Category: politics

Halloween – A Christian Holiday

Time once again for your annual reminder that in a lot of ways the secular holiday of Halloween is, in fact, one of the single most Christian holidays celebrated by Americans. It is a unique blend of sacred and civic holiday and one well worth preserving in its most pure (1970s and 1980s) form.

Of course Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving are explicitly Christian in nature, but consider that Halloweeen is extraordinarily Christian in practice. The other three holidays are largely celebrated amongst close friends and family, with the odd work function thrown in.  That impersonal community building exercises increase in November and December is nice, but that doesn’t have the same community building and ice breaking effect that a good round of trick or treating does.

Halloween is the one holiday specifically celebrated as a community. It’s the one in which everyone puts in considerable effort to make the celebration more enjoyable for complete strangers.  People set aside money to buy treats for kids they spend the rest of the year shouting at to keep of their lawns.   (Hello, Mr. Smith, where ever you are you racist, cantankerous old bastard!)  They decorate their houses with lights and spooks and invite the entire neighborhood to stop by for a moment of fun.

As a kid, I always thought we had the best part of the deal.  We got to dress up, run around like maniacs, and make off with piles of free candy.  It never occurred to me that the adults might have just as much fun watching the steady parade of kids march past their door.  Now that I’m old and cantankerous myself, I know better.  Watching the young families send their toddlers up the driveway and try to complete the steps necessary for a treat is heartwarming and personal in a way dropping a new, unwrapped toy into the Toys For Tots bin can never match.

Even the process of showing young children that the monsters are not real – that the man in the scary mask is nothing more than a man in the scary mask – takes on an incredibly important role in forming a healthy society.  Like the old C. S. Lewis maxim goes, it’s good to show children monsters to teach them that the stuff of their nightmares is either a figment of their imagination or to help them master and control their own fear even (and especially) during times when the fight or flight adrenaline rush of fear is justified.

The annual pleas by churches for a “safe” Halloween spent at the church hall, huddled together with the same people you see every Sunday is a cancer, to say nothing of those who would replace Halloween with a generic “Harvest Festival”.  We have one of those already – its called Thanksgiving.  This TradCath takes a dim view of Churches who do such things.  They always smack of a marketing ploy to entice more parishioners to show up on Sundays, and a step backwards into increasing insularity.  True Christians look forward to going out and celebrating with their actual, live-next-door neighbors.  That’s the kind of community building that America could use a lot more of in these days when the establishment politicians are so hell-bent (and as a TradCatholic I use that term literally) on tearing us apart.

And lest you think I’m being hyperbolic about the foolishness and opportunism of those who resort to the fig leaf of “safety”:

Happy Halloween!

 

Sunday Mornings At the Secular Church

Every once in a while, just to keep my lie detector sharp, I like to tune into NPR for a little while.  It’s a great way to stay dialed in to the latest iteration of whether we are at war with Eurasia or Oceania.  Based on a few snippets of Fresh Air, for example, it looks like they are slowly coming around to admitting that the Soviets deliberately starved 30 million Ukrainians to death, but they can only talk about it now because the Soviets were really just a training run for the alt-right.  No it doesn’t make any sense, but these are the gutter channels along which the Narrative runs.

Nothing is more entertaining or enlightening than the dumpster fire of NPR’s Sunday morning line up.  It’s a consistent run of very breathy voiced women incredibly excited because they, in their waning years of childlessness, have found ways to nourish their starving souls – souls that have been starving ever since they turned away from the obvious soul food of Christianity.  Long ago they abandoned the weekly visit to the local church (or let us be honest here, more likely) the synagogue, and have suffered for it.  Their lives lack that hour or so a week of quiet contemplation and the long view of our eternal existence.  They rejected the peace and serenity that grows in the hearts of those who accept God’s word.  As a result, they spent decades pursuing short term pleasure and fighting for secular and selfish causes, and wound up with an empty and pointless old age.

Never fear, though, like all good cults, the secular religion has an answer.  You can do all of the things that Christians do, without all of the baggage of Christianity.  You can meditate on nothing, you can serve nothing, you can be mindful of yourself, and you can listen to a bevy of secular gurus for advice on how to accept yourself.  New age crystals, thoughtful stretching, travel packages, volunteering at the Organization for the Advancement of the Current Year Cause Celebre and other such pursuits* are proposed to replace the tried and tested 2,000 year old practices of Christianity.  This empty spirituality, they assure the listener, will lead them to the sort of peaceful acceptance of the slings and arrows of life that come naturally to those who practice their religious beliefs – and without having to follow all those nasty rules that arise out of the Ten Commandments.

Left unsaid is the need to adhere to the millions of every-evolving rules of the cultural left.  Perhaps they do not notice all of those rules any more than fish notice the water in the sea.  The left swims in the countless cultural rules about what words are verboten this week, which protected groups rest where on the totem pole of victimhood, and which sacred prophets are on the ins and which on the outs.

Unlike the usual NPR show which leaves the honest and perceptive listener with a itchy feeling of aggravation at the lies and stupidity on display, Sunday morning NPR only leaves the listener with a sad feeling of pity.  It’s like watching a man in a desert chase after a mirage.  Or like natives in the jungle building bamboo runways and control towers in the vain hopes that mimicking the surficial actions of those they disdain will somehow earn them the same eternal rewards.  It would be downright depressing if those peddling and buying the hollow lies of “spirituality not religiosity” weren’t so deserving of the self-inflicted pain of their lives.

*Mindfulness seems to be the latest trend – still waiting for the Johnny-Come-Latelies to invite Cernovich on one of these shows to discuss his nearly year old book, Gorilla Mindset.  Not holding my breath, though…

 

Birds of a Feather

I’m really late to the party on this “Black Pigeon Speaks”.  Now sure how, this cat is a bird after my own heart.

We have the names and identities of the major anti-anti-fascists.  That’s courage.

There has yet to be a report of an anti-anti-fascist threatening the mother or child of an anti-fascist.  That’s integrity.

Antifa are cowards.

What A Lovely Day

GamerGate hit the world at a time when my participation on sociable media was at an ebb.  With kids, a new house, and a host of other excuses, I was at best a sideline supporter.  The big events like Operation: Disrepectful Nod blew right by me, in all likelihood because I hadn’t fully unplugged yet.  In retrospect, as a casual gamer at best, I was one of those normies who the GamerGate literati warned the hard-core crowd they would need and not to alienate.  They were right, they didn’t, and now here I am, and a big part of me wishes that I had thrown my hat in the ring during the height of GamerGate.

One of the biggest lessons that I learned from GamerGate was to stop being that guy.  Stop being the silent supporter.  Forty years of being the silent majority has resulted in an America that is hardly recognizable as a nation in its own right – the rare glimpses that I get of the bubble media are rife with reminders that the whole world is American, and that the only sensible American policies are those that sacrifice America on the altar of pan-globalism.

Enter the God Emperor and his Golden Armor with which he lays waste to his enemies.

My lone voice on the social immediates might not be much, but neither is my vote.  And yet, I dutifully walk down to stuff my little vote the ballot box in the reddest blue state in the union and lodge my protest against the willful destruction of America.  So why wouldn’t I add my voice to the latest protest against the Flase News Network by dutifully stuffing my little memes on the Twitter box?

CNN’s investigative reporting is quick when they are the victims
of something. When its the American people who are
the victims?  Not so much.
 
Blackmail ain’t just a category on Cooper Andersen’s Grindr account.
 
Gloating at the meme-storm a-brewing.

This is one fight I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and cheer.  And it turns out fighting back against the SJWs and the Fake News Cabal is a heckuva lot of fun.

See you on the field of social media battle!

More Concrete Writing Advice

Today’s writing advice comes from the department of “you should have learned this in high school, but didn’t.” Jesse Abraham Lucas isn’t just the advice giving sort.  Instead of opining that somebody should start a website for the #PulpRev, he went out and did it.

The final form of this new site will take isn’t clear to me yet, but he has my support.  And with a kickoff post like Prose That Flows, you can bet it’s going to be something special:

Tell me which sentence scans faster:

I ducked into the alleyway, squeezed off a few shots, and vaulted over a fence.

I ducked into the alleyway and, squeezing off a few shots, vaulted over a fence.

The first sentence is the correct answer.

Find out why the first sentence is the correct answer here.

We writers aren’t one trick ponies.  We are readers first, drawn to write by a love of the language and a love of storytelling.  While that gives us a breadth and depth of experience with the written word, many of us wind up ‘writing by ear’ in the same way that a guitarist might not be able to read music but can still play a jamming solo.

The problem here is that reading and writing really are two different skills.  The former is passive and the latter is active.  If you really want to become good at the latter, you have to spend time thinking about how you do what you do.  Advice like Jesse brings helps make us all much more contentious and deliberate with our words and, in this case more importantly, our punctuation.

Here Jesse demonstrates not just a fluency with words, but a gift for explaining how to use them.  The former can make for a decent writer, but the latter makes for a great writer and editor.  And those are two skillsets that combine to elevate decent writing to a new level.

Appendix N: The Generation Gaps

The recent series of posts over at Vox Popoli relating to the sins of the Baby Boomers and GenXers set my mind wandering down strange paths.

That the true giants Burroughs, Howard, Moore, and E.E. Doc Smith were forgotten and the fraudulent three – pervy Heinlein, snowjob Asimov, and pedo Clarke – elevated by the Baby Boomers for political reasons is beyond doubt.  Anyone looking at the field of science-fiction with an impartial eye cannot deny the influence enjoyed by the former to this day, nor can they deny the steady downward trend in science-fiction’s inspirational qualities or creative vision that was concurrent with the rise of the false trinity  (I won’t dignify that slight by capitalizing the words.)

There may be more to the situation, however.  The Baby Boomers are notorious for believing that the world began with their generation.  We see this in their writing on film, art, politics, and literature.  Everything is viewed through a lens of “what did they ever do for me“, and they gleefully ignore the culture that allowed them to live out their sheltered lives relatively free from the frothing cycles of history and economics that have always plagued mankind.

“Don’t trust anyone over thirty,” was the catch-phrase that highlighted their ignorance of the past, and so pervasive was that attitude that it only makes sense it would infect the field of science-fiction.  If Dad liked to read Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard then that old stuff just had to be substandard compared to the new hotness of edgy writers like Damon Knight and Harlan Ellison.  You know they are cool because they are total dicks, man.

They rejected the things their fathers honored like selflessness, romance, virtue, and…well, honor itself.  And you can’t read Burroughs or Howard without being infected by those ideas, so in order to preserve their carefully manufactured worldview that put them at the center of everything good and right and just, they had to treat the hard working and creative men and women who built the world of science fiction just as they had memory holed everything about the Silent Generation that wasn’t focused exclusively on how great the Baby Boomers are.

It might not be quite as great a sin as squandering the financial wealth accumulated by the west over hundreds of years, but squandering the cultural wealth of Burroughs and Howard certainly serves as just one example of how they left the world a worse place than the one they inherited.

On a surface level, there is a certain irony in me – a GenXer myself – repeating the cycle and rejecting the actions of the generation before me.  But where the Boomers rejected everything that came before and assumed that they could create a better world from whole cloth in a generation, we GenXers are looking back beyond those poor misguided fools to the generations that came before them to see if we might heal the world they poisoned in order to leave a better world for our children than they left for us.

We don’t reject the wisdom of our predecessors, we just reject the foolishness of our immediate forebears.  And it’s this focus on the lost wisdom that will allow us to reject their false promises and build a better world.

And that includes a better science fiction culture.

Just Getting Started


What you’re looking at here is the original starter from a 200 Land Rover Discovery II.  Resquiat en pace, little starter, seventeen years was a good run.

Replacing one of these things is as simple as disconnecting two wires, and undoing two bolts.  It’s normally a fifteen minute job, but this one took three hours because the bolts had thoroughly seized up.  To get enough leverage to break them required cutting out a half inch piece of the transmission flange – not an easy thing to do given the location of the starter.  So it wound up being over two and a half hours to undo the bolts, and then a fifteen minute swap out.

Bear in mind, that it didn’t take ME three hours, it took a friend of mine three hours.  He offered to show me how it’s done, and then wouldn’t take no for an answer when the time scale of the project inflated.  He enjoyed the challenge, and I enjoyed the camaraderie. 

It was just another reminder of one of the high costs of technological specialization.  The massive amounts of electronics and digital controls in modern cars precludes men from crawling under the hood and tinkering.  Which in turn eliminates an excuse for bonding between and among men. 

This change in American car care is grossly under-considered.  Most analyses begin and end with a celebration of the increased complexity and the reduced “need” to tinker, but it would be nice to see more acknowledgement of how working on cars brings men together.  Not much of a car guy myself, I’m only now beginning to appreciate the car culture, and how far it differs from the culture at large.  If you’ve never entered a car parts store such as an O’Reilly’s, you might be surprised at how generous people are with their time and expertise.  Random strangers will stop and ask what you’re doing, and offer helpful advice or stop and take 20 minutes out of their day to help you solve a puzzle.

As one example, the first time I had to change the tire on my Land Rover required three trips to O’Reilly’s, and the purchase of a particular kind of tire iron.  The bolts on this vehicle are specifically designed to be removed only with a six point ratchet – a 12 point won’t do it.  If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, neither did I nor the two guys who stopped to help me solve it.  We only fixed it because each of them called two separate friends, only one of which could tell us that that 12-point ratchet we were using didn’t give us enough torque.

It took ten guys to figure that out – when was the last time ten random guys stopped to help you with anything?  It doesn’t happen often, but it happens to me at the car parts store all the time.  It’s a subtle sort of goodwill, transitory and random and entirely informal, but it’s an important one.  It’s an acknowledgement that we are all in this together, and that we all have each other’s backs.  It’s an  important social glue that is passing away, and it’s a shame.

There’s an irony at work here.  I firmly believe that there are forces at work doing everything they can to wage war on private car ownership.  Every time the CAFE standards go up, every time another thousand dollar safety device is mandated, and every time the gasoline tax goes up, it makes it that much harder for everyday Americans to own a car.  When you hear the bizarro world calls in the media for robot driven cars, shared cars, and increased public transit ridership, that’s all part of a concerted effort to reduce the freedom and independence that comes from owning your own method of transport.  At least for the hoi polloi – most of those pushing this agenda make six figure incomes and know full well that they won’t be called on to give up their freedom or independence.

It’s a way of making everyone more dependent on those around them – through the blunt tool of government.  And most of the people calling for these sweeping changes sleep well at night knowing that their benevolent and wise guidance will lead the nation to a better place, where everyone takes care of everyone else. 

In fact, these deluded fools – many of whom have never set foot in a car parts store – simply don’t have the experience to understand how well Americans already take care of each other in a myriad of informal, everyday ways.  They are blinded by their egos to the reality on the ground, and are actually destroying one of the knots that holds the fabric of this great nation together.

As for me, I’ll hang onto my pre-digital ride as long as I can.  In a very real way, keeping that bucket of bolts on the road is a team effort that represents the best that America has to offer.

The High Cost of The Narrative

Earlier this week two similar, yet very different, murder sprees cost the lives of innocent Americans. In fine Fake News fashion, the AP originally reported…well, take a look:

 

Note that the correction doubles down on the misleading story.  The man shouted, “Allahu Akbar,” and even after being caught out in a deliberate misrepresentation, the AP apologized and promised to correct the half-truth with a different half-truth.  This sort of deception is so commonplace that viewers now assume any reports on terrorist acts will be white-washed by the media.

Case in point, the Facebook Killer:

My own introduction to this story came by way of the always reliable Twitter, and featured a thread in which an argument had broken out regarding whether or not the Facebook Killer was a terrorist.  It seems in the aftermath that he was not.  Maybe he was, and maybe he wasn’t. 

Either way, notice that part of the cost of the mainstream press’s utter abdication of reporting in favor of proselytizing is the immediate suspicion that any random act of insanity must be motivated by the current bête noir that the media so diligently sweeps under the rug.  Their lack of integrity and foolish pride have actually resulted in a world where the ideology they want to protect is now far more likely to be falsely accused of motivating crime than it would be if they simply honored their word and stuck to reporting the facts.

Nice bed you made there, media.  Hope you enjoy lying in it – you’re going to be there for a long time.

What Hugo Discussions Reveal

Take it away Eleanor!

Reading through coverage of this year’s Hugo nominated works, both in mainstream media and in the on-line circles thrilled by the results of E. Pluribus Unum, it’s striking how little conversation there is about…you know…the works themselves.

From Wired:

Another is that Best Novelette has lately emerged as a microcosm of the Hugos’ move toward gender and racial inclusion. Women have won the category four of the last five years, and all of this year’s nominees are women—except for Hiscock.

Nowhere in that article do they actually discuss the novelettes nominated by the women.  They mention that they are women, but don’t really care to talk about the works themselves. 

Not surprising, given that these people don’t read.

Consider Fuzion’s coverage:

It’s because of interest from communities of fans (like the body that makes up the Hugo Awards voting committee) who make the effort to critically analyze the titles despite the fact that Marvel doesn’t do the best of jobs when it comes to promoting them effectively.

Yeah, except they don’t critically analyzes the titles beyond a simple gender and race count.  That’s not critical analysis, that’s simple social justice scorekeeping.

These people don’t read.

Let’s check io9:

The Hugo Awards nominations were released this week, featuring some of the best and brightest works in science fiction and fantasy— most of which are relatively well known. Then, there’s one nominee for Best Novelette, a short story hardly anyone had even heard of… until now. It’s called Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex, by Stix Hiscock. 

All they want to talk about is Stix Hiscock.  They haven’t read any of the other nominee’s works, and have no intention of doing so.  Reading and talking about the best novelette stories is so passé.

These people don’t read.

Check out the File770 thread where people talk about the nominees.  It’s all pricing and tangential issues.  Nobody talks about the works themselves.  Scan the front page and look for any analysis of the works themselves at all.  There’s no there there.  They’ve got Camestros Felaptron doing some analysis but he works in the sad, old Damon Knight style wherein he focuses on who people hang out with far more than what they actually write.

They don’t want to talk about ideas.  They don’t want to talk about ideas.  They only really want to talk about people.

Small minds.

Now, take a look at the front page of the Castalia House Blog.  On any given day, they’ve got six or seven reviews of works that talk primarily about what is in the work itself.  They read and analyze the things they’ve read, not who said what about whom, and oh my god did you see the dress John Scalzi wore on Tuesday it made him look so fat!  It’s this dedication to reading and discussion of the works that first drew me to the Castalia House Blog, and it’s the reason I’m proud to be a regular contributor.  It’s a blog about ideas – a strange thing for a sci-fi blog in these strange days, to be sure.

But you know who talks about ideas?

Great minds.

Fake Arguments

Brace yourself for incoming stupidity, internet. 

Recently, the Supreme Dark Lord explained why the appellation “fake” is a two-megaton blast of nuclear rhetoric.  Within 48 hours, I’d already seen the peanut gallery wielding the term “fake” in a hamfisted, Peebee-esque manner.

Never change, Mass Effect.  Never change.

Here’s a helpful reminder for everyone:

Remember, the most effective
rhetoric is founded in truth.
 
That’s not me, that’s from Vox’s post.

The “fake” shot only hits home when the person you’re wielding it against knows, deep down in the depths of their soul, that they are lying.  The fake news casters hate the term because they know, deep down, that what they are peddling is lies.  The fake Americans know, deep down, that the piece of paper they hold doesn’t negate their third world views.  Those who have fake marriages know, deep down, that what they have is a pale imitation of the real thing.

So when a fumble-brained dolt tries to claim that Catholics are fake Christians, it doesn’t cause Catholics to recoil in anger and outrage.  Lousy Pope or no, we know we’re the real deal, so all that dig elicits is an eye-roll and a little bit of sympathy for the window licker who lithped it out.

It’s worse than that, though.  Words have power, and every time you use them, it saps them of a little bit of their power.  Even if you use them erroneously, it adds a little  familiarity and breeds a littleemore contempt. 

For a classic example, look at how fast Pepe went from hilarious and effective to yesterday’s news.  Oh, you still see it around.  It’s still the face of the edgelords.  (Is that 4chan, /pol/, I’m too old to have anything more than a vague notion of what stork delivers these dank memes.)  But ever since the YouTube opportunists trotted out their little Kekistan schtick, complete with pre-loaded swag that you, yes you, can buy for the low, low price of…you get the idea.  Ignore the fact that those dullards decided to force a meme, they decided to give the land of Pepe – the face of the big, beautiful wall, the face of the alt-Right – an Islamic state suffix.  Talk about tin-eared. 

Meme magic might be real, but it relies on the newness and freshness of the matter.  It’s like the f-bomb.  When people who drop the f-bomb on a regular basis have to elevate their language, they have no where to go.  They’ve already shot their wad on trivial matters, and now that they need to signal that things just got real…they’ve got nothing.

When a square like me drops that f-bomb, everyone gets real quiet.  If you don’t waste it, it’s magic.

That’s as true of the word ‘fake’ as it is the f-word that you can’t say on television.