The Insanity Is Not New

Popular entertainment may be derpier than it seemed, when looked upon from the future.

So, I have a confession to make: when I first came to the States, I spent a lot of time watching sitcoms. Mostly because they provide a counterfeit of everyday life in the US and I was curious about that (and didn’t fully — though I suspected — realize it wasn’t a good counterfeit.) Partly because they’re brain candy I could get Dan to sit in front of in the evening, and we could cuddle. Look, this was our first five years of marriage. After that we gave up TV for lent and lent lasted 15 years. (The truth is I was usually reading while “watching” so not much has changed.)

One of our regular ones was family ties, even though the politics annoyed me, even back then (both sets because the “conservative” son was a caricature. As are all of these.) In fact part of the fun was heckling the screen, and now I think back, it was probably the beginning of Dan’s political conversion. (Not that he was ever left, but you could say when I married him he was a RINO, mostly through not paying a lot of attention to politics.)

Anyway, I always knew the show was bizarrely political and frankly delusional, but now, when we find ourselves with one of the tv services with an entire channel devoted to family ties, we sometimes have it on in the background while Dan is reading, and I’m doing something or other on the computer in the evening. Mostly honestly, so we can go “wow, we wore that stuff, didn’t we? Oh, remember when no one had cell phones?” That type of thing.

We don’t pay close attention, because when we do I tend to start screaming, and Dan remembers all too clearly the 2012 presidential campaign and the shoe that almost broke the TV. (Not that I’d get that worked up over an old sitcom, though I wish they’d have a WKRP in Cincinnati channel.)

However here’s the thing: I remember Family Ties as being political particularly around the elections, but I didn’t remember HOW political it was, nor how ridiculously clumsy.

We’re used to thinking of message writing now as being over the top, and the writing employed in those not very good, assuming the conclusion, instead of having the reader live the message.

After the episode we watched (me with dropped mouth and occasional cackles not at the points the writers’ expected) yesterday, I wonder if it was always that bad, and we just didn’t notice because everything was that bad. We were receiving all our fiction all our tv and all our movies from one side, so shows like Family Ties, which assume that every decent caring person is of course a leftist loon seemed middle of the road.

In other words, I wonder if entertainment has gotten that much worse and more politicized (other than the fact that the left has dived full throttle into clown world, but even that I’m not sure is new) or if we’re noticing more because we in fact have other alternatives.

(Kind of like cancel culture was always around. Even back in the eighties I knew that whispers of my being “right wing” would mean I’d never work in writing. (Okay, whichever company Jim Baen worked at at the time excepted, but not too strongly, because the distributors were still left.) I think a lot of other people, including in places you wouldn’t think of, had the same secret knowledge. You just couldn’t talk about it aloud, because no one believed you. Or everyone pretended not to. Now the masks are off. And therefore, to the unaware, things seem much worse, but its being public actually makes it better.)

So, yesterday it was the Equal Rights Amendment episode probably done as the deadline for ratification was closing.

I had a very vague memory of what it was — look it up. I couldn’t find a source that really explained why it was a bad idea, other than the fact that women already have equal rights under the law (And frankly I could write why it’s a bad idea, but we’ll just get lost in the weeds) — and quickly looked it up, and then my jaw dropped as I watched the craziness and incompetent story telling.

The conceit is that Alex — conservative son — is trying to date the hot high school feminist (even in the eighties, this was very much a fiction. At least when it came to activism.) So he pretends to be a supporter of ERA which she’s pushing for.

After myriad farcical developments, they go to a political action meeting. In which things that concern the feminists of today terribly, like the fact that women “don’t have equal pay” (a complete lie) are brought up. (One painfully huge canard is that a college educated woman back then made less than a blue collar guy. Uh uh. I’ll give you a secretary made less than say an undersea welder, but that’s a highly specialized profession requiring training and visual acuity, not your average blue collar profession.) I was highly amused at hearing the injustice that women aren’t paid by domestic labor brought up. This amuses me because old communists are still stuck on it. This is because communists don’t understand economics and never will. Women are paid for domestic labor when they do it for pay and for other people to whom it is a value to have the women do it. When they do it in their own houses, and for their own families, they’re paid too in a way. It’s a savings not to pay someone else to do it. It’s also a savings (in health, mental and physical, if nothing else) not to live in filth and refuse. If women — and I suppose men — are going to be paid for improving their own surroundings, who is going to do it? who has enough of an interest in it to pay for it? The government? So, what you’re proposing is that the government confiscate money from taxpayers, regardless of gender, and then give it back to taxpayers in return for performing every day tasks adults do anyway. How would this be administered? “Honey, the sink inspector is here! He’ll give you a shiny dollar if the sink is clean!” The entire thing is farcical.

BUT more farcical of all is the fact that the amendment wouldn’t in fact do any of that. The amendment was a bit of a dead letter, guaranteeing women equal treatment under the law. Which, last I checked they’re allowed as citizens of the United States. So at best the amendment was unneeded. At worst it was handing the government another mallet to beat us with by bringing it where it didn’t belong. Which is why it was opposed mostly by women who realized it could be brought to literally erase the privileges of womanhood. What privileges, you ask: well, things like not being drafted. Or getting maternity leave, instead of having to drop the kid on the factory floor. Or having a dedicated bathroom, and dedicated sports teams.

The amendment shouldn’t have endangered those, but we’ve seen what lawyers do to things, and well, equal under the law is equal under the law. You want to be equal, right, comrade? Procrustes never sleeps.

But none of this is ever mentioned in the episode. Instead you get fairytales about women being paid for folding laundry and going grocery shopping.

At the political action meeting, the conservatives who oppose the amendment are of course caricatures, shouting about women going back into the kitchen. Even the supposedly activist speaker against, is this grandmotherly woman who is an obvious strawman to be knocked down, and mutters something about how women shouldn’t want to be equal to men, or some such rot.

So, of course, the unwashed opponents, who want women to just shut up (by that point I was on their side, with respect to the women characters in the episode) start throwing things, and Alex (still intent on the score, as a teen boy should be) defends the feminist speaker.

And then suddenly all the brave feminists are in jail. Not the people who threw things, mind you, but the brave and oh, so leftist speakers.

And I’m sitting there blinking. “They’re in jail for what? For being complete twats? I wish that were a crime.”

Dan was laughing his head off at my commentary. But seriously. What sense does that make, other than leftists cosplaying victimhood. “America is evil and throws women who want to be paid for doing the dishes into jail. Oh, woe!”

This is never explained, of course. It is all dissolved into Alex’s need to come clean, so he’s not deceiving this woman. In the end, he confesses and she leaves and he says he’s lost a “really good woman, committed and smart.” And I’m going “She should be committed. And smart as compared to what sack of rocks.”

This isn’t the first episode that had this effect. (Don’t get me started on when the parents talk about their activist past. Don’t.) It was however the most egregious, both in being about a political theme, and in not bothering to actually tell a story that supported their point, possibly because in their addled Marxist minds, “All right thinking people must agree with us. We just need to encourage them.”

Their story telling was always broken, apparently. It’s part of their broken logic and not understanding how the world works. It’s just more obvious today, because they’re not even pretending, and because we have alternatives.

Oh, as a final funny: when I was looking up the amendment, I came across the fact Virginia ratified it (50 years after the deadline expired!) because well, you know, women need equal rights, to prevent #metoo. Because, apparently, standing up against unwanted and unethical behavior from men requires a constitutional amendment saying you’re equal.

They’re really convinced that “Let it be written, let it be done” is a thing and words are magic, aren’t they.

There will always be bad men. There will always be bad women. Some of their badness will be sexual. Defending yourself against that doesn’t require the federal government. I could defend myself against that type of behavior at 12 by kicking, slapping, punching, and using a very long hat pin that grandma had given me.

I can’t even begin to understand people who want the government to pay them for shining their sink and come tut tut the bully who just tried to feel them up.

Their headlong flight from adult responsibility brought us here. And things are going to get very ugly before they can be brought to a semblance of reality.

But hey, it’s now crystal clear they were always that stupid. We just couldn’t see it, because we had no means of communicating, were isolated and thought we were alone.

In some ways, for all its worries, today is better than yesterday.

May the trend continue.

359 thoughts on “The Insanity Is Not New

  1. So, I’m all for equality, I understand that perceived inequity of wages usually boils down to genders making different choices about employment.
    And it’s generally felt that mixing men and women as front line troops is not an optimal approach for best practice. Israel tried it and decided to back off except in an extreme last resort situation.
    But I still think that it’s a bit unfair and sexist that at 18 boys must register for selective service and girls do not. To me it should be a right of passage for a citizen, akin to registering to vote for the first time. An expression of loyalty to this country.

    1. If they demand the pay averages be equal across the board, then I demand the deaths on the job averages be brought up to equity as well.
      They never seem to go for that one.

      1. I noticed that, too. Strange. Nor do they want equality in things like garbage collectors (which my town in in desperate need of. They just officially halved garbage collections to certain parts of the city because half the trash collection and related jobs are open.)

        1. Before the city changed garbage haulers, mine was often picked up by a woman. Might be why they dropped the weight limit to 25lbs/bag and wanted to limit it to 2 bags from the old 3 ( it was at 3 bags @ 35lbs when I moved up here.) and they stopped allowing placing the bags in cans (much of the town is infested with Raccoons, Skunks, Ravens, Crows, and Gulls) I think they were adjusting for her ability and adjusted themselves out of a contract.

          1. We’ve had the mechanical claws for decades around here. Roll the can to the curb and the truck picks it up, no lifting required. I can’t imagine that there’s any major physical barrier to women for the job, but I also don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman driving a truck.

            1. Ditto. If too heavy for the claws, then the can doesn’t get picked up. Mostly that tends to happen with the yard debris can. (My response has always been “Wait? What? I rolled the can out!”, whether true or not, which calls BS because, a) woman, b) out of shape. Suddenly a different truck has no problems picking up the can.) The only items that aren’t claw picked up is glass, in an approved garbage company box. Our garbage company is family owned. I’ve never paid attention to who the drivers are.

              In the early ’80s, our first full tax year we went to a tax accountant (back then income averaging was a thing, is it still now?) We had the same job. First question was why not the same income? Mine was slightly smaller. Answer – He had worked more overtime. The next year, my income was slightly higher because I had worked more overtime. Jobs were salary, not exempt (paid OT on over 8 hours/day, no loss of pay if no work assignment on a weekday). It depended on where we were each assigned. Everyone got shuffled regularly. Everyone did the same job. Just how many hours at each job (7 – 3? or 6 – 5?).

            2. My brother once described the truck he drove at work as having “armstrong steering”. If power steering is an optional accessory, (never mind that truck drivers are frequently required to load and unload their vehicles, with hand trucks and grunt and heft) then no, this isn’t what most women are thinking of when they want equality opportunity employment.

              1. That’s why the steering wheels on older vehicles, especially trucks, were so large. You needed the extra leverage to muscle that wheel over!

              2. My Ma’s cousin used to drive team with her Ex hubby, but he was too slow so she got her own truck. Depends on the job on how much lifting you do. All theirs was hook and go, drive and drop trailer. I also know of a guy with deformed arms (co-workers called him T-rex arms until that one Geico? commercial about a Crocagator not being able to pick up a check) and they went with Gator Arms) driving tankers. No way he does that in an old Armstrong truck, and the company only sends him to places that hook to the load themselves

            3. Neither city here uses the rolling bins. I think I’ve seen the bin claw truck at the latest company’s Green Bay offices, so someone down there uses them. Waste Management had the contract and own the landfill north of Menominee. I don’t know who does Marinette now, was WM as well, but I’ve not seen the local pickup in process for some time. So even though we used to have the same company doing it, they have more they pick up and they do yard waste as well. WM did a monthly Heavy Items day, but I don’t know if that still stands with GAD/GFL, but Menominee never does yard waste. They do Xmas trees on one day and if you miss it, bring it to the yard waste lot.
              The local Concrete company has a Teen looking girl driving one of their trucks. Looks like a blonde cheerleader.

    2. Starship Troopers did have the theme of if you want a say in your government, i.e. voting or elected office, then you have to put your life on the line for it. There was no selective service, it was all volunteer. Sex was irrelevant, but in Heinlein’s book, not the movie, the jobs for women were not the same as the jobs for men. Of course, the only women roles mentioned by RAH were for starship captains and officers, not infantry; but the implication was opportunities were there, or created, for people of lesser physical ability, such as a blind man counting the hairs on a caterpillar.

      The emotional attachments men form with each other in combat units isn’t the same as the emotional attachments men form with women if they are in combat units together. For one thing, they tend to distract each other from alertness to the surroundings that’s necessary for combat readiness. (The number of “love-struck” bucks taken during hunting season while watching a doe or two not surprising.) For another, men make far more different decisions when a woman, any woman, is placed in peril, than they do if the other person was a man. Going off “half-cocked” has more meanings than just not having the hammer on your firearm pulled all the way back.

      1. One point of the book was that no matter how physically limited you might be, they would find something for you to do. But it was something the nation needed, not something you got to choose for yourself. You could put in requests but, like we were told when filling out assignment preferences in the military “The needs of the Air Force come first.”

      1. Worth the mention that the US draft was abolished in 1973 though the Selective Service registration requirement for males was reinstituted again in 1980 due at least in part to the Soviet invasion of Afganistan.
        Personally I am very proud of our all volunteer services, while disturbed by the politicization of so much of the senior officer corps.

          1. There are a few West Point Alumni who are of similar opinion as you. They’ve submitted official complaints to the DoD about the significant socio-political problems at West Point. I don’t expect ANYONE in the DoD to do anything more than toss the letter in the file. The only question is, will it be a file drawer, some obscure computer subdirectory, or the round file?

            1. They’ll keep it on file in case they ever need an excuse to go after him.
              He’s a lumberjack, and he’s OK.

    3. Various studies have shown that the wage gap is almost entirely a motherhood gap. If she doesn’t have kids then a woman will earn within the margin of error of a man at an equivalwnt job/qualifiactions/experience. Depending on how you slice the comparisons she can be earning anything from 5-10% more to 5-10% less and it literally depends on how the researcher divides the data in buckets

      On the other hand, as soon as she becomes a mother her earnings drop relative to men. That’s because, almost entirely, she works less hard because she’s doing the mother thing and that is often in large part a personal preference rather than an enforced decision.

      There is strong evidence from countries like the Nordic ones that even when there is no penalty of social stigma for men being house-husbands etc. the majority of couples prefer to have the man out earning the big bucks and the woman at home more bringing up the family

      1. When I got my tenure-track job, in a field historically dominated by men, I negotiated for a higher salary than what was offered and got it. The man hired at the same time did not negotiate and got a lower salary. So, I’ve been unclear on how I was less valued…

      2. I’d imagine that the earning potential can rise again with more companies getting telecommuting figured out (finally.) I have been re-hired for part of the year for the photography studio that employed me prior to my having kids, and because it’s a task-based job, I can literally do the work from home while the kids are at school, and sometimes supplement when they’re home and otherwise doing things. I’m not up to full-time hours, but my pay is based on the job and my experience, not my gender. (To be honest, the workforce seems to be 60-40 female at this company, and that’s just how the hiring fell in recent years. And we’re all task-focused types, which makes for a nice dynamic when I actually get to see the others in person.)

        1. It likely will. The data I saw on this was all from a few years back and hence pre-covidiocy.

          OTOH it does seem like the covidiocy nonsense has caused a significant number of mothers to decide that leaving the workforce entirely to be a full time mother/housewife is fine. Which is something that a) I’m fine with and b) I suspect the proggies are not happy about

          1. I know a few couples where they decided the husband stayed home with the children. We didn’t quite make that decision. Instead hubby declined overtime jobs, which suited his colleagues just fine. Job rotations are suppose to be balanced so everyone can have access to the higher paying OT jobs. He’d work 6 to 2 or 7 to 3, depending on the job, limiting the time the kid was in daycare in the afternoon. I’d prep the kid for school and drop him off at school in the morning. I was the one who took work “off”, if kid had to be home (because even then I could work at home, if needed). Before he was in school, we called daycare as play school. We vetted the school in question, hard. I know we’d wouldn’t make the same choices today (I’d look for work at home options only); and we’d be home schooling.

            1. Humans are not identical so not everyone fits the sweeping generalization. But when looked at in aggregate the revealed preference shown by actions taken is that the women are the ones more likely to work fewer hours etc. when raising a family.

            2. My dad left Union Oil back in the early ’60s in part because, as the bachelor in the office, he got all the overtime and weekend assignments. The married guys all protected each other from that.

              1. My boss at the time (late 80s) had me doing TDY on pubs projects, then he’d transfer the job to another woman (of the same ethnicity) so she finished it and got credit for the page count. She was a single mother while I was married but childless. One job was supposed to be for three weeks. When it became clear the job was going to drag on (and on) I did something out of character: I sent a memo up the chain to the division chief. I noted my boss was saying he had noone else to send (I was subbing for a single guy that time – I was told he was, “incapacitated,” which meant he’d been beaten up in a bar fight. I did not find this out from the boss). I think the job had already gone for a month, and one week had been busywork because he refused to let me come home. In fairness, it was the cusp of the new fiscal year when funds could dry up.
                I was called home and the single mom came out for what turned into another month. The irony was she WANTED to travel; her son was in his teens and his grandmother was able to take care of him. A few weeks later I was transferred to another section. Probably a relief to both of us.

              2. When we started, me first Monday after last final, we did go after all the overtime we could get. We started in debt just to be able to take the jobs (to parents, but still in debt), beyond student loans. Then there was the whole annual lack of work layoffs for a “few years” (um, not so much, but we didn’t know that then). But 11 years later … he was the first one, ever, to request no overtime work. By then the weekend work was long history (when the ship side went away). Plus they got paid 8 hours straight, so 7 – 4 or 5, was 1 to 2 hours overtime.

                When he was forced transfer out of home area (Eugene, by then), we looked really, really, hard at having him quit. Since I wasn’t working (that last long layoff), we couldn’t work it out. Kid was in HS by then. Hubby was firm (wouldn’t consider it) on moving kid at this point. At that point it came down to at worse he had to be up there for 25 months (until he turned 55). Then the union got a pack that forced transfers had first rights to transfer back in to their old areas … Or he wasn’t the only one forced transferred north (they had 6 or 9 living in family RV’s at the small RV park). He was the one commuting the farthest home on weekends, but he wasn’t the only one. He was there for 17 months. Company then lost the contracts 3 years later. Even if we had moved with him fall 2003, by 2009 we’d been moved again. Company had dropped the “we’ll pay for forced moves” in the late ’90s. They never did offer anything more than pay for the actual move. No extra relocation expenses on either end.

    4. But I still think that it’s a bit unfair and sexist that at 18 boys must register for selective service and girls do not.

      As unfair and sexist as it is that women die from pregnancy related issues, and men do not.

      And that’s not meant glibly– I’m serious.
      It is sexist, in that it is different depending on nothing but sex of the groups. And there’s not a whole lot of deaths that feel just.

      (And that’s from someone who, as you know, did sign up!)

      1. > “As unfair and sexist as it is that women die from pregnancy related issues, and men do not.”

        There’s an important difference, though: unless you’re talking specifically about rape pregnancies, pregnancy isn’t slavery or a violation of the constitution. You willingly signed up for that risk when you chose to have sex.

    5. > “But I still think that it’s a bit unfair and sexist that at 18 boys must register for selective service and girls do not. To me it should be a right of passage for a citizen”

      Um… Being forced to sign up for slavery should be considered a rite of passage?

  2. As Benjamin Franklin said 250 years ago in Poor Richard’s Almanac, “Nothing is constant except change.” Which was repetition of what Heraclitus and dozens of others said over previous centuries. Still true, though.

    TV, back in the ’70s and ’80s was, well, absolute dreck, all of it, and it hasn’t changed a lot. The presentation has changed, certainly, as technology and production values improved but the Hollywood Lefty messaging is still there. As example, Netflix’s Lincoln Lawyer, a well done TV show massaged out of Michael Connelly’s Micky Haller books. Interesting and enjoyable, certainly, but the lesbian and homosexual marriages and relationships are dropped in the viewer’s lap with nary a missed beat.

    As for what’s on the “usual” video sources, what little I’ve seen of it – no cable or satellite, just a cheap broadcast antenna, and my deep lifelong addiction to the printed word interferes with watching video anything, even YouTube crap – appears to be the 1080p version of Family Ties” and CHiPs, et al with better hairstyles and less ridiculous clothing (although, I, too, would appreciate a “WKRP all the time” channel, if for no other reasons than Doctor Johnny Fever, Les Nessman and Baily Quarters, and FWIW, I heard on Sirius that Jan Smithers turned 73 last week. Time flies).

    Ran across an article online recently, can’t remember where, that two shows – Modern Family and Will and Grace – are credited with providing critical advancement to the gay marrriage agenda. That television has great propaganda value is a given, and it’s beyond sad that the political and social Right has completely failed to grasp that precept. True, nearly nothing of anything conservative could, or will, come out of Hollywood, but there are other creative venues, and other creative people; Rush Limbaugh for years recommended – to solidly deaf ears – that conservatives buy teen and women’s magazines and introduce those populations to conservative and solidly America ideas.

    The missed opportunities abound, and we’re paying for it. And about to pay quite heavily more soon, I suspect.

    1. Meh. I’m not a social conservative as a whole. Or at least not in terms of imposing it on other people. Other than being co-opted by Marxists I don’t particularly care if people are gay, provided they’re decent human beings. (And there’s a lot of them, some of whom read this blog regularly.)
      Will and Grace was annoying because it pushed the lefty line every chance, not because some characters were gay. There were more objectionable things. And there are.
      I’m more concerned with conformity imposed from above than private choices.

      1. I remember back a decade ago (or more) a gay media specialist pointing out that he’d know gays were accepted by Hollywood when you had great characters who happened to be gay, not “Oh, look! Here’s our Fabulous Gay Character!” One of the bad guys on The Wire might be the first one to fit that category, and he’s sui generis as far as I can tell.

        1. Larry Correia got no end of flak for his flaming gay villain in the second Dead Six book. “Noooo, you can’t have a gay bad guy! REEEEEE!!”

        2. Case in point, the new (and late) Tom Swift TV Show.

          Their Tom Swift was black, rich and gay with the producers Making A Big Deal of that.

          It quickly died. 😈

          1. I missed that, and from your description of it I am glad that I did.

            Looking it up in Wiki I find that it was on The CW in 2022, which explains everything wrong with it.

            1. Heh. There is a reason they went bankrupt and are being either bought by someone (don’t remember who) or being severely pared down by WB. None of them actually want to SAY “get woke go broke” but…

        3. Friends had the not-main-character lesbian in the mid to late 90s. And a lot of “no-homo”ing between the male characters, but that’s pretty standard stuff for guys to do, none of it was ever malicious.

          One thing I liked about the Flash and Arrow shows, before they went off the deep end, was the gay characters, like Captain Singh or Mr. Terrific, were just people. Then the show-runners on League of Legends decided to make “being gay” Sarah Lance’s only personality. Never mind that she was an opportunist who used her sexuality as a weapon and shield with both guys AND girls, which is a far more interesting set of stories to tell, or have available. Nope, being gay and reminiscing about how women and lesbians especially have been oppressed all through history (it’s a time travel show) are the only things interesting about her. Well, that and being a scrawny badass assassin.

            1. Being gay is not a personality trait. Especially when it’s often just an excuse for sexy woman-loving.

              1. Precisely. Though I don’t seem to write lesbians. I think the back of my brain doesn’t believe in them, even though I have lesbian friends. It’s a personality defect of mine.
                BUT n, it’s not a personally trait. My characters who are gay make the left scream and writhe and call me homophobic, because frankly it’s not the center of their lives.

            2. It’s what the Critical Drinker calls “The Message” and why I’ve been watching anime and k-dramas.

      2. The problem with this is that those who are governed by their sexual desires and nothing else will never be satisfied with “tolerance”.They will require approval, and enforce conformity, first through disapproval and ostracism, then boycotts, lawsuits and financial penalties, then eventually imprisonment and even death for anyone who dares oppose them. These are not separate issues. We see Elizabeth Warren, who opposes Crisis Pregnancy centers because they offer alternatives to abortion, and whose stance on this matter has nothing to do with women’s health and everything to do with enforcing ideological conformity. We see AOC, who approves staking out and harassing Supreme Court Justices because they made the ‘wrong’ decision, (God forbid that she should be ever confronted in public with a heckler herself.)
        ”No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of the generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he`s unchecked by custom, morals or laws, he may ruin his life [or the lives of others, I might add] before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.” (Will and Ariel Durant, “The Lessons of History 1968”)
        And this is what we are seeing, with the advent of pressure on youth and children to undergo a damaging and irreversible “transition” to the other sex before they have the maturity to make a really informed decision, and the outright persecution of those who see anything wrong with it. If “anything goes” between consenting adults, it will inevitably spill over to those who do not consent and are not adults.

        1. Yeah, being ruled by “the appetites we share with dogs” to quote rex stout is an issue, but not exclusively a gay one. And because there are more straight people, it’s doing more damage there.
          We need to fix the culture.

      3. As a raging heterosexual male I am in favor of the gay lifestyle and wish more men would embrace it.

        1. Indeed. Because you’d have way less competition. 😀
          I don’t think it’s healthy and I don’t think it should be pushed. But some people will ALWAYS be gay.

          1. As near as I can tell, it seems to be a trait common to all concealed ovulation species. As I understand it, dolphins will exhibit it, while rats, for example, only exhibit it when dosed with the incorrect hormones.

            Given it seems to be a negative trait for propagation, I suspect it’s a targeting anomaly caused by the secondary function in CO species, but don’t think anyone has really investigated it. I suspect people are afraid of finding out there are things we don’t really control very much.

        2. I used to think so too. The problem is that when you get over maybe 7 percent of the male population that way, there is a distinct feminization of the culture. Women come to prefer men who don’t live their lives as men, which means you get most of the men being like David Hogg or worse.

      4. This is why I shake my head when I hear so many very socially liberal people called conservative. I actually knew people in the Moral Majority faction. They all passed away decades back, but by their talk, they’d be shell shocked at what’s called conservative now.

        Me, I’m of the don’t scare the animals and make it a low bar in around children for those who must be shocking by some personality quirk or have areas were freak flags are ignored so you know what you are getting into. (I still love when young zoomers try to shock me and I’m “I worked in the French Quarter. In all its eras that’s an area with a freaking high bar to hit shock level.” Then I proceed to shock the daylights out of them just saying the debauchery I witnessed just walking to work or at work. Why pee all over the discount books? Why? We had a public restroom!)

  3. Funny that.

    How about saying the prosecutors are not allowed to offer plea bargains that let the wife off if the husband pleads guilty if it’s always that way.

  4. One thing I remember about those old sitcoms, is that those conservative main characters (Archie Bunker, Alex Keaton…) always became the most popular characters to the audience in their respective shows. Often to the consternation of the writers and producers.

    1. To be fair, in All in the Family leftwing Meathead was an even cruder caricature than Archie was and Archie was portrayed as having more common sense than the rest of the cast along well as his prejudices.

      1. meathead was just Reiner being Reiner, I don’t think he was a caricature at all, rather he was a quite accurate portrayal.

        I hated that bloody show.

      2. The “funny” thing about Meathead was how they “wrote him out” in Archie’s Place (the follow-up series).

        They had Archie’s wife die, but when Archie’s daughter (and child) entered the follow-up series, we learn that Meathead has left her and joined a commune (don’t remember if he started the divorce or if she started the divorce).

        IE It was definite that Meathead was at fault in the death of the Marriage.

        The writers didn’t kill him off, they made him the Bad Guy. 😈

    2. Case in point: my wife used to really like Parks & Rec when she was in college. She’s shown me a few clips from it, and Chris Pratt playing a goofy manchild is fun, but the best character is Ron Swanson. He’s a staunch libertarian who was apparently meant as a dig against libertarian / small-government beliefs, but he became the show’s runaway favorite character. There are some great quotes at — here are a few of my favorites:

      “Crying: Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.”

      “Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait … I worry what you heard was, ‘Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.’ What I said was, give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?”

      And, my all-time favorite: “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water that’s lying about being milk.”

      1. I’ve never seen Parks and Rec itself, but I saw a compilation of Ron Swanson quotes once. Favorite one (paraphrased from memory):

        “My idea of the perfect government is one guy sitting in a room, and the only ting he’s allowed to decide is who to nuke. Women are brought to him, when he desires it.” 😛

  5. Tim Allen’s show, “Last Man Standing” had the same flaws. Their big selling point was Tim’s character is a big conservative, but he was a caricature, a straw man, and never really defended his positions. The show had it’s good moments, but the political discourse was abysmal and very one dimensional….

    1. Honestly, I truly liked the younger daughter later on – she had an idea, worked her ass off, and turned it into a successful business despite the scorn of her more intellectual/progressive older sister. Hard to think of a more conservative plot arc.

  6. And that’s one of the reasons I pretty much stopped watching television altogether. The constant beating over the head with progressive messaging kept inducing the urge to vomit, repeatedly.

    1. Yeah. I’ve picked up the rather annoying habit of describing the political events shows are miming, and predicting plot elements based on it.

      But come on, when a show is obviously doing a Travon Martin’s mom character and setting her up as a rough hewn hero against the world, how can I resist point out what really happened?

        1. I honestly have no idea. I wandered by after it started, saw the setup setting up, called it out and the folks watching decided they’d watch it some time I wasn’t around.

  7. “I wonder if entertainment has gotten that much worse and more politicized (other than the fact that the left has dived full throttle into clown world, but even that I’m not sure is new) or if we’re noticing more because we in fact have other alternatives.”

    Short answer, Yes. At least for me. Long answer, I would these shows growing up and didn’t notice the “message”. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I noticed how anti-military M.A.S.H. actually was or the not-so-subtle message in many episodes of Quantum Leap. I was very aware of the obvious ones, but missed some of the others until I started rewatching the show a couple of years ago. What I see today on main-stream TV makes these shows look mild. I have not yet brought myself to watch some of the newer Trek. (although part of that is due to my violent reaction of them breaking with established ST history.)

    “Their headlong flight from adult responsibility brought us here. And things are going to get very ugly before they can be brought to a semblance of reality.”

    Sadly, my generation is one of the first to be fully brought up with Dr. Spock – which, imo, accelerated the deterioration of American youth with the emphasis on “feelings”, participation awards and selfishness. Fortunately, my mother didn’t buy into Dr. Spock. I think I was luckier than some of my peers.

      1. The clumsiness and “strawman has a point” of Family Ties were surprisingly good recruitment for the conservative movement at the time.

        They presumably had an effect on driving and maintaining NPC morale, but a significant portion of the audience saw the naked emperor.

      2. I’m one that usually missing those things, unless it is really obvious (like Star Trek’s Let that be your last battlefield) until something, or someone, brings it to my attention . Once I do see it, that is all I see. Just one of my ‘broken’ parts. 🙂

  8. Hey Sarah, The Euro just went to parity with the dollar and the dollar is likely to strengthen even more. Your dollar will go farther now in Portugal than it has in 20 years. You can ugly American with ease. 😉

      1. Yes, but now you have the right to ugly American. It’s soooo much fun.

        Do it before the euro goes to zero. Italy’s government fell, again, today.

  9. We’ve pretty much written off watching any contemporary American TV – we went to streaming video, usually older series, many of them foreign.
    Although my daughter is now watching Magnum, PI, and rather enjoying it. She says that the characters act like mature, well-adjusted adults, not mean middle-schoolers ripping each other for LOLs. The Critical Drinker had a video saying much the same, in contrasting the early Star Trek movies with the latest iteration.

    1. Been watching a lot of stuff posted up on YouTube, particularly c-dramas and k-dramas. As one article put it, those foreign dramas emphasize family and the triumph of good versus evil, versus Hollywood’s bland drumbeat of “inclusivity” (LGBT) and “moral ambiguity.”

      I’ve even heard people say that happy endings are “boring”.

      …Please, for goodness’ sake, let me have more of that kind of boring!

      1. Dan recently loved RRR, the Indian movie. Even though it manages to malign the English (who at the time were so so) if you think of the English in the movie as our would be elites, it’s ….. interesting.
        Anyway, it’s a big story with big stakes, like Hollywood no longer has any clue how to make.

        1. Indian cinema caricatures all Western cultures to varying extents, but especially the British, for reasons that should be moderately obvious to even the most diehard anglophile. The most nuanced portrayal of Brits I have seen from them was Kesari (about Sikhs in the colonial military) and the main difference was that the British colonel was a fairly reasonable sort, and even Token Bigoted White Guy was capable of honoring the main characters’ sacrifice.

          If you find any Indian movies that reference the Portuguese, run the other way. Indian cinema likes them even less than the Brits.

    2. There’s a few shows we really enjoyed that didn’t betray the viewers. Two that come to mind for us are CSI-NY and Person of Interest.

      Some shows rolled left or dropped completely into the gutter, at which point we found better things to do. I think we watched How I Met Your Mother as long as we did because of the tendency to watch a train wreck. I have no desire to watch any of the old espisodes again.

      We’ve picked up some of the British mysteries. We have the first 10 seasons of Vera with a standing order for season 11 whenever they get around to a USA coded (spit) release. Midsomer Murders and the Inspector Lewis shows are the others. I never saw the Inspector Morse shows, $SPOUSE loved them. Have to see if they’re on DVD. (Won’t buy sight unseen. There are some abysmal Brit-mysteries out there, either way too grimdark or woke.)

      1. I’m not fond of inspector Morse.
        The last few seasons of British mysteries are ALL unbearably woke. Even Midsommer started bothering me for the …. look, there isn’t a SINGLE same race white couple other than the inspector himself. NOT ONE.
        I have nothing against mixed marriages, but the insanity of not a single same race white marriage started intruding.

        1. and when you see their commercials it’s the same way, except gay men, every other couple is mixed race, including the lesbian couples. One though the couple is white with kids, but then the joke is they are not his family, they’re just actors and he drives off because changing them is as easy as changing his car lease (it’s a lease agent comercial).

        2. Have you seen the David Suchet Poirot’s? Those turned out really quite good. I think his version of Murder on the Oriental Express is absolutely stunning, and some of her less put together mysteries they reworked turned out really good. His version of Taken at the Flood is just something I would never have expected anyone to have put on TV ever.

        3. My parents liked Midsomer Murders. But they noted that if a religious person was present, they always turned out to be hypocrits, and often criminal.

          1. This is why I couldn’t get far into the new Father Brown Mysteries. Love the actor they cast (same guy as played Mr. Weasley in the HP movies), but the very first episode…the victim was offed by his own brother (who was a reverend) for being gay. (Actually bisexual, but.) I mean, the victim was an a**hole sexual predator, which would have been a COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE MOTIVE for offing him….but nooo, it had to be ‘because gay’ and they portrayed the killer, perforce, as being truly “evil”.

            1. Same episode I bounced off, for the same reason.

              Also bounced hard off of the Cadfael series after watching several episodes. I’d been getting progressively more and more annoyed that Cadfael’s attitudes in the show were WAY too modern for a 12th-century monk (Ellis Peters wrote him as being more “progressive” than the common attitudes of his time, but the show went way beyond what she’d written), but one episode was the last straw. In one of the Cadfael books, there’s a miracle. A crippled young man, who’s one of the sweetest, nicest, most wholesome and good characters in the whole series, is healed of his leg deformity when he prays at the altar to St. Winifred. (It’s notable that he wasn’t praying to be healed). In the books, this is a major plot point, because it helps resolve a minor crisis of faith for Cadfael; he is one of only three people who knows that St. Winifred’s bones do not lie in the casket where everyone thinks they do; she is still buried back in the graveyard of her home town, and he was one of the three people who conspired to deceive everyone about it, because to reveal the truth would cause great harm. (Saying any more than that would be spoilers for the first Cadfael book). But then when he sees St. Winifred perform a miracle for someone who is praying at the location where everyone thinks her bones are laid to rest, he takes that as reassurance from her that she’s not angry with him about the deception, and is willing to go along with it because she knows his reasons were good. And his faith is strengthened, and from that point on, he stops worrying about it.

              The TV show throws all that away by having the miracle be faked. Not only does this abandon a rather important subplot involving Cadfael’s crisis of faith over the deception, it turns the most innocent, pure, and holy character in the whole series into a conman who’s been faking being crippled just so he can beg for money and not have to work. All because heaven forbid (heh) the writers show a real miracle happening! I turned the show off in disgust and haven’t touched it since.

              1. I never got that far in the Cadfael series, thank goodness! Now I know I won’t!

                I was really (pleasantly!) surprised that, in the book, it was a genuine miracle. I was fully expecting exactly what you said they did in the tv show–and was delighted when that was not the case. I always loved that Cadfael is truly a man of faith, and that religion is a net good for the vast majority of the characters, with a few–and clearly outlier–exceptions!

                Also, while Derek Jacobi is a wonderful actor…he never clicked with me as Cadfael. Maybe it was partly because in my head Cadfael definitely has a Welsh accent. Also he was too…tidy looking. Cadfael was a former Crusader, an adventurer, a man who had seen more of the world than just about anyone else around him.

                I also hated that they kept changing the actor who played Hugh, and that they did not focus nearly enough on the friendship between Cadfael and Hugh.

                Hmm. I think it’s about time to reread that series…

              2. The original plot point also works well theologically — saints aren’t bound by time and space, we are.
                Praying at her body is an outward expression of commitment, it’s neither magic nor mechanical.

            2. Oh FFS, they rewrote the FREAKING RAPIST GETS MURDERED story to make the FREAKING RAPIST sympathetic?

              If that isn’t a perfect thumbnail of modern production values….

              1. Oh yeah. And the only time they made it clear how very awful he was was in his coercion/rape of the woman–they don’t BREATHE a word or even really hint that he was doing exactly the same thing to his male “lover.”

        4. I watched Endeavour for (looks at Wiki) 6 seasons, but skipped afterward. Can’t say I’d like a person like that in real life. The Morse DVDs will be interesting for values of Hmmmm, but I’ve watched shows $SPOUSE liked far more than me. The computers are not in the same room as the TV. She and our dog like Househunters; I don’t have to watch. 🙂

          We’ve watched the Inspector Lewis from the beginning (and have the collection). It has some of the usual tropes about corrupt/misguided religious characters, but with Hathaway as a former seminarian, they seem to be using a much finer tar brush. Definitely, there’s no shortage of evil professors.

        1. I tried that, but the HDMI on our 2011 vintage TV doesn’t speak to the Blu-Ray player. No luck with one of the convertor widgets, so we’re using a DVD player that handles the older version until the TV gets replaced.

          The change in the HDMI spec escaped my notice; not sure anybody made a big deal of it. Is everybody supposed to buy new TVs every 5 years?

          1. We don’t.

            Are there ANY converter widget that actually work? Sure never had any luck with serial devices to USB. OTOH serial devices so who am I kidding?

          2. If I remember correctly, it’s not the HDMI.

            It’s the player, and it’s anti-piracy nonsense.

            There was a brief patch where they wouldn’t work at all, and then most companies started making it so they only worked BADLY into insecure machines.

            1. Might be the same thing. I looked into it, and as I recall, HDMI V2something has some whiz-bang features/handshaking that are not supported in TVs built for HDMI V1. Our ancient player died last year; I bought the Blu-ray/DVD player (LG, if memory serves), and the TV couldn’t get a useful connection to the player.

              Bought a cheap Megatek player that speaks HDMI1, and that’s the solution for the while. The Vizio TV is still running OK, but when it goes, I’ll bring in the LG. Lack of Blu-ray isn’t an issue for now, but we’d like the capability for the future.

    3. Upstairs TV is almost exclusively on INSP – Wagon Train, Cheyene, The Virginian, Branded, etc., all while working on computer. I have Fox News on in the background, when I get tired of that (repeat much?) it is HGTV or Animal Planet, or History. We tape a lot of stuff to avoid commercials; or without someone point out the woke crap in commercials, we wouldn’t have a clue.

  10. The only old sitcoms that are bearable these days are The Honeymooners, Leave it Beaver, and Father Knows Best (although Betty was always an insufferable snob). All the new stuff is just soy-boy BS.

      1. We used to love Family Ties, though I haven’t rewatched it in years. But I have a different take. Alex was supposed to be a cardboard conservative but he grew as time went on. The original concept was aging hippies raising a conservative but Michael J. Fox quickly became the most popular actor on the show. The writers were shocked (and a bit chagrined) to discover that lots of people liked his character and his character’s values. So they gave him more and more screen time and fleshed his character out. They were forced to make him likable because he was the star. By the fourth season, the show was much less obviously didactic. I thought his relationship arc with Tracey was as well done as any sitcom.

    1. Lately I’ve been introducing my kids to Red Dwarf (I now have the whole collection on DVD) and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

      I greatly enjoyed re-watching Night Court (also in my collection of DVDs). Even though it had a socially leftist bent, it also skewered corrupt big city politics on a regular basis and generally just championed being nice to each other.

      The first several seasons of Malcolm in the Middle are awesome, as they mostly get laughs out of the troubles of a genius kid from a severely dysfunctional family trying to fit into society at school. Periodically they actually heavily lampooned sexual libertinism, especially in the episodes where Stevie’s mom abandoned her husband and son to pursue her own “fulfillment,” and Lois actually called her out on it in a public diatribe. I especially liked how they actually ended up championing married people being wholly devoted to each other overall.

      I added Black Books to my DVD collection, although that’s for when I’m feeling misanthropic.

      1. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life as I did at an episode of Black Books. (I’ve only seen, like, four or five. But they are FUNNY, in the best form of screwball British comedy.)

  11. Good read. Also the commercials have been white male bashing for decades. We are apparently too stupid to tie our own shows. This is stated about the folks that brought about the largest and fastest improvement of human health and well being in the history of the world. On another note what is wrong with those folks who wish to become men? My goodness who in their right mind wants to join the most maligned cohort in history?

    And further, truly if I could pay woman for the same job 30% less there would never be a man working for me.Yikes the stupid is strong in these people.

  12. IMO There has always been an element of insanity in humans.

    The TYPE of insanity always changes.

  13. they were describing the “tragedy of the commons” when asking for pay to do normal daily stuff … once nobody is actually responsible for making their life better thru daily chores then nobody cares about their lives enough to actually do the work to make it better … paid by the government or not …

    1. Which makes me think they never actually read the article that first presented the idea of the Tragedy of the Commons. A lot of that overstocking of the commons came about because of government rules, and the point of the article wasn’t quite what a LOT of younger activists seem to think it was. They latch onto the part they can use and don’t really think about the big story being told.

    2. My eldest said the other day, “My will to clean is gone.” I told him that nobody likes to clean, the trick is to learn to power through it…

      1. When they were very young, my younger siblings were convinced that I enjoyed cleaning. I don’t enjoy cleaning but untidiness hurts me.

  14. You are correct that the sitcoms of the Eighties, far from being conservative, were beating us over the head with their leftism.

    Nevertheless, in spite of this, Reagan managed to win two landslides, and got his (sadly inadequate) vice president elected after him.

    There are more outlets for the right to get our opinions out there now. [I hate the term “conservative.” It has a very wimpy sound. I don’t want prudence, I want revenge.]

    Yet none of those opinions ever gets its way. This is because (a) people on the right are more frightened by the possibility of agents provocateur than the much more serious threat that our opportunity to overturn the junta will pass us by forever; and (b) the self appointed leaders of the right are mostly secret leftists telling us that “this isn’t the hill to die on.”

    At some point we need to shit or get off the pot

    1. Are you out of your fucking mind again, Ken?
      “None of those opinions ever gets its way”
      Uh uh. This is why Let’s go Brandon went viral overnight. It’s why TRUMP WON DESPITE EVERYTHING, and they had to fraud massively in front of G-d and everyone.
      Again, I repeat are you out of your mind?
      “Shit or get off the pot” — Yeah, I get it. The left’s only hope is for us to do something massively stupid RIGHT now before most people get to the point of wanting the idiots gone, and before the elections show whether we can get rid of them peacefully.
      BUT must you carry water for them Ken?
      If you are really on our side, you’re unbearably stupid.
      If you’re not…. Well, I wish you luck. How is that polo shirt fitting?

      1. I’d cut Ken a lot more slack.

        Political prisoners are in D.C. jails. FBI, in the middle of the night, raids, cuffs, jails those who speak too loudly (CNN TV crews conveniently alerted.), kangaroo courts, show trials, cities burned, railways restrict fertilizer shipments, billions to protect Ukraine’s borders but not ours, millions of criminal aliens bused throughout the US, our oil reserves sold to China, media, education, corporations, spouting the party line 24/7, elections rigged, voting compromised….

        I must admit that I find myself also a wee bit incensed at the 凌遲 (Lingchi, death of a thousand cuts) that our nation has been subjected to for decades.

        For over three quarters of a century I’ve watched the pendulum swing back and forth, but with the center always, always, shifting a bit farther to the left.

        No, I’m not for decorating lamp posts, it could b John Gault, a shadow economy, a shadow nation, freedom enclaves, but we need something other than hold fast, the time isn’t right.

        1. Things have been worse, and we came out of it without shooting.
          Might it end in shooting? Sure. When food gets tight this winter. BUT right now?
          Most of the people on the street aren’t aware of any of this stuff.

        2. There’s already shadow economies, and I honestly don’t think it’s the worst time to start investing.
          Means dealing with scumbags–and, at least as important, INSULATING yourself to the greatest possible extent from scumbags (reducing exposure is complicated, but there’s ways)–but if it starts getting difficult to get food, fuel and maintenance officially it’d be really good if you had scumbag connections in advance. shrug

        3. we need something other than hold fast, the time isn’t right.

          What about ‘minimize risk exposure, wait for the opposition to make mistakes’ is difficult to understand, or emotionally difficult to carry out?

          The opposition are pretty clearly the sorts of idiots whose blind rote meddling you would see on a lot of the ’causes leading to’ analysis for many industrial accidents resulting from bypassed safeguards.

          Right now, ‘ten year old’ gate is shaping up to be a very significant political ‘industrial accident’, with contributing mistakes that the Democrats have been making for years.

          Even if basic facts are only as presented by Democrats, it looks like a like cover up. But, the middle model is that it was an illegal rape of an illegal, and the extreme model is additionally that the girl was trafficked to a madam, with rather extensive cover up thanks to policy promoted and carried out by Democrats.

          But, there are more mistakes. Such as, Democrat hard ball over the years means that Rokita and Yost, despite being lawyers, probably understand that their careers are over unless they can demonstrate that the facts are different from the initial Democrat messaging. Regardless of whether they are ordinarily establishment hacks would would cheerfully betray Republican voters. Or, that the rote unthinking messaging of the Democrats has resulted in them being exposed to a lot of risk.

          Every measured step we take, and every absolutely unhinged ‘clap hard for Tinkerbell’ step that the opposition takes, the opposition pisses off more people than we do, and we pick up more people who are angrier at the opposition than they are at us.

          Yes, we can’t expect results as immediately satisfying as rage-driven daydream. But, there is a chance that the results will be far better than can possibly be imagined.

      2. > “Are you out of your fucking mind again, Ken?”

        Be honest with us, Sarah: are you just keeping him around as the blog’s official intellectual punching bag?

        I mean, I’m cool with it. It would just be nice to have confirmation.

          1. I am SO stealing that line and keeping it in my back pocket. 😛

            On a somewhat loosely-related note: how soon do you want that LP post I offered? I figure there’s no point in a guest post before the drive is over, since you’re writing two a day yourself. But I don’t know when you’re going to want a break.

      3. Funny how people saying “shit or get off the pot” are always wanting someone else to do the fecal discharge action. They never actually step up themselves. Their excuses are legion, as is their inability to grasp that if those excuses are valid for them then they’re equally valid for everyone else.

    2. Conservative: someone who doesn’t get off on bossing other people around, and just wants to be left alone by other people.

      Wimpy? Sounds more like a reasonable attitude.

      Of course, I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t have a problem wearing a red, white, and blue t-shirt that states “Conservative Patriot” on it.

      Speaking as an old military guy, if you fail to plan, plan to fail. And right now there isn’t a plan for revolution, or a leader for one that people would unite behind, to violently overthrow the current Administration, much less the deep swamp bureaucracy.

      You want a shooting war, I’m afraid you’re going to have to do it yourself, because the rest of us aren’t dumb enough to try yet. That trigger isn’t likely to get pulled if or until they outlaw guns and then try confiscating them. My biggest fear is that if that happens, I’m likely to get stuck in a position of responsibility over a whole bunch of people, and I have a hard enough time just being responsible for me and my family.

      1. > “That trigger isn’t likely to get pulled if or until they outlaw guns and then try confiscating them.”

        That’s certainly a possibility, but these days I’m thinking more and more that causing us to starve or freeze en masse will be what starts the fun.

        1. Well, either that or another round of in-your-face levels of election fraud. Flip a coin.

  15. I used to run into those survey/donate types, you know the ones who want you to sign the petition to protect women’s rights, save the whales, etc., a lot. I entertained myself by asking them what rights, exactly, was I missing. They would try to avoid the question with a lot of “mights” and “possibly” and other weasel words. I pointed out that I could vote, join the military, own a home, have my own credit cards, buy a car, get a job, etc. What was I missing? That’s when I got the “Have a great day!” and they latched on to the next person walking down the street. Ah, good times. Good times.

    1. That leaves aside the little twits doing sidewalk chalk advertisements for Eve Ensler’s stupid monologue–in the way of foot traffic, in the cold, and using people angry about being tripped either by the twit herself or her stuff scattered around her to push the monologues being put on by the drama department.

      I had one chirp at me “My v——- is angry. Isn’t yours?” when my cane skidded on a patch of ice I couldn’t avoid because her crap was in the way. I told her it was, but I was going to take it home and feed it, and then it wouldn’t be angry anymore.

      It took her a minute to think, and then she squealed “Ew!” at me. I was waiting for her to move, or at least move SOMETHING so I could get past her, now that she’d noticed me, but she never did.

      I had to STEP OFF THE SIDEWALK into KNEE DEEP SNOW to get around her. WITH a cane. Because clearly her political message outweighed my disability and need for stable footing.

      This is the campus left that I hold in contempt. Seriously, they’re too stupid for active hate. Not worth the energy expended.

    2. Well to be fair … We have those rights now. But when dad died, mom had to deal with the fact that even though she originally setup the house utilities (phone, gas, power, house was paid off by then, twice), and bank accounts, everything was in dad’s name as primary, and often only name. House has always had both their names on it, so that was easy in comparison. Now it is whomever sets up the account (and make dang sure significant other has rights to make modifications, which is a PIA). But then it wasn’t. There was a time that a woman couldn’t own property, unless they were a widow. Couldn’t have their own credit, without a father’s or husband’s approval. I would say “not that long ago”, less than a hundred years universally in the US. World wide wouldn’t surprise me if still not true in locations.

      Now? Even by the time of the ERA? You are 100% correct.

      1. I’ve been ruminating on this recently, because the truth is, it wasn’t really an “oppress women” thing. At least not consciously.

        Partly it was because we as a culture, especially, have become more individualistic, and less reliant on family or household as the basic unit. Another part of it is, as I said, not “oppressing” women so much as seeking to protect them. We no longer think of having to set up the banking and household issues, etc, as burdens that women should be protected from (especially since they would likely already be burdened with children and childcare), but rather as requirements for independence. Women not going to university, especially en masse, didn’t prevent them from being educated, if they wished and their family could afford it. The “accomplished women” of Pride and Prejudice and other novels of the period were much better educated than many of today’s women are. But it did protect them from barely-past-adolescence men and boys who caroused and canoodled through their time at university. Most of the young men going to university at that time were at least middle class, as well, and may have been the only member of a given family who went on to higher education, and were then expected to raise the family fortunes thereby, not simply pursue their own happiness and satisfaction.

        Um. I may have gone on a bit of a rant there.

        1. For an example of the less responsible sort of university student, there is in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Tholomyes and Fantine.

      2. The property thing is bullshit, d. They lied to us. They could and did own property. Heck, some of the biggest businesses of the 19th century were started and run by women.
        YES some parents and husbands played fast and lose with money, but some do so now. And some women do so too.

        1. Rather famously, one of the most successful businesses in the middle ages was a brewery run by a woman. Married, her husband told her that he was tired of her spending his money, basically, so she went and made her own.

          At various times and places it was probably illegal…but at various times and places it’s more like “here’s a short list of who is allowed to own property. And it’s probably not anything we’d recognize as owning, these days.”

          1. And if you want to go Biblical, Proverbs 31 appears to be portraying a woman with her own weaving business.

              1. Indeed, that whole set of verses seemed to be a lyrical praise of a woman with mad commercial skills and business sense. An adornment to her husband, and an income stream for her family.

                1. I was once in a discussion of the importance of textiles and someone actually did a line by line analysis to show that the most heavily weighted trait was her textile stuff.

          2. More often, it was probably something like “The Guild won’t register you as the owner” for a lot of reasons, probably dealing with things like, oh, the tendency of women to die in childbirth, which makes property division all sorts of interesting. Or because of other laws that were designed to keep property in families. Sure, a particular Guildmaster or Burgomeister or whatever might be a gruff paternalistic type who created a tradition of not recognizing women as masters, but as a widespread thing, it tends to run into the same sort of “mommy tax” that is prevalent today–fairly equal productivity and wages until motherhood, and then a distinct delta emerges.

            It’s just irksome to me how often the feminist Theory of Everything gets applied, and no actual thought goes into things.

            1. Related to the “keep property in families” thing is– well, they had personal property. But land-type property might belong to the family, even if we’d see it as the personal-property land of the family head.

              And the head of a family wouldn’t needfully be the husband– an ancestor-branch of my family had a minor name drama because the guy who came over changed his name from McName to just Name, because he was the head of the family. And then all his kids didn’t have McName, even though ONLY the head of the group was supposed to be anything but “of name.” (There are still living family members who are fighting about this. Yes, I do shake my head.)

              So you’d have the Smith family. Joe Smith is the head, then you have Rob McSmith, John McSmith, and William McSmith.

              Joe dies, generally eldest but not always becomes the new Smith, so it’s Rob Smith, John McSmith, and William McSmith.

              This kind of drama also goes into those English romance things (I am not even going to ATTEMPT to properly describe the period, it’s not my fandom) where there’s a lot of fussing about who’s lord thus and such, what property is…entailed?… and all this other very elaborate connection stuff.

              But folks over-simplify to make a point, often.

              1. “But folks over-simplify to make a point, often.”

                And to avoid having infodumps explaining “connections” that would make David Weber run screaming…..

                1. :snickers:
                  Goodness, yes– doesn’t apply to the Grand Theory of Everything Feminist, but I’ve seen a really funny flashfic of somebody trying to explain why the podcast is called a podcast, starts with broadcast radio and after several backing-it-up to give a baseline understanding, starts explaining the start of agriculture….

                    1. It’s small and portable. A “pod.”

                      Look at the “casting” part, though– it’s a broadcast, for the pod.

                      K, why is the term broadcast?

                      Because that’s what it is in radio.

                      Why is it that in radio?

                      Because casting seeds in planting– etc

                  1. ” . . . explains the start of agriculture.” Oh, like James Michener starting the history of Colorado with the dinosaurs.

                    1. If he’d gone back to the Devonian or Precambrian, he’d have lost all his readers. Even he had limits (I’m pretty sure.)

                  2. My favorite explanation of the Tiffany Problem is that you can’t broadcast a rumor in a medieval town, even after you went out with a sack of beans and cast them broadly over the garden.

                    1. I didn’t know you could broadcast beans, actually… my examples have always been flowers or wheat.

                      But yes, indeed.

            2. It’s just irksome to me how often the feminist Theory of Everything gets applied, and no actual thought goes into things.


            1. Possibly the same; I’d LOVE to watch the edutainment that I saw the story on, but I’ve been trying to find streaming options for “that guy from Monty Python debunking history myths” basically since a month after I first saw it!

              (I believe it was included in Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives, but not willing to risk $75+ to check.)

        2. Sarah Hale, the editor of Godey’s lady’s book. Amazing influential business woman. She pushed for a National day of thanksgiving. There are lots more, if you just look. Women just don’t seem to promote women not of their own peer group.

          1. Oh, Ghod, there were all kinds of powerful women in the Victorian age – I beat my head against the wall of obdurate idiocy in my writers group, once upon the day, giving examples of real-life Victorian women who did rather well out of various enterprises; from Mrs. Samuel Colt who was left as the heir to her husband’s enterprise and was the director of the richest corporation of the mid-19th century, to Lizzie Johnson, cattle baroness, who parlayed a career of bookkeeping, freelance writing, and cattle investments into a million-dollar enterprise. 19th century women had enormous power and authority; they exercised it in interesting and off-beat ways.

        1. I know. What I have a problem with is what they talk about is done and long gone. Plus as our blog hostess said, a lot of history portrayal is false.

          It is true that mom and dad’s utilities were put into dad’s name even though mom set them up. To be fair, it was his income that mattered (only income). As far as our utilities, etc., when asked who is primary, the answer is “Um … I don’t know. Hubby doesn’t know. We’ve been married almost 44 years and in our current house for almost 34 years.” Neither of us remember. Do know who the Costco membership’s name and CC is in, because I get two checks in my name every year. Know who current cell provider primary name is, we just switched. Otherwise? Um … dang if I know.

          1. I get it. We’ve been trading out on who’s on leases and utilities etc., depending on who has the income. I moved us across country and two more times because of my job, so most everything was in my name. When we moved to TX, he was the one with the job, so while the lease (as all previous ones) is in both names, the utilities are all in his (as is the Costco card… 😉 )

            1. Well to be fair … 😉 … once everything was available online, there are a few things I dealt with over internet chat, that technically were in his name and I wasn’t officially on the “approved” list. The second Santa Fe BlueLink account for one, turns out can’t have two (one 2019, one 2020) on the same account. Once I have to call, first make sure he’s home, call, get through the wait list, get a live person, go through all the security questions, take the phone to him, he says who he is, and then “Put her on the damn list! Talk to her.” Now if it was mechanical stuff, I do the opposite. (Dad’s attitude on vehicles was “that is what your grandfather does.”) But computer stuff? That is me.

              With mom’s stuff, I’m officially on the list of everything (I think we covered everything). But still if I can I just use her logins. That is how I dealt with the EWEB knot they created with their “new and better” system.

              Legal? Not exactly. But it isn’t anything they can do about it. Takes a complaint from the account owner. I almost dare them to try to convince either hubby or mom to do so. I’ll bring the popcorn. They might, might, mind you, have some skin left by the time either is done blistering their hides (verbally of coarse).

              1. I know some folks have adult children of the appropriate sex use the phone as if they are the person in question. With a cheat sheet for things like birth date, social, etc.

                I’ve heard of women doing phone calls for an account their husband is on and at the end realize the person thought they WERE their husband. (Yay, phones!)

                1. I don’t even lie online or when calling. Unless not volunteering I’m not hubby or mom is a lie. I know all the answers, I setup the dang account. Note, do not do this for son. He is capable of doing it himself. Technically so are mom and hubby. Just hubby has his lane, and mom just dissolves into tears when dealing with online anymore. Besides I’m the one who told EWEB what their but was, and Why it was huge problem. It wasn’t fixed 6 months after I reported. Suspect went into a *low priority queue for next release. Finally made sure the problem wouldn’t happen to her. (Move to actual bill and put on autopay on CC. Later wasn’t required, but solved the whole “bill doesn’t arrive in mail until due day” part of the problem.)

                  /* How many on even pay, pay before the bill is generated, so that the bill going out has due amount $0? Problem wasn’t that, it was the “Actual Owed” tracking. No bill generated = no way to track actual charged amounts being added to “Actual Owed”, without asking for the numbers. Which weren’t forthcoming because “it is on the bill”. Answer: “There wasn’t a bill.” Response: “Wait? What? No way?” For six months!

      3. 1831 was the first US Married Women’s Property Act, in Mississippi. If I recall correctly, the Puritan areas and the Deep South had women’s property laws first, and then they spread from there. And that was the legal, not the customary, “yes, it’s in his name, but everyone in town knows that he’s a drunken idiot, so just pretend that really is his signature and we’ll all witness it.”

        1. I think what these kinds of laws do is make everything(tradition, custom, known personal relationship) explicit and predictable and applicable to all. Which is what laws SHOULD do.Codify things. Because tradition and custom can change, or be abandoned and forgotten in specific cases for whatever petty reason, whereas a codification cannot. Also, I suspect they are meant to assist in cases where the world is getting both smaller and larger at the same time.

          There’s a short story in the 1632 series about a postal carrier who has a “wife” in three of the different towns he had on his route, because prior to the arrival of Grantville, none of them would ever have had contact with each other. As technology advanced, people kept better communication at longer distances, so codifying tradition/custom into law became more important. You couldn’t keep up the personal relationships you had in the past to know what was really going on with a family, so you had to rely on something else for guidance.

          Isn’t it interesting how many laws for the protection of women were made by men? Men passed the Married Women’s Property Act (quite a lot of “oppression against women” stuff worked equally well against unmarried men, too.), men passed the 19th Amendment…

          1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: men evolved to want women kept safe and happy, and women evolved to exploit the ever-loving hell out of it. 😛

      4. Couldn’t have their own credit, without a father’s or husband’s approval.

        If Daddy or Hubby were on the hook for the credit she incurred, then she absolutely shouldn’t be able to get credit without one of their approval (read: knowledge).

        No worse surprise than finding out that someone who shouldn’t have gotten a loan did, and now you have to pay for it.

        1. You sometimes read about how women got a third of their husbands’ estate, where he got everything she owned.


          She got a third of the ASSETS of her husband’s estate, and he got everything she owned — and owed.

  16. Tangentially, I keep seeing these “memes” (in quotes; they really CAN’T meme) about “Star Trek has always been political”. Which it always has, in the sense of “written from a left-leaning worldview”. What it has NOT been, until recently, is religiously political. The Woke heroes are as drab as a Sunday School feltboard drama, and the Reactionary Ickypoo Men are nothing but hellfire-and-brimstone targets. I don’t even like being preached at when the preachers are on MY side, thanks.

    1. Yep. They also think Star Trek society with no money, etc. is totally possible.
      Heck, I ran into someone who thought Left Hand of Darkness was possible for unmodified humans.
      They’re out of their minds.

      1. James P. Hogan had a moneyless society in ‘Voyage From Yesteryear’ in which automated manufacturing provided all the necessities of life without requiring human labor. Theft and robbery were pointless because everything was free for the taking. People worked for prestige and recognition because there was no status attached to having ‘more stuff’ than somebody else. Greedy acquisition of ‘stuff’ was looked upon as a mental disorder, evoking pity.
        Elitists are those that would give up much of what they have, if it meant that everybody else would have even less.

        1. Iain Banks dealt with post scarcity in his Culture series. I think he was too optimistic but he did capture the challenge of how humans would keep occupied once there was essentially no necessity. it seemed to me that only the AI’s had a reason to go on.

        2. “But what if someone wants to just drift along without working?”

          “Well, I guess if they are crazy want to be poor, the least we can do is make sure they don’t starve to death”

          The class structure used by the Earthers was interesting.

          1. H. G. Wells opened his Utopia with meeting a tramp, one of a class who have decided that they do not want to do more than the bare minimum and get no more than sustenance. This is in reaction to Looking Backwards, where everyone got the same income, and the only way to get more leisure time was to pick an unpleasant job where they had to limit the hours to get anyone to volunteer.

        3. That was a great story for several reasons, not least of which is how similar the Earthian invaders are to the current US elites.

          Fortunately or unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that his economic system is practicable in the foreseeable future.

    2. Star Trek is bad enough. I don’t even want to think about what they’ve done to Dr. Who.

      1. They had, I felt, a brief saving grace with the Twelfth Doctor (albeit not all of his eps) partly because Peter Capaldi is damn near more charismatic than even David Tennant–and they also FINALLY had a gay character where…it was not the most important part of her personality. It was part of a (very minor) plot arc (only in the sense that the astral being she fell in love with was female), but otherwise the main focus on her was the father/daughter relationship she and Twelve had going.

        And then they cast an actress who MIGHT have been brilliant as the Doctor…and then had all of her stories (at least her first season–I haven’t managed to watch past that, but what I have heard is not promising) be boring, PC pap.

        1. I have said it before, an I will say it again – there is nothing wrong with Doctor Who that firing Chibnall and the writers he brought in wouldn’t fix

          1. Yes. I gather his nickname is “Chibnall the Destroyer.” He was fine, more or less, when confined to an episode here or there, maybe some novels (he’s been around awhile–I have seen old, pre new series novels he wrote. Don’t think I’ve read them, though) but I guess running a series was just too much for his meagre abilities.

            Unfortunately, it’s likely that Jodi (ie, Thirteen) will get an unfair amount of the blame, at least from some quarters, and I somehow doubt we are going to see another female Doctor anytime soon. The next one certainly isn’t, although I gather he is “of color” which they are crowing about–apparently having entirely failed to realize that the real question amongst fans is “but can he act, will he be an entertaining Doctor, and will his stories not suck?” (I more or less figured that what has happened with Thirteen out well before it happened: they’d be so danged cautious/woke/look how progressive they are because they bagged a female Doctor that it would put people off–and people would end up blaming HER and not the writers. I haven’t gone digging, but I have seen that there are, at least, more people aware that it’s the writers rather than Jodi who are the problem in what little i have seen.)

            It’s so bad, apparently Russel Davies is coming back as showrunner–and hit on a bribe that a lot of us who have left the Who universe will probably come back for: A return of the Tenth Doctor for the upcoming 60th anniversary special–AND Donna. So I guess he’s finally going to fix the issue with Donna that made so many of us angry (but was still followed up by enough good writing that we didn’t leave…) I know it’s got MY attention…

    3. And while Star Trek could be political it wasn’t monolithic. They had episodes like “Let This be your Last Battlfield” (Frank Gorshin was awesome as always) in which both sides of the racial unrest were bad. They had “A Taste of Armageddon” in which they show that making war more “humane” simply leads to it continuing with more death in the long run. And, of course “A Private Little War” which makes (explicitly) an argument for intervnetions such as that then gonig on in Southeast Asia to counter interventions by opposing powers (same argument Wayne et al made in The Green Berets).

  17. I remember one of the “guns == bad” episodes from a cartoon I saw when I was a kid. From what I recall of the premise, they were a post apocalyptic fantasy world, where some pre-apocalypse machine gun was the mcguffin of the day, and if the bad guys got it, it would be bad. (I mean, that does make sense. If the bad guy is the only one with firearms in a world full of swords and daggers, it is a pretty big advantage.)

    Thing was, at the end the hero gets the machine gun from the bad guy and just sort of goes nuts with bloodlust. Even that made sense in context; the hero was always a bit over wound and really really hated the big bad. So of course he uses the machine gun to drive him off a cliff (kids show). However, his little sister (I think?) gets hit by a ricochet so he realizes the gun has made him crazy and chucks it over the cliff too.

    That was the part that made me go “whut?” See, it’s not that he went axe crazy on the big bad after winning and maybe needed to calm down a bit. No, it’s the gun that made him crazy and that’s why guns are bad kiddos.

    Even at, what six? I was “That’s not how that works. That’s not how any of that works!”

    And its not that you can’t do evil or insanity inducing weapons. Umbra and Epyon were fantastic examples of what you can do with the concept. (Umbra is Skyrim gives the player a significant bonus if they murder enough characters who trust them. If you use it, you’ll end up murdering at least ten of your companions to get the full bonus. Epyon from Wing Gundam continually shows the pilot all the various ways everyone around them could attempt to kill them. It gives it’s pilots a big advantage in combat, but it also tends to massively fuel paranoia in the process.) But that was not at all it. That was taking a potential moment of real character growth and steam rolling it with a Guns Bad Kids! message.

    1. Pratchett pokes fun at that sort of thinking with the “gonne” in his second city watch novel. The weapon in question is treated as a semi-sentient thing, with the ability to influence the person holding it.

      1. I admit, based on excerpts, I was under the impression that was Pratchett being sincerely anti-gun with heavy metaphor rather than making fun of it. If I’m mistaken on that, maybe I should snag a copy.

        1. You might be right. It’s possible. But that”s not the way that it came across to me. Further, even with that, it’s still the bearer who is ultimately in charge. The gonne doesn’t fire itaelf. Further, the gonne doesn’t set the bad guy’s plot in motion. The gonne is merely a tool that is used. And IIRC, this is clearly stated by one of the characters within the novel.

          The novel also firmly introduces some of the stuff that comes up later, including Carrot’s lineage, Detritus’s thinking cap and siege bow, the relationship between Carrot and Angua, and Vetinari’s acceptance of the role of the City Watch. The novel marks the point at which the Watch as we know it really begins. It’s worth reading for that, if nothing else.

        2. Given that later on, in Night Watch, he makes a point (more than once) of commenting that a government that wants to disarm the populace was like a free for all buffet for the criminals. (Also that stuff that gets classified as “tools” make for some pretty terrifying weapons in a non-gunpowder society…)

          So while he might have been anti at the time he did that earlier watch novel, he definitely had changed his mind by the time he got to Night Watch. But I suspect that a.) he wasn’t against people being armed to protect themselves, and b.) probably the gonne thing was, like so much of his stuff, multi-layered in its intent.

          (I mean, in the next Watch novel after Night Watch, Vimes goes extremely violent on some folks who make the mistake of attacking his child. So does his wife. So does the butler. And it is NOT presented as a shocking or a horrible thing at all.)

          1. Vimes also once again comes under the mental influence of something in that subsequent novel (Thud) which attempts to control him via twisting his natural tendencies… and he once again manages to resist it.
            That’s even though no one would have criticized him if he’d done what he was being pushed to do (the almost victims in Thud most definitely had it coming, even more so than the person that the gonne pushed him to kill in Men At Arms).

            The thing trying to push Vimes is suitably impressed, and even congratulates him when it realizes that it’s failed.

            Pratchett lays out a line delineating justified versus unjustified killing – vigilantism versus self-defense or legal law enforcement – in both novels. I think that’s what he’s trying to get at, and not that guns are bad. Importantly, imo, someone is killed during the climactic scene in Men At Arms. But the weapon that does the killing is not the gonne, even though the gonne plays an important role in that scene. And Pratchett makes it very clear in his writing that the killing in question is completely justified. Further, (and unusually; this is the last novel that really has him in the focus, as he starts to recede starting in the next Watch novel) Carrot gets the important dialogue in this scene (though Vimes gets the important observations). IIRC one of the things that he clearly states is that the gonne is just a tool.

      2. Really, you think Pratchett was poking fun with the “gonne made me do it” thing? I read it as being quite serious. He did something similar with the king’s crown in “Wyrd Sisters”, where Granny Weatherwax perceives the crown itself as being responsible for centuries of killing and oppression.

        1. But the gonne cannot force someone to do something. It can push someone toward a course of action, and cloud their judgement to a certain extent. But the decision to take that action is ultimately up to the user. This is shown when Vimes picks it up. Yes, it uses Vimes’s righteous indignation and sense of justice to push him. But Vimes successfully resists until Carrot gets him to drop the weapon. Vimes doesn’t become a marionette when the gonne tries to influence him. In short, if you’re already inclined to act in a certain fashion, the gonne can influence you in that direction. But if you’re not, you can resist.

          And, of course, the gonne has no effect whatsoever on Carrot.

          1. Sir Pterry was incorrect on many things, and I suspect I would disagree with him heartily.

            He was, however, a true believer in a person’s free will and the paired ability and responsibility of individual decisionmaking.

        2. I’m sure he was poking fun. The man wasn’t stupid. Someone who comes up with “Set a pit full of stakes to catch a thief” and “It’s better to light a flame thrower than to curse the darkness” is not a sap.

          1. “You know that the death penalty doesn’t deter crime, right”

            “Well, in general you may have a point. In the specific case, I have never had someone reoffend after I execute him”

              1. It happens so rarely that you don’t prosecute the ghost in question.

                You just exorcise the ghost, and it permanently goes away. 😉

                1. “Your sentence is facing your afterlife… Hope based on what we’re doing this for… hope you have a REALLY good explanation for the Almighty!”

          2. Also: “Confiscate all weapons, and crime would go down. It made sense. It would have worked, too, if only there had been enough coppers — say, three per citizen.

            Amazingly, quite a few weapons were handed in. The flaw, though, was one that had somehow managed to escape Swing, and it was this: criminals don’t obey the law. It’s more or less a requirement for the job. They had no particular interest in making the streets safer for anyone except themselves. And they couldn’t believe what was happening. It was like Hogswatch every day.

            Some citizens took the not-unreasonable view that something had gone a bit askew if only naughty people were carrying arms.” (Night Watch)

      3. I used to read D&D novels, and one of them had a REALLY stupid part where the protagonist “learns” that wielding a sword makes you more prone to violence and anger, but fighting with a hammer doesn’t. And it wasn’t poking fun at all; the book was dead serious about it.

        Can’t remember the exact book, though. I want to say it was the Pool of Radiance novelization, but it might also have been R.A. Salvatore’s cleric quintet. It’s been a couple of decades.

          1. I’m tempted to dig out my copy and see what I can find.

            Given the setting, it was probably trying to justify the “clerics can’t use edged weapons” rule of D&D, reflected how killing someone with a knife is a lot cleaner than beating them to death*, or possibly both.

            Salvatore is pretty good with finding a way to make rules he’s handed function.

            And he did a LOT of screwing around in that series– dwarf druid. ^.^

            this is a known thing– it’s part of why many people are against drone warfare, for example; the lower risk and greater ease of killing someone makes you more likely to choose that option.

              1. Seen the argument made, but it tends to go badly with the rest of the idea about not using edged weapons being a way to convey/cultivate spirituality.

                Basically like (honest) pacifism, but slightly more effective because instead of having other folks die for your convictions, you make it more likely you’ll die for your own convictions while saving someone else.

                1. The argument is that any weapon that makes killing “easier” (which guns do; it’s why they are equalizers) will lead you to kill with less hesitation. The type of weapon is irrelevant; it’s the easier that is a “problem”.

                  1. That’s only half the argument.

                    Easier, and cleaner.

                    It’s harder to see from modern POV, especially for those of us who are familiar with the kind of damage a bullet does– but imagine the gap between someone killed with a home-protection .38 round, vs one killed by a Star Trek phaser.

                    Equally dead.

                    One is less instinctively horrifying.

                    1. I’ve “heard” that the average person fears a person with a knife more than they’d fear a person with a gun (when they’re unarmed and the other person is obviously going to attack).

                      Mind you, I’ve never been in either situation.

                    2. Heard same, my uncles (Vietnam vet type sailors) did some crash-courses in self defense for my mom, and next generation for me.

                      The one prone to theory crafting said it was because fighting with a knife takes skill, so someone holding one like they know what they’re doing will tell a professional that they may be extra dangeorus– and someone who isn’t a professional Break Stuff guy knows there’s not much of a chance of getting out of it without being cut.

                      Which led to the next lesson, “if you’ve got to face someone with a knife, accept that you WILL be cut, and aim to minimize how much damage you take by KILLING HIM LOTS.”

                  2. By that logic, everyone should fight unarmed.

                    Or better yet, with nothing but harsh language.

            1. > “Given the setting, it was probably trying to justify the “clerics can’t use edged weapons” rule of D&D”

              Almost certainly, except that the scene didn’t really justify it. No explanation was actually given for why a sword would make you more prone to anger and violence than a hammer, and the fact that the hero was being attacked and not allowed to escape provides a different, very obvious reason for why he would get mad and hit someone with whatever weapon he happened to be holding.

              Even as a kid I could tell it was unbelievably stupid.

              1. Oh, and like I said, I don’t really think this was Salvatore. It’s just been so long I can’t be certain.

          2. I think someone tried to take that early injunction that clerics didn’t use edged weapons “that shed blood” to an absurd conclusion.

        1. It was indeed the Pool of Radiance novelization. The author presumably used that to explain the game rule that forced clerics to only use blunt weapons. But regardless of the rationale, yes, it was stupid.

          1. See… that’s the kind of rule that you don’t try to justify. You just let it sit in the background and hope that no one notices it.

            1. “Because the guy who makes your healing spell work Says So” is perfectly good justification.

              One to use sparingly, but… well, wasn’t that part of the Crystal Dragon Jesus problem the Good gods kept running into? If you lift a whole bunch of details to avoid having to world build literally an entire world, you’re going to have some bits that don’t fit….

            2. That’s just what I was about to say. You don’t need to explain every detail of a fantasy world, and no explanation tends to be better than a breath-takingly stupid one.

          2. Thanks, that was bugging me.

            So that would mean it was written by… [quick search]… James Ward and Jane Cooper Hong. Not sure which of them was responsible for that scene, though.

  18. 1. If businesses really could get women to do the same jobs as men, for lower pay, why would anybody ever hire men?

    2. Leftroids require their self-esteem to be administered from the outside, because they have none on the inside.
    Pick some grand existential crisis which you can’t realistically be expected to do anything about except virtue signal, and pretend that gives you a pass for failing to accomplish anything else in your life.

    1. Because they’re eeeeevul Right Wing reactionaries? That seems to be the only answer I get other than “Because reasons.”

      Given the #MeeTooo mess, I don’t blink when I read or hear someone quietly say that they’d prefer to hire a man than a woman, given the liability and the amazing difficulty of firing a woman in some places, even with clear cause. And that’s before you get the “Let’s water down science so more women will become civil engineers!” garbage.

      1. Hm…. Maybe because that isn’t what they did?

        Democrats, I mean.

        They had to pass laws saying that people COULDN’T just… do their own thing. Because if they didn’t, folks did their own thing, and kept out-competing the folks who took a stand on that.

        1. Probably. The instinct to regulate equality* is nigh unto overwhelming for them and those of their philosophical ilk. (It’s interesting how business that quietly do what the owner thinks is right in terms of pay and benefits and so on tend to quietly do very well, and those that loudly proclaim that they are taking a stand for [thing] seem to go under pretty quickly.)

          *Equality as defined by the regulator, not equality as defined by common sense, the market, or yes.

          1. :nods:

            I was thinking of some investment firms I’ve heard of– their market niche is that they invest in groups that are in alignment/not in objective contradiction with a specific set of religious values.

            Their return rate is actually pretty close to the “we just want to make a profit” folks, though I don’t know if that corrects for Posturing type choices or not.

            1. There are a number of them. The Green religion/ ESG is very popular right now though there is a certain amount of diversity. There’s at least one Catholic one, I looked into it for the wife. They tend to be a bad bargain, primarily because you end up paying huge, and I mean huge, fees for what amounts to a glorified index fund. The top line returns tend to be average — if you hold the top 5 names your returns will be about average and they’re all techie lefty companies, but the bottom line returns tend to be lower because of the fees.

              Larry Fink from Blackrock is the big pusher of ESG, He doesn’t back it from any sort of altruism. he’s an investment banker.

              Over the long term a sinner’s portfolio of Oil, Tobacco, and Firearms has actually produced quite respectable returns because those companies tend to pay quite a high dividend.

              1. “Over the long term a sinner’s portfolio of Oil, Tobacco, and Firearms has actually produced quite respectable returns because those companies tend to pay quite a high dividend.”

                Given that the international banking community is trying to starve the oil industry of investment / loans, someone starting a firm that did nothing else but recruit investors for that portfolio would probably do very well.

                1. I should have put sinners in scare quotes. I held Philip Morris for a long time but sold it out a few years ago. I did quite well on oil last year Exxon and Conoco don’t own them now will probably buy them back when the current bear market looks to be bottoming. I have small, permanent positions in Sturm-Ruger and Olin. First, I think they’re good value in their own right, I’m not wreckless, and second it scares off all the wannabe investment advisors. “Him, So, what’d ya like? Me, Olin, Him Specialty Chemicals? Me Nah, ammunition. And they all move away on the group w bench.

                1. Heck. I’d add Hemp to the list, as long as it is utilized for the traditional uses. You know, like cotton, for ropes, cloth, etc.; everything but smoking or recreational drug use.

  19. “…assuming the conclusion, instead of having the reader live the message.”

    Sarah, thank you for that. Beginning writers don’t get it when you say, “Show, don’t tell.” I fully intend to spread (steal) your formulation.

    As to leftist TV, I just finished watching all 5 seasons of Boston Legal. If you watch with the right attitude, it’s funny as hell. I loved the one character insisting on arguing “feel their pain” instead of case law to the Supreme Court and not being thrown out on his ass. The legal cases are more from outer space than co-star William Shatner’s former TV series ever was.

    Apparently David Kelly realized from his former series The Practice that treating the law seriously didn’t really fly, at least with Hollywood executives. So all the judges come from cartoons. You can’t actually take the Shatner character’s conservatism any more seriously than Archie Bunker’s. I do love when he pulls out 20 handguns from somewhere in his suit when asked to turn over any weapons he’s carrying. The James Spader character is apparently following in the caricaturized version of Capt. Kirk’s footsteps to f**** the galaxy, or at least all its wimmin folk. And the Betty White story-lines are hilarious like when she kills the nerdy, mama’s boy serial killer by knocking him over the head with a frying pan, and gets off with the defense, “He was a murderer that my boss kept getting off under technicalities, so I took him in, but then got worried he was going to go after me, so, of course, I killed him.” All said in her best ditsy matter-of-fact voice.

      1. Ooooohhh, I like that line. I have a character who would use it. [Baby pink badge case and holster? Oh. Dear. Lord. Whyyyyyyy??????]

        1. I adapted it from ‘The Places Of Aache’ by Roger Zelazny, in which Dilvish confronts a would-be robber.

          Rogis: “You have no bow. It would seem that I could ride away without being shot down.”

          Dilvish: “To ambush me later? I’m afraid I can’t permit it. It has become a matter of future self-defense.”

  20. An episode of Green Planet was the show of the moment at RedQuarters last night, mostly for the visuals and neat plant info. Oh, and the “how we managed to film that” was amazing – I wish I had that much budget! However, as soon as Attenborough started into the “global warming/anthropogenic climate change/save the planet/endangered by man” sermon, I hit the mute button to universal acclaim.

    The show about the two space telescopes wasn’t bad, either, if you ignored the “how many taxpayer dollars went into this” bit that made my wallet whimper.

  21. Growing up we never had a moment of peace in our house. There was always at least one television running with the sound on right up until the Star Spangled Banner and test pattern came on.

    I watched every single sitcom there was “religiously”. It’s what we did. MASH was my favorite.

    When I got married at the tender age of 19 in 1979 we didn’t have money for a television or even a radio. So I spent all day in peace and quiet. It was very eerie at first. After about a month I realized I loved having my own thoughts to myself. Hubby and I talked, and talked, and talked. To each other. About everything and spent time playing games and doing stuff that didn’t involve sitting in front of mass media. Couldn’t afford a newspaper either.

    When the kids came along we decided that it would be better for them if they weren’t glued to the TV all the time. They spent their childhoods outside getting fresh air.

    About 15 years later I was somewhere and watched what I remembered as one of my favorite MASH episodes. I was shocked at what a reprehensible bunch of characters they were. It was not a bit funny. I haven’t cared about TV since. I could see that it had damaged my ability to discern good and evil without my noticing. Also it took time away from reading.

    1. There was a story about MASH with interviews of real MASH doctors.

      Apparently, the Real MAS*H doctors said that they would never treat their head nurses like the TV show doctors treated the head nurse.

      IRRC the real doctors were scared of their head nurses. 😈

      1. I’ve known nurses, and my stepmother was a head nurse. Those doctors are smart.

  22. I was a die-hard Superman fan growing up, and I remember watching the first season or so of “Lois & Clark, The New Adventures of Superman” as religiously as I could when I was a kid… until Mama Raptor decided the show was too violent and it became verbotten in our household.

    Found some old episodes of it on YouTube a few years back… holy carp. It was nigh unwatchable. So over-the-top campy and silly and goofy… it was like the old Adam West Batman show, except Batman ’66 was supposed to be a silly campfest, whereas Lois & Clark took itself way too seriously.

    But what made the show REALLY unwatchable was the politics. Dear God, the politics. Most of the baddies (I can’t say “all” because I honestly don’t remember) where cardboard caricatures of right-wing boogeymen, and apparently Lois and Superman were destined to get together and found a world-wide Communist utopia at some point in the near future (they never called it Communist explicitly, but the future world-wide utopia was referenced many, MANY times and the espoused values were so left-leaning that even Marx would’ve said “take it easy, Komrade!”). The one episode that made me permanently quit the show was where Superman winds up in some dystopian alternate timeline or something where the Second Amendment is absolute, which meant that everybody had guns and everybody was murdering the sh*t out of each other in the street as a result, and law enforcement (and Superman) weren’t allowed to confiscate guns from anybody for any reason, even if they’d just witnessed that individual commit murder, because “Shall Not Be Infringed!!!!!”

    Almost walled my laptop. Not only had ABC ruined my favorite character by turning him into a psuedo-Marxist, but they’d turned him and every single character in the lore into goofy clowns with the intellect and common sense of a turnip.

    1. I watched Lois & Clark for a few seasons, but mostly for Teri Hatcher’s cleavage.

      1. Teri Hatcher was smokin’ hot back in the ’90s. And the producers of the Bond Franchise noticed, too: she also played Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies.

    2. What’s even funnier about that is that Dean Cain, who played Superman in that one (and later played a murderous immortal on Smallville), is pretty danged conservative. Outspokenly so, which is why you haven’t seen him in anything recently.

      1. I did not know that about Dean Cain (but I knew there was a reason I liked the guy, aside from the fact that he came across as so dang nice and genuine). That is pretty dang funny!

      2. He was in the Gosnell flick that the left hated. But yeah, I don’t know of anything else that he’s appeared in recently.

        1. He was in a few overtly Christian films–which were actually quite good and not ‘beat-you-over-the-head-preachy’. I think…Fireproof was one? It’s been awhile, heh.

    3. Which is kind of amusing, given that – while I don’t know Dean Cain’s political leanings for certain – he’s at least sympathetic to conservative views.

      1. He has been on Stephen Crowder’s show a number of times. My guess is conservative of some stripe.

  23. ” The one episode that made me permanently quit the show was where Superman winds up in some dystopian alternate timeline or something where the Second Amendment is absolute, which meant that everybody had guns and everybody was murdering the sh*t out of each other in the street as a result, and law enforcement (and Superman) weren’t allowed to confiscate guns from anybody for any reason, even if they’d just witnessed that individual commit murder, because “Shall Not Be Infringed!!!!!” ”

    Wow. Is there an award for the best, most ludicrous, over-the-top projection imaginable? Because whoever wrote that should have won several dozen.

    1. I know, right?

      What really drives me batty is that L&C was a live-action show aimed squarely at adults, and at roughly the same time Warner Brothers was putting out Superman, The Animated Series, which was a cartoon (duh) aimed squarely at children.

      And yet Superman TAS, the kids’ show was incredibly well-written, extremely mature, and honored the source material while successfully modernizing it (and was delightfully apolitical), while L&C was goofy and campy and basically used the source material as TP, and rapidly turned into a live-action cartoon.

      1. Yeah Somehow the DC animated series from the 90’s /2000’s are amazing. Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, the Batman and Superman from that period pretty much surpass anything the DC universe has done with Live action movies (with the possible exception of the modern Shazam! which is an absolute hoot). They actually pay attention to plot and also grow the characters. and voicing is quite good.

            1. We just watched the series with the kids– husband and I both forgot how much of the Batman Beyond stuff was actually in the JLU series.

              …pardon me, swooning fangirling going on. ;^)

  24. I’ll give you a secretary made less than say an undersea welder, but that’s a highly specialized profession requiring training and visual acuity, not your average blue collar profession.

    Also, “secretary” does not require a college education. That’s why “secretarial school” used to be a thing. At the entry level, it requires being able to type quickly and accurately, to transcribe dictation, and to be moderately well-organized. Nowadays when most professionals and executives do most of their own typing, secretaries hardly exist; the best of them advanced to “executive assistants”.

  25. Family Ties was always badly written and made fun of conservatives. Michael J Fox deserves his Emmy(S) for playing the part. But the only episode I remember was “A, My Name is Alex”. His best friend Greg dies in a car accident and Mike starts seeing Greg’s ghost and freaks out. That was the first half hour. The second half hour is Alex with a shrink. What could have been a “very Special episode” about teens handling death just becomes a stupid comedy where in the dark the shrink tosses down a hand full of change and Alex gives the exact amount 6 quarters, 3 pennies, 2 nickels. A serious straight drama turns into a series of stupid jokes.

    1. One of my daughters a few years ago got absolutely addicted to the original Punky Brewster TV show. We ended up watching the entire series as a family. The show has actually aged a lot better than I would have believed. We got to talk about what was going on at the time (like when the Challenger exploded and Buzz Aldrin guest starred as himself to talk to the kids about the risks astronauts take and how space exploration is worth the risk; the breakdown of the nuclear family; racism; people not treating developmentally disabled people kindly; stranger danger; not playing in abandoned refrigerators; etc.). We also got to talk about some of the political agendas at play in the show, but luckily they were pretty minor.

      It was fairly campy in spots, of course, and some of the morality was fairly ham-fisted, but politically it was mostly neutral.

      I now joke with my kids that the only way to scare a GenXer is to use the words “Very Special Episode.”

      It’s a serious shame that the sequel series was a complete abortion of a TV show.

        1. LOL, only occasionally.
          Who was it that said there are no boring stories, only boring storytellers? And it helps that the kids are all as odd as I am. I can occasionally go off on a tangent, but it was fascinating how many times the kids actually wanted to know what was going on in the world at the time an interesting episode had been made.
          You know, if I kept it under two minutes or so. 😀
          But the one about the Challenger explosion we actually talked about for about an hour, looking up a YouTube video here and there. We discussed who Buzz Aldrin was, some history about the space program, etc.

          It also helps that I’ve gotten the kids to watch Amy Shira Teitel’s YouTube channel “The Vintage Space” and the “Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur” (SFIA) channel. So space exploration interests the older ones already.

          1. Odd kids are that way. Others slurp it up unquestioned. I remember being 8 and watching the 30’s Marie Antoinette and then going to the encyclopedias flipping through a child friendly, but still horrifying, tales of the French Revolution.

      1. And he actually did have a best friend most of the time, the dork who was obsessed with his sister.

        And who conveniently fell in love with a new girl when Alex’s sister’s new boyfriend became a show regular.

      2. IIRC, when teen soap opera Beverly HIlls 90210 decided to do its anti-gun episode, they brought back a character that hadn’t been seen since the first season as the sacrificial victim.

  26. Interesting. I like the part about publishers being ‘against’ right wing writers. I believe that’s dead true. After submitting my writing to agencies, publishing houses, book blogs, book reviewers, etc., for over forty years without much result, I get that. I also think that as ‘joined at the hip’ as liberal publishing and liberal literati is, ‘conservative inc.,’ is dismissive of the culture of right wing artists, specifically writers. While liberal publishing seeks, publishes, and promotes ‘diversity, perversity, hate, and Marxism,’ ‘Conservative Inc.’ seems to be only interested in 500 page political tomes that cost $29.00, books that likely end up as coffee table artifacts. Conservative Inc., despite what Andrew Breitbart said, don’t believe that ‘Politics is downstream from culture.’ At least, as far as I can see based on paying attention for the last twenty years, that is the case. I’m now at a point where I realize I (and my books) will never gain entre into the literature-sphere, not really. I can spend thousands of dollars on promos and make hundreds of dollars, with ever-declining results, as readers seem to be dying off or going blind. Or I can embrace the death of what I’ve loved and longed for all my life, enjoying literature and being a part of it by writing.

    As for the sitcom stuff, I recently sat at my ‘writers’ group’ meeting. Three of us. One brought his wife who does not write, another brought her sixteen year old nephew who does not write and does not read. The topic of conversation took at turn at some point and became about TV shows and streaming shows. I was recommended to watch Modern Family, which I think I saw one-quarter of an episode. It was ‘modern’ all right, with a prominent or several gay members. Then another person recommended that I watch The Big Bang. I just smiled and nodded my head. I could have told her that before I retired I worked with a woman who watched it all the time and would talk about it endlessly. I checked out one episode and … what can I say? The main character looked and sounded like he might end up in the Biden Administration as the Assistant Director of Nuclear Waste Disposal. In short, it was light on science and heavy on glamm and gay.

    Anyway, keep ’em coming. You must have quite a following and God bless you for that. I probably should have concentrated more on building a following than just concentrating on the writing part.

    Oh, and anyone who finds my comments depressing or offensive, just change the channel like we did in the good old days.

    Best to all in this Brave New World!

    1. Um…. while the ACTOR in Big Bang Theory was gay, I don’t think the show had a gay character. Mostly the main character was supposed to autistic.
      I don’t mind gay characters (and have been known to write them because THIS THING IS NOT ENTIRELY UNDER MY CONTROL) BUT the point of the character shouldn’t be “Look at me, I’m gay and cool.”
      …. which is what most of these shows do.

      1. I liked the Big Bang Theory. It was about Sheldon’s autistic tendencies, and played for the over top geek tendencies of the three, sometimes 4 main male characters. I found it interesting that Penny was often “smarter” than any of the 4, and when the other two scientists, Bernadettte and Amy, it showed smarts does not always equal nerds, awkwardness (Bernadette), but not geekness. While I got tired of Sheldon, I did appreciate Jim Parson’s ability to stay in character no matter what was thrown at him (based on out takes). Were there political problems? Probably. I can’t point to any.

        1. We enjoyed BBT for the first three seasons. Then in season 4, they changed the main male characters to be universally less likable, and we wondered why until my ex found an article saying that the audience was getting it wrong: they were supposed to identify with Penny (not Leonard) and her exasperation with all the geeks. So we stopped watching.

          1. Season 4 I think is also the season where Penny doesn’t appear much because the actress had broken her leg and wasn’t available. So with no foil, they went down the wrong track.

      2. Interesting. Never seen a full episode, but Sheldon’s speech and mannerisms were all so flamboyantly gay that I just assumed gay was what he was meant to be. I guess “played by a not-very-good actor” is what he really was (same as most sitcoms).

        1. Nope. He was supposed to play autistic, and actually that’s what he read to me for extremes of autistic math brain. (I know a few. Not my husband. He’s not that bad.) I was surprised when I found out he was gay.

          1. “surprised when I found out he was gay.”

            Ditto. If anything Sheldon is asexual, supposedly Spock like. Sexuality confuses him regardless of what orientation. Interestingly enough, when his twin surfaces, she is exactly the opposite, and her character is not portrayed as gay. It is interesting to see him evolve as Amy comes into the picture.

      3. I think the actor made the show kind of gay. I know he was ‘supposed to be’ autistic. If I was a straight autistic, I’d be insulted. Anyway, I can’t watch much of what’s current on TV now. I’m a not-yet-dead, but old, white male. I watch old movies about WWII. I like Columbo and Monk. I love the Greg Guttfeld show. Also, Skinwalker Ranch and Ancient Aliens. My guilty pleasure used to be 90 day Fiance. I gotta confess. I DID that. I met a gal online who was living in Vigo, Spain. She was Filipino and working there as a domestic. I went there three times to court her. We went down into Portugal, over to London, Paris. Wonderful. I was 65; she was 56, not exactly a young chickee. I did all the paperwork and brought her over and married her. It lasted 18 months and I showed her the door. Cost me a few bucks to get rid of her. She was just all about money. Anyway, so I did the 90 Day Fiance thing. About two years later I’m surfing the channels and lo and behold, they made a show out of that trap. I must say, after having learned my lesson, it was fun to watch these relationships, all of them slow motion train wrecks… I knew what would happen.

        One thing on the up note. I loved Vigo, Spain and I loved Portugal, the bit I saw. I’d love to go back.

    2. That’s why those of us who are interested in preserving the culture tend to ignore “Conservative, Inc.” And so we get the current buffet of independent films, books, comics, and other things that are filtering up through the generations.

  27. Alex Keaton may have been written as a straw conservative
    But he was the first time that many people had seen a conservative viewpoint expressed (even if it was done poorly). Over the years I’ve seen a number of articles that quote someone who points to Alex Keaton as the cause of their eventual embrace of conservatism.

      1. You’ve got to start somewhere. And for a lot of young people in the ’80s, that start was apparently when they decided that Alex Keaton made more sense than anyone else in his family.

        Presumably those individuals found better sources of conservative thought as they got older. For instance, Rush Limbaugh went on the air during the middle of the show’s run, and became nationally syndicated shortly before the series ended. Presumably some of Rush’s listeners were interested in listening to Rush because of seeing Alex Keaton.

    1. A number of leftists believe that conservatives are obviously absurd just as they are, and then they write them like that. . . .

  28. Sara said: “In other words, I wonder if entertainment has gotten that much worse and more politicized… or if we’re noticing more because we in fact have other alternatives.”

    It is assuredly worse now. Fantastically worse. No comparison.

    I strongly recall a book I read in the early 1990s. It was called “Twistor”, the curious can look it up. Long out of print. A hard SF story, it was pretty fun. It had lots of rubber physics, evil spies, heroic scientist hero, and even aliens.

    One ‘memorable’ thing about it though. In the middle, apropos of nothing, there is this serious finger-wagging sermon about the dangers and evils of guns. One page or so, and then the hero goes through the rest of the story, gun in hand, and the subject doesn’t come up again. In the early 1990s I was going through my period of researching gun control and firearms, so this little section stood out to me from the rest of the book like a neon sign. This had never really happened to me before, where one of these little “public service announcements” had risen from the page and struck me between the eyes.

    Now of course we are treated to the entire book being a PSA for whatever bent Leftist notion is fashionable this week. There’s no story, just cardboard cutouts doing a little shadow-play of Message with a science-fiction skin on it.

    One of the things you can do now is theme-archaeology. Skim the SF award nominees for theme, and you’ll know what the big Lefty Causes were that year. Since around 2010 this has been the case.

  29. The more Meathead talked, the more I agreed with Archie Bunker. Blue Bloods, with Magnum PI as Police Commissioner, is about as balanced as TV gets these days.

  30. Their writing has gotten worse, but you are missing other things that changed between the ’80s and now that make it seem like that was just as bad as now.

    For one thing, Hollywood executives at that time had a wild model of the nation in their heads that wasn’t even necessarily political. They assumed that smart people had money, people with money would have cable and pay cable (HBO especially), and therefore network shows had to be written for stupid people who couldn’t afford better. (Yes, this would be political now, but it was less so then.)

    Add in to that the fact that sitcoms, at that time, got very little respect in the industry. Sitcom writers were the lowest of the low, unless they were on an accidentally-prestigious show like Taxi or Cheers. So Family Ties, despite being a hit and somewhat respectable as sitcoms go, wasn’t going to be getting the best writers. (Though they did have some damned good episodes; the one where Alex is talking to a therapist trying to work through his grief that his best friend died, e.g. The fact that that one was funny while dealing with the grief honestly was impressive.)

    And then add in the fact that even into the late ’80s, shows were written and produced with assumptions in mind that simply don’t hold now. Like, a certain amount of viewers would come in in the middle, with no ability to rewind. And a certain amount of viewers would only be paying a quarter attention ot the screen while cooking dinner and herding kids and whatever, again with no ability to rewind to catch a good bit.

    But then, yes, there is also the unfortunate Rod Serling effect. The lesson the left has always drawn from his career is that he was political, and fooled the rubes by hiding his politics in stories they loved. Oh, and almost as a footnote, he was a great writer. They did not understand, then or now, that he was a brilliant writer, and that his political obsessions, strong as they were (and mostly noble as they were) did not overwhelm his craft as a writer, because he did put the craft first.

    1. There was a short story in TV Guide in the 1980’s, I think, where TV execs were suddenly worried about people wanting better, deeper, more thoughtful shows and that it would be such a problem to actually make such. The eventual solution was to simply re-brand the dreck they were making with the New Hotness from beer & snack/food advertising: TV Light.

      1. J. Michael Straczynski had a hilarious story about turning in a TV script that had a throw-away reference to Captain Ahab in it. An executive objected to a reference to a character who did not appear in the episode. Turned out, he’d never even heard of Moby Dick. The sentence “Look, I have an MBA, so if I haven’t heard of it, nobody watching will have either,” was uttered.

        After the episode was aired, JMS sent the exec a copy of Moby Dick. The Classics Illustrated version.

            1. It used (way back in the 80’s) to be worth a lot if you had some ‘real’ undergrad education and some work experience. The Reader got his part time back then and realized quickly that its value was that of a series of language courses in subjects where the practitioners spoke what sounded like English but wasn’t – accounting, finance, management theory, marketing, etc. It was immensely valuable later in my technical career when I got a series of assignments that required good technical skills as a baseline but also required working with folks from various business areas (in my company and others).

          1. Going by credit complexity (JMS has a “story by” and a shared “teleplay by”, indicating extensive rewrites happened), it might also be “Goodbye”, s4e9.

  31. In completely unrelated news, I got my permit approved for my kitchen/dining/stairs remodel! Yaayyy!

    Now I get to spend a large amount of money, time, and sweat rearranging my house so it works better. This isn’t the full “bump the back wall out 8 feet and rebuild all the stupid stuff” plan, but it’s at least halfway to it, even if the sink will still technically be in the dining room.

    1. Congrats! Permits are a pain.

      Good luck finding contractors if that’s the route you’re going.

      1. Since it’s mostly carpentry (both rough and cabinet) and electrical, I’m doing most of the work myself. I know I can do it, I’ve passed inspections before, I’m not too worried. The gas piping and tankless water heater installation I already have an estimate on, and there’s a tiny bit of asbestos removal (damn sheet vinyl flooring wasn’t all vinyl!) but I have an estimate on that too.

        1. Getting an estimate is 1/3 job. Getting a contractor to show up and complete the job, in a timely manner, is the other 2/3rds. Getting better locally, but dang. Not always the contractor company’s fault they can’t keep employees.

          1. We want to extend and redesign kitchen and family room. We have contractors, now we need drawings and permits, but I’m terrified we’ll start and things will break apart with a hole in our house. I almost want to wait till next Spring, except…. you know?

            1. We have a couple of leaks. They have to be dealt with. Pretty sure we need a new roof too. There is no way hubby will go along with home improvements beyond, that I would really like to do. I think we’ve come to a conclusion on one of the leaks (we think skylight windows are the culprits) that will also should deal with the damage, when re-roofing (get rid of the two leaking skylights and frame them in).

  32. “So, yesterday it was the Equal Rights Amendment episode probably done as the deadline for ratification was closing.”

    I have to say that the best line in the West Wing (as dumb as the show’s politics often were) had to be from the token Republican lawyer lady. “I already have an Equal Rights Amendment, it’s the 14th”.

  33. The Stupid Political Stuff was there, but it wasn’t all-encompassing, not required.

    If you watch Schoolhouse Rock, they have the Mandatory Girl Power, boys are acceptable targets type reflexes, but you’re allowed to have Mister Morton as a sympathetic character with whom you’d BELIEVE Pearl may fall in love.

    So, movies might have the #presumablygood person being the bad guy, but it wouldn’t be automatic. The obvious bad guy would, indeed, sometimes be the bad guy.

    In the 90s, it was notable when some TV shows had the All Reasonable Signs Of Being A Decent Person would, of course, be the bad guy. (Find the white, married, middle-class guy who does charity work with his church. That’s your bad guy.)

    Now, I kid you not, one of the kids’ shows has a twist that a quite literal monster is a bad guy.
    (It’s an effective twist, the way they pulled it off… post -zombie-apocalypse for kids? Works surprisingly well, due to tone.)

    1. > “Now, I kid you not, one of the kids’ shows has a twist that a quite literal monster is a bad guy.”

      Which show was that?

  34. Interesting and depressing article in the Wall Street Journal today. Basically saying the EU is abandoning fiscal discipline in favor of holding the political union together at any cost. I remember being told in 2010, in Romania, about the tension between Germany and southern Europe. It all sounds familiar…and bad.
    (Related to BGE’s post above, darn it)

    1. I have always said that the primary purpose of the European Union was to prop up the failed economies of some countries by looting the ones that haven’t failed yet. Not to do anything about actually fixing the failed economies, mind you, just prop them up. ‘Brexit’ was all about the British catching on to the scam and getting out while they still had an economy to save.
      If economists actually understood economics, they’d all be billionaires, and wouldn’t need to be supported by the government.

    2. It makes sense. The EU is the only reason why any of them are important. If more countries go the way of Great Britain, they lose power and become less important. And then they can’t pat themselves on the back and tell each other that they represent the United States of Europe.

    3. I’m getting the impression that it’s a global race to see who implodes first and how badly, and to be the last one to do so.

  35. I liked a lot of the first five seasons of Saturday Night Live, but in Season Six, all the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players had left, along with a lot of their best writers, and the new team of writers were so shrilly anti-Reagan that it became monotonous. The old SNL had lampooned Jerry Ford, but had satirized Jimmy Carter just as mercilessly. Like Mad or National Lampoon,</> they played no favorites. Then.

  36. I slightly agree with Technomad on Saturday Night Live. They jumped the shark after Clinton was elected. They announce to the public they were going to give him a 100 days before making fun of him. I think I have see a dozen episodes since then.

      1. I know one!

        …mostly because Some People quote it incessantly….

        [note: I don’t much care for modern skit humor, it’s got the same problem as the “take an SNL skit and make it a movie”– they’ve got enough joke for maybe a 2 minute skit on the Clare Burnette show, and they drag it out two or three times longer than it can carry)

        1. Dennis Miller did a short-but-funny gag on McGruff the crime dog, and I know there’s a clip of it because I saw it months ago. But for the life of me I can’t find it now.

  37. …And for Trump’s election they mournfully sang Hallelujah and didn’t make a single joke.

  38. Well. Article in Bloomberg saying there’s a growing mortgage boycott in China. What gets me is the comment that Chinese routinely get mortgages for property that hasn’t been built yet.
    Also, the WSJ says the official Chinese growth rate for the last quarter was 0.4% Figure it contracted bigly, given that’s the official figure.

    1. Yeah, I’m tired of the stupid of “They came out of this richer.” HOW? Mostly they sell junk to US. This is why this was a self-goal. When we’re in trouble they sink.

    2. I recall when “Japan was going to own the USA” and then…. POOF… suddenly Japan was struggling to own Japan. And the USA’s part in that was..…. uh… to just get on with life. THE HORROR!

    3. They get mortgages because there’s not really anything else to invest in, and because everyone’s got to buy a house. And apparently people who buy a place to live that they’ve never even visited can generally resell it for a profit. This seems like an obvious market bubble. But it hasn’t popped yet, likely because – again – there isn’t really anywhere else to invest your money.

      And even worse, by our standards, they only own the residence. The land that the residence is on has been leased from the government for seventy years…

  39. Coming in late because, well, stuff happens.

    I saw two episodes of Family Ties, and only two. Just wasn’t into sitcoms for the most part. These two would seem to be atypical from Sarah’s description of the show.

    In the first of the two Alex happens to go to the preschool the youngest kid was attending. He is, of course, highly offended by a lot of the “left wing” stuff there. At one point the kids are doing a game where they’re pretending to run a business and he says they are forgetting things like taxes. One of the kids asks what taxes are and he says it’s like a big monster that eats a third of what you make…”and the only thing that can stop it, is a Republican.” (How very naive.)

    I actually used “the tax monster” to describe the idea to my own daughter when she was little.

    In another episode a black family was moving into the neighborhood. And all these wonderful, carring, open-minded liberals were were up in a panic about home values dropping as a result (really? What was this, the thirties?) Alex is the one who tries to calm everyone’s fears, pointing out that the only reason for home prices to drop is if people start panic sellnig.

    That’s a better grasp of economics than most congresscritters have: It’s not the people moving into the neighborhood that hurt property values, but the ones moving out

    1. Reminds me of ‘Back To School’ when Thornton Mellon (Rodney Dangerfield) informs the class of all the details the snooty Economics Professor is leaving out of their lesson on starting a business.

      If you’re not selling any time soon, property values dropping is a good thing. Property taxes will decrease, too.
      If you tried to run a business the way they run the government, you would be in jail or the poor-house within six months.

        1. There’s a bit of a kerfluffle going on in Iowa because several county accessors started actually doing assessments.

          Fair ones, not “accessed based on the most expensive houses in the area” types.
          And even pointing out when someone qualified for the ag rate, rather than paying house assessments for their hobby farm.

          This made for a drop in tax income, which quite annoyed the state accessor. 😀

      1. Property taxes will decrease

        When? Not in our experience.

        True, Now property taxes are not tied to market value (existing house’s base values at 1990, + max 3% ??? increase/year if market values go up, new houses at first sale price, or appraised value if not spec house). Our house has never dropped on real market value below the actual taxable value; yet. Not even during the last house crash. (Taxable value $210k. Current WAG market value $500k. We paid $78k in ’88.)

          1. Huge scream locally regarding the Market Values dropping but the Taxable Value not dropping after the 2008 era price crash. Don’t know if that sediment was state wide or not. I mean for those who bought at the high, yes, makes sense they’d expect a drop. But given our house taxable value was 2/3 market value, I had no complaints (now it is half, and county market value is horribly under market). I suspect we won’t see a decrease. Gets that bad …. well, um, ouch, country wide..

  40. > “And then suddenly all the brave feminists are in jail. Not the people who threw things, mind you, but the brave and oh, so leftist speakers.”

    Unfortunately, that’s how it worked for the J6 protesters.

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