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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The suicidal irrelevance of the scifterati

M-Zed, as I like to call him, calls out the posers and literary pretenders of SF's extreme left:
Okay, I have to respond to this horseshit: "To get your friends into SF, show them a whole bunch of shit that no one gives a crap about, along with a few classics that aren't really good for neophytes, and some hysteria-inducing leftism. And if that doesn't work, go with a 2nd previous generation's failed attempt at literary greatness."

I'd like to destroy the prejudicial notion that the entire future is leftist, and that this is normal, desirable and believable. Near as I can tell, not a single "expert" they asked is within a standard deviation of center, and they're all on the left.  The only one with reasonably good recommendations was John Scalzi.  When he's your moderate, you may have a bit of a bias.

Heinlein's YA? Neal Stephenson? Lois Bujold? Larry Niven? Sci fi with, you know, actual science? Drake for any veterans.  Hell, Ben Bova has lots of very good near future SF.  Mercedes Lackey is both liberal (since that obviously matters to them) and a good writer, with some decent present-day urban fantasy.

I've read close to 10K SF books and written a few, and I've never even heard of most of those choices. That by itself proves nothing, except that they're not recommending anything anyone center, conservative or libertarian is going to be interested in, which is 75% of the population.
One thing you have to understand about the literate Left is that they are parasites who exist on nothing more than whatever they can leech from the productive populace in addition to each other's farts. They are a breed unto themselves, homo fartsnifferus, for how else could one explain a movie - a freaking MOVIE - being made about a guy who killed himself because he was a mediocre novelist who everyone on the New York literary circuit erroneously believed was a literary genius.

(I speak, of course, of David Foster Wallace. A talented writer, yes, but a terrible novelist who couldn't even rise to the level of Harold Robbins, let alone John Irving. I don't condone suicide, but the only more explicable suicide in recent years was the Republican Senate staffer who was caught with kiddy porn.)

The whole point behind the Left's endless babbling about social justice and gender equity and the entire catalog of pseudo-intellectual jabber is to conceal the fact that they have little talent and even less to say.

Larry Correia adds his own considerable weight to a related issue:
Okay, aspiring author types, you will see lots of things like this, and part of you may think you need to incorporate these helpful suggestions into your work. After all, this is on Tor.com so it must be legit.  Just don’t. When you write with the goal of checking off boxes, it is usually crap. This article is great advice for writers who want to win awards but never actually be read by anyone.

Now do yourself a favor and read the comments… I’ll wait… Yeah… You know how when my Sad Puppies posts talk about the “typical WorldCon voter”? Those comments are a good snapshot of one subtype right there.

I also know from that Facebook thread that a lot of people tried to comment and disagree for various reasons, but their posts were deleted. (and some of them even swore that they were polite!). But like most modern lefty crusades, disagreement, in fact, anything less than cheerleading, is “intolerance” and won’t be tolerated. Meanwhile, my FB thread had lots of comments and an actual intelligent discussion of the pros and cons from both sides (and even transsexual communists who actually like to enjoy their fiction thought this Tor.com post was silly), so remember that the next time a snooty troll calls my fans a “right wing echo chamber.”

If you can’t stomach the comments long enough to hear what a typical WorldCon voter sounds like, let me paraphrase: “Fantastic! I’m so sick of people actually enjoying books that are fun! Let’s shove more message fiction down their throats! My cause comes before their enjoyment! Diversity! Gay polar bears are being murdered by greedy corporations! Only smart people who think correct thoughts like I do should read books and I won’t be happy until my genre dies a horrible death! Yay!”  (and if there is beeping noise in the background, that’s because they’re backing up their mobility scooter).

So let’s break this pile of Gender Studies 101 mush down into its component bits and see just why some sci-fi writers won’t be happy until their genre dies completely.

Labels:

92 Comments:

Anonymous kalel666 January 29, 2014 1:01 PM  

Larry just got called out by Jim Hines, as well. Should end up being an epic smackdown via Larry.

Anonymous VD January 29, 2014 1:04 PM  

That's like having a baby goat run up and nuzzle your little finger. A gay baby goat.

Anonymous Porky January 29, 2014 1:10 PM  

One thing you have to understand about the literate Left is that they are parasites who exist on nothing more than whatever they can leech from the productive populace in addition to each other's farts.

Rap music in a nutshell.

Blogger JartStar January 29, 2014 1:16 PM  

Did Tor just tell aspiring writers don't bother submitting your manuscript if it contains "default of binary gender"?

Anonymous VD January 29, 2014 1:17 PM  

Rap music in a nutshell.

That's unfair to rappers. At least they don't create entire magazines just to tell each other how wonderful they are.

Anonymous Josh January 29, 2014 1:19 PM  

Most rappers don't have parasitical jobs in state government or academia.

Blogger Chiva January 29, 2014 1:20 PM  

Like the comment about baby goats. I have goats. A young goat that shows any inclination outside the norm is shown the error of its ways by the bucks.

Anonymous Salt January 29, 2014 1:27 PM  

Literate Left, seems to be an oxymoron.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben January 29, 2014 1:28 PM  

Backing up their mobility scooter. God, Larry is funny and spot on. Oh yeah, male/female bathrooms.

Anonymous Ivan Poland January 29, 2014 1:35 PM  

Started the kids on YA Heinlein, Asimov's Caves of Steel/The Naked Sun, Narnia series, and Lord of the Rings and they were hooked. How can they honestly leave off the Old Masters and still be expected to be taken seriously?

Anonymous Josh January 29, 2014 1:36 PM  

Odds that someone complaining about the fascism of binary gender defaults has their own abnormal sexual tastes?

Anonymous Z January 29, 2014 1:39 PM  

Geeze, you guys, this is about BUSINESS, ok? Not politics. Just business. Who is the MARKET for SF? Who has been for the last 100 years? While Christian conservative males??? Nope. It's been homosexuals, minorities and women. Go to any SF convention and movie. Who is buying the tickets?

This is just good capitalism. You'd think you right-wing pro-corporation nuts would be all over it.l

Anonymous patrick kelly January 29, 2014 1:51 PM  

I was surprised they allowed a recommendation for "Ender's Game". Or course included were obligatory comments about the author being a "crazy, off the rails, awful, evil" person.

Anonymous Josh January 29, 2014 1:54 PM  

Meanwhile Joss Whedon is being criticized for being cissexist and transmisogynistic.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 29, 2014 1:58 PM  

Wow, I'd forgotten all about Friday until I read that post.

Anonymous Randy M January 29, 2014 2:01 PM  

>I was surprised they allowed a recommendation for "Ender's Game". Or course included were obligatory comments about the author being a "crazy, off the rails, awful, evil" person.

Pretty sure the latter is the entire justificaiton for the former. They want the opportunity to preen.

Anonymous heh January 29, 2014 2:04 PM  

From wiki

Wallace's novels often combine various writing modes or voices, and incorporate jargon and vocabulary (sometimes invented) from a wide variety of fields. His writing featured self-generated abbreviations and acronyms, long multi-clause sentences, and a notable use of explanatory footnotes and endnotes—often nearly as expansive as the text proper. He used endnotes extensively in Infinite Jest and footnotes in "Octet" as well as in the great majority of his nonfiction after 1996. On the Charlie Rose show in 1997, Wallace claimed that the notes were used to disrupt the linearity of the narrative, to reflect his perception of reality without jumbling the entire structure. He suggested that he could have instead jumbled up the sentences, "but then no one would read it".

LOL sounds like nobody read it anyway, dude.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 29, 2014 2:08 PM  

VD January 29, 2014 1:04 PM
That's like having a baby goat run up and nuzzle your little finger. A gay baby goat.



urrr. i hate to have to correct the Singular Sigma but ... that's not your finger he's trying to nuzzle.



patrick kelly January 29, 2014 1:51 PM
I was surprised they allowed a recommendation for "Ender's Game".



it's a list FROM Tor.com

Card has been published by Tor for ... pretty much his whole career?

so, yeah. the only reason they mention Card is that they're making money off of him.

Blogger MidKnight January 29, 2014 2:09 PM  

It's funny - but most of the stuff he complained about not being recommended was mentioned - in the comments.

In a way the fact that the suggestions in the comments not only included more cetnrist/libertarian chooses (including A E Van Vogt) but frankly - regardless of place on the spectrum - BETTER suggestions for intro/gateway book for normal people, says a lot about the bubble the authors and editors asked in the article live in.

FWIW - can't say many of the relatively few core recommendations that I've read are good stories, much less ones that don't beat you over the head. The Expanse Series (starting with Leviathan Wakes) is actually well written, if you can ignore the dose of progressive assumptions in the books, and the strong dose of "why can't we get along" in the last two. In fairness - even the author implicitly acknowledges that sometimes the answer is "you can't". Ironically, the third book undermines the "get along/agression bad" worldview by showing exactly how screwed you are when you are effectively disarmed in the face of a tech advanced enough to be magic.

Anonymous DrTorch January 29, 2014 2:15 PM  

Is it worth mentioning that shows like Twilight Zone got kids hooked decades ago, b/c many were well written and well directed stories, and now there is an entire channel ostensibly dedicated to science fiction, and nothing on it generates any interest in the genre?

Along similar lines, it was pulp fiction and comic books that, for many, generated interest in science fiction. Yet I didn't really see short stories being recommended. It's not crazy to understand that many people, particularly teen boys, will want to wade in, and not be presented a 300p book as a "must read."

Finally, as I slowly plod along through Old Man's War, ch 8 actually had some prose (2-3 paragraphs over a couple of pages) that could be considered good (even very good). Nevertheless, the bulk of it is still overly wordy; preachy; w/ no unique voice given to the characters; and is about an absurdly successful hero who is clearly the author projecting that his life of indifference and banality is the path to success.

Anonymous REG January 29, 2014 2:36 PM  

"Z: Geeze, you guys, this is about BUSINESS, ok? Not politics. Just business. Who is the MARKET for SF?"

Baen Publishing is posting profits in SF/F, the others aren't. Who reads Baen- besides White men? We're talking books, not movies and cosplay.

"Larry just got called out by Jim Hines, as well. Should end up being an epic smackdown via Larry."

Please post a link- Watching Larry C. slice and dice the "King of snark" would be fantastic.

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2014 2:42 PM  

The Handmaid's Tale of course it's on the list. Frantic frothing feminist nightmares in a near-future dystopia ruled by elite, infertile men.

Atwood always protests too much. She wants rape and domination.

This list isn't so bad, as a means of warning off a potential SF fan from crap. Pitfall of the internet, anyone can get bad info.

Anonymous x January 29, 2014 2:45 PM  

The Handmaid's Tale is SF?

The way the femnazis talk about it, you'd think it's the Secret Manual of Christian Republican Men (aka. Rapists), 2013 Edition.

Anonymous Eric Ashley January 29, 2014 2:48 PM  

She was right about Ready Player One. If you thought of the Eighties as one of the great decades of time, or grew up wanting to play Zork, or wasted a bunch of quarters on PacMan, you should love this book. Its got a little leftism, but mostly its a nostalgia trip.

Anonymous bw January 29, 2014 2:55 PM  

won’t be happy until their genre dies completely.

Will it lose out? Hopefully. If nature wins out.
Of course nature is simply a subset....of The Big Picture.

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2014 2:57 PM  

nah, Handmaid's Tale is borderline SF, future dystopia, considered good for easing into the genre though, according to article.

When I was in my adolescence, I rather liked Ursula LeGuin's work. It was easy reading after Tolkien and Heinlein, and it's not that bad off. I thought McCaffrey's Pern novels were better.

But, I didn't see Kindred on the list...did I miss it, or is Butler not considered lefty enough for them. A black female sci-fi writer exploring her personal connections to slavery ought to fit right up there on the list.

I didn't read the comments, it might have been mentioned there.

Anonymous Heh January 29, 2014 2:59 PM  

"Geeze, you guys, this is about BUSINESS, ok? Not politics. Just business. Who is the MARKET for SF?"

Suuuure it is.

The business strategy goes like this:

1. Make sure that only gays and women and bootlicking Scalzified beta males are published.
2. Make sure that the above authors only publish works that appeal to gays and women and bootlicking Scalzified beta males.
3. Insist that only gays and women and bootlicking Scalzified beta males want to read SF.
4. Profit! (Or actually, not.)
5. Wonder why SF is dying...

Anonymous NateM January 29, 2014 3:06 PM  

Hey hey Jim Hines is a totally straight, cross dressing baby goat! That said, I can't think of a less threatening person to be called out by. He looks like Michael Stipe with AIDs.

Anonymous jack January 29, 2014 3:07 PM  

@Vox: homo fartsnifferus

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Blogger Marissa January 29, 2014 3:10 PM  

What did you guys think of The Forever War? The narrator seemed pretty non-chalantly progressive (sadly lacking in masculine vitality for a warrior) but it was interesting that in the future homosexuality is the norm and normal sexual relations are completely vilified all due to population controls. I don't think any transwhatever writer today could have (would have) written such a thing.

Anonymous VD January 29, 2014 3:14 PM  

What did you guys think of The Forever War?

I thought it was boring. I read it twice just because it was so talked up. That was when I began to conclude that self-appointed SF critics were idiots.

Blogger Anthony January 29, 2014 3:20 PM  

I posted this to Correia's post also:

The lefties also have no sense of history or any clue to what went on before Monica didn’t swallow. The Wikipedia article on “Gender in speculative fiction” mentions stories with humans or aliens which have one sex, or none, and other sexual themes, but doesn’t even mention “The Gods Themselves”, “Xenosystems”, “Distress” or “Lilith’s Brood”. The article on “Sex and Sexuality in Speculative Fiction” mentions “The Gods Themselves”, but not the other three. This even though there’s an article about each of those four books (where there are three or more sexes), and they’re listed in the “Third Gender” article.

Though I suspect the author of that article, when presented with evidence of SF’s consideration of even odder sexuality than she’s complaining about being lacking, would complain about SF’s adherence to the “gender ternary”.

Anonymous Salt January 29, 2014 3:26 PM  

Ecclesiastes 10:2
The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.

Blogger Tom Kratman January 29, 2014 3:26 PM  

"I thought it was boring."

As "Buck Rogers Goes to Vietnam," I rather liked it. My problem with it was professional...my other profession. Yeah, Mandella never wanted to be a soldier. Yeah, Mandella never wanted to be an officer. But also, yeah, Mandella went through a very expensive virtual training program, one that started him with rocks, worked its way up through spears and chariots, and on to lasers, and yet never taught him that, in circumatances where all high tech weapons go defunct - the stasis field - having a small castle would be really nice. And you can build one! That's one of a dozen or so incidents where Haldeman probably thought he understood things he never did.

Anonymous Mike M. January 29, 2014 3:45 PM  

This sort of thing is why the only SF I bother with are the classics. Rarely something new...David Feintuch wrote good fiction (if lousy science). But Age of Sail stuff - there's some brilliant material being written these days.

I suspect a lot of people who would have cranked out SF in the past may have switched to writing in that genre.

Blogger James Dixon January 29, 2014 3:49 PM  

> What did you guys think of The Forever War?

Fairly well written, but not too interesting.

Blogger Nate January 29, 2014 3:52 PM  

"Larry Correia adds his own considerable weight to a related issue:"

HIYO!

Anonymous Heh January 29, 2014 3:53 PM  

never taught him that, in circumatances where all high tech weapons go defunct - the stasis field - having a small castle would be really nice. And you can build one!

And this from the guy who was a combat engineer in Vietnam... did they not teach him anything about field fortifications in engineer school?

Anonymous bob k. mando January 29, 2014 3:55 PM  

Marissa January 29, 2014 3:10 PM
What did you guys think of The Forever War?


decent enough. iirc it was like Starship Troopers crossed with the paraphilias of Moon is a Harsh Mistress/Stranger in a Strange Land.

it's not something i would recommend as an 'introduction' to scifi by any means. both Heinlein's Troopers and Steakley's Armor are better introductions to the power armor concept.

as for Haldeman's work, i prefer All My Sins Remembered but i wouldn't rec that for a beginner either. Haldeman spent a lot of his early career working out his Vietnam experiences.

Jack Haldeman ( his brother ) is right out.


Marissa January 29, 2014 3:10 PM
The narrator seemed pretty non-chalantly progressive


both Haldemans were college professors. both are fairly reflexively liberal.

Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist January 29, 2014 4:07 PM  

Here's a better idea: Get popular culture out of your life entirely. Throw out your television, or at very least use it only as a monitor to play carefully-selected discs. Stop listening to popular music - if this year's Grammys weren't a clear enough message that the music industry hates people of faith and tradition, I don't know what could be. They hate you - so stop buying their shit. Speaking of which, stop going to the movies - don't pay people your hard-earned money to denigrate everything you believe in. Stop reading novels written after, say, 1962 - there's plenty in the literary canon from before then to keep you occupied for a long, long time, and they'll make you saner and more cultured to boot.

There's plenty of other things to do with your time, and to entertain your families. An acquaintance of mine, for example, bought season tickets to his local minor league baseball team, and the whole family goes at least once a week. It lasts longer than a movie; the kids can get up, walk around, yell and cheer without disturbing anybody; it's all G-rated and not filled with Cultural Marxism. Or you can go camping, study a language together, get more involved with church... there are a thousand better things to do with your life - and your family's lives - than to waste it with nonsense pop culture.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 29, 2014 4:14 PM  

Anti-Democracy Activist: "Stop reading novels written after, say, 1962"

Boy, you've got some nerve coming onto Vox' site and telling his readers not to buy his books.

Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist January 29, 2014 4:18 PM  

"Boy, you've got some nerve coming onto Vox' site and telling his readers not to buy his books."

Okay, okay - present company excepted. There, are you happy?

Anonymous BedwetterBoy January 29, 2014 4:38 PM  

No, you have to include an exception for Kratman and Correia, too, or I'll cry!

Anonymous EGA January 29, 2014 4:41 PM  

I'm genuinely a little shocked that somebody mentioned Enders Game... then they went on a tirade against its author. Funny how Samuel Delany gets recommended but nobody mentions his years and years of high risk, unprotected gay sex behind his wife's back that he openly admits.

I think Le Guin's Earthsea books aren't that bad as an entry point. A lot of people seem to like them quite a bit. I haven't even heard of most of the books these authors listed. And I read quite a lot of SFF. What exactly does that say about them?

Blogger Marissa January 29, 2014 4:50 PM  

Thank you for your opinions, The Forever War is the most recent science fiction novel I've read. I was surprised it's considered such a classic but I also realize it's 40 years old and perhaps its innovations seemed new back then. I also know that a liberal Vietnam War veteran must be quite different from a millenial like the Tor thing (not sure if I'm allowed to call it a girl or boy).

Stop reading novels written after, say, 1962 - there's plenty in the literary canon from before then to keep you occupied for a long, long time, and they'll make you saner and more cultured to boot.

This year I'm trying to follow Moldbug's advice to read one old book for every two recent ones (I can't remember his cutoff). I've made a tougher compromise: one recent book, one old book, and one recent one that's about something old (sorry older folks, the Vietnam War is the cutoff for something old the recent book can be about).

Blogger Eric January 29, 2014 5:00 PM  

Baen Publishing is posting profits in SF/F, the others aren't. Who reads Baen- besides White men? We're talking books, not movies and cosplay.

I thought he was being sarcastic. Does anyone seriously believe women, gays, and minorities are SF's primary audience?

Anonymous Krul January 29, 2014 5:22 PM  

Larry Correia - The typical WorldCon voter, when presented with 5 nominees for a category, and their clique’s personal favorite writer isn’t on there, and not having actually read any of the works, will go through the authors and rank them according to the order that best assuages their hang ups. Oooh, a paraplegic transsexual lesbian minority abortion doctor with AIDS who writes for Mother Jones? You’d need a wheelbarrow to carry all the Hugos.

Heh.

Related, I really hope Larry Correia makes a comic book or regular webcomic one day. His cartoons that I've seen are hilarious.

Anonymous Samson J. January 29, 2014 5:28 PM  

Atwood always protests too much. She wants rape and domination.

Aha! This is the sort of insight I come here for.

Blogger Marissa January 29, 2014 5:29 PM  

I thought he was being sarcastic. Does anyone seriously believe women, gays, and minorities are SF's primary audience?

Judging by Amazon's Top 10 science fiction bestsellers, which all look to be, with one exception, European/white men's names and masculine titles/covers, no. I'm not sure what is so difficult for publishers to understand about that. Meanwhile, four of the Top 10 fantasy bestsellers have vampire in the name and are written by someone named "Bella". The whole problem is that these two genres are lumped together, so the sexually perverse are over-represented in fantasy and feel entitled to science fiction.

Blogger Nate January 29, 2014 5:45 PM  

""Geeze, you guys, this is about BUSINESS, ok? Not politics. Just business. Who is the MARKET for SF?""

Comparing the sales numbers of Larry Correia to Jim Hines... I'm going to say... White gun nuts.

Blogger Eric January 29, 2014 5:53 PM  

Meanwhile, four of the Top 10 fantasy bestsellers have vampire in the name and are written by someone named "Bella". The whole problem is that these two genres are lumped together, so the sexually perverse are over-represented in fantasy and feel entitled to science fiction.

Ah, okay. Sure, if you lump in the sparkly vampires (which are really just updated pirate captains from Harlequin novels), then the "SF/Fantasy" audience might be dominated by adolescent girls. Even then he's trying to steal a base by including minorities, who don't read much of anything.

Anonymous Josh January 29, 2014 5:54 PM  

Nate, why do you hate minority gun nuts?

Blogger Magson January 29, 2014 6:00 PM  

Correia's response to Hines:

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/5687/

Anonymous SoonerTroll January 29, 2014 6:02 PM  

I listened to The Forever War on a solo road trip and it kept me awake, but it didn't give me a desire to read the book. Overrated was my first thought at it's conclusion If you like SF/F with body and gender transformations I'd recommend reading Jack Chalker.

Blogger Nate January 29, 2014 6:35 PM  

"http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/5687/"

Where in Larry becomes the front runner for the 2014 Cruelty Artist of the Year.

Anonymous REG January 29, 2014 7:17 PM  

"I thought he was being sarcastic. Does anyone seriously believe women, gays, and minorities are SF's primary audience?"

If 'Z' was being sarcastic, there needs to be a 'Src' or Sar' at the bottom. By the fact that so far there has been no reply to any of the responses to "Z" I would believe that was an opinion.

Anonymous Obvious January 29, 2014 7:35 PM  

"One thing you have to understand about the literate Left is that they are parasites who exist on nothing more than whatever they can leech from the productive populace in addition to each other's farts."

A prime example of the Left being prone to not only name-calling, but viewing name-calling as sufficient to make a case against a perceived foe.

Anonymous tiredofitall January 29, 2014 8:00 PM  

"A prime example of the Left being prone to not only name-calling, but viewing name-calling as sufficient to make a case against a perceived foe." - Obvious

Okay, Vox explained this to you already, so I'll try again. Lefties/rabbits see name-calling as the end of an argument. Once they cast that special "word magic" and call you a raciss, or sexiss, they think that means they've proven their point and they've won.

When almost anybody else does it, it's for sake of hyperbole. To try and argue further with lefties/rabbits would be like arguing with a five year old who plugged his ears with his fingers and is loudly shouting, "La la la la la I can't hear you!!"

Anonymous bob k. mando January 29, 2014 8:19 PM  

SoonerTroll January 29, 2014 6:02 PM
with body and gender transformations I'd recommend reading Jack Chalker.



AHA! Chalker. that's who i don't read anymore.

i need to retract my statement about Jack Haldeman. i don't remember anything of his i've read, i was confusing him with that freak, Chalker.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2014 8:34 PM  

"Rap music in a nutshell."

Bullshit. Plenty of MCs that are gifted. Just a bit melodically challenged, but blacks have always been more of rhythm people.

Anonymous FritzG January 29, 2014 9:02 PM  

"
"Okay, Vox explained this to you already, so I'll try again. Lefties/rabbits see name-calling as the end of an argument. Once they cast that special "word magic" and call you a raciss, or sexiss, they think that means they've proven their point and they've won."

That's not the way it works at all. It's really like this:

What happens occasionally is that we are talking with someone or debating, whatever, and you realize suddenly that you are talking with someone who has an irrational and unalterable prejudice against a race or a gender or perhaps a particular sexual orientation.

You realize their entire world view is tainted by this prejudice and they can't think straight. So, the spade is called a spade and you end debate. What else can you do? You are speaking with the irrational.

Anonymous Porky January 29, 2014 9:05 PM  

Bullshit. Plenty of MCs that are gifted.

There are plenty of rhythmic gymnasts who are gifted too. But it's still derivative garbage.

Blogger Eric January 29, 2014 9:26 PM  

You realize their entire world view is tainted by this prejudice and they can't think straight. So, the spade is called a spade and you end debate. What else can you do? You are speaking with the irrational.

We know the feeling, Fritz.

Anonymous Commodore January 29, 2014 9:48 PM  

Am I the only one who venerates Timothy Zahn as the gateway drug of choice? He's how I got my wife into *Science* Fiction.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 29, 2014 9:56 PM  

Speaking of irrational, did the killer of Obama's pot dealer change from gay to not gay, or is his new wife just a beard?

Anonymous The other skeptic January 29, 2014 9:58 PM  

Am I the only one who venerates Timothy Zahn as the gateway drug of choice? He's how I got my wife into *Science* Fiction.

Yes. The one true gateway drug is Kratman! And, I need another fix!

Anonymous Obvious January 29, 2014 11:15 PM  

Tiredofitall,

That'd be a pretty relevant point if the blogowner had actually made any sort of point. BUt he didn't. He quoted one thing. Then he wrote a paragraph in which he engaged in name calling, another in which he said he perfectly understood why someone killed themself, then he quoted someone else.

He decided "Yeah, that was a good post" and he shared it with the world.

If you don't understand how that's the EXACT same thing he derides "the Left" for doing, you got some cognitive dissonance happening there.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 29, 2014 11:20 PM  

because Vox never makes any points.

Anonymous Ain January 30, 2014 12:11 AM  

From the blog Larry Correia responded to: "However, I do think it can be very palatable for people who haven’t done a lot of thinking about gender. It is, as Hurley says earlier in her post, the kind of story that eases the reader in gently before dropping the gender bombs, and those bombs are not discomfiting for all readers. Of course they’re not. How can one text be expected to radicalise every reader?"

Ah, the gift-wrapped fart. Readers will love that.

Anonymous FP January 30, 2014 12:50 AM  

All this post binary talk reminded me of that TNG episode where Riker falls for a gender neutral alien who was leaning towards being female and thus facing re-education. IIRC, the story was they procreated by inseminating husks in a field.

There should be more husk insemination stories in sci-fi.

Anonymous ...auautoresponse..., January 30, 2014 6:34 AM  

shadup Tad


( I thought Tad/Obvious was banned?)

Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2014 6:38 AM  

FP, that's the thing: in 1990 you did one gender-neutral husk insemination story out of a couple hundred episodes. It was boring and stupid, but at least it was different. Nowadays, to judge by the blurbs I read here, they're trying to make sci-fi wall-to-wall husk insemination.

Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist January 30, 2014 6:40 AM  

Ah, Star Trek - that show that was boring, preachy, insufferable, improbable, badly-written and worse-acted, and generally about as much fun as reading a laser printer instruction manual combined with mandatory diversity training before J.J. Abrams came along and swapped out the hamfisted lectures for lens flares.

But I have to admit, the old Trek really has come true. It was the vision of a future filled with great machines but awful people. And here we are.

Anonymous Hunsdon January 30, 2014 7:35 AM  

Steakley's Armor? Man, it has been years, need to dig it up for a reread.

Anonymous x January 30, 2014 9:04 AM  

Deep Space Nine was pretty good though...

Blogger Tom Kratman January 30, 2014 9:29 AM  

"did they not teach him anything about field fortifications in engineer school?"

Oh, he had the defense include most or all of the things he likely learned in engineer school or saw in Vietnam. The defense had trenches, bunkers, minefields, cleared fields of fire, and suchlike. But one would expect that a) someone at the 27th century version of TRADOC - maybe the same somebody who realized that they'd need cold steel, chakram, and bows and arrows in the stasis field - would have gone that extra quarter of a millimeter and realized that the type of fortification needed would be different, and that b) Mandella would have learned that in his extensive VR training period in "the tank," or that he, being bright enough himself, would c) have figured it out for himself. After all, I did, as a fairly inexperienced private. But noooo...

And old fashioned barbed wire, just inside the stasis field's perimeter, would have been ducky, too. But, again, noooo....

There was a lot of that sort of thing in the book, and a lot of it revolved around the stasis field. Why, for example, did no one think that it might be nice to have a tunnel down to a bunker outside the field where the troops could take off their armor, rest, eat, screw, whatever? Why not a projectile tosser that ran off weights going down a parallel tunnel to toss mega-loads of darts at high rates of fire to break up "Tauran-wave" assaults? But, yet again, nooooo...

It wasn't just the stasis field, though. No one ever seemed to have heard of principle of war: Mass. Why? Probably because Haldeman never saw mass in Vietnam. But a student of war, which someone who is going to write about war ought to be, would have.

Blogger Tom Kratman January 30, 2014 9:44 AM  

"What else can you do? You are speaking with the irrational."

If you are speaking with a human being, Fritz, you are speaking with the irrational. Doesn't matter if it's left or right, man is not a reasoning animal, in the main, but a rationalizing one. We take instincts, emotions, and prejudices and then seem to reason, sometimes flawlessly, from those presumptions, but still get nowhere near the truth because the presumptions are themselves false. The advantage the right has over the left is that their emotions, instincts, and prejudices are usually closer to the world as it exists, while the left's remain mostly concerned the world as they wish it would be.

Anonymous Heh January 30, 2014 11:32 AM  

It is always amusing when Leftists call their opponents irrational.

The usual definition of "irrational" being "disagreement with Leftist dogma".

Blogger Tom Kratman January 30, 2014 12:16 PM  

Once again, I cannot recommend enough Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind.

Anonymous Porky January 30, 2014 7:44 PM  

Deep Space Nine was pretty good though...

wtf?

Anonymous Y Not January 31, 2014 2:35 AM  

Tom Kratman wrote: ** The advantage the right has over the left is that their emotions, instincts, and prejudices are usually closer to the world as it exists, while the left's remain mostly concerned the world as they wish it would be.**

Which would seem to imply that religious fundamentalists are leftists, rather than rightists...

Blogger Tom Kratman January 31, 2014 3:03 PM  

No, actually, or not necessarily, anyway. Modern religious fundamentalists tend to bifurcate their outlook for both the world as it exists and the hereafter as they believe it exists.

Some, however, are or have leftists, at least by my definition of leftism, wherein the ultimate _articulable_ article of faith is in the easy and reliable malleability of Man* with that article of faith arising from a sort of childish belief in a kind of magic that operates _by_Man's_wishes_ in this world. You can see this in the early religious settlements in the US, especially in Massachusetts, where they seriously tried to create a sort of early New Soviet Man by training, education, social engineering, and sheer terror.

*See, forex, the initial draft of the SDS' Port Huron Statement; see Lenin's New Soviet Man; see the penchant for leftists and liberals to gravitate to areas where they can exercise the kind of control that might allow them to mold people - education, journalism, entertainment, art, and the like - see the liberal faith in character changing programs like rehabilitation of criminals, note the liberal belief, widespread if not universal, that differences between men and women are mere social constructs

Anonymous Y Not February 01, 2014 12:35 AM  

Kratman: In regards to the fundamentalist religious people who were leftists, I was thinking of the sort who think they can improve the world by forcibly imposing their particular religious morality on others (either because they are the government, or by causing the existing government to pass the laws they want). Case in point, prohibition, though there are numerous other examples. Certainly communism, as you mention is another good example.

Regarding the differences between men and women, I think what probably exists (in regards to various traits) are two bell shaped curves, which depending on the trait in question, may either have their centers rather far apart for the two genders, or may be overlapping. Most men are stronger than most women, for instance. There are a few women who are stronger than most men. There are a few men (Stephen Hawking as a very extreme example) who are weaker than most women. Probably there are some men who tend to have most of their traits(physical and mental) near what would be normal for women, and some women who have most of their traits near what would be normal for most women.

It is probably nice to be able to in most situations, figure out where every individual person's strengths and weaknesses are, but sometimes there are situations where you can't 'sort everyone out' nice as it might be to do so. I have that problem with mushrooms, the only mushrooms I will pick and eat are morels and puffballs. Because they don't resemble anything else. The other mushrooms are too hard to sort out. Probably I could learn to do so, but I have to many other things to do with my time. So sad as it may be to pass up what may be perfectly good mushrooms, I prefer to play the odds and not poison myself.

Blogger Tom Kratman February 01, 2014 1:35 AM  

I can see the argument, but it tends to break down once you look at it temporally, and evaluate it as defense versus offense. While I am pretty sure there are _some_ fundamentalist religious types who are left wing, by my definition, and are engaged in the great culture war offensively, most of them – the moderate to right wing ones - are playing defense against true leftists who are trying to change the world, and the people in it, via training, education, relentless nagging and propagandization, and the occasional spot of terror.

I'm going to try to make this fairly short.

There are a number of political optical illusions that we are pretty much all prone to. Yes, me too, and if less than most, it’s only marginally and only because I know the illusions exist. The first and most obvious one is, "I am in the reasonable and logical middle," to which the proper answer is, "Horseshit; you in the middle of the people you associate with, which seems to you like the middle, but it's just an illusion." Then there's the blurring of vision of those further away on the political spectrum (yes, spectrum, not X-Y diagram), such that one cannot really tell the difference between, say, a Bolshevik and a Menshevik, or me and a Nazi. (One ballpark way to tell where you are is to look to both ends and see who you can see clearly and who you cannot.) Then there's the illusion of elevation, where the vociferousness of someone in defense of their position gets added, raising them above the spectrum, but where the additional height is seen as further distance. That one may be hard to grasp, so try this: imagine the one person who really is in the middle, and he is aggressive in his attacks on extreme right and left. The Klan, over on the wingnut right, is going to see him as a bolshie. The SDS (if they even still exist) would see him as a Nazi. But, no; he's just an aggressive moderate.

There are some other optical illusions, but I'll limit myself to those, for illustrative purposes.

That said, the last optical illusion isn't just an _optical_ illusion, and I am still trying to work my way through it. What I think goes on in the liblepr (liberal-leftist-progressive-red) mind is a sense that their goal, the kind of society they demand, really already exists, not just much but about exactly like Plato's ideal forms. Associated with this is something that, for lack of a better concept, I'll call being "unstuck in time" (not original to me, of course), such that they seem to feel that the goal is already here, and would be effective if only those badevilwickednaughtybadbadbad wingnuts weren't hiding it and hindering it. You can see the effect in a couple of ways, for example how a 3 percent increase in funding for some progressive program gets turned into a seven percent reduction. The only way you can do that, and not be a complete madman, is if you're unstuck in time and see the 10 percent, which doesn't exist yet, as already there and real. Another way to sense it is in how progressives react when balked and stymied; it is very much like someone who has had something stolen that he considered rightfully his already. That comes, I think, from being unstuck in time, subjectively. I think that may be what leads you to see religious fundamentalist, playing defense to preserve what is from those who would radically change it, as trying to change things themselves. _Think_, not sure.

Oh, what’s the right’s equivalent optical illusion? I think they see already existing decay where the decay is still only potential. That’s explains much about their behavior, too. Both see a slope that really doesn’t exist, one a long but fast slide to the sewer, the other a comfortable and easy slalom to the bright progressive future.

Anonymous Y Not February 01, 2014 6:19 AM  

The right's illusion is partly along the lines of thinking people are malleable, and partly along the lines of thinking that heaven can come to earth and angels will appear singing with harps in hand if only people can be forced to stop doing some 'evil'. Such as drinking. Of course, people don't stop drinking and what they get instead of angels with harps are people going blind and Al Capone.

The attempts to ban prostitution and pornography, and various methods of birth control, which have been going on about as long as drinking has, are no more effective, and have similiar results in that they make things worse rather than better.

As for illusions regarding time... in some cases the right behaves as if it regards future increases in food production, or the genetics of the next generation as already being in existence, therefore advocates such things as increases in population that eventually lead to starvation (or war against another country to seize their food), or things that systematically delete the most intelligent women from the breeding population (ranging from sexually traumatizing them as children to killing them as 'heretics') then blaming the badevilwickednaughtybadbadbad group of choice when they have a food shortage or the average IQ of the population gradually declines.

And yes, I know that the left does much the same thing as well, by different means and for different reasons.

Another possible time illusion of the right (possibly) is that they think that social systems of the past are all necessarily good, and should remain in place, and all changes are bad. Which first of all is not true for a number of reasons (ranging from past social systems being bad, to new inventions making better social systems possible). And secondly, their knowledge of past social systems is often very limitted and extremely rose colored. For instance, I wonder how many of those who defend 'traditional marriage' are aware that in certain parts of medieval Europe, it was expected that when a husband had a guest in his house, he would offer the use of his wife sexually as a courtesy to the guest.

Anonymous Y Not February 01, 2014 6:27 AM  

Tom Kratman: Along the subject of illusions, I had the extreme displeasure of seeing a nasty bit of eyewash video put out by NASA, showing changes in average temperature all over the world for the last 60 years or so. The video looks absolutely horrifying, going from mostly blue and green 60 years ago, to all orange and red in modern times.

Except it's all eyewash. The people making the video have assigned the blue-green-yellow-red colors to what is actually a very small difference in range of temperature (at most 4 degrees) in order to make what is actually an extremely small increase in temperature look to people like the earth used to be cool and green, and now is about to burn up or something. An HONEST video would have blue for the lowest temperature on the planet (100 below zero or whatever it gets down to in Antartica) and red for the hottest temperature (probably 130 or so), then show what a few degrees difference in average temperature looked like using that color spectrum. Probably the human eye wouldn't even be able to see the difference in colors.

Blogger Tom Kratman February 01, 2014 1:31 PM  

Well...global warming is the result of a consensus - we might call it the "watermelon (green on the outside, red on the inside) consensus" - occassionally supported by minor conspiracies on the part of some of the people who hold to the consensus, but not in itself a conspiracy. I just don't think people, even quite bright people, are competent enough, consistent enough, or reliable enough, for many of them to conspire at that level with any chance of success. And, yes, it is dishonest and preposterous. Bet when they showed the video they either started after the medieval warm period was over or simply deleted it, yes?

Blogger Tom Kratman February 01, 2014 1:52 PM  

The right may try to predict the future from the past where, Malthus notwithstanding, food almost always did increase as quickly or more quickly than the rate of growth of the population. This has, of course, turned the name Malthus into a sneer to direct at doommongerers. Absent something really new, though, food production-wise, eventually Malthus will be right. Or, rather, he would be but that overpopulation appears to be the least likely thing to happen to us. Instead, the world's population appears to be set to drop, as even the UN admits. One example, Panamanian women were, until quite recently, the most fertile on the planet. I think it was about 8 children per woman. My wife's maternal grandmother bore 12 that lived (and a few that didn't...and... oddly, kept her shape. Bet you never saw a 97 year old with the shape of a teenaged girl; that may help explain why her husband stayed interested enough to keep her pregnant), while her maternal grandmother had 10. Her mother bore 8. But her mother only has 11 grandchildren. That seems to be happening nearly everywhere; even, surprisingly, in the Islamic world.

I think you've just dscovered another illusion, illusion by association. Thanks and, yes, I am serious. The "Repent, the end is near," crowd appear to me to be a very, very tiny subset of fundamentalist Christianity. How to tell? How many really live their lives as if they expect it to happen soon? Few, no?

You've got another illusion going on there. The right, religious or otherwise, doesn't generally expect bans on prostitution or drugs or working on sunday or excessively fancy dress to work to perfection, for perfection, like "a foolish consistency," is the bugaboo of small minds. Something need not be perfect to be useful, while it can be useful to ban something, knowing the ban won't operate perfectly, to prevent it from growing out of bounds.

Social systems of the past...hmmm...google for Chesterton's fence sometime. That said, I'm not sure which past you mean. In the US, the options are pretty limited: a) the theocracies of New England, b) the only slightly less theocratic feudalism of the early and mid south, c) the attempt to change the deal by the British parliament, which didn't really work for them, d) the confederation, e) the constitutional republic, f) the confederacy which, again, didn't really work out, g) the modern progressive, not-especially-constitutional, oligarchy masquerading as a republic. Did I miss any? Mot of us hark back to e), but don't really expect to get that back again.

Anonymous Anonymous February 01, 2014 7:12 PM  

Tom Kratman: although you are right about the world population probably not increasing, there are still people who advocate that it SHOULD increase (and very drastically). Which is not a realistic scenario. I've no idea how many human beings the world can support. It may be able to support many times more than are around now. But at SOME point, we will run out of food, and unlimitted population growth is not the best strategy for having a high population over the long term, because starvation is not a surgically neat process in which simply the excess population is neatly removed. Far more likely is that you would end up with a very low population afterwards, at least for a while.

**Something need not be perfect to be useful, while it can be useful to ban something, knowing the ban won't operate perfectly, to prevent it from growing out of bounds. **

From what I can see, outright bans, while they may prevent things from growing endlessly, also don't entirely prevent them and make things far worse. More people falling down drunk is not as bad (at least in my opinion) as Al Capone and his ilk. Allowing something, but regulating it, avoids both problems. Failure (on the part of the right) to recognize that bans will not prevent something, and will make things worse in many ways is a failure to recognize reality. And enforcing the bans is extremely difficult and expensive (using money that could be far better spent elsewhere), in a large part because most of the people involved are not going to complain to the police. When a murder, rape, or theft happens, the victim (or the relatives of the victim) generally go to the police to let them know what happened (and how, and when, and where). If John Smith buys a bottle of liquor from Al Capone and hires a prostitute for an hour, neither he nor Capone nor the prostitute are going to go complain to the police, making it extremely expensive for the police to do any investigation into the matter at all.

**Social systems of the past...hmmm...google for Chesterton's fence sometime. That said, I'm not sure which past you mean.**

I don't think slavery was a good idea. I don't think lynching random blacks in retaliation for crimes with an unknown perpetrator was a good idea. Theocracies (at least the sort that killed those who disagreed with the official religion) were not a good idea. I don't think giving a dictator absolute power to imprison, torture, and execute people without a trial was a good idea. Currently, I don't think public schools are a good idea. Nor is what is currently on television, which btw, is not any healthier an attitude towards sex than not showing it at all 50 years ago. To understand why, imagine a culture that thought food was 'dirty'. So they never portrayed food on television or in movies. Then one day they started showing food on television and in movies, but what they showed were fat people eating 3 foot wide pizzas in half an hour, or bowls of doritos with pig shit on them. Well, basically that culture still thinks food is dirty, but they have simply gone from hiding the dirt, to shoving it in your face. I'm not sure that's an improvement or not. It's worse in the sense that it's ruder, but it's better in the sense that it might make it clear to some people that their is either a problem with food, or a problem with themselves.

Anonymous Y Not February 01, 2014 9:06 PM  

Tom Kratman: I have been thinking over further what you wrote:
** Something need not be perfect to be useful, while it can be useful to ban something, knowing the ban won't operate perfectly, to prevent it from growing out of bounds.**

and it occurs to me that what you said about something 'growing out of bounds' is also an example of what you call a 'bugaboo of small minds'. For instance, alcohol is legal, yet it does not seem to me to be 'out of bounds'. Only very seldom (maybe 4 times a year) where I work does someone either come in to work drunk, or doesn't come in because they were drinking. The very phrase 'out of bounds' seems pretty fuzzy, and can mean anything from 100 percent of all people doing something, to only one person doing something, depending on where you set your 'bounds'. Basically it usually means 'more people doing something than I happen to want to be doing it, for emotional reasons I haven't thought through or analysed, which really means anyone doing it at all.'

About the only places I can think of where things like drinking, drugs, prostitution, etc could be said to be 'out of bounds' are in cases where a small area makes them legal, while most of the rest of the world makes it illegal. Which is simply a case of the small area thereby having to deal with the less pleasant problems of all the rest of the world. Much the same thing would likely happen if landfills were illegal in every state except New Hampshire. Since garbage isn't going to disappear any more than drinking or gambling, the entire state of New Hampshire would soon be filled with landfills from all the garbage produced by the rest of the US, and would smell to high heaven (while the rest of the US would get an unfair benefit of not having to deal with their own trash problem). Still, there is a way to deal with that problem, if New Hampshire kept landfills legal, but reserved them for garbage produced only by their own residents.

Anonymous Y Not February 01, 2014 9:16 PM  

Tom Kratman wrote: **Bet when they showed the video they either started after the medieval warm period was over or simply deleted it, yes?**

The video was for the last 60 years. Which omitted the medieval warm period (that most people aren't aware of) and also doesn't really seem like a very long period of time in respects to the Earth. It may seem like a long time to a lot of people, because it's close to a full human lifespan, but there's species that live several times that long, not to mention a couple of planets that take longer than that to complete just one year.

I do not know what it is, but people do seem to be getting more and more excited about less and less nowadays. For instance, schools have been closed for 4 days this month because it got to -10. I can't recall schools ever being closed for the cold 30 years ago, they were only closed if there was a foot of snow on the ground.

Anonymous Y not February 01, 2014 9:21 PM  

Perhaps the excitement is the sign of a dying culture. I know when I used to work at a nursing home, many of the residents were hypersensitive due to their frailty and would complain of being agonized by the slightest touch or being rolled over in bed.

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