This Is Not Your Grandfather’s Grandfather

As we watch the increasingly ridiculous and try-to-be shocking antics of the would-be leading edge leftists, one question keeps coming up: who are they trying to shock?

No, seriously. Look, guys, I’m sixty. That’s grandmother age, even if I’m not one except via duct-tape yet.

Yeah, sure, both my parents and Dan’s parents are still alive, but look, my mom is a boomer, okay? And so was Dan’s mom. And our fathers are only slightly older. They got married in the fifties, raised kids in the sixties, and though they might have projected a stern image to them, neither of our parents’ were particularly conventional people. (No, not science fiction. But I don’t think science fiction would have shocked them.)

Heck guys, I’ve read books written by people my grandparents’ age.

Pseudo-satanism on stage? Dear Lord, people. That would have been old by the 20s. The 1920s. The early Victorians were already into all kinds of insanely stupid mysticism often shading into satanism. Racy novels with lots of sex? I believe Agatha Christie mocked those in the thirties. And everything from sexual communes to drug use, to New Age to Witchcraft were already old hat in the twenties. Naked Shakespeare was tediously common when I was kid. Naked anything really.

The seventies … Well, for all you kids not born then, the seventies normalized a lot of things that are considered far more outre now than they were then. Including drug parties and orgies and– Well, you know, I hung out at the fringes of seventies parties, observing and not participating because even back then I had the idea a lot of these things were a very stupid idea. Which didn’t stop full grown men propositioning me, or trying to get my clothes off, because in the seventies it was thought to grow up healthy children needed to have sex early. It wasnt just the music that was bad, or the fashion that was laughable. The seventies were pretty much insanity all the way.

So when some young woman’s greatest contribution to “art” is to knit with string coming from a ball shoved her up her twat, she deserves the respect such “art”: to be laughed off stage, have her knitting get the “ew, this is soppy” it deserves, and to be sent to her room with milk and cookies until she has an idea worthy of attention by adults.

But no, our art scene is under the impression that they’re being “shocked” or “paradigm breaking” and that they are doing things “pour epater les bourgeois.”

The only people likely to be shocked by this are the exceedingly well brought up children of the left who have swallowed a lot of stupid ideas about how most of the country — particularly those people in flyover countries — are complete cardboard cutouts of morality, existing in an eternal 1950s that never existed, who will be completely shocked and surprised by all of this.

Instead, most of the world is only shocked by how unshocking and uncreative they are.

It’s kind of like in science fiction, where they decided what people like me — you know, grew up reading Heinlein, but also a lot of New Wave in the seventies (of course) — wanted a return to the “pulps” which were published in our grandparents’ time. To be fair, I did read a lot of pulp. But that’s because I read a lot of everything. And there were never enough books.

However, by the time I was reading science fiction, well…. there were some very strange ideas being floated. Some were strange in the Phillip K. Dick sense. Some were out there sexual ideas (Eh. The Left Hand of Darkness was tame) and those of us who were reading it as kids read all of it. (Sometimes in foreign languages, so our parents didn’t catch us.) In fact a lot of us had such strange ideas that we had no idea how disruptive our written assignments in middle school were to our teachers’ sanity.

I might want a return to science fiction and fantasy that have plots, and have more than screeds against whatever the current bette noir of the left is, but I wouldn’t want a return to the pulps. For one, as amusing as some were, most of them weren’t exactly very well written. I’m frankly more interested in “the new pulps” which take everything we have learned and done, and integrate it in new pulse-pounding adventures.

The illusions of the left that we live in these out-of-time, eternal, fictional fifties, make them see all of life upside down and sideways.

Hence their idea that my friends and I were also “fighting” to keep science fiction white and male. (Rolls eyes.) Let alone that most of us aren’t white and male, when I was attempting to break into science fiction in the eighties and nineties, most of the editors were already women, and most of the new writers breaking in, ditto. Generally speaking, the male authors my age had as much trouble breaking in or more than I did. (And I went uphill, in a snow storm, under fire from my own stupidity.)

Of course, you know, the left has a point.

Breaking real rules, becoming a real iconoclast, opposing the current powers that be? That’s dangerous. You stand real chances of shocking real people who have the power to cancel you and destroying your career. (Thank heavens for indie, no?)

At the very least, the establishment will try to side line you by ignoring you, shutting you out and deriding you. (Okay, so I was called a bad writer in Teh Grauniad, possibly the least credible source for literary criticism. And yet, I bet there are idiots who believe it.) It is not… profitable. It won’t get you the TV interviews, or the gigs teaching in University.

No, those are at the command of the people who attack the FAKE establishment and try to shock people who don’t exist. The real rewards are given to those who speak power to truth, and lave the feet of the corruptocracy with willing tongues. Giving themselves the palms of martyrs for truth and shocking revelations is just an additional perk. I mean, who would question them?

Other than us. And anyone not part of the corruptocracy. And anyone with two brain cells.

I just wonder if they — in their collective multitude — can ever admit that they’re not shocking anyone. And if the assembled multitude of them can come up with a single surprising idea.

Not even shocking. Just surprising. You know, enough creativity to fill a thimble sized for a toddler.

My bet is that they can’t.

259 thoughts on “This Is Not Your Grandfather’s Grandfather

  1. One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that a lot of under-25 people think they’re shocking in many ways – but are only shocking in theory.

    They’re heard/read about some things, and imagined others, but are really pretty puritanical in their actual lives. They get a little thrill when they meet someone who’s “radical” (in specific, approved ways), but they live gray, boring little lives in reality.

    1. When I’m more radical and counter-culture while walking around in neo-Victorian clothes (or work-suitable glamor goth) than the edgy hip kids are on Friday night . . . It suggests that someone messed up the definition of “edgy” and “radical.”

    2. I had a younger co-worker try to brag he knew how to make napalm. I informed him that one item in the most common version had changed ingredient and would likely not work. AND… that it was NO secret. As Flint put it in 1632 (I think) put it , “Even the pacifists knew at least three recipes for napalm” in the 1970’s.

      1. Hell, there were copies of The Anarchist’s Cookbook in the bookstores and in our dorm in the early ’70s. A good friend, fellow engineering student and evangelical Christian had the copy I knew of. (“But sir, I never read the articles. Honest!”)

        None of our group was into anti-warrin’ protesting, though there were some interesting discussions that would have gotten Feebie attention nowadays. We didn’t do any, though some of the events that have transpired in the last few decades sure rhyme. OTOH, PG&E’s ability to take out towns and HV power lines surpassed anything brought up over a bottle of cheap wine.

        “This chapter will get more people killed than any others” – paraphrase of the Cookbook’s intro to explosives and IEDs (though not called that…)

        1. I recall a right proper chemist going full-goose-bozo on just how CRAP ‘The Anarchists Cookbook’ was on usenet. Not just explaining how anyone following it would most likely blow themselves up LONG before anyone else, but also how to do it right (with the idea of it being showy fireworks rather than Mad Bomber nonsense).

          1. One of the guys looking at the Cookbook was familiar with explosive stump removal, but none of us were interested in trying the ‘splody bits. Nary a pyromaniac in the bunch, either.

      2. There’s a certain peace and contentment in being able to say to such persons “bless your heart.” Napalm? Oh honey… shakes head

    3. One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that a lot of under-25 people think they’re shocking in many ways – but are only shocking in theory.

      Same as it ever was– GK Chesterton’s Father Brown rather consistently skewers the folks who confuse being rude or publicly stupid with being new.

      Frequently, nobody is doing a thing because it’s a really bad idea.

    4. i drive Uber and had a under-25 passenger (college kid) comment on how socially relevant the song that was playing was…

      I then explained the song came out in 1984.

      (for the record: it was “People are People”)

    1. my son came by last night with his wife to drop off a Christmas gift for me that only just now arrived they had put a printout of her ultrasound in the package I looked at it and said it looks like we’re having a baby, my son is one of those ‘shocking’ people.

  2. And an even worse example, I think, than the cheapening of the word CHARITY is the new newspaper cheapening of the word COURAGE.

    Any man living in complete luxury and security who chooses to write a play or a novel which causes a flutter and exchange of compliments in Chelsea and Chiswick and a faint thrill in Streatham and Surbiton, is described as “daring,” though nobody on earth knows what danger it is that he dares. I speak, of course, of terrestrial dangers; or the only sort of dangers he believes in. To be extravagantly flattered by everybody he considers enlightened, and rather feebly rebuked by everybody he considers dated and dead, does not seem so appalling a peril that a man should be stared at as a heroic warrior and militant martyr because he has had the strength to endure it.
    G.K. Chesterton

  3. J.K. Rowling, having the money to ignore the pressure, has started suing folks under British libel law. So far she’s gotten at least one apology from someone bright enough to know she’ll win her case. (You know, the usual – calling her a “Nazi,” for her, “transphobic,” attitude and suggesting burning her alive might be an appropriate, or atnleast tempting, response).
    It occurs to me that these guys are creating their own version of the 50s (the one they’ve imagined) – an era of bland conformity, enforced by social pressure. (Ooops, time to go take my horse pill. I was interested to note the practioners tested me for flu and strep, but not Wuflu. Negative on both, but theynput me on antibiotics anyway).

    1. And their music holds up, most of it (everyone has a bad day now and then.) I’m not so sure the “transgressive” stuff from today will age well.

      1. I doubt it will. And as for “shocking!”, there’s:

        “Please allow me to introduce myself,
        I’m a man of wealth and taste.”

        And “40,000 Headmen”. And many more. The current ones are mostly just boring.

    2. Not to mention various punk bands like Dead Kennedys or Sex Pistols (much more widely known examples).

      1. Or Frank Zappa (with or without The Mothers of Invention) Joe’s Garage? Sheik Yerbouti ? And honestly they weren’t that shocking in their day other than you could play them on radio ( although several small college stations and WBCN out of Boston did regularly).

    3. At the time, I was confused by all the “transgressive rebels” listening to Dio and Enya (two of the most overtly Christian artists out there).

      I’d like to give them credit for being ahead of the curve, but having talked to many of them, they had no clue.

      1. I don’t listen to music because it’s ‘transgressive’ or ‘edgy’ or ‘radical’, I listen because it sounds good. If it sounds like crap, I don’t listen.

        That’s the biggest problem with today’s ‘artists’ — they sound like crap. Why subject my ears to that? I’d rather put on some Blue Oyster Cult or Journey.

        We could jam in Joe’s Garage
        There was just enough room to cram the drums
        In the corner over by the Dodge…

        1. Do ever listen to Stratovarius? They’re a Finnish band that sounds a lot like the Scorpions or Journey, but with more of an accent. A lot of their songs are about powering through and surviving, even if it’s just to tick off the people who want you to lose.

          1. It’s not just them. Just a couple of threads ago I joked that there are a lot of bands whose lyrics you could build a new system of divination around.

            And I agree, it’s always annoying when a song I like has nonsense lyrics attached. It makes me feel like an idiot if I try to sing along.

            1. Sort of like “wrapped up like a deuce” sound like something a bit more gynecological….

              But the origins of “pompatus” have been documented.

    4. Heck, look at the stuff that was both so milktoast and so widely known that freaking Disneyland put it in a ride for little kids!

      The entire joke of the spiritualist in the crystal ball only works if you’re familiar with the Spiritualist craze, and heck the literal grandparents of the kids going in there would know about Crowley!

  4. Folks who lived through Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson were certainly not shocked by wannabes except for shock at how lame it all comes across. Not really shocked, okay, just disappointed at how poor the attempt was. Also, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson could make fun of themselves.

  5. The tune Anything Goes (how old now?) speaks of “nudist parties” and the 1970’s? Well, the early 1970’s in the USA was “The Vietnam war broadcast into your living room,” To the point that I have a (false? Or did I jump timestreams?) memory of that infamous photo of a N. Vietnamese ratfink about to get what passed for his/its brains blown out.. except I recall it as film/video rather than just a still frame.

    1. I also remember seeing a video clip of that particular NV spy getting unalived. Lemme check the Tube of Yous…. yep. It exists. Search for “Nguyen Van Lem”

        1. You are welcome! I distinctly remember seeing a clip of that No-Good Commie being turned into a Good Commie years ago on The History Channel, back when it covered actual, you know, History. Wanted to confirm that it was an actual memory and not a figment of my imagination.

    2. There was both and the angles are slightly different. NEVER mentioned is the UN investigated the shooting and stated it was Justified. The Photog was the first one to say that it was a justified shooting. The guy wasn’t just a spy, he was an assassin and the Man shooting him was one of his targets as were his family, and the NV bastage was caught at a mass grave (iirc with families within it. Dead families). The NV guy got off easy.
      Saw this just a few weeks back about such:

      1. Yeah, some of the most shocking iconic pictures from the Vietnam War are stuff that the photographers themselves have said shouldn’t have been used for anti-war purposes. It was an ugly war. South Vietnam’s sins were frequently excoriated. North Vietnam’s sins were not.

      2. The dead guy had done the equivalent of doing a raid on Christmas morning while the stockings were being opened, targeting the very young godchildren of the guy who shot him, was how I heard it.

    3. (Reviews lyrics. Grins broadly.)

      Wiki says Anything Goes premiered in 1934. The San Jose community theater org (good fun until they spent/priced themselves out of existence) did one version, I assume the 1980s revival. Saw it mid-late 1990s.

      Never saw the Good Commie video clip. I’m guessing it would have been on one of the national TV news programs, and that was dinner time.

      1. I first encountered the Temple of Doom version:

        Couldn’t understand a word of it outside the title.

    4. I found myself humming the tune, for no apparent reason, earlier this week. And then I realized how oddly appropriate it was…

    5. > “Or did I jump timestreams?”

      If you do figure out the whole jumping-between-timestreams thing, let me know. This one is stupid and I’m in the market for a new one.

  6. Let’s see. The Marquis de Sade was writing when? The 1970s? Oops, the 1770s. IIRC, the “confessions of a reformed prostitute (including lots of graphic details about how naughty she was)” was a semi-popular genre in the 1850s-1900s. And Japanese books of what we’d call erotica were popular “artistic” imports during Victoria’s reign, if memory serves.

    1. For that matter, there were plenty of Victorian porn books written in England, usually by someone named “Anonymous”.
      RAH in “To sail into the sunset” observed (through the character Maureen) that his parents and grandparents did all the same things as the younger generation, just a bit less out in the open.
      Going back much further I’m sure you can find stuff in the classics. After all, there’s a famous poet named Sappho… and I remember reading about a nice bit of graffiti found on a wall in Pompeii: “Dum puer cum puellula / moraretur in cellula / felix coniunctio”
      Who was it that said “nothing new under the sun”?

      1. Which is one of the lines in Carmina Burana. Probably copied without attribution for generation unto generation of Latin scholars.

          1. That’s what I meant by “copied without attribution for generation unto generation . . .” That it goes back before the actual carminae were composed/written down in medieval Latin and Middle High German. To my knowledge, there are no attributions in the original medieval documents, even when they quote older sources.

            I should have been clearer. My bad.

      2. Catullus. In my late 2nd year Latin class we ended up with a student teacher who was finishing a masters in classics at Wesleyan University. We’d finished the assigned work for the day and he dug up some poems to challenge us from things he’d been working on in the past. The one in question was by Catullus and set the 5 of us to work on them not that he really seemed to remember the content. There were a lot of words we had to go to our dictionaries for. Our best translator, a rather pretty shy senior named Priscilla, all of a sudden turned pale and then blushed massively. As the number 2 translator I wasn’t far behind her. I just sort of gaped and sat there. My memory is that it was pretty explicit descriptions of a mans desires for a particular lady and what he wished to do. Our instructor then found us something far less racy. All of this from first century B.C. None of this is new…

          1. No sadly I do not. All I remember is the faces of my fellow students and the look of dawning horror on the face the student teacher as he realized he just gave a fairly explicit love poem to a mixed sex group of high school students. Even though we were a fairly hippy dippy private high school where nearly anything went that probably was right at the edge of the pale. Given I think it was spring of 1978 (perhaps 1977) that I remember Catullus’ name is doing better than I might hope for 🙂 .

            1. Or it could be #5. Or many others. Catullus wrote lots of them both to his married mistress he called Lesbia and to various men. Ovid’s Ars Amatoria had nothing on old Catullus. randy bugger he was.

              Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus
              Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love.

              We did a whole lot of Catullus in my wildly old fashioned all boys Catholic school. They were set poems for the AP Latin exam. Still are I think. I know my kids all did a fair few. We all knew Carmen 16 though even though it wasn’t a set poem, It was like looking up dirty words in the dictionary when you were a kid.

              1. Given the first line of Carmen/Catullus 16 as translated in Wikipedia I suspect that may be the one.

                1. Ovid was used for school texts throughout the Middle Ages. Or rather, parts were used, but the whole of his books that had survived, continued to be copied out. Some of his poems were very moral, even though others were not; and I gather that Metamorphoses gets hilarious if you have studied Latin literature intensively.

                  Catullus is different, because he was known in the early Middle Ages and then his work disappeared from circulation. A single ms was found in 1300, and that one was incomplete and in terrible shape. Nobody was going to throw him away, but I don’t think they ever figured out a safe way to teach him.

                  But Catullus 5 is very useful, and not too difficult. My first Latin textbook had the part about “Da mi basia mille”, in the numbers section! So there you go.

                2. Ovid was used for school texts throughout the Middle Ages. Or rather, parts were used, but the whole of his books that had survived, continued to be copied out. Some of his poems were very moral, even though others were not; and I gather that Metamorphoses gets hilarious if you have studied Latin literature intensively.

                  Catullus is different, because he was known in the early Middle Ages and then his work disappeared from circulation. A single ms was found in 1300, and that one was incomplete and in terrible shape. Nobody was going to throw him away, but I don’t think they ever figured out a safe way to teach him.

                  But Catullus 5 is very useful, and not too difficult. My first Latin textbook had the part about “Da mi basia mille”, in the numbers section! So there you go.

                  1. I can still translate that lo 40+ years later, “Give me 1000 kisses” that’s a bloody miracle 🙂 .

              2. C.S. Lewis in “The Allaegory of Love,” (not Christian apologetics but history of allegory as a literary for ) argues the whole theory of courtly love came about because Chritian courtiers and minstrels took the Ars Amatoria as a how-to book rather than satire.

                1. I think it is likely that the Provencal poets were influenced by Muslim poetry and songs from their parts of Spain and southern France, just like lute music was influenced heavily by oud music, early on.

                  But they got it from Persia, the Greeks, the Romans, Armenia, and the Saracen parts that were past Armenia. (As well as their non-standard version of Islam.)

                  Martin Capellanus was apparently goofing on Ovid and his Provencal court friends, so that was also satire.

                  1. Or the Brythonic Celts. Notice that they were telling all sorts of stories about the rescue of ladies BEFORE that courtly love thing.

                    Lewis describes them as beating those tales into new shapes but perhaps less was needed than he thought.

        1. Our 5th year Latin class (high school senior) studied several of Catullus’ poems, the ones considered not too scandalous at least. I mean, I was such an innocent I thought ‘poetaster’ was a naughty word! 😉

          About the only one I remember at all is “Odi et amo” (Catullus 85), probably because it is such a pithy summation.

          “Odi et amo.
          Quare id faciam fortasse requiris
          Sed fieri sentio et excrucior.”

      3. Don’t forget the reason why the Victorians kept it all out of sight. It was a backlash against the blatant and open libertinism of the previous generation.

    2. I’m not all that familiar with Chaucer, but the Canterbury Tales got bawdy in parts. (The Miller’s tale, for one.) Circa 1380.

    3. de Sade got in trouble with the law, not for pornography, which wasn’t a big deal in France at the time, but for blasphemy, which was. Though more charges got tacked on as his notoriety grew.

    4. “Prostitute Dialogues” started becoming popular in the 18th Century. In his diary, Samuel Pepys discussed reading the progenitor of the genre in the late 1600s for goodness’ sake.

  7. There were Jacobean sex comedies too racy to be performed for 300 years.

    Yes, I’m often driven to drink by the conformity and herd mentality of the current crop of stunning and brave transgressive writers. The only authors in our field right now who are genuinely transgressive are John Norman and Vox Day. You can tell they’re transgressive because people are actually shocked by their stuff, and try to get them banned and deplatformed. Everything else is about as daring as a sixth-grader writing “FUCK” on a bathroom wall.

      1. OH JOHN RINGO NO! 😀

        But then, his Kildar books are built around roaring good action stories, with evil villains and valiant heroes and, okay, a lot of kinky sex thrown in. Just the sex on its own wouldn’t be interesting, but who didn’t get a chuckle out of Mike’s jaunt to find a harem manager in Uzbekistan?

        And where else would a character like Katya fit in?
        The Soviets had managed to put up buildings of surpassing ugliness without even trying.

        1. Interestingly, John Ringo has said that the “sex” was hard to write because “it wasn’t his thing”. 😆

        2. It is my opinion that John Ringo is the best storyteller in contemporary science fiction/fantasy. Sometimes his stories kind of suck, but he tells them in such an engaging way that I enjoy reading them anyway.

        3. Re: Imaginos’ comments about Ringo: Concur fully. And I almost fell over laughing at his foreword in “Kildar”. In its entirety, “just because”:

          “This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book and series has no connection to reality. Any attempt by the reader to replicate any scene in this series it to be taken at the reader’s own risk. For that matter, most of the actions of the main character are illegal under U.S. and international law as well as most of the stricter religions in the world. There is no Valley of the Keldara. Heck, there is no Kildar. And the idea of some Scotts and Vikings getting together to raid the Byzantine Empire is beyond ludicrous. The islands described in a previous book do not exist. Entire regions described in these books do not exist. Any attempt to learn anything from these books is disrecommended by the author, the publisher and the author’s mother who wishes to state that he was a very nice boy and she doesn’t know what went wrong.” 🙂

          Apparently, some had tried to get him to disclose the location of the real “Valley of the Keldara”. Oy…

  8. Btw, there is a big “great awakening” type of contagious, all day all night, revival going on. It started last week at Asbury U in Kentucky, and has spread to Lee University in Cleveland TN, Campbellsville U in KY, and Cedarville U in Cedarville OH, just at the other end of the county. These are not the same denominations, even though they are all evangelical traditions.

    Interestingly, it started last week… and yesterday, the USCCB started registration for the first Eucharistic Congress in the US since 1941, and it will be in Indianapolis.

    Aslan is on the move! And thank goodness!

    1. The town where Asbury is — it is Wilmore KY. So if you have folks slipping off to KY all of a sudden, that is probably where they are going. I guess all sorts of evangelicals from around the country have headed out there on pilgrimage, to see the Holy Spirit at work.

      I wish all the best to the Cedarville folks, because they really have put in the work of trying to stay faithful. This is really nice for them, to be blessed like this.

    2. The preachers at the church where I sing have been asking for prayers for Asbury’s revival, and there are at least two people from the congregation going in the near future.

    1. Ox slow…. but, er…
      Every generation thinks they invented sex
      And how, exactly, do they figure they GOT HERE?
      Now if the only elders are Zeus & Co. (or equivalent) alright, maybe…
      But since that was ages and ages ago… (I am not THAT old, just heard the stories…)

        1. LOL 😆

          In the most recent Wearing The Cape book, Astra/Hope is being interviewed by a reporter who asks Hope about “what’s the thing you dislike most about being an Atlas” (a Flying Brick superbeing).

          Hope says that her super-hearing and other super-senses have given her problems in everyday life.

          One of the examples is that she had her parents add very serious sound-proofing to her bedroom. Apparently, her parents were still sexually active. 😆

          1. Wouldn’t it make more sense to sound-proof their own room? Or did they lock her in hers every time they decided to get it on?

            1. If you read the book, that’s what they did. Of course, she also had to avoid all but the hotels with that level of cound proofing. “Do you know how hard that is to ignore?”

              1. There was also the problem that some hotel-rooms had plenty of smells (her super-senses included her ability to smell things).

            2. Now, it’s possible that they sound-proofed Their Bedroom not her Bedroom.

              But it is more likely that they were “making out” at night after their work day.

              Both of them were generally busy during the day.

              Of course, it would be very hard to lock Hope in her room since her powers included super-strength. [Crazy Grin]

              Note, if you read the books, you’d know that Hope was old enough to start college when she gained her super-powers.

              1. I haven’t read the books. but…It would certainly make more sense to soundproof her room. That way if her parents’ kitchen table/LR couch/DR chandelier(??) urge suddenly popped up (NPI) she’d still be “protected from the distraction”. Unless she came out for a late-night snack, of course. 🙂

        2. I suspect that you should have used the present-tense, not the past-tense — “… things their parents get up to in the bedroom.”

          1. I was specifically addressing ‘where do they think they came from?’ which was past tense. You are correct that present tense would also work.

  9. To me, they are not trying to shock. They are knowingly virtue-signaling conformity to reprehensibles.


  10. Speaking on behalf of the old pulps, yeah there was a lot of garbage, but I’ve been reading Walter Gibson’s Shadow novels and they’re incredibly good so far. Tricks with point-of-view, multi-book storyarcs and mysteries set up in one novel and paid off in the next, and a wide variety ranging from gangster thrillers to sci fi to globetrotting adventures, to battles with supervillains.

    Leigh Brackett’s stories were very well-written, though admittedly she tended to end things with a deus ex machina.

    The short stories and novellas of occult detective Jules de Grandin have been released on audible. Check them out!

    Need I mention Lovecraft?

    Finally, I think a lot of the interest in the old pulps and the old pulp style is a reaction not just against the turgid, political “literary” stuff of today, but the “fat fantasy novels” of the 80s and 90s, kicked off and/or popularized by Robert Jordan, for good and for ill. Fat fantasy novels that tended toward bloat, padding, and going on far too long without ending well – when you didn’t have people like GRRM and Rothfuss, who can’t even rouse the interest to finish their own series.

    It was author and YouTuber David Stewart who reflected on all the time he’d spent following those fat fantasy series in the 90s and early 2000s…and in retrospect he regretted the time spent that could have been used in reading pulp fantasy.

    1. And to get back on topic, re: the subject of titillation, I point to Jules de Grandin’s cases. He deals with some far-out stuff!

    2. There are some very good pulps, yes. Though I despite Lovecraft. 😀
      BUT what I was disputing was the idea these were the writings of our youth we wanted to get back to. How old do these idiots think we are?

      1. Lovecraft’s an acquired taste. I find he’s better on audio than read, and the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has gone pretty woke during and after the St. George peaceful protests, but before that they produced a lot of great audio adaptations of Lovecraft’s stuff in the style of the old radio-plays.

        Their Dagon: War of the Worlds was a great followup to The Shadow over Innsmouth, depicting a War of the Worlds style invasion of monsters from the deep see.

        I think the supposition of the interest in pulps = nostalgia is a misunderstanding. A lot of people are indeed nostalgic for stuff from their youth – the stories of the 80s and 90s – but instead of settling for the faux-80s revival stuff like Stranger Things, they’re looking at the sources that inspired stories like Star Wars.

        Digging into Stephen King’s influences got me into Lovecraft and Shardik.

        Following He-Man’s history gets you into Conan.

        And there’s the difference between Tolkien-copied fantasy and looking into pre-Tolkien fantasy, but too many don’t make the distinction.

          1. Exactly. There are some genres that, no matter how good you are, I’m going to detest your work. (The wife finally gave up on trying to get me to sit down to watch a Hitchcock film.)

            Then there are some that I’m “meh” about – so you are going to have to be very good. Larry C I can read, even though supernatural is not my thing.

            I’m not a fan of cozy mystery, either – but am impatiently awaiting more Daring Finds. (Now, I am not entirely sure that I would be so enthusiastic if, say, the protagonist was a gardener. Maybe, maybe not.)

            1. I can respect Stephen King’s skill as a writer (in his early works) but do not enjoy them in the slightest.

            1. This is why I don’t understand the fear of clowns or the use of them as antagonists in horror stories. I know I can kick a clown’s ass, with or without those clumsy shoes.

              And besides, I am ALWAYS armed, even if it’s only the 3.5″ EDC blade clipped to my pocket. If the clown is merely the avatar of some otherworldly force, well, then you’re maybe getting into horror territory…but I still retain the right, the ability, and the means to make said physical manifestation cease any bothersome activities posthaste.

              1. I suspect that the Fear Of Clowns is related to fear of beings that appear to be almost human but obviously

                1. Word Press Must Die!

                  It didn’t let me finish the sentence. The “obviously” should be followed by “not human”.

                  Those sort of beings “trigger” our “flee or fight” instincts.

                  Even “laughing” at clowns is a “defense mechanism”. IE If I can see them as foolish, then they aren’t a Real Danger.

    3. I always liked Leigh Brackett and the pulps generally but I might not be consistent with exactly what a pulp is, I read an awful lot of pulps as I got my da’s old books and he loved them. I read all the Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Fu Manchu books and James Bond — not really appropriate for a 12 year old but I certainly learned a lot and most of the racy stuff went right over my head. Talbot Mundy is another.

      Number two son has been reading the Burroughs, and they’re sometimes a bit hard going. The writing style didn’t age well.

      of course, you’d be shot if caught reading such subversive stuff today.

      1. While I’ll go to bat defending Fleming (no relation) as a great freaking writer, he was never pulp. In the pulp mode? Sure, I can see that (particularly as he very gracefully told Raymond Chandler that Chandler was a better writer than he was, in their BBC interview). But Casino Royale was published as a book (quite possibly due to his university or wartime connections), and by the time he got around to doing Bond shorts, I’m reasonably sure he was selling them to top slick markets in the US, and anywhere else.

    4. Rothfuss, you say? I went to grad school with him 20 years ago, and he was a fun dude to be around. Very intelligent and articulate. Gave all the proto-SJW woketards in the English program absolute fits. I heard that he was working on a novel, but didn’t think anything of it; we all were, or at least pretending to. Unlike the rest of us, he actually finished it and got famous.

      Heard all sorts of good things about The Name of the Wind, but the “everything’s a bloated trilogy” days soured me on fantasy, and it took me a long time to get around to trying it. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t.

      Haven’t followed anything he’s been doing since about 2010ish, but it was apparent then that he liked being a Serious Author more than actually writing stories. And he had a good teaching gig, so he didn’t need to produce. Aside from the genre, it’s a pretty typical literary writer career path. I can only guess that he’s settled into a… well, let’s say less iconoclastic temperament, because the younger version of him would’ve been cancelled by now.

      1. The Name of the Wind was very well written, but the main character is pretty heavy on the Marty Stu.
        I enjoyed it, but didn’t feel much urge to read the second.

        1. I made two stabs at the first one, got further the second time, but in both choked on the Marty Stuness.

      2. I bounced hard off The Name of the Wind. Only got about a third of a way through. I just didn’t care about the character.

        1. I’ve never read a single fictional word Rothfuss has written.

          By the time he hit the scene, I was done with fat fantasies, especially the unfinished series, and after reading some of his blog posts and watching a couple of his interviews out of curiosity, he rubbed me the wrong way. Something was just ‘off’ about him.

          These days, the only unfinished series I’ll invest my time and money in is Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword books, and whatever Greg Keyes is coming out with next, since they both never fail to follow through, and in a timely fashion.

          1. I’ll invest in Ringo’s series, knowing they will never be finished but that the ride will be wild.

            Also Brandon Sanderson. Because Brandon Sanderson

            1. technically, he’s finished several series… he just decided to pick up later in the Alldenata series.

          2. I’ve watched some of the D&D play-sessions he’s been involved in at various PAX events.

            I think his play style is best described as “munchkin”.

            Not sure I would want to play in a group with him.

        2. I didn’t even get a third of the way in. Read the opening chapters, put it down, and felt no urge to pick it back up. Like you, I bounced off it pretty hard. The only thing I can really say about it, and this isn’t really even a criticism, is that it just seemed to be very much not my kind of story.

  11. What is truly shocking is how ridiculous and self important they think they are, very heavy on the self there. There are roughly eight billion people in the world, and most of them don’t agree with the people on the left. They don’t agree with their protests, and are only shocked by their utter stupidity. If those precious little snowflakes only knew what others really thought of them, especially by those on their side, they would slink away into the dark cracks of society they crawled out of. The proper response to them is not to gasp but, to laugh out loud. Very loud.

    If those same little snowflakes had seen the things my eyes have seen they would probably go into a coma from shock. Reality is much more shocking than they could ever be. Try walking through a third world slum, it’s not seeing the woman holding the dead baby begging for money, that’s shocking. It’s knowing she probably dug it up from it’s grave to use as a prop that is really shocking. That world and life is hard, your problems about which bathroom to use is not. In a way thank god we have those problems and not the previous.

  12. Rome… the Satyricon…

    It seems the “Victorian Grandmother” has become something like a permanent cultural fixture of the Left, the uptight bad person who must be shocked at all costs.

    I had a -real- Victorian grandmother, she was born during Victoria’s reign and lived in Scotland in her youth. My experience was you didn’t want to try your cheek with her or you’d get a cuff on the ear.

    Those people lived through WWI, the Depression and then WWII. Nothing shocked them, they were as hard as diamond. God knows we tried, in the 1950s, the 1960s, and the 1970’s, we tried EVERYTHING and they just did not care. “That’s alright wee man, dinna fash yerself” is what I recall from my grandparents. Happy to be alive, happy to have food and a roof to eat it under, didn’t give a rip about anything else.

    Watching the current crop trying to shock us Boomers is hilarious. We grew up on Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath. We invented this crap and by the 80s we were all bored of it. Go to youtube and take notes, kid.

    1. “Sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three
      [Which was rather late for me)
      between the end of the Chatterley ban
      and the Beatles’ first LP.”

      Philip Larkin

      Every generation thinks they invented it.

  13. I thought the baby boomers were the generation born between 1946 and 1964-65. That would put you in the late baby boom (like me) – the ones that found their career growth blocked by the early boomers. If your mother and Dan’s mother were also boomers they must have had kids really early. Either that or they were in the silent generation, like my mom.

    1. We had a loooong discussion a few days ago about “media Boomers” vs “political generation Boomers” vs “late Boomers” vs “demographer Boomers.” And thus the subsequent cohorts.

      And then there’s the “nuclear missile equipped and nuclear powered boomers.” evil kitty grin

      1. Well, actually I think I can. Someone born in 1964 has a lot more in common with someone born in 1946 than they would with someone born in 1984. One example: free range childhood. When I was growing up – in the 1960s – parents threw us out of the house and let us entertain ourselves all day, We were given limits as to how far we could go, but it was a pretty sizable area. That was the way thing were for kids born in the late 1940s, too. It pretty much continued that way through the 1970s.

        But by the 1980 that began to change. A kid born circa 1984 would have been six by 1990 and by then parents were expected to take their kids to the park rather than let them go on their own. And growing up in the 1960s and 1970s – just like in the late 1940s and 1950s, you rode your bike with no helmet, played on swings with hard seats, and jungle gyms with unpadded bars. Those were gone by 1990.

        Similarly kids born in the late forties grew up with theaters and network television as their entertainment choices. It was really mass media. Miss a show and you had to wait for summer to catch it in re-runs. Cable and video recording began coming in in the late 1970s and were common by the early 1990s. Entertainment on demand. Big, big cultural difference.

        For me (born 1955) and anyone born through 1964 long distance toll charges were a thing. Your area code meant something. Just as it did for those born in 1946. By 1990s (when that kid born in 1984 was six) toll charges for long-distance was going away – want to talk to family and friends across the country? Have at it. My wife and I were much more isolated from our parents than our kids were. One of them used to call my wife (on a cell phone) when he got lost to get her to navigate him (using Google maps or the equivalent). He was in California and she was in Texas. It was doable No way could I have done that when I was his age.

        And let’s talk computers. Not internet – just desktop computers. Someone born in 1964 or earlier was unlikely to have had a computer in their home prior to their mid teens. Anyone born from 1984 on grew up with them, and had at least dial-up internet from their late teens. Again, a big, big cultural change. I was just starting up as a writer in the late 1990s and I was selling stuff to a UK publisher via the Internet. Same stuff I was writing back in the 1970s, that I had to mail off to Avalon Hill and wait months before getting a response. If ever. Kind of like those that were born in 1946.

        So, culturally you and I have a lot more in common with someone born 20 years before us than 20 years after us.

        1. That is complete BULLSH*T sorry to say. The summer of love? I was learning to write. My teachers (and one parent) were boomers.
          The idea that I was conceived post world war II stretches credibility.
          Also, please stop. NO SERIOUSLY STOP.
          When I was 18 the boomers despaired of my (unnamed) generation because we were going to work, getting married and behaving more like the people they’d “rebelled” against.
          We were told we were materialistic and uncaring.
          Remember the show 30 something? Yeah, we were twenty something and clearly different from the idealized version of the “cool boomers.”
          Like the x we were held back in our careers because by the time we started trying to advance, the boomers were in control and we were “young” and “Stupid” and “hadn’t had the experiences.”
          AND THEN SUDDENLY as the boomers went into their fifties and becoming irrelevant, the date of the COMMERCIAL (not statistical, which is different) generation moved from around 56 to 64. To include us.
          Ask anyone born 59 on about being called boomers.
          Boomers were the people who despised us when we turned out to vote for Reagan. They were the people who berated us for being uncaring, and who painted their childhood onto us.
          NO SALE. JUST NO SALE.
          We saw our older siblings grow their hair and act like idiots. We cut ours and went to work, because there was no room in the civilizational budget for two generations of brats.
          I have way more in common with generation X as do most of us. If you believe otherwise, you’re deluding yourself.

          1. I was born in 1955 and I had nothing but scorn for the hippie-dippy, anti-war types. And you bet your sweet bippy I voted for Reagan – for that matter, I voted for Ford. And I would have voted for Nixon if I’d been old enough in 1972.

            1. I was born in 1955 and I had nothing but scorn for the hippie-dippy, anti-war types. And you bet your sweet bippy I voted for Reagan – for that matter, I voted for Ford. And I would have voted for Nixon if I’d been old enough in 1972.

              Born ’56. Otherwise same.

              1. Born in ’45, and ditto. And I did vote for Nixon. And Reagan, twice. So if “boomer” means those who despise people like me, I guess I’m not a boomer either.

                Actually, I pretty much ignore the whole “defined generation” garbage, the MSM version of “one size fits none”.

                  1. Yep. It seems there is a type of personality (pathological, IMHO) that simply has to tuck everyone into neat pigeonholes; I suspect that’s one of the reasons why they’re so outraged when people appear, such as black conservatives, who insist on not fitting their assigned niches.

            2. “The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?” — Gerald Ford (Speech to National Restaurant Association, 1978)

        2. LOOK, my dad was a kid during WWII. This doesn’t make any sense from any perspective.
          I DO realize the “boomer” image is a media thing. I have boomer friends.
          BUT seriously, by now people should have realized that calling anyone born from 59 (or even 56) on a boomer makes us get knives out and become psychotic.
          We came along when all the money had been spent and no one was catering to the “youth” anymore. There were scant jobs, the schools were closing down and our boomer teachers were WORTHLESS “call me Bob” and “You’ll teach me more than I teach you” non-entities. Schools were screwed up and we were an after thought.
          And then we get told we were boomers and came of age in boom times and did all that “hot” bumming around stuff before settling.
          Yeah. The knives come out.

          1. Goodness Gracious of apathy I sing
            The baby boomers had it all and wasted everything
            Now recess is almost over
            And they won’t get off the swing

            Goodness Gracious we came in at the end
            No sex that isn’t dangerous, no money left to spend
            We’re the cleanup crew for parties
            We were too young to attend
            Goodness Gracious me

            And the Boomers are still in power, even though that song came out 30 years ago.

          2. Heck, you can get my DAD upset by calling him a “boomer”– and he was born in 1950!

            He spent his childhood in half-empty classrooms, constantly having everything shifted to take care of the Baby Boom’s requirements, sorry we can’t afford that you see there’s just too much demand, the older kids need it…. and now he’s told oh, he’s part of the baby boom?!?

            1. Ohhh yeah. I’ve had that reaction to things. Obviously of a later generation, but getting told that “my generation” had it so easy when my specific age +/- two years graduated into a recession and then was the biggest group to lose everything in the housing bubble crash is… annoying.

              *Note: We didn’t lose everything in the crash because we had to wait for the crash to be able to buy in.

              1. That was one factor that caused the crash — houses got too expensive for first-time buyers. The market was reduced to the same speculators buying and selling the same houses at higher and higher prices. Along with the ‘lucky’ early buyers refinancing over and over to ‘put that equity to work’. Add in some ‘creative accounting’ by the banks (with full government support) and when the bubble popped, everybody was ‘Shocked, Shocked!’ to discover that it was empty.

      2. The only thing I can think of is they all could children of the same parents… I know of an example where the eldest was born in 1947 and the youngest was born in 1964. But even then, the experiences were different. A trivial example was that for the eldest, TV was a new thing and the first one watched meant a trip to the neighbors who had sprung for a set and the big antenna it needed. For the youngest, a TV set was an appliance that was just there.

        1. Heck there is a difference between how I was raised (1956) and youngest sister (1961). Middle sister is 19 months younger (1958).

          Bigger difference between how hubby as the youngest (1952) VS his older siblings (he was the youngest by 4 years to the nearest sibling). Ten years younger than his oldest sibling.

          Besides the “baby” VS oldest syndrome. Both our sets of parents were much better established financially for the youngest sibling, than for us older ones.

    2. 1946 and 1964-65

      As I learned it long ago, 1943-1948-ish.

      By 1965, most of that cohort would have been on their second or third child.

      Not to mention if you look at the birth rates, there wasn’t ever a “baby boom” as such. What happened as a major postwar demographic shift from the rural areas to the cities. While some of the small towns started to fade away, the city-dwellers thought they were seeing some giant population explosion. They were, but it wasn’t from births.

  14. To give them their due, I think there are a few sheltered communities out there. I follow a believing Christian YouTuber who converted but wasn’t raised in the church. He shares stories of his experiences of evangelical culture, like how shocked some of his friends were the first time he showed them National Lampoons Christmas. I’ve got no reason to think he’s lying.

    Also, the stuff produced by Pureflix is pretty bowdlerized. If you’re going by that type of output and assuming that’s all that the opposition consumes, then yeah. The crap that’s being smeared on the TV screens would be shocking.

    1. I find folks enjoying National Lampoon’s Christmas pretty shocking, too, and I wasn’t sheltered except in the sense that nobody got to physically abuse me.

      Sure, the stuff in Pureflix is highly bowdlerized; that’s the whole point. People are aware of the nonsense, and then choose not to roll around in it.

      If these twits had five seconds worth of actual empathy and spent ten minutes trying to understand their chosen opponents, that would be blindingly clear to them.

      No wonder the progs work so hard to make sure that their footsoldiers aren’t sullied by silly things like actual exposure to the other side.

  15. What’s really insulting is not so much how…tame these people are and claiming to be “edgy”, but how ugly they are. Not just ugly in attitude, but ugly in what they can do.

    Look, whatever you can say about some of the worst people in the ’50s and ’60s music scene, almost all of them actually had some serious skills backing up their pretentions of being “edgy.” They went on stage, and they could actually perform on their own. And even the worst of the ’60s bands realized that there was such a thing as going too far.

    Most of the “creative” people now really don’t. They’re living in an era of auto-tuning, almost real-time Photoshop, and massive social media presences. They survive on a combination of false satanic majesties and that they can attract the attention of dopamine-addicted people on TikTok and Instagram. They need to do bigger and “worst” things because that’s the only way they can get past the hedonistic adaptation of people.

    (Come on, dressing up as a tame representation of Satan on stage will impress some boomers. I’ve seen Ozzy bite the heads off bats and Marilyn Manson do even worse. And, dressing up like a dildo means nothing when Madonna had at least three music videos banned by MTV because she pretty much was doing full BDSM in the videos, minus penetration. I’ve worked goth and kink clubs where even the S&M (stand and model) patrons were more impressive and enthusiastic.)

    What pisses me off, what makes me angry? I’ve worked hard to develop my skills, but I’m not the extrovert who can work the politics of the publishing industry to get million-dollar advances for crappy “Foundation” retreads. What little self-respect I have won’t let me go that far.

    1. That’s what surprised me too. I saw a few clips of the stupid Sam Smith routine at the Grammies and my main thought was “isn’t evil supposed to be seductive? Aren’t these people supposed to be the masters of image? This is just making me cringe on his behalf.”

  16. Hum, just thinking,

    I’m not your grandfathers father but if he was in the U. S., it’s quite possible I knew him well.

    It was a small world back then.


      1. So was mine. He was born in 1912 (youngest surviving child). His father was the brother who stayed behind in 1848; his mother was his father’s second wife, so quite an age difference.

        1. My grandparents were born – died: 1896 (ish) – 1959, 1908 – 1987 , 1911 – 2006, and 1913 -2006. While vehicles had been invented, they weren’t around. All 4 went from horse/buggy, witnessing WW1, depression, WW11, to seeing man walk on the moon on TV. Nothing surprised them. Nothing shocked them.

          1. My granddad also, 1800s from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

            I still have a carbide carriage lantern from one of his buggies. I made a replacement burner nozzle, installed it, fired it up with a little carbide and water, it still works just fine.

            1. Grandparents didn’t leave anything from the horse and buggy days. Paternal grandparents lost everything they had in a couple of house fires (one before dad was born, another after). My maternal grandparents didn’t have much, even back then, let alone anything to save for prosperity (for all that their house was filled with a lot of stuff that went either into a burn pile, or to the dump. Very little of what was left, over what family *kept, went to donations.)
              Grandpa’s paintings. The “good” dishes (not China).

            2. We’re military family on dad’s side, for generations easily traceable going back to the Spanish-American war. Earlier than that, I suspect the records got spotty…. but the culture carried on. One of the few things that’s carried down is the working cavalry saber, with nicks in the edge from use. (The dress saber got lost along the way.)

              We use it for cutting wedding cakes.

          2. > “WW11”
            Wait, we had a World War ELEVEN?

            …Exactly how late did I oversleep this morning?

            1. … WWII.

              Although, if one thinks about it … all those United Nation multi-nation “peace actions”. How many of those have there been?

          1. Maternal grandfather wasn’t old enough for WWI. Paternal grandfather, childhood polio kept him out of WWI and WWII.

          2. As did mine. Well, step-grandfather in one case. My Dad’s father had already lost his leg to a farming accident by the time the US entered the war (died, IIRC, in ’19; my Dad’s older brother just barely remembered him).

          3. One of my beloved’s grandfathers could never return to France after WWI because he refused to go back when summoned (he tried to enlist in America but he had skills that were too valuable to the war effort -he was either a machinist or a maker of prosthetics).So the French tried him in absentia and condemned him to death for desertion.

      2. No need to. Maternal Grandmother’s father John was born around about the start of the civil war. Grandma was child 9 of 10 (one pair identical twins) in her family and her mom Hannah (aka Hattie) was ~7-8 years John’s junior.

          1. Clear enough. Although there are some odd things that show up, for example I think we only lost one of one of the 19th centuries presidents grandsons. President remarried late in life (60? 70?) and sired a son who himself remarried late in life and sired a son. I also remember back in the 90’s hearing a story on NPR (yes I did that then 🙂 ) about the last of the Civil War widows dying. Apparently she married the (elderly) civil war veteran in her late teens in the 1910’s and lived to on the order of 100 and was still receiving civil war widow payments up until the day she died. The world really is weirder than we can know…

            1. Yes. Paternal grandfather was over 10 years older than grandma. Second marriage, plus didn’t marry early on first marriage. He was easily in his mid to late 30s before dad was born, let alone dad’s older sister.

        1. Exactly. Paternal grandfather, born 1996-ish, was the oldest twin of two sets of twins. His parents would have been not born by the end of the Civil War; not even small children. (Not that we know. That grandfather died when I was 2, older cousin would have been 5. We aren’t sure exactly where his parents are buried. Other than somewhere in Oregon. Rumor it is a small cemetery between Eugene and Coburg, between N/S running Coburg road and I-5, south of where the bridges cross the Willamette.) His one surviving sister didn’t talk about family or leave memoirs. She and her spouse never had any children. (Her twin died in infancy. His twin died when they were in their early 20’s.)

              1. Obviously, WP (which DE) knew what you reallly wanted and helpfully “corrected” it for you after you miscorrected it… 🙂

                1. Oh. Yes. I’m sure that is what it did. Heaven forbid I mistyped it twice. That never happens … Oh. Wait …

  17. Remembered who it was that popularized what Chesterton was making fun of– note, he died before WWII, so it’d be the grandfather’s grandfather’s parents, if not older.

    Oscar Wilde.
    GK Chesterton and B. Shaw both were rolling their eyes at his ‘shock the squares’ stuff, even when Shaw arguably was doing a similar thing. (Chesterton, amusingly enough, was actually being kind of shocking…just in the opposite direction. 😀 )

    And then I was tooling around with “wait, didn’t he draw influence from–” half memories, and half-remembered the long tradition of English Or French Dudes Being Public Twerps, and….

    :snerks: Yep, they’s lame.

  18. Interesting topic. And I can relate to the changes in the publishing world in the 80s, 90s. Having seen my own first few books arrayed in the books stores, dozens of copies in the New Releases, seen the books in Drug Store chains. Then… mysterious changes in publishing and the books were more or less abandoned by the publisher… a fate I share with many ‘midlist’ authors. So be it. I remember at that time, as I often frequented book stores, (where the hell did they all go?), I remember seeing the walls overtaken by women in fur bikinis, crude spears in their hands, standing guard at the cave entrance as the whole female cave-Rambo fad started. (The cave men were evidently back in the dark recesses, masticating skins and teaching the little cave boys and girls how to rhyme bog and Grog. Anyway, I’ve recently started a new novel. It won’t be ‘social fiction’ or ‘speculative fiction,’ as the books I’ve written in that vein languish at the bottom of the great Amazon Sea of Books, unheard of, unread, unreviewed, uncursed by mobs of angry woke phreaks ’cause they never heard of them. So, my muse asks me, what the eff is the point of all that work and thought?Why in God’s name would you want to expend all that and get the same result again?

    My new book will be somewhat autobiographical, about my life after coming home from ‘Nam in 1969/70. In a lot of respects I was way more naive than my fellow travelers. So the book, a follow on to ‘Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam,’ will be called ‘Carl Melcher Goes to California,’ and will follow a character much like myself at that time, who finally ‘votes with his feet,’ and leaves the ‘old world’ of Philly, PA, and environs, behind. The book will be set, of course, in the 70s. Like Sarah mentioned, I too, was really on the fringe of the whole 70s movements. In my case, it was my Catholic conscious, which caused me to see certain things as ‘wrong’ and kept me an outlier.

    Have a nice day… Oh, wait. I no longer live in California. ‘Later!

  19. Ancient Rome. Cave paintings. The edginess is… meh.

    Truly edgy? Truly abnormal, rare, and interesting, oddly enough? Tradfam. High trust culture. Charities- note that personal charity has been going on for a long, long time, but whole countries that aren’t allies and neighbors giving wealth and aid to places stricken by natural disaster?

    Abnormal, historically speaking.

    Part of that is just the ability to travel and carry goods relatively cheaply. But other than that, charity towards strangers has always been a risk. Just as trust is a risk.

    But sex, drugs, and violence? That has been the norm for much of history’s bloody centuries. Conquered cities were raped and pillaged, not rebuilt. If the Romans, the Goths, and the Gauls had had access to modern drugs, you better believe they’d have been drugged to the gills. Riots, assassinations, all that sort of thing? Not that uncommon, especially during certain times and at certain places.

    1. I’ve heard that the ancient Egyptians had some pretty potent beer recipes.

      One of the stories of Noah that people don’t mention all that often is Noah getting so drunk he ends up naked.

      Nothing new.

    2. Ponder the mental gear-grinding of hearing of WWII… and then the Berlin Airlift.

      “Poured how much into defeating them… and then turned around and spent how much to save them?”

            1. “We want something new, but we don’t want to actually put forth any effort in, you know, developing new characters.”

              “No problem. We’ll just reboot a half-century-old franchise, and make it Fresh and Relevant by gender and/or race bending the characters.”

              “Won’t anyone notice that we’re just recycling the same old stuff?”

              “Nah, nobody actually watches any of it. They’re usually sitting there scrolling through FaceTwitTok on their phone.”

              “OK, have the writers send in some scripts.”

              1. Be careful what you ask for. When they try to come up with something new it can be even worse:

                I want to believe this is a joke, but we live in the dumbest timeline.

                  1. The Democrats winning in 2020 was a foregone conclusion. They didn’t cheat hard enough in 2016 so they ramped up the level of fraud to the point where it was obvious to anyone who could think analytically. Unfortunately, most Americans are incapable of that.

                    1. Don’t be so sure. There was a Rasmussen poll last year that asked if people believed fraud played a part in getting Biden “elected.” About 59-60% said it was “likely” or “very likely.” So a supermajority of the country knows – or at least strongly suspects – that we’ve been cheated.

                      Even people who can’t consider the evidence analytically can see that the Dems are acting like they’ve got something to hide.

        1. The reason they are not imaginative is because they are 1) clueless idiots incapable of any original work, and 2) they are using their positions to enforce “the narrative” to achieve their vision, which is of course in reality a dystopian nightmare.

          There is a reason why leftists have declared that reading Tolkien,. C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell is a sign of “far right extremism”.

          They ,don’t want people reading these books because the bureaucrats are the minions of Sauron and Morgoth seeking to impose the world of Orwell’s 1984 Huxley’s A Brave New World, and people who read these books are likely to recognize them as such. Thus those who read the books are deemed to be Nazis.

          The mass media entertainment that their media compatriots put out is predicated on the same belief system.

        1. Well, BSG actually made that work with the “reimagined” [gah; hate that term] Starbuck, and got a better series than the original. But S&H ain’t no BSG.

          1. In the case of the rebooted BG, it may have been better than the original but I’ve heard that the rebooted BG wasn’t really that good.

            IE “We have all these cool gadgets that we can use to create a civilized colony on this planet, but we won’t use them. We’ll just discard them and make a life on this planet without any high-tech.” 😈

            And to make it worse, nobody objected to that “Great” idea. 😡

            1. I suspect that having one’s worlds destroyed by high-tech they had created, followed by what? five years? of continuous high-tech combat, may have influenced their decision; at least that’s the impression I got. Right decision? Wrong one? I think it’s not the one I’d personally make (I prefer the “Safehold” one by attempted by Shan Wei and later accomplished by Merlin Athrawes), but it does make a sort of sense in context.

    1. Starsky and Hutch reboot?

      Trans/fluid illegal aliens, melanin medium and high, who are corrupt cops dealing and pimping.

        1. Anything but that! There’s a reason that science fiction has gone to “data cubes”, to prevent a resurgence of disco. And leisure suits…

              1. That would actually be quite fitting, given the song’s subject matter.

                Besides, unlike disco, The Highwayman is actually good:

  20. Today’s kids aren’t even educated enough to know that everything’s already been done. At least Gen Xers knew:

    All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks.

    — Hard Harry

    1. Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again. ― André Gide

  21. On the other hand, there is a recurring murmur from some on the socon right, thinking they can somehow rebrand as the new counterculture, and it’s… varying degrees of cringe and oblivious. “Conservative Is The New Punk”, one account on Minds keeps trying to make into a meme. Keeps making me think of Babylon Bee’s story on the Mormon bicycle gang, Heck’s Angels.

    There are ways of subverting the overculture, always are. Being a sanctimonious prig LARPing as something that was edgy fifty years ago will work about as well as being a snotty leftist LARPing as something that was edgy fifty years ago.

    1. Yeah, I find that kind of tiresome too. There’s something to be said for the “nothing left to rebel into, except normalcy” line from Man Who Was Thursday, but broadly speaking, you can’t influence the culture by defining yourself in terms of what you’re against. You have to do your own thing, even if all that amounts to is something like the medieval stories of the Nine Worthies (aka, a bunch of historical figure adventure fanfic that future generations will curl their lips at.

      As for the Grammy performance thingie, if I were still on twitter, my only comment would be “Jessica, this is not a subject to mess around with.”

      1. The Grammy performance makes me feel sympathy for the devil. I am not sure even Lucifer deserves to be associated with THAT.

          1. I think I saw a link to that from either OldNFO or Peter Grant’s blog earlier. Funny as hell.

    2. Johnny Ramone used to say that Punk is right wing. He made fun of the punk poseurs being very conformist when he noted that the only musicians he knew who voted for Reagan were himself and Iggy Pop.

      I agree with him mostly. Punk was a reaction against the establishment and the establishment was the center left borg.

      We used to go to see the Ramones, Richard Hell — that was his actual name — Jim Carroll, all that crowd at CBGB’s and it was no Mud Club let me tell you, when I was in High School. We were underage Catholic school boys with short hair and they used to make fun of us. They’re mostly dead — heroin did for them — we’re still here.

      Ah, it was bliss to be young in NYC when the murder rate was off the chart, graffiti covered everything, and the place was flat broke. All history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce.

      1. I would say punk is either libertarian, or anti-conformist, far more than it is right wing (with no disrespect to any of the Ramones, who were awesome). It was, in the end, a response to overproduction-as-art. Strip it down, knock it out, record it as fast and dirty as you can, and move on. That’s less right- or left-wing than it is a reaction over-systematization.

  22. Laura Horn, the wife of apologist Trent Horn, has a comedy YT channel called Too Far with Laura Horn.

    It is sorta inside baseball, but she does skits containing hysterical impressions of various Catholic and Protestant apologists. Mostly friends of both Horns. Mostly men.

    Without actually dressing up as a guy, she conveys the essence of these folks. Hilarious!

    The skits criticizing bad Catholic presentations about chastity are definitely going to leave a mark on the guilty, although she spares them actual impressions.

  23. There is nothing new under the sun, yes.

    And I was shocked to discover that MZB and her husband were child-rapists and that SF inner circle Fandom had in large part turned a blind eye to it because that kind of thing, at least on the edges (well, she’s 13 and randy or he’s 14 .. and old *enough) was acceptable.

    It’s nothing to brag about.

    Our grand-children will be able to sneer at prudes, saying, “I our day we had little kids getting chemically castrated, teenagers carved up… And you think your flaying infants alive* for an art installation is sooooo edgy.”

    Carthago delenda est.

    Where and how you set your boundaries matters.

    (*they’re already vivisecting babies, but it’s for !Science!)

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