Friday, October 20, 2017

Cowardice In The Least Tolerable Of Places

     I was casting about, looking for some “spleen fuel” and finding none, wondering if today might prove to be an involuntary day off from blogging, when I happened upon this opinion column from noted economist and opinion-monger Walter Williams. Note that the link goes to an entry in the “Internet Archive Wayback Machine,” even though it was published on October 17 of this year: only three days ago. Sarah Hoyt, who noted it at Instapundit, said only this about it:

     THE MOBS COME FOR WALTER WILLIAMS.

     I was puzzled for a moment...until I took the trouble to go to the article’s original URL at the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

     A note from the editor about Walter Williams:

     On Saturday, we published a Walter Williams column, "White Privilege and Other Fables," that included two paragraphs about sexual assault - to which many readers have taken strong exception.

     As we said in an earlier note, we often publish opinion pieces with which we, too, strenuously disagree — and we disagreed with Williams' points in his Saturday column.

     That was an understatement.

     The column fell short of our editorial standards. Given the chance to do it all over again, we would not run it - and certainly not those two paragraphs.

     In light of that, we are removing the column from Richmond.com, and we are re-evaluating Williams' place in our stable of syndicated columnists.

     That fit of editorial high dudgeon was over these two paragraphs from Professor Williams’s column:

     Then there’s the issue of campus rape and sexual assault. Before addressing that, let me ask you a question. Do I have a right to place my wallet on the roof of my car, go into my house, have lunch, take a nap and return to my car and find my wallet just where I placed it? I think I have every right to do so, but the real question is whether it would be a wise decision. Some college women get stoned, use foul language and dance suggestively.

     I think they have a right to behave that way and not be raped or sexually assaulted. But just as in the example of my placing my wallet on the roof of my car, I’d ask whether it is wise behavior.

     Apparently a number of readers objected to those two paragraphs, probably calling them “victim-blaming”...which they are not. Professor Williams said explicitly that women have the right to behave as foolishly as they like without being assaulted for it. That doesn’t detract from the foolishness of the behavior: sexually suggestive behavior coupled to personal intoxication in a venue where sexual assaults have been known to occur.

     An important Eastern Seaboard newspaper has apparently decided that opinions contrary to those of its readership or its editorial board must be deemed unprintable – silenced.

     So I left this reply under my “Louis Redmond” Facebook identity:

     Professor Wiliams is a highly intelligent and candid man, and you are revealed as craven fools by what you've done. Imagine it: a newspaper, supposedly dedicated to "telling it like it is," committing a cringing retreat because some of its readers were bothered by two paragraphs -- two exceedingly accurate paragraphs, as it happens -- of an opinion column.

     This country is going through a Hell of sectarian and identity group warfare because no one can stand to hear a sentiment that differs with his own. Rather than stand foursquare for freedom of opinion, the Times-Dispatch has decided to go along for the ride. How ignoble. John Peter Zenger is probably whirling in his grave.

     In the few minutes since I penned the above, I’ve only grown more furious.

     In this case the problem is women. But then, it nearly always is.


     Over my 65 years I’ve heard more complete bullshit than my brain can hold, and nearly all of it has come from women. I’ve concluded that American women have been indoctrinated – operant-conditioned, really – to believe that their social status arises from how greatly and how frequently they can become offended. They who objected to Professor Williams’s article became offended merely because he cautioned them, and their daughters, not to do something obviously unwise.

     No one likes criticism. No one likes being told that he’s done a foolish thing that increased his chances of being harmed. But it’s in the nature of the universe, which has rather strict laws about cause and effect, that acting like a loose woman increases the probability of being treated like a loose woman, whether or not the treatment at issue would be legal. To do so in the presence of young men “on the prowl,” under conditions where sexual contact is, shall we say, not unknown, is sheerest idiocy.

     But tell a young woman not to take an unwise chance? Tell her that she shouldn’t walk into a lion’s den wearing nothing but steaks? Time was, it was simple good advice any father would give to his teenage daughters. Apparently it’s no longer speakable.

     The objections arise almost exclusively from women: women obsessed with their right to do exactly as they please and absolutely unwilling to hear how their behavior could affect their chance of being victimized.

     Yes, ladies: You have the right not to be raped. You have the right not to be assaulted. But how many of you would walk into a college frat house in the nude and expect nothing to come of it? Assuming that nothing were to happen to you on the instant, how many of you would then gyrate suggestively while spewing filthy language and still deem yourselves perfectly safe?

     How many of you are too stupidly self-absorbed to be borne?

     The answer to that final question seems to be getting larger every day. Ponder it in light of the increasing number of young, unmated women demanding to know “where all the good men have gone.”

     All that having been said, I reserve my principal umbrage for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a publication run either by the most cowardly editorial staff in the history of journalism, or by women. I’m unsure which of those conditions would be preferable to the other.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who Has A Hold On You?

     I wrote recently that The Cult of the Victim Regnant appears to have passed its zenith and is now in decline. Though the evidence for such a decline is considerable, it might take a while to have pronounced sociopolitical effects. I wouldn’t advise anyone to hold his breath while waiting. However, as is the case with most bottom-up developments, this one is already having effects on individuals’ decision making.


     Let’s talk about debt. Time was, Americans considered it near to criminal to indebt oneself for any reason other than one’s survival or the survival of a loved one. Today, debt is the near-universal condition of American families from coast to coast. Clearly, the change in attitudes has been enormous. That makes it supremely important to question the practice; that which is ubiquitous and habitual almost never receives appropriate scrutiny.

     If you’re “in debt,” you have an obligation to someone else for which no reciprocal obligation exists. You must pay him; he doesn’t owe you a thing. Depending on the terms of the obligation, he might have the first call on every dollar you earn. Indeed, he might have the option, backed by the power of the State, of turning you out of your home. That condition would constrain your options severely.

     My esteemed colleague Dystopic, who was once a skeptic of my notions about debt, had an unfortunate episode in which he found that a mortgage debt was a shackle around his leg that others could use to limit his latitude of decision. Indeed, anyone who lives in or holds title to mortgaged real property is shackled that way. Yet “home ownership” under exactly those conditions remains the Holy Grail to most of the American work force. How does that comport with the increasingly urgent need for personal mobility in the face of a labor economy changing faster with each passing year?

     The same is true for any kind of debt. The strength of the fetter does decline as the size of the debt declines, but a number of such shackles can fasten one into place as effectively as a six-figure mortgage. Yet very few parents ever describe their experiences with debt to their teenage children.


     Non-financial, non-material obligations are harder to analyze, but their grip can be as restrictive as a jumbo mortgage. People become obligated in many ways. The great majority of such obligations appear nowhere but in the mind. But the power of contingent guilt, amplified by personal pride and the value of one’s reputation, is easy to underestimate.

     Don’t make promises you can’t keep is an old wisdom. I would never deny its importance. However, over the years I’ve come to believe that it’s badly punctuated. The period belongs after the word promises.

     Quite a lot of people are rather free with their verbal commitments. Much of the time, they take those commitments less seriously than those who hear them. If Smith commits himself to some undertaking, freely and out of his own mouth, in the presence of Jones, the most important thing about the promise isn’t how Smith feels about it; it’s how Jones does. That’s even more the case if Jones dislikes Smith or has been looking for a hold on him.

     More, few people grasp how easy it is to commit oneself without intending to do so. The great flexibility built into human languages makes many utterances susceptible to interpretations the speaker did not intend. In any circumstances other than those in which metaphor and hyperbole are absolutely understood to be the rule by all parties, you can easily be held to have made some “promise” you never intended to make. Competitive contexts, such as those that pertain in the typical workplace, make this especially important.

     Granted, there are promises that must be made, though they’re fewer and further between than many would admit. That having been said, your de facto latitude of action varies inversely with the number of promises others believe you to have made – and that will vary directly with how often you open your mouth, before how many listeners, and how casual you are about what issues forth. The moral “should” be “obvious.”


     Though I hold that it’s a peccadillo rather than a mortal sin, I’m no fan of gratuitous, emotion-free (other than lust) sex. (Yes, I know my Church teaches that it is a mortal sin, but the Church has been wrong before, and anyway, it’s a subject for another time.) Sexual contact is virtually always fraught with implications that go far beyond supposedly simple bodily friction. The attempt to behave as if that weren’t the case has damaged a large number of lives. (The desire to forget such mistakes of judgment has damaged an approximately equal number of livers.)

     The implications of sexual congress – no jokes about Congressional pages, please – can go from “calling the next day” all the way to lifetime support of another person and her progeny. If she doesn’t feel the same as you about having opened herself to you, the two of you are in for a lot of trouble. The sex partner who took the act less seriously is in the greater danger. The danger emanates mainly from the other partner, but also from one’s family, friends, and coworkers.

     The hold such persons can have on you arises from their expectations and standards, and from the value you place on their opinion of you. To the extent that they feel you’ve obligated yourself, and to the extent of your reluctance to “disappoint them,” you can be manipulated – sometimes all the way to the altar, if not worse. Play Misty For Me was a dramatization that’s been acted out innumerable times by real people.


     “Who has a hold on me?” is a self-assay I’d like to recommend widely. It should be repeated fairly often. More, when facing a decision that will or might create a fresh obligation, asking yourself not just “can I afford it?” but also “can I stand for this new person to have a hold on me?” is an important preliminary step. Not all obligees are kindly or generous, many have the power to pose before a court (including the Court of Public Opinion) as victims, and as Benjamin Franklin has told us, “Creditors have better memories than debtors.” Verbum sat sapienti.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Soros and the Death Star

That's the name given to Soros' Open Society Foundation., by Breitbart (Link corrected). It's being given an injection of $18 Billion by him - presumably, this is to stave off any possible inheritance taxes on his huge estate.


What is interesting about that Death Star reference in the linked article is that the original Death Star was actually quite vulnerable to a single, well-directed hit. That's true of any large institution.

Soros may be mobilizing his money for a last-ditch attempt to bring down Western Civilization before he dies. Let us hope for the same success as Darth Vader had.

None.

Plot Shards

     During the first couple of weeks after releasing a novel, I find myself in a kind of limbo. It compounds the sense of aimlessness and the feeling of futility into a miasma that would choke a tyrannosaur. Perhaps new mothers feel this way post partum, though I’ve never troubled to ask one.

     It’s no fun, feeling this way. I perch at the computer each morning in my usual state of smile-God-loves-you cheer – not an easy thing to do when you get up in the deep dark – set my fingers to the keys, and immediately sit back. What am I doing here? The book is finished. Readers are already counting up the spelling errors. So what’s next?

     That’s when I retreat to my collection of plot shards.


     “Plot shards,” in case the term’s piquancy leaves you feeling a bit uninformed, are the little bits of story idea that:

  • A writer jots down for future use;
  • That seem to fall short of adequacy for a story;
  • But nevertheless linger teasingly in his memory, awaiting employment.

     Some plot shards could only be used as motifs that would add color and definition to a larger story. Some are too extensive for that, and demand to be made into stories of their own, augmented by the addition of specially designed settings, or specially motivated characters. Some fall between those poles. The lot of them sit around muttering “when the BLEEP! is he going to notice me?” What they have in common is that they’re just...not...quite...there.

     And I, during those post partum weeks when I’m desperate to get back to productive work, will predictably go hunting through them, sorting them into various categories, measuring them against my previous fictions, and pondering whether they could usefully combined into something sufficient to frame a novel. Believe it or not, it can be fun.


     Here’s one I particularly like but have refrained from using, though the reason is unclear to me: “The Littlest Demon.”

     Wonder of wonders, a demon is born in the depths of Hell. None of the other demons are quite sure how, but there it is...and it manages, mainly by hitchhiking on the efforts of an older and more adept demon, to cross the mystical planes and reach an Earth of living men. That’s when things get really strange.

     The littlest demon would love to tempt or possess someone – anyone! But it doesn’t know how to pull the trick off. Oh, it tries. It tries, and tries, and tries...but no dice. And it’s quite possible that the reason is the sympathy it feels for the moral and spiritual struggles of its target.

     But a demon’s reason for existence is to tempt, and if possible to take possession of, a living man. Even a child would be suitable. What point is there to the existence of a demon that can’t tempt nor possess?

     One day, in the midst of its frustration, the littlest demon encounters a spirit of unfamiliar caste. The two become friendly, and the spirit speaks movingly of the innumerable good things it has seen among men: idealism, dedication, generosity, loyalty, and the veneration of justice. It encourages the little demon to travel with it through the world, and to observe the heights to which these creatures of clay can ascend when animated by their highest values. The littlest demon does so, and is moved.

     The littlest demon asks the spirit how men, so obviously a low and crude race, could have formed such values. The spirit tells him of a great Preacher, first among them to ask nothing for Himself, Who was slain for telling men that they could win to eternal bliss. The littlest demon is mystified. So great a figure once walked among men? How could this be? The spirit tells it, “Come, meet Him and see for yourself.”

     And the littlest demon follows the spirit across the last of the mystical borders to behold Christ.

     The littlest demon wasn’t a demon at all. It’s a cherub, as is its companion. Its appearance in Hell was merely a “filing error.”


     Here’s another that tantalizes but is far from complete: “In The Year Of The Flame.”

     The launch of the first solar-power-harvesting satellite, though its potential excited great anticipation, has turned out to be an unprecedented disaster: the thing’s power-delivery system has run amok. Laser-like, it carved a huge cleft into the North American continent, roughly along the course of the Mississippi River. The cleft cannot be bridged because the beam keeps sweeping back and forth through it. Cross-continental travel and communication have been fatally impeded; the only way to go safely from New York to Los Angeles, for example, is to “go the long way:” to travel eastward and circumnavigate the globe.

     The disruption of the North American economy is approaching a fatal level when it’s discovered – somehow; this needs to be worked out – that the satellite didn’t fail; it was deliberately corrupted, to be used as a weapon against the U.S. Who would want to do such a thing – and who has the capability to do so? The two sets seem completely disjoint. More urgent, how can the satellite be put back under the control intended for it?


     This one was inspired by the None Dare Call It Conspiracy theories of Gary Allen and Larry Abraham: “Free Agents.”

     Why have only one grand conspiracy? There are multiple conspiracies that have to compete for media recognition, credit for atrocious acts, and the services of unaffiliated specialists. One of the needs of such a conspiracy, when so many would be equally well served by some deed, is to insure credit for the act. For example, in the case of an assassination this necessitates a two person team: 1) the assassin, an expensive specialist typically not aligned with any particular conspiracy; 2) a dedicated group member to get caught at the scene and claim credit for the group.

     But a conspiracy, like any organization, is susceptible to infiltration by hostile agents – in this case, persons loyal to a competing conspiracy. Infiltrator Smith gains the trust of the masters of Conspiracy X and contrives to divert credit for its deeds to Conspiracy Y. His first problem, of course, is to do so without being detected. But he soon acquires two other problems:

  1. First Jones, an agent for Conspiracy Z, discovers Smith’s machinations and starts to blackmail him – for credit to Conspiracy Z, of course;
  2. Second, the two of them inspire Davis, previously unaffiliated with an existing conspiracy, to start a conspiracy dedicated to disrupting other conspiracies. Smith and Jones, of course, are hounded to become leaders and “elder statesmen” to this new, anti-conspiracy conspiracy...but it’s a difficult role to fulfill with all the other conspiracies slavering for their blood.


     There are many other plot shards in my collection. The three above are merely representative. Perhaps one of them, or a cluster of them properly combined, will become the skeleton of my next novel. In the meantime, there’s some diversion, at least, available from fishing them up and wondering (not for the first time) “Where on Earth or off it did that come from?”

Evidence of U.S. coordination with jihadis in Syria.

This is the bizarre and factually inaccurate pretext [the need to bomb alleged Syrian government chemical weapon facitilities and bases] [that] both the U.S. and Israel use as a justification for illegal aggression against Syria, whenever the Syrian Army scores a major victory against western backed terrorists, including the so-called ISIS. A martyr [from] my extended family who was in Deir ez-zor, a slain man called Karma, updated his followers on social media about how every time the Syrian Army advanced towards a terrorist position, they were targeted by US aircraft.
"The Syrian victory over terrorists in Deir ez-Zor is horrifying Israel." By Afra'a Dagher, TheDuran, 9/7/17.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Choosing Sides Against America

     There appear to be a fair number of entertainers – writers, musicians, actors, actresses, sports figures, stand-up comedians, what have you – who not only dislike President Trump; they dislike anyone who supports him and wishes him well:

     For a while one message rang out from Team Hollywood in the Age of Trump. The industry didn’t want you as a customer if you wear a red MAGA hat.

     Oh, celebrities didn’t actually mouth those words. Instead, they embedded their disgust for both President Donald Trump and his admirers in nearly everything they did.

     Recently, a few have become explicit in the extreme. For names, read Christian Toto’s article. The message certainly is clear: these...persons believe it their right and duty to trash the president of these United States, and be damned to any potential customer who’s offended by it. The loss of revenue, actual or potential, doesn’t seem to trouble them.

     Oooooo-kay. Concerning the “entertainers” named in the article – and yes, those are “sneer quotes” – I was never interested in their “art” anyway, so I have no way to chastise them. But I do have an interest in good entertainment to be enjoyed in my leisure moments. I suspect quite a lot of conservatives are with me in this. How shall we replace the offerings of a cadre that’s decided to flap its privates in our faces? Is it possible to partake of them without giving the offenders anything for it?

     In the world of the written / printed / pixeled word, there are plenty of alternatives, and more becoming available all the time. I’m far from the only conservative lunatic writing Christian-flavored fiction. That’s especially so in the speculative genres, which have seen an explosion of conservative talent. I post my recommendations of worthy writers here as I encounter them in my own travels.

     I understand that popular music is experiencing a similar expansion of possibilities. This is a field with whose most recent artists and trends – say, since about 1987 – I’m not acquainted. However, there are others who make it their business. I tend to trust Charles Hill. You might want to ask around.

     Sports? Stick to baseball and ice hockey. So far, at least, they’ve gone untouched by the plagues that have afflicted football and basketball. Whether that will continue, no one can say, so enjoy the moment.

     If comedy is your thing, I’m told there are several rising, capable comedians who exhibit consistent respect for our political sentiments...mainly by not talking politics. Steven Crowder may be the best known. I followed Michael Loftus for a while, but he appears to have dropped off the radar. This is an area where some research would be worthwhile.

     Movies? Good God, Gentle Reader! Have you never explored the market for used DVDs? After the original retailer parts with it, a resale nets the producers not one cent. Unless you simply must see the thing in a theater, practice a little deferral of gratification and keep an eye on Ebay! Among other things, that way you get to keep the movie and watch it as many times as you like, in the privacy and comfort of your own home, where the beer, chips, and bathrooms are available at the touch of a PAUSE button.

     Mind you, we mustn’t expect to change the political orientations of the folks currently insulting us. An end to the insults is the most we can expect. And it might well be the case that our current “entertainers” will prove ineducable. Even if that’s so, We the People have long memories and are reluctant to grant forgiveness for gratuitous denigrations from wealthy celebrities. A few years of sharply reduced revenues just might do for Celebrity World what it’s already doing to the NFL, and you can have a hand in it.

     Think about it.

The Zenith Of The Entitled

     I’ve certainly written about entitlement syndrome before:

     ...so my longstanding Gentle Readers will already be familiar with my thoughts on the subject. Still, when a certain kind of development becomes visible, an old crank like myself will feel an urge to vent on it no matter how frequently he’s already done so.

     The urge becomes particularly strong when the evidence suggests that something noxious has reached its apogee and is about to begin its fall to Earth.


     As far as I can tell, the number of groups claiming to be “oppressed” and therefore “entitled” to something has never been greater. Such groups are allies of a sort, in that their various “causes” are championed by a single political party. However, it’s in the nature of coalition politics that when the party that represents the coalition approaches a 50% grasp on the electorate, every element in the coalition will sense an opportunity: specifically, the opportunity to extort the party by demanding more for its continued support. The dynamic is similar to the “lock-in / holdout” phenomenon in voting power studies.

     Let no one imagine that the election of Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress indicate a firm grip on the majority of American voters. In point of fact, the political affiliations of the electorate are balanced evenly, almost perfectly so. The election results of 2016 were due more to the Democrats’ poor campaign strategy, which alienated a great many potential supporters into “staying home.” The Democrats’ coalition has built Democrat / left-liberal / “progressive” sympathies to just about 50% of the party-affiliated populace. And so the abovementioned dynamic has kicked in.

     Each of the “oppressed / entitled” groups, knowing how many such groups there are and sensing the importance of standing out from its competitors, has responded by increasing the volume and stridency of its demands. The cacophony has become deafening. The effects on the willingness of other Americans to extend their sympathy have been dramatic. The effects on the Democrat Party are just becoming visible.


     Bookworm’s most recent piece is unusually relevant:

     If you’ve checked out Facebook in the last 24 hours, you’ve probably seen a lot of your female friends post two words: “Me too.” This is a shorthand version of a meme that started yesterday:
     Me too.

     If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

     Please copy/paste.

     As you’ve surely noticed, the meme jumbles together harassment and assault, which are entirely different things. Assault is a criminal act. It involves any unwanted physical touches on the person, from the butt grabbing Ben Affleck apparently enjoys, to the pussy-grabbing that President Trump noted rich guys get away with (without ever saying he’d done it himself), to out-and-out rape. Harassment, on the other hand, doesn’t involve physical contact. It involves mental contact, with the man using words or touch-free motions to impose his power or sexual desires on an unwilling female.

     Just about every woman I know who routinely appears on Facebook has put up a “Me too” post. I suspect, though, that few of them have actually been raped, something for which I am grateful. One of the virtues of life in America is that women aren’t raped often, even on college campuses.

     Anyone familiar with the nonsensical claims of an American “rape culture,” which originated on college campuses but have spread more widely since then, will see the connection. What many will fail to see is the largely invisible reaction against such claims, as ordinary Americans, familiar with the quotidian realities of life, measure the claimants’ rhetoric against those realities and ponder the affiliations of those who have been proved guilty of sexual assault. The consequences have not been kind to the Democrat Party.


     Wishful thinking has its role in politics just as in ordinary life. In 2014 the Democrats inner circle, sensing the weakness of its national field, settled upon Hillary Clinton as its best bet for retaining the White House. That was agreeable to Mrs. Clinton, of course – probably even more so to her husband – but it proved catastrophic to the Democrats in November of 2016. However, the reasons for the Democrats’ electoral calamity aren’t yet widely understood.

     Mrs. Clinton notoriously played the “sex card,” repeatedly trumpeting that it was “time for a woman president.” It was an ongoing theme of her two year campaign. In addition, it dovetailed with the rest of her approach to the election: to position herself as a spokeswoman for the “oppressed / entitled” groups. In other words, she coppered her bet on the success of the Democrats’ strategy that elected Barack Obama, without adequately weighing the weakness of the 2008 Republican candidate and his campaign.

     The odds-makers deemed Mrs. Clinton to be a shoo-in. The “oppressed / entitled” groups responded by amping up their rhetoric and their demands. The effect was to drive many voters who might otherwise have voted for Mrs. Clinton or “stayed home” to give their votes to Donald Trump. That effect was most pronounced in the “blue-collar industrial” states where Republicans had been weak for decades. It certainly didn’t help Mrs. Clinton that candidate Trump pitched his appeal directly to those voters.

     The zenith of the entitled had come, and the voters had passed them by.


     In retrospect, the strident, disruptive behavior of the “oppressed / entitled” groups in the eleven months just behind us was predictable. Electoral politics had been their hope. It failed them spectacularly. What fallback did they have? Only to make good on their old threat to “make the country ungovernable.” They haven’t succeeded, though it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

     We’ll see still more efforts in that direction. The alternatives continue to be unpalatable to the defeated. It will take some time for the Left’s thinkers to accept that the tactics of the past are the reason for their defeat. Success breeds failure, in politics just as in other kinds of combat.

U.S. support for Syrian jihadis.

A local businessman estimates that the Saudi financing of East Ghouta [al Nusra and Jaysh al Islam] gangs brings about $250 million into the local economy, every year.[1]
The Saudis finance jihadi scum in Syria. We are in a coalition with the Saudis. We make no objection to this financing and continue to associate with the Saudis in this greasy affair. Therefore, the United States supports Muslim terrorists.

But the Iranians are the biggest state sponsors of terrorism in the world today.

Notes
[1] "SYRIA: The Long East Ghouta War – Tim Anderson in Damascus." By Tim Anderson, 21wire, 10/14/17.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Some GOOD News for a Change!

Here Come the Pandas!

36 cubs borne in a single year!

Need a laugh? Go here - lots of sweet, funny graphics. I think it was started by a Dad with time on his hands.

I just saw a story on the local about a Gaston, NC senior lady who credits her reaching nearly 100 years old to her practice of drinking a strong gin and tonic with a lime, once a day. She is not the only one.

And, perhaps the best news, I've completed the first pass at my novel's revision.

Yay!
A woman investigates her twin's unexpected death.

However, I've made a lot of notes on OTHER things I want to change before I send it to the copyeditor. At the rate I'm getting it done, I may actually finish before the end of the month. That's my plan, as I intend to enter National Novel Writing Month again this year.

If you'd like to be notified when it's available.here's a link to the page to sign up. Just hit the Blue Button below the picture.

Taintings

     Let’s discuss “dirty money.” What’s your definition of it?

     I’m sure my Gentle Readers have noticed the...well, I was about to say flood, but it’s really more of a trickle...of persons in the political elite “donating” money they once received from Harvey Weinstein to various charities. Have you stopped to ask why they’re doing so? And why, inversely, the ones who aren’t doing so have chosen that course?

     The money itself isn’t soiled in some physical sense. Indeed, it’s entirely “virtual,” as is most money in these United States, and therefore cannot be soiled. But it came from a man now regarded as a terrible sinner, possibly even a criminal. That makes it a token of an unsavory association – and you may rest assured that anyone who received a substantial donation from Harvey Weinstein is anxious to live that association down.

     But what about the money? Why does the money itself bear any odium? Isn’t money just a medium of exchange, through which we conduct our commercial relations? How is it possible that the money bears any of the weight of Weinstein’s sins? He didn’t come by it through those sins, but by financing the making of movies that made money for him.

     Sorry folks, but there’s no parallel to Judas’s thirty pieces of silver.


     If you aren’t aware by now that I’m a Catholic, you haven’t been paying attention. At any rate, unless you’ve been living in a riverbank cave in Montenegro since birth, you’ll certainly know about Catholics’ use of holy water and the reverence we show to various relics. It’s one of the odder practices of our religion, and one that I’ve recently been pondering.

     Holy water and relics are deemed special because...why? There’s a ritual involved in the blessing of holy water that supposedly imbues it with God’s grace. How does that work, seeing that grace is defined as God’s benevolent love for His creatures? I shan’t argue that He would be unable to deposit some of that in a tangible medium such as holy water, but...why? Wouldn’t it be a shorter trip just to bestow it on those who need and ask for it? But this is mostly a digression.

     Relics, on the other hand, are physical objects believed to have some association with one or more of the saints, or in the case of bits of the True Cross, with Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and second Person of the Trinity. But why are they believed to have spiritual value? Why should fondling a relic do the holder any good? Isn’t it more about the communicant’s faith in God and devotion to His Commandments?

     Here the parallel, or antiparallel if you prefer, to Weinstein’s money is pretty close. The association with persons – or a Person –believed to have done great good imbues objects with some of that good...in our minds at least, but possibly nowhere else. The objects themselves can’t claim any credit for the deeds done by their previous owners. Not even in the case of a fragment of a saint’s bones.


     There’s something to be said for the use of relics as objects through which to contemplate those who have demonstrated great goodness. There’s nothing to be said for deeming money to have been corrupted by those who’ve done evil deeds with it or for it. Money is an inherently good thing, and he who has earned it should always be proud to accept it. Hearken to Robert A. Heinlein on the subject:

     There arrived in the mail, from Mr. Secretary General Joseph Edgerton Douglas, a checkbook and papers; his brother Jubal took pains to explain what money was and how it was used. Mike failed to understand, even though Jubal showed him how to make out a check, gave him “money” in exchange for it, taught him to count it.
     Then suddenly, with grokking so blinding that he trembled, he understood money. These pretty pictures and bright medallions were not “money;” they were symbols for an idea which spread through these people, all through their world. But things were not money, any more than water shared was growing-closer. Money was an idea, as abstract as an Old One's thoughts — money was a great structured symbol for balancing and healing and growing closer.
     Mike was dazzled with the magnificent beauty of money.
     The flow and change and countermarching of symbols was beautiful in small, reminding him of games taught nestlings to encourage them to reason and grow, but it was the totality that dazzled him, an entire world reflected in one dynamic symbol structure. Mike then grokked that the Old Ones of this race were very old indeed to have composed such beauty; he wished humbly to be allowed to meet one.

     [From Stranger In A Strange Land]

     While money has been used to facilitate corruption, it is not in and of itself corrupt. It cannot be. However, they who have accepted it for their participation in a corrupt scheme are often at pains to separate themselves from it – not because the money itself is “dirty,” but because they are, and they seek to “hide the evidence.” When we contemplate the close association between Harvey Weinstein and the Clintons, for example, we immediately note the similarities between the two men. We can’t miss the miasma of venality that attaches to the Clintons themselves. It’s especially pungent in Hillary’s case: the “Secretary of State” who used her position to enrich herself by selling America’s uranium supply to Vladimir Putin.

     Some would make an exception for “drug money.” Yet here there be tygers. “Drug money” is money acquired through the sale of some illegal drug, right? But it was probably earned quite legitimately by the buyer, at least – and how shall we deal with the contradictions involved in changes in the laws? Would “drug money,” held to be tainted because it was earned by selling an illegal substance, lose that taint were the law to be changed to make such commerce legal?

     I know, I know: too strenuous a topic for a Monday morning. But it’s representative of the way my thoughts are trending, as I’ll be speaking to my pastor about relics and holy water later in the week.

Interview with Syrian president Assad, February 16, 2017.

This is the man whom the U.S. has spent billions to remove. Her Nikkiness at the U.N. at this very hour, articulating her personal, independent foreign policy, maintains that Assad must go.

Why is anyone's guess but you can see for yourself in this video the agenda of the Western press in interviewing him. One interviewer twists his hanky over the French abhorrence of terrorism and laments what he thinks is the undemocratic nature of the Syrian government yet France visited death and destruction on Libya, plunged that country into an orgy of salafist terror, and crushes free speech at home. And the French government floods France with millions of Muslims and Africans without so much as a by your leave to the whites of France. Civilized and democratic France.

Listen to Pres. Assad talk about Syria and draw your own conclusions about who in the world is a reasonable, measured leader. For extra credit, compare and contrast him with the Manly Gripper Macron, the clueless May, and the scheming Merkel. This video illustrates what a steaming pile the Western media campaign against Assad is. Whatever it is that the U.S. is doing in its covert war first to remove Assad and now to dismember Syria, you can be sure that it is something dishonorable and unclean.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pulp ‘Em!

     Have you heard about the Pulp Revolution? It’s an exciting new development in speculative fiction. Hearken to Christian Toto’s description of it:

     The Pulp Revolution is not a genre or subgenre. It has no leader. And it is not a revival nor an imitation of the older sci-fi and fantasy authors in what is known as the pulp era. In the words of P. Alexander, publisher of Cirsova Magazine,
     “We are not hell bent on re-inhabiting the past; we are using it as a launching point to go off in new directions. We do not ignore nor do we deny the influence of writers who are not from the pulp eras.”

     I’d call PulpRev a conscious decision to reject labels and pre-defined genres in order to tell the most thought-provoking, and action-packed stories possible without getting bogged down in what is “real science” or “hard sci-fi” or “deconstructing fantasy” or whatever. And especially without using the story as nothing more than a piece of political propaganda, even for the politics that the writer agrees with.

     Stories might have a message, but they don’t need to be message fiction.

     If you’re within a decade or two of my advanced age – I’m 65, for those of you keeping score at home – you might remember when magazine racks featured a good many magazines of a squarish shape, printed on coarse-grained paper. Most of those periodicals were in the genres popular in those days: westerns, mysteries, romance, science fiction, fantasy, horror. Many a writer who later rose to prominence got his start in the pulps. I remember reading an early edition of Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero in a pulp magazine, Galaxy Science Fiction, under its original title: To Outlive Eternity. (I would guess that Anderson changed it because the original title was something of a giveaway.)

     The pulps offered entertainment: nothing else, but nothing less. The stories they published were guaranteed to divert you. They might offer no compelling message. They might not be linked to some au courant Cause. But if you were there to be entertained, diverted from Earthbound concerns for an hour or two, they were a solid bet.

     The genres were a lot more fun back then.

     Several fresh publications – some on paper, some Web-only – have reintroduced the idea of genre fiction that’s fun. A writer can come at that concept from a lot of directions. He can write stuff that serves up a generous helping of WHAM-BANG-POW-KRAKK-ZOOM! Artie Simek, call your office – and essentially nothing else, or he can wrap such a story around important human motivations – “to illuminate eternal verities,” as Tom Kratman has put it – or he can hare off in some other direction guaranteed to blow your mind, just as long as his first priority, not to be compromised for any other consideration, is entertainment.

     Sounds like a positive development to me! What about you, Gentle Reader?


     I encountered writer Jon Mollison only yesterday, through his smashing novel Space Princess. (Read my review if you want my working definition of “smashing.”) Its story is well off the beaten track for contemporary fiction. It could conceivably if ungenerously be taken as a “tract” by a reader hostile to the Catholic Church. Yet it offers a vibrantly colored setting, a unique cast of characters, and nonstop action...to say nothing of the opening bit of wisdom:

     Never start a small project on a Sunday night. They always take more time and cause more hassle than expected.

     How indisputable! How could anyone not read onward after so pithy a confirmation of an important eternal verity?

     Mollison identifies himself with the Pulp Revolution. If Space Princess is any indication, he’s true to the core concept: he strives to entertain. I’m about to start one of his other books. If you’re a reader who deplores “message fiction” and yearns for the good ol’ days when writers understood the primacy of reader entertainment, you might want to give him a look too.

     But that’s to the side. Here are Mollison’s recommendations for those who approve of the idea of fiction as Entertainment Uber Alles and want to see the Pulp Revolution pick up steam:

  • Back the Alt*Hero comic book line by Castalia House. Even a couple of bucks adds numbers to the “Backers” count and strengthens the argument that an audience for such works exists.
  • Subscribe to YouTube cultural critics such as Diversity and Comics, Capn Cummings, and Nerkish. You don’t have to watch every video. Just lending your name helps demonstrate the something rotten in the Kingdom of Marvel.
  • Reject the big boys in the tabletop RPG industry and support independent designers like Autarch of Adventurer Conqueror King fame. Impervious to rot that pervades the larger corporate designers, their works have all the quality of his larger competitors and twice the energy.
  • Back the small press short fiction market. Cirsova, Storyhack, and Tales from the Magician’s Skull all offer the same excitement and adventure as the staid old relics of a by gone era, without the downside of sending your money to people who hate you.
  • Stop watching the NFL. Scale back your movie-going. Cancel Netflix. You don’t have to quit cold turkey. You can’t kill that giant, but you can make it bleed. Just think hard about every dollar you send to the people who supported Harvey Weinstein. If everyone cut their spending on Hollywood by half, it would crash within six months.

     I plan to do all that myself...well, except for canceling Netflix. I can’t do that, as I never subscribed.


     My crap doesn’t seem – to me, at least – to fit the Pulp Revolution’s parameters. It’s a bit too cerebral. It only entertains those who like stories wrapped around an intriguing moral or ethical conception. But I heartily approve of the Revolution’s aims. I plan to delve deeply into it. And as usual for your humble Curmudgeon Emeritus to the World Wide Web, I’ll be keeping you posted.

     After all, who doesn’t want to be entertained? Isn’t that what we hope for with every book we buy? And wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a source of such fiction? Perhaps published behind a cover emblazoned with a guarantee:

We, The Publishers, Guarantee,
Under Penalty Of Extreme Embarrassment,
That The Story Or Stories In this Publication
Will Entertain You.
There Are No Other Warranties,
Express Or Implied.

     I can’t wait. As for the vendors of "message fiction" and the dreary publications they lay before us...pulp 'em!

Accusations

     Has anyone noticed just how ready far too many Americans are to believe an accusation over a denial – in fact, to regard the denial as proof of the accusation?

     Perhaps you have. I certainly have.


     I’ve told this little parable more than once, but its import keeps being missed:

     Some years ago, a theater impresario whom we shall call Smith, whose current production Hoity-Toity was, shall we say, not repaying its production costs received a phone call from Jones, a well-known reporter for the prestigious publication Theater Life. Their conversation ran as follows:

     "Mr. Smith," Jones said, "I'm calling to ask a few questions about Hoity-Toity."

     "Go right ahead," Smith said.

     "Well, first of all," Jones said, "the talk is that Hoity-Toity is falling deeply into arrears and will soon be closed. Is that the case?"

     Smith, a careful and experienced man, counted to ten before answering. "I would imagine that if I were to say no, your story in tomorrow's edition would be headlined 'Smith Denies Hoity-Toity Near To Closing.' Am I correct?"

     "Well, yes," Jones said. "Something like that, anyway."

     "Well, then," Smith said, "I'll answer your question if you'll answer one for me. How's that sound?"

     "Fair enough," Jones said warily. "What's your question?"

     "Mr. Jones, is it true that your wife has syphilis?"

     "What?" Jones shrieked. "Why are you asking me that? What put such an idea into your head?"

"Oh, you know how the rumor mill churns," Smith said breezily. "But, as it happens, you're on speakerphone and Davis is here from Variety. If you were to answer no, he might have a story in tomorrow's edition headlined 'Jones Denies Wife Has Syphilis.' What would you think of a story like that?"

     There was a long silence on the line. Finally, Jones said, "All right, Smith. I take your point."

     Now that’s a complete fiction, pulled out of the air by my excessively inventive imagination (which, for some reason or other, has refused to choose a new plot on which to set to work since I completed Innocents). But there’s a multiply verified anecdote about an American politician that’s eloquent on this point as well.

     The politician was running for a seat in Congress, and was having a hard time establishing a lead over his opponent. So he instructed an aide to circulate a rumor that the opponent was known to have sex with pigs.

     The aide was astonished. “How could we say such a thing? We know that’s not true.”

     The politician smiled grimly. “I know. I just want to hear him deny it.”

     The politician, who eventually became the 36th president of these United States, was Lyndon Baines Johnson.


     It’s not about truth or falsehood. It’s not even about our attraction to scandal. It’s about our propensity to believe the worst about others we don’t know personally, on virtually no evidence.

     A man of integrity, who holds himself to a moral-ethical standard, will not mount an accusation he knows is untrue. However, such a man, however strictly he regulates his own conduct, might suffer a flaw that’s common to good men: the tendency to believe that others’ ethics are the same as his. So when ethical man Smith hears an accusation from Jones, whom he knows only slightly, against complete unknown Davis, he’s likely to proceed from the assumption that Jones “wouldn’t say that if he didn’t sincerely believe it.” His willingness to believe the accusation won’t be much affected by his evaluation of Jones.

     What factors would enter into Smith’s acceptance or dismissal of the accusation?

  1. Stories he’d heard previously about Davis or the company he keeps;
  2. His opinion of some group to which Davis belongs (e.g., his religion, race, sex, or ethnicity);
  3. His opinion of Davis’s occupation;
  4. His political convictions.

     There may be other factors, but those are the most commonly effective.

     It is not entirely unfair or unwise for Smith to consider the first three of those things in forming his opinion of Jones’s accusation against Davis. We are routinely judged according to such matters. Juries do it all the time, and they’re not frequently wrong. But those considerations are peripheral to the substance of any accusation. Others are far more imperative:

  1. Were there witnesses to the event?
  2. Is there any circumstantial evidence?

     Item #4 is quite another matter.


     Activists on the Left have made a habit of denouncing anyone they disagree with as a “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobe,” “white supremacist,” or what have you, usually without any evidence whatsoever. This speaks to two characteristics of persons on the Left:

  1. Their “assumption of differential rectitude;”
  2. Their unwillingness to concede the integrity and sincerity of their political opponents.

     The first of those elements indemnifies them – to their own consciences if nothing else – for hurling scurrilous accusations potent enough to ruin the life of a good man. The second is built into the “compact and unified church” of the Left (Eric Hoffer): the premise that only those on the Left can be reasonable, moral, “compassionate,” and so forth.

     However, as Tom Kratman said in his postscript to A Desert Called Peace:

     [I]t has been said more than once that you should choose enemies wisely, because you are going to become just, or at least, much like them. The corollary to this is that your enemies are also going to become very like you....

     If I could speak now to our enemies, I would say: Do you kill innocent civilians for shock value? So will we learn to do, in time. Do you torture and murder prisoners? So will we. Are you composed of religious fanatics? Well, since humanistic secularism seems ill-suited to deal with you, don't be surprised if we turn to our churches and temples for the strength to defeat and destroy you. Do you randomly kill our loved ones to send us a message? Don't be surprised, then, when we begin to target your families, specifically, to send the message that our loved ones are not stationery.

     This seems lost on the current enemy, but then, he's insane. It's very sad. Yes, it's very sad for us, too.

     The Left should fear this dynamic. They’re in far more danger from it than we in the Right who’ve endured it for decades and have learned to shrug off their slanders. Yet there is danger to us, as well.


     I dislike the hurling of accusations “to see what sticks.” I particularly dislike accusations about attitudes, prejudicial or otherwise. But those, being inherently substanceless, can be “shrugged off” with a little practice, and the testimony of one’s family and friends. Accusations of criminal wrongdoing are a far more serious matter.

     Recently we’ve seen a few high-profile individuals drowned by such accusations. They may be true; they may not. But the part of a good man is not to assume guilt but rather innocence until guilt has been proved. That should go without saying, which makes the necessity of saying it painful. More, the presumption of innocence should not be conditional upon political affiliation.

     Good men do not slander others. It is especially vile, a clear violation of the Eighth Commandment, to do so for utilitarian reasons such as political gain. We should not make accusations of truly evil conduct without substantial evidence to support them. That the Left frequently does so does not license us to do likewise.

     You might want to consult Gary Condit on the subject.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Innocents: Some Questions

     First, my thanks to all of you who’ve purchased Innocents. My special thanks to those of you who’ve reviewed it at Amazon. My extra-super-interstellar thanks to those of you who’ve recommended it to others. Word-of-mouth is an indie writer’s best advertising. Indeed, it’s the only form of promotion my books receive.

     Second, it’s time for me to provide the answers to some of the questions readers have sent me about the book, most of which begin with “Why?”


     One reader wrote to ask “Why is Innocents so much shorter than your other novels?” And yes, for those unacquainted with my other novels, it’s the second shortest of all the novels I’ve published; only Love in the Time of Cinema is shorter.

     This one is fairly easy. I’ve caused myself a lot of difficulties in the past by trying to control the length of a story. I have a feeling that a lot of writers do that, as we’re all aware that the “big hits” are almost always big books. You’ll seldom see a book at the top of the best-seller lists that’s less than 350 pages (approximately 100,000 words). Indeed, the average length of a best-selling novel is greater than that.

     But to obsess over the length of a story is to demote the story itself to a secondary consideration. However much story there is, that’s what there is. I could not have extended Innocents beyond its existing length without packing it with filler: unsatisfying side crap that would have detracted from the impact of the story proper.

     On the one hand, it’s a high compliment for a reader to write that “I only wish it were longer.” On the other, it’s a terrible temptation to the writer...one I’ve striven to resist.


     Several readers have written to ask whether Innocents will have a sequel. This has me torn. The themes in the novel are all fairly well encapsulated there. What would I address in a sequel? Kevin Conway’s pursuit of the villains behind the production of futanari sex slaves? Well, yes, there’s an obvious adventure tale there, especially as a Yakuza organization capable of initiating a sub-business of that sort would be large and mighty. The Athene Academy connection might deserve more exploration as well, especially in light of that most unusual college’s involvement with Larry Sokoloff’s little problem.

     The major problem here is coming up with a theme around which to wrap a sequel. I don’t write vanilla adventure, or vanilla anything else. I need an animating idea, some thesis about human nature and its consequences for human interaction, before I can get my condensers sufficiently charged to write a story. At the moment, I don’t have one.

     But perhaps the previous sentence should be edited to read “I don’t have one...yet.


     The most stimulating of the questions I’ve received is one you might have been wondering about yourself: “Why did you write about this?” At this time, there are no “natural born” futanari. The genetics of the thing might just be impossible, non-viable. The only humans that fit the surface description – i.e., female in all externally perceptible ways except for the possession of male genitalia – were born as ordinary males and have made themselves futanari-like by surgical means. So there’s no demand for an Athene Academy, and Larry Sokoloff’s little problem isn’t a present-day possibility.

     Or so you might assume!

     It’s been observed many times that just about any English-language noun or verb, if prefixed or suffixed by “sex” and plugged into Google, will generate thousands of hits. Sex isn’t just the “oldest funny subject” (Robert A. Heinlein). It’s also the drive most widely shared by human beings of all ages , places, and times. You have to be very young, very old, or very unusual not to be interested in sex. That’s a big part of what made the following passage from Freedom’s Fury hit my readers so hard:

     “May I ask a personal question, Claire?”
     “Go ahead.”
     “Do you have someone special?”
     The bioengineer looked at her quizzically. “No. Why do you ask?”
     “Just curious. How long has it been?”
     “Hm?”
     “Since...you know. Since there was someone special.”
     Albermayer was slow to reply.
     “There’s never been anyone like that for me, Althea.”
     “What? Are you serious?”
     Albermayer nodded.
     “But you’re...you were in school with my grandfather Armand!”
     “Yes, I was.”
     “And you’ve never had a lover?”
     Another long pause.
     “I have no sex drive, Althea.” The words were drier than the dust between the stars. “I never have. I could never see the point of an intimate involvement, so I never formed one. I severely doubt one would have lasted.” Albermayer’s slight smile spoke of an isolation beyond Althea’s ken. She squeezed Althea gently, making the pumps in Althea’s suit whine. “This is the closest I’ve been to another person in more than a century....
     “There’s something missing from me, Althea. At least, my parents thought so. I hear other people talk about their emotional attachments—I hear the passion in your voice when you speak of your husband, and in Nora’s when she talks of hers—and it’s like a glimpse into the mind of an alien species. I’ve never felt anything like that for anyone.
     “I’ve been courted a few times. My suitors couldn’t decide what to make of my non-responsiveness. For my part, I never grasped their interest, what attracted them to me sufficiently to justify their efforts. I was always made slightly uncomfortable by that sort of attention, as if I were being told that something was expected of me that I simply couldn’t deliver.”

     Sex isn’t about mere sensation. It isn’t about reproduction, though that’s its biological function. It’s about winning the most intimate form of acceptance from another person. Those who, for whatever reason, can no longer “perform” remember what it meant to attain that degree of intimacy. And they miss it and yearn for it.

     That having been said, there are persons who have sexual or parasexual desires that diverge greatly from what the rest of us feel. Homosexuals. Polyamorists. Fetishists of various kinds. That bulging grab-bag labeled “polymorphously perverse.” Remember that bit about Google searches.

     With an estimated 7.5 billion persons alive at this time, you can bet the rent money that there are persons whose deepest desire is for a futanari lover. Indeed, I can prove it: there’s a substantial “industry” dedicated to serving that desire. Many who are aware of it speak of it as a Southeast Asian phenomenon, but there’s an outcropping of it here in the United States as well.

     So what would happen if some of those folks – the richer ones – were to look into whether it might be possible to have “lovers” made to order? Including the sort of conditioning poor helpless Fountain had to endure? Are you sure it’s impossible? More, are you certain the rest of us would ever learn about it?

     But that’s only half of the reason for the story.


     My two greatest reasons for writing, whether fiction or these interminable op-eds, are to promote Christian moral-ethical norms and to illustrate the importance of human freedom. Those are the fuels that power every last syllable I’ve written. Innocents and the “Athene Academy” stories are not exceptions.

     On the one hand, I continue to believe that the “transgender” phenomenon is a fad that will soon burn itself out. There are very few persons whose emotional health genuinely requires a sex change. Moreover, it seems that quite a lot of transgender individuals regret having transitioned and are coming forward to say so. On the other hand, I’ve made the acquaintance of two transwomen who appear to have needed their transitions for their emotional well-being. It’s on that basis that I find myself unable to condemn the thing entirely.

     Freedom must, by necessity, include the right to “make your own mistakes.” There is no alternative; else we would have no fundamental argument with the bien-pensants who’d very much like to rule us all, down to the smallest detail. Moreover, anyone can be wrong about anything, so posturing as an authority is a dangerous perch to mount. Falling from that sort of perch is rather humiliating.

     Now add this:

     Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother, Let me cast the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? [Matthew 7:1-4]

     The Redeemer was pretty definite about it.

     They whose choices we deplore are individuals with free will and souls of their own. We are not responsible for their choices; we are responsible for our behavior toward them. How much more, then, would we be required to respect, to love, and to protect those whose circumstances have been forced upon them? Futanari such as the students and staff of Athene Academy? Genetically engineered individuals such as Fountain?

     I would agree that were we to discover an enterprise that deliberately turns out genetically engineered futanari, conditioned sex slaves, or a combination of the two, it would be morally imperative to stamp it out and salt the ground from which it sprang. But our proper attitude toward the products of such an enterprise, being humans with souls as valuable as yours or mine, would be quite another matter. Father Ray’s closing statements to Larry Sokoloff proceed from that conviction.


     I see that once again I’ve gone on at greater length than I originally intended. It’s like the problem of the “lazy preacher” who writes long sermons: once he gets to writing, he’s too lazy to stop. But that’s what writers are like, and I’m a writer, so have a little pity.

     A final thought: Time was, all fiction took the form of the play, and plays were categorized as follows:

  • Miracle: The central element was some event that seems to contradict the laws of Nature.
  • Mystery: The story turns on some inscrutable element of the Divine.
  • Morality: The story concerns an aspect of morality and what happens when it’s disregarded.

     I’m comfortable with giving Innocents any of those labels. One way or another, I hope it’s provided you with some food for thought.

Quickies: Who’s Watching Them Now?

     First, have some mood music from a few years back. Then perhaps we should turn the question inside out:

     Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews tweeted that if a new rule requiring professional football players to stand during the national anthem is instituted, he will quit the NFL. That was immediately after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement that all players should stand for the Anthem. Rumors followed that a rule was soon coming down.

     According to WSMV News 4, Matthews of the Tennessee Titans tweeted, “No I will be done playing football”. They grabbed a screenshot of the tweet which was quickly deleted.

     The player mentioned above is unknown to me. Then again, most NFL players are unknown to me. The rest will quickly become unknown, as we at the Fortress of Crankitude no longer watch NFL games. Herewith, three questions:

  • Who still watches NFL games?
  • Why?
  • What would cause him to refrain?

     The league might not be around too much longer. It’s already lost about a third of its viewership, and sponsors have noticed. Given that a typical NFL franchise spends by far the greater part of its revenues on player salaries, those salaries are swiftly becoming unaffordable. That should provide a rather stern lesson to Roger Goodell and his cronies, to say nothing of the several players who’ve “taken a knee” during the Star Spangled Banner to protest their “oppression.”

     Say, remember when the newly elected President Bill (not Hillary) Clinton promised us a Cabinet that “looks like America” -- ? Maybe if we had an NFL that “looks like America”...or at least, one that doesn’t sneer at us evil white folk...naah:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Precious

     ...is a good match to her name:

     Precious is a 7-year-old, 70 pound pit bull mix. We adopted her just yesterday from the Brookhaven Town Animal Shelter, so she’s still settling in somewhat, but so far, so good.

     She’s sort of imprinted on me: goes where I go, stops where I stop, sits when I sit...sometimes where I sit. It’s like having a 70 pound weight attached to my leg. But at least we have no worries that she’ll run away looking for her previous family.

     Precious is not Rufus. We’re not trying to “replace” Rufus. But we had room for another dog in our home and our hearts, so why leave a sweet animal in a shelter for any longer than necessary? Now if I could just find a way to get a little time alone...

Quickies: The 25th Amendment

     Just yesterday, Rush Limbaugh spoke of two articles that suggested that the 25th Amendment should be invoked to remove Donald Trump from the Oval Office:

     The 25th Amendment basically is the cabinet gets together and votes on whether or not the president is competent to serve, and, if not, they vote him out of office and there’s a line of succession that would assume power. This happens. And more and more people — well, it’s two that I’ve seen and maybe more than that — are now saying we’re on the verge of needing this because Trump is losing his mind. Trump is wandering around aimlessly in the White House with no friends. He’s muttering to the photos on the wall. He’s lost it and is on the verge of losing it completely.

     Subsequently, a caller asked him the following:

     CALLER: I wonder if they have thought about how they’re going to deal with the fallout if they are actually successful, because the Trump supporters are not just gonna walk away, shrug their shoulders, and leave. They are gonna rip this country apart.

     RUSH: They don’t care. They don’t care what you’re doing now. They don’t care! They don’t care. They literally don’t care. This is not about you. It’s never been about you and Trump’s voters, except to the extent that they could distance Trump voters from Trump, and if to do that they have to get rid of Trump… That’s what they’ve been trying to do since election night.

     I must disagree. The political elite wants Trump gone, but it wants his supporters to accept the coup quietly. The stories and rumblings about Trump becoming erratic, unstable, and so forth aren’t aimed at the Cabinet; they’re aimed at us. They’ll approach the Cabinet, whose members are mainly career politicians or military, with bribes: offers of power and prestige.

     It’s getting us, Trump’s supporters, to “take it and shut up” that matters most to the political elite. The Cabinet can oust the president, but no one can “oust” us – and no matter what anyone else might tell you, the American people retain the ability to overturn the political order. We have the means; what the elite want to deny us is the motivation.

I've Been MIA For a Few Days

UPDATE: I found a link that I thought worthy of reading - posted here.

I made a strong push in my revisions - I think I can finish them by the end of next week. I'm anxious to, because I want to have the time to plan my next book before NaNoWriMo starts November 1.

The next book will be a sci-fi story, with a murder mystery twist. It's much more complicated, involving building a world in detail, and sketching out the galaxy's political/social dimensions, as well. I'm planning this as the first book in a series, so I want to get things right.

It's taken me about a year for this first book, although, to be honest, I spent a lot of that time avoiding working on it. Realistically, I'm shooting for about 6 -8 months of writing/revision, now that I better understand this process.

I want to have the first book up on Kindle before Easter. I should be finished and ready comfortably before then.

I'm attaching a link to my Facebook Promotional Page. Hit the blue button to get on the mailing list to be notified when the book is out there. Of course, I won't be selling any info - this is strictly for my own books.

Quickies: Redefinitions

     “It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” – You know perfectly well who.

     For human communication to be trustworthy, specific words must have specific meanings, especially when used in public. If you are unwilling to agree in toto with that statement, you might as well stop reading right now.

     Quite a lot of people are trying their best to redefine the words censor and censorship. I refuse to permit this to pass unchallenged. To censor has always had a specific meaning: to forbid the expression of certain facts or ideas by the threat of punishment.

     Publishers cannot censor. Neither can wholesalers or retailers. They can hide a book. They can discourage mention of it by their employees. They can obscure its availability. They can refuse to have anything to do with it. They can arrange for it to be denounced, whether in their “house organs” or by other writers. But they cannot punish him who seeks to offer it to the general public. That takes a government: an institution with the pre-indemnified use of coercive force against private persons or institutions and their property.

     The emotional power of the word censorship must not be diluted by allowing agenda-laden persons to redefine it to suit their purposes. John Peter Zenger would rise from his grave in horror at the sight. There are other words available that would accurately express the travails of those who can’t get published, or are having their sales impeded, by private institutions. We don’t yet live in a nation in which a publishing company can kill, confine, or expropriate you without breaking the law. God willing, we never will.

Quickies: The Public-Policy Implications of the Weinstein Scandal

     Considering the financial and reputational damage Harvey Weinstein’s sex scandal is doing to The Weinstein Company, how long will it be before left-liberals demand federal support for it, on the grounds that it’s “too big to fail?”

It’s Here (Sticky; Scroll Down For New Posts)

     For those of you who’ve been waiting:

     A novel of the Onteora Canon, set in the very near future. Genetic engineering and zygotic microsurgery have produced both wonders and horrors. Wonders such as drugs tailored to attack a specific disease in a specific sufferer, or surgery to eliminate genetically borne handicaps before mitosis can begin. Horrors such as blindness or deafness deliberately inflicted upon unborn babies, or pitiable creatures whose bodies and minds are warped to satisfy the whims of wealthy perverts.

     Security specialist Larry Sokoloff is on vacation far from home, straining to forget a woman he loves but cannot have, when Fountain, a teenaged escapee from a malevolent institution, comes under his protection. What he learns of her nature and origins lays bare the darker face of the Janus of biotechnology, and catapults him and his colleague Trish McAvoy into a mission of vengeance and cleansing. For adults only.

     Innocents, an Amazon “KDP Select” exclusive, is currently $2.99. Around the turn of the year, depending on how sales have gone, I’ll consider releasing it at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble. I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

America joins the third world.

The moment Americans passively sat back and allowed hostile, left-wing elites to pass a law that could effectively bankrupt harmless little cafes in backwoods Tennessee because they held and their patrons held personal racial preferences that the US power structure didn’t approve of, that made the effective persecution of “racists” a moral and legal mandate, it was all over for the America that had existed prior to the Civil Rights era, its Western heritage and its genetic profile. When whites ceded control of their own communities and the demographic profile of those communities to the Federal Government, all the Federal Government had to do at that point to effectively genocide them was to stop enforcing immigration law and defending the borders (which it promptly did, and in conjunction with changes in immigration policy itself, i.e. Hart-Celler, the demographic transformation of America would be both rapid and radical). Now Americans were being invaded on multiple levels and besieged daily from every direction. We couldn’t keep Third World peoples out of our communities or our country! So much for there being any choice in the matter. Between cultural proximity that leads to intimidation by more primitive populations, the cultural decline that naturally accompanies the emulation of less intellectually gifted peoples, the temptation that leads to miscegenation and a hundred like attendant forces, white America was finished and so too was America itself, at least the White/Euro-dominated versions of it.
" America Became 1984 In 1964, Civil Rights was the first step in the march towards Totalitarianism." By Guest Writer, AltRight.com, 10/11/17.

Why the Alt-Right.

Equality is a false god. Madly pursuing gender equality or racial equality or any equality for that matter is a road to nowhere except misery and serfdom.

Aspiring to enforce any moral system, including but not limited to the Cultural Marxist moral system currently being enforced in the Western World, down to trivial and minor and private activities, down to the level of personal preference, words, free association, customer choice, political values, etc. is itself the root of totalitarianism. The Alt-Right only exists because the actual right doesn’t seem capable of addressing this mother of all issues, and because of that, it cannot possibly save America or anything in America worth saving, including but not limited to the race that founded and forged it.

" America Became 1984 In 1964, Civil Rights was the first step in the march towards Totalitarianism." By Guest Writer, AltRight.com, 10/11/17.

On the recent NRA sellout on bump stocks.

Wayne LaPierre was wringing his hanky of late over "bump stocks." The usual common sense from Remus on that:
The NRA is supposed to stand against mindless stampedes, not join them.
Remus, "Yer Ol' Woodpile Report," #499, 10/10/17.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Farewell And Godspeed

     Rufus, our eight year old Newfoundland, passed away at 11:25 this morning. He’d been suffering from B-cell lymphoma and a compromised spinal cord. We’d had him on three different kinds of chemotherapy, and the cancer had developed an immunity to all three. He’d become indifferent to food and extremely lethargic. Despite multiple painkillers, he was almost unable to walk. We did what was necessary.

     Goodbye, beloved friend. May God clasp you to His bosom, where you’ve always belonged.

     Don’t expect much from me for a few days.

“Not Like That”

WALKER: She's something, isn't she?

RACINE: (nods) A lovely lady.

WALKER: Yes, she is. I'm crazy about her. If I ever thought she was seeing another guy... I don't know. I'd understand how it could happen. Her being the way she is. I'd understand it. But I think I'd kill the guy with my bare hands.

RACINE: That's understandable.

WALKER: You wouldn't believe the dorkus she was with when I met her. The guy came to us with a business proposition. We're always looking for opportunities. If the conditions are right. We're willing to take an occasional risk, if the downside isn't too steep. But this guy hadn't done his homework, he didn't know the bottom line. That's how I knew he was full of shit. You've got to know the bottom line. That's all that really counts....He didn't have the goods, this guy. He was like a lot of guys you run into -- they want to get rich, they want to do it quick, they want to be there with one score....But they're not willing to do what's necessary. Do you know what I mean?

RACINE: I'm not sure. You mean, lay the groundwork? Earn it?

WALKER: No. I mean do what's necessary. Whatever's necessary.

RACINE: Yeah. I know that kind of guy. I can't stand that. It makes me sick.

WALKER: Me too.

RACINE: I'm not like that.

[Lawrence Kasdan, Body Heat]

     Most patterns do have exceptions. When the pattern is a negative one about people or a subgroup thereof, anyone affected by the pattern wants to be an exception. It’s possible that Smith, who’s part of the relevant group or closely connected to someone in it, and who wants that exception will have it. But what are the odds?

     Certain conspicuous patterns are receiving attention that make the affected parties unhappy. They greatly dislike the notion that because they’re Muslims, or illegal aliens, or left-liberals, or feminists, or politicians, they’ve been tagged with the negative characteristics the patterns attribute to those groups. Like seedy Florida lawyer Ned Racine, whom the beautiful, totally unscrupulous Matty Walker seduces into murdering her husband, they proclaim that “I’m not like that!” They want to be treated as exceptions. Sometimes they are treated that way...whether or not they deserve to be.

     Ned Racine wasn’t “like that” in one particular way – he was willing to kill to take Matty for himself – but he was “like that” in another – he wanted to “be there with one score.” The resolution of his ambitions worked out badly for him.


     Perceptible patterns among adequately defined groups are the basis of stereotypes. The late Joseph Sobran once called stereotypes “amateur sociology.” The bien-pensants are quick to denounce stereotypes, and to call anyone who makes use of one a bigot of some sort. But a stereotype that doesn’t prove accurate more often than not would not last. If the exceptions outnumber those who conform, making the pattern more illusory than real, they can’t fairly be called exceptions.

     In his “Ten Conservative Principles,” the late Russell Kirk, one of the godfathers of contemporary conservatism, expressed a sense that stereotypes and the prejudices they sometimes animate have a place we should not deny to them:

     It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.

     Despite the wisdom it expresses, there are some limitations to Kirk’s defense of prescription according to longevity of usage. It is unfair and unjust, for example, to judge an individual on any basis other than his individual character and merits – if one has the time and opportunity to find out what those are. But as is the case wherever it appears, the critical word in the previous sentence is if.

     If the pattern is sound, the exceptions will be fewer than the conformants. We may wish it were otherwise; indeed, in many cases it will be our fondest desire. But desire is not a basis for rational thought.


     Some patterns have a discernible origin point in time. Some have a discernible end point. If either or both of those can be determined, the pattern’s utility can be confined to the relevant interval. However, a pattern that is currently ongoing should receive the appropriate respect. The cautions it implies should not be dismissed.

     Consider contemporary feminism, sometimes called “third wave” feminism. Though only a minority of American women currently call themselves feminists, feminist convictions are more commonplace than the candid acceptance of the label. In other words, more American women hold feminist convictions than are willing to admit to it...to a man, at least. The pattern among women who hold those convictions is to regard men as oppressors and enemies. More, those beliefs will inevitably express themselves in their treatment of the men in their lives. That makes it rather important for a man who’s considering a romantic entanglement to determine whether the object of his affections is such a woman.

     However, “third wave” feminism didn’t really get started until the Seventies. Prior to that, its defining premises were exceedingly rare. Romance was considerably safer for men in the previous years. Should “third wave” feminism burn out and become a memory of an unpleasant era in male-female relations, happy days would be here again.

     Meanwhile, a substantial number of women – the ones who aren’t moaning “Where have all the good men gone?” – must somehow convey to their current romantic interests that “I’m not like that.” It’s proving to be a tough sell, for two overriding reasons:

  • The pattern has many more conformants than exceptions among American women;
  • Actions speak more loudly than words.

     The second of those observations is one of the oldest maxims of prudence. Ralph Waldo Emerson phrased it most memorably: “What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” The exceptional woman’s great obstacle is this: until he permits her to insinuate herself rather deeply into his life and affairs, she’ll have a very hard time demonstrating by her actions that she really isn’t “like that.”

     Analogous observations could be made about Muslims, illegal aliens, left-liberals, and politicians.


     These days, a member of a group that exhibits a negative pattern has a harder time establishing that he’s “not like that” than a few decades ago. The downside risk to the person(s) he’s trying to persuade is higher than it’s ever been. Identity politics plays an important role in this, but there are other factors, such as our greatly accelerated social atomization, that should not be neglected.

     If you identify with some generally understood group, the above is for you quite as much as for those you’d like to persuade that you’re “not like that.” Consider it in light of my exhortations not to be a “joiner.” The recognition of the relationship between those two subjects would do the people of this nation a great deal of good.