’t because they have no earthly idea what the USSR or PRC did to people, and no real desire to look it up.
      As per Uncle Screwtape, they are far far more interested in being hip, daring, transgressive, cool, and avant-guarde (as long as it doesn’t cost them anything at all). Anything to not be one of those Deplorable Bitter Clinger Flyover Trump people.
      We’ve put far more thought into their positions than they have, or ever will.

      1. This. There is a terrible power in social rewards. Likes, et cetera. Human beings need social activity, need other humans. It *can* be an external self-check on bad behaviors (in a healthy social group, it would be). Darn useful, if your comaps for acceptible social behavior is borked but good. Useful, but painful. Painful lessons last, though, so can be among the most valuable.

        Any young boy raised among other young boys knows the difficulty of refusing a double dog dare. Among girls, one knows how whispers campaigns can turn vile. The latter is what the left has been directed to, writ large. I rather doubt it came about organically.

      2. I read C.S. Lewis’ essay on the Inner Circle when I was…maybe twelve?…and its fictional expansion in “That Hideous Strength” when I was sixteen (Mom wouldn’t let me touch that one until then). I’m deeply grateful that I did read it, both for my personal stabs at righteousness and for the help it’s given me analyzing others.

      3. I think it’s a mix. There are people who know, deep down, that the gulag and the laogai are reality. And they tell themselves comforting lies, and know they are lies, and so viciously attack people who threaten to expose the lies.

        Then there are the miseducated. They don’t know about the laogai, and have no grasp of the extend of the gulag. And, yes, they want to be ‘cool’, and that demands that they ‘rebel’, and the rebellion has evolved into a kind of kabuki theatre. These are the young idiots who think almost exclusively in terms of symbols. And so they are astonished when somebody – annoyed to the breaking point – runs through their roadblock, or drags them off the roof of a commuter train they are stopping and gives them a right brisk kicking.

        1. One thing that stands out from reading “Radical Chic” is that those who play the game don’t actually believe that their pet primitives actually believe what they say they actually believe.
          And to be fair, they’re not all that wrong. Most modern millennial anger at “capitalism” and “inequality” is the bitter grapes of those who aren’t running in those circles yet; or the nostalge de la boue of those in those circles.
          Kapernik shilling over priced shoes via anti-capitalist rhetoric for a company that makes billions via 3rd world sweatshops is a perfect example. He’s against capitalism unless they are willing to pay him millions of dollars, and then it’s perfectly okay.

          1. Lefty anger about Capitalism has always struck me as rage against a (somewhat) merit based system on the part of people uncomfortably aware that they have none.

        1. Rich kids who use their parents’ money to act cool and condemn the parents who allow them the freedom to play silly games.

          1. Back when the Left was capable of laughing about itself, Gilbert Shelton skewered such brats with the LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE parody, LITTLE ORPHAN AMPHETAMINE.

  7. … it is also obvious that as civilization progressed (and let’s say, our life spans extended) the idea of forgiveness and redemption crept in.

    Consider the examples of erstwhile foes, such as the Yanks & Rebs of Gettysburg, or the troops who fought the battles of the World Wars, coming together decades later in congeniality and amity. Part of that, of course, is the fact that only those who were there, on either side, can comprehend the experience of great events. And, the matter having log since been settled there is scant purpose for further conflict and ample cause for forgiveness.

    1. Sometimes even in the midst of the war itself–see the Christmas Truce of 1914. Unofficial, unsanctioned, and rather spontaneous.

      In relation to my own religion, I recall reading a story of a young Allied soldier in WW2 with a wounded companion, lost in the darkness of a battlefield, begging for help from anyone else who was also LDS who could assist him in giving his wounded friend a blessing. And someone showed up–a German soldier, who was also LDS.

      1. Many saint’s citations involve them giving last rites to any injured they see– even when the wounded guy’s co-workers are shooting at him.

        Chokes me up.

  8. I will not here go on about whether Christian redemption is free or requires work, or whatever, because I’m not reenacting the 17th century wars of religion on my blog.

    Besides, it is not for us to decide. That decision belongs to Somebody Else and He isn’t asking our input.

      1. He has — but just because He is Creator of The Universe doesn’t make Him capable of avoiding humans’ willful misunderstanding. Omnipotence only goes so fay, y’know. Free Will means free to misinterpret the clearest, simplest,instruction.

        Look at how many people manage to misunderstand “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

        1. Entrusting the transmission of His Word through humans. I’m not sure if that’s a feature, or a bug. HE Knows the concept of the telephone game existed millennia before the invention of the telephone; so it sure seems like He designed it that we all have to work at figuring out what He said on our own. A truly benevolent and forgiving God would take the failures and make them start over again until they finally got it, even if it took them eternity to get there.

          1. Yep. And even then, people have to opt to actually LISTEN to the prophets, heh. (And because humans, are more inclined to argue. Because humans will argue with EVERYTHING.)

            But on the flip side of that…I’ve always strongly felt that, what with the whole Free Will thing, God also is not a fan of us being BLINDLY obedient. Obedient, yes, but He expects us to work at figuring out WHY we are being obedient and progress past the “because Dad said so” part. 😀

            1. humans will argue with EVERYTHING.

              Which is why, being wallaby, I am superior to humans and need not argue anything with them, being always right and lacking need to demonstrate it.

              Of course, I do occasionally argue with humans as an exercise in promoting thoughtfulness among them. Sadly, it is proving increasingly futile as increasing numbers of humans reject thought as vampires do garlic.

          2. Gee, if only there were a tradition recognizing a duty to study His word and develop our own understanding of His wisdom.

            Appalling how many folk don’t even read the Cliff’s Notes before declaiming about what He wants.

        2. Or the “Love thy neighbor as thyself” bit. Note: He did *not* say ‘ . . . more than . . .’

          1. I also think He was not referring to “self-love” … although, recalling the precise context of The Sin of Onan, that was more properly an act of self abuse.

      2. Given human nature, every faction that turned out to have gotten something important wrong would be tempted to turn on the new prophet that – per Amos 3:7 – the secret is being revealed to. (Satan would be doing his best to muddy the waters as well.) And since the Lord’s ways are not man’s ways, trying to logic out what’s been lost from previous revelations is going to be especially prone to error.


        1. “And since the Lord’s ways are not man’s ways, trying to logic out what’s been lost from previous revelations is going to be especially prone to error”

          That’s why we pray for grace, inspiration, wisdom, and the Holy Spirit. Thing is, we can be doing everything we think is right, and, probably, still get it wrong.

          END SESSION <
          START SESSION <

          1. Which would be why we needed a Redeemer–after everything we can do, we just canNOT get through this mortal coil without screwing it up. And so we need that quality of mercy to balance justice–but it required divine intervention. (And even then we still have to choose to accept it, because God can’t force us onto the right path. That was Lucifer’s schtick, after all, to force us to conform to his will and his alone. ::looks pointedly at the lefties trying to force everyone to conform::)

        1. Gah. Have to winch the damn things up so the powder drains out after removing the shot. And don’t forget to ground both the cannon and the powder buckets before winching it up!

          1. so i should stop moving the gunpowder under the state assembly building? (KIDDING, VA state police, KIDDING)

      1. THIRD tower on the right, remember.

        Fluffy gets very annoyed when things that can be set off by fire are stored carelessly. (So, for that matter, does the aardvark.)

  9. The thing you leave out is the circumstances. In todays world we can afford to try and rehabilitate criminals. BUT say another Carrington Event or Yellowstone Blows, we no longer can afford to. In any survival situation with limited food and resources, someone stealing resources must be gotten rid of. Raiders and Brigands MUST be eliminated never taken prisoner. You just can’t afford the risk.
    To practice forgiveness and the possibility of redemption takes being prepared to take real risks and risk of death not only for you but others close to you.
    Most of the current be nice to criminals BS is put forth by people who NEVER EVER expect to meet one of these criminals or affected by them. They have no risk, other people will pay for their virtue signaling.

    1. I didn’t leave out. I also said nothing about criminals. The left is all for rehabilitating criminals, because they’re really “victims” so really, we owe them an apology.
      I’m talking rather of those guilty of privilege or “thought crime” who are never allowed to get out of hell. Criminals, actual criminals it’s something else. There might be redemption, but not the way the left goes about it.
      And I did mention the older societies are more about unforgiveness, because they can’t afford forgiveness.

      1. I’m talking rather of those guilty of privilege or “thought crime” who are never allowed to get out of hell.

        Hard to believe they’re proving Orwell an optimist.

        Speaking of owing an apology:
        Where Does Admiral Yamamoto Go to Get His Apology?
        Before there was Qasem Soleimani, there was Admiral Yamamoto.

        In 1943, the U.S. targeted the exceptionally skilled Japanese commander and killed him in what constituted a precision attack for the time — with the P-38G Lightnings that intercepted him midair playing the role of the MQ-9 Reaper.

        If it was wrong to kill Soleimani, it was wrong to kill Yamamoto — just as barbaric and illegal, just as damnable an “assassination.”

        [END EXCERPT]

        1. And some people are currently questioning that decision, posting that killing Yamamoto made the war worse and the Japanese more fanatical.

        2. Besides he didn’t plan Peral Harbor, US Admiral Yarnell did in the 1932 Pacific Navy War Games. He used the first 2 Aircraft Carriers to attack on Sunday Feb 7 1932. Outside of the date Japans attack was precisely the same. While Yamamoto was a Great Admiral, the attack plan was not his.
          Not that Yarnell got any credit, the Battleship Admirals saw to that and saw to it that the results were lost.

    2. Precisely. God has the luxury of mercy. If He wants to fix the Fallen world so the rest of us do, He can.

      1. Rolls eyes. Again, not talking about criminals, though even those, yes, can be redeemed, but extraordinary proof of that redemption should be required, not what we do now.
        Forgive me, but isn’t it obvious from my post I’m not talking about criminal justice (which would inflate the post another 2k words) but about interpersonal relationships/every day “thought crimes?”
        The fact the left doesn’t even redeem criminals, just considers them “victims of an unjust system” is JUST the other side of their f*cked up coin. But it is the OTHER side.

        1. Dad’s been doing prison ministry work for well over a decade. Inmates who complete the program are far less likely to re-offend, once they make parole, but it’s _very_ heavily based on repenting and then seeking forgiveness from and strength through following Christ.

          Needless to say, states that aren’t as great as Texas aren’t likely to tolerate that kind of program.


          1. It’d have to be. For a deeply ingrained behavior to change, there has to be a darned good reason to *make* that change. And ain’t nobody but the man himself can choose to make that change.

          2. One of the elders in my church has been doing prison ministry basically since *he* got out of durance vile. He says the true Come to Jesus moments are rare, but all the more precious for being so.

            1. Those moments are precious. And let’s face it: changing oneself is akin to what our hostess has described acculturation to be–it hurts. A lot. It’s not easy. It’d be easier to keep on the way you were. So yeah, those moments are rare, too.

            2. I should ask Dad for the name of the program. IIRC, it’s not specific to any denomination, so your elder might want to evaluate it for his own ministry efforts.


      2. God’s not likely to do much intervention here; at least not of the sort that can be easily and solely attributed to Him and Him alone.
        That’s one data point that supports the theory that we’re in a testing and training simulation; and we don’t leave the environment until we’ve either picked up the insight, knowledge, skill that God wants us to have, or have demonstrated that we need to be removed and recycled. Any intervention on His part would upset the program.

          1. That’s actually kind of the Mormon view in a nutshell, heh. This is a training and probationary period for moving on to the other, bigger things. 😀

            1. I was almost pulled into a group on FB called Sub-created worlds. Almost, because I really don’t have time and bailed.
              No idea what religion, definitely religious.
              The idea seems to be that we, the creatives, are working under Himself, training for the job of creating worlds when we pass on to eternity.
              Fascinating. even though I’ve long decided Himself can’t deal with SF/F authors (not the true driven ones) and just sends us to the eternal sf con, to hang out in the eternal bar. (only half joking.)

              1. Odds are decent it was Mormon run or Mormon founded, then, since that’s pretty much our theology: as children of God, what else would we grow up to be but creators of worlds ourselves?

                I like your idea of an eternal scifi convention, though 😀

                1. Meh. The closest I come to a coherent philosophy (beyond what Grandma taught me which is, of course, the TRUTH. It’s also a bizarre amalgamation of two major religions, but I get through the best I can, okay?) is my utter belief in G-d as the author, so…

              2. Sounds like they read Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories” and are taking it a couple steps farther than he did.

  10. Re ancestral original sin, along the lines of the NYT 1618 Big Lie, as practiced today by the nondenominational Arrowist left:

    It occurs to me that the Arrowist selective vision loss covers an incalculably vast multitude of ancestral back and forth of warfare and conquest, in eras where victory meant taking the survivors as slaves and defeat meant becoming a slave as the only path of survival.

    Take, say, the Aztecs, who ran about conquering everyone they could reach, enslaving vast numbers of the other peoples in what is now Mexico, and bred babies with those slave women, at least the ones who did not meet their ends to satiate the thirsty Aztec gods up on top of those pyramids. I have not seen long diatribes about the inherent and incontrovertible original sin of modern Mexicans with Aztec blood, nor the inherent and unsatiable victimhood of those same modern Mexicans who have blood ties to the non-Aztec conquered slaves.

    One does read, on the other hand, detailed diatribes about the Spanish who overthrew that blood sacrifice society and imposed Christianity and slavery, because that is clearly different, because Arrow, and Europeans.

    Similarly, the slaving predations of the North African emirates are apparently lost to the Arrowist visual field. And the long history of slaving back and forth across the African continent is also Not Seen as long as those slaves were (are) retained there as slaves of similarly tinted masters. If noted at all, these fall into the category of Quaint Local Customs.

    Because if you go back far enough, there is absolutely no doubt that we are all blood descendants of both slavers and enslaved.

    1. Remember, most Leftist history is based on the idea that the white supremacist are correct, but that’s bad Mmmm’kay. A form of humble bragging.

    2. ..You know, that is actually odd, since a lot of the deformations of culture ARE directly tied into Aztec things– if only because they were so opposite of the modern strengths.

    3. I often explain my – quirks – by invoking the meeting of my Viking multi-great grandfather and my Irish multi-great grandmother.

      1. Knocked him over the head with a bronze frying pan, did she?

        “Oooo. Irish girl have pretty stars all around her head. Ugh.”

        His eyes rolled up and the huge Viking warrior crashed to the ground.

  11. mistook cliche and romantic bullshit for racism.

    Well, were it not for romantic BS there’d be no communists.

  12. Living in unforgiveness and hatred will destroy the individual who does so.

    The reason He declares “Vengeance is Mine” is that only He can do Justice without self-destruction. All humans who pursue vengeance are treading the path of Captain Ahab and will end in a whirlpool of death, shouting, “From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee! For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!”

    As last words go, far better to follow Oscar Wilde’s lead, “Either those curtains go or I do.” (N.B> – apocryphal)

    1. Note that Jesus frequently admonished his followers to worry about their own sins first before becoming concerned with those of their neighbors or even their enemies. We are all more or less blind to our own backsides, and we all inadvertently bump and bruise each other..
      Repeated and Intentional attempts to harm are another matter.

  13. I have subscript to Britbox, Acorn and MHZ and I have literally watch where the same mystery story lines are similar with sleight variations on the theme like “In the course of the investigation, it is revealed she was once a member of a skin head gang, and arguably the worst of them. ” in Swedish, Norwegian, Italian and others languages.

    1. Not just there. Many, many stories I’ve read in the past, oh, twenty years have the obligatories shoved in there for no reason but Himself only knows.

      The obligatory gay/lesbian/transvestite character.
      The obligatory brown saint (more common back in the early 20somethings).
      The obligatory white villain/rich dude.
      The obligatory government saves the day (more common in SF).
      The obligatory superwoman, stronger than ten men, smarter than Einstein, more talented than a speeding locamotive…

      Sorry, brain switched tracks in the middle there. *chuckle*

      The “once was in a skinhead gang” thing touches a memory, though. Think there was an earlier version of it. Once was a Nazi, I think? I may be thinking of something else, though.

      1. No, it is more like the same scripts is being past from one European country to the next. Like there no copyright protection or the authors have a great agents.

      2. Hey now. I threw the transvestite character into Dyce before it was trendy. Mostly because it’s based on someone I used to know. I live in fear he’ll read the book. 😛

  14. Now the left does not believe in improvement or redemption. Step out of line with their rigid dogma and you’re now a villain forever, of whom the worst might be believed and the most heinous things said, and to whom the most heinous things might/must be done, in “vengeance.”

    But this only applies when it’s politically convenient. When it would hurt them politically, the left is quite willing and able to ignore previous transgressions. See Virginia Governor Northam and his college blackface/KKK antics as a case in point.

      1. I have literally seen someone attack the roasting at the Golden Globes with the charge that he was punching down, and his victims were marginalized.

        1. Yeah, I noticed that, too. Clearly those complainants have no idea what words mean and are just making mouth noises.

          Michael Moriarty’s Erik Dorf had more integrity than these twits.

          1. From the footage, Carol Burnett apparently was enjoying herself. She was doing that silent laugh without moving much, keeping her face forward… But yeah, she loved it.

  15. You know, it never occurred to me, but Leftists, all Leftists, believe in predestination.

    Of course, they don’t call it that. Oh, there’s the old Marxist dialectic, Historical Materialism [sic], but usually it’s just implied. All that crap about Designated Victim Groups is all about predestination.

    What I see here is a description of a whole generation, at least, of young people for whom there *is no* forgiveness or redemption. And that follows directly from the Leftism they are steeped in, in our schools, and everywhere else.

    There *literally* is no hope, with Leftism. It’s prohibited.

    1. Whenever I do a deep think into what makes the Left act the way they do, it always comes down to that. If one were to ask them if they believed in free will, they would probably say no.

    2. That’s why the hard Left hates the 1819 Project. It said, in essence, that the US was predestined to corruption and racism, and blacks will never achieve true equality, because of the sin of the country’s birth. The Communists were screaming and shouting, and interviewing the historians who knew better (Gordon S. Wood, et al) because 1619 denies the agency of the working class, and the importance of economics. So the Communists and the “conservatives” ended up agreeing albeit for opposite philosophical reasons.

      1. 1619 Project. [Sorry. I’ve been doing Victorian technology in class and my brain is deep in the early to mid-1800s].

      2. 1619 denies the agency of the working class, and the importance of economics

        So it’s a battle between those claiming economic class is the measure of the world and those claiming it is race?

        The only question then would seem to be whether to opt for kettle corn, salted popcorn or buttered.

              1. On “soulmates”, I’ve come to the opinion that many of the female readers (of such books) really want a Strong Male in their lives and the “soulmates” are said Strong Males who really really need those chosen Females.

                IE It’s a way for many of the female readers to imagine having a Strong Male Mate where the females are “really in control”.

                1. Perhaps. In life, men and women tend to excel (or merely prefer) different things, and value those things differently. We both have egos, too. Perhaps it’s an expression of both parties want an opposite number that is competent in certain things. *grin* Then you get the flavor of current events, fads, and suchlike on top of that, and suddenly forty-nine shades of chartreuse is in the top ten of all books again. *chuckle*

                2. Ick, I hate that particular form of romance plotline. For one thing, it smacks strongly of abusive relationship, ie, “We are DESTINED TO BE TOGETHER” whether or not you like me, and you have no choice in the matter because I neeeeeeeed you.” But of course it’s always FINE because the guy is super hot and good in bed, which we all know is the most important thing, right? /sarc

                  (A good writer can make this work by taking it into the better form of this plot, which is “arranged marriage that two people decide to make work”, and having the two leads be very likable, redeemable people. But those are rare, because for some reason writers who glom onto this plot also tend to be of the “but arranged marriages are eeeeevil” attitude. So, in other words, very self-unaware, heh.)

                  I’ve never found the stalker romantic in any way. Blech.

    3. I noticed this myself some time ago, but wasn’t sure how to pin it down the way you have. Reading that, holy moly why would anyone want to live like that, in complete and total absence of any kind of hope, redemption or way out?!?!?!

  16. The keystone of Left morality is to find someone else that is worse than you, and then denounce them and ‘cancel’ them. You get a rush of moral feelings without having to actually do any real moral work.
    But, it quickly becomes a vicious cycle, and eventually you’re the next in line for the Guillotine.

    1. How often do we see the worst elements of the religious, the holier-than-thou self-righteousness, the cult-like shunning of apostates, the church lady prudishness, all expressed in woke culture?

      Most people can recognize those characters in a congregation and if it’s just those inevitable couple people then it’s mostly a matter of rolling your eyes and extending them the Grace of God, who thankfully forgives us for being poo-heads, too. And most people can recognize when an entire church goes off the rails and the sort of social dynamics involved, the modes of control and punishment that become normal, the condemnations and guilt tripping and fear used to force conformity.

      And if you can see that in a church, then that’s what you see when you look at the woke.

      It’s not a matter of wanting to be nice to people or accepting or welcoming and lifting other people up, it’s about the punishment and control aspects, the social dynamics directed at anyone who dares to step out of line or who expresses doubt about the leadership and their holy calling. Did you say all the right things about the wonderful holy priestess of woke? Then what’s wrong with you?

  17. “Or the way they turn on J. K. Rowling for saying something they don’t agree with, and cast her out into the outer darkness, because of course SECRETLY she must be everything they hate.”

    That’s just the thing – she must be. She needs to be. Or rather, they need her to be. They need to imagine her – or any dissenting voice, really – as uniformly evil, malicious, bigoted, deluded etc., in order to maintain their own self-image as always noble, always right, pure paragons of virtue. They need the bar to be set that low, in order for them to barely pass over it.

    Admittedly without watching them, I dare suppose it’s a similar situation with the above-mentioned mystery shows. It’s become fashionable for the “good guys” in modern detective series and police procedurals to be such dysfunctional wrecks, typically with a mean streak themselves, that the villain of the week needs to be presented as a real monster, so they can shine in contrast, as well as feel vindicated for their overall behavior.

    Simply put, liberals need villains. They need someone to blame, to bully, to burn in effigy. But only in effigy, so they can do it all over again the day after. That’s why you rarely see the villain truly offed at the end of left-oriented movies and series. They need the villain to be arrested, not in order to keep people safe, but in order to gloat and bask in the illusion of superiority it gives them. They need someone to feel themselves stronger than, nobler than, better than. It’s like a drug to them. And that’s also why they’re less emotionally capable of true mercy, of forgiveness, of recognizing redemption – because one less “villain” is one less dose, one less hit for the night.

    But ultimately, it’s also what undoes them, now more so than ever. Because more and more people are seeing through that, and abandoning the left altogether. More people would rather be permanently condemned wholesale, than always walk on eggshells, not knowing when they’ll rub one of the offendables the wrong way, and then get torn apart in a cannibalistic frenzy. And in turn, all we’ve got to do, is welcome them.

    1. I’ve also encountered at least few works in which the investigator/detective turns vigilante/murderer.
      And in movies and TV, once I cancel out the outright glorification of villains such as thieves, drug dealers, and crime bosses and the celebration of the ethical lapses of crooked cops, lawyers, businessmen, and doctors, (protagonists, perhaps, but hardly heroes) most of what is left is either saccharine or insipid. A choice between junk and trash is hardly a proper choice.
      It’s another manifestiation of the modern “there is no white or black, there only shades of grey” school of fiction, followed by the equalizing, then darkening, of the various shades of gray.

      1. One of the reasons the original Star Wars was received so well was because it jettisoned the grey morality of the New Hollywood era, and returned to the old morals.
        And one of the reasons the new movies aren’t doing as well is because they jettisoned the old morals of the original, and went to a more grey & cynical morality. As John Milius once pointed out, “It’s easy to be cynical. It’s hard to be corny.”

        1. The Prequel trilogy started that mess “Only a Sith deals in absolutes”. Well then paint me black and call me Darth Kitty…

          1. I give a little leeway in that coming from Obi-Wan “from a certain point of view” Kenobi, the line reflects a certain consistency of philosophy and poor reasoning. (I do actually like him, but that is not incompatible with some eyerolling.) Only a little, though. It’s important to bear in mind that the writer and character may not agree, but it’s also valid to suspect that a line presented as a zinger in the middle of a fight/argument with the villain of a blockbuster movie is intended to make a positive impression.

          2. And That Statement Was Very Absolute!

            Idiot writers and idiots who believe Their Absolutes Are OK.

            1. Well, he had the High Ground.

              Though I definitely prefer Clone Wars Kenobi. Master of the Troll Side.

          3. I finally came to the conclusion–especially after the stupid comment from Lucas about how Jedi didn’t marry, but they weren’t celibate (Oh, okay, so an order of one-night stands? BECAUSE THAT’S SUPER HEALTHY NEXT TO FORBIDDING LOVE), that the Jedi just prior to the Purge had fallen far and were actually in need of being torn down.

            I saw something recently that took on the “Anakin was prophesied to bring balance to the Force” and used that same argument: here we had an order of fanatics who were meddling in politics, took children away from their families at a very young age and forbade contact after, TRAINING CHILD SOLDIERS FOR WAR, and sending those who didn’t make the cut into what amounted to slavery (taking the whole “Agricultural Corps” insanity from the novels). They forbade marriage and love/attachments of any kind (other than physical), and preached complete detachment–that’s not good guys operating here.

            So, yeah, not a fan of the Jedi as they were finally revealed to be in the Prequels. I’m not sure that was actually Lucas’s intention–since we were supposed to think they were the good guys, but…yeah.

            There’s a reason I’ve always preferred the Grey Jedi philosophy, which tells the extreme stances of both Jedi and Sith where they can get off and what they can do with themselves. 😀

            1. Bravo. I’ve had to explain why the saber i got at a con has a dark hilt but a light blade… “both sides are wrong.”

      2. “there is no white or black, there only shades of grey”

        Thing is, I’m not sure that’s why this is done. If anything, I’ve noticed that some of the more cynical anti-heroes, such as those in classic spaghetti westerns, cowboy cop films, and darker vigilante comics like the Punisher, get even more frequently derided as violent macho fantasies or some such. Same goes for the “hard men making hard decisions (while hard)” in military science fiction. So I think it’s more like some people want to have a strict black-and-white morality on top of the main characters being unlikeable douchebags. The mentality at hand is “sure, I may be an unstable, violent and emotionally stinted human stain… but at least I’m not a Nazi”… Which, as everyone here has probably noticed, is the current leftist rhetoric in a nutshell.

        1. One thing about the classic male anti-hero is that he did have some code of honor that he followed, a definite moral line in the sand that he wouldn’t ever cross, even if it meant torture or death.

          1. Yes if Casablanca were filmed today Rick would have taken Ilsa off to a back room (or possibly not given modern filming) when she came to visit that evening to get the papers, and he would have gotten on the plane with Ilsa the next day after leaving Victor Laszlo to the tender Mercies of Major Strasser and an unrepentant Captain Renault.

            1. That was last decade. If it was filmed now, Rick would be a bisexual black woman and Victor an evil hypocrite, racist, & wife abuser. Both will go on together to beat down the entire Wehrmacht by themselves and singlehandedly win WWII.

              1. Good point but I think you missed a trick there Joe, Ilsa needs to be a transitioning male. With that we’ve got a blockbuster in Hollywood’s eyes… Maybe we should see if Babylon Bee needs writers :-). One astoundingly ugly rumor I heard back in the late 80’s was that Hollywood was threatening to remake Casablanca with (wait for it) Madonna as Ilsa. Thank the Author that that particular charlie foxtrot stayed in development hell.

    2. Okay. Way out of the loop. What has J.K. Rowling said/done that put the left in a twist? Other than earn more than enough money to pull herself & her child off the English dole into a castle? For at least two or more generations?

      Or was that the sin? That she is not dependent on their approval?

      Personally I hope she is waving both middle fingers at them.

      1. She publically supported a woman who said something that is “trans phobic”. It also appears she’s not backing down, either.

        1. Specifically, the woman was fired from her job at a research think tank for claiming that people cannot change their biological sex. Rowling thought it ridiculous that women could get forced out of the jobs for stating that sex is real.

          1. Wow. What a monster. // sarcasm tag off

            I haven’t bought anything of hers past the HP books, because I have no interest in what I call back filling fiction in the HP world … just saying.

          1. Anyone remember John Ringo’s 2006 RavenCon AAR? The whole ‘there are no differences between men and women!’ thing that Miriam shut down?

            The woke have doubled down on that.

            And just as John has predicted, they’ve made themselves almost entirely unfit for being asked to help produce the next generation.


      2. The attacks on her about money were a while back. I remember some lefty would-be author suggesting that people not buy her new books because she’d already made enough money.

        1. That she could write them, sure, but not publish. . . .

          Much commentary about a real life Balph Eubank.

    3. They need a new witch to burn every week or the crowd gets bored and leaves. See Vile 666 for details, still trying to burn the RWA this week. The wood seems a bit wet this time.

  18. ” If you grew up racially prejudiced — I didn’t though I confess Scandinavian blonds were so weird that the first time I saw one I thought he was an animated doll and ran screaming,”

    Being a Viking, I’ve seen that reaction a number of times. Sigh…

    1. Is this an appropriate time to confess to being both attracted to and scared by a competent beautiful blonde woman?

      1. Having always been ridiculously attracted to women who are smarter than me, I totally get it. My tragedy is that women who are smarter than me are WAY to smart to get stuck with a dumb ol’ schlub like me.

          1. Speaking as someone with a supposed-genius-level IQ…yeah. Competence–especially in everyday life–is of far higher value. A.) there’s too many out there who find “super smart” to be “intimidating” and so won’t give you the time of day and b.) High IQ is overrated. Way overrated. TV/fiction/etc always show “smart” people as being smart across the board. Maybe socially awkward–but of course still hot, and of course super successful. That is soooooo not the case. The gifted are generally gifted only in certain areas–and everywhere else, generally just average. Sometimes below average. Given the society wide message of “the very smart/gifted must of COURSE be good at everything, and wildly successful!” this leads to most of us reaching adulthood rather messed up because, well…most of us AREN’T wildly successful. And we have long since discovered that…no, we are in fact NOT good at everything, or even most things, just one or two very narrow areas. And so we also feel like utter failures, because we had so much POTENTIAL! and were supposed to CHANGE THE WORLD! (While also being punished for our “brains” all through public school, by either teachers or other students or–more likely–both.)

            (There are exceptions of course. I am not one of them, and so am speaking from my experience.)

            1. Yes. Yes. yes. yes.
              Most people in Mensa work dead end minimum wage jobs, particularly those with super-high IQs.
              IQs are higher (stratospheric) in mom’s family than dad’s, and that family is a warm bag of dysfunction and failure.
              Seriously. When I found that younger son was a standard deviation above his scarily smart brother, I made it my mission to beat some social sense into him.
              I’ve KIND OF succeeded but not completely. He has to go the rest of the way alone, and by his choice.
              Honestly? the most successful people are usually just below or just above genius IQ. Say 125 to 135. That includes scientists and yes, writers. How good is it to know a ton of stuff, if you rub everyone wrong, and they want to poison your coffee?

              1. The parents managed to make me mostly socially functional–or at least, I play the part well if pressed. But I’m also a near-pathological introvert, and it only seems to be getting worse the older I get, sigh. (Meeting people is hard when “social occasion” reads to me like “trap, must gnaw off limb”, argh. I’ve made a mental note to myself to watch out for becoming an agoraphobe–I’m a homebody, but I don’t think it would be good to become one that never leaves the house, heh. Even if the internet now makes that less isolating than it used to be.)

                I stopped short–barely, probably–of being totally socially dysfunctional. That, or I spent too many years in retail HAVING to be friendly, and coupled with also being pathologically polite I rub along okay, at least. And I finally, finally achieved a better-than-minimum wage job, so there is that. (Also helped with the “feeling like a complete failure” problem–I’m not out of that yet, but at least I feel like, y’know, writing or painting again. I haven’t stepped all the way back into my previous creative loves, but I’m closer than I have been in ten years or more. So yay.)

                All I can say is, thank Himself for good family. I don’t know what would have happened to me without decent parents/siblings (some of them)/good friends. 😀

                  1. Right??

                    Though yeah, I’m guessing that younger son is probably nearer on the spectrum of “young enough I could almost be his mother, if I’d been a teenager” and that IS a bit too young.

                    Ah, well. I do admit that in the past decade or so I have though that arranged marriage doesn’t sound like such a bad idea either, lol.

                    1. Well…I mean, your Dad’s not wrong then, lol… (Arguably, arranged marriages that WORKED were because the parents knew their kids, and good parents/grandparents selected spouses for them with whom they’d get along great.)

                      But yeah, it’s still culturally Frowned Upon nowadays.

                1. Chuckle Chuckle

                  Was briefly talking to my “land-lady” (apartment building) today and commented that I had to get restarted on “Getting Out Of My Cave”.

                  Even if my Cave has internet service, it is better to get out of it periodically. 😀

                  1. Yeah. Now it’s fine for me because I’m still, technically, renting a room from family on account of not having had the time/spare energy/decent enough weather to do the replumbing and other work on the house I bought last spring so I could actually, y’know, LIVE in it.

                    When I do get it fixed up and moved in, I expect I’ll have even less desire to leave for anything but work, shopping, and church. (I mean. I splurged and bought a deep slipper tub. I may never leave my BATHROOM, let alone the house.)

                    But yeah, it’s good not to give into the “but I don’t WANT to leave the cave” urges…however tempting they are.

                    (Which is one reason I’m leery of working from home. That, and ADD.)

                    1. I’m retired.

                      When hubby retired, he started playing golf. That is essentially what he has done 6 days a week, some days longer than others. … well okay, longer days are 19 hole days, others are only 10 hole days, because the latter the group is smaller … Winter/early-spring even longer days are shorter, because it gets dark too early for those who are still working to play, making the group smaller. Hubby did not start golfing at retirement. He started playing in his late 20’s.

                      Me? Let’s just say, at least for me, starting golf at 59, was not particularly successful. But the pup (okay she’s 3 now) & I do other things together. We participate in pack walks (well should be; been kind of a fair weather walker lately). Other drop in trainings offered. We just started Agility training. If I wasn’t out training her, other than grocery shopping, I wouldn’t be getting out of the house/neighborhood at all.

                      Our son isn’t a whole lot better. Except for work he rarely leaves the house. Granted the 3 PM to 1 or 2 am shift doesn’t help. He is okayed for graveyard (11 PM to 7:30 AM) supervisor, but they don’t have enough people for the crew (to be fair, they are understaffed on ALL crews, day & swing). He figures that frees him to be available for social activities with friends between 6 PM & 10 PM (he’s not a big drinker or “other stuff”, so that is not an issue). Friends in question will be setting him up to meet & greets (or at least his friends wife’s & girl friends will).

        1. In my experience, nobody ever fully grasps what their partner gets from a relationship and thus there’s no reason to worry about what you offer. Cats don’t seem to give a damn about being worthy of love and that apparently works pretty well for them.

          Simply be yourself as best you can be, and appreciate your object of desire for what he, she or it (if tentacles are your thing) is. Don’t abuse privileges and try to clean up after yourself so as to minimize the burden of tolerating you.

          1. Don’t abuse privileges and try to clean up after yourself so as to minimize the burden of tolerating you.


            Dear Husband keeps telling me stuff like “I wish you could see you like I see you” (usually via cards) and I still think he’s nuts… but I want to be what he says he sees.

            I want to be that awesome.

          2. At the moment, I decline to have an object of desire, until I reach certain self-improvement goals. Fitness, books finished and published, consistent daily time devoted to chores etc., and so on.

            If some woman decided to pursue me, as I am right now, on her own initiative . . . well, I’d give her a fair chance, but the Groucho Marx quote comes to mind, about not wanting to join any club that would have me as a member. But I expect that I won’t have any luck until I go to an area where the number of eligible LDS women outnumbers the eligible LDS men by quite a bit.


            1. Hah. Try living in a place where there are NO single LDS of either gender within at least an hour’s drive. (And the hour-away ones are, well, all college students, lol. Not in my age range anymore!) There is a mid-singles group in my “area”…which means a 3 hour drive to attend church meetings, sigh. Still, if this winter hadn’t been so bad, I’d be making the drive at least every other week…

              It’s a good approach, though–working on oneself, I am told, is the best way to aid in one’s search for the sort of spouse you want. 🙂 (But again, there have to actually be PEOPLE there…)

              1. A local lack is also an issue, yes. Although I expect to be moving in May, so I suppose I’ll see if there’s anyone in the new ward. But I’m still expecting to need to relocate to BYwoo territory before I find a wife.


                1. Do me a favor, Albert: read Georgette Heyer. It will give you some idea of what women find attractive in the mental/emotional department.
                  Her romances. I never got into her mysteries.

                  1. I second that. Though ignore the “trappings of wealth” thing, that’s a convention of the genre. I’d say replacing that with “good work ethic” translates better to the modern era. 😀

          3. ^This. Full stop. I’m still hoping to find someone who accepts me as me, warts and all (which is not to say they should APPROVE of my warts, as I should be working on improving them) and for whom I can do likewise.

            But it’s harder than one might think, alas.

  19. *random thought*

    If all the old stories were big on boot out the bastard– doesn’t that kind of suggest that there was a lot of “but that’s old Joe, we can’t be mean to him” stuff going on?

    I know that’s more common in smaller groups– a predator who should never have been allowed is there, because Everbody Knows Him– he’s a close connection to everyone who is anybody. Think of it as the Bully Complex, for simplicity.

    But when you get beyond an immediate group, you’re going to identify folks you DON’T like as a bully– and to function as a big group, rather than a bunch of small groups, you have to forgive.

    1. Or the related, “Yeah, he’s a predator, but he’s one of Us, and we all know to avoid him.” Holly Pervocracy called it the Broken Stair Tread Problem, and it fits some of the cover-ups among the older Sci-Fi crowd. “He’s skeevy, but it’s us against the world, so just don’t get in an elevator alone with him.”

      1. That’s probably where I got it from, then.

        Just popped up as a “nobody tells stories about don’t stop breathing” thing.

      2. I’m reminded of the bit in the Breendoggle where someone claimed that Breen wasn’t a problem–he just had his kids lock himself in their bedrooms whenever Breen came over. It took one of those ridiculous prudes to point out that if you kids have to lock themselves away when a guy comes to visit, that guy probably shouldn’t be in your house!

        1. Right.

          But on the other hand, in a small community where everyone does know everyone avoidance works well enough to just work around them. (And when it doesn’t, send the church deacons for a laying on of hands.)

          Heh, I just thought of that old song that goes, “No one told me about her…” and then goes on to say that everyone knew, but they just talked about the way she looks, the way she talks and the color of her hair, and skipped the part about how she’s a psychopathic user with no one home behind her eyes.

  20. I will not here go on about whether Christian redemption is free or requires work, or whatever, because I’m not reenacting the 17th century wars of religion on my blog. Also, my own feelings about it are complicated and I have a book I’m unholy late on, and don’t feel like spending the rest of the morning — let alone the day — looking at my belly button lint.

    An adorable way of framing it that I loved:

    remember we’re insanely below God.

    So anything we do is like a toddler making Him a gift out of playdough and handing it to Him.

    The heartfelt attempt to try to help matters– not if it actually FIXES anything.

    1. A thought that I’ve recently had, which helps me at least, is that ‘good works’ are _practice_ for being a better follower of Christ.

      Somewhat similar to the difference between trying to write a book after writing a few million words and writing none at all, perhaps, albeit that He’s also said that He won’t penalize a new follower who barely has any time to get some practice in before coming home.

      Heaven knows I need as much practice as I can get.


      1. And one might also make the argument (suggestion?) that if one’s professed beliefs are truly sincere, then they will naturally out in one’s works–therefore, you can’t JUST say “I believe,” because if you truly believe, then you are compelled to also do good works?

        I dunno. There’s a reason this has been a knotty question of debate for most Christian religions for forever, heh.

        I also suspect that figuring it out is the point–and why Himself hasn’t been clearer on the subject.

        (Although James DID say “faith without works is dead”…)

        1. Personally, I see Faith is What Saves Us, but Good Works are Following Our Lord’s Commands.

          Oh, Faith includes IMO the acceptance of Our Savior as Lord.

          As Saint James said “even the demons believe in the Christ” implying that they may believe but not accept Him as Lord.

          1. In my experience of the world, when somebody loves another it is typically observable in their behaviour.

            1. Always. Being mortal, our showing of it will not be perfect, and we will stumble, but really loving someone–be it spouse, child, parent, friend, whatever–will show in our behavior.

          2. Yeah, that seems right. Just as someone can do good works their entire life, but if they refuse to accept the Savior AS their Savior…the works don’t mean much.

            1. Meh. sez you. I still think Himself will reach them.
              As Foxfier and I have enthused at each other before, if all else fails, there’s always the Harrowing of Hell. It happened outside time, so it will happen for all of us, even if we land in the hot place.

              1. Oh, I think He’ll reach them too–sorry, should have included that 🙂

                Our mortal life here is a very, VERY tiny part of eternity. There’s a LOT of time for us to figure stuff out.

                    1. I really have no clue.
                      Some years ago someone pulled Dave Freer and I into Atheist SF Writers Who Are Proud of Being Atheist.
                      Look, even just reading our books, though we don’t preach, you should get we’re not ATHEIST. Even casual contact with us on Facebook reveals the same.
                      They wanted us in their group, but knew nothing about us? okay. Whatevs.

                    2. I knew about you but wasn’t sure about Dave.

                      Now Eric Flint is another matter.

                    3. Not doubting you Sarah, it’s just “Don’t confuse the Author with the Characters He Creates”.

                      And yes, I forgot about that little mystery of his. 😀

                    4. John C. Wright points out that some of his atheistic point of view stories, he wrote after he became a Christian, and some of his religious ones, while he was still an atheist.

                      Personal comments, yes, that’s strong evidence.

                    5. I’ve seen Militant Agnostic buttons. They read: “I don’t know and you don’t know either.”

                      There are matters on which I am a militant agnostic, but not central religious ones.

            2. It matters whether the works were an expression of love or as a bribe. It is one thing to work hard at creating a nice home as an expression of love for your partner and something else to do it in expectation of reward, whether that be a new [whatever] or “hot times in the bedroom.”

              One conveys “I love you and put your happiness above my convenience” while the other is simply a negotiation of price.

              1. Definitely. While works done as a bribe are not necessarily BAD or evil…I’m not sure they’d qualify as “good” (in the spiritual sense) if not done out of love.

                But…yeah, it’s always been a tricky thorn.

  21. The ability to forgive is part of what sets us apart from the other great apes, and a part of what was instilled in us when we were set apart from the other great apes. The need to be forgiven was our choice in Eden. Forgiveness, then, is both natural and unnatural to us as humans. Yet more evidence, in my opinion, of the essentially unchristian nature of the left.

  22. If you lived in a world where no one is clean and everyone hates everyone else, well…. what is the point of living? In the long run, it kills you, anyway. Even if your beliefs are completely crazy and wrong.

    Which requires that I quote my spirit animal:

    I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

    1. As a side note, a friend of mine just had her fourth child, a girl, and named her Aslan. And yes, it’s after Narnia. (For context, one of her boys is named Elric.)

  23. Truly forgiving requires three acts of divine intervention: 1. Changing the offenders heart so that they repent–they confess and forsake thrir offense; 2. Changing the victim’s heart so that they are ready to forgive, and; 3. Actually enabling the victim to forgive. The actual act of forgiveness is daunting: it is imaging God and saying “I will remember your sin no more.” This means I will not bring your sin up to you, I will not bring your sin up to others, I will not think of your sin, I will treat you as though the offense never occured. This is not the typical American “I’m sorry. Ok” scenario. Nor is it a substitute for justice: if you murder my loved one and later repent, I am required to forgive you, but that doesn’t mean you should not face the criminal justice system. In fact, if you have truly repented you will submit willingly to justice.
    If these things seem impossible it’s because they are–for men. But redemption, forgiveness, and transformation are all possible with Christ.

  24. > Your sins … shall be hung around your neck forever.

    For younger people, totally yes.

    Back in the 1960s a teacher took a dislike to me, wrote about what a nasty little twat I was, and put it in my school records. Not the official transcripts, the unofficial ones that followed me from school to school, and even across state lines. After I while I was able to tell when a new teacher got The Word, and then it would all change. Again.

    That was half a century ago, with slips of unofficial paper. NOW they have video, and email, and not only that, that information is available, in various degrees of completeness, to data brokers and thence potential employers. That one time someone messed up in the sixth grade might limit their opportunities *for the rest of their life*.

    So, “redemption” would be a sad joke to someone who grew up under that, at best a quirk of ancient times, no longer relevant to the world they live in.

    1. This, so much.

      I’ve been heard to say if X place ever burns down, I’ll need an ironclad alibi… because the teachers apparently decided in kindergarten that I/my parents were A Problem, and life in school was hell from that point on.

      Every. Teacher. Every. Grade.

      Redemption. Hah. These people won’t even let you redeem yourself for things you never did.

      1. Husband is 5 years younger than older brother, and 4 years younger than next sibling. Which means back when HS was 3 years, all his siblings were graduated before he started his first HS year. First day of HS, each class roll call … “MP?”, “Here”, Next student, pause, “MP? Any relative to SP?”, “Yes. Older brother.”, Pause, “Don’t want any trouble out of you.” Every term/semester, until hubby graduated. Worse hubby had already done most the work, because he did his brother’s homework for him (brother was dyslexic reading & math. Now put a diagram in front of his brothers & numbers related to the diagrams, and he did great (mechanic). Hubby is old enough that most of his HS teachers are long gone to their reward, probably (he’s 68).

        1. This is one of the elements of growing up in a small, settled community before people relocated regularly. You were not simply “So-and-so’s brother, or Hem”haw’s so, you were Old Hezekiah’s great-grandson. You were born one of the Jones boys and forever one of the Jones boys you are destined to be.

          OTOH, on the frontier you were who you claimed to be and judged according to your actions, and if your present was good there was little cause for concern over your past. You had freedom to reinvent yourself, for good or ill.

          The past was another country, with … irregular rules of extradition.

          1. small, settled community before people relocated regularly.

            What my paternal grandmother & dad had. By the time dad was growing up, not as “small”, but grandma stated in her writings that everyone she went to school with was a cousin until she went away to teacher’s college. Her husband, from the next valley over would have been the same way (harder to know as grandpa died when I was 2).

            Mom & her siblings were on the frontier but moved around a lot until they got to drain, tho they were in Colorado for the war and just after. I have met moms cousins in Montana, once.

            Hubby’s folks came from Virginia (?), I think, some east coast state, to San Diego just before the war. That is where they raised their kids. Kids just had each other. Hubby barely remembers meeting cousins when he was 5 or 6.

            Me? My cousins may now be scattered here to wherever, but still a lot in the area; first cousins I grew up with (not counting the ones younger than my son, but you get the gist). I’m 63 & I’m still meeting new cousins. OTOH having a historical pioneer family graveyard tends to keep extended family together. Plus, different branch, but longest home continuously in a single family’s ownership (Charles Applegate homestead home).

          2. Chuckle Chuckle

            My family is descended from a Howard who moved into Southern Indiana (when it was a frontier) and who said he was from Kentucky (IIRC).

            A few years back Dad tried to track him down (building a family tree) but found no trace of him in the area of Kentucky that he claimed to be from.

            Dad suspect he took the last name Howard only after he left where-ever and moved to Southern Indiana. 😀

            1. I would not be the least surprised. IMHO, every time I hear about a school shooter and people are Shocked and Horrified? My reaction is more along the lines of, “if more of those of us you brutalized were homicidal, there wouldn’t be a school in the States without a murder.”

      2. Given Ember’s take on Zuko’s and Azula’s childhoods, I’m unsurprised to hear that Jesus might have had pointed words with your teachers about millstones, even if the offense wasn’t of the salacious kind.

        I have to wonder if I wouldn’t have experienced something similar, if Mom hadn’t been as able to browbeat the school system as she was.


  25. This just nailed on the head what had been bothering me. Over the break, I ran into a game called “We Happy Few” essentially a survival horror game set in a sort of drug fueled surveillance state.

    I was curious about it and started reading up on what it was, and found myself rather put off by what I found. The issue, now that I have a name for it, wasn’t really that all the characters had, as it turns out, done horrible things in the past, but that none of them seemed to have any path to redemption of any sort. It was a world of a dead past and an empty future.

    1. I know it gets so bad that you start cheering for the bad guy or monster, maybe they characters will find redemption in death.

      1. There are stories where that would be unhappy because you want the bad guy/monster to lose, TOO.

        1. Even worse when you don’t care what happens to any of the characters.

          1. This calls to mind a Don Thompson review* of a mystery: All the characters are so unlikable you not only don’t care whodunit, you wish whoever it was had done it sooner and more.

            *As cited in Comics Buyers Guide many years ago, and paraphrased from frail memory

    2. Dystopias that have no redemptive condition are an automatic pass for me. It breaks the suspension of disbelief, hard. The human need for redemption is right up there with the needs for understanding, love, social accpetance, and meaning itself. Every human being makes mistakes. If we are worthy human beings, we try to fix them.

      1. Have a situation where characters have to metaphorically drag themselves across a mile of broken glass with one arm, and you can have two results:

        1. Meaningless, boring, depressing, waste of time. Because it is just torture porn for no damn benefit.

        2. One of the most powerful types of stories that humans have*. Because that character’s pain and sacrifice accomplishes something of worth. Even if that is “only” that the next person can get by with a mere 1/2 mile of broken glass.

        The wokearatti sneer at the second while salivating at the first. Which says most of what needs to be said about them.

        * so powerful in fact that that basic story can be the foundation for a religion.

        1. It’s one of the reasons they had to make Annakin Skywalker’s sacrifice null and void in the new movies, along with any charachater development Luke, Han, and Leia had.

            1. Let’s be fair, the Extended Universe brought Palpatine back via him “moving his spirit” into cloned bodies.

              The “Biggest Insult” IMO in the “last three movies” is that Return Of The Jedi ended with the apparent final victory over the Empire but The Force Returns brings us back to “Rebellion vs Empire” (although they called it Resistance vs First Order).

              1. yeah, my biggest issue with the new trilogy is that they jettisoned nigh-30 years of extended universe fiction–some of it quite good, some of it not–and then…produce a MUCH weaker version of some of those very same stories. ::eyeroll::

                Now, that being said? I actually liked Rise of Skywalker. It DOES have quite a good redemption arc in it, even made me tear up. Now, it could have been addressed a LOT BETTER if the previous two films (and most especially that dumpster fire of a second film) had set it up and they’d been working towards this since, y’know, the start. But it was a more-than-okay film, if not great, and it’s really just a pity they had to spend so much time trying to undo the mess of the previous film. (While all the time the writers are claiming they aren’t doing any such thing, natch.)

                But the redemption arc was still well done, and so still packed at least SOME punch.

                I still want all these idiots to sit down and learn something about how vast space is, though, and stop imposing stupidly short time limits on their “we have to stop this in x hours or DISASTER” plotline. I’m sorry, but I still refuse to buy that hyperspeed is instantaneous travel, dammit…(But that’s probably personal preference, since even the original trilogy left a strong impression of instant-travel, sigh.)

                1. Phooey. The obsessive obsession with continuity is the kind of thing that geeks and nerds fetishise and should in no way inhibit the Creative Artiste. Courtesy to inferior predecessors and dedicated fans is a condescension to the mediocre and not to be indulged.

                  Just think yourself fortunate that the new Creative Artiste deigned to accept millions of dollars for wasting time elevating such jejune material to higher elevation.

                  Extended diatribe on the service performed by not pandering to audience expectations in deference to Bourgeois tastes is hereby omitted under the Pearls before Swine exclusion.

                  1. Sounds like the Chuck Wendig Twitter post that ILOH (I think) tossed up on his Facebook page today.

                2. The review that has convinced me to MAYBE watch Rise of Skywalker when it comes out on DVD read, “The new trilogy shouldn’t exist, but given that Episodes 7 and 8 are out there, Episode 9 finished things as well as it possibly could.”

                  I’m sorry, but I still refuse to buy that hyperspeed is instantaneous travel, dammit…(But that’s probably personal preference, since even the original trilogy left a strong impression of instant-travel, sigh.)

                  Maybe I’m misremembering, but didn’t quite a lot of stuff happened between Tatooine and Alderaan in the original? Chewie and R2D2 playing chess, Obi-wan giving Luke some basic training, etc.? I mean, we could argue that time passed for the guys in the ship but not the outside universe, but Star Wars never really struck me as that kind of movie.

                  1. That was pretty much my review for Husband Unit, who ain’t goin’: “It was probably the best sequel to The Last Jedi that could’ve been made.”

                  2. I think no one either filming OR writing in the Star Wars universe has ever decided on what hyperspeed should be. It’s wildly inconsistent. But yeah, the first film at least SUGGESTED that at least a smallish amount of time passed, and Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi didn’t seem to address it much at all, preferring to just skip to the action at the destinations (which is fine!). The prequel trilogy flipflopped, it seemed to me, between lengthy travel (say, when Padme and Anakin were carted off together on a transport ship in the second film) and insta-travel.

                    It’s been a long time since I read anything in the EU, but I seem to recall there was wild variation there as well. (Though Zahn, if I recall right, went for fairly consistent “Yes, it takes some time, and varies depending on how far you’re going”–but then, he was definitely one of the best authors in the EU.)

                    But yeah. I’m not sorry I saw Rise of Skywalker on the big screen (just as I’m NOT sorry I never managed to see The Last Jedi on the big screen, other than I then made the mistake of buying it to see on the small screen). JJ Abrams can’t do a non-derivative plot to save his life–but at LEAST he grasps the concept of heroic heroes and making things FUN, and also how emotional beats work in a story. They might be something you can smell coming a mile off, but he’s good enough at the beats to still get you to FEEL them, and so enjoy them.

  26. I wonder if this is part of the reason for the rise of the Mary Sue protagonist in current woke cinema. If redemption and forgiveness and personal growth are impossible, they then must make their Strong Woman Character flawless and perfect.

      1. There’s also “guy/gal who does bad stuff, but it is necessary so it is okay. And anyway, he/she gets power-ups. And sleeping around with an ever-expanding harem has no downside.”

        1. Oh, dear Lord. DIL and I actually abandoned a mystery series about a pathologist because beyond the “no one is clean” and stupid plotting that is only fun when both of you are yelling at the screen and feeding off each other’s annoyance at the stupidity, she was a woman about my age who slept with…. everyone in pants. Up to and including a college student. No consequences, no regrets. No suspension of disbelief. Sorry. I know how the fifties are. We’re not old but we can see it from here, and we start thinking of things like “will I be alone as I get more crotchety and things become hard.”
          Also frankly I can’t imagine performing certain acts with someone I don’t love/am intimate with. I mean, okay, always the truth about me to an extent, but without getting into TMI, if your hip locks, you can tell your husband of 34 years “I’m sorry, hon. Hip locked, I’m in horrible pain.” and he’ll understand. A college-boy lover? yeah.

  27. Interesting point. I disagree that the “you-ness” of you changes over time. Even literal road to Damascus transformations leave the individual the same distinct person he was before.

    Spot on civilization requiring the propitiatory act(s) to get past the roving band stage.I was hoping to re-read Ship of Fools, this will add to it.

    One quick request from a word maven, viz another Marxist theft I caught onto a couple years ago.

    Judgment means both to praise and to condemn, and includes degree. Common usage (and I call enemy action) uses it as a synonynon “to condemn”. The which makes it tempting to eschew, for if all men for their deserts, who ten would escape the lash?

    Which leads to John Wright’s (recent post) standards-free tribal hell.

    What’s wanted is all that training in good judgment (both reason and emotional responses), plus the humility to understand that we are prone to err..

    1. Indeed. For quite some time now, my response to those who claim that I am ‘judgmental’ is, “Yes. In fact, during my time as an aircraft mechanic, thousands of people’s lives depended on my trained and experienced judgement as to the condition of the machines in which they were flying.”

  28. Okay, it is the season – or some mind-affecting plant that pollinates this time of year – or we have some very strange mental connection, having never met or been in the same State even (except, perhaps, briefly – but I was sleeping and $SPOUSE$ was driving).

    But… I was poking through the back shelves two days ago, and happened upon Escape From Hell (Niven and Pournelle). Realized I had never read it. (I had read Inferno. At least three times.) So far, it is an excellent alternative to examining your own belly button lint under a microscope. Perhaps it is their lint – oh, to know what discussions they had while writing, between Larry (an avowed agnostic), and Jerry (raised Unitarian, made a conscious conversion to RC).

  29. Hmm. My line is that the Axial Age religions began as people started moving into larger communities, proto-cities, where there were people that were not of their tribe. Maybe forgivenes appears when you start to interact with strangers.

    Nietzsche says that “the priests” taught us to hate ourselves, but I think that, when you live in a larger community, you have to watch your behavior. You have to think: Hey, maybe I have a problem.

    But leftism is a reversion to tribalism. And maybe in tribes there is no forgivemess. You get with the program, fit into the hierarchy, or out you go.

  30. There’s also an aspect of cowardice in much of what the radical Left does. Forgiveness, mercy, redemption, confession of shortcomings, standing up for the truly unpopular- all these take real courage and genuine risk.
    Pretending that a person in a free society speaking popular words power to truth in a way that will cynically advance their standing with their in group is somehow doing something that is “stunning!” and “brave!” is cowardly. They stand to lose nothing, and their life, liberty, and property is not at stake.
    Few of the giltterati ever do anything that puts them at real risk.

      1. Well that’s why we often find so many opportunistic predators on their ‘side’, such as Yaniv, the various ‘male feminist allies’ (a number being exposed as sexual predators), pedos, race hustlers, ecological doomsayer scam artists like Al Gore, rapists who conveniently become male to female transgender in order to be sent to womens’ prisons and terrorist supporters, and the guy Blaire talks about here :

        1. Oh yeah, that guy. The juxtaposition of Blair White who is an -actual- trans vs. “It’s MA’AM!!!” guy pretty much encapsulates the Left.

          The Blair Whites of the world are not the ones trying to get on the girl’s wrestling team, let’s just say. They just want to have a life and deal with their demons, same as everybody else.

  31. “Some theological theory in the older religions hold that heaven and hell are the same place. Only in heaven everyone tries to make everyone else happy/comfortable/fulfilled. And in hell everyone tries to tear each other down.”

    This is a thing in fantasy when you talk about demons. If you want to have a rule-based fantasy, where magic doesn’t get pulled out of your butt to suit the occasion, then you have to decide how the universe goes ahead of time. That means I had to decide what a demon is, where they come from, how did they get there, what happens when they get loose, and most of all why they are such dicks. (This is the one and only quibble I have with the Monster Hunter books, I’m not fond of Larry’s Heaven/Hell world building cosmology. It seems a bit wrong to me. Not a big deal, but certainly a quibble.)

    The same is true if you have real Angel-from-Heaven angels. You have to decide all that limiting stuff for them as well. I didn’t want to deal with Heaven in a story, I’m not smart enough for that. So I decided there would be demons, really old and wise AIs who fight them, and Bodhisattva. A being who has attained Heaven, and then came back to our mundane world to help us mortal little kids out. We’re a bit dim sometimes, after all.

    You have a character like that, you can give them lots of interesting power over time and space but you don’t have to define Heaven. They ascended, then they came back and because they’re here now they can’t quite remember.

    Demons are the shit heads that hate everything and want to destroy everything. If they get loose your only recourse is to send them back to Hell. Nuclear weapons are an option.

    I’m not fond of the notion of a being created only to suffer and cause suffering, so I made them dead people. They had a life, they died, they went to Hell because that’s the place where you hide from your responsibilities. They can be redeemed from there, but they have to stop being dicks first. No free lunches.

    Redemption and forgiveness. Two things markedly absent from popular culture these days.

    1. Much depends on how much you pull them on stage, and how much you imply, and how much is (implicitly) left beyond the ken of the characters.

      I find that the more the metaphysics is left off stage, the better it is, generally, Partly because having such things known the way you know the arrange of your kitchen cabinets is kinda flattening. Partly because fitting inside the scope of even the largest and greatest novel tends to shrink them.

      1. I agree about leaving most of it off-stage. Its like the innards of an FTL drive, the reader doesn’t need to know the name of the company that makes the Framistat unless that’s a plot point.

        But if you’re going to write it, -you- need to know how it works. The workings and rules of it are in your brain, so you can have the thing working in the story.

        I’m unfond of stories where the magic had no bounds. If you can produce a pony on the spur of the moment, why did you walk all the way to the castle? Why not ride the pony?

        Besides, demons need rules. What’s a demon without rules to break? ~:D

  32. …one of the things that I like doing is watching British mysteries. Lately I haven’t been able to find any of them I care to stay with.

    Have you tried the “Midsomer Murders” series, which IMDb TV provides for free (via YouTube)? Beth and I have become addicted to them.

    1. We’ve been a fan of the show from the first seasons. (Local PBS station has brought it up to Season 15, circa 2012 or so.)

      It’s a relatively lighthearted show, though with an impressive body count per episode, and frequently some highly improbable murders.

      I’d recommend the show.

      1. If you can get MHz Network, If you can stand sub titles, recommend ” Murder In” it is mostly a French travelog with a murder mystery.

        1. Yes, though they Marxicised the books.
          Still, rather decent. We found it when it was running on TV. Because we didn’t own a TV (shhh) we used to go to our best friends to watch and we’d all have dinner together and let the kids run around till they fell in a heap. (Four of theirs, two ours. The closest thing our kids have to “cousins.”)
          In a way I miss those days, so indulge me if I’m teary eyed. Dan’s best friend was married to my best friend, and the families got together two/three times a week to do stuff. Kids called the other couple “aunt and uncle” mostly because then no one would think we were kidnapping them when we had the whole bunch.
          Marsh and their youngest are three months apart and like brothers.
          The rest of us have fallen away. He died. Her politics became toxic feminist, which plays as well with me as you imagine.
          I miss our younger selves and the innocence. It’s not the years. It’s the heartbreak.
          Thank you for indulging me.

    2. My parents were watching that series. They enjoyed it… except for noting that the bad guy was always predictable when religion was a plot point.

  33. “Build heaven, not hell. Because hell is almost impossible to escape, once it is inside you. It takes an act of will and redemption. And if you’ve been taught those are impossible, the doors of hell are locked from the inside. Forever.”
    C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” has this. Hell has actual bus service to what amounts to Purgatory, and all you need to do is wait at the bus stop and get on. Continue in not accepting your sin moves you further away from the bus stop. With the great sinners such as Hitler drifting away in space, muttering about which other people’s fault it is. Lewis did not state it, but I got the distinct impression that even Hitler could turn back, and by dint of heroic work, get back to the bus stop. Of course, Lewis as an English Catholic and I as a Jew believe God’s redemptive power, as all of God’s power, is infinite; but we also believe because we have been given free will, WE have to initiate the process by teshuvah, which means return in Hebrew.

    1. One of the characters visiting Heaven was a member of a theological discussion group in Purgatory, and he asked the angle who was guiding the group whether there were any such discussion groups in Heaven. Angel say, of course not, no need to discuss theology, we know know how it all works.

      Guy decides to go back to Purgatory.

      1. Then there was the person who was in Hell because she(?) disliked that a person she knew got into Heaven Just By Simply Repenting. IE: The person apparently should have suffered more. She also returned to Hell.

        There was another person whose sin was riding his shoulder (looked like a lizard) and he knew it was a sin but was unable to remove it. One of the angels offered to remove it and the person gave permission (IE the angel couldn’t just remove it). That was interesting because the lizard then changed into a beautiful Pegasus which the person was able to ride deeper into Heaven.

        1. The (implied to be a sexual, or at least Lewis identifies the lizard as the man’s sensuality, a bit later on) pervert ghost was the only one that we actually know got redeemed, and the lizard did its absolute best to terrify him into running away from the Angel offering to kill it.

          Although some of the phantoms were just seen wandering off, so it’s possible that their Friends were able to minister to them some more before they went back to the bus.

          The painter ghost, the adulterous Karen ghost, and the tragedian ghost were the only ones we saw ‘blow out’ or otherwise vanish into the oblivion of no longer even being a ghost at all.


        2. Are you thinking of the boss who resents that Heaven let in a murderer, an employee of his, for repenting, while leaving him out so he doesn’t get his rights?

          1. Found it and you’re correct.

            The idiot kept talking about his “rights” and hated the idea that he wasn’t a “decent man”.

            Of course, he didn’t want “Charity” because he had his “Rights”. 😦

            1. I, for one, will take all the charity I can get.

              The real kind, of course, not the kind forced from the pockets of my fellow man.

      2. Chapter 5, yeah. The cleric tries to chastise his friend Dick (who came from the Mountain to meet him) for believing in a literal Heaven and Hell.

        Dick: “Excuse me. Where do you imagine you’ve been?”
        Cleric: “Ah, I see. You mean that the grey town with its continual hope of morning (we must all live by hope, must we not?), with its field for indefinite progress, is, in a sense, Heaven, if only we have eyes to see it? That is a beautiful idea.”
        Dick: “I didn’t mean that at all. Is it possible you don’t know where you’ve been?”
        Cleric: “Now that you mention it, I don’t think we ever do give it a name. What do you call it?”
        Dick: “We call it Hell.”
        Cleric: “There is no need to be profane, my dear boy. I may not be very orthodox, in your sense of that word, but I do feel that these matters ought to be discussed simply, and seriously, and reverently.”
        Dick: “Discuss Hell reverently? I meant what I said. You have been in Hell: though if you don’t go back you may call it Purgatory.”

        Dick then goes on to point out that the atheist Cleric didn’t become a heresy out of honest belief, but because he (and Dick at the time) were ‘loading the dice’ of their disbelief, because they were seeking the rewards of the world and trying to evade the equivalent of cancel culture.

        A bit later: Cleric: “Well, really, you know, I am not aware of a thirst for some ready-made truth which puts an end to intellectual activity in the way you seem to be describing. Will it leave me the free play of Mind, Dick? I must insist on that, you know.”
        Dick: “Free, as a man is free to drink while he is drinking. He is not free still to be dry.”
        Cleric: “I can make nothing of that idea.”

  34. Dear hostess you said that you constantly see this idea in media “This person is evil and therefore has done everything, and will never get better.”
    I think this comes out of 2 false (and oddly opposed) postulates/views held by the “progressives”.
    1) Man as a species is perfectable. There is no natural fault such as Original Sin. Consequentially any fault falls on the one who acts and can not be fixed
    2) There are classes (almost castes in the Hindu sense, or the idea of Nobility) of people. They cannot easily (or perhaps even at all) rise above their nature. A prole is a prole and always will be suitable only for simple repetitive labor. The ruling Class (i.e. them) cannot fail.

    Mix that with the ends justify the means and its a nasty noxious odoriferous cocktail

    1. Man as a species is perfectable.

      Thus it follows that it is legitimate, indeed – necessary, to cull the flawed from the herd. Those who are not redeemable must be discarded.

      Okay, maybe they can go into the parts bin.

    2. It’s a bit more complicated than that, akin to the game of Ins & Outs practiced in the old Soviet Union.
      If a person was In, and moving up the party hierarchy, he could do no wrong, and was supported and loved by everyone.
      But, if they were Out, and moving down, suddenly everyone was shocked, SHOCKED! to find all sorts of misdoings and foul deeds.
      After all, everyone loves a winner and despises a loser.

  35. An interesting and timely point about the Hair-on-Fire Democrats, courtesy the New York Sun:

    Not one single Democrat — not even Speaker Pelosi, say, nor Senate Minority Leader Schumer, nor the Intelligence Committee chairman, Congressman Schiff — has asked how he or she could help win the war. The issue that seems to obsess the Democrats seems to be protecting not our own troops but Congress’ own turf and rattling on about how escalatory and reckless the President has been

    1. The important thing to them is preventing Trump from getting any kind of boost in popularity due to any perceived wartime leadership.
      It worked against LBJ and W.

  36. I didn’t though I confess Scandinavian blonds were so weird that the first time I saw one I thought he was an animated doll and ran screaming, then had nightmares about it for years. In my defense I was six

    I think I was 3 years old when I first encountered blond hair and blue eyes. Unfortunately for me, said blue eyes were hugely magnified by a pair of swimming goggles rising out of a swimming pool. I screamed ‘SHARK!!!!’ cried and fled in terror, limpeted onto my Mom and refused to go into the pool. The American student who was earning money on the side teaching kids to swim found it amusing as heck and I still get parental teasing about it on occasion. I don’t know why I associated those eyes with a great white, I really don’t.

    1. Weirdly, when Mr. hormone came calling, I found that I felt an instinctive attraction to redheads.
      I blame it on that 10th century Norwegian who was the originator of my maternal chromosomes. (judging by the rest of the line, and the tradition, I presume one of her daughters converted to Judaism. Though it’s muddled, because Sephardic Jews, possibly because of close contact with Muslims, counted Jewish ancestry through the father.)

      1. Rhys has huuuuge blue eyes. He hummed the Jaws theme song with the wickedest twinkle in them when I told him the story. The first few bars of the song now is Jaenelle’s ‘chase me, let’s play’ opener. ‘Duuu-dun, duuu-dun…’ (and no, she doesn’t know about Baby Shark. Vincent just chases her around on the floor, on all fours, while she crawls away as fast as she can, and then she chases him, he lets her ‘catch’ him and he pretends to be overwhelmed in loud, over-done acting fashion.)

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