Van Vogt: The Silkie

Last year I picked up a whole stack of books from a library book sale in a tiny lake town in Minnesota, and quite a few of them were Van Vogt paperbacks. The Silkie was rather odd; rather than a single narrative, there were three stories about the fantastic things that happened to good ole space-neighborhood police officer Nat Cemp, who is a super-powerful telepathic space creature of a race that can change shape and breed with humans. Warning: spoilers abound!

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I’ve been microaggressed!

“People-first language” is such bullshit. In ENGLISH we put ADJECTIVES before NOUNS. This is how our language works.

GRAMMAR. LEARN IT. USE IT PROPERLY.

Example of hideous writing taken straight from the Wiki article on this illiterate idiocy: “people who ride bicycles rather than bicyclists.” May you be bludgeoned to death by an entire shelf of hardback dictionaries falling on your head, you language-raping monster. How could you commit this heinous crime against your mother tongue?!

If you are offended by proper syntax, then you are a deliberately illiterate moron. Not a person of diminished intelligence lacking in lingual education. AN ILLITERATE MORON. Whose dictionary-bludgeoned corpse should be skinned with the stiffened pages of a thesaurus, stuffed, and mounted in a public library to warn other “social justice” language police what happens when you cross the grammar nazis. WE are the ones who police language use. According to proper rules. Not you. NEVER. YOU.  If there were any justice in the world, anyone caught using “person first language” would immediately be disowned by every school he ever attended, right down to his preschool, and hounded out of polite society until he learned to speak properly and respectfully of his mother tongue instead of drenching her in stupid leftwing thought-police manure.

And people wonder why American students keep getting dumber… the schools are graduating illiterate students ON PURPOSE!

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Gamergate and SPJAirplay

I have a tendency to play really long YouTube videos while I bop about the house ineffectually chasing chaos and entropy out of corners and doing battle with dust bunnies formed from yard-long hair, etc. I had heard that SPJAirplay had suffered numerous bomb threats, and I was interested in hearing what went down! So here are a couple of videos – Sargon’s YouTube video commentary, and Honey Badger Radio talking about what happened. (Apparently they continued the debate outside after somebody pretended to set them up the bomb*, but I got distracted doing water changes for my fish tanks and I don’t remember if Sargon’s video included that bit: I’ll have to try to find it lurking on the interwebs.)

Anyway, the morning debate was amazingly cathartic. The professional journalists may have had no idea what Gamergate is all about, but when the behavior of the gaming “journalists” was described, their reaction was essentially, “Gamergate is entirely correct to describe that as a violation of journalistic ethical standards. I would NEVER do that or allow anyone under me to behave that way.”

But the other thing that really struck me – and this will no doubt deeply offend people – is that (some) journalists are apparently really stupid. As well as near-universally lazy, but I cut them a little slack there because they work for a really exploitative, obsolete business model. (Kind of like nontenured academics.) But even then, some of them, it’s like, “Are you developmentally disabled? Can I speak to your guardian?” levels of stupid. How do you even get a job writing about things when your language comprehension skills are that low?

That really surprised me, even though I know MPAI. See, I read R.S. McCain’s blog, and John C. Wright’s blog, and they used to work in the journalism biz, and I have a friend who used to work for the local paper, and I know that she’s not stupid either. So I figured you had to be at least somewhat intelligent to work in the news industry as a writer, and all the really empty-headed people are on TV reading their scripts off their teleprompters. Apparently not. :-\

The cynical side of me figures that there’s significant demand in the “papers” to hire people who can write technically well but can’t think for themselves at all, and just repeat, parrotlike, whatever narrative gets handed to them. Like the one that goes “Gamergate is about women in gaming!” Now I realize why journolist-type organizations are so effective… between the lazy, the stupid, and the chronically overworked, how could they not be?

*SPJAirplay’s organizers were aware of the 100% certainty that somebody was going to call in a bomb threat (that happened in DC after all) and they took amazing security precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. However, the trolls just kept making bomb threats until the authorities decided that despite multiple bomb sweeps and securing the building afterwards, it should still be evacuated. Apparently there was some journalist there from Afghanistan (iirc) who was amazed that people stuck around to continue the debate after they got kicked out of the building, ’cause in war zones people leave and go back to their lives. Well, DUH, in Afghanistan there actually ARE bombs, and if the crowd sticks around outside a suicide bomber can still get them! Everybody from Gamergate at SPJAirplay knew that the bomb threat was totally bogus and they were in no danger whatsoever. *headdesk* Sigh. Look, I’m sure as people these folks are wonderful, but they are not by any means the sharpest crayons in the box, ya know?

DISCLAIMER: I’m well aware that there are quite intelligent, diligent people working in journalism – it’s just that those people seem to be the exceptions rather than the rule.

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Why don’t you make your own instead of appropriating ours? The story of VMI and VWIL

 

In the 1990s, the Virginia Military Institute was the last all-male public university in the US – and as one of the historic military colleges, it had a long, illustrious tradition built up over the years since its founding in 1839. The VMI community did not wish to enroll female cadets, but with women allowed into the military (and every other public university in the country), it was inevitable that there would be women who wished to avail themselves of the history, traditions, and networking uniquely available to cadets at VMI.

So what did Virginia attempt to do in order to both preserve the traditional male community at VMI, and yet also offer women their own comparable institution? They founded VWIL, the Virginia Women’s Institute For Leadership, as an all-female cadet corps at one of Virginia’s historic women’s colleges. Founded in 1842, Mary Baldwin College is a contemporary of VMI – and the college had even acquired the old grounds of the Staunton Military Academy (1860-1976). The SMA alumni association “adopted” the new cadet corps – cadets who now lived in their old barracks and paraded on their old grounds. Though the institution of VWIL would be new, it was founded in such a way as to incorporate an historical context as nearly equivalent to VMI’s as possible – including location! (The two institutions are located in neighboring Shenandoah Valley college towns.)

A reasonable person might think that this effort by Virginia to offer an all-female ROTC option (along with coed ROTC through different institutions) would have been a great boon for women interested in a military career – the VWIL cadet corps, though newly founded, had access to an all-female institution as historic as VMI; access to a military tradition also contemporary with VMI; and founders focused on creating a cadet corps tailored specifically for training women in leadership skills. Rather than being shoehorned into a community forced to make accommodations for them, women interested in a military career would be given not just the option of joining other coed corps, but one designed specifically around their needs.

Of course, it wasn’t good enough. The Supreme Court ruled that VMI, as a state-funded institution, must admit women as well as men. Rather than give up state funding and risk blacklisting by the DoD, VMI’s ruling board narrowly voted to accept female cadets.

In modern America, whether you like it or not, “separate” is never good enough.

Contemplation of the applications of this principle to current events is left to the reader.

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The Hugo Awards: Your Waifu is Trash edition

Wow. Just wow.

I’d add “I can’t even” but that wouldn’t be accurate: watching the TruFen villagers burn down their own village out of spite was EXACTLY what the Rabid Puppies thought they would do. It was the Sad Puppies who were all starry-eyed idealists who thought that the institution of the Hugo Awards was respected by the Worldcon community: Rabid Puppies knew damn well that the insider clique would be willing to straight-up lie to all the low-information voters. When a trusted leader of your community tells you that an Evil Slate has taken over certain categories and all the works therein are terribly crafted – and moreover, written by racist gay-bashing woman-hating white males – what are you going to do? Be skeptical and read your voter packet anyway (well, the bits you can fit in around the panels during a convention), or trust your community leader and vote No Award like a good member of the Outrage Mob?

Seriously. Half of eligible voters for the Hugo Awards don’t even bother to vote; what proportion of those 3,500 No Award voters even read the works in question? After their community leaders made it a point of pride to NOT read the nominated works?

Most people are idiots, so of course the slate-voting for No Award won, even if that meant throwing talented women editors under the bus at the behest of a cohort of aging white males… who just happen to be competitors. The “slates are bad, so vote our slate for No Award in these categories” position is pretty much 100% hypocritical as far as I can tell – leading lights of the sci-fi community have come out and admitted that there have been hush-hush Hugo slates before (and the voting records in past years proves this was both tolerated and successful) so the only difference this year is that a suggestions list was published publicly. Oh, and it included people outside the insider clique. Therefore to preserve the integrity of a fan award, “fans” should vote without reading the entries? Hmm.

The fallback defense of “Your nominations weren’t award-worthy anyway!” is a little too try-hard, imo. This is the community that awards works like “If you were a dinosaur” and “The Day the World Turned Upside Down.” If that excrement is award-worthy there are zero technical grounds for any Hugo voter to disqualify anything as not being well-written: it all comes back to a matter of taste, and the fact that a certain group of fans who do not represent mainstream science fiction has a strangle-hold on what purported to be all of fandom’s award. Proof: they voted Jim Butcher below No Award. The man is way more successful than Scalzi, but Scalzi gets a Hugo and Jim Butcher is cast into outer darkness? Not to mention Guardians of the Galaxy was also a slate nominee, but it was okay to vote for that one category but not any of the others? (I’m guessing the reason for that is most people would have seen the movies already, and therefore the No Award organizers knew that smearing those slate works as worthless dreck wouldn’t work.)

Well, here’s my opinion.

Dear WorldCon: your waifu is trash. I understand you feel the same about my waifu, too. We’ll see you next year. And the year after that. And the year after that, too, until the travesty that you’ve made the Hugo Awards is repaired – which it will be, no matter how long you can desperately hold on and declare victory amid the ashes of your own arson. Burning down a corrupt edifice only clears the ground for the rebuilders – and that’s us. I’m looking forward to it.

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Means and ends

I find emotional thinkers very irritating. For one thing, all a politician or bureaucrat has to do to gain the reflexive support of emotional thinkers is claim that their latest regulation is designed to achieve $GOODTHING. Therefore of course this regulation is beyond reproach and anyone who questions the means – not even the end, just the means – is obviously supporting $BADTHING!

Then I have to remember that MPAI and as a Vile Faceless Minion, my mantra is “I don’t care.” Exact application of this is a work in progress.

Allow me to supply a hypothetical example. Let’s take unemployment. Just about everyone agrees that unemployment is bad. Is any means to alleviate unemployment therefore desirable?

Shall we reduce unemployment by killing anyone who’s unemployed? Obviously not. But it would certainly reduce unemployment.

Shall we reduce unemployment by throwing all the unemployed into work camp prisons? Uh, also, no. But it would reduce unemployment!

Variations on this mandatory employment scheme happen quite often in communist and socialist societies. Just toss the kids into state-run daycare, parents – any adult who doesn’t work in a state-approved job doesn’t get a food ration voucher and starves to death. Unemployment solved!

Shall we reduce unemployment by founding a new CCC on a voluntary basis? Hmm. Well. That might be all right. Maybe. Certainly sounds better than force. Giving people jobs can’t be anything but a good thing, right? But where is the money for the CCC going to come from? Taxes. Which taxes? What won’t be funded instead? What effects on the economy will result from increasing taxes to pay for the CCC? Loans? How will the loans be paid for? Who will decide what work the CCC does to earn their stipends, anyway?

But the government is Doing Something! to combat the scourge of unemployment! Add tearjerker stories of how Loving Dad of Six got laid off, became depressed, and committed suicide due to lack of employment, etc. Therefore anyone who questions the means of accomplishing a Good Thing is automatically guilty of being an evil saboteur who doesn’t care about the pain of the poor orphaned children.

Uh-huh. Right. The fact that the public works projects “coincidentally” result in higher property values for politicians who bought cheap land nearby? Let’s just not talk about that in any of the news articles lauding the new program.

Of course, there’s always another way to “reduce” unemployment rates, successfully used by our very own American government! Leave out all the unemployed people who have given up looking for jobs when you publish the numbers. Hey look, the unemployment rate is lower! Yay! /sarc

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Stupid analogies for abortion

What is it with all the ridiculous idiotic analogies for abortion? The violinist thing is moronic, but just recently I saw someone compare pregnancy to finding someone squatting in your shed during a winter snowstorm. WTF, people?

Abortion is like INVITING people to come into your shed for winter shelter – like putting up a sign next to a hiking route saying “Shelter available for public use” and then, when someone takes you up on that, shooting them dead. It’s not a matter of “property rights” being violated when you invite someone into your house! If you invite people onto your property and then kill them, that makes you a murderer.

Now how about this analogy: you like throwing parties at your house, and you do it all the time, but you know that there are termites in your deck supports. You’ve held lots of parties before and nothing bad has ever happened, but you know something bad could happen. One day you decide to throw a huge bash, and guess what? The deck collapses and one of your guests is badly injured. So badly injured, in fact, that you’re going to be on the hook for nine months of hospital bills and massive fines for safety violations. Do you get to evade responsibility for that “accident” by beating your injured guest’s head in with a piece of wood before the ambulance arrives?

Now another one: you’re driving along the highway minding your own business when a semi driven by a drunk guy high on crack comes along, crashes into you, and causes your car to spin out of control and impact another vehicle. One carrying a little girl. You’re injured by the collision, but not nearly as badly as the child – she’s going to be on life support for several months. Her parents were killed, and there’s nobody around to take responsibility for her until her third cousin twice removed can be found in a remote location on the other side of the world – but once this person’s found and the girl can live without life support (this won’t even take nine months, even though it would be best to have all that time) you’ll be able to hand over all responsibility to the cousin. You didn’t ask to get hit by a semi, but it’s not the child’s fault either, and she will die if you don’t sign up to be her next of kin until her long-lost relatives can take over from you. If you sign up for the brief responsibility, you’ll even be reimbursed for your expenses – but if you don’t, the child will be put to death without anesthetic and her organs sold for human experimentation.

HMMM. I wonder what kind of person would choose brutal death, dismemberment, and illegal organ sale for an innocent child, even one whose dependency was the result of criminal behavior by someone else? If you get raped and murder your child, you’re worse than the rapist. Understand? MURDER. IS. WORSE. THAN. RAPE. “Fate worse than death” is Victorian fainting-couch women-are-weak bullshit. The appropriate response is to shoot the rapist, not dismember the child!

Heck, I’m not even going to go so far as to advocate sexual equality in reproductive rights, because that would mean making all biological mothers subject to 18 years of financial responsibility for their children, punishable by jail time if they fail to meet income standards set by judges who don’t care if they can’t get well-paying jobs! All I’m saying is that if you can’t spend less than a year of your time doing nothing more onerous than eating healthily and taking good care of yourself in order to save an innocent human life from being brutally killed, you’re a heartless monster who will go to Hell if you don’t repent.*

Another thing that’s been made abundantly clear by the recent Planned Parenthood videos: banning sale of human organs and prosecuting violators of the ban is absolutely necessary to prevent medical personnel from being corrupted into unethical behavior regarding the harvesting of such organs. Someone who pressured a girl into having sex the way PP pressures girls into having abortions and “donating” the “tissue” towards PP’s bottom line would be called a rapist!

*And if you repent, Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient. You really can be forgiven of your sin, no matter how bad it is. Otherwise none of us would make it, and we’d all countenance all kind of evil.

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