The Creating Mind

Before we get off the ground on this post, let’s establish that no, no one creates anything ex nihilo. Or as one of the prime examples of the people we’ll be talking about said “you didn’t build that.” (Turns out he’d stolen that phrase from one of our current afflictions as is, and she’d probably stolen it from someone else. Which is rather a telling point.) That phrase is in fact at the crux of the divide in America and probably a bigger problem than any other, because I think the others flow out of it.

None of us creates anything out of clear nothing. For instance, in my work I use words, and that’s before getting to the computers and networks that allow me to distribute it. Maybe there was a pre-human somewhere at the dawn of time, who made up the words so he could tell a story. Maybe. I find that somewhat hard to believe. Language tends to come by accretion and use. Not “Hey, look, I created a whole new language and you’re supposed to learn it.” (In fact, I’m fairly sure that’s a mental illness. Or a sign of being a very gifted young kid. My sons tried this trick a number of times.) Particularly if there is no concept of language.

But all that is to our purpose nothing. Given that we start out as humans with language, and that there is a fund of stories we were told and on which we can draw for inspiration and structure, there is a vast amount of creativity you can employ in writing a story.

It can be — and sometimes even is — something completely new (if written with no known structure, these are also usually very bad. Not always, but usually.); it can be something that is new of its kind; or it can be a rehashing of a story that’s been told a million times, this time with a big difference; or a small difference; or no difference at all, just told anew.

All of these involve different levels of creativity. There is another level of creativity that is sort of down or sideways from there which is “Assembly story” or “paint by numbers” (though paint by numbers normally refers to following without much inspiration and can result in weirdly compelling stories, so we’ll call it “assembly story.”) This is more like creating a toy from a kit, or embroidering on a fabric that’s marked. There is work but no real creativity involved.

If you are saying “Ahah, Hollywood” ont he last three (from rehashing a story on) you’re not wrong. It’s also the vast majority of traditional publishing.

There might be a reason for that. And I mean a neurological level reason.

I know I have said that the left are the “Good Boys and Girls.” Understand I say this with derision and not derision at morality. They don’t really have morality. Or if they do it’s not traditional morality. They are guided mostly by “want to fit in” and “want to look good for Sempai.” So, they’re those annoying kids in school who were always “behaving exactly the way teacher said to” even when it made no sense or was annoying. Also, they were the ones who would turn on us when we expressed doubts or asked questions.

I never really thought about it, except for the (understandable for someone of my stamp) desire to give them a good thumping behind the bike shed. Not that I did, unless they really upped their game to tattle telling or physically messing with me or those under my protection. I’ve said it before, what keeps me from being a terror is that I’m too lazy. And besides, the schools never even had a bike shed. But I did sneer at them a lot, with curled lip, and took the opportunity — real, imaginary or created — to slipt he verbal knife in. Not that they cared. They were in it for Sempai. Or virtue signaling. Or self admiration.

What had never occurred to me before is: What if they’re that way because they can’t imagine another way of being? “Can’t imagine” being the operative words in that sentence.

You see, recently — take that as the last three years — I’ve been getting weirded out by one, very particular form of trolling. I see it on this blog, and most recently I saw it at another blog, whose owner, once wrote a novel (though that’s neither his profession nor his main thing in life.)

The attack goes something like this “Why would I believe your analysis. You’re a NOVELIST.”

In my case, they have been known to take that further to “you write fantasy.”

A friend says — and he’s not wrong — that they will use anything to dismiss a POV they don’t like. Yah. Sure, they do. And they have.

But that one is a particularly bizarre one.

Why would the fact that one writes fantasy for a living — or that one ONCE wrote a mainstream novel — mean that one cannot trust any analysis from that person, including number or sociological analysis?

If you dig down, what they’re accusing us of is this: You live in a fantasy world, so you don’t speak from reality.

This is bizarre, because of course we don’t live in a fantasy world.

Look, as most of my fans know, I prefer science fiction, even when it’s mostly so far in the future there is little “real science” because “it’s maybe possible in the future.” BUT that’s neither here nor there. I can write about people who change into animals. That doesn’t mean I THINK I CAN CHANGE INTO AN ANIMAL. I mean, sure we joke about it or play-tend about it in comments all the time, but we are not that. We do understand the rules of the physical world we live in.

Or take darkships. I am quite, QUITE aware we have neither flying cars nor some kind of energy weapon that performs outside known physics, nor anti-grav nor genetic engineering. I mean, dude, seriously. WHY wouldn’t I be.

Sure, I can sit down and spin out a world quite different from our own. And? That doesn’t mean I don’t know what our world is. One could argue I really need to know what our world is, and understand cause and effect really well before I know how to make a world that reads plausible to ANYONE.

And once I started thinking about it, I started remembering other instances of the left not seeming able to figure out what “creating something” means.

Like, you know, the idiot on the left who did a dive into my books and psychoanalyzed it as though my female characters were all me. (And for those who read me, yes, he thought both Athena and Dyce were me. Not to mention Kyrie, who is rock bottom practical.) He then proceeded to deduce what I wanted in a man from it. Like, because Kit and Thena have a telepathic bond, that is REALLY what I want. (Yes, it was useful for plot at that time and in that place. And I usually feel guilty when I use the convenient. OTOH, well. It’s part of the world building and is used later.) Or the fact that Dyce gets involved with a police officer means I really want an authority figure. (Seriously, dude, read some of the genre. It’s a trope.) And I don’t remember what his major dysfunction was about Kyrie, but you know, it was again stupidly based on the idea all my main characters — particularly the ones written first person — are me.

It never seemed to occur to him “why should they be?” or even that these three women are all completely different. (And apparently he couldn’t fit Luce into the picture, so he ignored A Few Good Men. Possibly because my being a six foot six scarred blond male was too much to understand, but it had to be me, right? because no one can make anything up, right?)

Then there was the leftist writer with whom I tried to collaborate some years back who had a collapsofit and became unable to work with me, when I couldn’t tell him about the real people I based my characters on (on account of they don’t exist.) I think he stopped believing me after that, so you know, all understanding was at an end.

Or take the “serious” analysis (Spoiler: it isn’t. It’s part a belief they’re psychic, and part relying on stupid tropes) they do on the Greats books that all assume it’s either “dog whistles” or hiding some deep desire for something or other, or reflecting the author’s life.

At the heart of it there seems to be the certainty no one can MAKE UP anything. That all we can do is spin and recycle, either the work of other people, or things we SEE AND THINK ARE REAL.

This is part of the reason they’re so scared of us, and so convinced we are insane. Because even our casual jokes about lizard people, they think we think are real. Must be, otherwise, how would we make jokes about them so off the cuff.

I want to point out here this has NOTHING to do with intelligence. I was in gifted classes most of my school life (for my sins) some truly aimed at the gifted and not the “notice me Sempai” smart enough to fake it to perfection. And yet, when there was a creative writing or art exercise, I found half of what my classmates turned in was rehashed what we read last week and/or at most a mash up of two things.

Now, I’m not a stunningly creative person. At least I don’t think so. Or at least, I trained myself to work within a certain framework. Part of everything I read is part of me, so it’s part of my work, in a way. But, oh, dear, miles and miles away, sideways and upside down of most people in those classes.

And of course, I get characters for free, and they tend to be their own persons. (Though I mined my kids for Dyce’s son, but that’s partly because I’ve actually not been around a ton of kids, so I lack range, but also because eh my kids were stunningly entertaining.) Not me. They want their own stuff and do their own stuff. I use friends and family for walk ons and sometimes very minor characters because it amuses me and pleases them, but the main story drivers I get for free.

But even this level of creativity renders me suspicious and scary to the left, who think I apparently walk through life having illusions about flying cars and dragons.

Suddenly the run of warmed-up reboots and sequels (“Stunningly different. Now with more victimhood”) from Hollywood make sense, as does the bizarre point-counting of traditional publishing. (One oppressed minority, ten points, one trans trendy character, twenty points, one rape, ten points, three pages of Marxist theory fifty points — I believe this one will get push and win awards!)

It also explains how they come up with their theories of society. You know “we pass a law and bad thing goes away/stops being done.” Or “police cause crime, because neighborhoods where police don’t visit as often have less crime.” Or ‘if we give kids tastless lunches we consider healthy, they’ll eat them and be healthy” or “if we give people mortgages, they’ll become worthy of mortgages.”

I’ll be honest people: these are people not only not capable of rebellion, but only understanding rebellion in terms of cosplay. They think we’re stupid, because we’re not doing exactly what the teacher wants, and there is no possibility that we think the teacher is wrong, because reality is consensus and the teacher dictates it. People who believe/create other things must be crazy and see things that don’t exist.

I don’t know what this means, or how to reach them. Or how they became that way. Perhaps they are the default human, and we’re in fact weird? Or perhaps they were made that way by something?

And in either case, how do we get them to believe we exist: as in we’re a different type of thing, and not whatever they come up with to explain us?

391 thoughts on “The Creating Mind

  1. We all know that Luce represents the White Mormon Male you really and truly are.

        1. Doppelgangers are of evil alignment. Yet, their degree of evil alignment is not sufficient to impersonate Kam Harris or Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi.

          1. But wait!
            If a doppelganger is evil, and JoeAndHoe are evil, would that not mean that if she became one of their doppelgangers she’d be pure and true?
            Or would such a doppelganger have to be even MORE evil?

      1. Being Gregor Samsa would be far preferable to shifting into FICUS or his equally useless VP.

      1. I giggled at anyone, up to and including a platoon of Marines, being able to keep Dyce from finding trouble. (Definitely not you; you had to fess up to not even being able to get a food fight going on Discord.)

              1. Eh. I had to think for a while, and was about to go digging in the shelves, to get the right name myself. Names are my bane, as my children will testify.

  2. They believe they can create truth by merely speaking it. Therefore everyone must believe every truth they’ve spoken into being (frex, “there are 87 genders”).

    So obviously, anything we say (or write) must also be an attempt to speak truth into being. Therefore we must also believe in the truth of everything we say (or write).

    Jolly good! I will now write a story where I am the unquestioned master of the universe, and my first act will be to flick such leftarded ideas out of existence.

    Any paradox is left as an exercise for the reader.

    1. “They believe they can create truth by merely speaking it.”

      Some Christians were having an interesting conversation about how when Man was first created, God told them to name everything. Wondering if this facility could have been corrupted into solipsism.

      1. That, and if they take the Gospel of John’s common English translation of “logos” literally, instead of actually looking at all the meanings built into the concept. (It’s not just “word” in the sense of text on a page, but also reason, and reasoning mind, and intellect, and power, and . . . )

        Keep in mind, too, that in the world of the [self-]Anointed, the more true things are, the stronger one’s feelings about it. So if they are shrieking with fury, their idea is right. The more strongly they feel about [THING], the more true and correct it is, and the more real.

        1. Interesting. The word for “word” in Hebrew, a remarkably terse and compact language, is “davar” … which can also mean “thing” or “matter,” depending upon context.

        2. I have seen word translated as command, which makes a lot of sense in understanding John.

      2. I’ve always read that as God giving Man a version of the ability to create, which is what separates him from the Host (who appear to have free will as Man does).

        1. The power of holding a more powerful name (like God’s name, which is the only really important one most of the time, unless you’re talking angels) is being able to use some of its authority and ask its holder for help. (At least in Hebrew and most Middle Eastern/Mesopotamian thought.)

          The power of naming something on an inferior level is to establish and understand its nature, in a way. Since humans were basically supposed to be in charge of the animals (under God), God had Adam name them. You will notice that God also changed the name of several Biblical persons, thereby giving them extra power and authority and new offices under Him.

          Subcreation is more implied by the whole “image and likeness of God” thing.

          Naming kids was also pretty important, but didn’t imply the same kind of power, because kids are on the same level (eventually).

          1. You will notice that God also changed the name of several Biblical persons, thereby giving them extra power and authority and new offices under Him.

            Subcreation is more implied by the whole “image and likeness of God” thing.


            So, like the one who does most of the physical aspect of marriage creation, changing her name from (Female) (Family) to (Female) (co-creator that ain’t Himself)?

            I am so totally going to have to play with that in philosophy heavy series…. (don’t worry, I’m TRYING to make it all background)

  3. Off topic from “those people”, I like Tolkien’s idea of the Cauldron Of Story.

    IE Storytellers (written or otherwise) are often dipping into a Cauldron Of Story that holds all of the stories ever told. They may take part of one story and combine it with parts of other stories to create their story.

    Of course, then their story will go into the Cauldron Of Story to be used in turn by other storytellers.

    I believe Tolkien saw that Cauldron Of Story as started by the Great Creator.

  4. Sure, there are probably parts of you that are Dyce and Athena. But I’d think you probably are at least as much, probably more, Tom. And Tom’s dad. And the Great Dragon.

    I do need to see if I can find a copy of Dorothy Sayer’s the Mind of the Maker.

  5. Or “police cause crime, because neighborhoods where police don’t visit as often have less crime.”

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    — Michael Crichton [emphasis added]

    Too many people believe the “news”, partly because they’ve never read a story that they know is wrong, and even if they did they suffer from Gell-Mann Amnesia. Hell, I suffer from it sometimes, and I know the media is full of deliberate liars and incorrigible know-nothings.

    1. Then there’s the propaganda.

      I’m still steamed about a music video that was pushed at one of my tweens by Yourube yesterday.
      It was a Kinemaster animation, that had a girl go to a BLM “protest” over the objection of her parents, “because it’s too dangerous”, and gets gunned down by the police at the protest.
      It pushed the Ophelia angle with all the subtlety and effectiveness of a jackhammer.

      The kids and I had a long discussion about it after I calmed down a bit.

      If I hadn’t been actively looking at the screen, I wouldn’t necessarily have taken it as anything other than youngsters learning basic animation while sharing music favored by their peers.

      So… Be careful out there. Your children are being actively targeted.

    2. Well, if you know nothing and never developed a generally useful skill, how are you supposed to know a story about any field is wrong.

      1. Well, if you know nothing and never developed a generally useful skill, how are you supposed to know a story about any field is wrong.

        I think you just defined “Journalism”.

    3. This is why I have been continually reducing the amount of news I consume. Almost every time i investigate one of these narratives, I find out it’s wrong. I decided what I needed was fewer narratives. No TV, no US newspapers, no Twitter. I’m down to three blogs. I had dropped Zerohedge, but put it back in the rotation because their true narrative batting average is greater than zero.

      1. Akshully, oxidizing ‘news’ sources is better practice.

        Set a man a fire, and he is warm for a day. Set a man afire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

        Hatred is the only reason not to help the people suffering from such poverty of mind. 😛

      2. Yeah, I just assume that anything I see in the MSM is an outright lie or at best willful negligence, and so far I haven’t really gone wrong with that. The more “breaking” the story, the closer it usually is to negligence, because it usually takes them a couple of days to decide on the lie.

      3. If you do well with background noise, I suggest WHO out of Des Moines, and KFAB out of Omaha, and AM1590 out of Seattle.

        They all three do a decent job of having some “poke it more!” guys on their lineup– don’t always agree…k, don’t usually agree… with them, but they do a decent job of giving enough information to dig deeper, and *aren’t* totally wedded to “what I think right now.” There’s one prior English dude, Simon Conway, who is just adorable to listen to because you can hear when he’s thinking and when he’s reacting from bad instincts.

  6. I believe there are a lot of people who did well in school and like living in a world where if you convince the teacher/dictator, you get what you want. They do not like the fact that life is more complicated and other people get a say.

    1. I suspect 50% of failed businesses do that. This is what the party said was going to be a can’t fail service; but nobody bought it.

        1. Hey how are they going to run their John Deere Electric Combines without rural chargers? Come on you want us to starve to death Where will we get our organically grown green quinoa?

          1. And California is now asking people not to charge or drive their electric vehicles, because it puts too much pressure on the electrical grid.


            1. I mean, it’s not as if Mr. Electric Vehicles himself, aka Elon Musk, has said something about the US as a whole not currently having enough electrical infrastructure to switch the trucking system over to all electrics, let alone automobiles as well, right?


              He did?


              Oh. Disregard.

              1. Enter your comment here…its not as if SoCalEdison asked the CA Assembly to not pass their “no internal combustion cars sold in CA after 20xx” (iirc 2035) law, because they won’t have and have no plan to have the necessary power capacity…

                oh wait…

              2. There might not be enough lithium in the world to build electric cars for everybody. There certainly isn’t enough lithium being produced to build them in any reasonable time. Worldwide lithium production is less than 100,000 tons per year. That’s enough to build about 1.6 million electric cars.

                The U.S. alone has sales of 15 to 20 million new cars every year, and more than 250 million existing fossil-fueled cars. Last year’s panic over the Chinese common cold reduced U.S. car sales to about 8 million. I’m sure the Leftroids are thrilled about that.
                How can Leftroids create a perfect world when everything they do makes this one worse?

                1. This is a feature, not a bug, because then, only the people who really -need- vehicles will be able to get and maintain them, and of course, the Lefties will be the ones who make the decision of who really needs a vehicle and what kind.

                2. The worse the better. Obviously if everything is completely terrible we will have the revolution and inaugurate paradise.

          2. I dunno, but Ford is presently pushing an all-electric F150.

            That weird noise you hear is all of Flyover Country laughing fit to choke.

            1. F-150s are weeny to start with (the 250s and up are much more popular) 😀

              Of course, then you’ve got folks from my side of things: Ford stands for “Found On Road Dead” 😀 😀 😀

                  1. My dad had a Chrysler when I was young. Company Highly Recommends You Start Learning Engine Repair. When I was a student in France back in the early eighties I had a 1973 Fiat 500. Fix It Again Tony though I had no trouble with it. Traded it for a 1979 GTI that I shipped back to the US. I was dating a girl from the Bronx a few years later and had the bad luck to find the only car thief in America who drove a manual. I loved GTI’s and drove them until the wife made me get 4:doors, so I bought an M5, but that’s another discussion.

                    1. I do recall that generation of Caravans that truly loved throwing the transmission through the engine.

                      Thinking about it, the problems with the hot black stunt ship were also (almost) all engine problems. The engine mounts were bad, hence the *crash* on entering the drive way, and the speedometer was apparently connected solely by paint. This was the other car I learned how to drive in too.

                      “How fast are you going?”
                      “I have no idea.”
                      “What does the speedometer say?”
                      “Somewhere between 0 and 120, and I’m pretty sure we’re not doing 100…”
                      “Oh, it’s doing that again. You’ll get a feel for it after a while.”

              1. *grins* I won’t give make and model, but our current van frequently passes those cute little city buses that still have the rating on the side, and we’re bigger.

                I LOVE my tank!

                (….in game, and out)

              2. The irony being that Fords have been the most reliable car type for my immediate family (we’ve had them since 2005.) Mind you, we’re not doing the heavy-duty work with them, but if there hadn’t been a truly unreplaceable part in the Freestyle (problem with a new model is sometimes, if they stop making it, they stop making the special parts for it), we’d still have that sucker.

                1. Mine too. Old blue, which we more or less raised our family in (Bought when younger son was 3, disposed of after sudden motor death last year, so 22 years) was a Ford Expedition, and dear LORD the adventures we put that car through, including carrying construction material and going where angels fear to tread. Like a trooper. It might have cost us in AGGREGATE including trim shredded by a hail storm, a total of 5k in repairs overtime.

                  1. I’ve become a total Ford bigot. Previous vehicle was a ’78 F100, and it did 38 years being used like a big truck. Outlasted the Olds and the Chrysler 3 to 1. Never once left me by the side of the road. (It even had the dead-of-old-age battery conveniently in Costco’s parking lot.)

                    And if something needed fixed, it was obvious. I’d go to my mechanic, point at whatever was leaking or worn out, and say, “Fix that.” Meanwhile the whole rest of the shop is full of new cars with mystery ailments, all hooked to the diagnostic computers at $90/hour and half the time they never did find the problem.

                    1. I have low hopes for this one. but: does anyone still make good cars or trucks WITHOUT all the electronics? The kind you can fix yourself if something goes wrong?

                    2. New? If they were out there my BIL would have found one. He can go for hours about this. His brother (hubby) is almost as bad. The difference? BIL is a vehicle mechanic. Retired now. He still does mechanic work on small motors when they are camp hosting … When they leave all the equipment is in working order. His wife does her thing, which is talking, so she works the check-in kiosks, any store counters, etc., for 3 or 4 hours a day. All for free camping. But as far as Newer to New Vehicles? “I can’t work on my own vehicles!” Is heard every time the subject comes up. He could work on them, he just doesn’t have, can’t afford, the specialized diagnostic equipment and tools needed.

                    3. whole rest of the shop is full of new cars with mystery ailments, all hooked to the diagnostic computers at $90/hour and half the time they never did find the problem.

                      Plus they have a specific direction Fix Tree process they MUST follow. If the vehicle is under warranty!

                      This is what we ran into with our 2019 Santa Fe for 6 weeks last spring/summer. The ISG (engine turns off when idling at stop light, under given conditions) mode stopped working. One of the conditions is the battery capacity status. First thing that was done was replaced the battery, pandemic batteries weren’t available, took 2 weeks. Fixed problem. But got a bad battery. Only took a week to get another new battery. Only ISG is now broken, again. This time battery tested fine. Diagnostic process tree -> replace door sensor, then door harness to computer. Each of which is taking 3 to 5 business days to get (showing up late Friday). Meanwhile the mechanic manager is mumbling “the bad battery blew the computer!” New computer later … we haven’t had a problem since.

                      This goes out when it isn’t under warranty, it isn’t getting fixed!!!! As little as I drive, this feature doesn’t always trigger. Not driving far enough for the conditions to trigger, too cold or too hot (the other requirements are met, but those two, not always). But if it is working my MPG stats boost.

                      Sure the company got a lot of warranty hours. We had a couple of different new vehicles as loaners the entire time. BUT before it was all through we were mumbling about the Lemon Law (< 2 years, under 24k). It isn't a lemon. This is when the mechanics could actually order the part they "knew" was the problem.

                    4. I haven’t looked exhaustively, but it doesn’t seem likely, unless you can import or kit build.

                      It is possible to build your own vehicle from scratch, and there is even ways to get those licensed for the road. Mechanical fabrication is accessible, but the design is often less so. Stripping a new car down to mechanicals is probably not cost effective. And I haven’t heard that the manufacturers are willing/able to sell bare mechanicals vehicles.

                      The emissions regulations cover the fleet produced by a manufacturer, and are painful enough that all of the engines have fancy controls installed for complying with them. Add in the other regs, self driving etc, and the electrical design comes with a bunch of unnecessary/wasteful crud.

                      Electrical design for a car is tied to the wiring harness. Wiring harness is an expensive labor intensive part to make. I understand installation can also be difficult.

                      Fundamentally, designing the electronics, implementing them, and maybe getting/tuning the engines are going to be challenges.

                      There are definitely hobbyists that do all of that stuff.

                2. Weirdly? It also seems to be familial. For some families, Fords are ultra reliable, and they love them. For others (like mine) not so much, and we prefer Chevys. 😀

                  That is, of course, utter silliness. But I know a LOT of families/clans out there that have Their Preferred Make of Vehicle 😀

                3. Ford cars have either been great or terrible to myself and the people around me.

                  I picked up a late ’90s Ford Escort as a used car and it ran well for years. Then, the engine blew up, and it was cheaper to get a new used car than replace the engine.
                  Dad had a Ford F-150 and it was awesome. Once they got the transmission fixed (factory defect).
                  Mom and Dad bought a Ford car for long trips and it always had either transmission or shock problems. They’re looking at a SUV for the replacement car.

              3. I drive an F350 dually myself. If I run over the average car, I won’t notice. 😀

                And it’s the most wonderfullest towing and highway vehicle EVER, total joy to drive, but when it comes to parking spaces, there ain’t none, and the suspension is so stiff that washboards are hazardous at 3mph (wants to bounce off the road sideways). So I’m looking for a secondary, F150 or smaller (but still a truck and up on legs… and 4wd for winter) so I can actually get into those spots again…

                But I loooooooooove my truck.

                And it came with stories! Per Carfax I’m its 7th owner, and first non-commercial owner (and other than the rack and toolbox, it’s still all stock). Wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but the one I went to see was sold, and the guy says try this one, you’ll like it. Nnnnah, not right. Try it anyway! Nnnkay. Took it out on the nearest highway, tromped the gas, and had to pick myself out of the back seat. Sold!! Anyway, a couple years later I’m in Three Forks Montana, at the solitary gas station… guy at the next pump looks over and says to me, “I’ll bet you bought that truck in California.” I allowed as how that was so, and he says, “I built that rack.” Then explained how it’s extra tall because it started life as a movie studio rack, set high so it won’t touch their precious cameras.

                Sometimes the world is very small, not to mention weird.

                Okay, it’s always weird. 😀

        2. And it’s not just DC. Despicable Kate Brown mandated that all new residential construction be made ready to handle a car charger, regardless of location. (or connection to mains power.) We’re 40 miles from the nearest city, and I suppose a shopping trip would make for an interesting power bill once I made it home. (DKB has also mandated that new residential construction be made ready for grid-tie photovoltaic system..gin no exemption for offgrid. No need to wonder why natural immunity from KungFlu got ignored.)
          Our local grid is a bit fragile. I think a bunch of grid-tie systems could break it badly.

          (One SJW we knew thought that “everybody must be forced to buy an electric car”. I know that she happened to live in an off-grid place, and the PV system was so underdone that her kids were doing homework by kerosene lantern. I suppose the next demand would be for free access to everybody else’s recharging facility; the grift goes on. And on.)

          1. It wouldn’t be so bad if they would just start selling cars with onboard RTGs…

          2. Sister & BIL purchased non-plug-in Hybrid. Their sedan has rating of 50 MPG, or around town, most the time. I think the gas motor kicks in if the electrical motor is drained or speed is > 50 MPH. That I could live with. We just don’t want a small sedan. Santa Fe comes out in 22 with Hybrid option, but it is a plug in version, and don’t gain a lot more MPG over the gas model.

            1. That pretty much describes the Prius hybrid. We’ve been all over the U.S. with the wife’s and it works just fine, although if you’re a heavy foot on acceleration, your savings are much lower.

              1. Toyota Camry 2021 ( Metallic Silver/Black Sedan

                Rumor has it that BIL has a bit of a lead foot. From what we could tell he has an inconstant foot. (We use the cruise control, be it 75 or 90 MPH.) We tagged team across Oregon via Hwy 126 (Blue River has nothing left after the fires), Hwy 20, and I-84 across Idaho to where we took the Idaho State Hwy to Obsidian National Monument then on Moose Road Wilson Wy (Tetons). No lead foot allowed over Moose Pass, pretty much a single string of traffic and no passing allowed. Used our Santa Fe while in Tetons. Two reasons: 1) Sits higher. 2) My dog.

                We’ll consider a hybrid for our next vehicle, but in small SUV. Will not consider a full on electric. (This is of coarse given private vehicle ownership is still allowed … #sarcasm)

              2. I got 45-50 MPG out of my Prius doing normal driving. My children driving it got 40-45. I now have a Hyundai Ioniq. Key selling point to me- it came with a LIFETIME battery warranty. Using it to commute, 36 miles one way, I get 48-52 MPG normally- during summer, and warm spring and autumn days. Drops to 40-45 in winter. Travelling cross country with the cruise control set at 80 we got about 40 MPG. Before the Prius and now Ioniqs I had a Toyota Yaris and a Dodge Neon. Both fuel efficient, but in the same conditions 5-10 MPG less than my hybrids.

                IMHO- they need to design a hybrid that’s all electric drive, not the current mixed system, and fine tune the gas engine/generator system so the engine when it runs is running at it’s most efficient speed and can provide enough electric power to drive the vehicle up the Grapevine at the posted speed limit without slowing down. Back when I travelled that on a regular basis I was driving a Dodge Colt manual. If I hit the bottom at 80 and no one got in my way, I’d get to the top at 55. 4 lanes- and almost always there’s some joker doing 45 or less in the far left lane. More than once I saw people on the downhill side with flames coming out their wheel.

                Hybrids showed up after I moved from there. I rather imagine that a hybrid starting at the top with a near empty battery pack will be topped off long before it hits the base, requiring more use of the brakes than normal.

                  1. “Lifetime Battery Warranty”? You mean like the one that drove JC Penny out of the auto repair game in the late 70s, because they ran into too many families like mine who bought one (actually 2, one for each car) and then kept them thru 250k+ miles and 3 free replacement batteries each?

                    Yeah, I suspect that little nightmare won’t be repeated for a while.

                1. What they need to do is design an electric car from first principles AS an electric car, not take a car designed around a piston engine and stick an electric motor in it.

                  Then add a ~25 KVA gas turbine APU so it can make long trips and/or charge its own batteries. The opposite of today’s ‘hybrids’. Turbine engines are much more efficient than piston engines when run at constant speed and power, as it would be in that application.

                  Such a car should get 60 to 80 MPG equivalent from a variety of fuels: gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oils, alcohol or vegetable oil. It would eliminate one of the biggest weaknesses of all-electric vehicles — recharge time. With a moderate-sized fuel tank, it would have a 700 to 800 mile range.
                  There is nothing so simple that the government can’t fuck it up.

      1. I keep meaning to write about how no matter where in the chain you are, you need to keep the end-user in mind which is about just this and the comics creators who kept saying fans don’t matter to them because Marvel/DC is who buys their work.

  7. Re Hollywood, I’d add that another drive seems to be to corrupt older, well-loved stories by doing remakes or sequels that are “edgy,” or “darker.” As in what they did with the last Star Wars movies.
    There’s a movie version, of, “Clifford, the Big Red Dog,” coming out. I wonder if they’ll be able to not corrupt it.

      1. Clifford identifies as a giant sloth. Hilarity ensues. Oh, wait, humor is always raaaccisss, so no hilarity. Enlightenment ensues after multiple long sermons.

  8. I’m not quite enough of a conspiracy theorist to believe anyone’s competent enough to pull it off deliberately, but I do think that a lot of public school and mass media and mass entertainment work together to influence folks to be non-creative.

    All three are very new to humans though their proponents seem to think they’re eternal and inevitable.

    Did everyone see the same popular plays in the past? Yes and no. The same-ish plays. Even two productions on the same day by the same actors on the same stage are different, as anyone in theater will tell you. Across continents? Nope. Not the same. And someone improvised because their local Juliet had a fear of heights, or they didn’t have spare wood, or . . . nowadays that lady won’t ever have set foot on a stage, because one actress played the role and cameras recorded it, and it was edited to perfection, and everyone has watched the exact same identical show. And it is the One True Show, and maybe there is also One True Anti-Show, to be subversive, but there are no wide variety of shows, and folks only see it done one way, and if they watch it again tomorrow it’ll be the exact same (while if they buy tickets to the live show tomorrow, that’ll be the day Tybalt trips and falls flat on his face).

    (Except for me and half a dozen other ornery types here who just Don’t Do Video, and who have only seen the local stage play. But, you know, maybe 1% of the population ever sees the stage play, the rest have only seen the video versions.)

    1. And music where, for the most part, until a century or so ago if you wanted to hear any music you had to make it yourself.

      1. There were professionals of varying quality.

        Then the first string quartet was written because a prince with his own orchestra also played an instrument and had invited three guests who each played a different one.

        1. Professionals would be a special treat though. For most people, if they were at home and wanted music they’d have to be able to play an instrument and or sing themselves.

      2. Scifi thing I had show up while I was driving the other day….

        Digital media, barring a “everything is wiped out” event, is going to do to future language what national media has done to normal language.

        We all speak English well enough to understand eachother.

        Yes, even the Scottish– the joke videos I see from Scotland, I can understand. The elderly relatives that I met before they passed, when they got going, I couldn’t. “Lang mah yer rum taek” type stuff. (Long may your roof leak.) It takes rather smalls shifts to have struggle-to-understand language you CAN still understand, when they’ve been hearing stuff you know their whole lives.

        ….so, barring a reset, we’ll keep languages and accents, and get accents (duh!), but they’ll tend towards understandable.

        This would be heck cool for future writing. (Blasts currently awesome music)

        1. I don’t know, currently the internet seems to be promoting the use of slang terms which I at least think I get the gist of but don’t truly understand because I’m not really part of the in-group.

          1. Oh, there’s always jargon. 😀

            But it’s possible for folks to talk to out-group– which is a really big change from stuff like “some of Shakespeare’s puns make no sense because we don’t talk that way anymore.”

            1. It has always seemed to me that widespread audio and now video recording would slow down the rate of change of oral language, just like widespread literacy and printing slowed down the rate of change of written language. I believe I have backup on this from actual linguists but I’m not sure.

                1. Yes. While the newer Star Trek films have their flaws (although I find at least the first and third ones to be entertaining), the scene where they’re blasting Beastie Boys is great fun. Even if it makes no sense 😀

                  1. I refuse to consume NewTrek– husband says they’re decent scifi, just not Trek, and he’s a Wars guy– but one of my first fanfic ideas was an isekai where someone dove for the volume control during Intergalactic because they were geeky enough to not want to break the prime directive, but backwards.

                    (Explaining, there’s a line about “like a pinch from a man called Mr. Spock!” and was inspired in part by my mom diving to the volume for things she Did Not Want Us To Say in songs. Isakai is fiction where a usually modern person is taken to a fictional place.)

                2. Funny you should mention it, because Freefall – set centuries into the future – recently did just that:


                  I’d never heard of the song before, but I immediately loved it. It reminds me of how it’s better to be poor in America than rich almost anywhere else (or at least it was until recently).

                    1. >> “*howls at last panel*”

                      Oh yeah, they did THAT one recently too:


                      I think I’ve mentioned before how your avatar always reminds me of Florence.

                    2. >> “Your observation got an e-buddy hooked on Freefall because I shared the “BALL!” clip. 😀”

                      I regret nothing. 😉

                      >> “(Note: I’m not Fox, there. She still saw the … uh… similarities.)”

                      Somehow, I utterly fail to be surprised.

                    3. >> “though I fancy myself more cat than dog,”

                      [raises eyebrow]

                      Last time this came up, didn’t you say you shared Florence’s penchant for scaring cats?

                      Or are you like mine, who both hate other cats (including each other, alas)?

                    4. My husband recently argued, effectively that you can only have one Queen to a pod– and our female cat was incredibly indulgent to allow me.

                    5. OH. That’s why Valeria is afraid of me. Particularly since I hand raised her, so I ping mom. And you don’t mess with mom’s pride or she kills you.

                    6. >> “you can only have one Queen to a pod– and our female cat was incredibly indulgent to allow me.”

                      Ah, so that’s why you style yourself a canine instead of a feline: you don’t want a cat fight. 😛

                      Although now I’m picturing you as a displacer beast instead of a kitsune…

                    7. One author had a “monster girl” harem series and one of the “monster girls” would likely look like that (and that’s what she was). 😉

                    8. >> “Hm…. give the Displacer Beast fennec style ears, and I’m in.”

                      And now I’m wondering what door I’ve opened. I should probably be more careful about giving geek girls ideas. 😛

                      >> “This is the artwork I was looking for at first:”

                      Hmm… It’s ALMOST cute, but the eyes seem a little too big and are creeping me out even when the spiked tentacles don’t. Yes, I realize an infant’s eyes are supposed to be proportionally larger than an adult’s, but there’s still something that seems off about them.

                    9. Absolutely. I’ve often wished evolution had given us an extra arm or two, or at LEAST a prehensile tail.

                  1. Double funny, the other day I was in the grocery store humming along to a lovely song…..

                    and muttering the lyrics….

                    “BUSHIDO! DIGNIFIED! It’s the last stand of the Samurai! Surrounded, and out numbered…” *mumble, mumble* “It’s the nature of time, that the old ways must give in… it’s the nature of time, that the new ways come in sin….”

                    … no idea why I got odd looks….


    2. Humans in general try to keep others from being creative. Creatives break the ability to signal “we’re the good monkey” people rely on for safety. That’s not an abstract need if you’ve watched what chimps do to an intruder from a different band.

      So, yes, what you are citing does that not out of conspiracy but because it is the default human mode. What is odd is that industries that rely on a careful balance between creative and known have been pulled away from creative a lot.

      1. Look at xerox PARC. The maker of one of the most important creative devices, the xerox machine, has the most amazing creative facility, but have no idea what they have. Jobs steals them blind. The east coast bean counters blew it.

        One way I have of understanding is that humans come in 3 different types.
        Visionaries, who see what is not as if it is.
        Bean counters, you know them.
        Salesmen. More important and dangerous than you realize.

        The reason there is trouble between visionaries and bean counters, is my definition of a visionary is a bean counters definition of insanity. How can you demand I count what is not, as if it is?

        Wise Visionaries know they need beancounters and salesmen. Bean counters don’t know they need visionaries. That is why at Apple they hired the bean counter to help them run the company, and the bean counter stole the company, because he didn’t realize he needed Jobs the visionary.

        This is a problem in Hollywood, the bean counters run the show. My suspicion is that bean counters are attracted to a Marxist view because it all seems determined. There are no loose ends.

        You know you have a bean counter manager. They want reports, so they can look like they know what is going on.(see Dilbert for multiple examples)

        1. Steve Jobs did NOT steal anything from Xerox PARC. He licensed their crude technological toy, in exchange for a block of Apple stock. Apple put in a whole lot of hard work to turn it into something usable.

          It’s not his fault Xerox sold the stock before it was worth millions of dollars.

        2. Most of the famous “visionaries” are salesmen with enough vision to partner with/steal from a visionary they know. Steve Jobs is a great example. So is Gary Gygax.

  9. it certainly explains the grey-goo pall that has enveloped fiction–and especially scifi/fantasy–for the last several decades (at least, prior to indie publishing boom and also not counting Baen). I remember being TWELVE, standing in a grocery store book section (while on family vacation, at a particular grocery store that always had a better-than-average book section…alas, no longer) and complaining how hard it was to find good books to read.

    Also explains why, much as I love Anne of Green Gables and Little Women (both the books and various adaptations), I always recoiled at the “and she only became a PROPERLY successful novelist when she based her novel on her own life/people she knew/where she grew up!” Just…no. (For one thing, that’s likely to get your neighbors hating you something awful, as soon as they figure out what you did.) Sure, it’s been done well and successfully, but as a general ‘moral’ for fiction writers…ugh, no. (I mean, I do love L.M. Montgomery’s stuff, but the odd little collection of her gothic and ghost stories I found back in the 90s? Honestly, way more fun in some ways, though I suspect in life she’d have treated them as ‘old shames.’)

    1. I can’t create stories based upon the people I know.

      I don’t know many people.
      And most of the people I know are assholes.

      The market of “asshole” novels is rather full.

      1. All people are assholes at least some of the time.
        I recall a story about this one guy who never did a mean thing once in his life, who grabbed a whip and went wild in a temple hall where a flea market was selling stuff for sacrifices. Quite sure all those vendors were calling him an asshole and a lot worse things.

        1. Ahh but Mr. Houst that was justifiable assholeishness :-). Of course the money changers and dove sellers didn’t think of it that way…

      2. Most of the post-2000 “police procedural” and “detective” genre I’ve read had the bad guy, and the other bad guy chasing him. I kept channelling Kissinger’s “It’s a pity one side has to win.”

      3. I remember in one of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon books (not the first one, probably the third), Emily is starting to get some renown as a short story writer, then gets in trouble with the family for putting a distant aunt in one of her stories. No matter how much she protests she did no such thing, the family insists that she did.

        Later on, she complains to her cat, that if the character was anything like that distant aunt, then she failed utterly in how she was trying to present her.

        1. OMG OMG! Has anyone here ever read Miss Buncle’s Book, by D.E. Stevenson? It’s all about the perils of putting your neighbors into a novel, and it is HYSTERICAL! I mean, yes, it starts slow, but it gets pretty darned funny as it goes along.

          There are several other novels set in the same “world,” and they’re all pretty fun.

          1. Yes, a lot of fun, and a really enjoyable fantasy. I know, not meant as a fantasy, but certainly not the way the world worked.

    2. Urk, shades of “Write what you know” and “White people are not allowed to write POC” (but will be slammed for not including them).

    3. My favorite of the L.M. Montgomery books is The Blue Castle. Woman who has been sat on her entire life gets a reason to become un-sat-upon and grabs it with both hands. Given the author, I knew it was going to end well eventually, but even if it had been one of those Newbury Honor Books where the protagonist dies in the end, the grabbing of life bit would have been worth it.

      1. Not only happily but without bathos. Very hard when you set up tragedy and — don’t.

      2. My favorite L.M. Montgomery book is Jane of Lantern Hill. But the Blue Castle is also a fun one.

        And I like Emily more than Anne.

        1. Also, re: liking Emily more than Anne–I hear you. I always felt Emily was a more real-seeming version of Anne. Certainly, I ended up wanting to slap Emily a good deal less than I usually wanted to slap Anne 😀

      3. I *love* the Blue Castle. Definitely one of my favorites as well. I also really love A Tangled Web, which really highlights not only less-idealized family squabbling, but that families have feuds of the most *absurd* things. (In this case, it was a brown pottery jug. Of course, there was a lot more to the fights than the jug, but the jug was what they all used as the representation of it 😀 )

        1. I take back my previous comment. A Tangled Web is definitely my favorite L.M. Montgomery book. (Until someone lists another one that I’ve forgotten, anyway.) All the interwoven stories (some of which were in her short stories beforehand, I know.)

          1. ::chuckles:: She is possibly one of those authors where whichever of her books you are currently reading is arguably your favorite 😀

            And now i have a hankering to reread L.M. Montgomery! (Soon as I’m caught up on the Flavia Albia mysteries.)

    4. I once had someone ask me how I could write a character that acted in ways I wouldn’t and believed things I didn’t…. and I had to take some time to wrap my brain around the concept of so limited an outlook before I could answer. (I don’t write myself into stories, not least because I find myself rather boring.) All of my characters have some small facet of me in them, I use that facet to slip into their minds, but the rest of them? That comes from somewhere else entirely.

      1. Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that, but it *does* cast the folks who were puzzled by Lilith Demodae in a new light, doesn’t it?

        1. She was a deeply flawed, and deeply damaged, individual. I created her knowing full well that not everyone would find her likeable, but that she could still be sympathetic. However, she is very much not me. In fact, in her original incarnation, she was meant to simply be a female Han Solo, but she evolved past that fairly quickly.

          It makes me wonder if those folks think that romance writers have really done all the things they write about…..

          1. A husband once observed that his romance writer wife would divorce him if he acted like one of her heroes. She cheerfully agreed.

  10. Many of the “creatives” these days in Hollywood and Manhattan and the other places of the Big Arts industry are politicians first. It’s all about what you know, who you know, what deals you can make, how you can make the Cool Kids money, and who you can blame to stay in the clique with all of the Cool Kids. It’s how people like JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and Alex Kurtzman still stay in business. And, even when they go away, they’ll get a golden handshake and not a cardboard box and two security guards escorting them to the doors.

    I despair about my creativity at times, mostly because I know what particular shoulders I’m standing on to get here. I wonder if I’m actually creating or just remaking things, and that is a lovely case of imposter syndrome to be dealt with.

    But…I’m not a politician. I’m not that kind of whore, whatever I might think of myself at times. And, there are some things I won’t do to keep my self-respect. Being told “because” when I ask a question is the fastest way to lose my respect.

    1. I have this discussion with my boys all the time. All sorts of people go to Hollywood to make movies, some of them have talent, some of them don’t. The ones with no talent go into management. When the movies are made by managers, they suck. Why? Because they’re made by people with no talent. They become about the IP and the Cali pecking order. At the moment that’s political in A specific way but it wouldn’t matter what it was. The people with no talent know they don’t have talent and know just how precarious their positions are so they kiss whatever bum’s are necessary. At the end of the day all the SJW BS aid just maneuvering among the “elite” class and a desperate effort to hide just how lacking in talent that class is.

    2. Absolutely they’re politicians first. Because it’s not about making a film so the studio can launder mon– er, make a lot of money off it. It’s about sucking what amounts to venture capital out of the studio so you can get paid (very handsomely) whilst making said movie. It is well to remember that ~90% of all productions are never finished, but as far as each one gets, everyone working on it still gets paid. For 12 hour days with overtime at union rates.

    3. I think there’s a couple of different ways of encouraging yourself– some are, to use an abused phrase, checking yourself, and some are pulling yourself up, and some are not a good idea.

      For the not a good idea, the classic “Thank you, Lord, that I’m not a horrible sinner like THAT GUY!” is not healthy. It needs someone worse, and it’ll create it on its own if it has to.

      For the pulling yourself up one– apply your “MAN I SUCK!!!!” standards to ::AMAZINGLY EXPENSIVE/POPULAR/ETC:: thing. IE,
      Writer: “Wow, my writing sucks.”
      Disney: “Somehow, Palatine returned.”
      Writer: “K, my writing isn’t that bad.”

      For the checking yourself one, apply your “good stuff” standards to what else is offered– and remember, as Evanstar pointed to, the two cake rule.

      You don’t have to be BETTER than the best. You don’t have to be the SAME– and different is even better. The people who, as the metaphor goes, love cakes are going to go– “OMG, TWO CAKES, YEAAAAAAAAH!!!!”

      That means more cakes for folks who like this or that variation– which makes things BETTER for everyone. (K, metaphor breaks down a little, here, because cakes get eaten up and books don’t…but you can read a lot more books than you can eat cake, so almost-right is a really nice second choice so the metaphor patches up, just depends on what folks buy first.)

      1. I know, all I need to do is look at most comic books on the shelves and most books at B&N and go “I’m doing pretty good!”

        I have every intention of sending quite a few people thank-you baskets when I get sufficiently rich and famous enough to say “because of you, I was doing much better for my imposter syndrome. You succeed and you were much worse than I was.”

  11. “I’ll be honest people: these are people not only not capable of rebellion,” I believe that they are capable of rebelling, after all all that that needs is the capability to say “No, I won’t.”. What they are incapable of is revolution, where you have to actually build something.

    Why would we want them to believe we exist? That would make them desperate to destroy us even more than they are now.

    1. “they are capable of rebelling, after all all that that needs is the capability to say “No, I won’t.”. What they are incapable of is revolution, where you have to actually build something.”

      That pretty much explains the entire Star Wars saga. No wonder the Empire was always winning; and evidently continued to win after the end of the last trilogy. (Killing the Emperor almost never ends an empire. Someone else will usually take his or her place. And occasionally do a better job.)

      1. There is also the aspect that peace does not lead itself to beginnings, middles, and ends like war does.

        I have a story where the war begins and ends in the opening chapters, and the rest of the plot is stubborn.

  12. “Why would I believe your analysis. You’re a NOVELIST.”

    I have to admit I dive down that rabbit hole in a number of areas. For example anyone arguing in favor of CRT, Biden won, Epstein killed himself. or as Wikipedia explains; “On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., was stormed … A mob of supporters of President Donald Trump attempted to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.” I must say, irregardless of IQ, race, creed, gender and or sexual proclivities, I most certainly can’t accept their analysis as they’re BAT SH__ CRAZY!

    On the other hand I think we can all agree that, without in any way denigrating their analytical abilities, novelists are a wee bit weird. 😉

  13. This type of person will do very well in a totalitarian state: when the cops take Mom away “for treatment,” they will feel glad someone is willing to help her. Or they will have turned her in because they’re worried about her. (I think of the song, “I’m Only Thinking of Him,” from “Man of La Mancha,” when I think that).
    And maybe it’s all part of that culture of safety that’s been built up over the last few decades.

        1. Or sold their kids, so the kid wouldn’t starve.
          (IE, basically the story of the song Fancy sung by Dolly Parton.)

        2. In Russia, that was a normal thing until the 1700s. It was taken as writ that a person who sold himself into slavery once might live free after the hard times passed and his service ended. Two times? Maaaaybe make it in freedom. Three times? The person would never be free again, but would sell himself as soon as the contract ended. The nobility gained social and moral rank based on the number of self-enslaved people they had in their households. Part of it stemmed from how the Russian Orthodox Church at the time viewed charity and the role of the church – very, very few institutions like the orphanages, charity kitchens, or other social welfare institutions existed.

    1. Ah like Mr. Parsons from 1984, Winston Smiths rather dim neighbor. Ends up in MiniLuv having been ratted out by his daughter. Quite proud of her and glad she did it before he got beyond dreaming crimethink.

      1. The spoof Romanian buddy cop series on Amazon – Comrade Detective – has an episode where one of the main characters tells his son he did the right thing after the son discovers (planted) American contraband consumer goods, and informs on his father.

    1. Having spent over an hour on the web this morning looking for good news, I suspect regarding homo’s sapience or superiority; one is imaginary and the other is fictional.

    2. Massive Telekinetic powers? Nope
      Giant Laser beams shooting from my eyes? Nope
      incredible healing powers and adamantium skeleton and claws? Aw heck no
      Immense Mental powers, and a really nice bald head? Well 50%
      That will have to do I’m Homo Superior…

      1. Part of what I love about My Hero Academia is the… well, I don’t know the creators meant it or not, but main character desperately wants super powers.

        HE HAS THEM.

        He is the world’s most obsessive sports geek… for supers.

        The kind of guy who looks at the sky for two minutes, mumbling, then tells you the victory rate weighted for batting averages, runs and walks for six teams between 1975 and 1984.

        1. Note, I don’t speak sportsball, I pulled from baseball because I know a few different variables that would kind of work for screwing with “wins.”

    3. ::looks at the X-universe’s mutants:: Unfortunately, it’s mostly on the Sap side.

      As insanely stupid as some of the non-mutants are, the mutants are worse.

      1. Yeah, I mean…all the X-Men plotlines has served to do is convince me that the normies in that reality are not wrong about the mutants…

        1. There have GOT to be a ton of “YGBKM” folks in the background.

          Probably among the local Church Groups doing food runs to whatever the group of kids with “evil” powers in the sewers were called.

          Seriously, NONE of them were as bad as the leper colonies.

          1. Clarification request: what does “YGBKM” mean? I’m reading it as “You gotta be kidding me” but am not sure if that’s correct 😀

        2. Yep.

          Mutants Are Dangerous (and some times incredibly stupid).

          1. honestly, I’d go for ‘a lot of the time incredibly stupid.’

            Not unlike one of my favorite game settings (Dragon Age). Mages in that setting are prone to possession–sometimes it seems at the drop of a hat–not to mention being able to access magic that can do really horrible things to people (even setting aside the ‘set things on fire/freeze them/electrocute them “normal” magic) and so in a large chunk of the world are placed into Circles where they are kept an eye on by warriors who can neutralize their abilities. Of course, yes, there are abuses. In some places, really egregious abuses (which provide the driving plot behind the second and third games). And yet, with all that…the non mages are totally correct to be concerned about the mages. You’ve got one activist-type (a companion in the second game) who decides that the absolute BEST way to address the fear/abuse of mages going on in that city is to…blow up the cathedral. With the beloved local religious leader who had been trying to address the abuses inside, not to mention a whole lot of other people. His reasoning? Well, she wasn’t doing enough. Or doing it fast enough. (It is worth noting that one of the options your player character is given after this incident is executing the guy, no matter if he’s your lover or one of your dearest friends. Not that it really helps.) A bunch of other mages then decide he had the right idea, and start using their magic/practicing blood magic (ie, mind control and worse) right and left in rebellion. And wonder why they aren’t getting any sympathy. And every time you turn around in the games, some idiot mage has decided that using blood magic is totally a GREAT idea, or that summoning a demon is not risky at ALL, and so on and so forth… 😀

            So yeah. Mutants in X-Men are mostly idiots, for similar reasons!

  14. I think you are correct on creativity, and on an important difficult to measure aspect of the properties of the human mind.

    I think it is probably part of the behavior we are observing in the opposition.

    Mechanisms and remedies, I really dunno.

    I think those might be where your model is a little too pat, and breaks down. But I’m too confused to have a strong opinion either way. Confusion is my fault, or at least a result of my condition today.

    Part of creativity can be learned/trained. So living a life filled with rote thinking and rote solutions means that the capacity will be very poorly developed.

    But there does seem to be a tendency that comes from somewhere. Forex, the stuff about family histories of mood disorders correlating with family histories of creativity.

    It is possible to have so much creativity, or creativity so overdeveloped, that it is a problem in certain circumstances. Forex, when one is learning a complicated mental tool. The ‘correct’ path might be to look at the instructions, and read between the lines for the missing details. A creative reflex can lead to trying to invent tools for those of the steps that one doesn’t understand the instructions for. These inventions can lead one to a great deal of confusion and error, especially if one is not brilliant enough to match or exceed the persons who invented/discovered the complicated mental tool.

    (It is pretty clear why some crazy people are really dysfunctional. 🙂 )

    Thing is, life is too varied and uncertain for anyone to be carried the whole way by rote thinking. Someone who works by rote, who has to have others invent for them, may be capable at very few things. To think the whole world is rote, it seems like one would have to be both unobservant and not terribly competent. It strikes me that a pure rote white collar worker should not be throwing stones at so called ‘unskilled’ blue collar workers.

    1. “It strikes me that a pure rote white collar worker should not be throwing stones at so called ‘unskilled’ blue collar workers.”

      …especially not if you might ever need your sewer line unclogged.

      And good point that a great deal of white collar work is… rote work. Conversely, last time I had a plumber out, I couldn’t help but observe all the skill and judgment it took to puzzle around the existing spaghetti and still achieve a functional result. Or why apprenticeship at his shop is a five year program (I asked), and the apprentice in tow was clearly a bright lad who’ll be a good one.

      1. Yeah, competent tradesmen and craftsmen have some skill and some mental function that I definitely can’t match or copy. I might be able to puzzle out some of the cat is C A T level stuff from instructions, but I am not able to really think my way through to not terrible arrangements of those basics. And the basics I have tried to do have been very crude, partly for lack of experience, partly for fundamental issues of ability.

        1. I have the spatial-relations-brain to figure it out. What I don’t have is the training, skillset, or physical memory. (Not to mention the tools. Lordy, the tools….)

  15. Read this after reading about that English singer who “identified” as Korean and even had surgery to make him look more Asian. The left appears to be taking it all rather badly, and I just realized these people honestly did not see it coming. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier. I think there’s going to be a wave of this, mostly tongue-in-cheek or fake, but with with a few “real” delusional people thrown in. People who played Calvinball with Science and Reality are going to stomp their feet and scream “no fair you just can’t change the rules I just made up/changed two seconds ago in a way I don’t like!”

    1. They saw it coming, because someone sokaled them about trans-racialism a few years ago. The left reacted just as badly then.

      Because they know exactly what is behind that door. And they know that their ideology has no response.


        If you’re going to have a racial heirarchy, people will buy/cheat their way into a “better” race and inadvertently help weaken the system through fraud, combine this with idea that your gender can be whatever you want it to be and you have a conclusion more obvious than the joker card at the end of Batman Begins. I thought the left was just that clueless (these are the people who are always shocked when communism doesn’t work after all) but you’re saying they just stuck their head in the sand when the speeding train of trans-racialism was pointed out to them? Wow I overestimated them.

        1. Oh they shrieked when it happened before……

          And then once the genie was corked they proceeded as if nothing happened.

          Problem is this time there is far more than a random paper from some university. Genie stuffing isn’t going to work this time.

    2. Two years ago, the eruption was a Swedish woman who had herself tanned, surgically adjusted, and other things until she looked like a caricature of a Bushman woman. Because she “felt African.” And said Swede didn’t understand the rage. How was that different from the poor people who try to become cats, or snakes, or other things [not cos-playing, but having tens of thousands of dollars of surgery]?

    3. It’s been happening for a while now, although surgery isn’t involved generally. Sean “Talcum X” King is one of the more prominent examples. And the Left largely ignored that he’s lying about his ethnicity. About a year ago, Audible included something by him on the list of crap it was trying to get me to buy.

      1. Thing with that guy, the left can’t admit that, because the whole point of using him is that they can’t find enough lying scumbag blacks to fill the position ‘authentically’.

  16. I hadn’t noticed the “you’re a novelist, you don’t live in the real world” criticism but my first thought is that so many “on the other side” don’t live in the real world. (Anyone claiming that women (as an identity) in the West are oppressed, is living in a fantasy world.) We’ve been complaining about The Narrative for a very long time, or determining truth by feelings. Someone FEEELS that Trump is anti LGBTQ+ despite him being the first president who was pro-gay marriage before he was elected. Someone FEEELS that Trump must be a white supremacist so that the recent complaint about the Democrat who belongs to a white-only club in freaking TWO THOUSAND TWENTY-ONE can be answered with “how can you complain about that when you support Trump” who only integrated his clubs thirty or forty years ago? (Only bringing up Trump here because of the clarity of the illustration.) The “right” has a thing about Russia so if someone desires to manipulate the right, they call on Russia. Christians have a thing about witches so when the anti-homeschool groups in California wanted to attack homeschooling they (presumably open minded and tolerant) made radio ads trying to scare people about Wiccans homeschooling. Etc., etc., on and on and on. By the way, did you know that Cheney’s daughter is GAY???

    There’s facts and there’s feels. And we’ve been complaining about this alternate reality feels narrative for decades. How many times have I lately used the term oppression LARPer?

    And what is common for some people to do when they look for a criticism of the right (or libertarians or whomever.) They look at what we supposedly care about and use that as the criticism.

    And it never seems to matter if it makes sense or not.

    1. My only complaint is that the way they define “white,” it could have Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas as members as be “white,” because they don’t “act black”– that is, like losers.

      Which says rather a lot about how they feel about anyone who “isn’t white.”

      A heck of a lot worse than those old novels that had guys saying “that’s awful white of you.”

  17. After thinking a bit, I think this line of analysis does not give us new conclusions with regard to remedies.

    These people would basically be the ‘go along to get along’ types mentioned in Who Goes Nazi.

    Yes, dangerous idiots, but dangerous to everyone, they are not exclusively in service to the left, and society can potentially make places for them where they are not very harmful to others.

    So, if incompetent, they will not materially change the outcome of the boog. And post boog, they will switch to virtue signalling conservatism. So they can be safe to ignore in that calculation.

    My feeling is that the only necessary /new/ remedy required by this theory is recognizing that “X is wrong because of something said, fire them, and put me in their place” is a tool that we should inhibit, because of how readily this sort will cause damage with it.

  18. ” that they will use anything to dismiss a POV they don’t like.”
    Sounds like someone I know who insists on only quoting sources from ‘professional journalists’ because only they can be trusted. And if they won’t talk about a matter? Well, apparently there’s really nothing there.

    And when I linked to a piece that had multiple links, multiple sources? “I was interested until I saw where that was from.” Because not a Holy Pro Journ. Source is to be ignored. I said “Show me where the information is false, is incorrect.” She didn’t even try.

    1. I dealt with someone like that who insisted the election was not stolen by attacking all my sources as “right-wing cranks.” Didn’t matter what the math proved or there was video of people counting ballots twice. If it came from a “right-wing crank” then it was simply untrue. So I said “ok, here’s Tariq Nasheed: far-left, utterly loathes Trump, a black guy who calls himself “America’s number one race-baiter”, he thinks there was massive fraud because he looked at the ‘official’ numbers on black votes and said “No way in hell Biden got more black voters than Obama. Fraud” is this black leftist who’s whole raison d’être is race and racism a “right-wing crank”? Are you so more in-tune with the opinions of black America that you can call him out and say he’s mistaken?”

      Their response was to ignore me.

        1. He sounds like the spiritual brother of the white separatist and black nationalist/separatist in Charleston who had a joint press conference to tell Al Sharpton and Friends to stay the h-ll away and mind his own business. The guys differed on a number of things, but agreed on the big thing: Leave Us Alone!

          1. Of course white and black separatists get along fine. They both want the same thing after all.

          1. More or less. His basic point was more about Biden’s numbers making Obama look bad than anything else.

  19. Creativity is weird. I know I can’t create things out of whole cloth: I just take different things and combine them together into something different: i.e. taking a Japanese remix of a games song about someone making a sentient zombie to use as their personal meat shield into a choreography about an F-14 fleet defense. (Yesterday’s plot bunny. It’s mounted now.)

    But I cannot seem to create both a complete world and a complete story. Not sure why. But there’s enough different things for me to glue together in weird and interesting ways, that I’m not likely to run out of new threads any time soon.

    1. I think of myself sometimes as a sort of literary bower-bird; picking up something shiny and attractive and interesting here, and another there, and from all over … and then arranging all the interesting bits and pieces into a pattern that pleases me, and attracts readers.
      But that’s just me.

    2. I can feel your pain. 🙂

      I have about a dozen or so unfinished stories — zombies, magic, war across the multi-verse, exploding spaceships, and more — and I have never been able to finish one to my satisfaction. It always seems so great in my head but after the first few dozen pages I run out of steam. I used to create elaborate DnD campaigns for weekly games so I can write but, for some damned reason, I cannot write a complete story.

      I guess I was just not cut out to be a storyteller.

  20. It’s 2:30 PM here and I can’t think of anything creative to say. Note the operative word here is ‘think’. I suggest most people don’t. Well, they try not to think whenever possible. Thinking is scary. I don’t mean things like what I’m having for dinner or anticipating Joey coming over with a bag of goodies and a bottle of wine and we’re gonna get it on right tonight. Hell a racoon can figure that out. But thinking about subjects outside of immediate needs/gratification for a large segment of the population simply isn’t done. Their peer group discourages it. It’s hard, and besides that guy on the TV tells you what’s going on and how to feel about it… Who could ask for anything more? Most people here know the difference between living and existing. For others, it is the same thing.
    Yeah, cynical. I know.

  21. I cringe whenever anyone says, “Shakespeare said…,” The only thing we know Shakespeare said was to give his wife his second best bed. The rest was his characters talking, and they represented every possible point of view under the sun. Henry V was hardly Richard III or Macbeth or Hamlet.

    Creativity frequently springs from putting things together that weren’t together before. That’s one of the reasons I hate the cultural appropriation Nazis.

  22. I’m a creative– when you are creative, you use it for everything. When everyone was troubleshooting by their eyes, I was troubleshooting with my ears. No one in my shop could understand what I was doing. There are very few creatives… or at least creatives are stomped on. I think I got through with it intact because I was homeschooled after 7th grade. I read a lot– mostly sci-fi and fantasy.

        1. It actually amazes some people that I pick up on some things by smell. “Is a fan burning out?” “Huh?” “Something smells like too-hot windings.” Or “Is this failing or about to fail?” “Huh?” “It smells like overheating electronics.” “HUH?!” Yeah, sometimes it’s a false alarm. And sometimes it’s, “How the Hell did you….?”

          1. Ah, yes, the delicate aroma of Blue Mystery Smoke, upon which all modern technology depends. 😀

            Don’t believe me? Try to use a device after the Blue Mystery Smoke has escaped!

            1. Now I’m imagining a Zachlike in which the amount of Blue Mystery Smoke in your creation is one of the things measured…

          2. We used to refer to them as “essence of ohmite” or “eau de stancor”. Most recently encountered repairing an SB-220…

      1. MUWAHAHHA! I guessed RIGHT about that one character you had who just went “I don’t know what’s wrong but my car sounds wrong”!

        My hearing is terrible, but there’s just… sometimes you can HEAR “hey, this isn’t right.” It’s the same sense I used for shifting, but it’s not exactly that, either.

        1. Note: was mostly because I went “Hey! I know that!” … “Wait, I’ve failed to explain that at a dozen shops. So probably not from talking to a technician, unless they were really clued in… I bet she does the thing where it Just Sounds Wrong, at some level.”

        2. I properly diagnosed incipient tire separation twice. The first time, I was able to point them at the correct tire. The second time I couldn’t—because it was the other three. (Bad batch of tires, I guess.) It didn’t feel right when driving.

        3. $HOUSEMATE was boggled that I’d never driven a vehicle with a tach. (other than his, which was automatic…) but had driven stick for ages. “How?” “Shift by ear.”

          1. Ox must have long, strong ears. 😛

            I never use a tach to shift, even when there is one. You just…know, when the engine is turning fast enough. It’s more a matter of feel than sound, and most vehicles feel about the same.

      2. I can also hear things other people can’t. It might have to do with — I started wearing glasses at seven, by twenty-seven I was blind without my glasses. I did get laser surgery on them when I was around 35… which was a real revelation. But my hearing is still my sharpest sense.

          1. “You comment the store PA music you don’t like, so why listen?”
            “I can’t NOT listen.”
            “So ignore it.”
            “Look, spare cycles gotta go somewhere.”

            1. ATM I can hear: The computer I’m working on. The fan blades overhead. The tree frogs buzzing outside. Someone in the next room rustling pages doing their own research. Cars on the highway. The occasional leftover firecracker….

              And that’s not even trying. Sigh.

            2. >> “Look, spare cycles gotta go somewhere.”

              The human brain needs a NOP instruction.

  23. > Because even our casual jokes about lizard people, they think we think are real.

    [Spock eyebrow] Occam’s Razor favors the lizards.

      1. Seriously, Cardassians are fun— entire species of “moderation? What’s that? This definition in the dictionary makes no sense!”

        IE, ginormous ham.

        Scary, when evil or even neutral good and opposed– and a liiiiiiitttttlllle scary when lawful good and so are you…..

  24. > I don’t know what this means, or how to reach them. Or how they became that way. Perhaps they are the default human, and we’re in fact weird? Or perhaps they were made that way by something?
    I have come to the point where A) I don’t care and B) they’re getting on my nerves.

  25. Our Hostess said : The attack goes something like this “Why would I believe your analysis. You’re a NOVELIST.”
    Huh, to repurpose an old joke…
    Q: What’s the difference between a novelist and a journalist?
    A: The novelist knows when they are lying.
    Although that may be absolutely true of the lying sacks of excrement that call themselves journalists today

    1. My own reply, if anyone ever questions my credibility because I write fantasy:

      ‘When I make something up, it is clearly labelled as such. And I know the difference between what I make up and what I don’t.’

  26. And yet, when there was a creative writing or art exercise, I found half of what my classmates turned in was rehashed what we read last week and/or at most a mash up of two things.

    To be fair, when I was in school, most of what I wrote was either a rehash of Narnia or a rehash of the Sweet Valley Twins. I was more creative in my made-up games, but I didn’t start writing any of that stuff down until I was about 16 or so. For all that we laude little kids for their creativity, I think it takes a certain life experience to realize that yes, you really can go beyond the borders.

    1. Experience lets you figure out how to play with ideas. “What if a saber-tooth cat learned how to use fire? What if cheetahs were and are telepathic with some humans? What if someone found a space creature that made living fabric that made itself into the perfect garment? What if some day, superpowers started appearing all at once?”

      1. “What if the super-powers were caused by a meddling alien space probe that wanted humans to be wiped out?”

        Note, an author named Evan Currie has a series (series name of Superhuman) based on that idea. Not a bad series and he appears to have started a sequel series to it.

        Oh, the “virus” that causes the super-powers to appear is targeted on humans with a stronger tendency for violence.

        Fortunately, a certain number of such people use that tendency for Good.

        1. I remember some years back there was some sort of lefty feminist author who imagined women suddenly gaining the ability to shoot off electric discharges that were strong enough to hurt, incapacitate or even kill a human being (I can’t remember if they could control the level of power). It started in Saudi Arabia and spread throughout the world. Basically it was a what-if scenario, the physical strength gap between men and women was made irrelevant by a new superpower ability women had. I remember alot of people saying we already had something that nullified the physical strength gab between genders, they were called firearms and most lefty feminists hate and fear them and want them banned.

          1. “I remember alot of people saying we already had something that nullified the physical strength gab between genders, they were called firearms and most lefty feminists hate and fear them and want them banned.”

            Of course they do. Because the key difference is that firearms can be used by anyone (including icky horrible men) whereas her “superpower” would ONLY be usable by the Irreproachable Order of the Glittery Hoo-Ha to establish the Glorious Matriarchy.

            “All shall love me… and despair!”

          2. Ohhh yeah. I tried the first few pages of that one. Yuck. Even _Pravda_ was more subtle. And the writing wasn’t all that great.

              1. When the purpose is not to propagate ideas but to show off virtue, propaganda has the same issue with getting what is rewarded as anything else.

        2. So did Brandon Sanderson. His Reckoners Trilogy basically starts out with the idea, “What if everyone who had super powers was a villain?”, and goes from there.

            1. Not really. Anyone can get a weapon. But you can’t go down to your local superpowers store and buy laserbeams that shoot out of your eyes.

              Also, fights between a few bad people with guns don’t leave cities devastated ruins. The reader doesn’t actually see that, but they are informed that it has happened to at least a couple of cities elsewhere in the (former) US.

              1. Although comics did address it on occasion, it did always strike me that they never really delved into the HUGE amounts of collateral damage caused by an average fight between superpowered beings. They did rather address it back in the day with the Death of Superman arc. It’s also why the Man of Steel movie left me cold: they wiped out most of metropolis. That was at the very LEAST tens of thousands dead, if not hundreds of thousands. And it was painfully clear that the movie makers had done it because “this looks awesome!” (And yeah, visually it was impressive as heck. But.)

                1. I haven’t seen most of the movies post Christopher Reeve, but I remember watching the old WB cartoons (when they weren’t old), and thinking that the property insurance in Metropolis must run very high.

                2. I’ve had that thought when watching a lot of things. Like Dragon Ball. “Damn, them folks sure are hard on the scenery!”

                  The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 both made much of the collateral damage angle.

                  1. The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) certainly has a bit of that effect where folks (e.g. UN) get bent out of shape that the Avengers et alia are trashing places.

                    The thing that always astounds my wife is how STUPID the norms are. There is a battle between Cosmic forces going on and what do they do? On average they RUSH to the windows (C.F. The Avengers, Thor Dark World) which are about to be broken into a billion little nasty dangerous shards by the interactions of Our Heroes and The Baddies. The average IQ of the normies in the MCU has got to be like 75.

                    1. Avengers did show at least SOME people trying to get out. (And by the time we hit infinity war, they were DEFINITELY trying to get out.) At least a bit, I’d argue “Okay, caught off guard by unexpected fight eruption” but in other instances–like Thor the Dark World–they had at least some advance warning and still stayed put. (At least the film acknowledged it with Jane yelling at the idiots “WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE”)

              2. “But you can’t go down to your local superpowers store and buy laserbeams that shoot out of your eyes.”

                Better establish that in your backstory. “No power armor suits off the rack” And one of the unrealistic things about X-Men was simply that if their powers come from “mutation” then the CRISPR better not even be possible, because otherwise China will be breeding superheroes to order.

                1. They did manage that– the X-gene didn’t activate in everyone. Which is how you could have folks who were unexpectedly mutants, rather than doing a DNA test to find the mutants.

                  1. If it’s present, it can be detected. It can also be manipulated to express, as we’re starting to see with various genes in real life. And the Chinese government would certainly try to screen its’ entire population, and do whatever horribilia are needed to get it to express.

                    1. They did *that* arc, too–forced activation, that is.

                      It’s why whatever the Evil Senator that melted after turning into a fish died.

                      I can’t think of a forced activation that didn’t die, actually…. was kind of The Thing. They got force-activated, had like two weeks at tops, and died horribly.

                    2. Not the X-Men movies, but IIRC that’s what they did to Wade Wilson in the first Deadpool movie. It had… side effects.

                      When Ajax-er, Francis told him they were making mutants and selling them into slavery even Wade’s reaction was “WTF is wrong with you people?!”

                    3. That would be dangerous as hell. With no idea what power was about to express, you would eventually get a Phoenix level mutant who was just oussed at you

                      Sent from Workspace ONE Boxer

                    4. It’s dangerous as hell to try and grow human organs in monkeys or pigs. Can you imagine a better way to get something that will jump species? Chinese government BRAGS about their cutting edge biological research.

                      What makes you think that would stop them?

                    5. It seems like the next REAL plague might well be of Chinese origin, but will be a Chernobyl sort of thing… detected elsewhere whilst being denied and an attempt at cover-up made. I can almost see “COVID-19” as a means of “Hey, leet’s get the world to not take thing seriously, so when the Real Thing is sprung…” EXCEPT.. the Real Thing won’t be sprung, it’ll be “OH, [REDACTED]!”

                    6. I mean, I’m not convinced the Wu-flu wasn’t a Chernobyl ‘oops.’ Only it wasn’t much more than a slightly-worse-than-usual flu bug, and as the various “elites” were still happily shrieking doom about it, China was able to cover it up rather more easily than they otherwise might have managed. (Alas, they nor any of those like Cuomo will likely be held accountable for the entirely preventable deaths they caused.)

                      I do hope it means that any future Chernobyls from that direction will be MUCH harder to cover up.

      2. In Through A Mirror Darkly, the powers are handed by different beings with different motives. Though they never come on stage so the chief effect is a variety of heroes and villains.

    2. When I was a freshman in college, I tried to be creative in my history classes. It got much easier when I realized the profs only cared that I paid attention and could regurgitate their POVs coherently. Life got easier, and grades got better. Didn’t stop me from thinking creatively, just realized that the profs had heard all the theories and rejected the ones that they didn’t hold to. They had 20 or more years on me, and what a freshman could come up with after a 6 weeks of Chinese or Medieval history wasn’t likely to be really original anyway.

    3. Ended up in the counselor’s office, again, when I attempted to “rehash” the Godfather in 4th grade English. Many panicked calls. No appreciation for art. Sigh.

        1. I was told to stop reading murder mysteries (6th grade) because the book had an F-bomb in it. So I got _The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich_ off the classroom shelf and waded in. The teacher stopped critiquing my brought-from-home reading.

  27. Creativity: Someone once tried to make a case that I don’t own the English language in which I’m writing my essays and other material.
    I replied that I do own my copy of the language, and it’s sufficiently different from anyone else’s copy that material I create using it can be legally protected under copyright laws. I don’t know if that was enough to penetrate the other guy’s DERP, though.

  28. A bit of a quibble.I believe you meant to use “sensei” not “sempai”. In Japanese, sensei is teacher, while sempai is upperclassman.

    1. “Notice me Senpai” is the more common meme form of it (in English, of course) but sempai is a noted variation.

      Has to do with the cultural differences, US doesn’t really have a normal “thing” like the mentor relationship from an elder school-mate, we go more for locking into year levels.

      1. Not as much as Koreans do… but yeah. That’s probably why the sempai/kohai thing makes sense to American viewers, even if they don’t take it the same way.

          1. I suspect that older teaching younger was a benefit and a… teaching amplifier… that might well have made the one-room schools more effective at education. AND an attentive kid (spare cycles gotta go somewhere) might ‘overhear’ the more “advanced” stuff and take it in – so when it was their turn, it seemed to come naturally… And it didn’t have that weird age-cohort segregation, or at least not as much.

            1. Oh, I know it was. My kids teach each other a lot– one of the die-of-cute moments was the three year old lisping out “no, no, no, baby!” and proceeding to sing the ABC song correctly with the two year old.

              It also worked great for prevent the worst bullying (too much integration with too much variation) both before and after school; part of why my grandmother was a very good reporter is that she went to Indian School (her mom was the teacher– a lot of folks went there instead of the much further away general school) so she knew someone who knew someone for almost anything in the county.

                1. Carp away, because you know what I meant.

                  Pear -> PEER

                  Can’t blame auto corrupt. Fast fingers?

                  1. Of course, but why let a good Typo Pun go to waste? 😛

                    I think ‘Bear and wine ban’ is still my favorite, though.

          2. One of my mother’s annual fights with the principal of my first elementary school was about that. First grade, they’d put me in charge of teaching my own reading group (I was at a post-high school reading level). Mom (who was a teacher as well, though of course different school district) informed the principal that if they were going to make me do the teacher’s job, then they’d better be providing me with a paycheck and insurance 😀

  29. I don’t know what this means, or how to reach them.

    Why should we care about reaching them?

    Seriously, why?

      1. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”

        Objection! Wasting a mind requires one, M’Lady.

    1. Fewer that need killing?

      Get enough of em, don’t need to start killing?

      Honestly, I’m deathly afraid of the switch getting flipped, because it won’t stop until you get either a Washington, a Napoleon, or a Mao, and of the three, Washington is least likely.

        1. At least Pinochet declared his job done and retired peacefully

          Sent from Workspace ONE Boxer

          1. Then there was Franco. He arranged for a peaceful transfer of power after his death.

            IE He was willing for the current King of Spain to take over after his death.

            Some claim that the current King fooled him somehow but I suspect that Franco had some idea about what the current King would do and actually did.

      1. The words that come to mind, when some complain that switch is NOT instantly flipped back as they hope for status quo ante is:

        Hysteresis is a bitch.

        1. You always gotta worry about the boundary conditions. Crazy things happen at the edges between ‘on” and “off”, as any kid who has ever balanced a light switch exactly in the middle knows.

      2. A Franco. We’ll get a Franco.

        I used to be afraid of that and was willing to work to avoid it. I’ve accepted that’s the best case, a tyrant who agrees with me who is not an authoritarian.

  30. Depressing thought of the day: if the Lady Sarah speaks truly, there is at least one professional writer out there who understands less about writing than *Bertie Wooster* does. Anyone remember that bit?

    “‘Ah, well,’ he said again. ‘I must not be like Lord Windermere, must I, Mr. Wooster? Tell me, did you draw that haughty old man from a living model?’

    “‘Oh, no! Just thought of him and bunged him down, you know.’

    “‘Genius!’ murmured old Bittlesham. ‘Genius!…'”

    1. They might be fiddling with what the meaning of is, is….

      Now I’m pondering on the meaning of “understanding”– does that mean has a thing they can state that will cause to appear, in my mind, some reasonably accurate notion of what they experience as they do it? Or does it mean something more like “can do it on purpose”?

      1. I’ve long had issue with the word ‘understand’ as it can be used to both mean ‘comprehend’ and ‘sympathize’ and when they get mixed…

        “You don’t understand!” “I understand perfectly!”
        “You don’t sympathize!” “I comprehend perfectly!”

        And then there’s the case when comprehension is asked, but sympathy-demand is pre-supposed.

        1. There’s also the “Understand equals Agreement” mistake. 😦

        2. “I understand that you’re completely full of shit.”

          For some reason they don’t appreciate that sort of understanding. Especially when it’s true.

          “The plaintiffs are full of shit!” should be an affirmative defense in some cases.

          1. In the original (i.e. the funny) iteration of Bloom County, Opus was watching ‘The People’s Court’ on TV and got to see Judge Wapner utter the immortal, but alas apocryphal, words: ‘Bailiff, kick these two nuts in the butt.’

  31. None of us creates anything out of clear nothing. For instance, in my work I use words, and that’s before getting to the computers and networks that allow me to distribute it. Maybe there was a pre-human somewhere at the dawn of time, who made up the words so he could tell a story. Maybe. I find that somewhat hard to believe. Language tends to come by accretion and use.

    ::Suddenly “sees” the creation of language as a huuuuuuuge long line of “you know, that thing, with the guy at the place?” type exchanges::::

      1. “Has my husband throttled me yet? Because even I want to throttle Dyce.”

        “and ol’ B’rer Dan, he lay low…..” 😉

      2. ((snicker))

        hey, whatever loats your guys’ boat. I won’t judge…

        ((ducks and runs away))

      3. There is a series that I started reading, but just let drop, as the main character(s) in it… seem to forever make obvious mistakes they long ago should have learned to avoid. I would expect new and different errors, at least. or only ONE not learning much. And, mind, these were supposedly some Rather Well Educated People. Though, I suppose, that itself might be the very problem.

          1. It is not Dyce. And yeah, Dyce is… well, Odd. Fun… from a distance. But also far too nutty? to be close up.
            Kinda… hrmm…Gracie Allen, but not quite so much?

            1. Heh. I view Dyce in the same category as Miles Vorkosigan, albeit MUCH MUCH MUCH milder and much less likely to be throttled by a loved one at the end of their very last nerve. (If both suddenly became real human beings here and now, I’d pick Dyce to hang out with, because Miles would invariably be TOO MUCH. Miles, I would point in the direction of DC and say “go fix that”)

              As someone on an advice blog pointed out (because the letter writer’s boyfriend was apparently aspiring to be a real-life Miles, and also doing it badly), Miles is fantastic to hang out with as a fictional character, but in real life he would be *exhausting.* (He’s exhausting to his loved ones IN the fictional universe.)

              1. Simon Illyan: “Do you know all those old folk tales where the Count tries to get rid of his only daughter’s unsuitable suitor by giving him three impossible tasks?”

                Ekaterin: “Yes…”

                Simon: “Don’t ever try that with Miles. Just…..don’t.”

                1. Chuckle Chuckle

                  I remember LMB’s Ivan book where part of the plot was “Simon Illyan got bored”. You don’t want Simon Illyan to get bored. 😆

                  1. The Ivan book is easily my favorite after A Civil Campaign. It was soooo nice to see Ivan as he actually is (actually a pretty sweet guy who just wants a QUIET LIFE DAMMIT).

                    And the fact that Simon, in his own way, isn’t all that different from Miles (or most of the rest of the Vorkosigan family and extended relatives…)

                    1. I enjoyed the fact that Ivan was sent away on a punishment post, and within a couple of months had turned it into a plush one. Makes me wonder how many times when Miles griped about Ivan getting these really great assignments, that might not have been so when he started.

                    2. Heck, it’s strongly implied that Ivan worked very hard to ensure he got sent to that punishment post, indicating that he could see the potential for it being very cushy indeed so long as he was there to organize things to run so smoothly he didn’t have to work hard.

                      I loved that Ivan was shown to be every bit as brilliant as his crazier relatives, he just applies it to making himself (and later his wife) a quiet, safe, comfortable life.

                      Frankly, given that Ivan lived through all the upheavals and trauma that Miles did, but without the physical damage, no one ever stopped to question if Ivan wasn’t suffering from the same kinds of scars and ptsd. He was tall and good looking and ferociously healthy, after all–so he figured out how to cope himself.

                    3. I’m not sure that the Emperor (or Ivan) thought that it was a “punishment post” but Ivan was sent there so others would think Ivan was being punished.

                      IE The Emperor really didn’t think Ivan should be punished but thought that there had to be an appearance of Ivan being punished.

                    4. Like those “delivery driver who was mugged shot muggers with Officially Against Policy weapon, was punished by being restricted to working at pizza joint until he finished therapy” cases?

                    5. I loved Ivan’s thought about people wanting the Emperor’s Throne but not wanting the Emperor’s Desk (ie all the work that the Emperor had to do). 😀

                    6. Heh. I can’t help but think that if Ivan DID end up on the throne, he’d organize things so that the Empire would run smoothly all by itself for the next few centuries (provided people left it alone and didn’t mess up his flow charts) so that he could bunk off back to the beach with his wife 😀

                      I also suspect Gregor, at the very least, was well aware of Ivan’s talents, and wisely let him go where he could best serve. (All those punishment posts that suddenly became highly efficient and trouble-free…)

                    7. Well, before Ivan started reorganizing things, he’d deal with those who arranged for him to be Emperor thinking that they could control him. 😈

                      IE He never wanted to be Emperor but he was also concerned about people who wanted a “controllable Emperor” and thought he’d be controllable.

                    8. Wasn’t he approached a few times to participate in a plot like that? It’s been a long time since I read them. He either went along, reporting back, or let them know what for from the very beginning.

                    9. Don’t remember that but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did the “go along while reporting it” thing.

                      Of course, with a different Head Of Security than Simon, that could have been dangerous.

                    10. He also tended to make sure they got in the target sights of his Cousin Miles in some way or other. (though putting them in Simon’s sights would accomplish the same thing, heh.)

                      I mean…Ivan had MILES fooled for most of their lives into thinking that he really was as dumb as he looked. Given Miles’ innate gift for reading people’s potential…that’s impressive as heck. (Granted, it helped that he also fooled Aral. I don’t think he fooled Cordelia, however, but being Cordelia, she kept her mouth shut.)

        1. That wouldn’t be the Jason Thanou series by Steve White, would it? For such a supposedly great time agent he keeps doing bonehead stupid shit that gets people captured and killed. He’s only saved because his enemies do even more stupid shit.

            1. [raised eyebrow]

              You don’t want to even want to publicly identify a piece of fiction you once read?

              Damn, that must have been some awful writing…

              1. Charity.

                There are folks who love it; why give them grief?

                Can just go– not my thing, and carry on, because NOBODY CAN FORCE YOU TO READ IT.

                1. That’s why I don’t say “That Book/Series Is A Pile Of Garbage”.

                  There are very very few Books/Series that I’m “willing to get into A Fight About”.

  32. In Faust, a minor character says

    Imagination is in me
    Today far too despotic.
    If I am everything I see,
    I MUST be idiotic!

    (Translated by Walter Kaufmann)

  33. The attack goes something like this “Why would I believe your analysis. You’re a NOVELIST.”

    In my case, they have been known to take that further to “you write fantasy.”


    Just this morning I was teasing a friend– who jokes about being dictator of the WORLD!!!!– that a couple of arguments she’d made were “recreating the work of a former pro-wrestler.”

    The joke being that it was a (probably deliberate) echo of Plato’s Republic……

  34. Like, you know, the idiot on the left who did a dive into my books and psychoanalyzed it as though my female characters were all me. (And for those who read me, yes, he thought both Athena and Dyce were me. Not to mention Kyrie, who is rock bottom practical.)

    This one I can “defend” as a … rather silly… application of the knowledge that creators put part of themselves in what they create.

    What makes it… silly… is that it applies to your male characters, too, and for that matter YOUR VILLAINS.

    Sometimes what you put into a character is what you fear, what you love, what you admire, what gives you joy, what is near your heart, what makes you snarl like Dracula with a crucifix…..

  35. I wrote myself an essay some years back, I think during the Obama years that started out; It is a good thing that I am not King.
    The tag line was something like, “Why bother with democracy? You don’t know what you’re voting for anyway! Vote Tim for King and let me do the thinking for you!”
    My platform included such gems as:
    Any person who seeks public office will be immediately barred from holding any position of public trust or profit for life. All public servants will be drawn by lot, to serve a term of two years at a pay comesurate with their current circumstances. Once completed they are not able to serve further. No person on public assistance is eligible.
    Persons who commit crimes of violence will have the same level of violence used on them as punishment, in the same way.
    …There was a lot more but I need to go vacuum the kitchen

    1. I did that once on my blog. The “judicial tomatoing” had a lot of eager fans. (For certain bureaucratic offenses, the problem person would be pelted with soft, rotten produce in the public square. Literally. The victims of the incompetence would get to start, and all tax-payers who wished to participate could do so upon showing proof of tax-paying status.)

  36. I would offer up a clever, original comment on creativity, but today I’m far too busy being derivative.

      1. ….I think you have a point.

        It’s like cooking.

        Look, cooking doesn’t CREATE stuff. But it does create stuff, stuff nobody’s ever seen.

        Even if you follow the guide exactly, nobody’s seen exactly that outcome.

        It creates stuff by going “here’s stuff. Now use it.”

        I was going to say “you put like everything but rocks in it”– but that’s not only false, that’s CRAZY false, because SALT IS A ROCK. And forgetting the salt is a huge problem in stuff that isn’t even savory.

        1. I wasn’t purely joking, even if I did it for the sake of the pun. 🙂

          There may be creative results that cannot be ‘separated’ into sections and analyzed. But a lot of the results can, especially when you are skilled in the media, and preparing the result.

          Creativity is partly a skill that is trained in the basic things that are used as sections of a whole.

          Suppose you want to draw Shirou Emiya holding a sword. Swords, HEMA postures, the shapes to rough figure drawing, the techniques to execute an anime character, his outfit, all things that can be researched for references, or practiced, or both.

          IF you have never studied that stuff, it is too much, and confusing. Someone really skilled can ‘see’ designs and design changes to the point that maybe they can do something like a realistic or western style depiction of him. Maybe a mad artist, and a crazy author get together, make a subtle variant of a historical painting with EMIYA included, and do a good fanfic where EMIYA’s presence is reasonable and important to an exciting plot.

          Knowing the pieces makes variant designs easier, and practice with variant designs makes it easier to come up with good original designs.

          The more stuff one is practiced in, the easier it is to pull stuff from multiple fields to make something one would not see working by rote in a single silo.

        2. I think I realize why I never cared for the Iron Chef thing. “Here, use ALL these things.” But what if there is no reasonable way to use one that once care for? Then the BEST thing to do is to LEAVE IT OUT.

          Might be amusing theater. Crap practice.

          1. It’s like writing exactly 50 words -‘ it can be useful as an exercise.

            Still,I knew a woman who observed that you could tell phenomenal physics students from merely brilliant by whether they could see that some equipment was not needed for a lab.

          2. My recollection is that you had to use the “secret” ingredient, apart from that you could choose.

            1. It was ingredient or ingredients as I recall. For some, no issue, but let’s say it was me the Special Ingredient was peas? Well, that’d take time, what with having to grow something edible from the pea mulch…

        3. “creativity” vs. “creating” that is: Making things.

          Making things is what we were made for by the Maker.

          Every art teacher I ever had who emphasized “creativity” was worse than useless. Utterly tiresome.

          1. Mmm. Yes. I learned early on that when they pushed “creativity” what they really meant was “something “edgy” that fits the accepted–ie, leftist–worldview that I hold.” It’s why studying art in university all but killed my love of doing art. I purely HATED being forced to come up with politically-acceptable “meaning” for my art in most of the classes, when mostly what I wanted was ‘I thought this was pretty and I like it’ and maybe ‘this tells an interesting (fantasy) story that has no political meaning to it’

  37. Off topic for today’s post, but picking up a thread from several previous posts:

    The price of a 2x4x8′ at the local Home Depot went below $8.00 for the first time in months and months today. Implications for supply chains and markets correcting and future home improvements and yadda yadda yadda.

    1. Zero Hedge has said that the futures for lumber has dropped, though pre-Chinavirus levels won’t appear soon, if at all. I don’t know whether, or how soon this will have an effect on sheet goods.

      $SPOUSE wants me to build a chicken coop, but I’m trying to hold off until sheet goods drop below the “Nominal Egg” (say it fast; Brooklyn accent helps) level.

      1. Naawminal. My native tongue.

        Lumber futures peaked out a couple of weeks ago, right as the news started breaking — false narrative again — and have been dropping like a stone. It’s entirely supply issues and alternate supply is coming on line. If you’re interested in speculating, they may overshoot to the downside. They often do, it’s called the cobweb theorem. I don’t usually do it myself and I managed to top tick the lumber prices when I redid my back porch. Sigh. My builder is very busy and a I had to get him when i could. A reliable contractor is worth his weight in gold. He did such a good job that the wife has been inspired to redo the front porch.

        I suspect we’ll see most of this wash out over the next couple of months as the supply chains come back on line. Once FICUS’s trillions start coming on line though it’ll get interesting.

  38. Had a thought:
    It’s become a truism that the Left can’t meme.

    Well, memeing requires a sense of humor and creativity, both, doesn’t it?

    1. Number two son was remarking that all the funny internet stuff had stopped. No one is posting pictures of dancing bears or birds doing odd things. There even seems to be a shortage of recent golden retriever puppy videos. The ayatollah had said that religion was a serious business and our lefties seem to have taken his example in this along with all the other stuff they adopted from him.

      that’s why I think humor is our greatest weapon. They are utterly humorless and we can easily make them figures of fun. Look at zuck and then look at Jim Carrey in dumb and dumber. Once pointed out it can’t not be seen.

      1. Part of that is they gutted the supply chains.

        When “everyone” was on TwitFace, it was a lot easier to spread it; now that a lot of folks left– some shutting down their accounts, even– and are scattered around a ton of different places, it’s harder to make stuff go “everywhere.”

  39. Nicely said on all fronts, though I’m a bit too tired to add any coherent thoughts at the moment. Not that it’s going to stop me from trying, of course. =P That kind of virtue signaling behavior out of people always annoyed me, too, though similar to you laziness (and generally being bad with in-person stuff) kept me from making a big deal out of it – and I’ll admit led me to going along with things I shouldn’t have. Even with some of my own mental stumbling blocks under much better control I’ve still got a lot of un-learning (and actual learning) to do and it frequently feels like I’m getting too old for it to make a real difference, especially if things really go south. Can’t really add anything on the disconnect between reality and their perceptions either.

    As for how creativity works for me, I guess for me it’s always having liked stories of cool swords, magic, and wonders impossible in our world and wanted to see what I could do on my own I suppose. The JRPGs and other anime-influenced games of the SNES/Genesis to PS2 eras really sealed it and they’re always going to be a big part of what I do in that area no matter how much I try to cut it out, so I figure I might as well go with it. I’ll also admit to some characters and concepts coming from various parts of how my life’s gone, though aside from a name or two there aren’t any people I know I’ve used for characters aside from a starting point or two that went through the aforementioned mutations, sometimes working with other people, and eventually got a pretty good ways off from it.

    Coming here’s definitely helped get the rust off in a lot of ways… It’s nice to have a place where I don’t have to worry about getting screamed at by wokies for their various grievances or being told I’m glorifying Satan because of magical elements in my work (and it doesn’t help with those types that I’m in full agreement with ILOH on use of profanity in stories) as the two most frequent types of creative banes I’ve run across in the past might say. Something must be going right here since the solution to a few things that bugged me about that last vignette actually emerged as a scene in my head where the younger, more immature Max from that scenario worked things out in a training session and conversation with his father figure and sword instructor…

  40. As I read through all the comments- I notice no one has mentioned The Law of Jante– which I know has come up before. Seems that almost all cultures have it, or something similar, as general guidelines for behavior. Almost all- the USA has long been an exception, though it seems modern education seems to be trying to introduce it here. At this nation’s founding, England and Scotland were breaking away from the notion that everyone had a fixed place in life- and should stay there. And we ran with that idea. Creative people, the hero standing against the crowd, that identity has been something to strive for. Parents telling their children- “You can be anything you strive to be!” – is the norm here. Not strictly true, but certainly an ideal. In Germany- you’re tracked educationally, and shunted into your future career choices early on. No late blooming allowed. In Scandinavia, Korea, China, if you pop up or stand out, you’re hammered down. In Africa- if you’re successful, all your family leeches off you- and you’re expected to allow them to.

    I have read, and believe it’s mostly true, that the richest 5 families today in France are direct descendants of the richest 5 families in France in 1776, and that that’s basically true anywhere in Europe. Not so here in the USA where many subscribe to the generation rule of- 1st generation makes the money, 2nd generation lives on it, 3rd generation squanders it. Or something akin to that. For the majority of people, there’s really not a lot of intergenerational wealth transfer. In the town I live in now I know a few people who are living in the house their parents live in that their grandparents built. Which means the rest of the grandkids are living in places they had to buy or rent. We’re not talking mansions here. The notion is- if you want to be successful, you have to stand out. You have to refuse to be hammered down. You don’t go along to get along, you make your own path. We have organizations devoted to helping young people stand out and be successful. Scouting, all the varieties. 4H, FFA, De Molay, Rainbow Girls, Sea Cadets, JROTC, Junior Achievement, all kinds of programs, religious and secular, devoted to helping young people achieve more than they otherwise might. I understand other countries also have such programs, but they’re not as widespread, and if they’re in Scandinavia with the all encompassing The Law of Jante, the youth organizations will adapt to help young people achieve- within their station in life. Far less recognition for the truly successful.

    The exception- sports. Seems every country, nation, culture in the world wants to recognize the best and most able athletes in any field. There it’s okay to stick out- but only in sports.

    1. Thank Andrew Jackson for not renewing the charter of the second bank of the United States. Then spit on the FRB, GWB, and Barry for the serial bailouts of bad behavior that allowed the financiers to privatize gains and socialize losses. They are a nest of vipers.

    2. Oh, Scouts. As of last week I have three kids in four troops—because the middle child, a daughter, has turned 11 and became eligible for the BSA, but isn’t dropping Girl Scouts yet. And three of those troops have me in leadership positions.

      This is a good thing. It might kill me, but it’s a good thing.

      1. turned 11 and became eligible for the BSA, but isn’t dropping Girl Scouts yet

        Not fair to the boys, but why would she drop Girl Scouts? … She should be doing both! Gold GSA Award and Eagle? Go Girl Go! (More GSA Troops should be double registering and taking advantage of the Eagle program!

        1. The reason she’d be likely to drop is the usual one—the troop falling apart under her. The leader is a lovely woman, but it’s a troop for her *granddaughters* and I’m not sure how long her health is going to hold out.

          (My gripe with the Girl Scouts is entirely on an organizational level. Their setup is designed to fail, because they don’t have continuity of troops but of leaders. As in, if you want to form a Brownie troop, you get your friends together and start one up. Bunch of volunteer amateurs right from the start. And people get tired and want to stop eventually… and there’s no troop to carry on the traditions.)

          1. the troop falling apart under her.

            BSA Troops can fall to this too. IMHO troops shouldn’t be started in an area just because a family is not compatible with a troop in their area. There will be reasons why an existing troop needs to split, among them size of troop. But one of the criteria of a growing district and council is number of troops and thus it is too easy to start a new troop. Though to BSA’s credit, there are ways to get new troop leadership trained in a variety of avenues.

  41. One of the more amusing things is, due to having a non-lockstep thought process, someone imagining they are making a cutting remake by telling me, “You’re NOT human!” Have we met? ♉

  42. I read this post yesterday and most of the long comment thread. Eavesdropping on these virtual conversations is a treat.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t give me the words to say what popped into my head after reading Sarah’s post. I thought of channeling G.K. Chesterton and saying something like “storytellers can fly off into imagination precisely because their feet are on the ground.”

    I’ve been saying for some time that those who want to change the world seem to have no clue how people work, not their individual psychology or their group dynamics. So these childlike minds imagine all sorts of improvements that aren’t tethered to reality. The more they refuse to understand the human condition, the more they struggle to control what can’t be controlled. And their stories suck.

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