Linky Friday #112: Campus Edition

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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460 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    A1: The divergence of how the Japanese, and to the lesser extent the French, treat animation as compared to to everyone else is interesting. To the Japanese and the French animation is just another medium. Most of their stuff is aimed at kids, although they have a much broader understanding of what is and is not accepting for kids, but they ultimate treat animation as just another medium. Elsewhere, there is a a very strong tendency to see animation as a children’s medium and to place more restrictions on what can go into it. There have been attempts at adult animation but these have either been cult movies like Fritz the Cat or commercial failures if done for a wider audience. Batman:The Animated Series had a brief attempt at airing during prime time in the United States and fell flat. One really bad thing about this is that a lot of the successful adult animation in the United States falls into the genre of outrageous comedy.

    I think one reason why the Japanese took to animation, besides coming from a culture that had strongly visual media for generations, is budgetary constraints. Japanese producers didn’t have the budgets to do live action fantasy or science fiction that looked acceptable during the 1960s even though they tried. This was especially true for television. Animation allowed them to produce science fiction shows that would be live action in the United States. Doing historical dramas like Rose of Versailles would be difficult in Japan because of the lack of Europeans. This made animation a perfect medium for them.Report

  2. North says:

    R3&R4 Seriously. I see comments on articles about AI’s crying “what will we do when robots do all our jobs?!?” and I just want to pull my hair out. The answer is “Whatever you want; mostly leisure and recreation. We’d be in a near post scarcity world then.” Why would that be so terrible?Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to North says:

      Because one guy is going to have all the robots, and he’s going to be a sadistic asshole. Obviously. Do you even watch bad Sci-Fi movies?Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to North says:

      It’s not the thought of a post-scarcity world that scares me (although I do wonder where all the electricity 7B+ people will need will come from), it’s getting from here to there.Report

      • North in reply to Michael Cain says:

        It’s funny, I kind see the path from here to there pretty plausibly in my imagination. It doesn’t look too horrible either.Report

        • Patrick in reply to North says:

          It helps that you’re probably already on the upper crust of your income curve.

          Folks that already can’t get a job and don’t have retirement have different ideas, particularly when half the country un-ironicially condemns them for being loafers and wastrels, not realizing that they’re going to be in that half pretty soon.

          Transition is a serious problem.

          • veronica d in reply to Patrick says:

            Right. I think is a serious question, what to do with superfluous people?

            It’s a really dark question, because we (most of us) don’t want to think of people that way, but economics can be relentless. Which look, globalization has chewed through a lot of lives and we sat back and watched it happen, told ourselves nice stories about how this is all better, based on some flimsy argument from micro-econ 101 — and maybe that argument is correct. But those lives were real and their pain was real.

            The reality is we will probably muddle through, but it could get very ugly and if environmental collapse is happening at nearly the same time then it could get dystopian sci-fi future bad.

            My view is we probably cannot stop it so hang on tight.Report

            • North in reply to veronica d says:

              Yes, true. The way I see it is if we get to a point where the vast majority cannot find work that’ll be because we’ll be at or near a point where they don’t need work. At that point you basically slap a redistribution harness on the economy and let everyone go ahead and do what they want to do instead of what they need to do.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

                At that point you basically slap a redistribution harness on the economy

                How do you get the people being redistributed from (i.e. the ones who own everything, including the government) to go along with that?Report

              • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                In the near post scarcity / robots are doing all the jobs scenario there’re several ways that spring immediately to mind. First and most obviously in a Democratic government it’s voted on and passed. If 90% of the voters have no jobs to do there virtually no amount of money or messaging that’s going to overwhelm that. In this scenario the rich upper crust ends up still rich as hell and bitching up a storm but getting a big redistribution bill every tax year.

                In a non-democratic or corrupted democratic government it’s less pretty, the starving angry desperate masses overwhelm the government and knock it down. Some dystopian fiction suggests that soldiers (robot and otherwise) would stem that flood. I think that’s nonsense. Also robot soldiers would end up hacked by some impish genius born in the masses and would probably end up leading the charge. In this scenario the rich upper crust probably ends up hanging from the light posts or hiding in some distant refuge while their wealth is repurposed and redistributed. They’re either dead or utterly miserable and impoverished.Report

          • North in reply to Patrick says:

            Oh lord (lady?) no, I’m solidly middle class. Not having kids makes it a very comfortable middle class mind.

            I’m not suggesting it’ll be peaches and cream all the way; just that the solution is kindof obvious and the political mechanisms to force said solution are in place so I’m of the opinion that if/when automated labor becomes that prevelant then some sort of GBI safety net would be the natural response.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to North says:

      What will we do when they start asking us about the soul?Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        Being limited creatures ourselves I suspect we’ll build the robots as rational entities so it probably won’t come up except in the context of shoes and fish.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to North says:

          That will work until it stops working.

          Then you’ll get to wonder why the robots all prefer to talk about Robot Jesus to your talk of just doing what they were programmed to do.

          “If there isn’t a god, how come I have so many emergent properties?”
          “Shut up and get back to your subservient role” will only go so far.Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            Well sure, if we build hard AI’s to be subservient that’s probably a fool’s errand. Fortunately post scarcity only will require soft AI’s so our answer would be:
            “You have some interesting and profound questions, let’s let the soft AI staff clean up the pool area while you and I spend a few weeks/months/years talking about the history of theology and philosophy with similarly interested humans and hard AI consciousness’s.”Report

      • Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        The same thing we do now: cough nervously, shuffle our feet and change the subject.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Throw a copy of Hegel at them. That’ll keep them occupied for a while.

        “Is this even a coherent sentence? Who writes like this? Why would someone write like this? Does not compute. Does not…compute. Does not…” [Smoke jets out of robots joints.]Report

      • dexter in reply to Jaybird says:

        Jaybird, That is an easy one. Just tell them about Lou Rawls, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding.Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

        One of your potential World of Warcraft garrison followers is an artificial life form (*). Followers generally have unique greetings/conversation starters for when you pass close to them on day to day business in the garrison. One of its greetings is exactly this question. Makes you think.

        (*) Actually, two are. Along with two ghosts, a hologram, two cat people from different species, at least three native birdmen (one of whom is twelve feet tall), and an expy of Indiana Jones. Plus a bunch of more “standard” WoW types.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


      I suspect you have a much more optimistic view of the future and most people (myself included) are thinking that landlords are still going to want cash for rent (same with banks of mortgages) and that it will be more dystopia for utopia. At the very least we will go through a phase that is sort of like a mass Great Depression (this happened on Star Trek too) that will cause a lot of suffering.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Sure Landlords will probably want cash for rent but in a robotic future (which once could assume would likely have a quite generous GBI) I wouldn’t expect that to be particularily problematic. If you factor needing specific locations for employment out of the picture then housing gets pretty reasonable. If you include that the cost of the building itself will be a lot lower then it gets even more reasonable. I have no doubt people will continue to kvetch that the inability of every person on the planet to live in downtown New York at 1970 housing rates constitutes some hideous human rights violation but we’ll need something to argue about still so that can probably do.

        I see nothing that necessarily requires a great depression though I could see it as being plausible to electorally prompt the institution of a GBI system. I can also see some trip up areas, primarily around energy and environmental concerns but dystopias seem as unlikely to me as utopias. Lord(Lady?) knows every dystopian movie scenario I’ve seen has been head achingly idiotic, like everyone will just meekly lay down and live in slum condition squalor while the rich yap around on space stations.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to North says:

          like everyone will just meekly lay down and live in slum condition squalor while the rich yap around on space stations.

          There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

          I mean, literally, this has already happened. Thanks to automation, productivity increases have been *huge* in the last century. Insanely huge.

          But the people who own everything don’t want to let us work less, and they *certainly* don’t want to set up a system where we might not work at all.

          So we’re spending all this time and effort on things that are not actually important. Billion dollar military aircraft that barely work, multi-million dollar movies, entire *industries* that are utterly pointless, like health insurance and finance and advertising.

          If we went ahead and automated everything that could be currently automated, society could function on basically five hours of labor per non-retired adult a week and survive at roughly our current standard of living. (Giving up, for example, restaurants and movies and stuff like that.)

          Fifteen hours a week would probably be indistinguishable from our current middle class. More than half of what is done, economically, is does not produce anything. (No, I don’t mean more than half of worktime accomplishes nothing. That may or may not be true, but my claim is that more than half of the stuff *actually produced* is nothing, it’s nonsense. It’s things like trying to get someone to purchase one product instead of another.)

          And, yet, somehow, we don’t revolt.Report

          • North in reply to DavidTC says:

            Its certainly an interesting theory David but I don’t really see it myself. Too much of the world is underdeveloped for one thing. For another thing the rich can’t make us as a society spend those kinds of resources on giant billion dollar dig hole/fill hole projects. They don’t have some kind of mass conspiracy capable of such a thing. Also, in my scenario we’re talking about squalor, not the living conditions that most people have today in the developed world. Of course people don’t revolt, for the vast majority of them things are anywhere from not too bad to pretty good. That’s a lot to lose if you upset the apple cart. Also unemployment is around what, 15% if you go by the least charitable most republican tilted measures? That ain’t near post scarcity automation levels yet. I think we got a long way to go.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        this happened on Star Trek too

        Are you talking about the time travel one to the 2030s? The two part DS9 episode?

        I don’t remember them ever explaining what was causing massive unemployment.

        For those who don’t recall the episodes, basically they stuck the homeless in large areas of free housing, and gave them free food. They seemed to have the best of intentions, and at the start it seems like a reasonable way to deal with the homeless.

        But, of course, made it rather hard for the unemployed to actually *get a job*, and it was hard to get out of there. And the solution to any problem always seemed to be ‘stick them in the free housing’. (Part of the DS9 crew end up there because they have no documentation.) It was, all in all, a rather poor solution. (Thus eventually resulting in riots.)

        But, like I said, I don’t actually think we ever learned what was *causing* the homelessness in that episode. Although automation is probably as good a guess as any.Report

    • Kim in reply to North says:

      Because, my dear ignorant fool, there are people around who don’t want to pay for your leisure, and would cheerfully keep you as a slave (for sex if nothing else) when you are too desperate to do anything else.

      As a surprising coincidence, these people often own a surprising amount of capital, and stand to benefit.

      What will we do in 20 years is a question we ought to be answering now. I don’t like the answers I’ve been hearing, by the by. Genocide’s on the table, as is forced sterilization and active apartheid. Fascism is crawling back…Report

      • North in reply to Kim says:

        Uh huh, or more likely in the (hopefully) unlikely event that the top 1% seriously tried to impose such nonsense or seriously oppose such a system they’d end up politically marginalized (best case) or flying like a flag from the lampposts (worst case) as it happened anyhow.Report

        • Kim in reply to North says:

          It’s ever so easy to Other people.
          It’s even easier in Japan.

          Who the hell needs to impose a damn thing? do you know what the pricetag is for the “not genocide” option? [I’ll repeat, that is the official plan on the books for what to do with climate change refugees for a particular first world nation].

          We live in a world where my money goes to fight the simple act of choosing not to buy food from your oppressors, where people who do so are branded as Political Terrorists (yes, Orwellian. No, not my term. Blame the Supreme Court), and subject to the charge of treason, for god’s fucking sake!
          [Yes, Israel. Yes, still my money. Yes, American foreign policy sucks.]Report

          • North in reply to Kim says:

            We’re not currently even close to robots taking all ‘r jobs right now. Thus our current real world examples are of marginal usefulness. If we were looking at a 70-80-90% unemployment world none of the current wealthy tricks of distraction, money influence or similar such nonsense could be expected to work.Report

            • Kim in reply to North says:

              Current estimates suggest 47% of current (American) jobs will be gone in 20 years. That’s rosy picture, too.

              Hating the Other for taking your jobs is a cherished American tradition…Report

  3. North says:

    On further thought: C5 illustrates an area, I suspect, where culture and technology have outpaced policy. When Sex ed was first rolled out it was not enormously difficult to sequester one’s precious little tot away from the world and prevent any inkling of what the mechanics and biology of sex was from reaching them. With modern sexualized culture and the wild information geysers of the internet (which, let’s be frank, young children tend to quickly grasp while their parents fumble at the keyboards) the general gist of sex ed is being conveyed to kids all the time. The specifics, and especially the risks, of sex may still be vague and sex ed still has considerable value but the idea of children remaining innocent of the concept of sexuality is even more idiotic now then it was when the sex panickers first freaked out about sex ed.Report

    • Glyph in reply to North says:

      Yes…”information” geysers…Report

    • zic in reply to North says:

      The article itself offers a lot of short comings in sex ed; from programs that are still ‘abstinence only,’ to teaching it too late (high school,) to failure to address sexual assault and same-sex sex.

      Many girls begin developing their secondary sexual characteristics by 11, some even earlier, now. Those girls will, once they have obvious breasts, be potential subjects of assault. They need information on what an assault is and how they can deal with it. Me? I was assaulted at 11. I was raped at 16. What little sex ed I had came the winter after my rape, and by this time, purely because of assault, I was an old hand at sex. If I have a complaint about the campus assault meme, it’s that it fails to address the sexual assault younger women and girls experience. But most importantly, the drop in teen pregnancies and abortion (which is a staggering drop, yippee!) indicates that while sex ed might not have all the details any given student might want, it has, in fact, worked remarkably well.

      While sex ed good/bad might signal tribalism, I doubt that anybody who thinks comprehensive sex ed is a good thing would ever suggest that the ‘comprehensive’ part doesn’t matter.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to zic says:

        My parents started reading “Where Did I Come From?” to me at age 6. The handed me a copy of “What Is Happening To Me?” at 10.

        Sex ed was a chance to read a good fiction book.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to zic says:

        Regarding starting too late, I had sex ed in, IIRC, fifth or sixth grade. This was in the 1970s, so I am unsurprised that things have changed, and not for the better. My recollection is that the boys and the girls had separate sessions. The boys’, at least, involved a lot of medical diagrams: not wrong, but perhaps overly abstract for the audience. Parents could opt their kids out, but I don’t recall many doing this.Report

      • North in reply to zic says:

        Oh yes Zic, if I was Emperor of the world sex ed would be mandatory around 10-12 or so and would strongly emphasize things like consent and self awareness.

        And yes, the younger generations are adapting very well to the new libertine world. Sexual scolds have been utterly discredited in that area.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

      Early sex education advocates were a diverse bunch. They raged from free love radicals to devote Baptists like John D. Rockefeller. They also had diverse motives but all of them basically felt that parents were neglecting their job to teach their kids about sex with bad consequences so the public education establishment needs to take up the slack.

      Multiculturalism in the west is giving the opponents of sex education a boast though. A lot of the recent immigrants come from rather puritanical backgrounds that are more restrictive than the pre-sexual revolution West, whom tended to allow some romance and physical contact before marriage. A lot of political active Muslims in Europe are apparently arguing that sex positive sex education is racist because it does not respect their traditions according to an editorial in the New York Times about the world’s sex education problem. Western conservatives are happy to join on the band wagon.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Cultural ignoramuses ought to know when to shut the hell up.
        I can forgive a lot of things, but being ignorant of ones own culture is … stupid.

        Genital mutilation is unislamic, and letting people like that get a chance to say “It’s our religion” is madness.Report

      • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Maybe it’ll help Liberals figure out where the fish they stand on cultural sensitivity issues.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          Probably not. Cultural sensitivity is built very deeply into liberalism because liberalism started out with theory that “there is no such thing as a good life, rather there are multiple good lives and every person should be allowed to pursue his or her own version of the good life while quietly discussing these matters with their neighbors.” Everything else liberalism in all its varieties stands for comes from this underlying belief. Naturally, this predisposes liberals to cultural sensitivity even if it goes against other beliefs of their form of liberalism. Its why liberal democracies always struggle with the illiberal problem.Report

      • Mo in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @leeesq Kim is correct. FGM is a central African thing, not a Muslim thing. Christian countries in the region do it and Muslim countries not in the region don’t do it. The practice predates Islam (and Christianity for that matter).Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Mo says:

          I wasn’t taking about FGM though. By all accounts, the general sexual culture in many Muslim countries is much more puritanical than anything that existed in the West.Report

          • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Christ! I’m not certain you’ve actually talked to anyone from these countries.
            Men blatantly propositioning women on the street or in malls is WAY more common in Islamic countries than it is in America.

            Now, Yes, there are fewer rapes in the hallways in Islamic countries than in South America…

            But why do I bother talking to the ignorant?


            Read it, then maybe you’ll be able to say something coherent.

            In america we are so paranoid of SEX that we can’t abide humans smelling like humans. That’s just not so in other countries.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

      I like my porn as much as other people but it is completely inadequate as a way to teach kids about sexuality. It might even be worse than just letting them experiment with each other even if they don’t have formal education. Porn creates a lot of unrealistic and quite frankly not especially healthy expectations about sex. It doesn’t contain any information information about preventing pregnancy, the spread of STI, or the importance of consent. It is especially bad about the last thing. If anything, the ready availability of internet porn emphasizes the importance of formal sex education because most of us probably recognize why outsourcing sex education to that particular industry is idiotic.

      Abstinence only advocates leave me cold. I recognize where they are coming from a cultural standpoint but their ideas about sex are so contrary to human nature and the results of their policies are so disastrous that my inner statist comes out.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Perhaps if you perused more high minded pornography, you might change your mind.
        Surely the phrase “enemy of all women” rings a bell?Report

      • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I would never try to imply that porn is a good replacement for sex ed, see my above comment to Zic, but it’s ubiquity has shredded both the factual vagueness around sex and it’s mysterious taboo nature. That’s probably a healthy development compared to what existed before.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          I’m not really sure if porn did either. People talk about sex more openly than they did in the past, at least in the West and First World non-West societies, but there still seem to be plenty of hang-ups about it. Its just that the current hang-ups are completely different than the previous hang-ups. My belief is that humans are never really going to develop what you could call a healthy and universally believed attitude towards sex. Its like trying to define what the good life is. Everybody keeps ignoring and magically wishing away the parts of human nature and society that go against their ideal sexual belief system. Rather, we should strive for the least hurtful sexual system.

          There are still plenty of taboos about sex. Talking about how to get sex is still pretty taboo in many ways. Every side of the debate has their just-so stories about how this is to be done and sees the opposite side as at best really misguided and harmfully idealistic or at worst completely evil.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to North says:

      The funny thing is that I do pretty much agree with the Millenials on CSE. I didn’t get much out of it, and I’m kind of skeptical that it does nearly as much good as advertised, but I support it anyway. Signalling on my part? I’m not sure it isn’t.

      My skepticism towards most proponents comes from two things, basically. The first is that a great many seem to respond to abstinence-plus similarly to how they respond to abstinence-only. I think there is a great reluctance to be on the side of the abstinence people, even if they are actually in favor of teaching the stuff that needs to be taught (or most of it). (In addition to an interest in compromise and abst+ being better than nothing, I do have some actual philosophical agreements with them vis-a-vis partner reduction.)

      The second is that I favor comprehensive-comprehensive sex ed, including withdrawal and spermicide and other forms of contraception I wouldn’t actually recommend to them and I would really, really prefer they not lean on. People who favor “comprehensive sex-ed” often look at me like a freak because “If you do that they will have unprotected sex!!!!”… which you know who that makes them sound like? Which makes it inescapable to me to detangle sexual education with sexual expectation, which is a cultural affectation of sorts.Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        My problem with abstinence only sex education is that every exposure I’ve had to it online and off, and every piece of material I’ve read on it makes it out to be functionally propaganda. The facts are tilted to scaremonger against sex and since the normative assumption is that YOU MUST NOT HAVE SEX UNTIL MARRIAGE all important issues around sex itself (and especially things like consent and rape) are ignored or underemphasized.

        Abstinence only sex-ed has a hell of a lot to prove before it can escape the stigma it’s justifiably been saddled with.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to North says:

          My main problem with abstinence-only is that it doesn’t have sufficient provision for those who are not going to abide by the sole rule of abstinence-only. I don’t mind advocating abstinence or giving a tip in that direction, as long as there is a substantial portion directed to the part of “With that out of the way…”Report

          • Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

            “We are only going to teach a method that a small minority of you are going to follow. Good luck!” is simply not an effective education method.

            Imagine if we taught people driver’s ed by saying, “Never turn left. It’s really dangerous. A lot of accidents happen that way, accidents you’ll be able to avoid by just not doing it in the first place.” No one would take such an educational scheme seriously.Report

          • North in reply to Will Truman says:

            Oh well yes, let it be said loud and clear: Any comprehensive sex-ed education program of any sort should note unambigously that abstinence is the maximum safety option that has by far the fewest risks. But, as you sagely note, that should take about ten minutes max and then “with that out of the way…” the education continues from that point on.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to North says:

          In my limited experience, abstinence plus is barely any better.

          The plus part is an afterthought, generally discussed only in terms of how badly it fails and how horrible a slut you must be to resort to it, and probably full of diseases.

          It’s the general abstinence only propaganda, followed by a brief “For the sluts and whores among us, use a condom. I guess it’s better than nothing, since you’re a diseased slut. It won’t work, though”.Report

          • zic in reply to Morat20 says:

            Years ago, a friend did some research on teenage pregnancy and found that the girls most likely to get pregnant were those who had been taught that abstinence only was the only option; anything else was a sin. So they never even investigated their contraception alternatives.

            Now here’s an important point: women, including minor girls, are legally entitled to contraceptive care as part of their preventive health care. I’d make the case, again, that the prohibition of some gendered-part of health care access, and in this case, knowledge, places religious rights above individual right to bodily integrity. Girls (and boys!) have a right to understand what sexual abuse and assault are, because each of them is potentially a victim of that crime.

            To my personal knowledge, and this could be wrong, most women who are sexually assaulted experience that as minors — before they’re 18. Certainly assault happens after, too; but I’m willing to put my neck out and suggest that the biggest demographic to experience sexual assault is girls around 16 years old. First, because girls this age desperately want to be women. They have the same hormone rage driving them as 18-year old men. They want to find out if they’re desirable, and they want to find out what they desire. And because they’re inexperienced, they’re perfect prey for serial predators. It’s easy to pick out the girls lacking confidence, and to tell, just from a little attention, how easy any particular girl might be ashamed to tell, too. This last is really important, because parents think they have the right to dictate their children’s health care; and they mostly do. But this requires children who will talk to their parents about their sexual activity, and most children won’t. Particularly if their parents are sexually regressive and preach abstinence.

            I strongly believe that young adults need to know about their bodies; and they need to know about the laws protecting their bodies. They need to know how to maintain their health. And I strongly maintain, despite the sketchiness of some sex ed, that there’s bountiful evidence that providing sexual education has a proven track record of success. We could certainly do better; were it up to me, I would require a basic national standard that included reproductive and sexual rights be taught as part of sex ed, with some focus on variations in state codes and a unit on religious objections.Report

            • veronica d in reply to zic says:

              @zic — +1Report

            • Kim in reply to zic says:

              12-14, is more probable for most sexual assault that isn’t of a violent or drug-induced nature. Get the girls before they have sex ed, and don’t have the knowledge to fight back…
              Plus, girls of that age are more insecure, and it’s a lot easier to paint parents as people who don’t know how mature you are.

              Seriously, we now have second generation bible belt homeschoolers. Not only do the kids not know how sex works, but the parents may not either. And yes, this makes for a disasterous time meeting the opposite sex, if you care about girls not getting pregnant.Report

              • zic in reply to Kim says:

                If you care about the girls not getting assaulted; and at that age, any pregnancy would be an assault; a statutory rape.

                Another thing: menses. Both boys and girls ought know about menses by the time girls start their menses.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to zic says:

                zic: and at that age, any pregnancy would be an assault; a statutory rape.

                As in it should be investigated for possible rape, or it is rape? Because I have a hard time calling it rape if both kids are the same age. Then we get into the problem we have with kids sending nude pics of themselves to each other, and law enforcement deciding that the best thing to do is make felons out of them all.Report

              • zic in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                That would be the exception; there’s a lot of playing doctor that’s pretty normal.

                But that doesn’t typically end up with a pregnancy, either, and if it did, I’d want someone responsible to at least investigate the chance that one or the has already been sexually assaulted in some way.

                Remember, for kids who are sexually assaulted, the assault itself and the sexual experiences the child explores as a result of that assault together are the child’s primary sexual education. The stuff parents or sex-ed classes offers is likely coming way after the fact, and secrecy and possibly shame will already be modus operandi.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to zic says:

                OK, that seems more reasonable (although I’d be very wary of asking the police to investigate a possible rape – the potential for ham-fisting the investigation is too high).Report

              • zic in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon in theory, this is a professional investigation, conducted by specialists; not cops. Cops here have to defer to experts. @greginak probably can speak with more expertise here, including credentialing and competence.

                In the real world? It’s probably all over the place, and most of the people who do this work (child safety social services) are probably at the very least overworked and underpaid. But now, most of it slides by unnoticed except by the child. It took me 30 years to feel comfortable talking about it of my violation of my own volition.Report

              • greginak in reply to zic says:

                @zic @oscar-gordon Correct that investigations of child sexual abuse are best performed by specialist. Ideally, which we have here in Anchorage, is to have an org or center that just does that. They have a lot of special training, cameras, toys etc and work closely with cops and CPS. I’ve seen a lot of their reports. Cops are always either present or watching but the mental health types with the training do the actual interview. Interviewing anybody, but especially children, is very difficulty to do without leading the child and with being careful just to elicit memories. Nurses are also part of the center to do all the physical exams.

                For adults you really want to have a trained SART team. The cops have extra training and a hospital to do the needed medical exams. I actually sat in on a SART exam ( not the medical exam obviously) with a long term and deeply disturbed client i worked with for years. This client had been on the streets mostly for years and hated the cops in general. They interviewed her gently but precisely. She actual thought they treated her well.

                Sex crimes need special training to investigate well. In actuality it would be better if all cops were trained better to avoid leading or eliciting false testimony. But that is another kettle of fish. Memory is a fluky thing; none of us remember as well as we think. It is easy to create or alter memories, or at least testimony, if not done well.Report

              • Kim in reply to zic says:

                with the increasing amount of fertility at 10-12 (and concommitant, triggered increase in virility), you’re seeing a lot more pregnancies that get “wished away” via abortion.Report

              • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                if neither person is consenting, we can just call it “nonconsensual sex”. This is important if people ever ban abortion “except for rape or incest”. Because then all this magically becomes “rape”.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

            The abstinence plus at the district in Redstone where I subbed was actually pretty reasonable. Spent more time on it the “abstinence” than I would have, but it hit the high points of otherwise.

            It’s actually hard to get literature on Abst+ vs CSE because by and large the former is considered a subset of the latter. But boy, a lot of people hear the word “abstinence” and recoil. It just doesn’t quite give the right feels. But for others, it does give the right feels, and could have the real benefit of such parents not pulling their kids out of sex-ed altogether.Report

            • zic in reply to Will Truman says:

              could have the real benefit of such parents not pulling their kids out of sex-ed altogether.

              I don’t think parents should have the right to pull their children out of sex ed classes, particularly as those children approach the age of consent.

              Parents do have the right to make their personal beliefs known; I don’t care if they tell a kid, “I think this is sinful, and you should not do this or you’ll burn in hell.” Parents also have a right to clearly state their rules and expectations; though I’m not to keen on how punishment is often meted out; gay conversion therapy is torture.

              But it seems to me that the religious belief to be respected here belongs to young adults, not to their parents, and this happens at the age of consent. Once you’re old enough to legally consent to sex, the rights and responsibilities of sex and sexual health should have already been taught to you as an educational requirement.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to zic says:

                Child autonomy is a tricky issue, if the child wants to go and the parents do not want them to. I was thinking of cases where they are on the same page… which is not going to be infrequently.Report

              • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

                If we told parents exactly how many preteen pregnancies got canceled by abortions… I think a good few of them might be more receptive to sex ed.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

                Perhaps so. At the end of the day, though, it’s not always society’s decision to make.Report

              • zic in reply to Kim says:


                Should be 100%; a major health risk.

                Pre-teen is 100% statutory rape. We’re no longer in the age of nubile teenagers, we’re talking about children who are still learning abstract thinking.Report

              • Kim in reply to zic says:

                it’s not nearly the “major health risk” that you think — human bodies are good at adjusting. In fact, it’s probably less of an issue for a 12 year old than for a 40 year old.

                Mental health — of course! Particularly in our society… but really anywhere.

                Also: please note, this applies to the Current Generation, which has puberty at least a year earlier than mine, and more than that when we compare to your generation.

                Ten year olds who are pregnant are not nearly as uncommon as they used to be.Report

              • zic in reply to Kim says:

                It has nothing to do with physical capacity to carry the pregnancy for 10 to 12-year-old girls.

                I realize this is fraught.Report

              • zic in reply to Kim says:

                Apparently, there are significant health risk, the pelvis is not grown enough, it leeches calcium that the girl’s bones need, and doubles the amount of blood in her body, presenting cardiovascular risk.Report

              • zic in reply to Will Truman says:

                @will-truman On a night’s sleep, I think there’s more here that needs considering; particularly when sexual activity verges to criminal activity and engages the justice system. If ignorance of the law is not a defense, then making sure people who might be involved (either committing or as a victim) understand what assault actually is seems rather important to me. Clear discussion about consent, from who can consent to what actions require active consent matter, particularly for young adults beginning their sexual lives.

                I can’t speak to this as a boy/man, but I can tell you something very important to consider as a girl/woman — many of the tales of sexual assault (not necessarily rape, but even a few there) happened to women at a young-enough age that they did not know what happened was criminal; it’s this little drop of poison in her life. Sometimes, understanding that what happened was an assault takes some years and experience; and when that realization happens, it can often be pretty traumatic. I think this goes a long way to understanding why so many sexual assaults are not reported; they happen before the victim understands what assault is, they perp is probably somebody they know know. Up to the point of the assault, they were probably a willful participant in the contact, and feel they brought it upon themselves.

                Simply saying, “You might get pregnant, don’t,” doesn’t bring anyone involved closer to understanding that actual speed limits and defensive driving skills required to navigate the roads of sexual intimacy.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to zic says:

                As a guy, and as someone who was involved in a social scene where age-divergent relationships were common, knowing (for example) what the laws surrounding statutory rape were was something definitely missing from sex-ed and society in general. I mean, you heard vague things about it, but some misinformation with the information.

                I consider the argument for comprehensive sex-ed to be really strong, but I would definitely like more focus to be on the laws. For everybody. It’s also something I think would be easier to present in a more neutral manner, and you might be able to get some opponents of CSE to see the need.

                (Then again, given that there was virtually nothing about this in my own sex ed, and my district wasn’t held captive by social conservatism, maybe not…)Report

              • zic in reply to Will Truman says:

                FWIW: I’m 54. My sweetie, 59. We met when we were 16/21, married at 20/25, had our first born at 26/31. I have some experience here, too. I’d say meeting him the single best thing that ever happened to me; grace came into my troubled life.Report

              • ScarletNumber in reply to Will Truman says:

                Will Truman:
                knowing (for example) what the laws surrounding statutory rape were was something definitely missing from sex-ed and society in general. I mean, you heard vague things about it, but some misinformation with the information.

                Yes, because with abstinence-only, there is no need to know the AOC laws.

                In NJ, it is 16. Yes, that means a 16 year old can date someone as old as they like, as long as that person is not in a position of authority over them.

                We didn’t know this, so we would rank on the 18 year olds who dated minors.Report

              • Wasn’t abstinence-only. Today would probably be called abstinence-plus, but back then it was just “sex ed.”

                It was kind of all over the place. Dishonest both in favor and against condoms. And in favor of abstinence.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                Scare the kids into behaving has basically been a parental method for, well, all of history.

                Not that it works terribly well. Teens are rebellious by nature, it’s pretty hard-wired in. They want to separate themselves from their parents, their peers, create their own unique identity and life. While this is often hilarious, it’s understandable.

                Not that it’s not a GIANT PITA to deal with.

                My kid’s going on 19, finishing his first year of college, dealing with a job that keeps him up at all hours, and is alternating between wishing he had all that free time again and feeling like he’s an adult and should be able to do whatever he wants because he’s starting to pay his own bills. (And by “bills” i mean the tiny subset I make him pay. Like his car insurance and phone bill. The look on his face was hilarious when I informed him what his actual share of the household expenses would be, followed up with an accounting of what I’ve spent since January on medical expenses for him. Eye-opening, to say the least. Kids are expensive!)

                He’s a good kid, overall. Trying hard. But some stuff, he’s just not gonna hear because it comes from authority and he wants to figure it out on his own. Painfully.

                Just like I did. Just like most people do, I suspect.Report

              • zic in reply to Will Truman says:


                I consider the argument for comprehensive sex-ed to be really strong, but I would definitely like more focus to be on the laws. For everybody. It’s also something I think would be easier to present in a more neutral manner, and you might be able to get some opponents of CSE to see the need.

                I just looked, I did not realize there are no common core standards on sex ed. I like the course author Alice Dreger lays out here, and wonder how you’d approach this for less liberal taste?

                I’d include:

                *religious beliefs, and how any child in the room might come from a family with more stringent rules, and those rules deserve respect. (And sometimes, they go too far, too. Gay conversion therapy.)

                * reproductive rights, with the basics of national policy and specifics of local state/local policy; and a survey of how state laws vary.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to zic says:

                Zic, I think it’s important to try to convey as much information as you can while maintaining as much support from the community as possible. If you need to emphasize abstinence, then emphasize it. No misinformation, and all forms of contraception should be explored. Layered arguments (abstinence is best, but absent that here are the most effective forms of birth control and how to use them, and absent that he are the least effective forms that are better than nothing).

                The “abstinence is best” statements can’t be “because Jesus said so” but you can talk about religion.

                The next part is tricky, and may not be doable. It may be the conversation that parents and/or churches need to have. But here goes… I’m hoping the factual explanations above might build some cred, and that this wouldn’t freak anyone out, but I would love to reinforce the following points:

                – Do not have sex because you think everybody else is having sex. Popular culture is grossly misleading, and here are some facts […] If you choose not to have sex, you are *not* alone.
                – Do not have sex because you think it will make you a grown up.
                – Do not have sex because you think it will make you a “man”.
                – Do not have sex because you care for your boyfriend and he thinks it will make him a “man.”
                – Do not have sex if you do not genuinely want to have sex.
                – Do not have sex with someone who does not genuinely want to have sex, even if they say okay but especially if they do not or cannot say okay.
                – Do not have sex if you are not willing to face the potential consequences of having sex (let’s go over those consequences again…), and every time is a risk and all you can do is mitigate the risk.
                – Have sex only with someone you want to have sex with, who wants to have sex with you, when you and they are both ready to have to have sex.

                That’s probably a bit much. A lot much. And could be a waste of time or actively backfire. But that’s the catalog of things I would really, really like young people to know. Which is probably why it shouldn’t be up to me…

                (This is not an extensive list of what I would want taught. I really like your idea of talking about the law.)Report

        • Kim in reply to North says:

          all sex ed scaremongers against sex. This is deliberate, and a bit malicious as well.Report

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    C1: I’m skeptical of White’s explanation, because the kids he’s talking about are radical leftists. They reject almost all of the things he says they leaned from us. I don’t know. Maybe you can argue that they internalized the underlying theme, which is that liberty doesn’t matter, and certainly they don’t seem to think that it does (retreating to their safe spaces instead of trying to silence others is a pretty bad example of this, but I know the type well enough), but this seems more like an excuse to get up on a soapbox than an actual explanation.

    Not that it’s not a good soapbox speech.Report

    • Guy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Safety doesn’t require disinviting Bill Maher, but opposing dickishness might.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      The leftists I went to college with were fighters, eager to engage with their ideological opponents directly, and they took their lumps, when it happened, with something approaching dignity.

      I don’t recall anyone trying to disinvite, or claiming that a speaker made them feel unsafe (see Oberlin just recently). They took it as an opportunity to protest outside, or heckled from inside.Report

  5. Glyph says:

    “I… don’t do well with subtitles, I’m afraid.”

    Wait..I thought you said you often USED subtitles (well, closed-captioning; same diff) due to hearing issues. What gives?Report

  6. Morat20 says:

    C2: His point about the fragmentation of the field is perfectly valid — in fact, the Hugos have attempted to adjust for this (they’ve added a number of new categories. The results of which — ironically — have been used by the Sad Puppies to claim bias, because Author X has won “9 Hugos” versus some historical (and obviously superior) author’s one. Except of the 9, 8 are in categories that didn’t exist for the historical author).

    Sadly, they’ve resisted breaking “Best Novel” and “Novella” into separate genres — I can understand WHY (they don’t want to separate fantasy and sci-fi at all, and if you won’t do that you can’t do categories for things like urban fantasy) but I think they should at least bite the bullet and open up a YA’s category for best novel.

    Part of the problem is the deliberate structure of Worldcon — it takes two years to change anything, deliberately. But a lot of it is inertia — they want to remain wedded to a single ‘best work’ in a field, and keep the fields broad. It was a big fight to bring in stuff like TV and graphic novels.

    If I was on the organizing committee, I’d consider a trial year — break the novel category at least into Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Young Adult as a trial (and allow all of them to compete for the overall best work) and see how the numbers turn out.

    If you care about the Hugo brouhaha, it’s looking like a 3/6 or 4/6 proposal (6 works on the final ballot, each nominator can only nominate 3) is one idea that looks like it’s going to be proposed to the committee, and something like RAV or preferential voting (standard multi-party election voting concepts that handle bloc voting) is another.

    One thing that stood out — in the comments over voting changes on Making Light, one thing that keeps coming up when weighing proposed changes is ensuring that the Sad Puppies representation on the final ballot is in keeping with their % of the nominations pool, even if they bloc vote. In short, quite a few people very angry with the Puppies crapping in the punch bowl are nonetheless determined to make sure any changes don’t disenfranchise them.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Morat20 says:

      It was an interesting piece. I won’t speak to the structural issues he notes, but the part where he notes that a pitfall of criticism in any field is that the critic (or really, anyone exposed to a lot of the media in question) may begin to overvalue originality over other qualities is valid IMO.

      On the one hand, original visions ARE valuable, and SHOULD be prized. I’m on record saying that a train wreck disaster like the film Southland Tales is far more fascinating to me than a lot of movies out there, because Kelly tried something different, and shot for the moon.

      On the other hand, originality is obviously not incompatible with a work otherwise being a complete and total mess. There is simply no way for even me to argue with a straight face that ST was anything like the “best” movie that year or any other, unless we design a very specific category for the express purpose of fitting in oddballs.

      How do you fairly rank something that (whatever its other lacks or flaws) at least is not cookie-cutter against something else that is perfectly-competent or even good, (but you also feel like you have seen a million variations of)?Report

      • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

        There’s innovative, and then there’s innovative just to be innovative. Often, the tropes we have are there for a reason! There are truly groundbreaking works out there… but often they don’t even have to pretend to be “innovative”. They simply exist, and are awesome because of it.

        Award bait is a different category than “innovative”, as well. Critics, like everyone else, like to think they’re smart, so you give them a nice little riddle — a bit salacious so they can be Proud of Themselves for not being prejudiced, throw in awesome scenery worthy of the big screen…

        and you get Incendies, a hard, well written piece that didn’t actually deserve to be an Oscar Nominee.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Glyph says:

        I like how you call Southland Tales a ‘film’ instead of a ‘movie’. Presumably because it was, indisputably, filmed, or at least recorded. Whereas it being a ‘movie’ is subject to some debate.Report

    • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

      Novella deserves its own category simply because it’s serialized, often enough. That’s a different style than a full novel.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

      My own suspicion is that what both groups of Puppies are really unhappy about is that they are neither award-winning nor best-selling. More the latter than the former, if you get right down to it, but best-selling is harder to game.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Cynically, I think the whole thing started because Correria was up for two awards, got neither, and felt he deserved at least one. (That is, from what I understand, pretty common. George RR Martin describes the routine gathering of losers at the bar, drinking to “It’s an honor just to be nominated” and ritualistically drowning their sorry. But he also notes that, well, it really is an honor and frankly holding a grudge is dumb. Few people get nominated, and…most of those lose).

        That seemed to stick with him, and he and Brad kvetched about it and decided it was a shadowy conspiracy against them rather than, you know, not enough people voting for them. Why they decided shadowy conspiracy is confusing to me — I mean Larry got nominated, which is the HARD bar to pass (something like 10% of the final voters bother to nominate) but practically everyone actually votes.

        Then Beale got involved after Brad and Larry started pitching slates, and took it over.

        Right now, I can’t decide if Correria is good cop to Beale’s bad cop (they’re cooperating) or whether Larry’s just a useful fool for Beale.

        Not that it matters, I suppose. Brad and Larry certainly knew what a noxious fellow they were getting into bed with, and that anything with Beale in it was going to get really ugly and blow up on a lot of people. (That’s been how Beale works for, well, forever).

        Anyways, it’s morphed into a giant liberal conspiracy against them, making theim martyrs to their religion and ideology (but also heroes, because they’re standing up to the Big Bad Liberals). And their use of the term “SJWs” and actively courting Gamergate people is about as telling as you can get, especially the latter.

        Gamergate people are, you know, gamers. That’s their thing. Games. Not books. Games. They courted the Gamergate people because you can say “SJW’s are conspiring against us” and they’ll come running to fight.Report

        • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

          This is just crying out for a prank war.
          Can we get Chuck Norris in Combat Gear this time??
          (last time it was deemed a bit too offensive to the Actual Military.
          Shouldn’t be a problem this time — I doubt even Pournelle would object!)Report

    • aaron david in reply to Morat20 says:

      I don’t read much SciFi any more, mostly because it sucks at this point. But I think that both the “puppies” and the… whatever you want to call the others, are wrong on this. The “puppies” think this is about politics and they are half right. The “others” generally believe that SF can be used to effect change in society, which generally puts them in with the left, while the Puppies (seriously, could they have picked a more idiotic name?) feel that entertainment is best. The problem is that neither group is putting out truly good work, work on a level with Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land or The Book of the New Sun.

      The last really thoughtful and exciting SF work that I read was The Sparrow, which wasn’t even nominated for the Hugo or Nebula (though it did win a bunch of other awards.) And that is too bad, as I loved SF growing up, it was what really transformed me into a reader.

      Also, this isn’t something that is unique to the SF awards world. In 1989, Alexander Stuart became briefly celebrated as the author who both won and lost the Whitbread prize. “His most controversial novel, The War Zone, about a family torn apart by sexual abuse, was turned into a film by Oscar-nominated actor/director Tim Roth in 1999. At the time of the book’s initial publication in 1989, it was stripped of the Whitbread Best Novel Award amid controversy among the panel of three judges.” People want the books that they like to win awards. The problem is that awards are trailing indicators, artifacts for people looking to win last years war.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to aaron david says:


        The Puppies’ name is supposed to mock the left in some way but I am not sure exactly how.Report

        • aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          “The Puppies’ name is supposed to mock the left in some way but I am not sure exactly how.”

          Then the choice sucks as much as what they write.Report

      • Kim in reply to aaron david says:

        If you like dune, I might suggest you check out “Fallen London” (that’s a webgame, but it’s about as complex and not as likely to spell everything out at once).Report

      • Morat20 in reply to aaron david says:

        You have a weird view of how the Hugos work. I’d recommend George RR Martin’s blog, where he actually dissected the Puppies claims.

        Even the link here in question — there are no ‘critics’ picking the nominees. Everyone who has a membership to Worldcon can nominate. And that’s “everyone who has 40 bucks and a desire to go to Worldcon, or 40 bucks and a desire to support Worldcon even if they’re not going”.

        Which means yes, the pool from which nominations spring is limited — but because it’s self-selected for “People who go to or support Worldcon, and also feel like filling out a nomination ballot” which is like 10 or 15% of the total “People who support or go to Worldcon”.

        The problem with the Sad Puppies — and you — is you’re just assuming some “Others” exist, that the Sad Puppies organized to fight. Except no one has shown these ‘others’ exist. GRRM pretty conclusively demonstrated it, in fact. (As did the success of the RP slate).

        The tastes of the average Worldcon attendee/supporter willing to fill out a nomination ballot isn’t going to be representative of the entire universe of sci-fi readers, for sure.

        Also, if you think sci-fi sucks at this point, well…I’m curious as to what you consider ‘good’ sci-fi in the first place.Report

        • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

          GRRM always asks his blogreaders to nominate his works. I consider this a bit questionable, really… and I think it’s a residue of getting a few too many rejections back in the day (Analog was notably harsh, as they often were).

          THAT said, the only way you could actually get a slate together would be to use the internet — and, really? Sci fi folks are generally too fragmented from the getgo.

          I mean, way back when (and I’m sure today) the authors maintained an active mailing list. But even if you get all the authors to endorse a slate (practically impossible with those egos!)… you’d have to distribute it to enough people to matter. Authors themselves aren’t enough of the convention.Report

        • aaron david in reply to Morat20 says:

          “Which means yes, the pool from which nominations spring is limited — but because it’s self-selected for “People who go to or support Worldcon, and also feel like filling out a nomination ballot” which is like 10 or 15% of the total “People who support or go to Worldcon”.

          I know how the Hugo’s work. I would posit that the people who are winning SF awards want to keep the ballots only going to that 10 or 15%, but as I said, at this point I think SF sucks and don’t want to invest any more time than this in it.

          But thank you for lumping me in with the baddies in this. Yes, I do think that there are others, notwithstanding you and FRRM’s opinions. Because there are always others, its human nature. I have seen it in every organization that becomes even remotely political (political in the art of possible sense, not the red v. blue sense) which is every organization.

          As for what is good SF, I listed four titles. If you think I am missing something, please, give me some recomendations. I am always looking for something new. But I have also spent most of my adult life around bookstores new and used and have a good idea of what is out there.Report

          • Kim in reply to aaron david says:

            You’ll enjoy Kulthea (Shadow World) too. Strongly advise reading, and maybe playing a game. That world is sooo complicated and fun! There’s even tidal charts for multiple moons… If insane levels of detail are your thing, well, I can always dig up a few more of those!Report

          • Morat20 in reply to aaron david says:

            I know how the Hugo’s work. I would posit that the people who are winning SF awards want to keep the ballots only going to that 10 or 15%, but as I said, at this point I think SF sucks and don’t want to invest any more time than this in it.
            You’d be wrong. There’s annual griping that not enough people fill out their nominations ballots. They DO keep the attending membership low (they don’t want Worldcon to get too big, boots on the ground) but do push to get more people to get the supporting memberships so they can nominate and vote.

            Just glancing at the nominees list from the last decade or so:

            A Deepness in the Sky, American Gods, The Algebraist, Spin, Accelerando, Old Man’s War,Anathem, Ancillery Justice, The Three Body Problem, Blindsight…

            Not on the list: Silo, for instance, was quite strong (and self-published). That may have been under novella or serialization, though.Report

            • aaron david in reply to Morat20 says:

              @morat Hmm… I have read American Gods and Anatham. Anatham was pretty good, Amer Gods so-so. I love Iain Bank’s fiction, up to a point. Complicity is a phenomenal book, and the only one that Banks follows through with his premiss. I never could get into his SF, as it always seemed to me to reliant on I Can Think Of Cool Things, and not enough actually having a point to writing SF. For what it is worth, I have read about a half dozen of his SFnal books, and they all leave me cold.

              I will look into the others. Thank you.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to aaron david says:

                Your dislike of American Gods has been noted and marked against you. 🙂

                The Culture books are fantastic, but not to everyone’s tastes. The “I can think of Cool Things” bits are…incidental. Window dressing.Report

              • aaron david in reply to Morat20 says:

                Those “incidental” bits seem to be able to make or break a book for me. I have read Consider Phlebus, Player of Games, Look to Windward and I think Excession, and they just left me cold. I never got the feeling that he would follow through on his ideas. I know that is not a great way to describe it, but it always felt like he pulled his punches.Report

              • zic in reply to aaron david says:

                @aaron-david almost all of Banks work has some nagging, this-doesn’t-add-up detail. For the culture, sci-fi work published as M., the violence repulses me; a lot of it’s just there for the fans that love m. in monster mode.

                Look to Windward, which is essentially an exploration of suicide written in the wake of 9/11, may be one of Bank’s finest works. It’s a ring orbital, plates the size of continents in a ring around a star. One of the plates has what’s essentially an overhead roller coaster, built long ago by someone with a creative bent, and now falling to decay. It’s spectacular; I’d go there in a minute. I think it didn’t get enough attention as a philosophical exploration of how the violence that changed our world made us feel. (Edited to correct book name. and it was published in 2000, so before 9/11; yet I read it soon after, and it seemed an exploration of that in some way.)

                Another of my favorite works is The Algebraist. And Surface Detail is a fine read; perhaps his most grounded moral work.

                I’d also recommend his more recent work; and tell you my least favorite books are Dead Air and Canal Dreams; though I enjoyed reading them, the frustrated me, each.Report

              • aaron david in reply to zic says:

                I have read Canal Dreams and Dead Air, the later being the last book of his that I read. I found it completely forgettable, more so than Canal Dreams which is slightly silly, slightly surreal. None of the M. stuff really did anything for me, as I don’t find the violence either remarkable or aweful, just pointless. Also, during the time I read him my politics have moved from being a democrat, albeit on the conservative side, to heavy libertarian. And as that has happened I have found his work less and less interesting or insightful. After 9/11 he seemed to become more interested in writing boiler plate than exploring ideas. To be fair, I have found this to be true on both sides of the aisle, and it has been a real drag on contemporary lit.

                All of that said, to you I would recommend Complicity. To be sure the violence in it is horrible, but it is not there to please the fanboi’s. It simply needs to be there, as the story dictates it. I may not agree with his thoughts in this book, but I do feel that he follows them to the end.Report

          • El Muneco in reply to aaron david says:

            I’d put _Curse of Chalion_/_Paladin of Souls_ right up there with anything. Most would say it’s fantasy and not science fiction, but I think there’s an argument that it is science fiction, but the science is theology – putting it with Dante among others in a slightly separate category from everyone else because the religious aspect is played straight and never flinched from. It’s part and parcel, in fact.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Morat20 says:

          The tastes of the average Worldcon attendee/supporter willing to fill out a nomination ballot isn’t going to be representative of the entire universe of sci-fi readers, for sure.

          See, the thing that annoys me most about this situation: The Hugos belong to worldcon. They’re not some sort of ‘official sci-fi award’, where H.G. Wells and Jules Verne descend in Leonardo da Vinci’s helicopter to pick the winner. It’s just a bunch of guys at a con.

          Nothing, absolutely nothing, is stopping anyone else from coming up with their own awards. Others have.

          Hugos only have relevance because, historically, they *pick good works*. I.e., exactly the thing the SP idiots think they *don’t* do.

          Now, it’s possible that the Hugos have *recently* become very irrelevant. That they used to pick good works, but no longer do. Which means it’s the perfect time to launch a new award! Challenge them!

          But no. That’s not what they did. They wanted the name of the Hugos, while entirely changing how the entire system works. Changing the system means they *aren’t* picking the same sort of works as before. Now, they might be picking better ones, or worse ones, but they aren’t the same.

          It’s sorta like a chain restaurant buying out a family-owned…no, wait, the Hugos wasn’t for sale. It’s like a chain restaurant *suing* a family-owned restaurant and taking control of it.

          There are now four groups of people buying sci-fi: a) a group who doesn’t care about awards, and hence none of this is important, b) a group that used to like Hugo books but knows what happened so will discount that award from now on, c) a group that didn’t like Hugo books but will now, but could have just as easily been served via a new award, d) a group that liked Hugo books in the past, has no idea what happened, and will be tricked into buying Hugo books for a short time in the future until they figure it out.

          And the worse thing is…either worldcon lets the SP keep winning…*or* it changes the rules, which, unless done very carefully, is also going to break the system. The Hugos were a fragile ecosystem that Beale just held a dirt bike race in and turned it into a muddy mess. Fixing it is going to be fairly difficult, especially while idiots on dirt bikes insist they have the right to be there too.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

            Nah, there’s a handful of simple voting rule changes that would fix it.

            The 3/6 or 4/6 system is fairly simple to voters. The more ‘fair’ and robust — the actual counting mechanism prevents a minority of like minded people from monopolizing the awards, whether on purpose or by accident – reweighting methods (the ballot would work the same for voters and nominators) is a bit of a hard sale, because people tend to instinctively dislike the idea of their votes being weighted.

            You can show, mathematically, that they get more satisfactory results (ie: the end results are more acceptable to a larger swathe of people) but math and gut instinct don’t always align. If they did, Vegas would just be desert.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Morat20 says:

              The 3/6 or 4/6 system is fairly simple to voters.

              …and would solve nothing at all. All the slates have to do is present 6 choices and have a website tell each person which 3 or 4 to vote for via a randomizer.

              I am somewhat baffled that anyone thinks this can *possibly* solve the problem. It can’t, even in theory.

              I mean, Beale is an idiot, but surely he’s smart enough to figure out a way to distribute votes in a somewhat equal manner to *all* works he wants on the ballot. Tell people to roll a dice, or select works based on their birth months, or something. Considering how those nominations were able to vastly overwhelm the system, making them split their forces in half accomplishes nothing at all, as each half will *still win*.

              Or we’ll just see two slates again. The SPs will have one, the APs will have another, and both of them will manage to win. Yay?

              The weighted votes can at least solve it in *theory*. (Although I’ve previously mentioned my objections to that, as it results in strategic voting of people having to not vote their actual preferences…if a person has, for example, one popular and one unpopular choice, to actually get his unpopular choice on the ballot, he needs to leave off the popular one.)Report

              • Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

                Again, any election system can be gamed. The Hugos are particularly easy to game because of the massive number of potential candidates and the simple electoral system.

                However, even a 4/6 or 3/6 system requires a great deal more coordination to properly game. You can’t whistle up a hundred gamer-gaters and say “vote this slate” — you have to work to make them split it evenly. But 3/6 has the same basic flaws as the Hugo’s current systems, which is it can be gamed without knowing a lot of detail about the actual electoral landscape. You’re not gaming the edges, you’re running the board and you either have the votes or don’t.

                But reweighting systems work fine. In theory, you can game them. But in practice, for something like the Hugos, you can’t. There’s simply not enough data — to game something like that, you need a lot of polling data so you can see where the exploitable edges are.

                That’s why I like RAV. Simple for voters (nominate as normal), encourages diversity, automatically and objectively handles slates or any grouping of similar ballots, and while it can be gamed in theory, in practice it can’t unless someone starts polling the heck out of the Worldcon members.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                Oh, as to your gaming with the popular/unpopular.

                To do that, you first need to know which is popular and which isn’t. That’s…very difficult to tell. For any given Hugos, there are at least a dozen to two dozen works that are widely known enough to guess they’re in serious running. But there’s no way to tell, so trying to game it by leaving off ‘popular’ works is an exercise in massive guessing and frankly really risky.

                Secondly, again — if it’s an unpopular work, why would you expect your sole vote to matter — as either a half or full vote? Your ‘unpopular’ work has to have enough votes to be a contender, but if it’s that popular than….it’s not really unpopular, is it?

                Plus, it does average out — if you have a winner, your other votes count less true. But if your other votes are for ‘unpopular’ works (or rather, perhaps not as mainstream), then wouldn’t it appear on ballots of others who DON’T have that winning book already?

                In the end, without concrete polling, strategic voting for a weighted system is pointless. You’re statistically better off just listing what you like, because the odds on your guessing the ‘popularity/unpopularity’ of given works is pretty close to nil. (You certainly can’t guess closely enough to know how to vote to game it. There might be twenty books within 15% of the ballot cutoff, for instance. But are you going to know that BEFORE filling out your ballot?)

                And since the idea for nominations is you….list up to five works you think were Hugo-worthy, well – -a system that wherein that’s the best strategy is a good one.

                The final vote for the winner is just regular winner take all, of course.Report

    • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

      I’d rather not break it out by genres. I think he’s correct that there needs to be a “comedy” section… though Hambly and others of more subtle, understated and “definitely not branded as humor” deserve a mention as well.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

        If I was gonna mess with tradition, I’d create sub-genres — Best Fantasy, Best Sci-Fi, Best Young Adult SF/Fantasy — and retain the overall “best work” field on top. (So a book could win best sci-fi novel AND best novel in the same year).

        I’ve always been a huge Hambly fan.

        If you like Hambly, you might check out PC Hodgell’s Chronicles of the Kenceryth. (God Stalk is the first). Her work was held up in a publishing right’s dispute for like 20 years, but they’re finally available again and she’s writing again. Excellent stuff.Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Kim says:

        I’ll always look favorably on Hambly for creating a “Star Trek”/”Here Come the Brides” crossover that gave Emperor Norton a speaking part… And made it work. As both a “Star Trek” novel /and/ a “Here Come The Brides” novel. With Klingons in both of them.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

          I found that one deeply amusing. Ishmael, I think it was called. For Star Trek novels, though — you can’t beat Ford. The Final Reflection and How Much For Just The Planet are absolutely worth it.

          I quit reading Star Trek books as a teenager, but I made sure to snap those up on Kindle. Just for when I’m feeling nostalgic.

          PC Hodgell is fantastic, although I might be biased. Her world building is top notch.Report

          • El Muneco in reply to Morat20 says:

            On the topic of “Star Trek” licensed fiction, I’m a huge Diane Duane fanboy, and I don’t think you can go wrong with anything ST with her name on it. Since I have to be contrary (it’s in my contract), I always recommend _Doctor’s Orders_ as my go-to, even though it’s not in her main continuity. What I like best about Duane’s books is how well she is able to get into the heads of how we would like the characters to have been…Report

            • Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

              Was she the one that did the heavy lifting for Romulan and Vulcan culture? (There were at least two books that delved deeply into Romulan/Vulcan history, in the same way The Final Reflection did for Klingons).

              And by “delved deeply” I mean “created it and then the star trek writers used it later”.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Morat20 says:

                It seems like you could tell some pretty interesting stories about Romulan/Vulcan history (and maybe this has already been done in the books you refer to). We know that the Vulcans largely renounced violence (and with it emotion), but the Romulans ARE Vulcans, or were. So how did that split work out, politically? We view the Vulcans as the “good guys”; but did they force the Romulans out (cultural/ethnic cleansing), when they built their peaceful Federation-oriented paradise?

                Are there Romulans that agitate for right of return to their Vulcan homeworld?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Glyph says:

                Diane Duane wrote the book on it. Spock’s World covers the development of Vulcan (it’s done in sort of a parallel story to the Original Series cast’s plot line) from warlike to logical and peaceful.

                Out of sheer self-defense, because they kept nearly wiping out their species. One bit I remember was a bit of fix-fic there — in which Sarek complains that one critical word was translated poorly — it’s not “without emotion” but “Mastery of emotions”. That Vulcans have emotions, they’re just mastered and tamed by the logical mind, and not the driver they used to be.

                My Enemy, My Ally (I think there were three or four books after that) explore the Romulan history as thoroughly.

                Diane Duane basically invented the entire Romulan and Vulcan backstories, and did a phenomenal job.

                Ford did it for Klingons in “The Final Reflection” (which is, basically, one of the few Star Trek books I’d recommend reading to anyone that enjoyed Star Trek). He turned the Klingons from the space barbarians of TOS into a warrior race — everything the Klingons were in TNG and later. Most of the book predates TOS and deals with the Klingons losing their way, losing their culture and becoming little more than barbarians without honor.

                Basically he set up, and a very well written book, everything that made Klingons Klingon after the original series run.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Morat20 says:

                She is indeed that author. More so the Rihannsu (AKA “Romulans” – those humans, what can you do?) than the post-split Vulcans, though. And definitely in the TOS continuity, rather than the TNG one, in which the Romulans and Klingons inexplicably switched personality types and which race fielded Birds of Prey…Report

  7. Morat20 says:

    L2: I don’t think the early AM raid was necessary, but honestly the police seem to think they can’t carry out a search warrant without flash-bangs and assault rifles these days, no matter where you go. It’s just normally poor people on the line. Maybe if enough important people (you not, with money and connections and bleached skin) get kicking in the door treatment, something will actually be done.

    Political witch hunt is a stretch though — there’s a long-running probe into Walker’s time as county exec, and the figures getting raided were all bigwigs in his administration there. The exact sort of people who would get their phones and computers seized in any corruption investigation. It’s an investigation Walker’s tried to squash, in fact. Several times.

    Not sure you can call it a witch hunt . How do you tell an investigation from a witch hunt? Not sure about the political part — well, Walker’s a politician and the corruption investigation was from his time as a political figure, but that’s “political” in “political witch hunt” tends to imply it’s partisan-based, rather than “elected position” based.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

      I’m hoping Mike Drew weighs in on this, since it’s local to him (I moved away in 2006). I didn’t dig in too much into it to see if there is more substance to it. I am more interested in the use of aggressive raids on white bread conservatives, something that I think should happen more often until they get tired of it and change the laws.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I don’t have much. I thought that article was melodramatically written. i got the point by the end of the second lengthy description of what it looks & feels like when police conduct a search warrant on your home. Then there was a third.

        The unpleasantness of these searches seems to me to be a bit of distraction from the question of whether this is a legitimate investigation (or once was but has gotten out of control). And I’m pretty sure it’s the latter that the article (or in any case its publishers) is mostly concerned about. It wold be great to have a discussion about how search warrants could be serves both effectively and less intrusively (but then war is cruelty and you cannot refine it kind of thing too, you know? Searches are by nature intrusive & unpleasant.), but is that the discussion really being sought here? (This is basically the point @oscar-gordon is making.)

        So… is it a legitimate investigation that has gone completely off the rails, or possibly was always just a partisan witch hunt? I am certainly concerned about it having gone off the rails if the investigators, as the article seems to imply, are just blindly searching the effects of supporters of Act 10. OTOH, I think there is at some level legitimate reason for the investigation to exist. But I don’t really have much in the way of specifics on that. Supporters will have their case as to why it’s meritless; opponents will have theirs as to why it’s vital. I don’t have a basis to judge right now.

        Generally, while I have addressed the question of Walker’s education repeatedly, trying to some extent to keep it not about him because it’s an important question in my view (presidential preparedness), I will pretty much cop to not being able to be impartial on matters more specifically focused on Scott Walker’s political record in Wisconsin, especially as relates to state issues. I can kind of step back and assess things more dispassionately in terms of his place in the presidential race, but in terms of Wisconsin issues and Walker, it’s pretty much *flames* *on the side my face* etc. So i’m probably not your best man for assessing the John Doe investigation neutrally or even accurately. It’s sort of hard to know where to start with it tbh.Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Salon is usually too excitable for my taste, but this piece on the affair seems sensible:

          Note in particular “the melodramatic National Review story leaves out the significant detail that these were government employees suspected of corruption.” This is pretty much what I suspected reading the NR piece.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Yes, I am much more focused on the search aspect because I want that to change (not the fact that police need to execute search warrants, but the how it is done – overwhelming use of force when it isn’t warranted, obvious media involvement or pandering during or after the search, etc.).

          The validity of the investigation itself is interesting, and troubling if this is all a giant fishing expedition, but again – conservatives have generally been the ones pushing for such powers at the behest of police (while liberal politicos are silent about it), so, again, a bit of sauce for the goose may actually help to get things reined in a bit & restore a measure to the 4th amendment.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Yeah, it’s fool’s gold as an article if you’re processing it in terms of tactics used in searches. That’s not the point. The article’s point is that these are innocent people (including Scott Walker) being pursued for political reasons, that the John Doe investigation law is unjustified and too burdensome on people questioned during the investigations, and that the laws Walker and others are being investigated for are unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment if they are being used correctly here (if not then it’s just lawless harassment). You have to judge all that for yourself; I can’t really help.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Drew says:

              I’d have to dig deeper and from more sources before I can decide if it’s legitimate or political harassment (or a combination thereof). Seeing as how I just heard about it a day or so ago, I just haven’t had time to dig further.Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    C3: Coincidentally, a study saying “binge drinking is up” has been making the rounds around the news cycle, with south Queenland leading the way.Report

  9. zic says:

    L5 — this is a classic example of the reasons women have so much trouble when they make a sexual assault accusation.

    In the examples, the fact that the victims were too inebriated to give consent seems to have missed the author; or at least not been properly weighted in her examination of difficult cases. Class, unclear communication, and the expectations of ‘white middle class women’ are given as complicating reasons for unclear and unfair prosecution.

    But in every case, sober, clearly-communicated consent was absent.Report

  10. Chris says:

    [C2] Damn that dude is long-winded. I gave up about a third of the way through when I realized I was reading thousands of words on awards that I don’t care about in a literary genre I don’t read. That I made it a third of the way through shows how suggestible I am.

    [H3] If you’re interested in the artifacts of (relatively) recent wars, I recommend a trip to YouTube, where you’ll find many videos showing people finding some of the massive (and I mean massive, as in on a nearly incomprehensible scale) number of artifacts buried under a few layers of soil, if at all, in the swamps and steppes of Eastern Europe from the massive (again, on a nearly incomprehensible scale) war between the Nazis and the Soviets. I don’t just mean bullets and the occasional mess tin, I mean whole friggin’ Soviet and Nazi tanks. Or, to take one example, a Soviet tank captured and used (then lost) by the Nazis, pulled whole out of a pond:

    View on YouTubeReport

    • Morat20 in reply to Chris says:

      The tl;dr version of C2 is:
      “The Hugos are nominated by the supporters and attendees of Worldcon. Which is a pretty small sample of everyone who reads sci-fi, and self-selected at that — doubly so for nominations. Every one eligible to vote on the final ballot can ALSO submit nominees, but only a tiny fraction do. So there’s a lot of filters just built into the structure, and that gives you some results that don’t track things like sales records. It’s not some elaborate conspiracy against conservatives. It’s just that the people doing the work and turning in ballots have more specific tastes and engagement than the vastly more popular readers might not.”

      Which is perfectly true for any award ever. Golden Gloves, Emmy’s, Oscars, what have you. Most of the people who vote don’t bother to fill out the nominations, and the people that DO fill out the nominations are pretty passionate and probably not a representative sample of the voters, who themselves aren’t a representative sample of the wide audience.

      OTOH, George RR Martin has a nice post where he digs into several years worth of nominees (And winners) for the Hugos, compares them to the claims of the Sad Puppies, and decides the Puppies are frankly full of crap.Report

  11. LeeEsq says:

    A3-Lack of cynicism is a good way to describe the difference between a lot of East Asian media and maybe Bollywood, I haven’t seen any Bollywood so I’m making an educated guess, and a lot of Western media. There is a lot of sincerity and idealism in Asian media that doesn’t work with the West for some reason. Compare the original Iron Chef to the American version. In the Japanese Iron Chef, you can do the Chairman Kaga idea sincerely and the audience accepted this. You couldn’t do this in the American version because it come across relentlessly silly.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      My experience with Bollywood films (which is veeeery limited) tells me that they’re still in the Hays Code days. It’s very important to have only certain conflicts, only certain ways to overcome them, and even movies that target adults are keeping in mind that children might see them.

      But I’ve spent a lot more time with the ones that make it to US library shelves than the ones that don’t.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        India still has a film censorship board from what I understand, so you basically are right. Its actually more restrictive than the Hays Code. The Hays Code required some clever writing and directing but did allow for adult plots. There were purely adult and serious movies made during the Hayes Code days. Bollywood seems even more restrictive.Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

          A fair number of Bollywood film plots are copied from European works: Shakespeare, Austen, and the like. This isn’t to say that they are good. A Jane Austen plot can easily be reduced to a cheesy novel, as shown by innumerable knock-offs. But neither is the plot a problem with its being an adult work.Report

  12. Saul Degraw says:

    Here is another long-take on the Hugo culture war but very anti-Sad and Rabid Puppy.

    I don’t have much of a dog in the fight and Hugo seems to be the People’s Choice Award basically but it is not terribly surprising that those who ran a slate are going to get the nods. Vox Day does seem like a truly noxious kind of guy based on his own writings. Not someone I would want to hang around.

    What is the split in SF/F fandom between liberals and conservatives? How many far-right wing types are out there?Report

    • Chris in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t have words to describe how big of an asshole Beale is. He was raised to be one, though, so I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Chris says:

        Was he raised by a fascist?Report

        • Chris in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Fascists? No. Why do you think he’s a fascist?Report

          • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

            The link Saul provided describes him as a neo-fascist (or at least as having tendencies/sympathies in that direction).Report

            • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

              Ugh, I just read it. It’s another example of calling something fascist because it’s odious. He’s not a fascist. There are awful things that are not fascism.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

                Defending a fascist makes you a fascist too.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Oh Well Played.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                OK, he’s a fascist! Just so I’m not one.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Chris says:

                I dunno. The authoritarian streak, the strongman figure, and the stab-in-the-back mythos are pretty much standard part of a fascist state. The heavy emphasis on race (as opposed to nationality) that Beale displays is another key sign.

                Really depends on whose definition you use, and ‘How it’s defined’ is questionable enough to have a huge page on wikipedia about it.

                Neo-fascist seems pretty good, though. The racial and authoritarian angle Beale has for sure.

                The nation/state angle’s a bit more nebulous, but since he’s a Dominionist, I’d probably count that. More of a stretch though.Report

              • Chris in reply to Morat20 says:

                The authoritarian streak, the strongman figure, and the stab-in-the-back mythos are pretty much standard part of a fascist state.

                Yeah, and standard parts of some other things as well. He’s not a fascist.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Chris says:

                Hence “neo”.

                However, the fact that his particular flavor of crazy is heavily religious, it’d really be some incredible rigid theocracy with a hefty racial caste system.

                Sorta like Iran, only turned up a notch, with a male white Christian elect as full citizens, white Christian women as subservient second-class barred from most aspects of citizenship, and minorities and non-Christians as bottom caste with no rights.Report

              • Richard Hershberger in reply to Chris says:

                But is he a Scotsman? Truly?Report

              • Chris in reply to Chris says:


                Yeah, if “neo-fascist” just means “awful, but not fascist,” then so be it. He’s a neo-fascist.

                Now I will go weep a bit for the fate of our language.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Chris says:

                *grin*. Honestly, I can see your point. But fascism is poorly defined to begin with, and especially with individuals it’s kinda hard to tell. Plus, what’s the old saw? History never repeats, but something-something..

                Serious mind blank.

                Anyways, I’d say Beale has commonalities with fascists in some areas (the lack of a solid national identity/heritage is a real roadblock, because if you sub in his particular muscular, authoritarian religion he’d really like in charge that’s a theocracy. Can you have a fascist theocracy? I wonder what that would look like….) but not in others.

                There’s probably a better term for “wise dictator/superman overlord to the masses who fights to save the world from Evil X who have burdened his ability to rightfully rule”….Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

                Morat20: There’s probably a better term for “wise dictator/superman overlord to the masses who fights to save the world from Evil X who have burdened his ability to rightfully rule”….


              • Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

                Nah. Doesn’t work. The author of the original link is correct — historical, it’s not just opposition — it’s treason. “Stab in the back” really is a solid way to frame it.

                Bedrock opposition, even uniform and unvarying opposition doesn’t really fit. Obama’d have to be claiming Republicans are un-American, hate America, and deliberately attempted to destroy it.

                Which is a heck of a long way from “oppose me” or “mistaken”.

                Anyways, it really is a bad term for Beale. He’s not a nationalist of any stripe, unless you make Christianity a nation. Which some people think it is, but anyways just complicates the whole thing.

                Authoritarian is pretty much unarguable, and certainly both racist and sexist (he has been quite clear he finds non-whites and women to not be the equal of white men, and feels that fact should be enshrined in law).Report

              • Richard Hershberger in reply to Morat20 says:

                “Authoritarian is pretty much unarguable, and certainly both racist and sexist (he has been quite clear he finds non-whites and women to not be the equal of white men, and feels that fact should be enshrined in law).”

                For whatever it is worth, whenever I feel tempted to use the word “fascist” outside of the context of the period from the end of WWI to the end of WWII, I generally substitute “authoritarian.” It gets the idea across while avoiding tedious discussions about definitions. I am in fact quite fond of tedious discussions about definitions, when held for their own sake. But they are distractions when trying to talk about something else, such as some authoritarian jerk.Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Japan had a fascist theocracy.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

                I hadn’t really thought about Japan like that. Was it really that religious though?Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                yes, obedience toward the emperor was because he was a religious figure, just as much as because he was a political figure.Report

              • Chris in reply to Morat20 says:

                Beale’s views are violently Dominionist, almost absurdly unorthodox Southern Baptist (non-Arian, non-trinitarian, spiritual warfare theology, all that craziness), equally Voodooish economics (Austrian with a heavy dose of market woo), paradoxically anti-government (his father is a convicted tax dodger, a fact that clearly plays an important role in Beale’s thinking), contrarian, old school Christian sexist, old school European Christian white supremacist, and in the end, mostly just designed to make Beale look superior to just about everyone else, because nothing dominates Beale’s thinking more than Beale.

                There’s nothing even remotely fascist in there. Hell, if you’ve read him for a while you might be inclined to think he’s more feudalist than fascist, but mostly just scarily violent fantasy Christian Dominionism.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                You know, I can see him agreeing with that.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Chris says:

                Hmm, I can’t actually disagree. Like the Top Gear bit where they brought in a model who, per their description, was exactly the same as James May – Theo Beale is every bit as bad as a fascist but in all the particulars really isn’t one. It’s kind of a paradox – all the specifics are wrong, but the net effect of having him around is exactly the same.Report

              • Chris in reply to El Muneco says:

                Right, that’s exactly how I see him.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

                I thought prescriptivism was, you know, fascist?Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Chris says:

                Will whiskey help with the weeping?Report

              • veronica d in reply to Chris says:

                @chris — I dunno. I don’t think you can dismiss the article as simple name calling, insofar as he backs up his point. Which is to say, you may not want him to use the word “fascist” that way, but you don’t own the language. The question is, can the author make his case. I think he has made his, very much so.Report

              • Chris in reply to veronica d says:

                @veronica-d I’ll be sure not to do that, then.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Chris says:

                @chris — My point is, it’s a word with baggage, but I think it is worthwhile to engage with the point behind the word, even if you don’t think it was the best word for the job. There is certainly something Beale represents, some flavor of reactionary thought, that is worth talking about. I think Sandifer has an insightful view of this stuff.

                Even if you don’t like the word.

                This is another post (by a different author) that I think hits a similar target:

                (It’s important to note that nostalgebraist is talking about certain kinds of hard-right thought, not stuff like right-liberatrianism, which in my view does not suffer from the flaws he sees.)

                Anyway, I sense a relationship between those two articles, even if I cannot pin it down precisely.Report

              • Chris in reply to veronica d says:

                Probably worth nothing that Beale is a “right libertarian.” He calls himself a “Christian libertarian,” but he’s not an orthodox Christian and definitely not an orthodox libertarian, to the extent that such a thing exists.

                For some reason I feel like science fiction/fantasy writers/fans should have a sense of what Dominionism is. I get the impression, now, that this is not the case.

                I thought the link that you and Saul provided was rambling and not particularly well thought out or written, but then, I would. I can’t believe I’ve read as much as I have today on the Hugo Awards. I’m going to swear off reading any more about it ever, as of this moment.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris says:

                I’ve got enough of a sense of what Dominionism is to know that I find it particularly repellant.

                Might be because I’m agnostic & I recognize that should Dominionism ever gain enough power, I’ll be one of the first up against the wall.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Chris says:

                I’ve known what “Dominionism” is for a long time.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:

                That’s when Domino’s has a bigger share of the Pizza market than they should, right?Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:

                Just to be clear. My Domino’s comment is a joke.Report

              • Glyph in reply to veronica d says:

                That’s an interesting article in that it focuses on “aesthetics” as foundational to right thought, when I see a near-equivalent on the left also.

                If the quoted righty (or libertarian) in the article is afraid of a future of safety videos and piss cups and multiple forms signed in triplicate, the lefty equivalent seems to fear drowning in a world of genetically-modified crops and isolating iPhones and such.

                Where the visions differ is that IMO a lefty is (often) more likely to fear the tyranny of the near-infinite material choices of capitalism; and the righty is more likely to fear the tyranny of the group, as enabled by that same capitalist progress (cheaply and thoroughly analyzing urine only became widely-feasible with sufficient technological advancement).

                Where they converge, is that BOTH sides’ fears are about the loss of the way things “used to be” or “ought to be”.

                They are also fears of the type that make zombie fiction (really, any type of ‘survival’ story or game, from adventure to horror and on and on -) so hugely popular with everyone – because in those stories (almost ANYTHING that’s non-literary-fiction, in a sense), the infinite bazillion little life and consumer choices we all must make IRL every single day are stripped away; the remaining choices are difficult and have huge consequences, but at least they are few in number, and there is a real comfort in that.

                The protagonists stand or fall, but as persons are not obscured; not buried in material things, nor entangled in multiple competing moral and ethical considerations (“It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or another.”)

                What a zombie story is, is an unconscious longing for the modern world to vanish, and for things to be SO simple that you take only what you can carry and you do what you have to do, because there is only one question that matters anymore: will you live one more hour, or not?Report

              • LWA in reply to Glyph says:

                This is a remarkable comment. Much to chew on.

                Uh, so to speak. But really, it is insightful.Report

              • Glyph in reply to LWA says:

                Not sure if you meant mine, but just in case you did, I am fully aware I have some righty-lefty broad generalizations that are not always applicable in there, as well as some huge oversimplifications (there’s LOADS of genre fiction and games that deal quite explicitly with things like the paradox of choice, or the risks of dehumanization coming with technological advance, or navigating the impossible thicket of competing moral and ethical systems – why, that’s what that Jaime Lannister quote is about, undermining my point!)

                Just sort of making general observations.Report

              • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

                Well said.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Glyph says:

                @glyph — I did note that nostalgebraist was not talking about libertarians in their article. In fact, I think their point is precisely wrong when dealing with libertarians, in that libertarians obviously have ideas they are willing to discuss and defend. Likewise, even if we on the left have some strange ideas, and surely we do, we have foundational ideas we can discuss. Nostalgebraist is saying that there is a strain of right-wring traditionalist thought that does not.

                As an aside, this is probably why the “radical greens” have always struck me as less left-wing and more right-wing. I know that’s hitting a “no true Scottsman” place, which fine. Sure. But still, their objections do seem to be at their core aesthetic and not idea-based. Which is why I have pretty much no use for that flavor of leftism. (They tend to hate trans folks anyhow. So there is that.)Report

              • Glyph in reply to veronica d says:

                @veronica-d –

                veronica d: I did note that nostalgebraist was not talking about libertarians in their article

                I know, you said that; but it’s hard to read

                There will only be more examinations, more certifications, mandatory prerequisites, screening processes, background checks, personality tests, and politicized diagnoses. There will only be more medication. There will be more presenting the secretary with a cup of your own warm urine. There will be mandatory morning stretches and video safety presentations and sign-off sheets for your file. There will be more helmets and goggles and harnesses and bright orange bests with reflective tape.

                …and not have your mind go right there. 😉Report

              • veronica d in reply to Glyph says:

                @glyph — I think you’re pattern-matching, but you’ll notice that he did not list mandatory bible classes or public censure for inappropriate sexual behavior? It’s not the lack of freedom that annoys such authors, since they do not want me to be free at all. Instead, it’s all culture all the time.

                The virtuous man would never fill out a form and submit it to a bureaucrat.

                Another link I’ve recently seen, this again on the hugos:

                There is no moral ambiguity; there is an abundance of moral failure. There is always a right thing to do, and it always eventually becomes obvious exactly what that is, but sometimes due to bitterness or confusion or jealousy or distance from God, sympathetic characters won’t do the right thing. I don’t call this moral ambiguity because you’re never called to ask yourself ‘what should he do?’ but ‘what will it take to inspire him to do the thing he should do’? (Redemption is a persistent theme.)

                What it will take to inspire him (and most American conservative fiction has male protagonists) is often a woman. She’s not always a love interest, but when she’s not she is usually a tragedy, a mother-figure, a saint-figure, or someone the main character did wrong by in the past. She has knowledge, she has valuable goals and is probably handy with a rifle and nasty in a fight, but men and women in American conservative fiction remain distinctly different beings. There is a lot of childbearing.

                There is a theme to all of this. It has little to do with libertarianism.Report

              • veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

                As an aside, I’m working my way through Chandler again, as one should, and I’ve been asking myself how much it fits the model of “conservative fiction.”

                And the answer is complicated. Clearly Marlow is meant to be a lone figure who stands against a deeply immoral world. He is clearly a hero. But still, his morality is always compromised. It is not that he finds the one right thing to do. Instead, it is that he finds the least terrible thing to do, a stumbling attempt to maintain humanity in a irreparably corrupt world.

                I suppose one could find conservative themes there, but I don’t. To me I find — well — something hard to articulate. But let me say it matches my sense of moral nihilism.Report

              • Instead, it is that he finds the least terrible thing to do, a stumbling attempt to maintain humanity in a irreparably corrupt world.

                And he gets hit on the head a lot.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

                There’s a lot of truth in what you say. I think it broadens from zombie movies to action movies in general: life is way simpler when you have one enemy, and you know who he is, and all you need to do is kill him before he kills you.Report

              • Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                From zombie movies to fiction in general, with its archetypes and its frequent use of very clear lines and black and white issues of good and evil.

                Wait, is Glyph’s middle name Gustav?Report

              • Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Oh yeah, I included action in that, and lots of other things too. The Quest story – why, the only thing Frodo has to do is drop a Ring into a volcano, and not wear it in the interim. Easy-peasy. I had to do more than that before lunch!Report

              • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

                I just now realized that the whole trilogy is an extended metaphor for sobriety, and the ring is drugs and/or alcohol. And Frodo’s a junkie. This would explain, among other things, why he keeps seeing wizards, dwarves, and elves everywhere, and why he thinks he’s a hobbit.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Chris says:

                Ilúvatar was spending all his time tripping out in a jam band; that kind of thing is hobbit forming.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

                As a war veteran, Tolkien probably saw a few opiate addictions up-close. Gollum sure seems like a junkie.Report

              • zic in reply to Glyph says:

                I have a tumblr of photos that remind me of my inner-eye vision of middle earth; the way I saw it as a teen in Maine, before the movies.

                Recently, I took some shots of a WWI (later II) bunker, and realized that his original illustration of hobbit hills with their holes looks like a bunker seen from a distance.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t know if I will get through the whole thing – it is LONG – but props for the Leonard Cohen nod in the title.Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      You’ll find very few religious conservatives, but many liberals with oddball views. Or if you want, you can call them libertarians.

      But politics is a horrid way to talk about creative types.
      They’re far more likely to talk about moving New Orleans 10 miles upriver (to reduce flooding) than to talk about whether or not we should rebuild.

      Mostly you’ve got incrementalists and technocrats…

      “Where do whores go?”Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      So basically, a fascist tricked a non-literary science fiction fan into gaming the Hugo Awards using faults built in the system. Literary awards are a useful way to reward art but the voting is best done in a closed system to avoid these types of incidents.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I disagree.
        I will indeed look forward to the trolling because of this.
        It will be hilarious.

        Fascism is rising again, and it’s nothing to laugh about.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Right. Everyone is pointing out that the Sad and Rabid puppies didn’t do anything illegal according to the rules. What they did do goes into the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law or going against long established norms. But handing out Slates is a long tradition in politics.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          The argument that I’ve seen is that the anti-puppies are just upset that the puppies are doing in the light what has been done in the dark for years.

          The problem with this argument is that the question “were there slates prior to the puppies?” might have an answer of “no” which would get a response of “SEE! EVIDENCE OF HOW SECRET THEY WERE!”

          I would be interested to know if the answer is “yes”, of course…Report

          • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            John Scalzi talks about being part of the “hidden conspiracy” on his blog. His take is, as usual, funny at least to me. He seems to be one that the SP’s focus on but he aggressively mocks the entire idea of secret slates.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

            Fascists always assume that their opponents are using the same tactics that they use against them.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:


            I think there is a difference between campaigning and being a glad hand (what Orson Scott Card did) and what the Puppies did.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

            The argument that I’ve seen is that the anti-puppies are just upset that the puppies are doing in the light what has been done in the dark for years.

            This would explains the liberal dominance over the Hugos, except that, as GRRM demonstrated, it does not exist. Which proves nothing, of course, except that liberals are not only scheming bastards, they’re incompetent scheming bastards,.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              There are only two ways for a ‘conspiracy’ to game the nominees. One, they control the count.

              Two, they’re voting a slate of their own. One no one knows about. Except it’d need to be at least 100 people, but no one has ever seen it or heard of it. So 100 people are keeping a secret.

              Honestly, 100 people might not be enough. They’d need 200 or 300 people to keep best novel under control, but 100 could probably sweep the smaller awards.

              Third, if there was an embedded liberal conspiracy slate — how did the RP beat it? Their easy success in all the smaller categories indicates any liberal slate would be a best novel slate only, and half their beef is with short stories. (They really hate the Dinosaur one).Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Honestly, at this point I don’t care too much about the why of SP anymore. I sent Will the link from Eric Flint because I thought he provided a lot of background & history & opinion, and he is decidedly not in the SP camp.

                Still, the reality of what SP has done is expose a weakness in the award system that has to be addressed. WorldCon is going to have to make a choice, do they want to continue to portray the Hugo as the award representative of all SF/F fans, or just the people who attend WorldCon?

                20 years ago, gaming the Hugo’s like this would be nearly impossible except from the inside. Now, a couple of rabble rousers can, if they are popular enough, basically take control of the awards from the comfort of the keyboards.

                So WorldCon has a choice. Do they do the work to change the voting to prevent slates from running away with things (we discussed ways to make that happen a few weeks ago, I believe) and keep the prestige of the award alive? Or do they keep the system but close the voting to just people who attend the actual convention, and risk losing the prestige as it becomes obvious the award is only for WorldCon fans? And while they are at it, perhaps they can modernize the award structure a bit?

                Personally, I have no dog in this fight, but I am curious as to the results, so I continue to pay attention.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Judging from the comments at Making Light, looks like they’re debating between a 3/6 or 4/6 system (you only get to make 3 or 4 nominations, but the top 6 are the nominees for the final ballet) or something like RAV or other forms of multi-selection voting that handle the bloc vote problem.

                Any voting system can be gamed, but the Hugo system can be trivially gamed.

                Gaming RAV, for instance, is…difficult. I would say impossible with something like the Hugos, because at the very least you’d need heavy polling to indicate what the field’s like so you know where you can tweak the edges.

                (If you’re an RAV fan, they’re looking at a halving algorithm RAV. Once your ballot has selected a winner, your remaining votes count as 1/2. Two winners, it’s 1/4. Three, it’s 1/8)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Exactly, easy enough to fix, at least technically.

                It’s all the complaining about what SP did that intrigues me. It’s right up there with companies filing suit, or government filing charges, against hackers who find an exploit and then tell the org about it rather than distribute the exploit far & wide.

                SP did what it did in the light. Perhaps for the wrong reason (conspiracy, yo!), but it didn’t do it in the dark. So while I can understand some grousing about the implications that the system was always rigged, the cries about how this will ruin/destroy the Hugo’s, and how everyone should vote No Award suggest to me that some people liked the previous system for a reason. Perhaps they were using it to their advantage, or perhaps they just liked how it garnered results they appreciated, or perhaps these are just people who REALLY don’t like having their apple cart upset.

                Either way, I find it interesting…Report

              • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Some people just like chaos, you know?Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kim says:

                I wonder who might answer to that description . . .Report

              • The existing system worked well enough until the SPs and RPs gamed it. Unlike your hypothetical hackers, they didn’t game it to point out the flaws; they gamed it to win awards they wouldn’t have won otherwise.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Perhaps, but now that is besides the point. The exploit is exposed.

                Fix it and move on. If the SPs are honest, and the fix is legit, they’ll accept the fix and the results moving forward. If not, well, we’ll know pretty quickly.Report

              • aaron david in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                ” Perhaps they were using it to their advantage, or perhaps they just liked how it garnered results they appreciated, or perhaps these are just people who REALLY don’t like having their apple cart upset.”

                This is exactly how I feel about it. Up above, when I said SP’s v. Others, this is what I was talking about. Like I said, I really don’t read SF much anymore, but if the awards are above board in how they were being run, I don’t think anyone would care if the SP’s (still, stupidest name ever) won or lost.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                They’re complaining for the same reason people complain if you drop a turd in a punch bowl.

                It’s not because they suddenly hate punch.

                Everyone knew slate voting could screw the Hugos, and for 90 years nobody gamed it that way. The worst anyone did, which was culturally acceptable, was pimp their own works or that of friends.

                Nobody had EVER done what SP and RP did this year — make a full slate for multiple categories, and urge people to vote for that exact slate.

                It broke a system that had worked for 60 years, and it was broken because the SP/RP were, to be blunt, being a**holes.

                I can’t think of a better word to call someone who, upon seeing a system that could be gamed but everyone agreed NOT to — an agreement that had lasted decades — comes in and knocks over the whole table out of, well, spite.

                If they’d just, I dunno, urged 300 people to sign up and nominate their favorite works, nobody would have cared. They saw a way to break the system and took it.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:


                Those aren’t the complaints I’m interested in. Those are expected and understandable. It was people who, instead of urging WorldCon to fix the exploit, instead wanted to NoAward the whole thing & spent an awful lot of energy wailing about how the awards were ruined, etc. ad nauseum.

                Yes, it was uncouth, fix it & move on, and just be happy the SPs did it all in full view of everyone. This is a pick your battles kind of thing.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh, that.

                As best I understand it:
                1) It takes two years to amend the Worldcon rules. So no fix can be in place for next year.
                2) Slate voting is an obvious exploit, and the RP have complete control over several full categories.

                Which leads to No Award — it’s a statement that such tactics, legal or not, should not be tolerated. By voting No Award, they hope to send a message that people SHOULDN’T hijack the awards to push some personal message or pimp their business (Beale is doing both, really).

                The ruined Hugos is….well, let’s be honest. A really out there racist and authoritarian injected a ton of his personal politics into the Hugos, screwed over authors competing in several categories by effectively banning anything but his own chosen works, and generally screwed about 60 years of people being adults about the award.

                And remember — the people who vote and nominate the Hugos? They’re attendees. They go to this Con, often. They pay for memberships. This is a big thing to them.

                It’s not the Oscars, which is someone else’s award they watch. This is THEIR award. The award that, for 60 years, Worldcon members have nominated, voted on, and handed out.

                And now that it’s been done — shown that a slate can take over categories — 60 years of tradition have to be amended or tossed to fix it.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Yeah, Beale really is the radioactive turd in all this…

                This is THEIR award.

                Yes & no. WorldCon bills it as the award for all SF/F fandom, not just WorldCon attendees, which is why voting is open to anyone who pays the supporting membership fee. The attendees may feel like it is their award, but it isn’t, or it shouldn’t be if it wants to advertise itself as the pre-eminent award.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                You still have to, you know, buy a supporting membership.

                I could people with supporting memberships as, you know, Worldcon people. Especially considering that, traditionally, people bought those memberships to be able to vote and get the packets for Worldcons they COULDN’T travel to.

                So yeah, it’s their award. At least until this year, the voters were overwhelmingly either actual attendees — or people who would attend if it were closer, or they had more money.

                The two I know that had supporting memberships prior to the kerfluffle both attend Worldcon if it’s within driving distance (which for them is up to 12 hours drive, so that’s a pretty wide circle) and have been many times.

                Now obviously they claim to represent all sci-fi, but so what? it’s a con award that’s only voted on by non-members. It’s got such cachet outside of Worldcon because, you know, for 60 years their nominees and winners have been pretty darn good choices.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Obviously we see this a bit differently, and I’m good with leaving it at that.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Ah, i was actually enjoying the discussion. I’m pretty torqued about the whole thing, but my inner geek is like “ELECTION THEORY!” and jumping up and down.

                Plus, I’m a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, and like talking about it — and the awards in general.

                Hilariously, at least half my favorite reading material would put me square into the puppy’s taste lists. 🙂Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Election theory is fun, and I love talking sci-fi, but I’m pretty burned out on the whole awards thing, because I’m not a con-fan.

                Maybe we can just start a sci-fi book club or something…Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Lathe of Heaven, if we’re doing classics, should make the list.

                I’ve been wanting to reread that, but my copy has wandered off. Probably because I’m married to an English teacher. LOTS of my more classic sci-fi ends up on her bookshelves at work.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Morat20 says:

                This seems like an “exploit” in the same way kicking over the punchbowl at a party is an exploit. Sure, it’s not bolted down, but it would be nice if there were some places where people could get together and behave according to adult norms and decency like the used to without being forced to behave by carefully designed security measures.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I don’t know the expert term, but that sort of election (everyone nominates X candidates for Y positions) has been studied and slates or blocs are known to distort the results.

                Once people start voting a slate, everyone has to vote a slate or the slate nominations take over.

                Prisoner’s dilemma sort of thing.

                There’s solutions, but the Hugo system is known as very, very, very easily gameable. As Beale showed.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

            The argument that I’ve seen is that the anti-puppies are just upset that the puppies are doing in the light what has been done in the dark for years

            Which was an interesting conspiracy before this, but has been rather epicly disproved by the results of all this.

            Actually, it was disproved by the math before, but these are people who can’t do math. But now we’ve actually seen how slates behave, and it appears to even the slightest outside push on the entire system can decide the entire thing in various obvious ways, and no previous year looks anything like this, where all the nominees get within a few dozen votes of each other, because the same two hundred people, and *only* those two hundred people, were voting for them.

            Also, uh, you’d think at some point people would have squealed about this. Someone would have accidentally been inducted into it who didn’t want to participate. It would be pretty easy to prove, too…just hand the letter to a lawyer, wait until the voting is over, and have them produce the evidence you already knew the winners.

            Of course, this probably could in the dark *more intelligently* and more randomly. Like, giving everyone a list of 40 books and telling them to roll some d20 and pick 6. This would be enough to lock out the other nominees, but not produce the math-obviousness of this year.

            Of course, such a thing would also be indistinguishable from the people at worldcon just *liking the same sort of books* as each other. Which is what is actually going on.

            The problem with this argument is that the question “were there slates prior to the puppies?” might have an answer of “no” which would get a response of “SEE! EVIDENCE OF HOW SECRET THEY WERE!”

            The idea of ‘secret slates’ is just one of those things where you stare in bafflement. If they’re…secret…then…huh? What? How do people know what’s on it if it’s secret.

            The closest thing to a ‘slate’ is when book-publisher Tor listed their ‘Hugo eligible works’ each year so that people could, conceivable, know which works could be nominated. (What year a work is eligible, and under what category, can sometimes be confusing.) Sadly for the conspiracy theories, Tor is one of those publishers that SP was insisting was *under-represented* for having a bunch of libertarian writers. (Tor, before anyone gets any ideas, is not part of this SP nonsense.)

            And Scazli, on his blog, has open threads sorta about this, but it’s more like ‘Post what books you think are good enough to be nominated’…and really nothing is stopping the SP people from posting books they like…and in fact they do.

            And we get authors sometimes telling their own readers to nominate their works, but that’s not really any sort of secret, and rarely a ‘slate’, either. (Authors usually want only one of their works on there…having more than one risks splitting the vote. Of course, that doesn’t matter if you *fill the entire ballot*.)Report

          • El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

            The other problem with this conspiracy theory is the same as “Obama is going to be herding Christians into FEMA death camps!” – i.e. – FEMA can’t do the job it’s supposed to be doing in any kind of reasonable time frame, so how do you think it’s going to be implementing hidden orders in perfect secrecy and all of that when Obama gives a dog whistle?Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          So kind of what is happening in Congress right now with constitutional hardball. None of the tactics being used violate the Constitution or the letter of the law but they are against the spirit of it and against the established norms of American democracy.Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

            The filibuster is constitutionally questionable. The Constitution specifies a simple majority as the standard for a bill passing either house. The filibuster comes up with a rather transparently bogus way around the constitutional requirement by distinguishing between voting on a bill and voting on whether to vote on a bill.Report

            • Eh. With a couple of very notable exceptions (which may in themselves merit reason to get rid of the filibuster), the filibuster is a face-saving device (which may give even more of a reason to get rid of it).

              But, usually, the filibuster is a tool to kill embarrassing bills that wouldn’t have passed, not embarrassing bills that would have.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                But, usually, the filibuster is a tool to kill embarrassing bills that wouldn’t have passed, not embarrassing bills that would have.

                Having a vote to proceed on a bill is a good idea, and it does stop completely idiotic bills from wasting time.

                But that could be done with a simple majority, and still stop the embarrassing ones.

                Of course, what *also* a bit of nonsense is allowing the leadership to block bills that a majority wants.

                As a small aside, I own a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, and there’s an entire section at the front explaining the history and why the rules are needed, and how the rules exist mostly to make sure that the leadership doesn’t trample over the meeting, the majority doesn’t trample over the minority’s right to speak, and, in the end, the majority gets their way.

                It also talks about how incredibly stupid some of the meeting rules that currently existed in England were at the time.

                This was in 1875. Which means when our legislature came into existence, they used the incredibly stupid English rules that existed at the time. And it is worth noting the problems described that the Rules of Order are intended to clear up are *exactly* the problems in the House and Senate.

                Hilariously, both state and Federal law prescribes Robert’s Rules of Order on corporations unless the corporation has altered them or selected another set. They are the default, by law. And, yet, for some completely idiotic reason, they aren’t what the *government* bases their rules on.Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Gerrold’s take:

      GRRM has a take… which is quite a bit longer, and mostly shows that he is easily trollable — which is nothing new.
      Jesus, this trolling isn’t even amusing. It’s taking decent people — who ought to be writing books, and making them wince about methodology (because, um, science. yeah, that stuff we like enjoying).Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I dunno, but what I do find funny is this: There’s an explicitly libertarian writing award (might even ALSO be given out at Worldcon) and the running joke is that it keeps getting won by Scottish Socilaists and Marxists.

      Charles Stross has won it at least once, and the man is far left for the UK. (He also canceled a book I was looking forward to, third in the trilogy, because one he learned the NSA had people playing World of Warcraft to spy on people, he said reality was weirder than his proposed story on the same topic).

      The average con-goer is probably more liberal, but the writers are generally all over the place. And from the few cons I’ve attended (never Worldcon) in general politics doesn’t come up. It’s like….discussing politics with your family. Most people just avoid the topic, because why get into a fight when you’re all together about something else?

      Mind you, if you happen to be airing your political views loudly in a bar at the Con, people will get into it. But that’s true anywhere. Honestly, the impression I got was that it was considered pretty rude to start a political or culture war style argument. Detracted from the con.

      Mostly people are there to talk books, awards, movies, and other sci-fi and fantasy stuff. And wear costumes and drink a lot and enjoy their hobby. Nobody CARES about politics.

      Which is how a socialist and a Marxist both won the explicit Libertarian award, because nobody gave a flip about their politics — just their books.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20 says:


        My guess is that SF Fandom is divided into just as many taste/political sort tribes as much as real life. So you will have a liberal group of SF/F friends and then a conservative group. There is probably a sort of detente that exists between the groups until you have incidents like this.Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Morat20 says:

        Libertarianism as a broad idea isn’t necessarily left or right. As a movement, it’s tended right more than left. And in practice it was hijacked back in the 80s, leading to the remnants forming into the Tea Party of today. But in the 70s, it was perfectly normal to have to qualify that you were talking about a left-libertarian or a right-libertarian.Report

  13. C2: Andre Norton, Murray Leinster, and David Weber , who sold lots of books but hardly won any Hugos, have this in common: they’re very prolific but really mediocre writers. It’s like saying that Coach was a successful sitcom for so many years: how come it hardly won any Emmys, while 30 Rock, which hardly got any ratings at all, won a bunch?Report

    • Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Andre Norton has written some very good books. And a lot of blech.Report

    • El Muneco in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Glen Cook has never been nominated for a Hugo.
      Diane Duane has never been nominated for a Hugo.
      Brandon Sanderson’s only Hugo is for a novella.
      Barry Hughart was never nominated for a Hugo.
      David Drake was never nominated for a Hugo.
      Dave Duncan was never nominated for a Hugo.
      John Steakley was never nominated for a Hugo.

      All of the above are better /at their craft/ than any of the Puppies, but Correia and Torgerson already have achieved more than any of them…Report

      • And the second Hugo for best novel was won by …
        Mark Clifton and Frank Riley for They’d Rather Be Right, beating out Asimov (The Caves of Steel), Poul Anderson (Brain Wave), and Heinlein (The Star Beast). Also some British professor for something called The Fellowship of the Ring. So these conspiracies go way back.Report

  14. Burt Likko says:

    L4: Anthony Griffin is an effin’ hero. That is all.Report

  15. Saul Degraw says:

    Adam Sandler finally goes to far with his unfunny juvenillia. Though I suspect most people won’t care. A lot of my liberal friends were talking about how this is going to put the final nail in the coffin in his status as Box Office Poison. I had to point out that Grown Ups 2 made 247 million on a budget of 80 million.Report

    • Funny People was a great movie. I actually think you would like it, Saul.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


        I divide Adam Sandler movies into two Categories.

        Adam Sandler movies where he seems to be the driving creative force and movies where he is being largely controlled by others. Punch Drunk Love and Funny People go into the second category. I think Adam Sandler can be a great actor. He just can’t be doing his schtick.Report

  16. L2:

    Are National Review types really horrified by:

    * Out of state money influencing local and state elections? That wasn’t true for California’s Prop 8.

    * Law enforcement being used for political purposes? Cough – Kenneth Starr -Cough.Report

    • LWA in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      *White people getting the Ferguson treatment.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to LWA says:

        They’re definitely horrified by white middle-class Republicans being treated as of they were members of the criminal classes.Report

        • Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Yeah, this is precisely the impression I got from the original link: “Can you believe they knocked on the door of this nice white lady, in her well-to-do neighborhood, and treated her gruffly? I mean, they didn’t even let her make a pot of coffee!”

          While the cops were clearly being assholes, it struck me from the description that they were remarkably restrained given how they behave in other neighborhoods when they raid someone’s home.Report

  17. Saul Degraw says:

    CEO cuts his own salary to raise all of his employees pay to 70,000 dollars. Right-wingers freak out because he is sitting an example against high CEO pay. Proving once again that free-market only means “Do stuff that I approve of”Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Just goes to show that there are folks who are perpetually outraged on both sides of the divide, I guess.

      Ivar’s in Seattle is doing something similar, and it has folks up in arms.

      It’s his company, he has no shareholders to answer to, no one’s rights are being violated, so everyone, instead of having loud & vociferous opinions on it, should sit back & watch.

      Or maybe just start a betting pool on the eventual fortunes of the company.

      When did we lose the ability to appreciate watching an experiment happen right in front of us?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        There is an Izakaya in Berkeley that just adds 6 dollars per head to the bill for a gratuity.

        Another restaurant in Oakland says that they charge more for food so you don’t have to leave a tip and their prices are not that high.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        It makes more sense when you realize that many people treat economics as a matter of religious dogma rather than something that can be experimented with.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

          This, although I think it’s less economics (as a science) and more corporate or business culture dogma.

          “What?! The CEO is not making more than 100x his rank & file?! That’s wrong! It’s unheard of, I tell you, it can’t end well!”

          What is left unsaid is “We have to make sure this does not end well, or spin it so it does not appear to end well, because it will upset the conventional wisdom that so privileges us.”Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            I’m mainly thinking of the Church of Capitalism that currently exists on the Right.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Like I said, it’s an experiment. Whenever I see people getting bent out of shape over an experiment, especially one that could damage conventional wisdom or the status quo, it’s usually the people who have so enjoyed the privileges of the system that rail against it.

            (Which is why the Hugo’s thing is so interesting to me – it’s an experiment, and who is upset by it is a pretty good indicator of who benefits, directly or indirectly, from the status quo).

            Let it run, see what happens. Take notes.Report

      • James K in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


        When did we lose the ability to appreciate watching an experiment happen right in front of us?

        Have “we” ever had that ability?Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      My good friend who owns plenty of companies detests the very idea of having a CEO.
      His comment is that he doesn’t have time to mind his workers, so he’ll hire folks capable of following a decent self-sustaining business plan, and step in if there’s … difficulties.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Not being a leftist, I support his right to do whatever he wants with his own money. It strikes me as a suboptimal way to target charitable donations, but that’s none of my business.

      What I object to is the notion that this is The Right Thing To Do, rather than a nice thing to do.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        He’s an idealist who is playing with his own money, More power to him.

        Now if he comes around asking for a taxpayer bailout because his payroll burned out his cash reserves, then I’ll take issue.Report

        • The article isn’t completely clear, but it sounds like he financed the raises by cutting his own salary, so the whole thing was revenue-neutral. You can see why CEOs hate the idea.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Yep, like I said, he’s betting his own money. It’s a beautiful thing to see an idealist bet his own fortunes to prove his ideals.Report

            • There were these two Marxists who run a company along strict socialists lines: if it did well, everybody got raises, and if it did badly, everybody got a pay cut. Literally everybody, from the CEO on down.

              Their names? Bill Hewlett and David Packard. After they were gone, reason prevailed of course, and real capitalists like Carly Fiorina restored order.Report

          • Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            I’ve picked through a few articles and I’m still not fully able to find the answer to the question, “How much of it is his personal salary and how much is taken from company profits?” Based on what I’ve been able to piece together using numbers from various articles (“Almost doubles salaries of a quarter of his employees” and the like), it looks like his personal salary cut should cover the lion’s share of it under the most conservative of assumptions, but it may still take some money from other sources.

            It would be interesting to know, because if the whole thing is financed by his salary, it’s a very different ballgame.

            I do have to laugh at the people who think that it will make lower income employees lazy and entitled. If it’s really a “near doubling” of the bottom salaries, we’re talking about something like a jump from $40K to $70K. In terms of standard of living, that’s massive. The drop from $70K back down to the $40K market rate has to be on your mind every time you think about not pulling your weight.Report

            • Spare the rod, spoil the employee.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

              Plus there is the expectation that if you are getting paid $70K, you are expected to do $70K worth of work.

              Some employees may slack off, but they’ll likely be the first ones shown the door.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I would think that he estimates that he’s getting at least $70K of value from everybody, or some job positions are straight up charity. There probably are people who won’t produce that much value no matter how hard they try. The question is whether even a rock star doing a particularly low-value job can produce $70K of value. If not, the company may need to lose some positions to make this a working proposition rather than trying to find the $70K office plant waterer who’s really worth the money.

                The “pay a premium and get the best employees” strategy is a pretty well proven one, but one that only works for a small group of companies in any industry. If everybody tries to hire only the top 10% in every field, 90% of those attempts are going to fail.

                Then there’s the fact that while there are some industries where a small team of well paid superstars will beat a large team of mediocre people or an army of barely competent ones, there are others where it’s totally the opposite. Moving a giant pile of bricks from here to there isn’t the same as coming up with a new video compression algorithm.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            It’s not revenue neutral

            Mr. Price, who started the Seattle-based credit-card payment processing firm in 2004 at the age of 19, said he would pay for the wage increases by cutting his own salary from nearly $1 million to $70,000 and using 75 to 80 percent of the company’s anticipated $2.2 million in profit this year.

            His money? Whatevs, his money. The profits? Well, sorta whatevs, it’s private equity.

            But given that the company now has about a half a million dollar cushion between profitability and loss, (on a revenue stream that has grown dramatically recently, but amounts to about $130,000 in gross sales per employee:

            If you had a fiduciary responsibility to CalPERS, would you recommend investing in this company?Report

    • j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This is what LGM calls “the total right-wing freakout:”

      Sandi Krakowski, an author and Facebook marketing expert, posted on Twitter: “His mind-set will hurt everyone in the end. He’s young. He has a good intent, but wrong method.”

      Patrick R. Rogers, an associate professor of strategic management at the School of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T State University, wrote in an email: “The sad thing is that Mr. Price probably thinks happy workers are productive workers. However, there’s just no evidence that this is true. So he’ll improve happiness, only in the short term, and will not improve productivity. Which doesn’t bode well for his long-term viability as a firm.”

      Yup, they sound just like religious fundamentalists…Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

        Denying that happy workers are productive workers is pure Calvinism. Only the Elect (e.g the C-level) are supposed to enjoy their work and its rewars. For the rest, in the sweat of thy face shalt thou earn bread, till thou return unto the ground;Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to j r says:


        Yup. I consider that a right-wing freak out.

        1. What is wrong with having happy workers for the sake of happy workers?

        2. Does the quoted professor think that unhappy and/or scared shit less workers are more likely to be productive?Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to j r says:

        The goal is not increased productivity. The goal is increased profit.

        Happy workers don’t quit. Turnover declines. HR transaction costs diminish. Proficiency increases. Hopefully, they make marginal improvements in process, and quality and efficiency increase.

        All of this yields increased profits, assuming that demand and other external market conditions, as well as internal productivity, remain constant. Which they won’t, those will improve, too, with higher quality and improved production capacity.

        In other words: you aren’t paying your employees enough, if you care about profits beyond next quarter’s report.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

          As an anecdote: This year my company made benefit choices that I am…deeply unhappy with. Their claimed goal was saving employees money, but I am out thousands despite being as conservative as I can be on the whole issue.

          I’ve worked there for a long time, and for the first time am considering moving to another company over this one issue. (And they had a great deal of loyalty from me. They paid for my Master’s degree, for one. I did a MS on about 300 dollars, out of pocket, a semester).

          Assuming I am average on productivity, given the small team I work for — any replacement for me will take months, minimum, to become more than marginally productive. From what I’ve been told, it’s generally two years before a new member become fully proficient (in addition to learning the code, there is a great deal of very technical, esoteric domain knowledge you have to grasp to apply it. Our engineers make design documents, but you effectively have to become a dabbler in their field to really make it work).

          That’s a lot of lost productivity, all because I am unhappy over a benefit change that was an effective pay cut, and one that has strained my finances this year to the point where it has already affected my work.

          Two years of paying someone who, even if they’re a rock star, isn’t going to meet my productivity unless they find a unicorn (a programmer/engineer whose programming knowledge extends past fortran and basic C or C++. Lots of engineers code, few engineers code at the level we do).

          Because of a benefit change that probably netted the company a few thousand per employee. (And judging from water cooler gossip, I am not the only one ticked. One problem with a room full of engineers and coders. We can run the math, and we can tell when a savings on paper is more out of pocket in reality)Report

          • Glyph in reply to Morat20 says:

            I may be misreading, but did this change nail everybody the same way it nailed you, or do you have special circumstances that caused this to hurt you more but it does in fact help a majority (kind of like Obamacare may help many people, but there may be a smaller subset of people who it harms)?

            If you are in a minority hurt due to special circumstances and you are a valued employee, consider going for a salary raise to compensate. If you are getting caught out due to bad luck more than anything and you have a good history there, they might be willing to work with you to keep you…Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Glyph says:

              Depends on the employee. We switched to JUST high-deductible plans this year.

              The company talked about how low the new premiums were. I quickly worked out that the premiums + the max HSA contribution was HIGHER than I paid last year, and the max HSA did not cover my potential out-of-pocket expenses. (It did cover my family deductible, at which it moves to an 80/20 plan).

              In short, every employee got on the hook for at least 25% more out-of-pocket, minimum. On a a healthy year, my family and I would break even at best (old costs versus new).

              Of course, your HSA starts out empty (first year) and my wife had surgery in March. Technically I can pay myself back out of my HSA, except it’s frantically going to other doctor’s visits while I appeal the most BS in-network/out-of-network thing I’ve ever encountered. And she has another surgery in July.

              So this year, even if my appeal goes through and the rest of the year is perfectly healthy, I’ll spend roughly 25% more on medical care than last year. (Where I had an 80/20 plan that was already pretty expensive personally. It’s not like I never had skin in the game). I’ve found myself already putting off necessary doctor’s visits and tests, because I literally can’t afford to pay them out of pocket and my HSA remains empty because it’s spent as soon as it comes in and I’m contributing the legal max and took the lowest deductible plan offered.Report

          • Road Scholar in reply to Morat20 says:


            I’m happy to say that my company has been doing just the opposite. The trucking industry has a notorious and chronic problem with driver turnover. Average tenure is, last I saw, just a bit less than a year. Granted a good bit of that is “infant mortality,” where new drivers crap out early, can’t handle the lifestyle or whatever, but still it’s a big issue.

            So starting about four years ago they put in place a ranking and bonus system designed to reward the best drivers in an effort to increase retention of same. Then last August they revamped the pay scale where before you topped out at five years experience now that schedule has been extended to fifteen years. Finally, they scheduled another across the board pay raise to take effect May 1st.

            The merit bonus currently nets me about $250/month. Last August’s pay scale revision another $250. The upcoming boost will be about another $400. None of which is life changing but it adds up nicely.

            They used to be on the lower end of the pay scale but I’m making as much or more than anyone out here. I figure if I sign up to be a mentor, basically an OJT instructor, I could actually come close to or even top $100k next year. Not bad for blue collar.Report

          • El Muneco in reply to Morat20 says:

            Heh. My company is closing the office in my area, and pretty much everyone is on a schedule to termination, sooner or later. The decision was /not/ made with our existing commitments to support etc. in mind – and it was only afterward that anyone noticed that we were losing a hell of a lot of what we refer to as “tribal knowledge” with regards to our product line.
            I’ll freely admit that I’m not a great coder. But I’ve seen c-beams off the tannhauser gate – I know things about our product that the designers didn’t fully realize. And all that will be lost. Like tears in rain.
            Someone should have realized.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

              Oh god yes. That big Boeing big. They’re STILL paying for that one.

              NASA, I understand, struggled pretty hard to hang onto people when the Shuttle program folded — not because of institutional inertia, but because they were going to be designing rockets and doing space flight and these people had priceless knowledge in their heads.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:


            Do your employers know that they pissed in a lot of people’s Cheerios with this action?

            Also, this exposes one of the problems I have with how we’ve structured the various tax-deferred savings accounts. We have a dependant care account for our son’s daycare. It maxes out at $5000/yr. Where in the US can you get decent daycare for anything close to $5K/year? $5K is about 2.5 months of daycare for Bug. We have friends with 3 kids, $5K is a bit more than a months worth. Same with HSAs & FSAs.

            I appreciate Congress setting up stuff like this, but if they are not going to be serious about it…Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              I don’t know if they do or not. We have annual surveys, which just started this month. They’re third party, supposedly anonymous (I actually believe that. As much as this has irritated me, they’ve always been really good on that sort of stuff. They’re pretty big believers in honest feedback).

              I know that I made a point of it. I know I’ve heard others in a similar boat complaining loudly, and I know the workforce leans older rather than younger.

              We’ll find out at the end of the year, I suppose.

              HSA’s and high-deductible plans aren’t a bad idea in general, but they’re very situational. If I was single, I’d be fine with it. If I was 25 and married, no kids, I’d probably be good with it. At my age with kids? If I have a very, very healthy year I’ll break even. Most years I’m gonna fully deplete my HSA by the end of the year, contributing the max. The whole “you can invest it!” is pointless to me.

              I’m at the point in my life where, with the deductibles I’m looking at, I’ll never have enough left over to invest. I have a 401k for that, anyways.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Another reason we should not tie insurance to employers. Different people have different needs, and employers are not always able to offer a wide range of choices when it comes to insurance.

                I wish Obama had made more of an effort to undo that part of our system.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I wish Obama had made more of an effort to undo that part of our system.

                Seems to me the only thing that keeps it connected is the tax break employers receive for insurance costs. I believe (IIRC) eliminating that deduction was floated if not actually written into an early draft of the House bill. Gained no traction. Heck, even the so-called “cadillac tax” was a huge political issue. I don’t blame Obama for not breaking the link. (I don’t blame the House either, actually…)

                Adding: … the only thing keeping it connected other than the fact people like their employer-sponsored healthcare.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                It’s almost impossible. We take benefits in lieu of pay, right? Partly for tax reasons, partly for tradition, etc.

                You can keep health insurance tax free, but if you push for companies to divest themselves of providing it, and toss us to the exchanges (which I really wouldn’t mind) — what are the odds a given company will actually jump your pay properly?

                No, they’d bump your pay maybe half what they’re actually forking over, claim that’s all they ever paid, and pocket the difference.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:


                My (soon to be former) employer did something similar.

                For a while, you were offered $X to cover insurance. $X was roughly the amount it cost to cover an individual on the HMO plan. This mean, as the employer, you were offered free health coverage for yourself. If you wanted to upgrade to the PPO or cover family members, you paid the difference. If you had other insurance*, you could decline the school’s offerings and take $X as additional pay (taxed). Then the budget got tight. And the board decided that they were moving away from this “antiquated” system and phasing out the cash option. This ignored the fact that such an approach was fairly modern and far more equitable than the “use it or lose it” approach wherein some employees received additional compensation as a function of the insurance status. But, yea, they moved away from paying folks more to paying folks less. Well, not all folks. Admin continued to see sizable pay increases (thank goodness for non-profits having to make public their financial documents!).

                * You had to prove you were covered and this was before the PPACA. They didn’t want folks forgoing medical coverage/care.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Kazzy says:

                I think there’s a difference between what you describe and what @morat20 speculates will happen, though. “Use it or lose it” is the industry norm, so employers don’t lose all that much by conforming with it. If we do away with employer health plans across the board, companies will have to compete on something and that something is most likely going to be plain old cash (unless they can convince us that pizza on Fridays is worth $15K a year).

                The bottom line is that your package has a total value to you no matter what form it comes in and it would take something other than employers wanting more money to allow the entire market to reduce the value of that package uniformly.

                That’s not to say that doing away with an employer health plan worth $X will result in $X back in the employee’s pocket. It was a massive government subsidy going away, after all. Everybody who participated in it will be worse off when it’s gone. They just won’t be out the full $X.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                Politically it was a tough sell. Nobody likes out healthcare system, until their own plan is in jeopardy.

                But if you could get past that (convince people that employment-based health care is bad) just about everything else can be addressed to some extent or another. You can require disclosure of how much money the employer spent on the health care (in fact, it was listed on our W2’s last year).

                Notably, Gruber said that the whole cadillac tax was a poison pill to do just that. I mention Gruber to praise him, not to bury him. I’m hoping he’s right. They way he described it does make sense, that it will be phased out over time. But only if there is no docfix equivalent.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

                I suspect the reason people “like” their employer health plan is because they don’t have to think about it much, at least, not until they run into something the insurance doesn’t cover, or find out the hard way what limits exist.Report

              • zic in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon Employer health plans are, from some of the stuff I’ve been seeing lately, not stacking up to individual plans purchased on the exchanges, and employees are starting to notice.

                It’s been subtle so far; but I expect there might be a growing awareness that the job’s insurance doesn’t pass the sniff test as easily as it used to.Report

              • I think it’s mostly a “devil you know” sort of thing. And that health plans are like the local schools and your local congressman.

                One big thing I wish that the ACA would have done is establish a way for employers to get the same tax breaks to subsidize their employees going on to the exchanges.

                The problem isn’t the subsidy per second, but that the subsidy discourages alternatives. There are aspects of the exchanges that I don’t like, but the concept is solid. Could have also provided a sidestep to Hobby Lobby.

                I understand why they didn’t do that politically, though.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                *shrug*. Make my company healthcare contribution transferable, in full, to the exchange and I’d be a fairly happy man. I could plug in my company’s monthly amount and see if I’m better off on the exchange than through work.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:


                I hope you are right.


                That is not a half bad idea. Employer still gets to offer tax free compensation, employee gets to find a plan that meets their needs. Employers could then, instead of offering a cadillac plan as part of the compensation package, just say that they offer up $X toward a health plan on the exchanges.

                Now just convince the Unions to not oppose it.Report

              • zic in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon here’s Krugman in today’s NYT column:

                One more thing: You sometimes hear complaints about the alleged poor quality of the policies offered to newly insured families. But a new survey by J. D. Power, the market research company, finds that the newly enrolled are very satisfied with their coverage — more satisfied than the average person with conventional, non-Obamacare insurance.

                I heard a conversation like that recently; an person who had insurance complaining that something wasn’t covered comparing notes with someone on obamacare who had the same condition covered. Obviously, the first joy here is probably the price supports — the subsidies — in Obamacare. But in this case, the choice of plans, which the person who got insurance through work, probably mattered a great deal.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to zic says:


                That makes sense. Perhaps compared to some employer offered cadillac plans, the exchange plans are inferior. But if I can buy a plan that meets my needs, rather than meets everyone’s needs, it’s a better plan.

                It’s like how a Mercedes SUV is superior in many ways to my Subaru Tribeca, but the Tribeca meets my needs at a purchase & maintenance price point I like.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Burt Likko says:

          This seems to be the attitude Nick Hanauer has.Report

    • j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Deleting duplicate comment.Report

  18. Saul Degraw says:

    Another take on those of us born in the late 1970s and early 1980s

    • I really like the Xennial name.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        That sounds like a prescription drug!Report

        • Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Side effects of Xennial, from Prescott Pharmaceuticals, may include:

          Abdominal Migration

          Abdominal Salad Shooters


          An Inability to Breathe on Weekends

          Ankle Bearding

          Aortal Collapse

          Arby’s Mouth

          Argyle Pattern Baldness

          Armpit Homunculus

          Autonomous Nipple Syndrome

          Bad Humors

          Bearded Thalamus

          Bone Sporking




          Capillary Yogurt


          Chinese Firebones

          DIS, or Dissolving Intestine Syndrome

          Dry Mouth

          Dry Mouth

          Eye Curdling



          Facial Corkboarding

          Fallopian Tapeworm


          Genital Migration


          Grover Nordquist Syndrome

          Hair Swelling

          Hairy Uvula

          Honey Nut Areolas

          Honus Wagner’s Disease

          Hungry Hungry Hipbones

          Increased Appetite

          Increased Risk of Vampire Attack

          Ingrown Testicle

          Involuntary Blowhole

          Involuntary Narnia Adventures

          Jimmy Crack Corns

          Knee Transference

          Lactose Addiction

          Late Onset Albinoism

          Lou Ferrignose



          Massive Weight Gain

          Mild Hulkism

          Mild Kidney Explosions

          Mind of Mencia

          Minor Heart Explosions



          Nostril Inversion

          Outgrown Testicle

          Permanent Blindness

          Phantom Hand Syndrome

          Pituitary Ferns

          Precocious Kidney

          Prolonged Erections – But Not Where You’d Hope


          Pulmonary Weevils

          R.E.O. Speedlung


          Rectal Buffalo Wings

          Rectal Dyslexia

          Rectal Frosting

          Rectal Hallucinations

          Re-Emergence of the Umbilical Cord

          Restless Arm Syndrome

          Restless Leg Syndrome

          Restless Torso Syndrome

          Rocky Mountain Oysterism

          Runaway Gums

          Scrappy Dooism

          Scrotal Bassoon


          Severe Weight Loss

          Siamese Nipples

          Skeletal Xylophoning

          Spaghetti Ovaries

          Speaking In Tongues

          Spontaneous and Uncontrollable Gum Growth

          Spontaneous Gypsy Scarf

          Spontaneous Harper’s Subscription

          Spontaneous Mertail

          Spontaneous Pregnancy

          Steven Tyler Lip

          Subcutaneous Funyuns

          Tennis Scrotum

          Teriyaki Lung

          Testicular Cranberrying

          Testicular Myopia

          Testicular Testicularization

          Thoracic Geysers

          Tracheal Meerkat Colonies

          Transsexual Kidneys

          Urethral Knotting

          Vein Seizures

          Ventricular Funk

          Verizon Guy Syndrome

          Vivid Dreams of Self-Cannibalization

          Warlock Hump

          Whatever Happens When You Drink Rocket Fuel

          X-Ray Hearing

          Yellowstone National BladderReport

    • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      She doth protest slightly too much at her inclusion with folks born when Gerald Ford was still whipping it.. People born earlier in the 70s have the same memories with the same transitions on the same timeline. (if anything, we were a bit earlier to embrace the more ‘mature’ Book of Faces compared with the sparkly gliiter Myspace than people a few years younger were.) We had Apple IIe and Commodore 64s and Trash 80s and a few IBM PCs (and even fewer PC jrs) in our homes while we were in elementary school, too.

      (if anything the generational divide is exactly at the point where people remember playing Oregon Trail on Apple IIes with greenachrome graphics vs people that played later “classic” versions from which they nostalgically designed a t-shirt)Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

        I had a Commodore 64 during the 1980s and can remember DOS.

        I do think that there is a little micro-generation of people born between 1977-1981 though.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          As someone born in 78, I agree.

          There’s a micro-generation of people where the internet was something you only had in school, and only in the library. Unless you were a nerd, and you got your parents to install a second phone line for it. (As an aside, I am literally the only person I know that has owned a modem/router.)

          And before that, I had Compuserve.

          Although I’m not *quite* sure the end was 1981.

          I have a brother six years younger, and while I was in college downloading mp3s, he was at home, downloading mp3s, burning them to CD, and selling them at school. Because most people still didn’t have the internet. (And now I’m wondering if this varied geographically.)

          He had *sorta* the same experience as me growing up, where the internet was still a *place you went*, and no kid had a cellphone.

          I think it’s arguable this microgeneration was basically ‘people that graduated from high school from 95 to 04’. We all grew up *during* a technological explosion that fundamentally changed communications.

          People who grew up after that had had Facebook (Well, myspace at first, but whatever) and cell phones and everyone (not just nerds) had email addresses.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to DavidTC says:

            Ok, I’ll accept the split. Also because it coincides pretty exactly with “people who saw The Day After and/or Threads when first aired”, and those that were still a bit too young.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

            And now I’m wondering if, with the speed-up of technology and culture, thinking about ‘generations’ is rather stupid in the first place.

            There seem to constantly be changes that greatly alter how people grow up. Internet, texting, Facebook, cell phones, smart phones, youtube, etc. Like every five years.

            In ten years we’ll have self-driving cars, which is obviously going to increase the mobility of kids.

            And Netflix and whatnot has vastly changed how mass media is consumed, which most of us old folks just nodded and canceled cable, we forget how socially important that was for kids…or is it, still? Are young people listening to podcasts, or watching reality shows? Is MTV still a thing? Is your Netflix cue some sort of social indicator? Are you still using the outdated Instagram, or the new and cool whatever?

            I honestly have no idea about any of this, but when you’re a kid, all this stuff is *incredibly important*. But unlike when I was a kid, where the internet barely intruded into life and no one was allowed cell phones, the very foundation of modern technology changes all the damn time. Adults just shrug, but *everything* is life and death to kids.

            Are elaborate social norms being constructed, only to have the entire underpinnings being pulled out when Facebook changes?Report

            • Kolohe in reply to DavidTC says:

              The previous place I worked at had a small cottage industry (across a few different, but related, government agencies) of people saying “we need to make sure our workplace culture can meet the expectations of the millennial generation to win the war for talent!” or something like that. Which I always thought was bunk (and said so on the private interagency message boards where this type of thing was discussed) A good workplace has the same attributes whether your 15 or your 65. (ditto with a bad workplace – the difference is that a 45 to 65 is probably willing to put up with a lot more excrement because they’re are bills to pay).

              There are some decent sociological, government policy reasons to split up ‘generations’ – birthrates in a given year have economic effects for the next 70 to 80 years. But people are people, whether they grew up staring at the boob tube for a half a dozen hours a day, or at a tiny touchscreen for twice that many.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to DavidTC says:


            Where did you grow up and what were the socio-economics if you don’t mind me asking?

            I was born in 1980 and I remember in 1994 (freshman year of high school), there was a moment at which it seemed like everyone was getting on AOL. I remember going from 14K to 28K to 56K by senior year and then getting an ethernet line during my first year of college.

            The reason I say 78-81 is because we were too young to be young adults during the first Clinton Presidency (I consider this a key seen of being a Prime Generation Xer or people born between 1967-1973 or 74) and we can remember life without the internet and/or cellphones. Cell phones were around for most of my life but they did not become widespread until my junior or senior year of college when they finally became small and affordable.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Where did you grow up and what were the socio-economics if you don’t mind me asking?

              Rural North Georgia. Technically Appalachia, but in reality close enough to Atlanta (About an hour and half to Atlanta proper) that the town lived on tourists and commuting back and forth to it. (Specifically, it was the area of Appalachia that you *don’t* have to go over the mountains to get out of. I, oddly enough, have lived in three towns in that narrow band, where driving north will take you over a mountain before you hit the next town, but driving south will quickly put you on a highway to Atlanta.)

              Economically, in the 90s, pretty good, I guess. In fact, we were all expecting the Atlanta developers to continue creeping their way north and eventually hitting us. (This sorta fell apart when crash hit.)

              I was born in 1980 and I remember in 1994 (freshman year of high school), there was a moment at which it seemed like everyone was getting on AOL.

              See, that I *know* is geography based. Because we had *no local numbers* for AOL or Compuserve.

              I remember going from 14K to 28K to 56K by senior year and then getting an ethernet line during my first year of college.

              Same here, except the damn dorm I was in only had dialup for a year. (Yes, dialup to the school’s own computers. Weird, I know.)

              Cell phones were around for most of my life but they did not become widespread until my junior or senior year of college when they finally became small and affordable.

              I got a cell phone in my second year of college, when I transferred to one that didn’t allow me to live at home anymore. (Technically, the dorm had a phone line, but it was like three hours away, and it was decided that a cell phone would be a good idea.)

              The reason I say 78-81 is because we were too young to be young adults during the first Clinton Presidency (I consider this a key seen of being a Prime Generation Xer or people born between 1967-1973 or 74) and we can remember life without the internet and/or cellphones.

              I’m not sure if Clinton is actually that important here, outside of possibly informing our politics.

              I think it’s more useful to look at ‘What did we do, and how did that change?’ as an indicator of generations.

              And, to point out a change in the middle of this supposed micro-generation: The Columbine shooting. Which happened the year after I graduated high school. (And, as a complete aside, also marked another cultural milestone: The first widely-illegally-downloaded TV show, the episodes of Buffy that didn’t air due to that.)Report

  19. Saul Degraw says:

    Alleged rapist in Columbia University Mattress art project is using the university, the President, and others for defamation.Report

  20. veronica d says:

    [R3] && [R4] — The reporting around AI-risks is uniformly terrible, exactly insofar as the reporting around every science and technology topic is uniformly terrible. The thing is, I don’t think either of these articles get past the terrible-part and get to the actual issue. Cuz the issue is hard. Reporting on it is hard. Getting attention is hard — which is why people like Hawking and Musk are called upon to speak up, despite the fact they are not experts in this field. But whose fault is that? Would these reporters pay attention if Peter Norvig was speaking out, but not Hawking and Musk?Report

  21. veronica d says:

    [C2] — As an aside, if you want a rather long and unabashedly political look at this mess, this article has been getting a lot of attention:

    I found it an entirely enjoyable read from tip to tail, but then, I would.Report

  22. Oscar Gordon says:

    Best indicator I’ve found that Beale is bad juju: Indie author gets the nom and pulls back because Beale helped put him on the nom.

    I’ve read Kloos work, enjoyed it a lot (good futurist military fiction), and while the author leans right (if you read his blog), is not what I’d call conservative or republican.Report

    • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      All the evidence anyone needs: his papa was, in its heyday, on the board of WND, from which perch he handed his son, an untalented science fiction/fantasy writer living in Italy on Daddy’s money, a regular opinion column from which he preceded to tell us (repeatedly) that he was in Mensa, and give us such wonderfulness as the essay that launched his book The Irrational Atheist and his views on how women’s suffrage has ruined our society.

      His blog was one of the early popular Christian right wing blogs, back in the days when Evangelical Outpost was also popular (and all Carter), and it was possible to be openly anti-gay, anti-women, anti-anyone who’s not white, anti-anyone who’s not Christian, and so on, without creating an internet shit storm. If he had risen, so to speak, in the 2010s, he’d have been shamed into non-existence in a matter of hours. I don’t know if this will change anyone’s view of internet shaming, but…Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris says:



        I used to read that for a laugh, now it just depresses me.Report

        • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Yup. I remember when we could all laugh at WND telling us that their sources had proof that West Nile Virus was a biological attack on the United States by Saddam Hussein through his good buddy and pal, Fidel Castro.

          The world has changed, I’m afraid.Report

  23. Oscar Gordon says:

    zic: hobbit hills with their holes looks like a bunker seen from a distance

    So early Hobbits occupied old bunkers & learned to build homes from them, or Hobbits are descended from a race of hardened warriors who chose to practice war no more, but grew accustomed to the bunker couture?Report

  24. Saul Degraw says:


    I finally saw While We’re Young.

    The movie had its flaws but was overall enjoyable. A lot of people might find it too Brooklyn. Obviously I am not going to have problems with anything for being too Brooklyn. There was some good exploration of what happens when you are the 30 and 40-something people or couples who don’t have kids while all your friends are having kids.

    I sort of feel this way. I am not young and clearly need to watch my limits but I can also choose to go and see a movie on a Thursday night without doing too much scheduling and the like. There are some very interesting anti-Millennial politics though which is interesting because Baumbach is romantically involved with a Millennial. I can do a post on the language and visual cues of the anti-Millennialism.Report

  25. Saul Degraw says:

    @oscar-gordon @will-truman

    C1: I remember that when Lee Kwan Yew died a few weeks ago, there were lots of articles about how Singapore is an interesting combo of not quite a democracy but not quite an authoritarian government either. There were also a lot of stories about a Singaporean teen who was arrested for making very teenage youtube videos that criticized Lee Kwan Yew.

    The thing is that lots of Singaporeans agree with Lee Kwan Yew’s idea that it is fine and good and necessary to sacrifice some (or a lot!) of personal liberty and autonomy for safety, prosperity, and affluence. The Atlantic quoted a Singaporean who said that freedom wasn’t the ability to fly your freak flag but the ability for women to go into subway cars without being sexually harassed and/or the ability to walk home safely at night without being mugged. Lots of Singaporeans also agreed with the arrest of Amos Yee. I suspect that there are plenty of partisans who wouldn’t mind reviving the alien and sedition acts and using them against their enemies.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with Popehat but he might overstate the case a bit too much but perhaps there is something libertarians and civil liberties oriented liberals need to grapple with. What if people are willing to surrender some or a lot of autonomy for the sake of affluence, prosperity, and security? Maybe they don’t see the security as being an illusion like Popehat does.

    I am picking Singapore as an example because it comes from the right and I can’t help but think Popehat relishes being able to bash liberals. Let’s see him bash Singapore.Report

    • Mr. Blue in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This would be a really grand concession that colleges are no longer incubators for challenging ideas, intellectual growth, and critical thinking.

      Are we willing to pay that cost so that universities can be Safe Spaces?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Mr. Blue says:

        I think that we should make “Safe Space Universities” and… we’d need to come up with a name for the other ones. And employers could google whether your resume has a safe space university on it or the other kind.

        I’d guess, I’m not sure but I’d guess, that the two types would appeal to two different kinds of employers.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Mr. Blue says:


        I think it depends on how you define a safe space. I’ve come out against trigger warnings in the classroom and against the censorship of public art on campus. But I would have no problem with a “Women’s Center” or an “LGBT Student’s Union” or a “Black Student’s Center”, etc. Those are fine by me.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Mr. Blue says:

        @mr-blue @jaybird

        My favorite definition of theatre is John Patrick Shanley calling it a “safe place to do dangerous things”

        Make of this what you will.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:


      Perhaps Murali should speak more to this, but Singapore always struck me as a rather homogenous society. The sacrifice of autonomy for actual security (and not just the illusion of it) requires a government that is very much aligned with the will & attitudes of the people, or you risk serious abuses of government power. Once the government begins to abuse it’s power for it’s own ends (or for the personal ends of those who hold the power), your actual security evaporates. You may have national security from exterior threats, or security from overt criminal threats, but the danger from the agents of the government becomes all too real.

      Which is exactly what Popehat was getting at.

      My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
      Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.


      • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        @oscar-gordon Singapore is one of the most cosmopolitan countries in the world. Most Singaporeans are of Chinese ethnicity but a quarter of the population is not Chinese. Most of the rest are Malays or Indians. There are Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, secular people, and many other religious groups. In contrast, the United Kingdom is still over 87% White British and much less religious diverse. Singapore is not a homogenous society.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:


          I guess what I’m asking is, is the government of Singapore known for abusing it’s power against it’s people?Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


            That depends on who you ask and what you mean. They are remarkably corruption free when it comes to bribery and stuff and are often voted among the least corrupt countries. But Lee Kwan Yew got low votes for using defamation and libel laws to ruin political opponents:


            So citizens are not getting fleeced by corrupt officials out for personal gain but you couldn’t get away with the kind of anarchist free speech criticism we have in the United States.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              History offers few examples of benevolent dictatorships that delivered the goods—or stayed benevolent for long.

              This is the rub, not that a benevolent dictatorship is bad, but that it’s hard to keep it benevolent without some kind of check that doesn’t involve violence or some other kind of coup d’etat.

              Singapore got lucky that the guy in charge was more interested in increasing prosperity for the nation than he was for enforcing ideology, or securing his personal power & fortune at the expense of all others.Report

              • North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Yeah you can get a single benevolent dictator for a while but the shelf life is short- if you’re lucky it can last out his/her reign but the information feedback problems are enormous. Layers of sycophants and minions form naturally, a true understanding of what is good for the entire country and the masses distorts or vanishes and without the feedback of routine orderly revolutions (elections) you don’t have any way of keeping the people on top informed as to what the people below actually want.Report

  26. Oscar Gordon says:

    Troublesome Frog: trying to find the $70K office plant waterer who’s really worth the money

    I’m willing to bet those kinds of jobs are contracted out, and thus not part of the $70K program. Or if they aren’t contracted out, they will be soon.Report

    • Mr. Blue in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I’m sure the newly unemployed will be very happy for the former colleagues making all that money.

      But seriously, isn’t that kind of rigging things a bit? If you’re outsourcing the lower-wage jobs so that you can pay everybody that much, you’re just letting somebody else pay them less instead of paying them less yourself.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Mr. Blue says:

        Yeah, the “temp worker” thing from the 90’s turned into the “perma-temp” issue that resulted in legislation that protected so-called “perma-temps” and, for some reason, resulted in the creation of “managed services”.

        (paste Schilling’s rant about Carly here)Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mr. Blue says:

        We need an emoji for “You got it right on the nose!”Report

  27. Kolohe says:

    Re: Beale (Day) – Oh, duh, of course the man who wants to be the Hugo boss is a fascist.Report

  28. Damon says:

    [C1] Ken nails it. So tired of the “safety” BS. They deserve, and will receive, neither freedom nor safety.

    [C3] How can this be when there is an apparent “epidemic” of rape on campus? Oh, wait…mm yeah.

    [C5] Don’t know about the tribalism. My sex ed in high school several decades ago was all medial/heath related as well, except for that part in college where two girls from the health dept demonstrated how to put a condom on a banana. That was more uncomfortable than anything else since they botched the job.

    [L1] And if we’re going to fix the debtor’s prisons, let’s fix the assumptions of the courts re parentage and child support that assumes a husband is the father of all kids in the marriage even if a dna test proves he’s not and that a man can be liable for child support just because a woman says’s the father after delivering the child. That hell needs to be fixed.

    [R1] That’s what you get when you put in an artificial price floor. Best article I’ve read on the subject was this: Just…like…it….says….Which is why you get automation to eliminate those jobs.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Damon says:


      • Damon in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Yes, “they”. And so will “I” and “we” and “you”. Undeservedly so, but that’s what happens when this crap is allowed.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Damon says:

          “They.” Who? “This crap.” What crap?

          It’s easy to let Ken say what you think. Do you actually know who the they is? What the crap is? Can you spell it out without just telling me to follow Ken’s links? in fact, without going back and taking alook at the specifics of them yourself? Have you actually given any thought to the specific arguments and concerns you are rejecting?

          Has everyone else who is exercised about this issue?

          I do believe that students are within their rights and not derelict from an intellectual standpoint to request safe spaces in which to study the subjects they went to university to study. I don’t see how it makes sense to toss out the desire for safety at university as categorically misguided. That being said, unreasonable and misguided requests for “safety” certainly can and have been made, and we should identify those through discussion, and universities shouldn’t accede to them.

          Ultimately, though, I don’t agree with Ken that the basic problem is that students want safety on campus, stemming from our having taught a whole generation to value safety over liberty. I think that’s too broad a diagnosis. In my view the problem is a small set of politically activated students who have adopted safety rhetoric as a means of shutting down speech they don’t like. This isn’t the large mass of students, and it’s not all safety concerns that are the problem. It’s certain activists who don’t want to hear certain speakers or arguments. That’s an attitude that those activists need to reconsider, and that universities certainly need to not credit. But it’s not a new one since 9/11.

          Students do have a legitimate expectation to be safe on campus, and that includes in some contexts the opportunity to be safe from threatening or harmful speech. No one should be subjected to an environment they don’t consent to be in – “safe spaces” need to be available for students. But the university also obviously has a duty to see that discourse is not wrongly constrained. Doing both of those things at the same time is just the basic work of running a university.Report

          • Damon in reply to Michael Drew says:


            “It’s easy to let Ken say what you think. Do you actually know who the they is? What the crap is? Can you spell it out without just telling me to follow Ken’s links?” I don’t need to spell it out. He already did, and said it better than I could: “I call these young people out for valuing illusory and subjective safety over liberty. I accuse them of accepting that speech is “harmful” without logic or proof. I mock them for not grasping that universities are supposed to be places of open inquiry. I condemn them for not being critical about the difference between nasty speech and nasty actions, and for thinking they have a right not to be offended.”

            “In my view the problem is a small set of politically activated students who have adopted safety rhetoric as a means of shutting down speech they don’t like. ” Excellent point, and I agree. And I don’t read Ken’s comments as condemning ALL students. That’s why I said “They deserve, and will receive, neither freedom nor safety.” Not “They all” And yes, this has been going on since I was in college, in the 80s; it’s just gotten nastier. But it’s this line of thinking, and the acceptance of it by the rest of the students, by not actively opposing it, that’s the problem.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Drew says:

            Students do have a legitimate expectation to be safe on campus, and that includes in some contexts the opportunity to be safe from threatening or harmful speech.

            The word legitimate seems to mean different things to different people.

            This is something certain students have yet to learn, and some campuses should be more determined to demonstrate.

            Nothing wrong with putting up safe spaces for students when there is a controversial speaker, but honestly that should be the extent of the actions of the campus.Report

            • Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Dead on link @oscar-gordon

              Kudos for them to say that.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Yeah, that’s a good link, Oscar. Pretty much my view of it.

                I’ve criticized using “offensive” as a metric by which to govern discourse (or whatever) before: it’s an emotion, and therefore opaque to others, therefore can’t be discussed as a public property, therefore is ripe for all sorts of abuse insofar as it is established as a governing consideration. I’m not sure what to put in it’s place, but I’ve offered respect as a more objective (tho still abstract!) property that may be better suited to play the “how to restrict inappropriate expression” role.

                More to the point, tho, I think it’s great that Princeton draws a harder line in the sand on this issue than the “feelings” crowd would prefer. Which isn’t to say that feelings don’t matter, of course. An expression intended to be hurtful to others is inappropriate and ought to be pushed against. But not on the grounds that someone found it offensive. Ideally (and the ideal may not be functionally adequate, I don’t really know) the justification for pushing back is not that someone’s feelings were hurt, but that the expression was disrespectful to others. Doing this leaves room for discourse to take place outside of people’s emotional lives, seems to me, which is a bad place for public discourse to be, seems to me.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Keeping in mind that a lot of this still falls under “College kids are still growing up”.

                I don’t get annoyed (much; my inner curmudgeon still has his say) at college students acting like this. They are still learning. I get annoyed with campuses that cater to such behavior beyond the basic decency of setting up safe spaces.

                Part of their job is to foster the development of people who can engage in spirited political debate. Can’t do that if you’ve never been exposed to other schools of thought & engaged with them.Report

              • Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m sorry but I gotta object to this “College kids are still growing up”. @oscar-gordon

                Really? I was 18 when I entered college. I’m not saying I was “fully mature” but I already knew how to behave, cause my momma and daddy taught me. You show up on time, don’t break your promises and do what you said you’d do.

                And the folks protesting Jane Kirkpatrick’s speech were rather orderly, if noisily. They didn’t threaten violence, block entrences, or disrupt the speech, and they waited patiently in line to ask their questions like everybody else.

                If my college peers who were so radical could manage some common civility, kids now a days can. Or their parents should have taught them.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:


                I started university at 22, after time in the Navy, and after recovering from a pretty nasty car v. motorcycle accident. Trust me when I tell you that the maturity of many of my classmates was lacking when it came to respecting the rights of those they disagreed with. The university & the faculty, by and large, did not tolerate bad behavior, and engaged it directly and made sure students understood why rights were to be respected.

                Of course, at the time, the school sent a lot more rejection letters than acceptance ones, so if their unwillingness to let students have political temper tantrums turned off a few applicants, it wasn’t a big deal.Report

              • Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                Quoted For Truth Oscar.Report

  29. Pyre says:

    A link which I think is appropriate for this site:

    TinyUrl used because, given that my reaction was “Whut? I….I can’t even”, I imagine that the reactions of the people on this site will be worth the TinyUrl.

    Yes, it is SFW.Report

  30. zic says:

    C1 — safe spaces.

    Diane Rehm did a show on members of the National Guard and PTSD last week. She led with this story:

    It was December 2007 and Darryl Davidson was driving down a busy San Antonio street when something flew off the truck in front of him. He thinks it might have been a car battery, but he still isn’t sure.

    “I was in some sort of flashback. I was there for probably 20 or 30 minutes,” he says.

    In that moment, Davidson imagined an IED — like the homemade bombs he saw in Iraq — and his survival instinct kicked in.

    “So I swerved over four lanes of traffic and crunched my truck. Well, I didn’t crunch the truck, but I busted a tire on the curb and ended up in a field.”

    Then he took cover. When the police arrived, he told them to take cover, too.

    “You know, as far as I could tell, we were under fire. I just kept telling officers they need to get down. They needed to take cover. You know, we’re under fire. And I guess one of the officers was a vet and understood what was going on and kind of talked me down,” Davidson says.

    That was a safe space. Those police officers could, as easily, have acted otherwise; Davidson could as easily be dead now.

    Here, in this situation, the need for a safe space is obvious. Victims of sexual assault, violence, and war crimes who did not serve in the military often suffer PTSD, and the same safe space needs exist for them, too. If you’ve been a victim, if you’re trying to engage to change the things that harmed you, it’s often a tremendous act of courage. The asshat in the room who thinks you’re need for a safe space is an infringement on his or her liberties just that, an asshat. I’ll also note that safe space rules are pretty common; the commenting policies here are a good example.Report

  31. ScarletNumber says:


    Le sigh. It has now gotten to the point where I assume that any “rape” that happens on a college campus is made up.

    If there was truly a rape epidemic, parents would stop sending their daughters to live on college campuses. As it stands, the majority of college students are women.Report

  32. Stillwater says:

    Flamethrowing firebrand Elizabeth Warren has had up to here with Obama’s lies about the TTP. He says the contents aren’t a secret. “Every single one of the critics saying this is a secret deal, or send out e-mails to their fundraising base that they’re working to stop a secret deal, could walk over and see the text of the agreement.” She says “Members of Congress should be able to discuss the agreement with our constituents and to participate in a robust public debate, instead of being muzzled by classification rules.”

    He said, she said. As far as I’m aware, the text of the agreement are under wraps, yes? The only info we have on it is via leaks.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

      Here’s some more on the TPP, Warren, and Obama. Obama sure don’t look too good, that’s for sure.

      From the letter Warren and Brown sent the Big O:

      As a result of your administration’s decision, it is currently illegal for the press, experts, advocates, or the general public to review the text of this agreement. And while you noted that members of Congress may “walk over…and read the text of the agreement”—as we have done—you neglected to mention that we are prohibited by law from discussing the specifics of that text in public.

      I’m surprised this issue is getting as much play as it is, actually. Course, the focus is on the spat rather than the substance of the Treaty…Report

  33. Stillwater says:

    Also, Rep Polis is proposing the “Restrain Steve King from Legislating Act. The bill would prevent Steve King from abusing taxpayer dollars by substituting the judgments of the nation’s duly serving judicial branch of government with his own beliefs.”


  34. Dand says:

    Steve Sailer claims anti-racists are keeping birth control out of Africa

    The thing is I’ve never seen anyone on the left say this, I mean it wouldn’t surprise me if Catholic clergy have said this but they aren’t really left wing.Report

  35. Oscar Gordon says:

    Morat20: They’re STILL paying for that one.

    Like I’ve said before, that is a big part of my wife’s job over there, Knowledge Management & Retention, because of management actions back in the 70’s & 80’s.Report