For the past 20 minutes or so, I’ve been sitting at a table at a professional conference—an impostor in the natural habitat of the Business Professional. Continue reading Being a Professional
Susan Cain posits in her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” that there is no correlation between people who speak well and people who have the best ideas. In my experience that has been proven true repeatedly. The ideas of the more reserved members of the team are every bit as important as those from the more outspoken members.
It appears that the sort of folks that always have to find a way to make everything about them (AllLivesMatter, anyone? NotAllMen right a bell?) have gotten #HeterosexualPrideDay trending on social media. At this point, it’s hard to muster anything more severe than disappointment in such a predictable set of actions.
Rather than get upset, since my upset is going to accomplish nothing productive, I’m choosing to observe Heterosexual Pride Day in my own way. I invite you to join me.
I choose to recognize that while there are zero states in which I can be fired for being heterosexual, you can still be fired for not being heterosexual in more than half of the states in our country. I take pride that it isn’t 100%, while continuing to do what I can to make it 0%.
I choose to take pride in the fact that while heterosexual people can assume that they will get joint custody of their children when they separate, it is only now becoming a possibility in some states. I recognize that we have a long way to go in order to resolve that disconnect.
I choose to be proud of the fact that there are increasing numbers of non-heterosexual people in the media that are not stereotypes, while still remembering to call it out when I hear someone referred to as “gay” or “faggy” for being different or for enjoying hobbies traditionally associated with the opposite gender.
I choose to recognize the fact that, while I can take pride in the fact that we have come a long way in terms of gay marriage, there are still states in which it is not legal.
This is how I choose to celebrate Heterosexual Pride Day; to take pride in how far things have come while recognizing how terribly far we have to go. #heterosexualprideday
Let’s begin with a basic concept with which we should all be able to agree: time has inherent value. Nobody seriously questions this fact, what we argue is what that value is.
I was thinking about this while I was doing some yard cleanup this week and the lawn folks came by to mow. As the two of them swept in and back out in about 10 or 15 minutes, I found myself pondering the cost of that fraction of an hour in a very intellectual fashion…
“Are you fucking shitting me, that’s $100/hour to mow my lawn!” I thought, intellectually.
A few months ago, I wrote a lengthy post describing the various ways that I found Donald Trump’s deplorable campaign to feel eerily reminiscent to that of a circa-1920s Adolf Hitler. As I wrote and rewrote my post describing the way that both of them tugged very similar chords within a very similar group of people, I just couldn’t find happiness with the wording. At its core, no matter how you slice it, I’m essentially calling someone ‘Hitler’ which has become a lazy shorthand among ignorant people for ‘someone with whom I disagree strongly.’ Continue reading History Repeats Itself
“…but, you know, you have that whole thing you do on Facebook where you stand up for women and the poor and different races and stuff…”
This was actually said to me quite a while ago; and it has bothered me sufficiently that it has stuck with me for several weeks. My first draft of this opening actually implied that I wasn’t initially upset by it, that it grew to annoy me; that characterization isn’t true, though. I was sufficiently off-put by it the first time that I heard it that it prompted me to whip out my notebook and jot it down for later review. We’ll see if enough time has passed for me to remain relatively dispassionate as I attempt that review. Continue reading Social Justice Warrior
Some thoughts about a new genre fiction award proposal in no particular order…
- If you are complaining about fiction that is overly politicized (especially so far as to call it “message fiction”) but fellate the weary corpse of Heinlein, I have to assume you’ve completely forgotten The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, Farnham’s Freehold, or pretty much his entire catalog! (And I say this as an enthusiast of Heinlein’s work; an enthusiast that owns nearly everything that he’s written—come on now!)
- If you complain about the burdensome message of horrible books that you’ve never read, I have less than no respect for your position. I managed to gut my way through some absolutely abhorrent tripe this Hugo season to be able to vote in an informed manner—it’s intellectually dishonest to make such claims from utter ignorance.
- At all costs, avoid following behind multiple years during which the Hugo awards were bombarded with claims of nominations and votes governed by an empowered clique (without any evidence to support those fantastic claims) with an attempt to create a new award that will literally: have overlords in the form of a board of directors; have a rank of judges to disqualify works unilaterally based on perceived politics; and gate-keep nomination and voter membership by virtue of a trust web that can only be described as an algorithmic clique (unless you immediately acknowledge the almost-but-not-quite-funny irony of the proposal.)
- If you do the above and fail to call your award “The Cliquies,” you’re fucking dead to me.
- You cannot honestly and fairly make the claim that the only reason a convention would invite (for numerous years) a Hugo-winning, Nebula-winning, multiple other fucking award winning author is because of a shift to some kind of political correctness—especially in spite of NUMEROUS FUCKING EXAMPLES of honored guests of the opposite variety (and an equally ponderous amount to indicate that they’ve always invited “lefties”).1
- I will also accept, as a name for your award, “The Morissettes” (because it is, in fact, a little too ironic, dontcha think?)
- If you rail against “message fiction” because it replaces “good story” with “boring message,” then applaud the creation of a slate of replacements that includes “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” and consider that to be completely reasonable behavior among adults, then not only do I hate you for clearly having failed to read Wright’s piece of shit, but I doubly hate you for forcing me to gut my way through that sack of message-laden drivel. Seriously, every fucking one of you that put that load of shit on the ballot should be ashamed of yourselves; that’s just fucking mean.2
- Another good name for your award is the “Message Awards” I’m not sure what the award would look like for this one, honestly, but I’m looking forward to seeing it.
On a more serious note; I am a huge fan of the idea of anybody who feels that their point of view (or their community’s point of view) is underrepresented by a given set of awards making their own awards. If nothing else, it stands a reasonable chance of encouraging more folks to read, and to read more widely. But don’t piss in my face and tell me it’s raining—if you want to make a symbolic middle-finger to the Hugos, own that shit. Pretending that you’re not creating a new clique to replace the clique from which you feel excluded while doing precisely that so transparently—well, it’s just insulting to all involved really.
1 I say this as Jer, a person who has been attending the convention in question for over a decade. My views are not those of Jer, member of the board of directors, nor do they in any way represent the views of Penguicon, the convention committee, or the board of directors.
2 I’m not kidding, I’ve read scriptures more compelling and Chick tracts with less blatant message.
My social media is fairly bipolar. By any rational standards I’m fairly centrist in my views, which leaves me appearing fairly liberal in an America that keeps trying to skew itself radically to the right. By virtue of being a pretty mixed bag of liberal and conservative views (on a Nolan scale I tend to land fairly consistently near the center of the bottom edge of the north-east quadrant) the folks that I read and that I follow are all over the map. So when some ignorant bigot named Kim Davis has opted to “follow a higher law” than the SCOTUS and not give marriage licenses for religious reasons, it has made the divide amongst those I read even more apparent than usual.
This is troubling, because there are some pretty simple concepts at work here, but the most obvious one is stupidly simple: this is protecting you, you fucking religious nutbags!
Freedom of religion not only doesn’t give anyone the freedom to foist their religious beliefs off on others, but it very specifically prevents the government (or officials acting on behalf of the government) to foist their beliefs off on patrons of the government’s services. Let’s think about it this way: would it be acceptable for a person of Muslim faith to deny liquor licenses for religious reasons? Or one of Jewish faith denying a business license to a restaurant serving bacon? Or one of Catholic faith denying a marriage license to a divorced person (*cough*)? Or one of Hindu faith denying a business license to a restaurant serving beef? These are also the purview of the same sort of government officials that you want to have the ability to not fulfill their duty on religious grounds.
So you, Christians who were so inattentive in grade-school social studies as to believe that our founding fathers—who fled religious persecution and who specifically separated church and state repeatedly throughout the formation of this republic—actually had the intention of making it a Christian nation, are being saved from having to kowtow to the whims of anyone with any other religious beliefs by the very law this woefully under-informed elected official is publicly flouting.
It is BECAUSE of our separation of church and state that the Sharia Law that conspiracy-theorists claim is poised to be shoved down our throats can’t take hold. If we weaken the separation of church and state—perhaps by allowing some braindead bigot to ignore it in favor of spreading her very Christian message of hate—then we are doing precisely what is necessary to allow for religious law, for some form of theocracy, to start to happen.
And let’s make no mistake, there are almost as many Muslims and Hindus in the world as Christians, and their numbers are growing far more rapidly than yours. I have little doubt that if religious zealots manage to wedge their beliefs into our legal system, it won’t be solely based on your mythology.
So, ignore the fact that the hatred you espouse is far from Christian. Forget, for a moment, that your Christian religion specifically indicates that you are to follow the laws of your land. You can even put aside the concept that you are cherry picking the pieces of your own book of rules that suit your views and ignoring those that do not. Instead, consider the consequences of continuing to flail about in ignorance and judgement—I suspect that your bigotry and hatred has perhaps made you act outside of your own best interests. Again.