SF for the Pearl-Clutching Set.

A quick PSA before we get started: Web maestro Anton Reponnen has posted a brief essay over at Communication Arts, describing the process of designing blindsight.space around Danil’s film (and around the enormous amount of background material that frames it). It’s full of insights into the way the Memories wing explicitly echoes the motifs of the novel (some of which, I’m ashamed to admit, I never noticed before; I just thought Man, this is really cool without putting any thought into why it was cool). It’s a quick read, and it reminds me all over again what a labor of love that project was for all parties involved. Check it out, and then get on with your lives.


It’ll make sense by the end of the post, I promise

If you’re imprisoned on Facebook you may remember my mention of a curious omission in a recent interview published on Tor.com. When asked to describe my reaction to the recent debut of Danil Kriovurchko’s Blindsight fan film, I responded:

What do you think my reaction was? I basically masturbate to that video about twelve times a day.

Personally I thought that was my best answer of the interview, but it never appeared in the finished article. (“I don’t think Tor would be happy with it,” Andrew Liptak told me by way of explanation.)

Here in 2020—almost fifty years after Kurt Vonnegut’s story “The Big Space Fuck” appeared in Again, Dangerous Visions—you’d think such tiny flecks of self-censorship would be quaint relics, to be sheltered and preserved in the Smithsonian as artifacts of less enlightened times. What they might actually be, however, is the tip of an iceberg.

Take Amazing Stories, for example. I recently got an email from one of their staffers, telling me about an “All Canadian” issue they’re planning and wondering if I’d care to contribute a reprint. As chance would have it, I’m quite fond of “The Wisdom of Crowds”, an epistolary story from 2019 that appeared in a Romanian art magazine (and which therefore hasn’t had a lot of exposure in genre circles). The staffer also liked it and sent it up the chain, where, well…


Hi, Peter,

Thanks for offering “The Wisdom of the Crowd” to Amazing Stories for our special all-Canadian reprints issue. I really enjoyed it and would like to buy it. There’s just one catch (because there’s always just one catch…)…

We’re trying to put out a magazine for SF fans of all ages. There are a couple of explicit sexual references that would not be appropriate for the audience we are trying to reach. Would you be willing to rewrite/reword the explicit references accordingly?

All the Best,

Ira Nayman, Editor,
Amazing Stories

*

Hi Ira,

Glad you liked “The Wisdom of Crowds” (plural, btw, not singular). I am of course curious as to which “explicit references” you mean; thanks to its pseudo-documentary style, I believe TWoC contains less profanity than almost anything else I’ve written.

I’m also a bit puzzled by the fact that after reading a story which focuses on global environmental collapse and crowdsourced nuclear terrorism, it’s the “sexually explicit references” that you think readers might find most disturbing. Even the racist slurs uttered by a couple of characters seem to pass muster; so ultraviolence and racism are okay. It just the casual sexual epithets, whatever they are, that raise alarms.

I wonder if you might be committing a category error when you talk about a magazine “for all ages”. As far as I can tell age doesn’t really factor in here: I’ve known plenty of smart nine-year-olds who drop “fuck” into every third sentence, and a few fully-grown adults who cringe at the merest whiff of profanity (I was raised by Baptists). Age isn’t the common denominator here; prudishness is. I wonder if your real concern is that you don’t want to piss off the pitchforks-and-Bibles crowd.

And I’m sorry, but I’ve been down this road before. If you’ve got a moment, check out this blog post, and then this one; I wrote them back in 2016, when a high school teacher in the Bible Belt tried to teach one of my novels to her advanced English class. I made major concessions in that case—far greater than what you’re asking for here— and the mob remained unsatisfied. Read those posts, and you’ll understand why my answer has to be no.

I am glad you liked the story, though. It’s a recent favorite of mine.

Cheers

Peter

*

Peter,

Thank you for your thoughtful email. Much to respond to.

Let me start with a bit of personal biography. Before I was a prose geek, I was a script geek; I spent a decade writing screenplays and studying screenwriting. In that time, I created a TV series called The Love Box, which is a sitcom about a family that lives over and runs the biggest porn store in the world. I recently updated it in the hope of finding a producer. The series is, as you might imagine, quite sexually explicit. I’m pretty sure, having worked on it recently, that I am not a prude, although reasonable people may disagree on this point.

I agree that this society’s eager acceptance of violence and aversion to sexuality is strange. (Part of the reason I wrote 13 episodes of The Love Box was because I wanted to create something that was sex positive.) But, for better or worse, this is the society we live in. I also agree that children know much more about foul language than most parents are willing to give them credit for, so I am not too concerned about the swears in the story. (I would agree that, given the wild west of the web, both the profanity and the racism in the story are mild compared to the reality. I would happily defend how you deploy them.)

My main problem is the reference to sex with a dog, and the callback later in the story to, if memory serves, “dogfucker.” Having recently hosted Zoom sessions which bots hijacked with videos of sex and violence, I recognize that this is totally realistic. Still. I feel it is too much for our readers. I would be much more comfortable with something less explicit such as “an unnatural sex act” (which has the advantage of leaving the actual act to the reader’s sick imagination).

Would this be acceptable to you?

Best,
Ira Nayman

*

Hi Ira,

Thanks for the context; it’s good to have a better idea of where you’re coming from. Also it may interest you to know that the premise of pornographic images in blockchains isn’t just realistic but actually real. Apparently, actual child porn is embedded in the Bitcoin blockchain—and because of the very selling point of blockchains (their immutability), it can’t be removed without invalidating all subsequent transactions in the chain. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

We seem to be on the same page when it comes to the idiocy of Community Standards. We both shake our heads at the Puritan violence-is-fine-sex-is-offensive mindset; we agree that children swear a lot; we agree that nothing in the story is unrealistic (or even close to the extremes reality already has on offer). The difference seems to be, you’re more willing to acquiesce to that idiocy than I am. I can understand why; your job, after all, is to sell as many magazines as possible, and the way to do that is to scrub the product of anything that would alienate a potential customer. I probably don’t have to tell you that by purging controversial content, you are also purging content that’s interesting; ultimately this trajectory leads to stories as bland and inoffensive as a bowl of cream-of-celery soup. (It also betrays a fundamental purpose of the genre, which is to explore the social ramifications of technological change. If you posit a world with teleportation and Mars colonies and recreational human gengineering—but leave all the social and ethical standards unchanged from the present-day lowest common denominator— the answer to “what is the social impact of change?” inevitably becomes “Nothing. The world twists and shatters in mindbending ways, and we stay just the same as the characters in a Disney movie.”

Two thirds of the American adult population believes in angels; almost half reject the fact of evolution by natural selection. Many young-earth creationists find the concept of evolution not only misguided but deeply, deeply wicked. Literally Satanic, even. If you’re willing to kowtow to people who might object to the word “dogfucker”, what the hell are you gonna do when one of your authors writes a story that mentions evolution? Ask ’em to to a global search-and-replace to swap in “Intelligent Design”, just in case?

I think we agree that most societal norms are fucked. As an editor, your job is to accommodate that dysfunction in order to sell more magazines. But that’s not my job. As a writer—and as a former scientist myself—it is my job to resist feebleminded superstition and idiot fundamentalism and every hysterical bully who ever shook a fist and mouthed the words Because I said so. It is my job—to quote that tired and saccharine cliche— to be the change I want to see in the world.

Maybe my characters lack depth. Maybe my plots make no sense. Maybe my prose is florid turgid crap. I would willingly rewrite a story to address any of these failings. But the only reason you want this change is to placate narrow-minded morons, and that’s just not a good enough reason.

Sorry,
Peter

*

Hi, Peter,

I love these philosophical discussions, and would be happy to continue this one (I suspect we agree far more than we disagree), but I think we should focus on the specific issue at hand.

There is a single element of “The Wisdom of Crowds” that my colleagues at Amazing Stories and I object to (references to sex with dogs). There is no slippery slope here: if you are willing to tone down the two references, I am willing to guarantee that we will not ask you to change any other aspect of the story just because it may be offensive to some readers. (We may introduce the story with a warning that, for instance, potentially offensive language exists in the story, but we will not alter it.)

So, just to be clear: are you willing to withdraw your story because we are asking for that change?

If so, I admire your convictions. In addition, I think “The Wisdom of Crowds” is an astute story that says something interesting about our media environment (it very much reminded me of Black Mirror); I will be sorry if you withdraw it from consideration. But as you correctly point out, we have an audience whose expectations we have to fulfill.

I await your decision.

All the Best,
Ira Nayman

*

Hi Ira,

Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear: I was laying out the rationale for my hill-to-die-on without explicitly stating that that’s what it was.

I am indeed withdrawing the story. It’s a drag; I’ve never had a story published in Amazing before (actually, I’ve never had a story published in any of the big-name pulps). But this is a matter of principle to me. Clearly, our respective audiences don’t overlap much.

Thanks for considering the story, though.

Cheers,
Peter

*

Some relevant detail. The lines which would be “too much for our readers”, in their entirety, are:

The plug-in registers votes by transacting an insignificant micropayment whenever the user clicks a target, using a public cryptographic key planted in the blockchain next to an embedded JPEG of a man having sex with a St. Bernard.

and

The hacker collective Heisenberg Compensator reports the discovery of millions of keys in the Deuterium chain, functionally identical to the so-called “Dogfucker” previously documented by MIT;

Note that Ira Nayman does not appear to be worried about a few scattered biblethumpers up in the nosebleed seats; he explicitly promised that other aspects of the story would remain sacrosanct, even if they proved offensive to “some readers”. So he’s worried about a bigger number than “some”. He’s worried about “our readers”. He’s worried about “our audience”. He seems to be talking about AS‘s readership as a whole.

A story that the editor of Amazing Stories “really enjoyed”—a story he found “astute”, and reminiscent of Black Mirror, and whose most objectionable elements he conceded were not only realistic but understated relative to reality— will not appear in that magazine because its readership as a whole would revolt if exposed to the phrase “JPEG of a man having sex with a St. Bernard”.

In 2020.

What the Actual Fuck.

It’s tempting to talk about cultural regression, to lament how far we’ve fallen since that golden age when respectable movies could have R ratings (remember Alien?) and everything on the planet wasn’t owned by fucking Disney. It’s been argued, and not without reason, that ever since the seventies we’ve been culturally backsliding towards the fifties.

But I don’t think I buy that. Game of Thrones featured rape and incest and more profanity than you could stuff into Eric Cartman, and it was a colossal hit both critically and in the ratings. The highest office in the US is occupied by a man who was elected after bragging about his pussy-grabbing exploits. Hell, didn’t the first episode of Black Mirror— the very show to which Ira compared “The Wisdom of Crowds”— feature a politician fucking a pig on live television?

And yet AS‘s readers can’t handle references to bestiality. Tor.com’s readers apparently can’t handle references to masturbation. I honestly don’t get it. Has it really come to this? Has the industry which once published “The Big Space Fuck” and “If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?” really become so—so timid, when my back was turned? Is it really so disconnected from wider cultural norms?

Or is it me?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday October 27 2020at 12:10 pm , filed under ink on art . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

46 Responses to “SF for the Pearl-Clutching Set.”

  1. I don’t know anything about AS, but I inferred that it’s a magazine, in which case the whole thing might not be about offending the boomers who still pay for these things, but breaking some clause in their contracts with advertisers.

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  2. Yes, unfortunately there has been a massive regression in SF in the last decade or so regarding not just sex, but any kind of grey zones and controversial subjects. I blame the YA market which is now dominating a lot of genres because most adults just aren’t buying that many books. You might look for some of the silly YA controversies that have been documented on social media in the last few years. It’s really quite pathological and it’s no wonder editors are so scared of even a whiff of wrongthink.

    I admire you for sticking to your guns like this. I wish there was more discussion about just how infanitlising this sort of behaviour is and how detrimental it is to legitimising SF as a true literary art form.

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  3. I wonder if it’s a desire for respectability.

    HBO produces titillating shlock, and is happy to own that brand, and the honchos there could really care less whether their shlock has dragons or mobsters in it, so long as they draw eyeballs

    Whereas the science fiction community is still yearning to be respected and perceived as legitimate producers of High Art.

    I’m curious how much of this preemptive prudishness exists in the horror and pulp-imitating fields.

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  4. It’s Ira I feel sorry for. Sitting there asking an author to censor his own work simply to satisfy some (probably fictional) creature that doesn’t like rude words. Poor Ira. It’s really come to this, for him. Sad face.

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  5. Well, if anything it got me to read the story.
    10/10. Would read again.
    😉

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  6. I’m surprised they’d “introduce the story with a warning that, for instance, potentially offensive language exists in the story, but we will not alter it,” but wouldn’t include the “dogfucker” line even with that warning.

    I think the problem’s the brandy. A sober Alsatian would probably be fine.

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  7. Good for you, their loss. As I recall Vonnegut took great delight in using the word “jism” over and over in that story.

    Not 5 minutes before I read this, my 8 year old took joy in introducing me to the song Australia’s Deadliest Animals (see on YouTube) which would likely offend many of the same folks that the editor was worried about, with language and swipes at the NRA. I was so proud (except she is probably a *bit* young to be working ‘cunt’ into casual conversation).

    People are cowards, and don’t know how to handle brave uncompromising work. Bunch of dogfuckers, if you ask me.

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  8. I’m with you on this, of course. It’s a minor edit yes, but a major concession on your part, I think Ira is wrong in his opinion that it’s not a slippery slope, it certainly is a precedent. If you did that maybe next time you wouldn’t write the sentence in the first place. Or second guess yourself. We don’t want that.

    Pragmatically from Ira’s point of view, I think he’s being overcautious. Unlikely such a small sentence would be brought up by anyone as a complaint. The subject matter is too outré for the kind of puritan that would be offended by it to bring up. I’m talking about the mechanics of the potential complaint here – I don’t see it. But once the editorial team has discussed it and gone this far, they can’t back down, so they have to drop you. Their loss.

    The Overton window for puritanism is an odd one, more of a random walk than a smooth progression. 20 years ago on the internet I was seeing Mr Hands pop up on a regular basis (In the circles I moved in it was kind of like a rickroll) and I fully expected a generation growing up in such an environment to develop into obsidian eyed children of the corn but instead, unaccountably, all the internet filters seem to have worked and the current crop of young adults are, well… soft. Not necessarily a bad thing, there’s a kindness to modern youth that was extremely rare back in the day.

    But let us have our safe spaces to be unsafe in, god dammit.

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  9. I can tell you have no kids. You don’t have a clue how over-sexualized the world already is for kids, and how hard we parents have to work so that they have time to think about physics, robotics and maths before a million mother-fuckers try to invade their fragile minds with dildoes, vaginas and asses, so they can sell them porn for the next few decades.
    That guy was trying to help you. You’ll probably never understand.

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  10. David Roman,

    I have kids… And I am totally on Peter’s side here. So please add a disclaimer in your “We parants..” argument where you say that you dont speak for all parents but only for yourself.

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  11. David Roman: I can tell you have no kids.

    I doubt that anyone younger than 40 reads Amazing Stories, but this comment from the repressed Puritan side of the gallery might be illustrative of the broader attitude in modern SF.

    Surprised Amazing lists Iain M. Banks’s Culture stories as an influence. Been a while since I read those, but old Iain wasn’t one for censoring.

    James Gauvreau: I’m curious how much of this preemptive prudishness exists in the horror and pulp-imitating fields.

    Not much. In fact, they embrace it. There’s a whole subgenre called “dark fantasy”, which consists of basically plotless stories with an often-erotic general vibe.

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  12. There’s a Malcolm Gladwell talk (article?) somewhere wherein he recounts meeting with some folks who have trained an AI to predict a movie’s box-office revenue. Allegedly, it’s so good that 1) it’s accurate to within a couple million dollars, and 2) they can tell you how much the revenue would change if you, for example, changed the locale, or added “more personality” to the B character (whatever that means), etc.

    It makes me wonder if, aside from prudishness, which definitely fits the common narrative of violence-ok-sex-bad, publishers have something similar. I’m only halfway through Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction, but I’ve read enough to make me think they do. I’d be interested to ask Mr. Nayman (ha! aptonym in the wild!) just how much he expects revenue to increase if “dogfucker” is removed.

    Found the talk: https://youtu.be/jrT6P3jiKZM

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  13. asd:
    I don’t know anything about AS, but I inferred that it’s a magazine, in which case the whole thing might not be about offending the boomers who still pay for these things, but breaking some clause in their contracts with advertisers.

    I had not thought of that advertising angle.

    Greg Guy: Yes, unfortunately there has been a massive regression in SF in the last decade or so regarding not just sex, but any kind of grey zones and controversial subjects. I blame the YA market which is now dominating a lot of genres because most adults just aren’t buying that many books.

    I was going to cite Kij Johnson’s “Spar” as a counterpoint, but that story’s a decade old now. Has it been ten years already?

    Mac: Good for you, their loss. As I recall Vonnegut took great delight in using the word “jism” over and over in that story.

    Curious coincidence; I was just asked to removed the phrase “jizz on the walls” from a story that’s slated to appear in an architectural coffee-table retrospective.

    In that case I was happy to oblige, though, because the dialog was attributed to someone who actually exists, and he told me that’s not the sort of thing he’d say. Wanted to stay true to character.

    I had to unkill his daughter, too.

    David Roman:
    I can tell you have no kids. You don’t have a clue how over-sexualized the world already is for kids

    I have no biological kids (what responsible human would, these days?), but I have two stepdaughters. They swear more than I do. They’ve also got really healthy attitudes towards sex, if the webcam footage is anything to go on.

    That guy was trying to help you.

    I appreciate Ira’s good intentions. But I’ve got this far without that kind of help, and I seem to be doing okay.

    camiroi: Found the talk: https://youtu.be/jrT6P3jiKZM

    I have tabbed it for later viewing.

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  14. David Roman: I can tell you have no kids.

    I can tell that David Roman believes that “Because I said so” is an argument, not an admission that he doesn’t have one.

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  15. Getting the name of the story wrong was strike one. The pomposity of “if memory serves” was strikes two and three.

    The verdict is in: Ira is *definitely* a self-satisfied cunt.

    If you’re not sure about something in the text you’re discussing, you check. In the information age it takes two seconds to switch tabs and Ctrl+F; did this cracker think he was saving himself a walk to the chained library or something?

    Extremely aggravating, but I’m pretty sure you could slap the story up on a Patreon and crowdsource the payment you would have received for it from Mind Boggling Space Stories or whatever it was in about 5 minutes. Fuck Ira.

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  16. David Roman,

    Dildoes, you say? Don’t talk to me about dildoes. I bought one of them there “Pink TurboPorker” XXL 360’s last week and I still have a startled look on my face. I know you’re with me on this, Dave. Respeck.

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  17. Is it safe to say my response is unprintable? The kindness and consideration you showed in your reply was nothing short of saintly! I shall cancel my subscription immediately! *

    * I don’t really have a subscription, but if Ira is reading this, knowing that they won’t print a Peter Watts story is good enough reason to never have one!

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  18. Troutwaxer: Is it safe to say my response is unprintable?

    Well, I suppose it would be at Amazing Stories, at least…

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  19. So much to unpack. I’m gonna keep it brief, though.

    Do people gather statistics on this? Shouldn’t it follow a standard deviation? Is there really such a thing as a norm other than the mean? People’s values and principles are all over the map, even when they shift individually. Have you always had the same values? Do norms, or the perception thereof, not cycle along some axes? The periods don’t have to be identical.

    Why be surprised by anything people do. It’s all over the map. That includes the behavior of editors.

    It always comes back to this doesn’t it? What will I accept and reject? Does it make a difference? Is this merely rationalizing?

    For the sake of counterpoint, if you had changed the story, you could’ve reached a lot of people and influenced them toward whatever standards you prefer. That possiblity is lost, now.

    Consequences are the only things that matter. What are, or shall be, the consequences of this? Well, I guess me writing this crap is one of them.

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  20. Reminds me of how people still put ice on injuries because it’s become an established narrative that it’s true.

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  21. Jason,

    >Shouldn’t it follow a standard deviation?

    probably, but maybe not.

    > Is there really such a thing as a norm other than the mean?

    median is usually a better measure for heavily skewed distributions (such as wealth)

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  22. As someone who is angry about a lot of things, but not enough to actually care or do something about it if im honest with myself, i am always in awe of your unwillingness to compromise your principles. If more people had your moral fibre, perhaps the world would not be so fucked up.

    If that sounds a tad sycophantic, so be it. For what its worth, i am absolutely sure you did the right thing.

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  23. It used to be that text was safe from this sort of fine toothed comb scrutiny by the simple expedient of “stuff being buried under a pile of pages”. King could have an underage gangbang in a sewer, and no one remarked on it because it was to be found after reading 500 pages of IT, safe from casual skimming censors by sheer volume. Something film or visual mediums could not get away with so easily. But nowadays we have ever vigilant robots reading everything at the speed of light, catching verboten combinations of words and automatically down ranking your website for it’s potty mouth, no appeal possible. The famously ribald Something Awful forums reacted to this, years ago by installing word filters so that “fuck” became “gently caress” and so on. Newcomers assumed this was part of board culture and started writing the terms directly. It’s…. less than ideal.

    Anyway, in better news, fresh Isaac Szpindel fanart from Bovitrandula

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  24. Have you seen this Peter?
    https://www.ft.com/content/cdca7483-4192-4e1f-a2f7-8286c9f255dc
    Denmark about to kill all its 17 million mink.

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  25. Nestor,

    I completely missed the Mr. Hands thing back in the day.

    Wow. Wouldn’t want to do that.

    That said, I think a case could be made that the morality of Pinyan’s actions is far more defensible than that of people who choose to have more than one child. Pinyan was happy, and died doing what he loved, the horse was happy, the videographer and other participants were happy, and there were no deleterious effects from their actions on the environment or people in general. That Washington State saw fit to then bring in a law against such actions while continuing to permit people to bear as many children as they wished, brings into question the morality of their legislative body and the population that elected it.

    Were they seriously worried after the videos got out that without a law in place people would watch them and think, “that’s a good idea, I’m going to try that”?

    Those worried about environmental influences on the carnal proclivities of their offspring might want to steer them away from engineering at Boeing, though.

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  26. Greg Guy:
    I blame the YA market which is now dominating a lot of genres because most adults just aren’t buying that many books.

    I think it’s more likely to be the rise of Offence Culture (though you could argue with some justification that this and the rise of YA are in fact just two facets of the same broad process of infantilisation inherent in late stage capitalism). There’s always some fuckwit ready to stand up and cry “That offends me.” and the internet panopticon means said fuckwits can gather in clans and target their foes with ease. Online scattergun tactics offer promising odds that not only the story, but its writer, the magazine that published it, the magazine’s editor all get fed into the same maw of publicly performed outrage in the blink of an eye. Shit that AS would likely run a mile to avoid.

    The battle to claim SF for an adult audience goes on. Meanwhile, adult audience numbers for the real world as a concept appear to be falling through the floor.

    I’m starting to think Wells wasn’t far out with the Eloi…….

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  27. There is a reason USA and Saudi-Arabia gets along so well…

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  28. I love Blindsight and Echopraxia more than I can convey with words and anticipate your novels more than those of any other author, but we come from polar opposite ends of the political spectrum.

    I suspect merely relaying this fact to you will engage your tribal warfare instincts and consign anything I say to the dumpster, but I feel compelled nonetheless to attempt to tell you your cream-of-celerification threat detectors need to be replaced. Your puritanism heuristics are outdated and obsolete.

    As we humans tend to do, you’re fighting the last war. We always fight the last war and are always caught off guard by the new one. There are new puritans on the block, and they’re nestled nicely in the dead center of your blindspot. You are right to fear regress dressed as regress, but you’re ignoring the far greater threat of regress dressed in the magnificent regalia of progress.

    At the very least, remain open to the possibility that the greatest danger, the most significant dulling force, to the sharp edges of open inquiry and brutally blunt truth-telling that I so heavily associate with Peter Watts is coming from your flank with nary a man on ramparts. That the call is coming from inside the house.

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  29. Jason: For the sake of counterpoint, if you had changed the story, you could’ve reached a lot of people and influenced them toward whatever standards you prefer. That possiblity is lost, now.

    There’s another possibility: that other authors take the same stand I did, and over time, AS becomes known as the magazine that only prints safe, boring stories that never go anywhere interesting for fear of antagonizing— well, anyone. People who read SF for any content outside the “Easy Listening” bounds of the genre start looking elsewhere.

    And there I am.

    The K: i am always in awe of your unwillingness to compromise your principles. If more people had your moral fibre, perhaps the world would not be so fucked up.

    Much as I love to wallow in praise, this was a pretty easy call. Standing on principle really only counts as praiseworthy when such a stand costs you; in this case, all it cost me was a few minutes and a few bucks.

    If they’d showed up at my door and demanded at gunpoint that I bowdlerize the story, I probably would’ve caved like a stalactite.

    Tran Script:
    Have you seen this Peter?
    https://www.ft.com/content/cdca7483-4192-4e1f-a2f7-8286c9f255dc
    Denmark about to kill all its 17 million mink.

    Yeah, I did notice that.

    It does seem odd that nobody blinks at the thought of 17 million mink being slaughtered for fur, but the moment they’re being slaughtered for covid it becomes a tragedy. Personally, I suspect the mink really wouldn’t care that much about why they were being killed. I suspect that, regardless of the epidemiological or fashion-related variables involved, they’d just rather not be.

    Reginald Ledieux: At the very least, remain open to the possibility that the greatest danger, the most significant dulling force, to the sharp edges of open inquiry and brutally blunt truth-telling that I so heavily associate with Peter Watts is coming from your flank with nary a man on ramparts. That the call is coming from inside the house.

    Hi Reginald,

    I can’t be certain, since your statements are a tad on the general side, but I suspect you’re talking what Richard, a few comments up, tags as “Offence Culture”. And believe me—like Richard, I’ve run afoul of those types myself. If that’s what you’re talking about, I know the call is coming from inside the house. Worse, sometimes it comes from the comments section on this very blog.

    I ran into a bit of blowback a while back when I argued that Meghan Murphy should be allowed to talk at the Toronto Public Library, even though I disagreed with her views. Also earlier, when I went off on the inherent hypocrisy of the Nazi-Punchers. That particular post went a bit into the inherent tribalism of both sides, the fact that as social mammals we’ve been so molded to conformist hypocrisy that evidence in favor of the other guy’s position literally compromises our ability to do basic math. I’ve been angrily shat on by much bigger names in the field that I for simply pointing out factual errors made by the Home Team. Google the name Isabel Fall; her brilliant story “I sexually identify as an attack helicopter” was shredded by the Virtue Police as transphobic hate speech and her story was hounded off the internet— and she’s a trans person.

    So yeah, I know all about the fuckers at this end of the pool, and while I understand the biological underpinnings of their double-standard, I still hold them in contempt.

    But.

    The fact that inherent tribalism works across the board in all Human societies only means that all tribal viewpoints are equally biased; but that doesn’t means that they’re all equally wrong. (They can’t be, when you think about it; if they were all equally wrong they’d all be exactly the same belief pretty much by definition.) Climate Change is Real. The Earth is not only ten thousand years old. Vaccines do not cause autism. And no matter how many people sincerely believe with all their hearts that an invisible sky fairy hates the gays, there is not one shred of evidence to support any aspect of that belief.

    Nazis and Post-modernists and SJWs may all feel the same self-righteous fury when challenged— they may all make infuriatingly-stupid statements as a result— but there’s no fucking way that their core beliefs are equally unsound. White supremacy may be perfectly explainable as an evolutionary phenomenon, but in terms of intellectual coherence it’s utterly batshit. And let’s face it; in recent years, what’s commonly called “the far right” has wielded enormous power. That makes them, in my eyes, a far bigger threat than the far left, even though what happened at Evergreen State College turns my stomach.

    Maybe someday the tide will turn to the point where the Requires Hates of the world (look her up) are in charge of the world’s remaining hyperpower instead of simply being the spoiled and privileged progeny of hotel moguls. But until that happens— while the calls may be coming from inside the house, the screams and the gunfire are coming from outside. And you know what Sun Tzu said about the enemy of my enemy.

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  30. >Nazis and Post-modernists and SJWs may all feel the same self-righteous fury when challenged— they may all make infuriatingly-stupid statements as a result— but there’s no fucking way that their core beliefs are equally unsound.

    Really. How is Critical Race Theory sound? Or the 1619 project? It won a Putlizer Prize and had been taught in schools.

    Former Weather Underground members become university professors. If you bomb some cops, the system gives you a job.

    And if you like chopping people’s heads off, you create a magazine, praise East Germany, and tell people on twitter it’s ok kill the Romanov children. Scientifically.

    >And let’s face it; in recent years, what’s commonly called “the far right” has wielded enormous power.

    “In recent years”? I fail to see how this is true.

    When was the last time the right last stopped you as a writer? Or anyone you know? How many years ago?

    Who recently cancelled JK Rowling? Why did Wizards of the Coast cancel a new Dragonlance trilogy, and why are the authors suing?

    Who in Spotify wanted “editorial control” over Joe Rogan’s podcast? Why did journalists Bari Weiss and Glenn Greenwald quit, and what was the reaction of the press?

    I also fail to see how “the right” is in charge. Or if the US is a “hyperpower”, seeing how it stupidly ceded foreign influence in a series of foreign policy blunders.

    Which country gained many seats in the UN as the Europeans and Americans squabbled? Which country does the WHO block from being a full participant and who did that benefit?

    How is the US a power considering it is running on 50 year old Cold War era “technology”? It’s not the US that’s testing AI, or “foreign social media election influence”, or hypersonic missiles, or nuclear rockets.

    Who is James Lindsay and how did he expose the which country’s universities are now teaching themselves 2+2=5? If that’s not the leftist equivalent to the invisible sky fairy I’ll eat my shoe.

    What did the “resurgent right” do? Did the tradcaths capture Syria? Did they attack France for Charlie Hebdo comics?

    Did a “trained marxist” start the most popular “firey but mostly peaceful” protest since the 90s? Were the peaceful protestors in Kenosha openly carrying pistols? Was this interesting nugget of video evidence mentioned in the mainstream press?

    Who was the “100% antifa” guy? Did the NYT inform us he was supposedly a friendly security guard trained in de-escalation? Who was 9news’ mysterious unliscenced armed security guard?

    Who is Eric Clanton, what did he do, which lawyers guild defended him, and why did he get away with just a misdemeanour?

    Who were Trump’s unidentified, unmarked Portland stormtroopers with serial numbers and obvious public arrest records? How did the stormtroopers make 90% of everyone arrested in Portland have their charges dropped? Big flex from the right.

    How did the “right-wing white supremacist threat” plotters that wanted to capture Whitmer, have an anarchist flag, wanted to hang Trump and attended a BLM protest? Their commonly known description is most curious.

    What was Journolist and their idea of “call them racist”? Who published the Hunter Biden laptop leaks, and who was banned from social media? Did the right or Trump force the press to publish it for them? Truly we live in an age of Pravda and Der Sturmer.

    How exactly are the angel-worshipping farmhands influencing anything? All cities in Canada, US and UK vote left. Most population most voting power. Most influence since higher education is based there. Most US journalists are in NY and all NY journalists come from the same university. Sky god redneck Baptist man is truly changing society.

    In fact, Rural Farm Village Person recently joined the likes of Prince Charles, Klaus Schwab, Palantir Technologies, General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation, Executive Officer Mastercard, Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China, Chief Executive Officer bp, President Microsoft – to use the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” to bring us into a world where “I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better”. Those are direct quotes btw.

    And before I become unbearably annoying, how many people are making a list of political enemies, now that Biden’s poised to win? Which side are they on?

    If you’ll excuse me, I have lots of little gold stars to pin on people.

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  31. Hey there, Maltzy. (Can I call you Maltzy?)

    Interesting collection of counterexamples you’ve thrown at the wall here. You might want to spend a little more effort high-grading for credibility, though; most people, when presented with a shotgun blast of familiar and unfamiliar examples, will be more likely to dismiss the ones they haven’t heard of if the ones ones they recognize are obvious bullshit. The whole Biden-laptop thing, for example, had been debunked even before Sean Hannity begged off on providing any actual evidence because the dog ate his homework (technically he said it got lost in the mail, which is functionally equivalent). Speaking as a Canadian myself, I can assure you that all our cities definitely do not “vote left” (although granted, that word may not mean what you think it means; we recently had a “conservative” government that literally burned scientific data in parking lot dumpsters, and by ‘Murrican standards even they were left-wing.) And if you think the US isn’t, in fact, researching hypersonics or AI, I’ve got some MAGA-friendly election results to sell you.

    That said, some of your examples are solid. In fact, if you’d been a bit more attentive to my own writing you might have guessed I agree with you over the censorship of writers by the Purity Police, the vilification of people ranging from Atwood to Chomsky because they’d dared to stand up for free speech. (Hell, you might have even followed the links I provided to confirm that.) What little I know of Critical Race Theory doesn’t pass the smell test (although I could well be wrong, having not really researched the field). I have a lot of respect for Greenwald and my regard for the Intercept took a real hit when he left.

    But while RequiresHate may have driven someone to attempt suicide, she never gutted the EPA. The architects of the 1619 Project never started a war on false pretenses to enrich their buddies in the oil industry, even if I were to accept your assessment of their worth over that of the Pulitzer committee. And while punching out a Trump supporter may have been an inefficient tactical choice, to the best of my knowledge Eric Clanton never lied to the US population about a global pandemic that’s killed a quarter-million of them and is just getting started. None of these folks have staged coups or overthrown democratically-elected governments.

    That’s only a few examples from your own country (I’m assuming you’re ‘Murrican based on your choice of examples, even though your IP addy says Singapore; non-VPN servers don’t generally put “unknown” into their host names). If you were to talk to LGBTQ folks in places like Belarus, Hungary, and Poland—or even chatted with a woman looking to get an abortion in Warsaw—you might come to the conclusion that the right-wing despots running those countries are almost as bad as the orange demagogue clinging so desperately to the White House drapes in your own. And of course, none of the grievance patrol have their hands on any nuclear launch codes yet.

    “The Right” has definitely been holding those reins.

    In fact, judging by your almost Vandermeeresque splutterings of reflexive outrage, you seem to be a pretty good case-in-point when it comes to the tribalistic groupthink I discussed in those links you never bothered to follow; it’s not so much what’s said that pisses you off as who said it.

    Oh, and as for people killing cops, I don’t think you’ve got much to worry about. I’m pretty sure the cops are still well ahead on points. You won’t get any sympathy from me for trotting out All Lives Matter anyway; I’m the guy who’s argued on this very blog that we should be killing more of them. According to the logic you’ve used here, that makes me more powerful than the Extreme Right.

    If only.

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  32. Peter Watts: You won’t get any sympathy from me for trotting out All Lives Matter anyway; I’m the guy who’s argued on this very blog that we should be killing more of them.

    That post reads like an incoherent bingo card of weak white basement-dwelling bitchdude fury.

    Which is heartening, in many ways.

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  33. Maltzy is Q crazy. You can tell by the barrage of leading questions. Don’t let em get a foothold here, you’ll never get rid of them if he starts inviting friends.

    Re Cancel Culture and the Purity Police. Isn’t this just the free-market of ideas? Governments are not censoring JK – former fans are saying they don’t like her anymore. What’s more free speech than that? (And she’s rich as fuck, no one is actually cancelling her, she will not suffer.)

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  34. Fatman: That post reads like an incoherent bingo card of weak white basement-dwelling bitchdude fury.

    Huh. That gives Anderson Cooper’s “obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over” line a run for its money.

    gator: Re Cancel Culture and the Purity Police. Isn’t this just the free-market of ideas? Governments are not censoring JK – former fans are saying they don’t like her anymore. What’s more free speech than that? (And she’s rich as fuck, no one is actually cancelling her, she will not suffer.)

    Yeah, Rowling’s crying all the way to the bank. But not everyone has that kind of clout. I’ve gone on about Isabel Fall ad nauseum, but she’s hardly the only example. Sensitivity readers, for example, seem to be kind of a racket. I know of one example where the work of an author based on her own experiences was slammed by a sensitivity reader for being offensive to indigenous and mentally-ill people, even though the author herself was indigenous and had been institutionalized. This was a book— brilliantly written, as I understand it— that was based on raw first-hand experience, shut down by someone who had no comparable experiences or expertise of their own (she’d been chosen as a sensitivity reader solely because she was fat; the author/protagonist were also fat.).

    Publishers these days are running scared. They’d rather err on the side of pablum than take a chance on provoking Twitter mobs. In these cases, the issue isn’t so much Cancel Culture because its targets never get out the gate where they can be cancelled. It’s more like, I don’t know. Abortion Culture, maybe.

    Whatever you call it, it’s a real thing, and it’s stifling legitimate voices.

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  35. gator: Isn’t this just the free-market of ideas? Governments are not censoring JK – former fans are saying they don’t like her anymore. What’s more free speech than that?

    Indeed. Companies (publishers), drop products (writers) that don’t make them money and antagonize potential consumers (readers) to boot. Back when I was in Econ 101, my professors called this “capitalism”.

    Hearing self-proclaimed (mostly) right-wingers whine against capitalism is just… precious. Kind of like the whole pathetic Puppies sci-fi debacle from a few years ago.

    Last time I checked, JKR is the world’s wealthiest author, her books are selling in the millions, and a third Fantastic Beasts blockbuster movie is coming out this year. If that’s what being cancelled is about, where do I get me some of that?

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  36. Peter, your PSA at the beginning of this post contains a broken link to blindsight.space – the URL you’ve written has now been hi-jacked by some kind of spamming outfit.

    It’s a “delightful” feature of the modern internet that there are people out there scanning for broken links that they can register & harvest the traffic for nefarious purposes. We always on the edge of the dark forest, even if we don’t realise it.

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  37. >In fact, judging by your almost Vandermeeresque splutterings of reflexive outrage, you seem to be a pretty good case-in-point when it comes to the tribalistic groupthink I discussed in those links you never bothered to follow; it’s not so much what’s said that pisses you off as who said it.

    That’s simply wrong.

    I was angry because:

    1. I respected you as an author I expected a cynical mindset and not simply accepting bs.

    2. To be an author of hard scifi requires the use of recent information.

    3. Your examples were from old info, while your conclusion already presupposed a right wing dominace, which was also not true. All my examples were factual.

    Faced with such clear absurdities I lost my calm at ideas, not people.

    4. “And let’s face it; in recent years, what’s commonly called “the far right” has wielded enormous power.”

    “Recently” the far right has NOT wielded enormous power. Based on current information the right is NOT in power. All their mythical attributes of:

    “the screams and the gunfire are coming from outside.”

    So the right are armed and killing people.

    Are the left incapable of murder and not a “threat”?

    I gave the Weathermen, Michael Forest Reinoehl and Matthew Dolloff. They were armed and killed people. The Weathermen in the 70s in particular got off lightly and became university professors.

    This also carries to Eric Clanton, who got away.

    “And while punching out a Trump supporter may have been an inefficient tactical choice”

    “punching out” – “Police said, previously, that Clanton attacked at least three people with a metal U-lock during the April 15 rally in and around Civic Center Park.”

    “a” – “Court papers later revealed that Clanton struck at least seven people in the head, according to authorities. One person received a head laceration that required five staples to fix. Another was uninjured but had a piece of a helmet broken off. A third was struck across the neck and back, police wrote.”

    “Trump supporter” – Not mentioned as far as I know.

    “may have been an inefficient tactical choice”

    Was it? Lots more have been beaten, others shot, nothing happens to the instigators, all very quiet in the press, since nobody mentions it.

    What happened to Rand Paul in DC. What happened to Tucker Carlson at a restaurant. It was so “inefficient” so many even know about it.

    Sean D. Kealiher died in Portland; at CHAZ, “A 19-year-old man was killed and another person was in critical condition after a pre-dawn shooting in Seattle’s protest zone, authorities said on Saturday.”

    No suspects or arrests. How do they do it.

    While the supposed “gunfire” happens, the popular “right wing domestic terrorists” are either shot dead, and if jailed, do not come out to be professors, or a have a whitewashed “helping calm conflicts” “trained on de-escalation” article in the NYT.

    Most curious discrepancy.

    “in my eyes, a far bigger threat than the far left,”

    How is the left not a threat “recently”?

    I am not referring to memetic hippies. The left historically has had no compunctions to murder.

    Historical beheadings: Jacobins. Recent revival: Jacobin Magazine.

    “that doesn’t means that they’re all equally wrong.”

    But yes they are.

    The Jacobins looked at their king, who did nothing as most kings do, and supposed a threat of the “ancient regime”. Their solution was to kill everyone until the “ancientness” was stopped.

    The Marxists looked at the factories of their time and assumed all evil came from the “capitalist oppressor class”. Then it got shortened to “class oppressor” then “whoever impedes the Party is the enemy class and my oppressor”. Logical.

    The nazis, National Socialists, supposed the hostile “oppressor class” came from a backstabbing race who “wages war for profit”, which like the above examples, can never be tracked anywhere so the killings must continue. Less logical.

    Antisemitism was repeated by the press and openly taught in university Hitler attended. Press and education clearly does nothing.

    The map of Brexit clearly shows Remain London in a sea of Leavers.

    In US elections, cities were blue in a sea of red.

    In Canada, not “all” cities vote left? Is it at a 1000:1 or a 100:1 ratio? Majority vote remember?

    “And no matter how many people sincerely believe with all their hearts that an invisible sky fairy hates the gays, there is not one shred of evidence to support any aspect of that belief.”

    The sky fairy people. In fact 3 of them, all from at least 1400 years ago. In fact, most traditionalist cultures, even Eastern ones, and the mafia, didn’t or don’t like LGBT. Shocking. The threat of the sky fairy, but only 1 of them.

    Then the lists:

    WaPo writer Jennifer Rubin said, “…never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into “polite” society. We have a list.”

    AOC: “…when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?”

    Rick Wilson: “Pain is the only teacher, Rich, and you, and the enabler class don’t understand that yet. But you will.”

    This is the Trump Accountability Project. At a time when unity was called for by the president-elect, lists of political enemies are made. It should recall the good old days of the Cheka and the SS, despite what euphemism used.

    And Pascale Ferrier’s ricin envelope, and 6 months of “firey but mostly peaceful protests”. Not a threat. The right is in control.

    “even though what happened at Evergreen State College turns my stomach.”

    If only you knew how bad things really are.

    Evergreen University was old news and the tip of the iceberg.

    “censorship of writers by the Purity Police,” is clearly linked to the new-old “complicit enabler class” attitude. Evergreen University was not a fluke. Clear parallels happened in China and Cambodia.

    The “far left” has a continuum of violence.

    It goes from censorship; to “because ‘they’ are ‘complicit'”; to “punching out a Trump supporter” (factually inaccurate); to the remarkably ignored Weathermen and the 2 gunmen; to declaring the Holodomor didn’t happen.

    It is also interesting to note the NYT’s and most of the press’s coverage of violent people skews to one side.

    “East Germany’s Love Affair With Angela Davis” Another loving tribute. Guess the affiliation.

    “the screams and the gunfire are coming from outside”

    Yes, I wonder why there’s 4 years of telling us “punching” people ok, and when they stopped beating and start threatening and shooting, it also didn’t happen.

    Figment of my imagination, the right’s the real threat.

    Chomsky would ask who manufactured consent, but Yuri Bezmenov put it more accurately as “demoralization”.

    “The whole Biden-laptop thing, for example, had been debunked even before Sean Hannity begged off”

    I wrote: “What was Journolist and their idea of “call them racist”? Who published the Hunter Biden laptop leaks, and who was banned from social media? Did the right or Trump force the press to publish it for them? Truly we live in an age of Pravda and Der Sturmer.”

    “‘Call Them Racists’
    How “journolists” tried to suppress the news.” – WSJ 2010

    My paragraph’s about fake news.

    Zero coverage of the Hunter claims anywhere other than right wing media, Twitter posts by average people deleted, the publication’s main account NYPost prevented from posting to FB or Twitter.

    But focus was somehow transferred to the “debunked” nature.

    Clearly the situation was “normalized”. Pay no attention to the T-54s in Hungary. No attention to the serial numbers on Trump’s stormtrooper uniforms please. Never happened.

    “the world’s remaining hyperpower”

    Americans are stupid. They don’t know how to spend government budgets, or run an economy, and they’re getting stupider. Hyperpower means global, it’s not. And soon won’t be.

    2+2=5 is a real phenomenon. It is stupid, universites seemingly embrace it and James Lindsay is at the centre of it.

    1619 is also stupid, and yet has been taught.

    So is Critical Race Theory. To federal employees.

    “instead of simply being the spoiled and privileged progeny of hotel moguls.”

    Oh? “Teddy Roosevelt statue to be removed from famed natural history museum in New York”

    All of the above were what the RequiresHates of the world were “recently” doing. They’re not just been Tweeting, they have been firing as well. Nobody notices. But of course.

    4. How has the sky god right “wielded enormous power”

    a. “she never gutted the EPA.”

    Can be repealed without violence.

    How does extra pollution help spread Jesus. Or the right. Pickup trucks?

    b. “The architects of the 1619 Project never started a war on false pretenses to enrich their buddies in the oil industry,”

    Recently:

    Iraq War: 2003

    Trump elected: 2016

    Today: 2020, “Pentagon reducing troop levels to 2,500 in Afghanistan and Iraq on Trump’s orders” “President Trump announced a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates Thursday that will usher in the “full normalization of relations”

    How did the “oil war” right “recently” approve of this?

    “The architects of the 1619 Project never started a war on false pretenses” was the NYT. Same NYT that faithfully regurgitated Bush’s Iraq War lines.

    c. “even if I were to accept your assessment of their worth over that of the Pulitzer committee”

    Walther Duranty.

    d. “never lied to the US population about a global pandemic that’s killed a quarter-million of them and is just getting started.”

    Is this about Trump?

    If the right followed Trump’s order to not wear masks and kill themselves, the right has wielded their enormous power to: kill themselves? Really?

    How did Trump make the CDC fail at making test kits, or infect nursing homes, or make NY and California sell off their ventilators they bought for themselves a couple years ago?

    I didn’t see Trump ordering governors to open up. Where are his despotic stormtroopers opening businesses?

    In fact, was it the press who told us “racism was the real virus”, then “lockdowns now!” then “historic protests please move on” then “Trumpvirus” again then “fabulous Biden street parties”. No attention in Hong Kong please.

    I fail to see how a thoroughly discredited man nobody in the press, nobody in NY, Cali, Washington DC, Washington, Oregon, all the most populous states (voted blue), nobody listens to and routinely ignores for 4 years, magically “lies” somehow influences and kills Americans instead of just the maskless right.

    Who told us not to use the CDC’s vaccine?

    e. “None of these folks have staged coups or overthrown democratically-elected governments.”

    Ok. CIA stuff?

    Recently, did Trump install Pinocet in 1973?

    Are you referring to Hong Kong instead? We should keep them in power there, it’s not as if their cops beat up and teargas protestors. But teargas is banned in Portland. If Trump does it, then it becomes a banned chemical weapon. Read all about it.

    Or the Color Revolutions? Norm Eisen? Funny how he’s the guy that wrote 10 articles of impeachment.

    f. “If you were to talk to LGBTQ folks in places like Belarus, Hungary, and Poland—or even chatted with a woman looking to get an abortion in Warsaw—you might come to the conclusion that the right-wing despots running those countries”

    No I didn’t talk to them. What happened to them? Despotic concentration camps? Only one I know of is in Xinjiang. And is not mentioned.

    No, I don’t like the cages either. Or Trump’s reduction on legal immigration. I am pro-abortion.

    g. “And of course, none of the grievance patrol have their hands on any nuclear launch codes yet.”

    Yet.

    Yet?

    I heard China, Russia, France, UK, Israel, India, North Korea, all had nukes. Xi’s such a cool guy nothing’s gonna happen. Very democratic, controls South-East Asia, not a problem.

    But too many Charlie Hebdo comics, Marcon’s gonna kill us all. Barry Goldwater’s completely insane, he’s gonna nuke everyone.

    Trump’s gonna do it too, nuclear war soon. Quick, vote correctly.

    Incredible things are being attributed to Trump and the right, while “not one shred of evidence to support any aspect of that belief.”

    It’s like an episode of Black Mirror.

    h. “Oh, and as for people killing cops, I don’t think you’ve got much to worry about. I’m pretty sure the cops are still well ahead on points.”

    And yet cops only manage to kill certain people.

    And only certain people that kill cops get a job afterwards.

    Let’s talk about the Boogaloo Bois.

    How normalized.

    i. Where is the apocalyptic right wing Jesus war machine the press have promised me?

    Where’s the wall-to-wall press bootlicking bullshit? Where’s the new wars? Aushwitz? Piles of dead homosexuals and Proud Boys? Where’s the Jesus re-education camps? Where is Jesus? Why is there Hitler ok signs? Who’s oppressing the writers? Who’s looking back in fondness to the great old Bolshevik days of all the lists and burying truth? I sure do love 50 years of anti-fascist wall in East Germany, which never happened.

    j. “that makes me more powerful than the Extreme Right.”

    I love Hitler. I love Hitler so much I have Ben Sharpiro’s face tattooed all over my groin.

    Pollution feeds Jesus, peace is war, lies are news, magic influence happens, time travel is real, secret death camps exist, I have nuclear launch codes in my other pocket, and killing cops is a gateway to societal acceptance and employment but only sometimes.

    All of this have helped Jesus and the right because I am part of it.

    I have caused cops to be deployed in movie theaters for an incel uprising the press invented, I have rioted and looted in my cop-free zone, I have shot people and the press loves me, I have the racist smirk and racist people walking up to me of Nick Sandmann, I love Q and mention it frequently, I have become a “white supremacist threat” right after going to a BLM protest.

    Tipper Gore, Jack Thompson, Joe Lieberman, “Seduction of the Innocent”, Anita Sarkeesian, all went to me to support their ideas.

    Only the government censors, Pravda and Russia Today are very different things.

    I love corporations, that’s why I read these anti-corporatist stories.

    I need to be incapable of emotion yet filled with empathy.

    I am simultaneously the “weak white basement-dwelling bitchdude fury”, “a obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over” and the ‘powerful Extreme Right.’ Both weak and powerful at the sane time. Very convienent.

    I welcome their hatred.

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  38. Albert Maltz: Both weak and powerful at the sane time. Very convienent.

    Oh, no. You’re definitely either a delusional bitchdude, or a tedious troll. Dropping unformed cognitive turd-nuggets and imagining them to be truth bombs.

    It’s the interest groups that harness the inchoate rage of pathetic losers like yourself who form the “powerful Extreme Right”.

    You are a “convienent” idiot. A joke in poor taste on Parler or 4Chan. Mostly. It’s all fun and games until one of you goes full postal and shoots up a synagogue, or a mosque, or runs a car into a bunch of people.

    “I welcome their hatred.”

    LOL

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  39. Peter Watts,

    Peter Watts: Whatever you call it, it’s a real thing, and it’s stifling legitimate voices.

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I’m not a writer, I’m far from the halls of culture and academia etc. I had never heard of a sensitivity reader. So maybe my questions seem naïve to you but I am trying to understand other points of view.

    The Isabel Falls case though doesn’t seem like a good example of this — her work was published, widely publicly discussed, and was taken down by the author’s request. I haven’t read the story, only snippets, and wish the story was still up for me to read. I spent a little time reading articles about the controversy. This whole affair seems like a good thing for an aspiring author. Many many people read her work and cared enough about it to get into fights. Is this really stifling?

    What’s the alternative? People criticized the story because they felt personally attacked and hurt. How about a different story: a young neo-nazi goes back in time to save a young Hitler so he can implement the final solution – we’re living in the resulting timeline.
    Is it OK to criticize the story? I mean it could be a commentary on the current state of neo-nazism we are living with… or just a fantasy about killing jews. Shouldn’t a robust culture support discussion?

    The anecdote about the sensitivity reader seems like a failure of the publisher. Hasn’t that often been the case though, that publishers (of all media) tend towards the lowest common denominator?

    Mostly what I see are people who want to make a statement and not be criticized for it. JKR – “trans women aren’t women” – “how dare anyone criticize me for holding this opinion.”

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  40. Maltzy:

    I suspect you need a lot of things, but I think your greatest need might be for an editor. Or maybe an undergrad course in critical thinking.

    For one thing, an endless stream of bullet points might carry a little more weight if they didn’t contradict each other. You can’t on the one hand dismiss my invocation of the Iraqi invasion because it’s not “recent”, only to turn around and then witter on endlessly about a bunch of violent radicals from the eighteenth century. You also have an unfortunate tendency to mix up cause and effect, provocation with reaction. You clutch your pearls at the rude treatment suffered by Rand Paul, apparently oblivious to any legislative history that might have provoked such a reaction. You sometimes almost seem to verge on a kind of insight—

    …”cops only manage to kill certain people”

    But you never quite connect the dots (Not only, but certainly predominantly: they have a real preference for killing people who are darker than a Kraft Caramel. And they hardly ever get indicted for it. And police forces the country over tend to skew hard right.)

    You cite a middle-east “peace deal” as though it were an actual peace deal, not a one-sided sellout of Palestinians that serves mainly to enhance the Kushners’ real-estate holdings on the West Bank. You say that Trump’s gutting of environmental regs can be repealed “without violence” as though the wholesale ongoing extinction of species and habitat do not constitute violence by definition.

    And that’s not even getting into the claims that are just batshit factually wrong, as opposed to merely fallacious. You may not have seen Trump ordering governors to open up, but everyone else did. (Perhaps the phrase LIBERATE MICHIGAN rings a bell.). “Right wing terrorists” do not get “shot dead”; they get peacefully taken into custody far more frequently than black folks suspected of far lesser misdeeds (Michigan again, among others; a bunch of white yahoos brandishing automatic weapons in the Legislature and not a shot was fired. Meanwhile Breonna Taylor gets gunned down in her own bed and the only charges laid are over damage to the fucking building.)

    You wonder, eyes rolled, at my claim about the impact of invisible sky fairies, as if blissfully unaware that evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Trump—and that the same demographic is also front and center for everything from climate-change denial to superspreader events.

    “How did Trump make the CDC fail at making test kits, or infect yadda yadda yadda” Are you seriously defending Trump’s Covid response? The guy who disbanded the pandemic early-warning program that had a contingent in China, studying covid? The guy who eliminated the Complex Crisis Fund? The guy who ignored repeated intelligence briefings about the danger of an imminent pandemic? The administration that literally hijacked PPE bound for individual states, to the point where governors had to hide the locations to which shipments would be delivered for fear of interception? The administration that leaned politically on the CDC to misreport their own findings for political gain? The guy who admitted to lying to the American public about the severity of the disease even though he knew how bad it was? The idiot who literally cannot pronounce “Yosemite”, disparaging the scientific opinions of leading epidemiologists? Bleach-in-the-arm Trump?

    And on and on. Claims upon claims, apparently made in the hope that nobody reading them is capable of any kind of fact-checking.

    Winding down on your latest volley, you also seem to think that you actually are Trump (at least, you claim the “obese turtle” line was directed at you), while simultaneously seeming to think that you are the fleshly embodiment of the extreme right. It’s almost as though you think every shot taken at anyone on your end of the field is directed at you personally. You may want to dial back the ego a bit.

    Bottom line, Maltzy, you’re not presenting an argument so much as a verbal tossed-salad of buzzwords and random anecdotes. Responding to all that is a little like trying to talk to a schizophrenic. The returns have diminished to the point where even I don’t think it’s worth continuing.

    You say you welcome “their” hatred. Putting aside the potential martyr-complex issues on display, I can only say that for my part at least, I have no hatred to offer.

    Are you at all receptive to pity?

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  41. Jesus, power to you for going through that and actually engaging some of it. I assume this poster uses that technique and then assumes people’s refusal to engage with those walls of text are a concession of defeat. Argumentum ad tedium…?

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  42. >You can’t on the one hand dismiss my invocation of the Iraqi invasion because it’s not “recent”, only to turn around and then witter on endlessly about a bunch of violent radicals from the eighteenth century.

    Don’t be ridiculous, man. You asked if Nazis and SJWs arw simularly stupid and I answered. Jacobins, Marxists and Nazis had the same roots. Same waek and powerful fictional oppressor class to blame for their own failures.

    >about a bunch of violent radicals from the eighteenth century.

    Jacobin Magazine’s founding editor Bhaskar Sunkara in 2020: “I think killing little Romanov children was justified.”

    You were also totally wrong about Eric Clanton and simply ignore how the media and universiries love terrorists of a certain political alignment. Inconvienent facts.

    Of course, when black conservative Philip Anderson’s teeth got knocked out for no reason and his GoFundMe and social media gets banned, it didn’t happen

    Media censorship of NYPost FB, Twitter etc. also didn’t happen.

    Your idea of the tyrannical right, would’ve been correct 20 years ago with Bush.

    >You clutch your pearls at the rude treatment suffered by Rand Paul, apparently oblivious to any legislative history that might have provoked such a reaction.

    Please update yourself, sir: “They were shouting threats, you know, to us, to kill us, to hurt us, but they’re also saying, shouting, ‘Say her name, Breonna Taylor.’ And it’s like, you couldn’t reason with this mob. But I’m actually the author of the Breonna Taylor law to end no-knock raids, so the irony is lost on these idiots that they’re trying to kill the person who’s actually trying to get rid of no-knock raids … You’ve seen the pictures of what they do to you,”

    >But you never quite connect the dots (Not only, but certainly predominantly: they have a real preference for killing people who are darker than a Kraft Caramel. And they hardly ever get indicted for it. And police forces the country over tend to skew hard right.)

    And: “US Census Bureau has the US population at around 328.2 million. 60% white (196.9 million), 13.4% black (43.9 million)
    Police killed 250 black suspects (5.6 per 1 million)
    Police killed 403 white suspects (2 per 1 million)”

    “Black people committed 146,734 violent crimes (33.4 per 10,000)
    White people committed 230,299 violent crimes (11.6 per 10,000)

    “So, black people are killed at a rate 2.8x higher (5.6/2)
    And black people commit violent crime at a rate 2.8x higher (33.4/11.6).”

    Yes it’s hard right to shoot violent crime. Maybe the American cops did a Nazi salute afterwards.

    >not a one-sided sellout of Palestinians that serves mainly to enhance the Kushners’ real-estate holdings on the West Bank.

    Not heard of that.

    >You say that Trump’s gutting of environmental regs can be repealed “without violence” as though the wholesale ongoing extinction of species and habitat do not constitute violence by definition.

    Why bother bombing legislators when you can repeal laws is beyond me.

    >And that’s not even getting into the claims that are just batshit factually wrong, as opposed to merely fallacious. You may not have seen Trump ordering governors to open up, but everyone else did. (Perhaps the phrase LIBERATE MICHIGAN rings a bell.).

    Tweets are law. Much stormtroopers.

    > “Right wing terrorists” do not get “shot dead”; they get peacefully taken into custody far more frequently than black folks suspected of far lesser misdeeds

    I too remember Ruby Ridge and Waco.

    > (Michigan again, among others; a bunch of white yahoos brandishing automatic weapons in the Legislature and not a shot was fired.

    Open carry state. Shall not be infringed. Similar treatment to armed CHAZ folk, armed Kenosha protestors and NFAC.

    >You wonder, eyes rolled, at my claim about the impact of invisible sky fairies, as if blissfully unaware that evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Trump—and that the same demographic is also front and center for everything from climate-change denial to superspreader events.

    You must not know what evangelicals want. How did pollution and disease that spread the faith. I can admit anti-lgbt and amti-abortion is part of their faith.

    >Are you seriously defending Trump’s Covid response?

    Should’ve been better. Travel bans only did so much.

    >The guy who ignored repeated intelligence briefings about the danger of an imminent pandemic?

    Anonymous sources.

    >The administration that literally hijacked PPE bound for individual states, to the point where governors had to hide the locations to which shipments would be delivered for fear of interception?

    Didn’t they want a bigger government response and collective purchasing?

    >The guy who admitted to lying to the American public about the severity of the disease even though he knew how bad it was?

    Trump told us he was ‘a cheerleader for America’.

    Besides, it’s ok to riot for 6 months and have Biden street parties with champagne.

    And the “enormous power” of the right to convince… the right to commit suicide. Which was also ignored. What a joke.

    >Winding down on your latest volley, you also seem to think that you actually are Trump (at least, you claim the “obese turtle” line was directed at you), while simultaneously seeming to think that you are the fleshly embodiment of the extreme right. It’s almost as though you think every shot taken at anyone on your end of the field is directed at you personally. You may want to dial back the ego a bit.

    May I remind you: “it’s not so much what’s said that pisses you off as who said it.”

    May I remind you of the recent trend I mentioned?

    “WaPo writer Jennifer Rubin said, “…never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into “polite” society. We have a list.”

    AOC: “…when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?”

    Rick Wilson: “Pain is the only teacher, Rich, and you, and the enabler class don’t understand that yet. But you will.””

    Or: David Atkins, Regional Director, CA Dems / Elected DNC Member: “No seriously…how *do* you deprogram 75 million people? Where do you start? Fox? Facebook? We have to start thinking in terms of post-WWII Germany or Japan. Or the failures of Reconstruction in the South.”

    Or: Slate: “The real problem is the emboldened Trumpists who refuse to give over, and Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney notwithstanding, that behavior goes from the people who attend the MAGA rallies all the way up to the top of the GOP.”

    Which was not directed at me personally I suppose.

    It’s an impersonal kind of re-education camp.

    >You’re definitely either a delusional bitchdude, or a tedious troll.

    >It’s all fun and games until one of you goes full postal and shoots up a synagogue, or a mosque, or runs a car into a bunch of people.

    Weak and powerful. Entire shadowy cabals of us supposedly exist.

    Also: “One of the Portland antifa stabbed Duncomb during a riot in the summer. He was hospitalized and survived. Seems like they are trying to finish what they started previously.”

    >You say you welcome “their” hatred. Putting aside the potential martyr-complex issues on display, I can only say that for my part at least, I have no hatred to offer.

    >Are you at all receptive to pity?

    Yes.

    Since I know of the Cambodian Killing Fields employed innocents to further the will of the Khumer Rouge’s party elites, see you Aushwitz camp guards later lol.

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  43. Albert Maltz: Weak and powerful. Entire shadowy cabals of us supposedly exist.

    Ah, the trademark strawman-dodge of the intellectual coward. Bitchdude it is, then.

    Murdering unarmed people attending a religious ceremony does not make your sort “powerful”. I apologize if I suggested otherwise.

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  44. >Ah, the trademark strawman-dodge of the intellectual coward. Bitchdude it is, then.

    >Murdering unarmed people attending a religious ceremony does not make your sort “powerful”. I apologize if I suggested otherwise.

    I am also Adolf Hitler.

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  45. Albert Maltz: Don’t be ridiculous, man. You asked if Nazis and SJWs arw simularly stupid and I answered. Jacobins, Marxists and Nazis had the same roots. Same waek and powerful fictional oppressor class to blame for their own failures.

    Dude, you are not paying attention. I didn’t ask, and I wasn’t talking about stupidity. I was talking about ideological blindness, and I declared that both sides were equally guilty. As far as I can tell, we agree on this point (unless you’re claiming that the MAGAnauts are paragons of objectivity).

    Jacobin Magazine’s founding editor Bhaskar Sunkara in 2020: “I think killing little Romanov children was justified.”

    I think they call that “Freedom of Speech” where you come from. If expressing abhorrent opinions is “power”, then Incels rule the fucking world. It has absolutely no bearing on the power imbalances we’re arguing about.

    You were also totally wrong about Eric Clanton and simply ignore how the media and universiries love terrorists of a certain political alignment. Inconvienent facts.

    Let’s step through this. We’re talking about asymmetries of power. Citing Eric Clanton as evidence of Tewwowist Leftist Power makes about as much sense as my citing James Fields Jr. as evidence of Tewwowist Right Power (less actually, since as far as I know you haven’t accused Clanton of killing anyone). It’s argument by anecdote; it’s fallacious. Likewise, you cite an unruly mob shouting at Rand Paul as if it makes the Right some kind of underdog. What we have, in fact, is a pissed-off crowd making a Kentucky Senator wet himself for a few minutes. At the same time, said senator wields major influence over legislation that affects the whole damn country. Hell, the very quote you cited names him as the author of the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act (and good on him for that). I grant that the mob couldn’t have picked a worse target for that specific slogan, but that’s not what we’re arguing about. You seem to be claiming that the Eric Clantons of the world wield more real power than the Rand Pauls, and that’s just bullshit.

    (You might want to upgrade to sources a bit more reliable than Brietbart, by the way; AP, for example, empirically less biased and more reliable, dismisses Rand’s charges of assault upon his person as meritless, which seems like a pretty good call if you actually check out the video in question.)

    Media censorship of NYPost FB, Twitter etc. also didn’t happen.

    I think they call that “fact-checking”. Ever since the election I’ve actually been following Trump’s twitter posts. I don’t see them censoring him, I see them leaving his tweets intact and calling bullshit on them. I know that as president-unelect he still gets special treatment—and that those privileges will vanish like the morning mist come January—but personally I don’t think they should wait that long. If someone was vomiting such utter bullshit on my media platform, I’d shut them up too. Publicly accusing someone of fraud, or cannibalism, or pedophilia without evidence is something that should get you gagged. Believe it or not, there were laws against slander and defamation even before the Internet.

    Your idea of the tyrannical right, would’ve been correct 20 years ago with Bush.

    Oh believe me, I was singing the same song back then too. At least Trump didn’t start an unnecessary war for no better reason than to line the pockets of his buddies in the oil industry (although judging by Trump’s recent impulses to attack Iranian nuclear installations he might be up for starting a war out of sheer petty spite, which would hardly be better.) I was also no big fan of Obama, whose human rights record in terms of extrajudicial drone strikes on civilians was even worse than Dubya’s; I’d also regard him as right-wing, although not so extreme.

    It bears repeating: your national politics are skewed so far to the right that what you regard as the extreme looney-tunes Left—the Sanders and Ocasio-Cortezes of the world—are actually pretty centrist here in the developed world. When I talk about the the Right, I suspect I’m including a lot of players that you wouldn’t.

    And: “US Census Bureau … “So, black people are killed at a rate 2.8x higher (5.6/2)
    And black people commit violent crime at a rate 2.8x higher (33.4/11.6).”

    Try this on for size.

    Why bother bombing legislators when you can repeal laws is beyond me.

    I’m curious as to which specific legislators have been bombed over environmental issues (I didn’t think our side had it in them). I’m also curious as to how you’d “repeal” legally-binding contracts that allow drilling in the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge, or how you’d “repeal” lifetime judicial appointments. I’m curious how you “repeal” wholesale extinction; you do know the Jurassic Park movies were SF, right?

    >You may not have seen Trump ordering governors to open up, but everyone else did. (Perhaps the phrase LIBERATE MICHIGAN rings a bell.).

    Tweets are law. Much stormtroopers.

    I don’t even know what that means. It seems to imply that incitement and coercion don’t exist unless they have the force of law behind them, but I don’t think you’re that stupid.

    You must not know what evangelicals want. How did pollution and disease that spread the faith. I can admit anti-lgbt and amti-abortion is part of their faith.

    You’ve got it backward: pollution/disease isn’t explicitly part of their agenda at all (although it’s pretty much inevitable given the whole Biblical “go forth into the world and fill it up with thy numbers” edict). It’s the change and sacrifice required to combat those things that they object to.

    Here’s a great example that combines Disease, Religion, and the power of the Extreme Right. Based on the latest empirical science, the state of New York imposed size limits on worship services to limit the spread of Covid. The Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Jews took them to the Supreme Court—and won, thanks to the hard-right majority of that body (the anti-choice Amy Barrett being the most recent lifetime appointee). Now, New York church-goers won’t be even slightly inconvenienced by a pandemic that’s already killed over a quarter-million of their countrymen. The get to ignore the science and jam as many people together as will fit into the fucking building: they can sing and ululate and cough all over each other for hours at a time, all in the name of religious freedom. And they will die in disproportionate numbers.

    And normally that would suit me just fine—how could I object to a disease that preferentially kills idiots? You even made a snide comment yourself about the “enormous power” of the right to convince… the right to commit suicide. The problem is, those people now carry their viral gift out into a wider world where not everyone can isolate themselves from Bible/Torah-thumping superspreaders. The people who stock the grocery shelves. The people who fix the water mains, and who keep the ATMs working. Those are the folks who will pay the price for the fact that a bunch of religious wingnuts don’t give a shit about other lives if it interferes with their right to sing “A Flying Fortress Is Our Lord” with a thousand voices. And we owe it all to an entrenched right-wing majority on the Supreme Court that regards science as, at best, an inconvenience to be swept aside.

    Next to that, a hundred Eric Clantons are a fart in a hurricane.

    I was going to take on your defense-of and whataboutism-regarding Trump’s covid response—frankly, it’s pretty low-hanging fruit—but I’ve already spent way too much time on this, even knowing that you won’t be convinced. (Check this out if you’re at all interested in why.) That’s okay. I didn’t undertake this task to convince you. I did it to convince any bystanders, less invested in tribal groupthink, who might still be on the fence. I suspect that job is done; and I have a life full of more important priorities.

    See you around.

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  46. Peter Watts,

    Could there really be anyone so naive reading the comments on a blog as “difficult” as yours? Anyone not only still on the fence, but in fact so new to the fence that they wouldn’t immediately recognise Smaltzy by his archetype…? Somebody older who only just got internet access, perhaps?

    I sure do respect your commitment to manning the ramparts, even when the walls seem to be long breached and the battle elsewhere. I thought you guys were good sports for responding to his first comment, and I literally (20th C sense) laughed out loud at the sheer comedic length of his second. Didn’t read any of it, but you guys did, and kept replying. That’s effort, man! That’s being faced with a hungry vampire and giving him so much blood that he chokes. He didn’t even come back with another Gish Gallop attempt, despite that I feel quite realistic in imagining that he does not have better things to do. Perhaps his handler told him that this blog isn’t a juicy enough target.

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