Paranoiacs Abroad

Yesterday I was thinking, always a terrible mistake, while I did the cat boxes and scrubbed the toilets (it was that kind of day) about how part of our problem today is not only that parts of our culture don’t know each other, but that parts of our culture actively know stuff about the other parts that absolutely isn’t so.

This is a problem for various reasons, one of them being that various parts of this vast and varied nation think they need the government to protect them from “those fellows over there’ who in fact have no intention of doing anything about/to them. And this is a problem because our system is not designed to give a centralized government that much power; our nation is too varied/different/peculiar for every spot to be justly ruled from a central location (take the $15 an hour boondoggle.  Btw, this is $2 less than than most medical interns make an hour, but I digress.  In some places in the country this is what an adult with practice in his trade — say retail manager — can hope to make, and you absolutely can raise a family on it.  In other parts of the country even $15 is poverty and destitution.  Having a centralized government dictate a minimum wage for everyone regardless of local cost of living makes as much sense as making only shoes in size 8 for the left foot.)

Now it’s always been normal, and it’s part of that human tribal thing, to believe that those guys over there, across the bridge and over the mountain are REALLY weird.

My grandmother as she got very old read newspapers full of marvelous accounts of women giving birth to snakes and other such odd “news”.  I almost swallowed my tongue reading Truth by Terry Pratchett because it pictured that so exactly.  No woman in the village would ever give birth to snakes, but we were civilized and nice, and who knew what those people over the mountain did?  If someone said they did and it was right there in the paper, surely the paper wasn’t allowed to print falsehoods, right?

This might sound like a bumpkin’s idea, but really it isn’t and there is more about this later.  All humans are susceptible to this to some limited extent.  And people who are quite shrewd in one or two areas can be absolutely dumb in things they don’t pay much attention to (see current election for examples.)

For instance, once when I was 15 or so, I needed to get to my high school at indecently early hours.  I don’t remember why, it’s entirely possible it was to finish an art project or to do some volunteer thing.  To get to the highschool I took a train from the village downtown.  We weren’t a station (though the village has one now) but a very informal stop at which maybe one in ten trains stopped (and sometimes scheduled ones forgot and I had to call dad from next village over to pick me up, or if it was early walk the five or six miles back.)  Anyway, the only train available before five am was full of people from the villages beyond the mountains, who came to sell at the big city fairs.  These were sharp people, and small business people.

However, it’s unlikely in those days that their remote villages even had good radio reception, and newspapers would probably have been difficult to obtain. While they were in the city they were working and would absorb any gossip they heard, but not seek out newspapers and news.  At any rate, likely, these people had third grade if that much, and reading might have been a chore.

I was sitting by the window, listening to them talk, and let me tell you, they sounded absolutely as smart as my parents or anyone else.  Until….

A young man with a Spanish accent moved down the carriage telling a story and getting money.  He was a refugee from the Spanish civil war, and all his family had been killed, and he needed money for a new start.

No, don’t tune your receivers.  There was no civil war ongoing in Spain in the seventies.  BUT these people hadn’t paid attention, had vague memories of hearing mom/grandma/great grand say something about a civil war in Spain. They opened their pockets and gave deep.

Rustics, you say.  And yes, it was always part of high culture to make fun of rustics.  Cozened literally comes from the con game in Elizabethan England where a con men would approach a new comer from the countryside, pretend to be their cousin and trick them/rob them.

But now we have something completely different.  While the Rustic in Elizabethan England was a stock character in London, if a person from London traveled in the countryside, it is likely after a while they’d become aware not everyone there was simple, or gullible.  They’d learn to see the countryside as it was, not as they were told it was.

The problem we have right now is that this is near impossible, and the divisions aren’t only geographic.  It’s very easy to set one race against the other, one orientation against the other, even micro cultures against the other.  (The number of times I’ve been informed I spend my weekends wearing Spock ears don’t bear mentioning.)

We’re back to not only the fact that we’re more pervasively immersed in entertainment than any people before, but also that our entertainment, particularly in movies, but also books, is designed to create “false memories.” We are supposed to believe that we lived this.  That’s what the narrative techniques do (if they’re good.)

I’m fine with that, as I read to enjoy being someone else for a time.  And it would be fine if for a while there every news channel, every sitcom, ever movie, every book hadn’t been a unified force selling the same version of reality.  Reinforced experience (aka the big lie) becomes doubly real because “everybody knows.”

Examples of “everybody knows” involve for instance that everybody knows Southerners will be hostile just because you’re not “from around these parts” and also that they’re all inbred ill billies; that no gay man can step outside safely at night without being beat to death; and that everyone on the right is not only Christian, but insanely, unthinkingly Christian and takes orders from their pastors.  And don’t get me started on the ‘murders of abortion doctors’ which many people think rival the numbers of Islamic terrorism, 9/11 and all.

And take the kerfufle over bathrooms and transgendered people using bathrooms.  BOTH sides behave as if they lived in an imaginary and very strange country.

The “You must let transgendered people into your bathrooms” people suffer from the “If you were a dinosaur, my transgendered love” syndrome, in that the only world they really know is the faculty lounge or the privileged country club where the right people assemble. They’ll believe anything of those people out there, beyond hte hill, including that those  people will stop an effeminate looking man or a butch looking woman from using the bathroom and demand they drop trou to prove their identity.  Seriously, what is this actual cr*p about the transgendered being unable to use bathrooms of their assumed sex?  I have friends who are butch women or effeminate men, (and most straight) and none of them ever got stopped at the door and told to prove they were male/female.  So if any transgendered person is making even token efforts to pass, no one is going to question them.  Because in the hinterlands, outside the enlightened faculty lounges, everyone knows people don’t match any label, and there is no defined “masculine” or “feminine”.  If someone looks like they sort of belong, we assume they know what their genitals are.

And then you get into the “but what if it’s just a guy who says he feels like a woman?”  Well, in saner times that would be idiotic, but nowadays it’s possible, thereby justifying a fear of the people against this.  OTOH when the people who say transgendered people are more likely to get assaulted in the bathroom of their birth sex, CANNOT be referring to people whose external appearance entirely and congruently matches their birth sex.

(As for fears your kids will be assaulted, I feel for you, but you realize no one is checking genitals and there are no bathroom guards, so people can and do sneak in and assault the unsuspecting, anyway.  Yes, yes, no reason encouraging it, but seriously.  Making a law against people using the other bathroom would obligate you to check genitals, and you know that we’re not going there either.  Ideally, as a friend suggests, we should have individual bathrooms, like the “family restrooms” available in airports.  This would both equalize the male and female bathrooms — one always over the other always under supplied — and permit people like me who only have children of the other sex, to keep an eye on them when they’re frankly too young and nuts to be trusted in there alone.  And for reasons unknown to me, women objected to Robert in the ladies’ room when he was little more than 3 and to Marshall at 6.)

What you have here is extreme suspicion of a vast majority (people outside the academic lounge and the entertainment industry) built by all our entertainment and news, until people decide a slightly less butch male and more butch female walking into a working class bar would get beat to a pulp for the crime of looking different.  Which is insane.  And which makes every little subgroup feel they need the government to protect them.

This is a dangerous road to go down, because no minority fares well under a totalitarian regime.  That is, the same people who help usher in the tyrant, because they think they need protection from their co-citizens, are the ones who end up suffering the most under it, because in the hard times that accompany tyranny, minorities must be made invisible or destroyed.

Yes, there are new ways to reach the public, and I’m imploring you, if you have an ounce of talent, start running blogs, writing books, doing what you can to wake our co-citizens out of the unrealistic consensus reality that is pitching them against each other.

We must — must — stop seeing each other without the blinders of the ideas pushed on us by those who would be our masters.

Only that way can we remain free.

Because when we get to the point we need the government to tell us where to go to the bathroom, the hour later and the situation far more serious than I thought.





I’m horribly late, partly because I slept late, but also because I feel still groggy.  In explanation, we have an accepted offer on a house — not short sale — and hopefully will be permanently housed in a month and a half.  Early days, yet, but tentatively that’s the plan, and just this is farther than we’ve been since November.

I must have been under a great deal of stress I didn’t even realize, because not only did I sleep better than I have in months, but I woke up late and still feel rather “boneless.”  I also actually feel like working, it’s just that all the little stuff getting there (breakfast, admnistrivia) took forever.

So, establish that I’ve been under a lot of stress.  In such times I tend towards horror.  In the days of the old writers’ group, my friend Becky Lickiss used to say she could tell when I was really depressed, even if I was putting a good face on it, because I always wrote horror.  And the darker the horror, the more depressed I was.  I’d never noticed the correlation.

Now Horror is qualified, when it comes to reading.  I write horror, I can’t read it.  Or at least I can’t read straight up horror, with the meaty skulls and snakes, if you know what I mean, or iow gross-out horror is right out.  And as for creepy horror, well, supernatural horror can scare the bejeezus out of me, but as someone who grew up with a definite tradition and local stories, most of it just makes me roll my eyes and go “that doesn’t make any sense.”

Most of the horror I read is in fact dark fantasy, and about the darkest is Repairman Jack, by F. Paul Wilson.  (Some books are darker than others.  And some are terrifying, but the thriller aspect and… well… it’s human wave fiction, definitely, keeps me reading.)

There are some interesting observations on the series, which appears to have been written from several points inward.  What I mean is that he started with several isolated stories, which are then tied in into a grand theory or conspiracy or something.  Being a writer one can’t help but wonder if he started out with the world built and then went several places in it, or if he simply had these stories and novels, and came up with a world to fit them all into.  It doesn’t matter, of course, but as a fellow craftsperson, one is curious on how the thing one likes was made.

I’m not going to go any deeper into Wilson’s work, though at some point there MIGHT be a post about it.  I do like it very much.

I will mention in passing that the vaunted craftsmanship of traditional publishers never fails to amaze me.  I realized as I was reading the books that my copy of bloodline would not open and kept saying it was licensed to another user (which is stupid.  Look, there’s only one user for this kindle.  That’s doesn’t even… ow, my head hurts.)  After a session with Amazon’s customer service, the problem was fixed and I opened the book for the first time since I first bought it…

And stared at the title page wondering if I’d made a mistake or they had.  The title page says this book is By The Sword, another book in the series.  I decided to read some of the text before complaining — I re-read By The Sword recently — and hot d*mn the book is not By The Sword, but Bloodline.  Which has, atop of it, all the title and copyright info for By the Sword.

I am forever deeply impressed with the craftsmanship and professionalism of the great houses, and the professional care they give to every one of the books contracted to them.  This is me, doing a slow clap in appreciation. And for this you charge the price of a paperback for an ebook.  Of course.  I mean, there’s all that expert help you need to pay and layers and layers of fact checkers and all…

So, where was I?

When I realized I was worsening my depression by reading horror, I decided to read fluffy regency romance.  I read a lot of these.  I don’t require historical accuracy.  I don’t remember most of them a minute after I read them.  It’s just something that doesn’t use up brain cycles, but feeds the need to read.  I read it usually when I’m writing something COMPLETELY different, so that my writing doesn’t become taken over by someone else’s vision/style.

Now, again, while some regency romances (Heyer!) compare well to any other book of any other genre, most of the field’s production (like any other field.  Only regency tends to have happy endings and has relatively less PC bs to fight through)  is what could be called “popcorn”.  They are not well researched, they recycle plots, the characters are extremely well dressed stereotypes, etc.  That’s fine.  As I said above, they tend to be relatively “happy” and angst free, and that’s what I read them for.

OTOH I didn’t feel like spending money (none of the better authors had anything out in a series I follow) and I didn’t want something so riveting it ate up brain cycles.  So I went to Kull and started looking at the better rated regency romances.

I downloaded one with 300 reviews and something around four and a half stars.

And then I started reading it.  By page seven I was wondering if this was written by someone with a cognitive deficiency or just a product of our education system.  It told me, for instance, that London was divided into two sections, the High section where the rich people lived and the low section or low town where the “disadvantaged” lived.

I thought “okay, that’s weird.” but decided perhaps the author had thought that she’d fill in stuff later, then forgot in one section.  I mean reducing the richness of Regency London to “two sections” was a little odd, as though it were Podunk, population 300, but okay.  Give the dog a bite.

By page eleven my eyebrows were attempting to meld with my hairline.  This woman described the day of the Baron’s wife and his daughters and started by telling us that every morning they went around and bought all the food for the household, which they then brought home and gave the servants to cook.  And, btw, older daughter wonders why they can’t just cook it themselves.  After all it’s a family of four.  She often sneaks down to the kitchen to cook in secret.  (Wait, what?)

There follows a highly unlikely escapade in which the two girls go to a street fair (which sounds rather like a high school carnival) in the middle of the night.  yes, in Regency London.  Two young girls.  Middle of the night.  There is a bit of “what are chaperones needed for?  We know the way” — chaperones or GPS?  We report, you decide — but that’s really not any more egregious than in the average Regency, even /particularly traditionally published regencies. (Because feminism, and girls should be allowed to walk around unarmed, after dark, because men and women are exactly alike, and don’t you go talking of different body strength and ability/likelihood of pregnancy in an age where there was no real way to avoid it, you sexist.  We KNOW you just want to keep women down.  Eleventy)

Anyway, I kept reading.  And then the dark stranger who saves them (of course they require saving.  This in no way makes them inferior, you sexist) upon being accosted by the older girl the next morning (She told mom she was going on an errand for an elderly neighbor.  Because Regency ladies ran errands to the store instead of sending a servant.  Totes) tells her he hates the guys who tried to attack her the night before.  As in “I hate those guys.”  Verbatim.

The book didn’t go against the wall because it’s Kindle, and kindles are expensive, but sweet mother of pearl, what a mess.

It’s very clear the writer is trying very hard — and failing — to think herself into another time and place of which she had vague inklings through reading maybe a couple of regency romances.  She knows the ladies of the family spend a lot of time shopping, and being innocent of any knowledge about the incredibly complex rituals and manners of the time, or of the difficulty of showing up every day in a somewhat different attire during the season, she decided “well, they didn’t have refrigerators.  I know! They’re buying the food for the servants to cook!”

Then there is the whole cooking matter.  It is clear that this woman is unaware of the difficulties of cooking “for a family of four” using only coal fired (or perhaps wood fired) stoves, and no dishwashers or refrigerators, no microwaves or other conveniences.  Particularly when the class of the family dictated they host meals and balls.  “Cooking for a family of four” was probably a full time job for at least two, more if entertaining and/or visitors came into it.  But I’m fairly sure this writer was imagining microwaves, only more steampunky.  And viewed people having servants at all as some sort of social injustice.

We’ll look away at her idea that chaperones aren’t needed and somewhat demeaning in a world where a family’s honor (and sometimes fortune) depended on an unsullied daughter.

And we won’t even mention the serious malappropism of “those guys.”

Instead, I’m just going to remind you that this woman has 300 highly favorable reviews and an enviable rank on Amazon.

And that both she and her reviewers likely vote.

Have a happy Monday!

I’m Alive

Just slept really late, and dealing with an excess of blood in my caffeine stream.  Post soon.

The Promo, the Good and the Readable- Free Range Oyster

*Yes, yes, yes, Royal Blood, the second to Sword and Blood will be coming out in May.  Might be mid-may instead of early, because of other obligations and the round of house viewing, but it will come out. Then Eternal Blood in June, come h*ll, high water, comicon OR moving.)

The Promo, the Good and the Readable- Free Range Oyster



J.M. Ney-Grimm

Hunting Wild

Young Remeya – fosterling and maid-in-waiting to King Xavo’s sister – worships the forbidden horned god alongside the princess. A worship made taboo half a millennium ago. Performed still in secret by a few. Quietly tolerated by the king. Epic fantasy in which old beliefs and old loyalties clash with hidden magic in the Middle Ages of J.M. Ney-Grimm’s god-touched North-lands.

Cedar Sanderson

Inktail & Friends

A Coloring Book

Inktail is a coloring book for all ages, with designs that encourage the user to add their own creativity to the existing art. There is also a section on learning to draw your own dragon.

Leigh Kimmel

Grandmaster’s Gambit

The disastrous war of 1913 is over, and young journalist Isaak Babel has used his fame as a war correspondent to win a peacetime job covering an international chess tournament in New York City. However, trouble is aboard the airship Grossdeuschland, in the form of the notorious Bolshevik terrorist Koba and his henchmen. Men with a dark plan, and New York City will not welcome their visit

All the Greed

Yesterday I posted a meme on Facebook about those who call themselves children of the Earth being welcome to stay here, while the rest of us went to the stars.  I did it mostly because the million face book memes had made me pissy with the bathos and environmental pieties of city dwellers who wouldn’t know nature if it took a raw chunk out of their left buttock.  It annoyed me in the exact same way the constant evocations of religion by people who are clearly non-believers do.  And in the end that’s what it is — a public evocation of what “everybody knows” to be a “good thing” which then absolves the speaker of actually trying to do something for another human — or animal — being or even of having to lead a minimally decent life.

It didn’t help my mood that the whole Earth Day thing is an abominable boondoggle.  It was created (as we all probably know now) by a Murderer and it’s not based on the sound conservationist practices that anyone close to the land learns — say Dave Freer, or even my dad — to keep that particular plot of land healthy for generations to come.  No.  It’s based in making much noise about the Earth as a whole, a Rosseaunian mal-apprehension of nature always being indefinably “better” and it leads its devotees down a path of undefined animism and hubris, in which, somehow, the Earth is sentient, we can harm it by having our houses just a little too warm (even in aggregate, our scale is minimal compared to say volcanic processes) AND a belief that the way to “salvation” (of the Earth) is either to eliminate all humans or to get government to severely restrict the comfort of THOSE OTHER PEOPLE, over there.  The devotee, of course, though he might engage in rituals with plastic bottles and the sacralized utilization of cloth bags, is not required any drastic sacrifices.  As a true apostle his “sacrifice” is to spread the word.  Vid, Al Gore and all the Hollywood celebrities who worship “Mother Earth” by spreading her gospel with private jets.

When I get annoyed I post stuff poking at the annoyance, which is what that post was.  I don’t remember the precise words of the post, but it was something like “You’re children of the Earth.  Fine.  But some of us are orphans of the stars, and we want to go back to our real family.”

Within a couple hours a commenter had posted that I was greedy and entitled (!) and was an ugly American.

The bizarre lashing out was all the more bizarre because I have absolutely no clue what in my post gave any impression of my being “greedy” or even “greedy” for what.  (Stars?)  Even if she had read yesterday’s post (she did, because she accused me of pointless and wasteful consumerism, for wanting to turn on all lights during Earth hour.  Pointless in her mind.  In mine it was clearly telling these idiots where to step off and that no, some of us will not go quietly into the night they wish to impose on us.)

I realized then that “Greedy and entitled” had become the new all-purpose insult, as the old “raccciiiiiiisssss” has gotten frayed.  It’s more useful to the forces of statist obscurantism being vaguer.  Greed is something no one is very sure what it means, except for a nebulous idea of “wanting more than they’re entitled to” (and who decides what you’re entitled to?) and “entitled” is the new cry of various people.  The only person I’ve seen use it in any way that makes sense is Amanda Green who mostly uses it for spoiled children that never grew up, like the kid who thought he shouldn’t be tried for crimes, because he grew up too rich to know good from evil.

But most people use “entitled” to mean either “has more than I do” or “expects more than I think he or she should.”  In such a usage, it is the raised finger of envy screaming “I want what you have.”

The accusation was bizarre not just because it was unprovoked by anything in the post, but because the insult of “ugly American” showed that beyond not knowing her references, this person knew absolutely nothing about me.  What set her off was, very plainly, that I refused to bow to the pieties she thought EVERYONE should bow to and make public obeisance to.  (Which again proves she knew bloody nothing about me.)

Am I greedy?  I have a million sins I could be accused of, but unless the greed in question is for chocolate and I’m depressed (the rest of the time I control it, but I am a stress eater) it’s not even in the realm of possibilities.

Greed is defined as an abnormal or excessive lust for riches, which is so great it harms the individual and those around him.


Do I have a lust for riches?  Well, about once a year I remember to buy the lottery (it’s not exactly on my list of priorities) so I can spend a couple of days daydreaming of what I’d do with upteen millions.  You know, the usual: I’d like to establish some sort of competitor to Amazon, because that particular choke point worries me, as more and more of my friends depend on the company for their livelihood; I’d like to pay an honest to heaven publicist to publicize me and my friends whom I think deserve more recognition; I’d like to pay off my sons’ student loans and a bunch of my friends’ debts; I’d like to be able to fly back to Portugal a couple of times a year to maximize the limited time I have with my parents; I’d like to fund the research of a dear friend who is a brilliant scientist specializing on the brain, I’d like to establish a little retreat somewhere — a refurbished hotel or a bunch of cabins or something — where writers whom life has down can come and work and be refreshed.  (Maybe a place with babysitting so older son by adoption can come and work, and take a break from full time child care.)

What I never really dream about is holding on to the wealth and mwahahahahaing over it, because I’m keeping from others.  (No, I wouldn’t twirl my mustache.  Okay, I’m a Mediterranean woman of a certain age, but there are limits on facial hair growth.  Also, there’s hair removal wax.)

Let’s suppose I were so blessed as to win the lottery.  Would this be money I took by unsavory means and which I’m not entitled to?  Depends.  Some people disapprove of games of chance. But I’d be taking the money in exactly the same way other people who buy the lottery hope to.  And legally I’d be entitled to it.

That pecadillo aside how greedy am I?  Well, I do wish I had more money, about three times a day.  Being able to buy a house outright is not very different, since we qualify easily for loans, but being able to pick above the tight spot for finding homes in this region would make a big difference.  And then there’s the kids’ student loans.

Look, being blunt: we did our best to raise our kids on parity with the kids of our friends who had two income families (okay, technically so do we, but if I get sick or things don’t go well, there have been years where my income was 3k)  We never bought them the latest games or the trendy clothes (America is such a blessedly RICH country that by buying from thrift stores and being about five years behind the curve, we made the kids happy, and spent very little.)  BUT we did spend money to enroll them in classes in subjects they showed an interest in; we bought them books and art materials; and we took them places (okay, mostly Denver, but interesting places in Denver.)  I won’t say I have no regrets.  I wish I’d been a little greedier for vile lucre.  We’d be in better shape right now.  But I thought writing was eventually bound to pay off (and maybe it will, as I do more indie work) and though we were tight most of the time, none of my regrets involve the mindless pursuit of lucre long beyond what my family could be said to need.

As for entitled…  Sure, I am that.  I’m entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, particularly the rights codified in the United States constitution.

And I think that’s what rubbed that commenter wrong.

You see, these priests of environmentalism, like all tin-pot dictators and despots are both “entitled” (in their minds) and GREEDY.  They might think — some of them, the smarter ones are out for all they can get in coin of the realm too — they’re very pure because they’re not pursuing lucre.

But their vile hectoring, their attempt to infringe others’ liberties, their appalling  lust for government intervention in the every day activities of otherwise free citizens, is Greed.  It is a much dirtier greed than mere desire for money (particularly if one is willing to work for that money.)  They are greedy for power.

They think they are entitled to tell what you should have and how much of it.

Having swallowed the insanity of closed-pie economics (mostly because it serves their purposes) and the siren song of “To each according to his need, from each according to his ability” they realize such a society necessitates an arbiter of need and ability.  And they want to be that person (or one of a group of such persons, though the cannibal feast tends to ensue then.)

It’s not an accident that every “socialist” dream society ends in an (often hereditary) feudalist nightmare.  It’s baked in the cake.  To take and give, you must have someone who purports more than normal status, and the ability to see into the heart of others.

And these people who come out frothing at the mouth, screaming “Greed and entitlement” are the ones who are greedy for power to tell you what you deserve, and who think they are entitled to ride you, like a puppet master on your back, controlling your every wish and thought.

I advise them to read the very end of Puppet Masters.

And if they can’t stand that, then, well, just be aware that we are free men and women, and we will never give you that power.  Froth and scream, and thrash about how unfair that is.

We are not obligated to gratify your greed for control nor your obscene lust for power.  In fact the millions of graves your system of thought filled in the 20th century obligates us to resist you with every fiber of our being.

And we will.


Happy Human Diaspora Day

I think the first time I became aware of Earth day must have been right at the beginning of it.

I don’t remember precisely, you see.  It’s not just that as you get older the days before about fifteen get really fuzzy, it’s that they were fuzzy at the time.  These were revolutionary days in Portugal and the essence of a revolution — as I tried to capture in Through Fire, which in its very final form and fully proofread (mostly I added a word here and there to shore up the romantic element, as I was sort of out of it when I wrote it and that’s a very subtle element that got lost.  I also — think — I removed the impression of a double ending.  I was surprised my betas didn’t get that it was intended, so I tried to make that clearer.  Paul, aka Drak will be excerpting the book in my conference on Facebook as well as in Baen’s bar and also other conferences at Baen’s bar until its release date in July) has gone to Baen.  You don’t control a revolution.  Not even if you started it.  In A Few Good Men, I have them sort of in control of the very early phases, but even then there are contretemps as other people take the bit between their teeth.  And in the end it’s clear that they’re no in control, just trying to keep what’s important to them.

So revolutionary times have this quality of a whirlwind, where things happen, you deal with them, and sometimes you’re not even sure why or who caused it, and the TV reports are more often than not erroneous or useless.

All this to say that in retrospect, I have absolutely no clue what school year this was, nor what was going on.  I THINK I was 11 or 12, and that it was somewhere around fifth or sixth grade.  And I don’t know if this was the teachers’ idea or if some revolutionary junta of older students took over the school and did this stuff.

What I know is that periodically we got to the school and were told we had no classes that day and that we were going to: run a marathon (that was fun.  I was in pumps); paint a mural; demonstrate against whatever.

Earth day was relatively innocuous as they had us paint a mural on the outside wall of the school.  Crappy art, of course — the idea that untutored children do the best art is one of those noble savage things I just don’t get.  It’s demonstrably not true — but we were out in the open, and once I ascertained I wasn’t being graded, I just kind of stood where the supervisors (a lot of long haired guys and unwashed girls) couldn’t see me and used the day very profitably to daydream.

After that Earth day got more militant, and the Gospel of the Wronged Earth started taking over everything.  It was sometime in the late seventies that I realized the people who used to talk of going to the stars were now saying we couldn’t leave until we had found out how to “take care” of the Earth.

And it was several years before I realized the sheer unabashed delusion and hubris in that sentiment.

Fortunately in between there was Heinlein who not only encouraged humans, heartily, to go out beyond the last spinning planet, and gave the reasons why (having all our eggs in one basket was dangerous) but gave me the single most liberating concept of all: that I shouldn’t feel guilty for being human or think humans were wrecking the planet.  Beavers change their environment to suit them, too, and we don’t say “let’s kill all beavers” because of that.  So why should we want humans to go extinct?  I’m a human and I’m loyal to humans.  If humans change their environment to suit them, it will suit me.  Yay team human.

I don’t remember the exact quote, but I remember it was so heretical it rocked my world, and started me into reexamining all the near-shamanistic devotion to “fixing” or “healing” the Earth, which somehow always amounts to “let’s eliminate humans.”

I knew the concept of fixing a place by staying in it was loopy, anyway, even at a young age, because I’d studied the discoveries.  Europe, and its petty quarrels and its old feuds wouldn’t have been fixed — ever — by staying there.  Sometimes you have to leave to get a better perspective.

Some of this idea of “we have to fix the Earth” came with the idea that aliens out there were more “evolved” than us and would judge us when we got there.  This idea has no basis in reality and makes no sense whatsoever, since aliens are by definition alien (talk about your true multi-culti.)  If they exist, their values are by definition NOT our values.  Evolved in what direction?  Do they eat their babies with self-guided forks or what?

Again there was Heinlein.  And I started noticing cracks in the narrative and things that were just completely insane.  Mostly how this “eco” movement seemed to gravitate to human hatred and voluntary self- extinction.

Then I started learning more about biology, partly as research for Darkship Thieves.  Boy.  Did you know that every species is a colonist species.  Every species that has arisen on Earth seeks not only to colonize new territory, but to change it to its preference, all the way from the simplest lichen to us.  So that whole thing about us being uniquely bad?  Yeah, the only species that neither colonize nor conform their environment to themselves are… extinct.

And the more I learned the more this Earth Day thing seemed not just like a cult, but like a reversal to paleolithic anthropomorphication and worship of the world and the environment.

Like, at the Natural History Museum, of all things, they were playing — in the lobby — a cartoon telling kids that the Earth is their mother (a DAMN abusive one, if you ask me) and that before they go to other planets they must appease Mommy Earth and not “hurt” her.  At the zoo, they had a mirror and “Take a look at the only animal capable of driving others to extinction” (this is so far from true it’s laughable, and only religion could cause a biologist to suspend thought long enough to believe this unremitting cr*p.)

Look, religion is religion, and one man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh.  (And my own religion is often my own belly laugh.)  Another thing Heinlein taught me.  And I don’t run down other people’s religion, unless they try to force me to live by it.

All this Earth Worship crap was started by a man named Einhorn who was so devoted he composted the girlfriend he killed, but again, just because a crazy man starts a religion, it doesn’t mean it won’t bring comfort and improvement to other humans.

They want to worship the Earth, go for it.  They want to think they’re the children of rock and dirt?  Go for it.

Just don’t try to impose it on us, and don’t try to drive us to extinction to appease your murderous goddess.

You might be a child of the Earth.  I’m better than that.

I will not feel guilty.  I will not go extinct.  I will not turn my lights off for an hour, but I’ll celebrate human achievement hour by turning on EVERY light in the house including the ones in the closet.  Because bringing light out of darkness is something we humans did and it’s pretty awesome.  I will NOT go quietly into that good night.

I will work every day to make sure my grandchildren or my great grandchildren go to the stars.  Because we shouldn’t have all our eggs in one basket.

You stay on the Earth and beat your chest about changing anything.  Have a happy Earth day.

WE, the children of Heinlein, are going to the stars.  And we’re taking cats with us.

Happy Human Diaspora Day, and don’t forget to celebrate Human Achievement Hour.


Post Later

Okay, you reprobates.  There will be post later, but I’m not sure when.  Someone neglected to tell me we had an errand this morning that required me to be in a place without this computer till early afternoon.  I have alternate arrangements.  If they work, post very soon.  If they don’t work, post in the afternoon.

Till then ABSOLUTELY no rotating the Earth on its axis, and NO running slaloms around the sun again.  Are we understood?  Beta Centauri has complained about you kids….