Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

The Problem With This Situation Is It Needs A Grindstone For My Axe

November 15, 2014 - 4:40 pm 34 Comments

So we threw a really advanced lawn dart at a comet (which we have already discovered interesting space things about, though the coolest bit is apparently the thing growls like an alien space monster), nailed it, and the guy primarily responsible for this marvel of human techhnological achievement wore a shirt with some cheesecakey pinups with chicks holding rayguns on it.

Naturally someone zeroed in on the most important detail of this story: dat SHIRT. Disclosure: I’m linking this particular article because I have intense regret at not having written this summation of the situation*:

Mr. Taylor then made the bad situation worse. Instead of telling these progressive puritans to go pound silicon dioxide, he issued a sobbing public confession straight out of a Maoist show trial. This guy just dropped a dishwasher on an ice cube 300 million miles from home and he’s groveling to a coven of D-list bloggers?

I would have a quibble with the man if I showed up for a job interview and he was wearing that. Would feel a little squicky if that was the message sent right then, though I’d probably just shrug and see how the interview went. I really kinda dig the shirt and I’d be asking if he was a fan of Coop too. Looks great with the tats and his overall look.

More importantly, this is probably the highlight of his professional career, and if he’d shown up in nothing but whipped cream with cherries on his nipples and a complete banana split sundae on his crotch (HE HAS THE TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE THIS WORK) I’d have cheered him on. You go, nerdboy, you ROCK THAT. That was his moment and anyone who would piss on his parade, let alone over something so fucking petty, should go live in a cactus patch so they can achieve self-actualization and become one with the sensation of being constantly needled by the world.

Even if I were to put on my feminist goggles and view this strictly through the lens of women in STEM fields I wouldn’t see a fucking problem, because the first thing I’d see was how many women were on that project, and not in a “getting coffee” role either. Monica Grady’s brief account from inside Mission Control was all part of the excitement. Hell, one of the comet’s discoverers is a woman. Go, women in STEM! Can anyone tell them where they may go pick up their rayguns?

Meanwhile, predictably the reaction to the reaction is somehow every inch as fucking stupid. So far I’ve heard the exactly two women that reacted that way described as a “FEMINIST LYNCH MOB”, and a “GIANT STEP BACKWARD FOR WOMANKIND”, and “FEMINISM IS OVER”, inevitably with a whole bunch of misogynist stereotypes packed in because, y’know, those two ladies said something retarded so free pass!** Anyone who thinks this constitutes a lynch mob of any description or in fact any sort at all of unified Feminist Rage needs to go roll around in the same fucking cactus patch for at least a few hours until they gain some sense of motherfucking perspective.

Actually I think this needs to be a thing. The Cactus Patch of Perspective. We can stock it with teddy bear cholla and some of these.

carl1

*Of course I have a gripe with the writer too, which is that he can’t resist throwing a barb of his own over the guy’s tats and overall style because he doesn’t fit in with conservative aesthetic preferences either. Seriously, dude?

**Instapundit has a reaction roundup if you want to go see some of this stuff. I don’t think that’s the purpose he made the roundup for, but hey, it works well.

My Tribe, Right or Wrong

October 31, 2014 - 2:54 pm 46 Comments

So, after what feels like years and has actually been about two and a half months, I’m finally going to talk about Gamergate. I’ve been neck deep in this shit since the first Reddit post went up since it hits gaming, feminism, and has now somehow invaded my gunnie and libertarian circles as well, which means basically every fucking social circle I’m in either directly or tangentially save roller derby is freaking the fuck out about it and I can’t really go anywhere to get away from it without total social isolation. And I only get to skate twice a week right now. So I’m finally irritated enough to Say My Piece. And therefore jump in with both feet. Which means I’m going to be engaging in the Comment Wars for what I consider the stupidest cultural conflict since Chickfildammerung. Yes I am self-aware about this personal flaw.

First off- I agree with pretty much everything Ken said. Therefore I’m not necessarily going to address every point I actually agree with, nor exhaustively source everything as he’s already done most of it and I’m busy as fuck this weekend and can’t spend all day on this. I realize asking you to Read The Whole Thing is unreasonable, but before you launch a broadside at me about uncritically supporting “Social Justice Warriors” or accepting every claim made about threats and doxxing with automatic acceptance rather than sourcing, I’d appreciate it if you’d save us both the trouble of me calling you a lazy dumbass and check to see if the answer’s already there first. Hi Ken. I’m a fangirl.

So, going to go with the Arguments I Have Seen That Make Me Facepalm. If you haven’t made this argument? It ain’t about you. And frankly, most of my objections are political rather than feministy, given my biggest source of incredulity is seeing this from libertarian circles.

1. “Actually it’s about ethics in gaming journalism”

Sorry Cholly but no it ain’t, or at least “Gamergate” isn’t. The whole ridiculous mess started when Zoe Quinn’s angry ex made a post on Reddit about how she was crazy and cheated on him and, this is the important bit, slept with a Kotaku reviewer to get a good review for her indie game Depression Quest. Except this claim is trivially easy to verify as total fabrication, because no one at Kotaku ever reviewed the damn game. This takes about ten seconds on Google to figure out.

Gaming journalism is a fucking joke and could use some ethics. But you know what? This has been true for the entire history of its EXISTENCE. I’ve been seeing banner ads on sites with positive reviews of a game advertising the freaking game, with the ad ON THE REVIEW, for as long as there have been online gaming journalism and banner ads. Every gamer who hasn’t been living in an actual cave knows reviews from any “game journalist” who isn’t completely independent and getting paid nothing are bought and sold, mostly by major gaming companies.

So I think I’m pretty justified in regarding “it’s really about ethics” in a “scandal” that started with a completely bogus claim about a game developer whose game has been free to play since its inception who happens to be female, involves wide-scale doxxing, harassment, and rape/death threats, and not with any element of the actual long-standing problem, as raw steaming bullshit. Sure, some of the people making this claim may be totally sincere. But with respect, y’all have picked the wrong tag and moment in history to attach your outrage to. In theory this maybe shouldn’t matter because the validity of an argument shouldn’t be affected by those things; in practice yes it fucking does. None of us are impressed when an anti-gun advocate chooses the night of a mass shooting, done by a shooter with stolen or illegally possessed guns who was a known nutjob, to rant about legal CCW. And we aren’t wrong to level the blood-dancing charge then.

2. “I haven’t been following anything about this until just now, and I’m not a gamer and don’t play video games, but this is obviously just another case of SJWs picking something to manufacture outrage about”

Hey, thanks for admitting right up front that you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about, then. I’m glad you weighed in to register your literally ignorant opinion! “It must all be stupid bullshit because I think these people are whiny SJWs and some SJWs were mean to me/my friend once” is the definition of reflexive tribalism. Which I loathe.

3. “Women and gay people/minorities should expect this kind of reaction when they invade gaming”

Fuck you. We didn’t “invade”. I’ve got thick calluses on both thumbs, need to replace both of my PS3 controllers because I’ve worn them out and they’re starting to get flaky, spend a lot of time PC gaming too, and I’ve been playing video games since 1988. When I started games were aimed at kids, not young men specifically, and certainly not “straight white dudes”. Somewhere in the mid nineties the gaming industry made the decision that since they comprised their biggest market share so far as they could tell, it was a waste of time to develop and market for anyone else. (You can actually read about the specific market study that they latched onto for this if you Google for a bit.) We’re not newcomers; the gaming industry left us. But we didn’t leave; we just didn’t have much of a voice. Then since that entire generation that grew up gaming with the first home consoles is now old enough to have jobs in gaming and writing about games, we do. The guys that felt gaming was theirs just aren’t able to go through life thinking we don’t exist anymore.

Most gamers are in their 30s (coincidentally born around that early eighties time!) and nearly half are female. You can sputter all you want about female gamers not playing “real games” (which seem to be exclusively defined by these people as games targeted very narrowly at straight white young men), but we’re just as much the consumers of games as these guys are. We pays our money: we’re the market too. This is how markets WORK- or at least it’s how free markets do.

4. “Getting harassed is just what happens in games, guys do it to each other too, it’s happened to me, harden up”

“Women get disproportionately harassed” != “men never get harassed”. Most female gamers- and for that matter internet pundits- have experience with what happens when they go under an identifiably female identity and what happens when they go under a male or gender-neutral one. (Which, in gaming, is always assumed to be male.) When I’m playing online I don’t go around saying “I’M A WOMAN” or “I’M A DUDE” unless it becomes relevant to some discussion, but I do favor roles and classes that are always assumed to be male. (I play tanks and heavy-armor melee.) There IS a difference, a big one, in how I get treated when I don’t have that “must be a guy” assumption operating. I still get shit-talked and trolled (which I cheerfully hand right back), but it’s not nearly as intense, as personal, or as flat-out mean. All the female gamers I know have had pretty much the same experience, if their experience in gaming and internetting is at all extensive. Because you, the guy, at whom this stuff isn’t directed, have one experience, doesn’t mean yours is at all applicable to someone else, let alone overrides it. (And before it comes out, yes I am aware men have experiences women simply don’t too.)

Can we please acknowledge that though rape and death threats happen to everyone, it’s pretty disproportionately men to women and not the other way around? I’ve never actually seen an SJW do this to a gamergater, but I’ve seen LOTS the other way around. And please call me when there’s a mass shooting of men by a woman outraged about men rather than a man outraged about women and “feminists” shooting women. (Marc Lepine, George Sodini, Eliot Rodgers.)

5. “SJWs are trying to drive men out of the industry/out of gaming and must be opposed at every turn!”

Orly? Show me. I’m quite serious here. I’ve never seen an anti-gamergater suggest that straight white men, or all men, be driven out, let alone advocated for government force of law to step in and help them do it.

Oh, but they’ve called for boycotts, and said some really mean things about those gamers, and stereotyped, and attacked a lot of aspects of the gaming industry as it is? THIS IS HOW FREE SPEECH AND THE FREE MARKET FUCKING WORK! This is my huge political objection, right here. Free speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism, it certainly doesn’t mean freedom from pointed criticism, it doesn’t mean freedom from mockery, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean protection from social consequences for speech, whether it’s deserved or not. Yes, this applies to the SJWs too.

What it DOESN’T apply to is threats, of organized harassment explicitly aimed at driving devs out of the industry altogether (which as Ken points out has happened repeatedly), and while still well within the bounds of that free speech, pressuring advertisers into pulling out of anyplace that criticizes you kinda skeezy too as a response to criticism. (AGAIN: this applies to the SJWs too.)

And when the people running under your flag are doing this repeatedly, claiming victimhood while they do EXACTLY what they’re (falsely) accusing their opponents of doing in the name of pre-emptive self-defense, and you’re standing by going “well it’s unfair to paint a movement by its extremists” while they’re getting real-world traction enough to drive people out of their jobs or out of their homes and get the FBI involved, twice- sorry but I’m not going to take you seriously. Is this the hill you’re really going to die on? There are no other trenches in your culture war to set up in that don’t contain people fighting a war against women in general in what they think is their domain? When Islamists do this shit we call it terrorism, not trolling.

When female game developers and programmers aren’t a single-digit percentage of the industry anymore, maybe then I might begin taking seriously the notion that they’re “taking over”. Or better yet? Over 50%. You know, reflective of our actual population. (Before I hear about it: NO I am not fucking advocating any sort of intervention to make this happen, I’m just horselaughing at the notion that there’s an actual takeover or persecution campaign against men of any sort.)

I point out: even 4chan has banned gamergate discussions. Why? Because those threads have extensive doxxing and coordinated harassment planning in them. Which is one of those few things 4chan doesn’t permit. When fucking 4chan has disavowed you because of your shitty tactics, it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices and choice of allies in particular.

6. “SJWs have attacked us on x front so we must fight them here too regardless of how it started”

Combined with the above especially, I’m not necessarily going to call you a misogynist unless you otherwise show me that you are, but I am going to call you a hypocrite. As well as point out that this is the “Billy hit me first” school of argument that really we all should have outgrown in middle school.

And as my last salvo: before you pull out “judging by a few extremists”, please direct me to the gamergaters who are taking all of the above seriously and speaking strongly against them. And I really don’t mean Bendilin Spurr, the guy who claimed gamergate was against harassment and also produced the “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian” interactive web game.

To recap: it’s a movement with a completely incoherent argument started by an obvious lie, infested by doxxers and people doing something we normally define as terrorism when it’s people we don’t identify with in some way, championed by libertarians who apparently don’t see a problem with the fact that the actual “fight” is against people using speech and the free market to advance their interests. For the crime of disrespecting a self-described identity group, whose reaction is incidentally proving that much of what they say about misogyny in the gaming culture is completely correct.

Beautiful. I’ll even hand you a flag to plant on that hill. Defend it to your last breath.

Handegg Meets Politics

June 26, 2014 - 1:40 pm 22 Comments

So this is, again, late, but this took awhile to finish distilling through the mental filters.

There’s this football team that plays in the Washington D.C. area. They’re called the Washington Redskins, their uniforms are a dark maroon shade, their logo is a profile of a Native American* man, and their mascot looks like this: how inspiring

A lot of people, particularly Native Americans, feel the name and additionally the logo and mascot are offensive. The Redskins are of the view that this has been their name and their color scheme and their logo for a long damn time, there’s a whole army of Redskins fans out there, and changing any of it because a minority finds it offensive is entirely unreasonable. They also feel that it’s an admiring and respectful use, given football teams don’t name themselves after anything that is wimpy and pathetic, they name themselves after strong, aggressive images.

Recently the U.S. patent office ruled that as the moniker and logo are “derogatory to an ethnic group”, the Redskins trademarks are invalid. This doesn’t mean, by the way, that people can actually go out and bootleg Redskins merch left and right now- at least not yet- though Harry Reid seems very confused on this point himself. (Harry Reid, litigator, has no clue about the law; film at eleven.)

I have Views on all of this. As follow:

The patent office thing is a total bullshit bureaucratic move, a rather craven roundabout way to try and strongarm the team into doing the thing that the government would prefer politically. It’s a rather classic case of “technically correct, blunderingly wrong in actual fact”. It’s stupid and a thing the federal anything should not be doing, an entirely righteous generator of outrage from a libertarian perspective. I do not approve in the least.

That said, sorry, but the Redskins name, logo, and mascot actually ARE pretty goddamn offensive and in my opinion the team should have done this of their own free will long ago. Why? Well, it’s my damn blog, so I’ll tell you, at length.

1. The historical usage of the term “redskin” ain’t all that nice. There’s a lot of linguistic argument that the origin of the term and most of its usage weren’t, much of which is justified, but at the time the team was named and for the bulk of RECENT history, yeah it was. In the middle of the twentieth century it was usually used about like “negro”- if a common phrase in a genre of movies had been “THE NEGROES ARE ATTACKING” or reflections on the noble savagery of the negro. I’m sorry, but it’s just not a polite term. The context in living memory has been a lot more “racist” than neutral or “admiring”. To claim otherwise is the revisionism. Go watch a few weekends’ worth of Westerns from the thirties through the sixties and seventies and then come back and tell me that “redskins” usually meant “our awesome neighbors”.

2. Using a group of people as a mascot is pretty fucking sketchy in and of itself. The NFL has 32 teams. 15 are named after animals (Bears, Lions, Panthers, Rams, etc). 4 are named after jobs identified with the region or city their team hails from (Packers, Steelers, Cowboys, 49ers, the former Oilers as a bonus). 3 more are named after some combination of job and group identity, again associated with the dominant population of the region their team hails from and in one case a highly admired identity throughout (foundational to) America’s history (Vikings, Buccanneers, Patriots). There are a handful more named after more esoteric or generic things (Browns, Saints, Jets, etc), and 2 named after mythological humanoids (Titans, Giants). And then there’s two named after an extant, resident ethnic group in the United States, the one at issue having by far the more derogatory name and mascot. Not coincidentally, the same group. (And no, the Vikings aren’t just the same thing. For one, there’s a huge Scandinavian population in Minnesota. For two, in order to compare to “Redskins” it would have to be “Ignorant Thuggish Norsemen”, for which there isn’t a derogatory term in common American parlance for reasons that should be obvious if you ponder the matter.)

3. Arguing that the history of the Redskins franchise has always been totally respectful and it’s just modern overweening sensitivity targeting a convenient target with the “racism” charge is, like arguing that “redskin” is a neutral or respectful term, bullshit. The Redskins were the last NFL team to integrate and allow black players on their roster- in 1961. And not of their own decision, either- the .gov told them they could either integrate or they could GTFO Washington D.C. and the stadium they were using, seeing as how it was all federal property.** The Redskins as a franchise have had to be shoved, struggling and protesting, toward any sort of respect for people who aren’t parts of the NFL. Or ones that are but aren’t white enough.

4. Speaking of D.C. and federal land, does it seriously strike nobody but me that naming the D.C. football team a derogatory term for the only ethnic group the American government fought an actual official war of extermination against is incredibly fucking cringeworthy? Really? Just me? Okay.

5. I’ve heard complaints that the Redskins shouldn’t change their long-held name because of the complaints of “a tiny minority”. Okay. A) Native Americans themselves are kind of a tiny minority in the US, just under 1% of the population, b) There are Natives that don’t care, though suspiciously every single one I’ve met personally finds the “Redskins” thing ridiculously offensive whether or not they think it should be a political priority, c) Dismissing Natives as a minority so tiny that they shouldn’t really have significant political sway is pretty goddamn tasteless given the people brushing them off and the city the Redskins are based out of are pretty much the reason they aren’t the ethnic majority in the first place.

6. Speaking of political sway, it matters in just how grating and how big of a problem something is. I’d be pretty irked with a team called the “Bitches” that featured a furious-looking woman with her teeth bared as their mascot, but it stings a lot less given that women have the political power to put a hell of a lot of pressure on to have it changed. Likewise I hate being described as “flyover country”, or any variant of hick or rural rube or redneck by snotty liberals from blue urban enclaves with the implication my opinions should be dismissed out of hand, but much to the frustration of these individuals me and mine have the political power to blow off THEIRS at least half the time and more often at our own local level. Shrugging off group-based insults is a hell of a lot easier when your group actually has the power to hit back hard over more serious abuses. Native Americans, for the most part, don’t.

7. And still speaking of relative power and minorities: “Washington Redskins” is about as offensive as a Richmond-based team in a black uniform with a portrait of a brutish-looking black man called the “Bucks” would be. You will note there is no such team. You may also note that the NFL has a pretty high proportion of black players, coaches, and staff. Also that black people represent a much larger minority in the US than Native Americans do. You would probably also be able to draw the conclusion that this is not a coincidence. There are, so far as I can determine, only slightly more actual Native players in the NFL as there are teams using them as a name and logo. You can’t really talk about reclaiming derogatory terms when the actual people they refer to aren’t even remotely represented among the almost entirely white people using them. You can’t actually “reclaim” a term on someone else’s behalf. Especially when they really don’t want you to.

I’ve seen the charge “white liberal guilt” thrown around a lot. On a more personal note? My objection is not in the faintest based on guilt over being white. It was what I was born as, I feel zero guilt for things I did not personally do, the sins of my father’s fathers are not my sins. I was, however, raised by my parents to not be an asshole, and THAT is why I find the “Redskins” thing offensive and why I think they ought to change of their own initiative. Not because it’s more or less popular to do, not because either a minority or a majority thinks it’s good or bad, not because white people ought to slink around whispering apologies for what our ancestors and government have done, because using people as mascots, ignoring the objections of the people they represent in favor of what’s more comfortable for you to do instead, willfully dismissing the history behind it all, and telling those people in the process how they ought to feel about it are asshole things to do.

The Redskins have, and should have, every protected right to go around being assholes. The beauty of freedom is that you can stand up and take your place as a proud Asshole-American and go prancing about in redface with a cartoon warbonnet if you so choose. And given that Native Americans are a tiny population, you’re probably not even going to face any consequences for it at all beyond people like me saying “Jesus, what an asshole”. They have to right to whine about being called assholes if they so choose from their megaphone; they have the right to say “Well fuck you, you’re too puny for me to care about”.

“Have the right” and “right thing to do” are totally different things, however.

*Before “politically correct” starts up: a) “Indian” is already an ethnic group from India and having to verbally distinguish between the two irritates me, b) I don’t see what the hell the harm is in calling a group of people what they actually want to be called, especially when it’s clearer, and c) of all the hyphenated-American ethnic terms, which I have mixed feelings about, “Native American” is the one that is actually accurate rather than redundant as a descriptor. We’re all Americans, but they’re the group that was here in the millions strong on the actual American continent before History Happened. “Politically correct” is a pretty pointless charge when it’s also geographically and anthropologically correct.

**I DON’T disapprove of this on libertarian grounds. “My house, my rules” is an old and respectable principle, and if they had really wanted to stick to their guns they were free to- as long as they found someone else willing to host them, or bought their own stadium.

Hugo Your Way, I’ll Go My Way

April 25, 2014 - 5:57 pm 56 Comments

So I’ve mostly driven quickly past the various kerfluffles and infighting in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy community because a) I don’t have a dog in the fight, I haven’t read most of the work of the authors involved and those that I AM fans of are often on opposite sides, and b) The idea that I should give a shit about the politics of authors whose writing I like both makes me deeply exhausted and deeply paranoid that I will quickly have nothing left to read that I like. I have John Scalzi and Larry Correia both linked in my blogroll because I really like both of their writing to the point I’ll buy almost anything either writes, and I often enjoy their pontifications, not because I’m particularly on board with either of their politics. (Although depending on the subject du jour, I often am with one, the other, or in twisted ways both at the same time.)

But sometimes it bleeds into my virtual life from all directions, and thus I became unwillingly aware of this post from Larry when it was linked from two separate places I read avidly at the same time.

Let me make one thing crystal clear: I like Larry, though I’ve never met him, and I really, REALLY like Larry’s books. The only things of his I haven’t read are the Dead Six novels, because it’s really not my genre, and the stuff set in the Warmachine universe, because my time to read these days is far more limited than I’d like and trimming out stuff set in universes I’m not remotely familiar with that aren’t original to the author is one way to keep it manageable. (You should see my backlog anyway.) If he wins a Hugo I’ll think he deserved it. I bounce on my toes in anticipation whenever something new in the Monster Hunter or Grimnoir series comes out. Suffice to say I’m a fan, which I can’t say for most of the authors he’s in a furball with.

Larry’s pissed of a lot of the right people, who have mostly reacted to him for the wrong reasons with completely unjustified venom. I often agree with some of the favored causes of the Social Justice folks, but I disagree heavily with what often seem to be their tactics of exaggeration and vilification. I think the best way to handle speech I think is wrongheaded is civil discussion, based at least at first on the premise that the other person has their own premises that might be as well-thought-through as mine are. (Often this proves not to be true, but still, it satisfies my own moral standards to start from that assumption.) Tarring people with shit they did not say and positions they do not hold is wrong. This, notably, does NOT mean I am always willing to give a fair hearing to everyone with every single opinion- when those premises are clearly spelled out as not just wrongheaded but morally repugnant, I’m willing to write that person off as an irredeemable fuckhead without a second thought.

Vox Day is, in my opinion, one such fuckhead, and it must be here that Larry and I part company. Larry:

The reason Vox is so hated is that he is the only person ever kicked out of SFWA. He makes me look cuddly and diplomatic. He was expelled from SFWA because the powers that be decided he was a racist, in fact, it was so obvious that he was racist that it only took a thirty page thesis explaining how stuff he said was actually racist, including the leadership of SFWA searching through the vile cesspool that is Stormfront until they found some nazi skin head who used similar words, and then holding him accountable for things that posters said in his blog comments (us right wing bloggers don’t believe in censorship so we don’t “manage” or “massage” our comments like they do) then they kicked him out for misusing their Twitter account.

Basically, he called Nora Jesmin an “ignorant half-savage” and that pissed everybody off. See, Nora, is a beloved libprog activist and Social Justice Warrior, and all the reports of her victimization at the hands of the villainous Vox usually leave out the parts where she’d been hurling personal insults at him for years. Myself? I thought that comment might be a bit over the line, but then again, Google search my name and see what the SJW’s have been calling me for the last few days. It is way worse that ignorant or savage, and I think I’m darker skinned than K. Tempest Bradford. I’ve yet to see any SJWs condemning those comments about me. Tolerance is a one way street with them.

“Ignorant half-savage” is not quite what he said. Granted it took some digging to extract the actual original quote and context, because people mostly did not link to it. I’m only half doing so myself, not because I want to spare people from his badthink, but because I want to deal with his horde of Morlocks about as much as I want to deal with a termite infestation. So here it is: A Black Female Fantasist Calls For Reconciliation. A much lengthier quote of what he said BEFORE and immediately after “ignorant half-savage”, because I do believe in linking to the source and providing context:

I therefore suggest that their assertions should be taken with at least a small grain of salt rather than credited to me. And it should be obvious that, being a libertarian, I am not actively attempting to take away anyone’s “most basic rights”. Jemisin has it wrong; it is not that I, and others, do not view her as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not.

She is lying about the laws in Texas and Florida too. The laws are not there to let whites ” just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.

Jemisin’s disregard for the truth is no different than the average Chicago gangbanger’s disregard for the traditional Western code of civilized conduct. She could, if she wished, claim that privileged white males are responsible for the decline of Detroit, for the declining sales of science fiction, even for the economic and cultural decline of the United States, but that would not make it true. It would not even make it credible. Anyone who is paying sufficient attention will understand who is genuinely responsible for these problems.

Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males. If one considers that it took my English and German ancestors more than one thousand years to become fully civilized after their first contact with advanced Greco-Roman civilization, it should be patently obvious that it is illogical to imagine, let alone insist, that Africans have somehow managed to do the same in less than half the time at a greater geographic distance. These things take time.

Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine, Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for “reconciliation” and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance. Nor do the back-patting Samuel Johnsons wiping their eyes and congratulating her for her ever-so-touching speech understand that.

If Vox is a misunderstood opinionated religious right-winger who uses some salty old-fashioned language rather than a real racist, I am Princess Anastasia. I realize there is a school of thought that he is actually a very elaborate troll who enjoys riling leftists and doesn’t really think any of this, but I think this is wishful thinking and even if it’s not he’s still SAID all of it, publically stood behind it, and used the SFWA’s bullhorn to do it. He richly deserved his expulsion, as well as most if not all (I would be willing to go with all) of the contempt for him. I could go on for quite a long time providing the original context for the library of stuff he’s said that additionally convinced me of that “irredeemable fuckhead” status, but given this particular incident that got him booted from SFWA is the subject that Larry mentioned, I’ll stick with it for now. If being kicked out of that organization for your politics is a crying injustice and an example of bias against anyone to the left of Dennis Kucinich, absolutely no one is to blame for it more than Vox himself.

The other thing that bothers me is that tit-for-tat isn’t actually a moral stance, which makes the “they didn’t mention the shit she said about him!” a nonargument. I don’t care if she’s the Wicked Witch of Africa, nothing she could have said would have justified what I just quoted in any way. “She was mean to me!” is a playground argument. (So is the Roman Polanski thing, which while a very good burn is also pretty inaccurate- I keep an eyeball on the SJWs as much as I do the Dark Enlightenment people, and I didn’t see a single one defend Polanski rather than calling for his liver to be served with a nice chianti.)

Larry is a good guy I sometimes- not even that often- disagree with. He doesn’t deserve to be associated with Vox, at all. Which is why I’m so disappointed he’s volunteered for it himself.

ETA postscript: Can’t believe I forgot to include this point before I hit post: None of this means that Vox shouldn’t win a Hugo for his novelette. I regard the idea that the Hugo has recently or ever been primarily a meritocracy instead of a back-scratching popularity contest reflecting current politics hilariously naive, but being a raging asshole doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t win an award for your work unrelated to your asshole-related agendas. However, by exactly the same token he doesn’t deserve to be on anyone’s slate because he makes the right people angry.

Civil Oddities

April 16, 2014 - 2:38 pm 5 Comments

So recently, I had to spend my morning and early afternoon at a local government office oriented toward the low-income. (We are fine. I was there to get off a roll I was mistakenly placed on.) I was not, to put it mildly, looking forward to the experience, being acquainted with the motor vehicle departments in Phoenix and New Orleans, and even here in our tiny whitebread little burg. I walked in with low expecations.

So to my immense surprise, the waiting room was quiet and pleasant, all the conversation I heard was in articulate, unaccented English (I was the only white face in the room until another walked in near the end of my visit), many of the waiting room inhabitants were chatting pleasantly with one another, the line was moving efficiently, there were zero tantrums or meltdowns, all the employees were polite and seemingly possessed of a genuine desire to help, and though there were small children present, their parents were keeping them quiet, supervised, and amused. Once it was my turn, my task was completed easily and efficiently, with zero surliness on the part of the fellow behind the counter.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go re-examine a whole bunch of assumptions.

Told You So Edititon

September 18, 2013 - 1:54 pm 3 Comments

As a fan of both guns and coffee, I of course have to weigh in on the banality du jour of Starbucks asking Customer McHeatertoter to not give them his/her money.

Oh wait, I already did.

Tam, as ever, makes and covers all the salient points with a finely sharpened tongue cutting no more or less than is appropriate to the targets in need.

Being more of a blunt instrument type myself, let me merely add this: Nice work you jackshit chucklefuck aspires-to-merely-inadequate fuck stained cuntblast cock-sockets. Well fucking done there, turning “Meh” into “Please stop.” Does it suck rancid donkey cocks that “Meh” is a desirable state? Yup! Thanks for noticing. You know what sucks worse? Making such a shit-heel of yourself that the hand is forced to turn “Meh” into an open “No, really, we’re against you. We just like money. Stop being a shitheel, please.”

Frankly I’m tempted to buy a cup just by way of thanks for honesty.

(And if the return to vulgar profanity or the older post tickled your funny bone, please consider kicking a few bucks into the pot for Kilted To Kick Cancer and help fight prostate cancer.)

12-21-12

December 21, 2012 - 6:17 pm 9 Comments

OH MY GOD THE DOCTOR DID IT! HE SAVED US ALL!

….wanker.

National Review: Newtown Shooting Fault of Women

December 20, 2012 - 8:39 pm 11 Comments

Because with all the back and forth of “it was GUNS that killed the children” vs. “it was MENTAL ILLNESS that killed the children” vs. “it was THE MEDIA that killed the children*”, it’s certainly… novel… to see a mass murder blamed on basically every woman involved as a change of pace.

Here we go.

Like most people, I’ve been thinking and thinking about the Sandy Hook massacre. I’ve even pored over a map of the school and its killing sites — and studied a timeline of the incident, which appears to have unfolded over about 20 minutes. I have three observations:

These observations do not include “once somebody who’s never done anything to get themself locked up decides they’re going to kill a whole bunch of soft targets, generally it’s very easy for that person to do so for purely logistic reasons”. Neither is “elementary aged children are really easy to kill if you have no moral or empathetic objection to doing so”.

There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at [redacted- scumbag’s] knees.

Actually, there was. He did something more useful than throwing buckets, i.e. shouting warnings.

Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers.

This reads as a strange dispatch from an alternate universe where mass murders in schools (and malls, and other “safe” places) have never happened before, or where all the others were stopped by random men on the scene. In the universe I inhabit, at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, the University of Texas, and other mass murder scenes with mixed genders, the same thing happens to the unarmed men as the unarmed women and children: they get shot and maybe die. (Sometimes armed ones get shot too.)

The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. According to reports, she activated the school’s public-address system and also lunged at [scumbag], before he shot her to death. Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges by rushing them into closets or bathrooms.

A fuller accounting is in the article linked above re the custodian. The school psychologist died challenging the shooter too. One of the teachers died standing between the shooter and her class locked in the closet. (The article does not mention, but she did indeed manage to save some.)

The thing of it is, again in the universe where school shootings have happened before, the people who survive DO tend to be the ones that managed to successfully hide or escape, and the heroes in the wake DO tend to be those who help others do so, like Liviu Lebrescu. I’ve never heard anyone question his masculinity for doing exactly what the Newtown teachers tried to do, with varying degrees of success.

But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm.

So we’re going to ignore all the women we just mentioned who displayed great courage trying the best way at hand to save their charges and sometimes gave their lives doing it in favor of a general where women are helpless and passive. Check.

Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on [scumbag].

…I’m going to snort at the apparent alternative to what the Newtown teachers did in “protecting the weak”, facepalm at the idea of a husky twelve year old boy being the savior of the day if only they weren’t so feminized, and note that again, this imaginary alternate scenario isn’t hypothetical and has already been run here on Earth. What happened was: they got shot and died, or they got lucky and hid or escaped. The only teacher killed at the Columbine massacre was an athletic coach. He was shot doing exactly what every other teacher we’ve mentioned did, or tried, to do: get their students to safety.

People, even unarmed people, need to fight back against criminals — because usually, no one else will. It took the police 20 minutes to arrive at Sandy Hook. By the time they got there, it was over. Cops and everybody else encourage civilians not to try to defend themselves when they are criminally assaulted. This is stupid advice. There are things you can do. Run is one of them, because most shooters can’t hit a moving target. The other, if you are in a confined space, is throw things at the killer, or try a tackle. Remember United Flight 93 on 9/11. It was a “flight of heroes” because a bunch of guys on that plane did what they could with what they had. They probably prevented the destruction of the White House or the Capitol.

The big difference between Flight 93 and any given mass shooting is that the passengers of 93 knew for a fact that they were dead no matter what happened. Either they were going to die in a plane crash, or they were going to die at the hands of the terrorists, and either way things were going to end for all of them in “plane crash”. It IS possible to survive a mass shooting, and the best way to do it if you aren’t armed (and training would help too), is… hide, or escape. If you want to save others: help them hide, or escape.

Look, I agree with the broad position that resistance is preferable to passivity, and especially that it would be great if a few teachers with the gumption for it and some solid extra training were allowed to carry, in the position the Newtown faculty were actually in at that moment? I would have done EXACTLY the same thing- because it was the likeliest way to actually save some children rather than distract the shooter and use up a few rounds, which would be the probable outcome of rushing him. Maybe if I could convince as many others to rush too… but that’s a pretty hard sell in that moment, to people who want to live and know they might.

There’s also a big difference, when you yourself are unarmed, between a box cutter and a firearm.

Parents of sick children need to be realistic about them. I know at least two sets of fine and devoted parents who have had the misfortune to raise sons who were troubled for genetic reasons beyond anyone’s control. Either of those boys could have been an [scumbag]. You simply can’t give a non-working, non-school-enrolled 20-year-old man free range of your home, much less your cache of weapons.

While I generally agree that if you’re aware your child is mentally ill and also aware that offspring is actually dangerous and merely hasn’t been arrested or committed yet, you should probably not have firearms in the house, the structure of this paragraph is really damn odd.

You have to set boundaries. You have to say, “You can’t live here anymore — you’re an adult, and it’s time for you to be a man. We’ll give you all the support you need, but we won’t be enablers.” Unfortunately, the idea of being an “adult” and a “man” once one has reached physical maturity seems to have faded out of our coddling culture.

…Yeah, sure, okay. The problem here wasn’t that he was that rare slice of mentally ill that was actually legitimately dangerous, the problem was that he lived with his mother. Because being told to man up would have fixed his problems, no mass murderer has ever lived on his own, and the most responsible thing to do if you KNOW your adult offspring is dangerous is to boot him from the house and turn him loose on society.

And with that bit of insanity, this exercise in “my worldview will fit every tragedy if I just shove it through hard enough” is at an end.

*My own position is that it was Colonel Mustard in the hall with the lead pipe. I do have a serious position, but it’s a fairly dull one that provides no useful answers or courses of action.

Ho-hum.

December 14, 2012 - 7:51 pm 50 Comments

Another day, another mass shooting. Let’s get the checklist, hmm?

Hysterical media spewing anything in order to be first rather than right? Check.

Anti-gun groups drumming their worn-out blame-the-tool beat? Check.

Rabid chest-thumping NOT ON MY WATCH from the pro-gun side? Check.

Blog posts with token sympathy for the victims prefacing “HEY WE CAN MAKE THE PRO-GUN SIDE LOOK BETTER”? Check.

Interviews with weeping relatives where the media figure pretends as hard as they can to give a fuck? Well, it’s still early but I’m going to go out on a limb and check this one off too.

Congratulations, humanity. We’ve made mass-murder more formulaic than an episode of “Seinfeld.” If anybody needs me, I’ll just be over here assembling these cold-forged girders with cores of pure selenium.*

*And if you get the reference, you’re welcome to lend a hand. Just think of something cooler at the appropriate time than the last go round.

What ABOUT them?

November 19, 2012 - 1:25 am 41 Comments

Well, we’ve covered birth control 101, in which we learned that hormonal contraception for women is a fixed cost that has absolutely no relation to how much sex she has or how many partners she has it with (and surprisingly often isn’t prescribed AS contraception but for other kinds of health care), and today, class, we’re going to have the 102, because apparently we still need to learn things!

Today I got linked to a post by Dr. Whitecoat, who appears to feel that a)The Affordable Care Act’s coverage of contraception represents a free handout to women, and b)that it offers nothing to men, who will nonetheless be part of the paying pool. This particular point of view, particularly that it represents a handout specifically to young, sexually promiscuous women, is shared by the Romney Campaign. To wit, “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women.”

Here’s a quick primer on birth control: there are three primary approaches with it. Surgical sterilization, hormonal contraception in various forms, which does not (yet) exist for men as it’s much easier to stop an egg from getting fertilized or implanting than it is to stop fertile sperm production, and barrier methods, which technically include female condoms and dental dams, but as I’ve never actually met anyone who’s used either, we’ll just go with “condoms and diaphragms”. There’s also various formats of spermicide delivery, but as they are really unreliable compared to everything else, they’re usually used as a backup to the barrier method in case it breaks or was put on/in incorrectly. There’s also IUDs, which technically is a surgical approach but is also temporary and only for women, so in effect it can be lumped in with the hormonal contraceptives.

All birth control methods have their upsides and their downsides. Hormonal contraception is fire-and-forget as long as you’re good about remembering to take your pill or renew your shot or your Norplant, but it has a number of side effects and does buggerall to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Of the barrier methods, diaphragms have to be fitted, don’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and are fiddly as hell to insert; they have the upside that once you’ve managed that you can have sex “spontaneously”, but that’s a sufficiently small upside I’ve never met anyone who uses one of those still, either. Condoms are cheap and protect against sexually transmitted infection, but they reduce sensation for most men that I’ve talked to, you’ve got to have them on hand and ready to go when you’re ready to have sex, and most of them come with spermicidal lube.

Yes, that’s actually an upside AND a downside. The problem with any form of birth control that uses the spermicidal backup is that the vaginal area is an ecosystem unto itself; it’s normally inhabited by friendly, acid-loving bacteria that keep things clean and healthy, but spermicide kills them as well as killing sperm. Use too much, too often, and most women will become vastly more prone to vaginal and urinary tract infections, since the acid-lovers aren’t there making things inhospitable for nastier-tempered invaders anymore. They’re painful, they’re unpleasant, and they stink. They can also be life-threatening- a UTI untreated can happily migrate up into the bladder or kidneys and start doing some serious damage. Condoms that don’t have spermicide exist, but they can be difficult to find, or at least I’ve never managed to find any on the drugstore shelves. Granted, it’s been a long time since I tried, but at the time, it was special order or nothing doing. (I had a friend with a steady boyfriend who was also allergic to the class of antibiotics most useful in treating urinary tract infections. This was the bane of her existence and led to some pretty serious illnesses.)

All contraceptives have tradeoffs, and which downsides you’re willing to accept have a great deal to do with what kind of sex you’re having, and most of the more serious downsides are the woman’s consequence. If you’re a single woman and having casual hookups, sex buddies, or other short-term relationships, condoms are absolutely the way to go: you need the protection from STIs way more than you need anything else other than the pregnancy prevention, and since you probably have no idea when you’re next having sex, there’s less risk that the spermicide will hurt you, and simply grabbing some birth control from the drug store or night stand when you need it is a much more attractive option.

However, if you’re in a long-term, exclusive relationship, particularly if you’re cohabiting, hormonal birth control becomes much more attractive. You’re having regular sex, so the effects of spermicide are a more pressing concern, neither of you (presumably, obviously there are exceptions and the exceptions will usually be using condoms) is carrying an STI and you’re not going to be picking a new one up anytime soon unless someone is both being horrible and doing it without a condom, and since you’re having regular sex, a form of birth control that’s a fixed, steady cost is much more attractive. Since STIs and infections have been taken (mostly, some hormonal birth control raises the risk of vaginal/urinary infections too) off the table, concerns about men’s sensation are much higher on the priority list now.

Now I’m going to get a little more personal, so cut just in case anybody’s sensibilities are more, well, sensitive than I expect.

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