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Saturday, December 13, 2014

SJWs at Amazon

This is the description of the Amazon editors' choice for the best book of 2014:
Lydia is dead. From the first sentence of Celeste Ng’s stunning debut, we know that the oldest daughter of the Chinese-American Lee family has died. What follows is a novel that explores alienation, achievement, race, gender, family....
Do you even need to read Everything I Never Told You: A Novel to know how the book is likely to proceed? Notice how the battle we observe in Pink SF/F vs Blue SF/F is playing out in mainstream literature too. This is not merely the best novel of the year, it is supposedly the VERY BEST BOOK of 2014, yet at 4.2, it has a lower average rating than most of my books, let alone John C. Wright's.

Why? One guess. Style and SJW politics over story, of course. Compare the two most helpful reviews, one complimentary from a guy who got the book free, and one critical from a woman who actually paid money for it. Exhibit A:
How is it possible that this is a first novel? It is so exquisite, so marvelously perfect, so regally quiet and elegant that surely, it must come from the hands of a old soul author. But no. This is Celeste Ng's first novel, and in it, she has painted such a deeply felt, original story. This book shall remain with me for the rest of my days.

Everything I Never Told You is a story of secrets, of love, of longing, of lies, of race, of identity, and knowledge. The story begins with the death of Lydia, daughter of Marilyn and James, which is told in the first sentence and slowly revealed through the book. Why she did it drives the narrative, and yet, this story is bigger, grander than this central mystery. Marilyn wanted to defy society's narrow vision of her life and become a doctor, while James is trying to overcome humble beginnings and a society judging him based on his race. Together, they conventions, marry and create a family. Nathan, oldest son on his way to Harvard, Lydia, the middle sister and favorite one, and Hannah, truly growing up invisible. Together, Ng has created a complex, complicated family that rings so true on every page. There isn't a false note in the story.
Classic. Pretentious language. Overpraise for a debut - you know there is a non-zero chance we'll never hear about this writer again - defying society, ringing true, overwrought claims about how the book will live on in his heart forever and ever after, and to top it all off, the literary SJWs favorite praise: "There isn't a false note in the story."

Translation: this book is utter SJW bullshit and is full of false notes from start to finish, without ceasing. Remember, SJWs always lie.

And now, exhibit B:
Celeste Ng seems like a talented writer. Her style of writing is fluid and lyrical. For that reason, I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t, primarily because nearly all the characters are so overwhelmingly awful.

I know characters don't need to be good or even likeable to be compelling, but there has to be something to draw you in and make you care about them. That wasn't the case here for me at all. In fact, the adult protagonists are so awful I almost wanted to stop reading at times. The main couple comprises the most self-absorbed, selfish, emotionally abusive parents I've ever encountered. Before the death of beloved Lydia, they turn her into a proxy of themselves and basically ignore their other children. Post-mortem, they become even more entrenched in themselves and their needs and issues and continue their neglect of their children or even take their anger out on them. Toward the end, which hints at happier times for the parents, I didn't even care anymore. They didn't deserve anything better.

My other issue with this novel was its treatment of race. I understand that Ng wanted this to be a treatise on racial differences and the impact prejudice can have on people, but the way she chose to do this was not effective. She was both heavy-handed and uninspiring. She made it seem as if every single person this family encountered had never seen a Chinese person and was prejudiced against them. I find this hard to believe even back in the 1970's.
As I said, lies from start to finish. Not merely lies, but blatant and unconvincing lies. SJWs not only swim in shit, they want you to swim in it too, which is why they incessantly try to convince you that it's the purest, cleanest water you'll ever taste.

To conclude my case against buying into the ludicrous propaganda of Amazon's SJWs, note that two of the other 100 best books of the year are: Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" by the Dunham Horror and Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker, who somehow managed to avoid discovering anything about Mr. Cosby's reported pasttime of drugging and raping women in the process of writing his biography.

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82 Comments:

Blogger Krul December 13, 2014 8:45 AM  

I learned in elementary school that anything that is "about race" is boring. They always claim to be breaking new ground and revealing a fresh perspective, but it's always the same message: "People don't respect me because of my race and that makes me feel bad". Yeah, thanks, but I got it the first hundred times.

What's obnoxious is the follow up message, that you're a bad person or even a racist if you don't empathize with the victims of racism.

Anonymous NateM December 13, 2014 8:58 AM  

Everything I Never Told You is a story of secrets, of love, of longing, of lies, of race, of identity, and knowledge.

A more accurate title would be Totally Not The Joy Luck Club

Anonymous Stephen J. December 13, 2014 9:01 AM  

You touch here on a question of perennial interest to me: How do you tell a *bad* book from one you merely don't *like*? Can a story be well written and still be bad, and by what criteria if so? Those reviews both make it sound like Ng is a good writer; it's merely that one reviewer found her characters and story interesting and moving and one didn't. It may be that there are far more people of the latter group than the former, but popularity is no guarantee of merit either; look how well Dan Brown still sells.

And without disagreeing that it is propaganda, I think you underestimate the degree to which most SJ fans sincerely buy into that propaganda. What sounds false to one ear can ring true to another without any conscious deception involved.

(Full disclosure: Part of the reason I am interested in this question is to find justification for my own taste, which I recognize to be aesthetically lousy; heck, I'm a *Dennis McKiernan* fanboy, and I even liked *The Sword of Shannara*. So I am always fascinated by questions of subjective taste vs. objective quality. )

Anonymous Stephen J. December 13, 2014 9:06 AM  

"What's obnoxious is the follow up message, that you're a bad person or even a racist if you don't empathize with the victims of racism."

Empathizing with the victims of racism is one thing. Wallowing in their misery for entertainment, or agreeing about what if anything can or should be done to alleviate that problem, is another.

Blogger Krul December 13, 2014 9:20 AM  

Stephen J - Empathizing with the victims of racism is one thing.

It is the foot in the door.

Or, more accurately, the presumption that you're a bad person if you don't automatically empathize with whomever you're told to empathize with is the foot in the door.

Anonymous Godwin December 13, 2014 9:22 AM  

Actually doesn't sound bad. And 4.2 is exceptional when there are 500+ reviews. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous Stephen J. December 13, 2014 9:28 AM  

Empathizing with someone who is actually suffering from real injustice is a basic human trait, I think. The foot in the door is when people try to exploit that by manipulating your perceptions about how much a specific person actually *is* suffering, or what degree of "injustice" is actually taking place, in order to get people on their side for political ends.

Anonymous Godfrey December 13, 2014 9:30 AM  

LMAO... yep, the same old bullshit. I've had this type SJW bullshit shoved in my face for over 40 years. Yet I still live a life in defiance against this incessant cultural assault/rot.

Someone should write a book about people like home schoolers or libertarians or such oppressed minorities like them. They're the true rebels. They're the people living a life in defiance of an oppressive hateful culture. They've refused to submit to the lobotomy of the cultural elites.

Blogger Iowahine December 13, 2014 9:31 AM  

Didn't you do a top ten or five book review last year? If so, will you do again this year? If you did not, will you? Thanks.

Blogger Krul December 13, 2014 9:36 AM  

Stephen J - Empathizing with someone who is actually suffering from real injustice is a basic human trait, I think.

Maybe, but not feeling it doesn't make you a bad person.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey December 13, 2014 9:49 AM  

I've never found the ordeals of Chinese-American families to be terribly interesting.

Anonymous Jake December 13, 2014 10:01 AM  

As someone who writes literary poetry and fiction, I can assure you that the SF world is practically a conservative utopia compared to the monolithically progressive literary world. It's the reason I don't dare use my real name here. I'd never publish again.

Anonymous VD December 13, 2014 10:10 AM  

How do you tell a *bad* book from one you merely don't *like*? Can a story be well written and still be bad, and by what criteria if so?

Easily. You simply have to separate your preferences from your analytical observations. Yes, a well-written story can be bad. By the following criteria: a novel consists of four elements, Style, Story, Characters, and Ideas. They are of roughly equal importance.

So, if you have a well-written book, all that means is you have good Style. But let's say you write a really well-written laundry list. Is it a good novel? No. But what if you bring in some very credible characters, and you write really well about how they do nothing and talk about nothing. A good novel? No. You need at least passing competence in three of the four categories to have a good book; a great book requires excellence in at least two and usually three of them.

Animal Farm is a classic, but the writing is only average. However, it is a great story, with great characters, and great ideas. Ergo, great book. This is what the Pink SF folks always miss; they look only at Style and ignore everything else, then wonder why everyone hates the books they think are so great.

That's not quite fair. They also try to use Ideas, but their ideas are retarded.

Anonymous klunky the klunk December 13, 2014 10:20 AM  

Racism my arse. If people with names like Ng are unhappy here, well get a load of this: see, there's this huge gigantic place called Asia that is all for them. Go home. This is not your home. Go away.

Anonymous zippo December 13, 2014 10:25 AM  

"Animal Farm is a classic, but the writing is only average."

[cackles]

Anonymous Red Comet December 13, 2014 10:26 AM  

I'm always skeptical of rape claims against athletes and celebrities like Cosby. Women tend to throw themselves at them so, unless the guy has a thing for it, they just don't need to resort to rape.

If Cosby doesn't settle then losing that TV deal and Netflix special has opened several people, maybe even that buck toothed comedian that set it all off, to slander suits.

Anonymous Daniel December 13, 2014 10:27 AM  

Let me guess. The book is about Lydia being dead, and Lydia's greatest contribution as a character is that she's dead.

Jacob Marley being dead for seven years is important because, as a character, it gives Scrooge 7 years to grow much worse than Marley...

Lydia being dead is "important" because death makes you "important."

Blogger ScuzzaMan December 13, 2014 10:28 AM  

"... who somehow managed to avoid discovering anything about Mr. Cosby's reported pasttime of drugging and raping women in the process of writing his biography."

Come now, I doubt it was really his pasttime to drug and rape women (who were) in the process of writing his biography. I mean, wouldn't their keyboards get all sticky? And how many women does it take to write one man's biography?

Anonymous Will Best December 13, 2014 10:43 AM  

Most SJWs lack any sort of empathy. Which is why they can't tell the difference between Brown and Garner, and why they have misdiagnosed the problem as racism rather than police militarization and over regulation. Their entire goal is to make you guilty in order to push their agenda.

I was playing Borderlands Pre-Sequel and there is a quest where PETA sends you out to save some creatures habitat from evil corporations, but upon finding out they aren't cute, has you kill them all. Then they are all happy about all the good they are doing for the environment.

Its these types of messages that SJW don't want appearing in video games.

---

A more accurate title would be Totally Not The Joy Luck Club

Ah the hot book of my high school years owing to the fact that we had a 5-6% NE Asian population and it was a new release. Asians were split as to the quality of this book.

The description of this new book makes the parents sound like the most extreme caricature of Asian parents ever imagined. If a white male had produced the book, no doubt he would have been accused of stereotyping and racism. Also, the author is somewhere around 37, meaning the book is set prior to when she was born. Making the book all that more legit.

Anonymous Will Best December 13, 2014 10:48 AM  

I'm always skeptical of rape claims against athletes and celebrities like Cosby. Women tend to throw themselves at them so, unless the guy has a thing for it, they just don't need to resort to rape.

This seemed like a weird slam considering, VD's stance that women lie about rape. As in perhaps the biographer didn't discover anything because there was nothing to discover. Did the biographer discuss Cosby's proclivities for spending time at the playboy mansion? Because that was widely known.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 13, 2014 10:54 AM  

Anti-racist propaganda is anti-white propaganda. It's solicited, incentivized, produced and promoted to harm one race: the white race.

Has there ever been such a vast production of hate propaganda against one race? Have there ever before been such gigantic stockpiles of books, movies and all other kinds of cultural signaling, just to harm one subspecies of Man? As far as I know, no.

It's all an unending roar of "shoot, shoot, shoot the Boer."

And it's at the behest of people who have, to our very great hurt, been trusted and allowed to rise to the top of white societies.

My sympathy nerve is dead to these calls for our collective ruin and g-word.

Anonymous zippo December 13, 2014 11:00 AM  

"Animal Farm is a classic, but the writing is only average."

You know, every once in a while, it really IS a dark and stormy night.

What are your names, wayfarers?

Anonymous Susan December 13, 2014 11:02 AM  

It's totally okay for this book to have a low rating and still be the best book ever for this year if you consider how liberals think..

Low ratings to something that SJW's like just means that not only means exclusivity to them, but just proves to their rancid little minds that WTP just aren't capable of grasping the concepts that they consider truly significant.

This is why Manhattan and most of the West Coast needs to be fenced off to keep these rabbits corralled. Rabbits burrowing cause a lot of damage.

Anonymous Dr. Freud December 13, 2014 11:23 AM  

I'm always skeptical of rape claims against athletes and celebrities like Cosby. Women tend to throw themselves at them so, unless the guy has a thing for it, they just don't need to resort to rape.

Bill's fetish is "somnophilia" or "Sleeping Beauty Syndrome": the desire to have sex with inert, living bodies.

Granted, women may "throw themselves at him", but how does one romantically persuade a woman to take a mickey finn so you can mount her? Foot-sniffers have the same problem. Few women are turned on by the idea.

Anonymous Will Best December 13, 2014 11:47 AM  

Bill's fetish is "somnophilia" or "Sleeping Beauty Syndrome": the desire to have sex with inert, living bodies.


Isn't this what a lot of married men claim their sex life is like?

Blogger pyrrhus December 13, 2014 12:12 PM  

And to think that American literature was once "Huckleberry Finn", "The Sun Also Rises", and "The Great Gatsby."
I hardly bother to look at Amazon's F&SF Newsletter any more...

Anonymous zippo December 13, 2014 12:23 PM  

"And to think that American literature was once "Huckleberry Finn", "The Sun Also Rises", and "The Great Gatsby."

It can and will have greatness once again. Things go in cycles, and besides, even during periods of greatness there's still a lot of hack work going around. Shakespeare and Blake and Byron all had contemporaries who were dull. Another Fitzgerald will come rolling along in due course. Hell, he's probably out there working now.

Anonymous AndrewV December 13, 2014 12:24 PM  

That book sounds dreadful.

There is a similar book I enjoyed called "Chinese Girl in the Ghetto". Of course, it gives an accurate picture of how Asians are treated by their fellow minorities.No surprise SJWs like this one hate it:

"This book is disappointingly racist and ignorant. I was hoping to see a story about Black-Latin@-Asian solidarity, and instead found a poorly written memoir about "escaping the ghetto" and how black people are the most racist. This book promotes the idea that people of color can succeed as long as they work hard, and that the poor are poor because they're lazy/not smart/not trying hard enough. Disappointing book."

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 13, 2014 12:30 PM  

I find a simple style the hardest to judge.

Anonymous The Real Peterman December 13, 2014 12:35 PM  

"who somehow managed to avoid discovering anything about Mr. Cosby's reported pasttime of drugging and raping women in the process of writing his biography"

Assuming those allegations aren't false.

Blogger Desiderius December 13, 2014 12:47 PM  

"SJWs always lie"

When the Bible speaks of demon possession, I believe this is the phenomenon it is talking about. The defining characteristic of the Lord of Lies is his preference for ruling in hell rather than serving in heaven, in other words valuing his own power over other things such as truth or the welfare of the community (i.e the family, organization, country, etc of which he is a part) which relies on the capacity to accurately discern that truth.

It isn't just that SJWs lie*, it's that they do so to gain power for themselves at the expense of the community of which they are a part. We know them, or the demon that has possessed them, by the lies. It matters because of the ends to which they lie.

More accurately, they often engage in bullshit, which in this case is worse, as it erodes the community's ability and/or willingness to discern truth at all.

Blogger Desiderius December 13, 2014 12:51 PM  

The ancients' word for bullshit was sophistry, and it's destructive power was understood, so much that the good armed themselves with the tools of rhetoric to do battle with it. Many of the good now have foolishly and unilaterally disarmed themselves.

Anonymous Stephen J. December 13, 2014 12:52 PM  

"But what if you bring in some very credible characters, and you write really well about how they do nothing and talk about nothing. A good novel? No."

Well, even that can be subjective. Nobody does nothing and talks about nothing. What most people mean when they say that is, the characters do and talk about nothing interesting -- and interest varies by audience. A romance is not necessarily a bad novel because your average technothriller fan will find it dull, and vice versa. (I remember once mentioning that one of the real marks of a bad story is that it bores the people who would normally be interested by stories like it.)

Likewise, if you don't like the characters, is that because the characters are poorly drawn and evoke no reaction, or is it because they're so excellently drawn as to evoke the negative reaction the reader would have to real people of that sort? I gave up on True Detective not because I found the characters poorly written or acted but because I simply didn't like them enough to spend time with them; millions of fans disagree with me on that, and neither I nor they are "wrong". Likewise, I like Dennis McKiernan not because his characters are deep or well-written but because his love for them and their heroism shines through every word, and that's so rare and enjoyable for me that I forgive his clunky prose and outright idea theft in a heartbeat.

John Wright said something on his blog which is apropos here, though not directly to how to determine objective quality: "If you only write one book in your whole life, and only sell 600 copies or less, nonetheless, I assure you, I solemnly assure you, that this book will be someone’s absolutely favorite book of all time, and it will come to him on some dark day and give him sunlight, and open his eyes and fill his heart and make him see things in life even you never suspected, and will be his most precious tale, and it will live in his heart like the Book of Gold." It's one of the reasons, despite studying English lit, I've always taken all kind of literary criticism -- even the kind with which I philosophically sympathize -- with a grain of salt.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 13, 2014 1:05 PM  

The great thing about Amazon is they show you the customer ratings before they show you the editorial reviews.

Blogger Sean Carnegie December 13, 2014 1:42 PM  

"But what if you bring in some very credible characters, and you write really well about how they do nothing and talk about nothing. A good novel? No."

But a spectacular TV show.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 13, 2014 1:49 PM  

Likewise, if you don't like the characters, is that because the characters are poorly drawn and evoke no reaction, or is it because they're so excellently drawn as to evoke the negative reaction the reader would have to real people of that sort?...e not because I found the characters poorly written or acted but because I simply didn't like them enough to spend time with them

Hey, we weren't talking about GRRM...

The problem is a character you just don't care about. So what if they win? Or lose? That's the GRRM problem - there's nobody to really root for or identify with. Nobody you would want to be. The secret to great characters - heros and villains - is that there's at least one thing admirable about them, at least one part of their personality the reader aspires to. Look at Clint Eastwood's character in The Unforgiven.

(SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVENT' SEEN THE MOVIE)

He breaks his promise to his dead wife, abandons his children, gets his friend killed and finds no happiness or redemption. But there are three things about him the viewer can aspire to. One, he wanted to be a better man, even if he couldn't pull it off. Two, he disuaded the kid from choosing a bad path. Three, he was one seriously bad-ass mofo. And the villain was a sadistic bully with a badge, but even Little Bill Dagget wasn't a moustache-twirling cutout. He was just a guy trying to build himself a house and idiots causing trouble kept interrupting him. Of course, most of that was his own fault for mishandling the first bit of trouble, but that's what well-written villains do - they cause trouble by making short-sighted or selfish decisions.

Anonymous zippo December 13, 2014 2:15 PM  

"But what if you bring in some very credible characters, and you write really well about how they do nothing and talk about nothing. A good novel? No."

Well, there's different types of nothing, and some are entertaining and others aren't. I think part of the problem is that the post-modern novelistic style, though it produced a couple of very interesting works, is basically a dead end. But it did have to be tried, we can't just go in circles re-writing Dickens for all eternity.

The other problem of course is the infuriating, blinkered nature of identity politics. The occasional poster boy like James Baldwin or Sherman Alexie is probably necessary, but these whole armies of them is just plain ridiculous. Langston Hughes wrote from a specifically black perspective but he had more interesting things to say than just "Hey look everybody, I'm BLACK!" These SJW types don't seem to understand that when you buy a bottle of beer, the thing of interest is the actual beer, not the bottle.

Anonymous Mike December 13, 2014 2:23 PM  

Just as our science has been Lysenkoized, our literature has become, in Stalin's words, "the most important weapon of propaganda."

Blogger rcocean December 13, 2014 2:26 PM  

"That's not quite fair. They also try to use Ideas, but their ideas are retarded."

And predictable, since they always revolve around left-wing party line. Most fiction is vetted by the a small group of publishers who hire people who all think alike and seem to come from the same background. You won't find many conservatives from Salt lake City.

Blogger rcocean December 13, 2014 2:29 PM  

Basically, any non-genre fiction from a big publisher that deals with race, gender, class, and/or sexuality should be avoided at all costs. The same is true of stories of "growing up as XYZ" or College professors or women "finding themselves".

Anonymous The Night Porter December 13, 2014 2:53 PM  

The US is finished. There is some good literature coming out of the UK and Germany. But the US was never much in terms of culture (compare the threadbare Great Gatsby to Thomas Mann), but now there is no artistic production, just platitudes. The US is a revolutionary regime no less radical than the Soviet Union.

Anonymous Rolf December 13, 2014 3:11 PM  

A thought regarding style vs. content, re: editing.

I worked a long time on TSCB, and I thought it had some great characters, a solid story, and some interesting ideas, and the writing style was what I like to call "serviceable," that is, clear and easily read and understood. Not particularly flashy or eloquent, more Hemingway than highbrow.

I knew it needed polish, so I hired an editor, and I think I got a good one. She worked hard on it, and she definitely improved it, but it was a process that definitely raised my blood pressure whenever I received an email from her. She made a lot of very good criticisms, and my writing absolutely improved. But when she started making a second pass to polish it up a bit, I suddenly realized after struggling mightily with a massively rewritten paragraph that I liked my original version (well, slightly modified by the first pass) much better. And, more importantly, I was able to put my finger on what exactly the problem was. I like simple, clear, easy to read and understand prose that means exactly what it said, and the heavily rewritten version was what I saw as being much more "literary." It didn't sound like me, or my characters, at all. I said "I'm done." I finished up by rejecting many of the most recent edits, asked her what I owed her to pay it off, made sure the formatting looked good, and hit the big PUBLISH button.

I like clean, simple, easy-to-understand sentences. I like having likable characters. Occasional poetic passages to capture a mood are fine, but an unending series of bad things happening to bad people in a depressing story? No, I'll take a pass on that. I don't care how great the style is, if I don't like the characters, I can't learn anything useful from them, and there is no significance or value or cool ideas in the story, then it's a waste of my time.

Anonymous Anon December 13, 2014 4:02 PM  

"More accurately, they often engage in bullshit, which in this case is worse, as it erodes the community's ability and/or willingness to discern truth at all."

BS is especially effective in organizations.

Blogger SirHamster December 13, 2014 5:16 PM  

I've never found the ordeals of Chinese-American families to be terribly interesting.

"Ah-r son didn't get into Hahvahd. No doctor. So disappointment."

"I HATE YOU MOM"

Blogger RBooster Man December 13, 2014 5:43 PM  

"I've never found the ordeals of Chinese-American families to be terribly interesting."

The ordeal of trying to explain to your Asian mother why you got a 'B' on your Calculus exam instead of an 'A'.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 13, 2014 5:52 PM  

I'm always skeptical of rape claims against athletes and celebrities like Cosby. Women tend to throw themselves at them so, unless the guy has a thing for it, they just don't need to resort to rape.

This seemed like a weird slam considering, VD's stance that women lie about rape.


Given the divergence between the DoJ report on Rape and Sexual Assault and the oft quoted one in five number, it seems that lots of women lie about rape, at least the feminists do. The stats suggest that the one in five claim is 32 times higher than fact. Perhaps we should call them Thirty Twoers.

Anonymous Sheila December 13, 2014 6:03 PM  

I'm constantly searching for something readable for various purposes - often something simply entertaining enough to keep me pedaling my exercise bike for the requisite number of minutes, or when I'm too tired to do anything requiring thinking. The convenience of Amazon's Kindle has been a big bonus for me, obviating any loathed treks to the library filled with the joys of diversity on computers.

Even after reading reviews and synopses, and knowing enough to keep away from obvious ethnic authors and plots, I've ended up with repeated, god-awful, pieces of absolute garbage books - all of which had glowing reviews. Filled with every possible SJW meme, utterly irrational and unsympathetic characters, and ludicrous plot lines. In time-travel romance (which can actually be well done), perhaps it's to be more expected. However, a recent purchase was termed a genealogical murder-mystery, and written by a British male. Filled with the same vapid, ball-less characters, pushed around by women (with the bonus of a brother in the army who comes out as proudly gay). Last night I started a murder mystery by one of my favorite British mystery writers, and her normally sparkling prose has gone flat, and the woman who was murdered was . . . gasp! . . . despised and killed because she was a SJW who helped poor, oppressed blacks in the early years of the 20th century. My god, even Anne Perry is now compromised and utterly unreadable! Mere entertainment - something readable for pleasure rather than knowledge or wisdom - is far beyond the capabilities of today's writers. It would be sad if it weren't so infuriating.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 13, 2014 6:28 PM  

that's what well-written villains do - they cause trouble by making short-sighted or selfish decisions.

I was telling my students the other day that real life isn't like their comic books, where the bad guys twirl their mustaches and cackle about how bad they are. In real life, the bad guys think they're the good guys -- heck, sometimes they think they're the heroes.

That's a problem for the SJW writer, because he sees everyone on the other side as simply evil -- not just holding different opinions or having different goals, but mustache-twirlingly out to club seals and enslave blacks and so on. He can't empathize with his own bad guys, because that would indicate that he himself is insufficiently SJW. So his bad guys, like a set of racist parents, are bound to come off as cardboard caricatures, identical to every other SJW caricature of Racist Parent.

Anonymous kfg December 13, 2014 6:36 PM  

" . . . something simply entertaining enough to keep me pedaling . . ."

Mistake number 1.

" . . .my exercise bike . . ."

Mistake number 2.

" . . . the requisite number of minutes . . ."

Mistake number 3.

If you're a cyclist you need to get a proper trainer. If you're not a cyclist there is no reason to ride a stationary bike at all. If you're doing "health and fitness" you should be doing calisthenics and getting your speed walk down to 12 min/mile (and not on a treadmill); weight bearing exercise that builds strength and fitness for things you actually do.

Riding a stationary bike at reading a book speed provides little in the way of real exercise (unless the "requisite" number of minutes are in the range of 480) and actually promotes osteoporosis and sarcopenia.

If you aren't going to forsake the bike that goes nowhere, get a few proper, outcome oriented training videos to focus on and (if your fake bike doesn't have one) a proper bike computer to provide the proper measurement metrics. Measure progress.

And do the calisthenics.

Disclaimer of Bias: I'm cycling specialist and advocate.

Anonymous jack December 13, 2014 6:56 PM  

@ pyrrhus

12:12 pm. I dig it. I keep getting endless advertising on my Kindle from Amazon for pink books; SF, Fantasy, I guess, and other stuff a la 'pink'. You would think they would get the idea from my buying habits there that these selections are ignored.

Anonymous kfg December 13, 2014 7:02 PM  

" . . . the bad guys think they're the good guys -- heck, sometimes they think they're the heroes."

Captain Nemo.

Anonymous Eric the Red December 13, 2014 7:07 PM  

SJW's include a good number of Orientals (NOT 'Asians'). After living in Hawaii and Asia for decades, I have come to the conclusion that Orientals have major cognitive dissonance...

- In HI they want to defend the traditional cultural values of whatever country their predecessors may have emigrated from, but they always pull the lever in elections for Democrats who will kill all such traditions.

- In LA they will set up gun positions on the top of their businesses to defend against rioting black savages, but vote for policies and people who coddle the same savages.

- In their own countries (e.g., South Korea), they will militarily defend against outside communist insanity, but in their academia will approve of such assholes as Noam Chomsky who denied the Killing Fields ever occurred.

- In Southeast Asia they will sing their national anthem every morning and stand up in public places as it is aired on mass communications, but allow the Russian mafia to completely take over their resort cities making them unrecognizable.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 13, 2014 7:32 PM  

I posted this in another thread, but perhaps it is more relevant here.

Random House claims that women buy more books in both print and ebook categories but that men spend more money per unit.

Perhaps the publishing empires have created their own doom by failing to publish books men want to read.

All this crap about men not wanting to read etc seems to be shaming language disguised to cover up the fact that there is actually little out there that men want to read.

Castalia House and Kratman seem to me to have almost single-handedly reversed that trend.

Anonymous Steve December 13, 2014 7:34 PM  

Cail Corishev - one of the most enjoyable bad guys in books I've read recently is The Chairman from Larry Correia's Grimnoir trilogy.

Anonymous zippo December 13, 2014 7:37 PM  

Sheila -- have you tried reading Redmond O'Hanlon? He's an Oxford don who travels to dangerous places and writes funny books about his insane adventures in jungle hellholes. "Into the Heart of Borneo" is a hoot.

Anonymous Steve December 13, 2014 7:38 PM  

"All this crap about men not wanting to read etc seems to be shaming language disguised to cover up the fact that there is actually little out there that men want to read."

Who doesn't want to read dino SJW revenge porn or wereseal sex fantasies?

What are you - a weirdo?

Anonymous The other skeptic December 13, 2014 8:26 PM  

Who doesn't want to read dino SJW revenge porn or wereseal sex fantasies?

What are you - a weirdo?


I came here looking for an argument. That's not an argument!

Anonymous Discard December 13, 2014 8:36 PM  

Eric the Red: Oriental immigrants in America just adopt what they think are the high-status opinions on things they don't understand or care about. They really care about being looted, so they buy AR-15s to prevent it.

Blogger John Wright December 13, 2014 9:23 PM  

@ Eric the Red

"Orientals (NOT 'Asians')."

Thank you. That particular neologism deeply offends me.

Blogger rcocean December 13, 2014 9:26 PM  

"These SJW types don't seem to understand that when you buy a bottle of beer, the thing of interest is the actual beer, not the bottle"

Great line. But to the SJW's its the exact opposite. You'd be surprised, for example, how many SJW English Professors don't really care about literature. And SJW History professors who don't care about History.

Blogger rcocean December 13, 2014 9:27 PM  

And of course, many publishers, would be just as happy to sell used cars if they could make more $$$ with less effort.

Anonymous Sheila December 14, 2014 12:06 AM  

kfg - Thanks for the suggestions, but obviously I'm not a cyclist - and currently don't have a gym membership (have used numerous ones in my area previously) but currently jog /walk 5x a week and lift at home 3 days on/one day off. The bike is for when it's raining, or I feel I need to burn a few extra calories, or I want to sit and read but figure I can at least move my legs a bit by pedaling while I'm reading.

Steve - thanks for the suggestion. I'll check the author out. I'm fairly flexible re genres, but sometimes I just want pure escapist fiction - MINUS the SJW memes.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 14, 2014 12:27 AM  

. In real life, the bad guys think they're the good guys -- heck, sometimes they think they're the heroes.

That's a problem for the SJW writer, because he sees everyone on the other side as simply evil ...his bad guys, like a set of racist parents, are bound to come off as cardboard caricatures, identical to every other SJW caricature of Racist Parent.


Yep, I had that exact same thought. SJWs can't write good villains because they can't imagine villains as real human beings - they're just canvases to project the SJWs own hatreds and dysfunctions onto.

I read an essay on fiction that described your basic story as the hero trying to solve a problem that was caused by the villain trying to solve a problem of his own. The villain isn't trying to cause a problem for the hero...


Anonymous Anonymous Cowherd December 14, 2014 12:39 AM  

In fact, the adult protagonists are so awful I almost wanted to stop reading at times.

Most accurate review of Fifty Shades of Grey given that most readers can only get to the halfway point before realizing that they are a fashion victim.

Anonymous Discard December 14, 2014 12:46 AM  

Comrade Questions: Asian, in current PC usage, is a misnomer. It refers not to anyone from Asia or descended from an Asian people, but to East Asians exclusively. Turks and Iranians are clearly from Asia, yet the term excludes them. How did that come to be?

The neologism was coined by a leftist activist of Japanese ancestry at UC Berkeley about 35 years ago. The problem, to him, was that Orientals had no common identity to use against Whites. Japanese and Chinese on campus and off were more likely to associate with Whites than with each other. Claiming that the word "Oriental" was a pejorative akin to "Nigger" was part of his effort to unite and radicalize these two groups, by synthesizing a grievance.

The word is offensive on several grounds. First, its origin as a weapon against Whites. "Oriental" is a word with no negative connotation whatsoever. Its meaning in Greek is simply The East. (Literally, I'm told, it means "The direction where the sun rises".) Through the 1980s it was used by writers as a purely descriptive word, as can be seen by reading books published at that time. In the 1990s, the more PC began to adopt "Asian", but older writers, particularly if well established, continued to use "Oriental". Now, I don't know that any mainstream authors use "Oriental". That is a defeat for our people, which I reject. To accept an enemies terminology is surrender.

Secondly, it is offensive because it assumes that our language and culture are so benighted that we must be schooled by outsiders. They are free to call us Big Noses and Round Eyes, Foreign Devils and Barbarians in their own tongues, but we are required to kiss their asses by changing a beautiful English word, rooted in the most ancient beginnings of our culture.

Thirdly, it is offensive because it violates its proponents' own linguistic "principles". By that I mean the Leftist stink over the word "Indian", meaning an aboriginal American. (We can leave the matter of Clovis points and proto-European settlement of North America aside for now.) "Indian" is a misnomer, true, but one of 500 years standing. Nobody beefs about our calling the Deutsch "Germans", not even the Deutsch. Nor do they object, as far as I know, to the French calling them Allemande. So the leftist jihad on the word "Indian" is another elective grievance, intended solely to burden the evil White man with more guilt.
And yet, the Leftists have chosen to use an existing word, of unmistakable meaning, to mean something it clearly does not, all in the service of making Whites apologize for existing and using English. Clearly, the idea is not linguistic clarity, but to conjure up one more reason that White people suck.

Lastly, how can it be that an English word meaning "The East" could be offensive? Japan calls itself, "The Land of the Rising Sun". China's national anthem is "The East is Red". And if "Oriental" is offensive, why isn't "Occidental"?

Fuck all these PC vermin with a chainsaw.

BTW Comrade, I don't know either Greek or Latin, but I think the Greek word for modern Turkey was "Ionia". "Asia" was the Roman equivalent.

Anonymous kfg December 14, 2014 2:56 AM  

"Literally, I'm told, it means "The direction where the sun rises". . ."

And to orient oneself means to face the rising sun.

Anonymous Discard December 14, 2014 5:12 AM  

What happened to the commenter Comrade Questions? Did I answer somebody that only existed in my imagination?

Anonymous VD December 14, 2014 7:49 AM  

What happened to the commenter Comrade Questions? Did I answer somebody that only existed in my imagination?

He is the troll Andrew Marston aka Luscinia Hafez aka Yama the Spacefish aka many, many other names, the Verizon customer who works as a volunteer at the New England Wildlife Center. His comments are always spammed and comments responding to him are deleted.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan December 14, 2014 9:24 AM  

One thing comes to mind, we if there is a we have no grand strategy. War against everyone is not working and it certainly can hardly be called strategy.

Here is how I see, the Left sees a useful set of idiots in basically low SMV girls who are ripe for brainwashing, and what white men who are awake to this fall back into the war against all, one day its white SJW, next day its muslims, then the day after that the colored racists and repeat till worn out.

Delegitimize and divide them can't be that hard. A lot of talk about 4GW thruout our blogosphere but all I see are 1GW cavalry charges.

Anonymous Laz December 14, 2014 1:01 PM  

"if "Oriental" is offensive, why isn't "Occidental"? "

Because it describes whites. Stupid round eye. ;)

Anonymous Sheila December 14, 2014 2:16 PM  

Discard - I was totally unaware of the history behind the usage of "Asian." I, too, deplore the bastardization of our language and refuse to use any PC terms or ebonics slang I am aware of and correct that I hear spoken by others. I will, henceforth, proudly use the term Oriental and provide the historical usage (kfg - excellent note about "orient") as well. Many thanks.

Anonymous kfg December 14, 2014 2:28 PM  

" . . .excellent note about "orient" . . ."

I've had to give the "Oriental Lecture" many times. I've found that note is what makes it click in people's heads. It walks around their preconceptions of what the word means.

Blogger Iowahine December 14, 2014 2:57 PM  

Hey, late to the party - as I so often am - but looking for a developmental editor (late on that too). My manuscript is about 150k words, adult fiction, family story, themes involve Christianity, infidelity, addiction/recovery, abortion, repentance, forgiveness, redemption. Ideas heavily influenced by 5 years of reading here. (Jartstar created a beautiful cover.) Thanks.

Blogger Iowahine December 14, 2014 2:58 PM  

Hey, late to the party - as I so often am - but looking for a developmental editor (late on that too). My manuscript is about 150k words, adult fiction, family story, themes involve Christianity, infidelity, addiction/recovery, abortion, repentance, forgiveness, redemption. Ideas heavily influenced by 5 years of reading here. (Jartstar created a beautiful cover.) Thanks.

Anonymous Discard December 14, 2014 5:50 PM  

Sheila: I'm afraid I can't recall the name of the Japanese leftist who recast the word, but when he died several years ago, his eulogy in the editorial column of the L.A. Times made note of it. Defiling the English language was apparently the major achievement of his life.
OK, I just did some googling, and I think his name was Yuji Ichioka.

BTW. some Chinese in Los Angeles have never adopted the "Asian" moniker. You can see the signs on their businesses. It might be that they knew its Marxist origins from the start.

Blogger Kirk Parker December 14, 2014 5:59 PM  

"the adult protagonists are so awful I almost wanted to stop reading at times."

Are you *sure* this wasn't lifted from a review of The Maytrees?

(And yes, I'd gladly exchange the loss of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek for the firm knowledge that The Maytrees would be strangled in its cradle, if not earlier.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 14, 2014 11:09 PM  

Sean Carnegie December 13, 2014 1:42 PM
But a spectacular TV show.



people like to say that Seinfeld was "about nothing", but that's a lie.

Seinfeld *was* about something.

it was about neurotic, urban Jew drama queens blowing everything in their lives completely out of proportion.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 14, 2014 11:10 PM  

Sean Carnegie December 13, 2014 1:42 PM
But a spectacular TV show.



people like to say that Seinfeld was "about nothing", but that's a lie.

Seinfeld *was* about something.

it was about neurotic, urban Jew drama queens blowing everything in their lives completely out of proportion.

Blogger Kirk Parker December 15, 2014 3:02 AM  

Discard,

We've hosted numerous foreign students going to one of our local private schools. (These are not kids on the typical one-year AFS or Rotary one-year cultural exchange; rather their parents are sending them here to graduate from a high-end US private school on the theory that this will aid in their admission to a US university. Are they right? Well, 100% of them have gone one to US colleges, what would have happened in the other case is anybody's guess.)

With a single exception, all of these kids were wonderful.

The Single Exception is who this story is about. He was the stereotypical Chinese Pampered Prince, and in fact we were his third host family for the year; he'd worn out two previous host families. At the same time, we we hosting a pretty laid-back Korean kid too. Things were mostly ok, but sometimes around the dinner table things got a little heated, especially if soccer was the subject of conversation.

But all I had to do in that case was introduce Japan into the conversation, and suddenly they'd be on the same side of the table! I could even do this blatantly, in the sense that the introduction of Japan need have nothing to do with the discusion at hand...

Blogger Kirk Parker December 15, 2014 3:04 AM  

Jack,

But... but... but... the "Duck Of Death"!!!

Plus, the title is "Unforgiven", not "THE Unforgiven". One begins to suspect you've never actually watched it.

"We all got it coming, kid." Seriously what kind of philistine are you to not think highly of that little bit of repartee?

Anonymous Discard December 15, 2014 4:21 AM  

Kirk Parker: Chinese in China don't call themselves "Asian", nor do Japanese or Koreans or Vietnamese. Why would they lump themselves in with other peoples they do not like at all? "Asian" only has meaning in the context of Evil Whitey.

I recall how, a couple decades ago, some Oriental made a stink locally (Los Angeles) because it was racially insensitive to lump these various people's together as "Asians", rather than recognizing their diversity. The Jewish managers of multi-culturalism all had to accept his bullshit at face value and grovel appropriately, because he was saying all the right incantations and pushing the right buttons. I suppose it annoyed them, but they had to play along or give up the game.
I also recall how local immigrants objected to ads showing supposed families that included Chinese and Japanese and whatever models interchangeably. I, of course, couldn't tell the difference, but they could and were very offended.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 17, 2014 1:11 AM  

Plus, the title is "Unforgiven", not "THE Unforgiven". One begins to suspect you've never actually watched it.

Yes, clearly my synopsis indicates I've never seen the movie.

Did you have a point?

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