The House Of Mirrors

I know I’ve often sounded (perhaps unduly to those who haven’t thought about it much) alarmed at how much we live soaked in fiction and how our brains aren’t really designed for it. Particularly visual fiction, because our brains really are designed to believe what they see.

This is a particular problem when you realize that most of the fiction that is made into visible form (most of the written too) and that we see over the course of our lives, including when too young to question it, is made by one particular politico/ideological/philosophical side. What’s more, that side tends to — if anything — consume more fiction than the rest of us, being totally steeped in the narrative arts. (Yeah, okay, guilty as charged, and besides, I have kept a toe in reality by having kids, etc.) And they tend to have startlingly similar backgrounds and life experiences: same colleges, same type of degrees, usually unmarried and childless, though sometimes one of or the other, usually living in urban environments, usually from fairly affluent backgrounds/educated families, etc.

In a way, they are what the regency “ton” or the upper ten thousand was. They are, in fact, an isolated, tight knit village. This is how it’s so easy to blacklist or cancel someone. All it takes is a game of whisper from person to person, and suddenly you find yourself on the outs, which is very much how a village functions. It is also a way to enforce ideological conformity. If everyone you know thinks one thing, then of course, it must be so. Having grown up in a village, by the way, this could mean all your neighbors could be convinced that Spain was in raging civil war, when it was no such thing, because someone misinterpreted something, and it propagated. And then if you tried to pour water on it because you’d been to Spain recently, or knew people there, the first reaction would be to shut you out, because “you think you know more than we do.”

The problem with this is that they are serving up their internal delusion to the rest of the country and to an extent the world. (Witness European leaders reproaching us for our restrictive abortion laws which are in fact more permissive than any of theirs. They get their information from our media, and their idea of what anti-abortion people in the US are like from our media AND entertainment. And it never occurs to them this vision has absolutely no contact with reality.)

Mind you, this strategy was stunningly successful for a very long time. Because there was no way for you to communicate with like minded people — not en masse — if you weren’t part of the party with the megaphone, you were isolated, made to feel insane, and of course you believed at least some of what you were fed. So, your part of the country/city must be the only one without horrible racist right wingers; you must be the only liberty minded/non fundamentalist person; etc. etc. etc. And you knew that you didn’t see any of these things that showed up everywhere, and you wondered if you were the one who was crazy.

Now this is fracturing — thank heavens — and we’re finding that no, our lying eyes are actually right (when not looking at the screen) and that there’s an entire bill of goods there.

And then, suddenly, we find ourselves blinking at a trope we swallowed without thinking before.

This happened the other day, as I was sitting here, on the sofa (I’m here this morning, because son is installing a ceiling fan in my office, and I get tired of “the screw fell under your desk, please move”) and my husband was watching TV which is our normal set up in the evening, while I was writing. As usual, I was absorbing parts of the story without really thinking, and suddenly looked up to a scene of high school guys beating up on a new elementary school kid. There was no reason for it, though the incident was the setup for the plot.

I stared at it puzzled for a while before I said “But that doesn’t happen.”

Look, I grew up in as isolated a community as it comes, and yeah, sure, it was tough for newcomers. There were two families that were “newcomers” after living there for twenty years. But no one — no one — was going to beat you up for being a newcomer. They would ignore you, give you the cold shoulder, might give you barbs about going back where you came from or tell you to shut up about local affairs, but they wouldn’t BEAT you. Prank you and attempt to make fun of you is about the worst you’d get.

And it’s about the worst you get, unless the community has gone utterly feral and robs passerbyes, which has allegedly happened at various times in various places, but is hard to pin down, because most might be legends.

However, this is an absolutely believed, swear-by-it trope in movies and books, and you kind of have to wonder.

If you remember my main objection to If You Were A Dinosaur My Love (other than its being puerile) was that “strangers don’t act that way.” Heck, even if you go to “another color” or “small in group” bar in the middle of nowhere.

Dan and I were childless for six years after our marriage. Also by virtue of my growing up abroad and his growing up mostly in math, we were innocent babes in the wood type of people. And we did a lot of driving around, because I wanted to see the country. We had breakdowns in places where — in my dad’s parlance — even Judas wouldn’t lose his boots. We went into holes in the wall in the middle of nowhere, trying to get a meal. We ate at more biker bars, and stopped in more neighborhoods where Dan’s pallor was conspicuous than I care to mention.

The worst we met with was mockery or attempts to pick on us, which could be handled by more or less ignoring them, or pretending not to understand them. (To be fair, sometimes we really didn’t, just caught the tone.) But those were actually rare. Most of the time, we approached people courteously, explained our situation (mostly being lost) and asked for help, and more often than not we were met not only with help, but with people going out of their way to be nice to us. Meals were provided in dubious bars, long after the kitchen had nominally closed. We were told about potential road hazards on the way back, and ways to avoid them. Or told of places to stay the night where we’d “be all right.”

Now maybe we’re made of shiny and people naturally love us, but I don’t think so.

So what is being reflected in these stories and movies where people, for no reason, turn on the small and helpless?

When I made my protest Dan said “It’s because it’s what the left would do.”

And of course there is something to that. The left are widely convinced of being mind-readers, but actually they seem to be looking into the mirror when they “read” what’s in “our” minds.

But there must be something deeper, something that started the rumor, and made it into a meme in the community that makes movies and tv. And it occurred to me, probably, it was that a few of them went out into the “wilds” (which probably means suburbs) and were insufferably rude to the locals. In fact, I heard from a friend who lives kind of rural about a female academic coming to town, supposedly for a legitimate purpose but spending her time lecturing everyone everywhere about pronouns and never even noticing the locals were rolling their eyes so hard they had to meet in the evening to trade accidentally swapped eyeballs.

I can see the lore of “strangers will attack you for no good reason” growing from idiots who escalated from lecturing to starting fights. Or even I can see the lore growing from idiots who ran their mouths, were mocked or rebutted, and had no clue how to handle it, so they remember it as violence against them.

And of course, they would be mad and want to beat these “savages” which in projection became “they wanted to beat me. I barely escaped.”

It is part of insular cultures to assume that you are the top of the chain and doing things correctly, and therefore you should teach “savages” what to do.

It is also part of highly ritualized cultures to mistake the required utterances/etc for a fact of life and their violation as actual violence.

Our left is nothing new. They are simply an extremely insular elite who mistakes the customs of their tribe for laws of nature, and who have been lulled into a false sense of power and influence due to their — brief, in the long wrong, probably — monopoly over means of mass communication and entertainment.

Thing is, as that breaks apart and the fundamentals of their world view are shaken (and this has been going on for a while, but definitely visibly since 2016) they feel as if they personally are under attack.

Yes, of course, they want to hurt us. We are taking them apart with our bare hands. Or at least that’s what it feels like. And they can’t understand where these ideas none of their friends believe in are coming from. They must be crazy, evil, pernicious.

There is more projected there. Like, as they blindly try to protect their power and influence (not sure about what is shaking it, mind you) they reflexively accuse those attacking them of fighting to maintain patriarchal white supremacy, which in their deluded little heads is what goes on outside their circles. Even though white supremacy is small, fringe, and mostly FBI, and patriarchy in the US was always fairly laughable outside small, isolated enclaves. (This is a whole other post, probably entitled “How I became a white Mormon male with a great rack.)

Yeah, it’s going to get much, much worse. I waver almost daily on exactly how bad it will get, and what comes after, so I won’t inflict it on you.

It’s never pretty when a tiny elite with illusions of superiority falls. I mean, really, in France they washed the cities in blood before they were done.

And they are falling. They are falling because the ubiquity of the ability to communicate en masse without their permission can’t be put back in the bottle.

Their pretty house of mirrors was impregnable, but fragile. It can’t withstand any external input, and is cracking.

To them it feels like reality is coming apart, and they’ll try to break the world to keep the mirrors.

Our job is to make the fall of this bizarre house of assumptions and lies and fast and painless as possible. And to build on reality to replace it.

Be not afraid. We win, they lose. But be not stupid. It’s going to get scary.

196 thoughts on “The House Of Mirrors

  1. Please write โ€œHow I became a white Mormon male with a great rack” as soon as possible, please.

      1. Hey Siri, remind me to check out ATH tomorrow and/or Monday.

        OOPs I don’t use Siri or any other “assistant’, so, just put a paper post-it on the edge of the monitor, it’ll be right. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Which is why I have the posts sent to my email, not just the new comments. No Siri (which we do not have either, none of them), nor need for sticky notes. Might be late to the party comments, but it won’t be because I didn’t go looking for the post. Take this weekend. Niece’s wedding tomorrow late afternoon. Electronic devices locked up at home (we will have phones, but, I at least, don’t use my phone for email). Overnight trip. Back Sunday.

          1. Yeah, it’s why I have a cheap flip phone for day-to-day cell usage, while the used iPhone sits on charge but shut down. It’s needed to run apps on the travel trailer (rolls eyes; apps are cheaper than panels, I get it, but sheesh!).

            OTOH, with the interesting boneheaded misdesign of the flip phone controls (you can turn the camera on with a touch of a side button–can’t use the camera that way, but it’ll happily suck power, and there’s no way to disable the camera in the control menu), a suitably tamed smartphone starts looking better. (Unless I can find another dumb phone with a better design, or make a case that protects those buttons from casual contact. I hate stupid design decisions!)

            1. (rolls eyes; apps are cheaper than panels, I get it, but sheesh!)


              We’ve ran into that with Auto Start on vehicles. 2010 Chevy truck has it coded on the key fob. Worked great. Sonata, Santa Fe’s, require to use BlueLink App (so do the newer Chevy’s, only that is StarLink), which requires actual cell network connection, which we don’t always have. Get the BlueLink options free, for 3 years. We won’t pay for it (nice, but not that nice). Been told you can get the feature on a key fob, but one pays for it. Less if do not go through the dealership.

      2. More and more I have come to believe that Sad Puppies was in effect our Spanish Civil War, ie just as it was the training ground precursor to World War Two so in our case SP was the lead in to whatever societal war we are headed for.

        1. Makes sense – most of what we saw then, we are seeing now in the larger culture.

      1. Considers comment and mental image.

        Considers strength of Sarah’s throwing arm.

        Returns to nap position, resumes nap.

        1. Yeah right, not gonna let you slide on that. You and too many other fine women combatants in the Puppy Wars suffered too much abuse to fail to claim full credit for your struggles with those vile scum suckers.
          Unless some folks are just joking it would appear that a brief accounting of the high points of that not so very long ago conflict might just be in order.
          I would do you a guest post, but I’m terrible with names, hell cannot even recognize my favorite niece in a lighted hallway for Ghu’s sake. And I would get detains wrong and certainly forget to credit many of the participants.

          1. There were a fair number of posts from the Half-Asterisk convention (I’m not a con goer, so which one escapes me) that would suffice to give either material to write a summary, or to bring up a flashback blast from the past if brought up whole. (Some of those posts might have been on MGC, but I think some were posted here. John C. Wright’s blog might/should have some of it, and it’s safe to skip The Blogger Who Shall Not Be Named. I don’t think he had anything on the actual con, though he would make the lowlights list with the Rabid Puppies scene.)

            Some of the behavior of the scum made library culling decisions a lot less heartwrenching.

            1. We would also need to get some stuff from Larry’s blog. Heh, the Puppy Wars is how I meandered over here from Monster Hunter.

  2. Sometimes it appears that they are looking into “fun-house mirrors”.

    IE The mirrors that are crafted to give a distorted reflection.

  3. Some cultures are more physical than others.

    And fiction does favor the extreme and even exaggerates

  4. “Even though white supremacy is small, fringe, and mostly FBI”

    They get around that by redefining everything as white supremacy.

    Parents were married? White supremacy.
    Good work ethic? White supremacy.
    Believe in the Constitution? White supremacy.

      1. I remember when our girls were small some liberal idiot (but I repeat myself) was blathering on about how unfair it was that we bourgeois types had the audacity to read things to our children and it was putting folks who didn’t read to their children at a disadvantage. My first thought was WTF? and my second was clearly these folks never tried to calm down two energetic girls at the end of a hard day and my third thought was maybe if these folks did that they wouldn’t be at a disadvantage. Come on Ma and Pa from the Little House Books (where they worked dawn to dusk and everything is pretty much always going to hell in a handbasket) found time to do it, your children aren’t worth that to you? Guess I’m just an evil privileged White eurocentric supremacist SOB.

        1. I am utterly trash at reading aloud– but I can put on Hank, the Cowdog, audio books.

          (I still do roughly Red Fish, Blue Fish level reading, I’m just bad at it)

          1. Reading aloud was not my dad’s best skill (I suspect he had mild to moderate dyslexia given how he would occasionally mangle words when reading) But I fondly remember him reading Seuss books, especially Fox in Socks which we would take turns reciting/reading as fast as we could.

            1. “mild to moderate dyslexia given how he would occasionally mangle words”

              Unless there is a type of diagnosis of dyslexia that is mangling words seen, maybe not. I do that. Drives my husband, and now son, crazy. I’ve read the letters, correctly, aloud, but mangle the word. Dr. Seuss were particularly difficult. My son got so he’d correct me (based on how dad had read it to him). There are some words, that until I hear them, I cannot say them. Tongue twisters are difficult for me. Also affects my spelling. I’ll type a word, I know it is incorrect when I see it typed, but none of the “suggestions” are even close. That drives me crazy. Let WP “auto-correct”, um, no, not a chance. If something is auto-corrupted, then it is because I selected something incorrect. However, I have no problem blaming it on auto-corrupt ๐Ÿ˜‰

          1. So did we.

            Also caught grief for tutoring the kid. I guess it was unfair that not only we did so, but we didn’t have to pay for it … because we understood the material. Or was it because we paid attention and pushed back on the blatant BS. Both?

        2. “some liberal idiot (but I repeat myself) was blathering on about how unfair it was that we bourgeois types had the audacity to read things to our children and it was putting folks who didnโ€™t read to their children at a disadvantage. ”

          Yeah, my mom the former schoolteacher had a rare lapse into both profanity and obscenity when I mentioned that one…..

          1. And then there are the public enemies of education who have the notion that expecting correct arithmetic answers from the ‘sniff, sniff’ poor, poor dears who attend our public schools and have to overcome insurmountable barriers to learn the English Language is racist. I’m still gobsmacked over that one.

          1. Like 1984 and Brave New World the left seems to think Harrison Bergeron is an instruction manual not a warning.

    1. Insty had a link up about a city meeting (in Portland, iirc) that didn’t take place a couple of weeks ago because “urgency is white supremacy.”

      1. yeah, i saw a thing that said the entire concept of being on time was racist…

        1. Long time ago I recall a story of how companies in the North dealt with the influx of blacks moving from the South up North for better paying jobs. Huge cultural problem over these new workers being on time. Smart companies started welcoming the new workers with a sign on gift, a simple reliable alarm clock. Of course in today’s world this would be considered outrageously racist.
          Note, clock was given to all new employees, regardless of ethnicity.

        2. The only good news was that the pushback was from both sides; even the hardcore lefties in Portlandia thought it was a bridge too far.

          FWIW the perp for the cancelled meeting was the Equity and Die-versity director for the entity. Now to search for my eyes.

    2. Oh, the way feminists blame everything on the patriarchy.
      Stubbed my toe? Patriarchy.
      Cut off in traffic? Patriarchy.

      1. And both sides have a tendency to decry “everything is [bad word]” except that would logically mean that many good things are [bad word]. They don’t think it through.

        1. The left at least seems fine calling good things [bad word]. A while back, there was an article that went viral about how apple pie was racist because cinnamon was cultural appropriation or some stupidity. Or how being on time and doing your job means you’re a white supreme pizza or whatever.

  5. We are creatures of culture. So argues Joseph Henrich in =The Secret of Our Sucess=. He makes a good case that our ability to transmit culture and to shape our natures by culture has altered our physical, genetic evolution. With knowledge and praxes from culture, we can survive in almost any environment on earth. Without it, we can survive in none. With it, we are the top-level predator. Without it, we are nearly the lowest prey.

    Sarah, I know you are running on negative free time, but you should read this. Or let one of your sons read it and summarize for you.

    1. Ah, yes – the fun of having a car breakdown on the highway had having to take the nearest off-ramp in a questionable part of town, and parking by a fairly scuzzy fast-food outlet – this with me in AF uniform, and my daughter and one of her school friends – likewise in Catholic school uniform. Marching into the place like I held the lease, and asking to use the phone. (This before cellphones being widely available.) The two girls were jittery – the place really did look scruffy and the clientele to match. But everyone was nice as could be, very helpful, and the two girls and one of the scruffiest couples present struck up a conversation and discovered a mutual liking for a certain romance author, while we waited for a tow.
      Confidence and a friendly demeanor will take you a look way, in even scruffy locations and with interesting and unusual people.

      1. The music director at my old church was…not mean, but prissy, self-important and oblivious. Her understudy was sweet, gifted, and had a decidedly spotty biography, ‘specially for a mid-90’s Presbyterian church. Which I must mention, so you can properly picture the director’s utter horror when they broke down somewhere in the mountains on the way back from a conference.

        With nothing else to do, they trooped two miles back downhill where Understudy remembered spotting a roadside bar where they could phone for help. She trotted into the bar with an antsy Director right behind her, trying to look anywhere but at the skinny dude with the sleeve tattoos. Until Understudy gleefully shrieked “SNAKE!!!” and hugged him. “I used to RIDE with him! He’ll fix us right up!”

        …it took Director some time to recover from the trip.

      2. In about 1995, coming back from LA with my first wife, I took a wrong turn coming out of Oakland airport, and ended up driving along the surface street underneath the Nimitz Freeway in south Oakland. It was all bombed-out-looking warehouses covered in graffiti on either side, until we saw a McDonald’s and stopped for directions. The staff and patrons were all Mexican, and when we walked in everyone’s eyes got really wide and four different people immediately came up to us to tell us how to get onto the freeway. We commented after the fact that they all looked like they were thinking, “please, nice Anglo people, get out of here before somebody kills you.”

          1. Thank you. I’ve been lurking occasionally but I’ve been hyperfocused on (a) the war, and (b) prepping for a major remodel. Plans are drawn, 3D models are, um, modeled, estimates are estimated, and now I’m just waiting on the city to approve my permit.

            1. I worried about you. I’m so glad to see that smiling avatar. ๐Ÿ™‚

            1. Sorry for causing alarm. I pretty much dropped all my blog interactions, because reasons I posted above, and also largely because watching “is Putin the bad guy” get relitigated over and over and over and over was triggering, for lack of a better word.

              1. had a rider figure out i was ‘not liberal’

                who immediately thought i was a putin supporter

                i explained putin’s history, and said rider suddenly figured out i liked putin even less than they did….

                  1. yeah, i saw streetcorner posters in DC (Georgetown, actually) proclaiming how the republicans are supporting Putin a few weeks ago…

              2. > โ€œis Putin the bad guyโ€

                Well, he’s ONE of the bad guys. The other would be Zelensky.

                I don’t know why people have such a hard time grasping that there isn’t always a good guy in the fight.

                    1. Wait, I thought Biden was Winnie the Pooh’s stooge.

                      Damn it, I need a score card…

                    2. Well, it’s kind of hard to figure, but he might be BOTH? Biden sold oil to both. Mind you selling oil to Russia is bizarre. Sort of like selling geekness to ATH.
                      Also we’re using Putin to arbitrate giving Iran millions.
                      So, they’re all in bed together.

                    3. > “Mind you selling oil to Russia is bizarre.”

                      It could be more about denying the oil to us than anything else.

                  1. Sigh.

                    I really don’t want to get into the Ukraine vs Russia mess but I can’t “buy” that Zelensky is Putin’s stooge.

                    Everybody Knew That Russia would very quickly “over-run” the Ukraine.

                    What does Putin gain from “his stooge” putting up such a fight?

                    Zelensky may not be a saint but he’s not Putin’s stooge.

                    1. > “What does Putin gain from โ€œhis stoogeโ€ putting up such a fight?”

                      At this point I’m wondering what Russia gets from this at all. Even if Russia eventually wins they’ve got to be bleeding heavily for this, so how much does Ukraine have to be worth to justify the cost?

                      I get Putin’s political motives – he wants to reunite the Soviet Union and needs a victory at this point to save face at this point – but you’d think the other people in power over there would eventually assassinate him over this.

                    2. Food production, energy production, and keeping the other countries in line.

                      Ukraine booted out Putin’s plant leader. That cannot make things comfortable.

                    3. Exactly. This is exactly what I was talking about. People who I know are well-meaning and mostly right(right)-thinking, come up with stupid shit like this. It’s like saying “Churchill was Hitler’s stooge” because he didn’t march the BEF into Germany on September 2, 1939.

                      Not everything revolves around American domestic politics.

                      Once more for the people in the back: NOT EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND AMERICAN DOMESTIC POLITICS.

                      And this is why I went away for several months. Not interested.

                    4. Nod.

                      I’ve seen too much Blue-On-Blue in the Politics conference of Baen’s Bar so I appreciate it not being a Big Thing here.

                    5. You know, no. But if they’d said “What FDR is doing smells funny” they’d have been right. That’s kind of where I am. Again, not a major point of interest and it’s not been a big thing here. Which is hilarious because someone screeched at me in comments about my beloved Ukraine I talk about constantly and I was wondering what planet they were from.

                    6. Again, not a major point of interest and itโ€™s not been a big thing here.

                      Good, because in the first few weeks of the war it was everywhere.

                    7. Yeah. And I think I mentioned it twice the first week under “sucks, but I don’t think we can afford to get involved under this administration.”
                      After that, not really.

                    8. What I remember was the Fraudster In Chief making comments Prior To The Shooting Started showed his weakness (and stupidity).

                      My thought then was that Trump would have made it very clear to Putin that Big Trouble would start if Putin invaded the Ukraine.

                      The Fraudster In Chief didn’t give Putin that message prior to the invasion.

                    9. > “Food production, energy production, and keeping the other countries in line.”

                      Sure, but is that worth what it’s costing Russia?

                      The question is mostly rhetorical, I admit. Fog of war being what it is, we’re not going to know how much this is costing Russia until this is all over (if even then). But whatever the price is it’s got to be pretty high.

                    10. Sure, but is that worth what itโ€™s costing Russia?

                      I’d say it wasn’t worth what’t’d’ave cost Russia in the first place, because that mob nonsense stuff is a nasty drug.

                      But they figured it was worth what they thought it would cost, since they were clearly counting on the “sure, you said they’re Nazis, go ahead and eat your neighbors. Again. It’s not like you’ll ever come after us, right?”

                    11. The Democrats can only see Russia, China and Iran as clubs to beat their domestic political enemies with. Other countries are only threats to the United States and our economy. Domestic political enemies are threats to their influence peddling and graft.
                      โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”
                      The Democrats are willing to burn America to the ground, so long as they wind up squatting on top of the ashes.

                    12. Unfortunately there are too many on the right who only see Russia, China, and Iran (and Ukraine) as sticks to beat the Democrats with, who adopt an “if they’re fer it I’m agin’ it” philosophy.

                      Reverse groupthink is still groupthink.

                1. In this case, as far as the fight goes, there is. Being the victim of an unprovoked attack and resisting valiantly makes you the good guy.

                  1. Elsewhere, one person is claiming that the EU & NATO “Made Putin Do It” by encouraging the Ukraine to join the EU & NATO.

                    Of course, some people are seeing Zelensky as “Just Another Nazi/Crook” so “deserves” having Russia invade the Ukraine.

                    But yes, the Ukraine didn’t invade Russia. Russia invaded the Ukraine.

                    Any claims of “provocations” are IMO just excuses.

                    1. Short skirt.

                      Bad area of town.

                      Any other variation of “existed, while someone else wanted something they have.”

                    2. There was, in that person’s mind, an element of “the Ukraine is within Russia’s Region Of Power and the EU/Nato was intruding”. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

                    3. Yeah, I’ve seen that one, too.
                      “Well, they REALLY belong to Russia, anyways”…. goes so nice with the “well, there’s too many ethnic Russians in the area, clearly they’re REALLY Russia’s.”

                    4. Worse than that.

                      It’s the Old “Spheres Of Influence” Idea.

                      The Person brought up the “Russian Missiles In Cuba” thing.

                      IE The US had the Right To Be Annoyed about those missiles because “Cuba is in the US’s Sphere of Influence”.

                      Can you just imagine the US complaining about something Canada/Mexico did and threating to invade Canada/Mexico claiming that Canada/Mexico were in the US’s Sphere Of Influence? ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    2. :hearts story:
      “One rock.”

      ######

      I had a screwdriver take out one of my tires on a Sunday drive.

      Was in Biloxi for tech school, but drove far enough to just be someplace else–probably about an hour west of base?– lost that tire, took the first off-ramp probably too fast, ended up in an area even I could tell was a bit run down, and I definitely didn’t blend, found a safe place to park– and the church right next to me let out.

      I’m translucent pale, the lightest folks there were the color of a nice, dark oak; Baptist church in the south, I’m Catholic (and car decorations made it obvious); tiny, single female, ton of strangers, far side of the country from anything I know– but the only uncomfortable part was the gentlemen in their good Sunday clothes insisting that no, I would definitely NOT be taking that flat tire off even though I was the one in jeans and a t-shirt, and being sent over to be fussed at (“just a Sunday drive after church” got me a lot of points) by the nice ladies while those gentlemen got my spare tossed on.

      1. Yeah. My young-single car used to break down so often that three of the tow companies in town literally knew me by voice. My car gave out one Southern afternoon in front of a house of Scary Black Men, from tatted-up twenty-year-olds to stereotypical blues dudes in their 70s. They chatted with me, let me sit on their porch swing, and brought me copious amounts of lemonade while I was talking to AAA.

  6. Sarah, I hate to break it to you, but I have the X-rays of broken bones, the scars, and the school record of suspensions to show that YES, “that” does indeed happen.
    My dad worked for a trucking company as a Lead Diesel Mechanic, which means we moved every year until finally mom got tired of it and made it clear that “you can go where Schwerman sends you, and we’ll be here when you get back. At which point dad said “right. Schwerman, I quit.”
    We ended up in a small town in Southwestern Michigan, where if you weren’t the third generation, you were a “stranger.” I got my ass kicked regularly, often by three or four guys and or girls. It didn’t help that I was short, and had a mouth.
    This went on until my sophomore year in high school, when I ran into one of the Musgrave brothers (they were all frequent fliers to juvie, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are all serving time or dead by now) and when he started in on me, I proceeded to hit him alongside the head with the big Thermos workman lunchbox I had in my hand. I then followed up by continuing to pummel him, beating his head up against the 1920s-era school flag poll (about 20 inches around, and military-style, with cross arms, etc) until the little bastard was out cold. I put him in the hospital. They tried one more time, but with two of them, and I introduced them to the fact that I had been learning Escrima.
    That was the end of my fighting in that town, but I couldn’t WAIT to get out of that shithole, and at 17 upon graduation, I joined the Navy.

    1. The “had a mouth” was part of it, I’m sure. I also have a tendency to talk and, you know….
      BUT there absolutely are bad communities. It’s the assumption that all of them outside the big city are bad that is erroneous.

    2. it’s more on the order of things being like commercials (Brit and US) where nearly every couple is either mixed race, or homosexual (or both) and/or the father is a buffoon, or inept.
      Do such exist in reality? Yes . . . are they as shown and as often? Oh hell no. All to often though people (especially the leftoids) think “That’s The Way It Is” everywhere, at all times.

    3. I think you and your mouth were the exception that proves the rule.

    4. Basically, gang dynamics.

      That kind of behavior requires authorities ignoring it to the point that it is essentially support.

      It is, thank God, not normal– although I just realized, that guy who’s in jail for stabbing the guy who was bouncing him off walls, while the girlfriend of his attacker (who stabbed the guy who is now in jail, apparently take your girlfriend to rob stores is now A Thing) was not charged.

      1. OK the local NYC DA needs to go on the List (as in ‘I’ve Got A Little List’) at the front. Jose Alba needs the keys to the city. The stupid girlfriend needs to be charged with Felony Murder (2nd degree) as she was present at the commission of a crime which resulted in the death of one of the participants and go in the slammer for 20-30 years pour encourager les autres. It is a crying shame, NYC was a mess like this in the 80’s but Giuliani had sorted it out so Times square was closer to disneyland than some lascivious variant of a level of hell. It appears its going back to 3rd world hell hole status.

        1. The stupid girlfriend needs to be charged with Felony Murder (2nd degree) as she was present at the commission of a crime which resulted in the death of one of the participants and go in the slammer for 20-30 years pour encourager les autres.

          This.

        2. It looks like the DA is going after Alba to take out the presumption that self-defense should be a right.

          The governor of NY can fire him (no recall there), and the incumbent idiot’s opponent says he’d fire the DA in a flash. OTOH, it’s New York, so the idiot will probably get 110% of the vote.

      2. I very much hope it’s not normal. There’s a certain small town in New England I need an unshakeable alibi for if it ever gets blown off the map, because… yeah. Authorities ignoring violence grrr.

        1. You, and a couple of other folks that comment here, were the ones I was thinking of for the “select an acceptable target” stuff.

          1. It is, unfortunately, what a lot of people will do. What really burns me is that instead of doing the work of stopping said jerks, the people in charge will bend over backward to make everything the target’s fault.

            To the point of such idiotic statements as you, the undersize and two-years-younger-than-norm student (because of gradeskip), obviously started a fight with 10 other people and it is entirely your fault.

            …The lack of logic hurts far longer than the beating, yes.

      3. There have been a number of cases that hit the news over the last couple of years; take the girlfriend along on a break-and-enter, and the baby.

        I guess B&E is a whole-family activity now.

    5. I had collected all sorts of these kinds of stories when I was writing up my main character’s origin story for Solist At Large. Many of them had all of those nasty little uncomfortable details that you realize weren’t invented.

      My “favorites”-
      *Woman I knew, Dad had retired from the Navy and they had lived for her first fifteen years in San Diego. Dad’s new job was for a big national company, and their office was right in the middle of Iowa. The sort of place where the nearest “big city” was a two hour drive and would be called a small suburb in most other places in the US. Even by Alaska standards. If you wanted to go to an actual “big city” like Des Moine, it was a day trip there and a day trip back.

      The only good thing about her situation? She was white. She was in a high school where next-to-nobody had traveled more than fifty miles away in their life. Almost everyone there was white as a sheet. They had all grown up together. They were all “God-fearing people” (mind you, their God was probably nothing you’d want to meet in a dark alleyway without a flamerthrower and automatic weapons). And, it didn’t help that she was a natural redhead in a land of black- and brown-haired girls.

      She was seriously considering suicide by the time her first year of high school was over. Everyone but her parents were convinced that she was exaggerating. Because, after all, none of the girls (whose parents and family trees might not have forked too much for genetic safety) would have done that…

      I saw some of the scars.
      *Guy got to a boarding school on a scholarship. Better than where he was living and his family at the time. All-boys school, Catholic. And, even when he was 15 years old, he was not small and he was not weak.

      “Six times in the first semester” was how many times he barely avoided being raped. Zero ambiguity about it, it was “being held down and boys starting to jerk off before they were caught.” The most they could do was transfer him out of that dorm. Boys couldn’t be punished because the school was proud of their football team and short of actual physical evidence…

      And then it got worse. He didn’t get raped the entire time he was there, but it was a damn near run thing. And yes, one of his potential rapists was a priest.

      He enlisted in the Army the first moment he could get out of school.
      *Another guy-white guy in a black school district. Got beaten up most of his entire time in school. The administration was more afraid of the kid’s older family members, who were in gangs, and there was at least one “mugging gone bad” when a teacher chewed out one of the girls in class. So, they couldn’t punish the kids beating him up. They could, mind you, punish him

      You can’t make this shit up.

      But, the people writing these stories…I think they want the worst stories, because it makes them feel better. Because they can torture people they think deserve it. Which is sad on so many levels.

    6. Ditto, except it’s not necessarily about being new, sometimes it’s about being the odd person. If you get grabbed and they won’t let go…bite and clamp down so they have to rip their arm out of your mouth.

      1. Yes. And I didn’t say I didn’t get in fights and trouble, but it’s never “arrive, get beaten.” Yes, they sometimes identify you as odd, but again–

        1. Yes, it was never arrive and immediately bullied or teased. And oh I was teased, once prey was assessed. I guess the writers are trying to subvert the previous trope where new kid is the bestest ever and helps win the game! Both are on the far sides of reality.

            1. Destroying the grading curve got me beat up. Teacher flat out told the class I was the reason they had such low scores. Yes, that teacher was a POS. Had much better, but few worse, most indifferent.

  7. I was startled by how, well, not outgoing but darn warm and friendly people were in England and Scotland. Now, this was up in the Borders, and I was off the beaten track for the most part before High Season really kicked in, but the English and Scottish tended to be friendly, curious, and very happy to provide directions, history bits, and suggestions for neat stuff to see. They were delighted to have visitors. I’m sure part of this is 24 months of seeing no one new, but the standoffishness I’d anticipated wasn’t there.

    Granted, we had common enemies: midges, bureaucrats in a certain Scottish national agency, allergies, “Tourrrists!” [said with sufficient venom to drop an elephant at ten paces]

    1. The summer that my brother and sister and I visited the British Isles, we were absolutely blown away by how friendly and helpful the Scots were. All we had to do was hesitate in the sidewalk and look baffled, to be tackled by about three people, chorusing; ‘Are you lost? What are you looking for? Where are you going? Can we help?’ Of course, we were three kids, and we looked very much younger than we actually were. I was 22 and everyone seemed to think that I was the same age as my 16-year old sister – they seemed vaguely horrified sometimes, that we were out on our own with our parents on another continent.

          1. Same although in my case my hair heading for the hills did not help ๐Ÿ™‚

            1. It’s a genetic failing, My dad was billiard ball bald by 19. Apparently as a young man in army uniform trying to date 18 year olds he was met with constant cries of “Get away from my daughter you dirty old man”

              1. My mom’s younger brother, and all 3 of his boys. Didn’t help that aunt’s father and brothers were also bald before they got out of HS.

                At least your dad didn’t have to worry about the boot camp shearing. Can’t shear what isn’t there.

                1. He got permission to go in at 17, I think he still had (some) hair then ๐Ÿ™‚ .

      1. I was looking at a map of York, and a nice lady asks if I need directions. “No, thank you. I’m trying to sort out how the abbey church fit with St. Olaf’s.” I smiled and tipped my head toward the currently-closed park on the other side of a tall wall.

        A big smile. “It’s so much easier when the park opens. Have a lovely day!”
        And it was. On both counts.

      2. I look pretty much my age, but CINCHOUSE always looked younger than her biological age. When we were first married and I started taking her to places on base and the surrounding community where I had been a regular, we were being carded regularly as they didn’t believe my 26 year old wife was over 21.

        1. Last time I was carded I was 8 months pregnant. Ordered a diet, non-alcoholic, something. I was 5 months shy of 33. And I already had white hair coming in (not much, but it was there). By the time I started ordering alcohol again, I was over 40. Guess I “looked” over 21 by then.

          1. I was carded ten years ago, when leaving the school after taking a book younger son had forgotten. A really myopic school guard thought I was a senior trying to play truant. I was forty nine. I’m still in awe of the crazy guard.

            1. I’m 76. I never fail to get at least a chuckle, usually a full laugh, when I look hurt while telling clerks in liquor stores that I’m insulted by not being carded… My wife’s comment is usually something like “Pay no attention to him; he’s at it again” ๐Ÿ™‚

              1. I made a point of thanking those who carded me at LC. It was, I am sure, a standard of “Card everybody – no ‘accidents’ then and no claims of discrimination.” The thanks was NOT for saying Ancient creature is young, but for truly doing things Right. It was bit of a shock (but pleasant) after so much of hardly anyone ever check.

                Though a few years ago I did see fellow get carded and then I was not and I asked of this.

                “Sir, One, sorry to say, but you DO look like you’re old enough and then some. Two, I recognize you and know you are. And three, you are buying cognac, not cheap beer.” (He was buying ‘Natural Light’…something I have never tasted and I understand am I not missing anything.)

                1. Not about buying alcohol, but related… My wife makes a habit of thanking any clerk who checks the signature on the credit card, and doubly so any who ask for an ID. The absolute worst idea I’ve seen lately is the “Just tap it near the reader; it’s so convenient!”. Convenience over security. Again. What could possibly go wrong? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

              2. Heh. While doing time as a night cashier at Wal-Mart, I once made an old couple’s night. We were chatting as I was ringing up the husband’s alcohol and I quipped that I wasn’t sure he looked old enough to buy it (he absolutely looked like an old man). He got a huge grin and said he hadn’t been carded in something like 40 years.

                So I followed through and made him show me his card, then told him it was obviously a fake (“You can’t fool me, you little punk”). A good laugh was had by all, and they left my lane with big smiles on their faces.

                1. Anything to brighten the day for someone; we all need it these days. Kudos to you!

                  1. Chuckle.

                    I’ve heard of this. Also a form where id is asked of someone obviously over 21, and ordering drinks, or in an area where no one under 21 is allowed. But the response to the delightful “Wow! Haven’t been carded in forever!” was “Just making sure if you qualify for the senor benefits you didn’t ask for” … Um? Ouch? I’ve been taking senor benefits 5 years before I qualified, because hubby qualified. Not my fault they presumed.

                    1. Hey, go with it! You should be able to use his benefits, and their assumptions are their problem.

                    2. Chuckle.

                      I did. This ended awhile ago. Only because time marched on and I’ve earned those benefits on my own.

                      The ONLY benefit I wish I’d been able to get is the National Park Senor Pass for $10, missed by “this much” (two years). Don’t get me wrong $80 for a one time fee is 100% worth it. But why? When hubby’s $10 pass works. Just have to have one per vehicle park entry. Now when he dies, I’ll have to get my own. Or if we go somewhere where it is foot or shuttle traffic only and his pass doesn’t apply to me. But that means it is crowded and we avoid those places. Note, it is signed (required). While they don’t always as for separate id, which they are suppose to do, they do check for the signature.

                    3. I didn’t know the Senior Pass wasn’t still available; I got mine back in ’07 or ’08 (maybe later; I’ve had it for quite a while) for $10. The AZ parks pass, OTOH, is about $80/year. Still worth it, but not as good a deal.

                    4. No. The Senor Pass is still available. It is *$80/life time (don’t lose or damage, not replaceable) pass now, not $10. Change came in Jan 2016. If one turned 62 sometime in 2017, the $10 cost still applied. I turned 62 in 2018 …

                      We get the Oregon/Washington Pass. The Senor Pass covers us for the Federal USFS road parking, but doesn’t cover us for the State ones. Which is a PIA to figure out which one applies on the Oregon and Washington Coasts. Easier to pay $30/year instead.

                      /* Or 3x $20 annual senor passes + $20 — Also, for veterans and active duty, they don’t have to wait until they are 62 to get a lifetime pass, which I think is free, but I’m not sure, so check (online or nearest National Park/Monument where pay to get in).

                      You do know that a lot of the National Park and National Forest camping fees are halved when you have the pass? Not all (Fishing Bridge YNP, isn’t).

                    5. Sorry; I saw the $80, and meant to say “not still available at the $10 price”. (“Wait, thought not applied to paper?!? Unpossible!” ๐Ÿ™‚
                      I wasn’t aware of the camping fee reduction, but it’s irrelevant; we still have all of our canoe-camping gear from the ’70s-’90’s, but it’s unusable due to my wife’s pretty severe arthritis. We could use a camper or camping trailer (actually had a popup back before moving from MD to AZ, but sold it), but finances forbid. Hey, we had a few decades of great times, so no complaints… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I’ve told the story before but I think it bears repeating.
    I was driving outside Columbus, Ohio, one sunny morning 20-odd years ago, when I realized the front corner of a very small car was in my lane. Upside down. And there was a broad swath of the median with bodies and personal gear scattered in a long diagonal.
    I pulled over and ran to the back of the truck to get the first aid kit. Before I could get back around the truck other cars were pulling over and people with professional bags were climbing out. I wound up handing out sterile pads and carefully pulling glass out of one guy’s hands while the pros handled everyone else. Thankfully noone was killed, and although a couple of people went to the hospital on boards, noone seemed to be seriously injured.
    The group was going from Philly to Indianapolis for an Assembly of God convention and had been driving all night.
    Somewhere in all this some asked me which unit I was from and I said, “I’m not with anyone, I’m just driving through from Alabama.” (Raised eyebrow but no comment).
    Went on helping pick up the group’s stuff, until I suddenly only me and the cleanup guy were still there. Got back in the truck and went to the next rest area, so I could wash up and sit for a minute.
    But there, outside town, the local EMTs swarmed like white blood cells over the wreck until everyone was taken care of. Because that what’s they do. And by the way? The EMTs were all white, and the carload of folks needing help were black. Didn’t matter.
    How many of these Twitter.atti would believe that today?

    1. More recent we were in Yellowstone along the Firehole River. Parked. Hubby wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing. Too busy looking for the “Next Shot” syndrome. He stumbled and fell. Everyone there, including me, ran over to make sure he was okay. Well I started to, 3 were nurses, I diverted to get our First Aid kit out of the vehicle. I let them exam him and handed the supplies they asked for (nurses). Note. Bruises and scrapes, including some long ones. Bleeding, because on medication where that is a side effect, but not excessive. Kit had the big bandages.

      A year later. We were at Custer National Monument. A woman went down. Again, everyone who saw what happened converged on her. Multiple ran to get a Ranger. Hubby was right there. I ran to get the first aid kit. She was transported to a local clinic but more for reasons of why she went down and she had evidence of hitting her head. Scrapes, bruised, bleeding, but not excessive. Fast forward a few hours, hubby also does a face plant. I wasn’t there, for reasons, he went back to the car ahead of Pepper & I, so I found out after all the excitement. He reported same result. They wanted to transport him too, but he refused. Reason was clumsy and not paying attention. He had a bruise on his cheek but that comes under point two below ๐Ÿ™‚

      Sometime ago we were in Rainer with son on bike slightly ahead of us. He fell off his bike. We weren’t the only ones who immediately ran to him. Campground, right after early evening campfire, so there were a lot of people. Dented (slightly) helmet, bloody nose, and chipped tooth. One of the responders was a pediatric GP. So, he was able to determine no transportation required (no broken nose). Small children bounce (he was 3).

      In all 4 cases the skin color of the individuals falling and those responding, and where people were from, did not matter. Neither did economic status (do not tell me only “rich” and “privileged” go to our national parks and monuments, that is not true). Age, maybe. One young child. Other two are “elderly”. But I don’t think so.

      Part two. Protect the camera no matter what … Hubby did, both times. Yes, sarcasm. I’d prefer less damage than he had, both times, because when he fell he made sure the camera, in his right hand, was not damaged, thus the scraped and bruised cheek the second time. He didn’t hit his head/cheek.

  9. Starting trying to think of cases of folks beating up the weak… and every one I can think of, it wasn’t an off the bat thing, there was a selection process.

    Like the monkey dance of testing, to see if this weak one is an acceptable target.

  10. A very American thing that never made the news was “too many volunteers” when that Amtrak derailed and abut 250 people were tossed around.
    When things happen, we help. Almost universally.
    If you go to a new place for any reason and you feel uncomfortable, that’s on you. Treat people right and you will be treated well, nearly 100% of the time. And I’ve tested that in a few places around the world.

    1. One thing that warmed my heart after 9/11 was the slightly desperate October PSAs from the Red Cross: “Guys? We have enough blood already. We have ALL THE BLOOD. Please donate something else? Just a little?”

      1. Iโ€™ve been in hurricanes and tornadoes and people are wonderful. Everyone looks for a way to help and give and serve.

  11. I think that being out in the lower population density areas causes a different behavior to arise. You help someone in need because there’s nobody else that will help them.

    I’ve run into that behavior several times when travelling in the US and Canada and parts of Britain. Most memorable was when my family was driving from Seattle to Anchorage – you’d often see signs saying “last gas for 250 miles” which were often optimistic. We had passed one of those maybe 75 miles ago when our vehicle collided with another rounding a blind corner. Their radiator was cracked, our fender was bent into the wheel. The adrenalin kept me from realizing how dire our situation was until much later. But the amazing thing to my young self was that every single vehicle that came along that road in either direction stopped to help. Over the course of an hour at least five people stopped – pulled the fender out so we could drive our vehicle, pulled the other car out of the road so nobody else might hit, and drove them to where they could get a tow truck to come out and get it. This was before the age of cell phones, but even now, I doubt that there would have been cell connection out there.

    Now think about how many times you’ve seen a car on the side of the road near your city where you just kept driving by because that is what you do where its crowded. Somebody else will help them.

    As for kids getting beaten up in school – I heard about all kinds of crap happening in the “inner city” schools. I didn’t run into much of it but did read about it in the news. My single bit of involvement was when my school soccer team played one of those inner city teams… I chased down a ball kicked passed our goal out of bounds to bring it back to put in play when one of their guys ran by and swept my feet from out from under me – out of bounds, out of play so completely unexpected.

    Another anecdote – my wife went to a school with a large population of POC. She was short, stout, and not POC. She was bullied by this crowd, and it was always a crowd. If you pushed back, the crowd was going to jump on you. There wasn’t anything that the school administration would do to stop it. And these were the ladies, not the guys.

    1. For a bit in NOLA the car by the side “broke” was bait. Didn’t last long as someone fired at them (crooks brought a knife to what turned out to be a gunfight), and the Cops started checking I610 more often (like multiple times and hour).

      1. “Carseat by the side of the road” and “lady with baby” were both things in the 70s, going from Oregon to Kansas.

        My grandmother was almost gotten, had a last second “wait, something’s wrong” and hit the gas, bunch of guys with knives tried to catch up to her car as she sped off.

      2. yes, that was going to be the point i was going to make to Sarah: they write about these things happening because they do happen in places that they control. IT ends up if you spend decades dividing people into smaller and smaller groups and telling them that the other group hates you, people start to believe it.

    2. I haven/t done it often, because it is really something ill-advised to do. Especially for a woman alone in a car.

      Picked up a father with a toddler walking along Hwy 101, took to nearest pay phone (had passed an empty vehicle along side the road pulled off in an inappropriate spot). This was before cell phones.

      Picked up a woman with kids, again stalled car, took them home. She wanted to get the kids off the expressway. She didn’t have a cell phone and either my son or husband had ours (before we each had one).

      Husband and I picked up some people broken down, in the middle of nowhere. Had cell phones, did not have have any bars. Took them to where they could get help. Granted, they road in the back of the pickup, under the canopy, with the tailgate back window up VS cab. Reason? Well, not stupid. But reason we gave? Our German Shepard would have taken “exception”.

      1. I’ve picked up only once, two young women when I was driving alone. They only wanted to get to the nearest gas station; this was the outskirts of Denver, 225 I think, and the exits are a couple of miles apart at that point. They were pleased because they didn’t want to get in the car of someone more likely to be a hazard to them.

        I don’t think anything of walking a couple of miles at the drop of a hat, but a lot of people find that a long way.

        1. Agree. Even as out of shape I am in now, I wouldn’t find a couple of miles there and back hard. Irritating. Not hard. OTOH with a toddler in tow, or with 3 young children, or on a highway in the middle of nowhere, first and last, more than a couple of miles from help? Not so much.

      2. I think I’ve mentioned here before that about 18 years ago, I took a summer and walked from Nebraska to West Virginia, along the rural highways. I avoided the more dangerous areas in the bigger cities as much as possible. I made it a practice to walk on the left hand side of the road, against traffic, in order to discourage offers of rides (I was hiking, not hitchhiking). I got them anyway. I only thumbed a ride once…and that was to cross the Mississippi when the nearest bridge that allowed pedestrians to cross was ten miles out of my way. I got unsolicited donations of food, money, and offers to stay the night. I got extra scrutiny, not all of it friendly, from law enforcement, but the worst incident I brought on myself, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone else, especially not for a woman, and won’t ever do it again, but not because it was a bad experience. No beatings.

  12. I ‘m firmly in the camp of those who think children are junior barbarians until they are properly civilized…because several of the kids in my small town were, and I was at the very bottom of the social pecking order. But it wasn’t because I was a stranger: lt was because I was a known, safe, and easy target. As we got older, most of us learned there were other ways than fistfights to establish social dominance or resist being bullied.

    1. I was the target-of-choice for six and a half years. Plump, nerd, female, only hung out with the no-other-group nerds . . . And people wonder why I don’t worry about missing high school reunions. eye roll

        1. Pa once wrote [DECEASED – RETURN TO SENDER] on an HS Reunion invitation. Someone saved it and showed it to him, years later. “Yeah, we got the idea you didn’t want to be bothered.” I might have gotten one such invitation, but I suspect they simply lost track of me and that’s fine by me.

      1. Tallest kid in the class, skinny, nerd before there were nerds, female, teacher’s pet (because I could talk to teachers about things that interested me)…best outcome was to be shunned. Worst involved spitting, shoving, tripping.
        However, once I hit high school I didn’t exactly become popular but the shunning stopped. I might consider hitting the 50th reunion next year.

        1. My 50th is in two years. Haven’t been since 10th. I’m 3 (?) miles from the HS I graduated from.

        2. Most of the kids managed to act like reasonable facsimiles of human beings when they became sophomores.

          That’s not much incentive to go to reunion.

  13. I can see ammo for that “beat up the newcomer” meme coming from a mis-telling of a story I heard when I was in rural northern Idaho:

    Yahoo moves there because he had “learned” from the media that northern Idaho was a White Supremacist’s stronghold, with white hoods and swastikas’ on sale at every gas station.

    Shortly after arriving he went to a local bar to have some brews, when horror of horrors a black man walks in! He immediately starts harassing him, telling him his kind don’t belong there. Black man looks at him, snorts and starts walking out, whereupon new guy grabs him and says “don’t turn your back on me boy!”. That’s when the fight started.

    Newbie was getting pummeled and started calling for help and couldn’t understand why the rest of the good old boys in the bar weren’t jumping in to help him.

    When the Deputy arrives he finds newbie on the ground with Black man sitting on him. Newbie is outraged to find the Deputy putting cuffs on him. And asking Black man “you OK John?” “Yeah, punk’s mouth wrote checks he couldn’t cash”. And the whole bar came forward to back up John’s version of events, with the caveat that they didn’t beat up Newbie because John was doing fine. John, being a local EMT had more credibility than Newbie who went to jail and apparently slunk out of the area shortly after.

    I’m sure Newbie’s version of events was how he was beat up for being a new guy.

    1. There are places in the world where being beaten up for not being local is more plausible than it would be elsewhere. I mean, I’d believe it of the Balkans sooner than I would of most rural places in Canada for instance. But I doubt the movie Sarah ran across was filmed in Sarajevo or had a bunch of “Bob Roberts” style pseudonyms in the end credits.

  14. the father is a buffoon, or inept.. this – this is why I can’t watch 2/3’s of sit-coms

    1. Can’t stand those either. To me, undermining the father archetype is a much more dangerous narrative than “people can be mean and unfair, proceed with caution.”

      1. The one that I hate even more than the ‘father as buffoon’ is when both the parents are idiots, and the children are the all-wise, tolerant and all-knowing.
        Yeah, Hollywood – thanks for undermining me as a responsible parent.

  15. Shrug. For me, “Rule of Drama” and “Rule of Cool” trump realism in fiction most of the time. Naturalistic and anti-melodramatic fiction is something very few writers can pull off and far, far, FAR too many aspire to.

    Less of that special persecuted misfit baloney in middle grade/young adult fiction? I’m all for that, but writers have been peddling that particular trope since Louisa May Alcott invented Jo, so it’s got to be kind of an uphill battle for those trying to steer those reading categories in a different direction.

    1. No. What I objected to is the TROPE. People — including kids ten years older — were beating this kid because…. no reason given other than “just moved in.”
      That’s not decent story telling.

        1. There is no such thing as a stupid action. There is only an action where insufficient motive has been delineated.

      1. I recall, back when Rush Limbaugh had a TV show, watching it and he spent seeming ages re-airing something from CSPAN, to be sure it was all in context (multiple times telling the viewer[s] to be patient…) and at long last was the ‘payoff’ line that some Senator/Congressman said.

        The next day the guy was claiming he was taken out of context.

  16. Having been moved around more times than is good for a kid, in my experience, the new kid is just ignored. Of course this had the effect of turning me into a very shy person. Only one place was there physical bullies. They were only my age. The older kids never saw younger kids as existing. This was a weird point of my life, I cried out after being hit, how I wouldn’t beat up on someone weaker than me, which meant they could beat me up, but would always be inside weaker than I was.

    I will always remember that moment, because at that moment I made a good friend of a fellow hurting child. It was the beginning of being the good kid running with a bunch of bad kids. Because they weren’t really bad kids, but kids in hard situations, just like I was. Of course, we moved again the next year, and I have no clue what happened to them. It was only a year, but I remember hanging out at lunch with them fondly.

  17. https://redstate.com/streiff/2022/07/08/joe-biden-repeats-story-of-a-10-year-old-rape-victim-denied-abortion-but-is-this-story-even-real-n591259

    Hey Banshee,

    You are in Ohio, and you follow true crime a lot.

    This story about a ten year old in Ohio who just so happened to be raped /AND/ impregnated with the exact timing to ‘challenge’ Ohio’s abortion law after it would go into force, and after the ‘allowed’ period. I have questions.

    Ten year old would have been in someone’s custody in early June. Did that someone know about the rape then? Why, or why not?

    If they knew about the rape then, and procured the abortion later, why not before the big well publicized legal trial?

    If they did know know about the rape then, when did persons having her in their custody learn, and how did they learn?

    The decision making process of persons having her in their custody is a little bit interesting. They find out about the rape. They either are, or are not cooperating with a police investigation into the rape. They make a decision to procure an abortion, and conclude that there will be legal consequences to procuring it in Ohio. They move her across state lines, and procure the abortion in Indiana.

    What about the potential legal consequences of moving a minor sexual assault victim across state lines?

    If whoever holds custody is not cooperating with an active police investigation, they might have some liability under SESTA. If they are cooperating with a Ohio police investigation, then they might have information about whether they would be prosecuted in Ohio about the abortion, but then there are questions about needing to federalize the investigation because of moving the victim across state lines. If they were cooperating with a federal investigation, how did they have so much information about what the Ohio legal system would know about, and prosecute. And, if this had a joint state/federal investigation, why on earth did they permit the information to leak so publicly?

    SESTA would seem to allow for civil liability in cases of moving minor sexual assault victims across state lines. But, IIRC at the state and local level, only attorney generals can file, it does not retain the ‘pro se’ filing that the original version had.

    So there is a basic question why Todd Rokita and Dave Yost are not publicly acting.

    How many ten year olds in Ohio were raped in mid May?

    More broadly, how many Democrats are raping ten year olds in Ohio?

    1. Banshee,
      You can disregard the question.

        I woke up too early, and didn't think through the implications of asking you for more information about such a disgusting matter.
      
        I meant the questions as being partly rhetorical, so maybe we can treat them as entirely rhetorical?
      
        My thought is that there are three explanations for the claim, each much more probable than the next.  1. Disgusting lie. 2. There is an abortion industry adjacent conspiracy, probably mostly Democrats, to sexually assault minors in states with abortion laws, and traffic them across state lines in order to try to 'build a case' for preserving or reinstating the abortion industry's legal carve outs.  3.  The claim was truthful, and a result of ordinary levels of child rape without any conspiracy involving the abortion industry.  Three is at least as much less likely than two as two is less likely than one.  
      
       The folks arguing 'but what about the ten year old', are discarding 1.  That leaves us with the question of 2 or 3, and occurrence numbers for ten year old pregnancies are low enough that the chance of three is vanishingly unlikely.
      
    2. Of course Biden mentioned her: she was looking to terminate the “presidency”, after all.

      1. She wouldn’t be alone in wanting to terminate this presidency. ๐Ÿ˜›
        โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”
        Harris-und-Biden were never elected โ€” they were installed, like a toilet and a bidet. Unlike them, a couple of plumbing fixtures would actually be useful.

  18. When I first got to rural county seat town n Oregon I went into a bar and grill for dinner. Just spent the winter in Minnesota-pale Nordic I went into a bar & grill for dinner and got a very stand-offish reception. Not hostile, just ‘not from around here’. Went back a couple of days later with new co-workers familiar to the crowd and everything was fine.

    About a year later, I saw an article by the female half of a mixed-race couple who’d walked into that very bar while rusticating in the sticks and gotten the same stand-offish reaction. Racists! Troglodytes! Rubes! Unwashed, mouth-breathing rednecks!

  19. Speaking from personal experience, the beating of an elementary kid by a bunch of high schoolers usually doesn’t happen just because the kid is new. It happens because the kid refuses to acknowledge he’s on the shit end of the pole. This behavior shows up frequently in social primate groups like baboons, chimpanzees, and macaques. You either win, lose or die.

    1. It’s hard for me to imagine a bunch of high school boys even noticing an elementary school boy. When I was in high school it would have been like we weren’t even in the same universe. Maybe it’s more of a small town thing?

      1. Well, getting jumped and beaten by a gang who pile out of a car when you’re walking home isn’t much fun either. The world would have been a different place if I hadn’t internalized a significant portion of a Christian conscience; and there would have been noticeably fewer people in it.

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