Friday, November 30, 2012

"Why the Dzur Stabbed the Yendi in the Back" by Will Shetterly


This is a bit of fanfic inspired by the Vlad Taltos stories of Steve Brust. Or maybe by the Paarfi stories. —WS

Why the Dzur Stabbed the Yendi in the Back

by Will Shetterly

Once, so long ago that no one remembers their names, a Yendi and a Dzur went to war. The Yendi used seventeen strategies, each more clever than the one before, to deprive the Dzur of all her allies and resources. When the Yendi heard the Dzur had nothing left but her sword and her honor, he laughed in anticipation of her surrender or her death.

But he stopped laughing when a guard said a lone warrior was approaching the castle with a sword in her hands. The Yendi climbed the castle walls to see for himself. Before the front gate, the Dzur stood shouting, "Yendi! I've come for our final battle! One of us shall die in honorable combat!"

The captain of the guard said, "Shall I have our archers answer her?"

The Yendi nodded, then smiled and said, "Ah! Obviously she has a spell to deflect arrows, and her last allies are hidden in the woods to aid her if I come out to fight. Send half our soldiers by the back gate to scour the forest and thwart her plan."

"My lord, she's a Dzur."

"Yes, but she's no fool. Do as I say. Even if I'm wrong—" And here he laughed at the idea that a Yendi could be outwitted by a Dzur. "—a dozen warriors and a stout gate remain between us and the Dzur."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Eric Hoffer explains social justice warriors

"A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." -Eric Hoffer

"Danceland" by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly

This story will be available online sometime soon. Watch the skies!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Female Marine Officer vs. the One True Feminists, or Censoring Elizabeth Moon

When WisCon announced that Elizabeth Moon would be one of its two Guests of Honor for 2011's WisCon 35, she seemed a fine choice. As the blogger Army Sergeant noted in "In Defense of Elizabeth Moon":
Elizabeth Moon is a pretty extraordinary woman. She made the decision to join the Marine Corps as an officer during the Vietnam War, at a time many men were unwilling to. She is the child of a single parent, and an utterly self-made woman with multiple college degrees. She is also the mother of an autistic child and has done some pretty impressive advocating for disabled children. She writes some great Military Science Fiction books, with strong female characters-because she knows from experience that women can be a lot of pretty amazing things. Moon exemplifies in many ways what I think of as feminism-that any woman can and should have the ability to be whatever she wants to be, from serving her country to being a mother-tigress.
But in October of 2010, SF3, the educational non-profit group that runs WisCon, announced "SF3 has withdrawn the invitation to Elizabeth Moon to attend WisCon 35 as guest of honor."

1. What happened

Moon wrote a September 11 LiveJournal post titled "Citizenship" criticizing Muslims and opposing the Islamic center in Lower Manhattan which conservatives mislabeled the Ground Zero Mosque. This paragraph drew most criticism:
I can easily imagine how Muslims would react to my excusing the Crusades on the basis of Islamic aggression from 600 to 1000 C.E….(for instance, excusing the building of a church on the site of a mosque in Cordoba after the Reconquista by reminding them of the mosque built on the site of an important early Christian church in Antioch.) So I don’t give that lecture to the innocent Muslims I come in contact with. I would appreciate the same courtesy in return (and don’t get it.) The same with other points of Islam that I find appalling (especially as a free woman) and totally against those basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution…I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom.
I was among the first to criticize. I noted:
Freedom of religion should include the freedom to build a community center near a strip joint.



Seriously, blaming Islam for Al Qaeda is like blaming Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan or Judaism for the Stern Gang. If the site of the World Trade Center is now "sacred ground," it's sacred to every religion, because people of every religion died there. That's especially true for Islam: there was a mosque on the 17th floor of the WTC.



This is the nation created by Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Have we stopped fighting for the freedom for everyone to worship as they choose?
She replied:
Nothing I wrote suggested that people should not worship as they choose (so long as their arm doesn't reach someone else's nose.)
I said:
I'm a big fan of the principle you mention in parentheses.

 But that's why I think they should build the cultural center there, and if they wanted to build a full-scale mosque, they should build that there. It's not even within sight of the WTC. No one's nose is affected
In a comment to someone else, I added:
If any religious group owns land anywhere in the USA, they should be free to build on it. Trying to limit their First Amendment right in any way is both bigotry and un-American.
I wanted to be precise, but I regret that now. Words like bigotry end discourse by making people hear only the insult, something I should've learned from the SJWs' example.

When Moon rejected my characterization, I said:
Here's why you sound like a bigot: you talk about Muslims in general wanting what only fundamentalist Muslims want, and then you are careful to say that only fundamentalist Christians want the same things. I'll add fundamentalist Jews, just to be thorough, like the ones who burn Bibles. 


That's something that few muslims do, because the Qur'an teaches respect for Judaism and Christianity. Alas, there's no similar explicit command to respect other religions in the Bible. 


Here's what I think many people like you fail to understand: people come to the US because they know and love the values of the US. When they get here, yes, some of them discover that there are Americans who will limit where they may build religious centers. But most Muslims, like most Christians and Jews, appreciate our national commitment to freedom. When they're frustrated, it's because they want more freedom, not less. 


Like the freedom to build a religious center wherever it's legal to build religious centers.
She replied:
Go build a church or synagogue in Mecca or Medina.

What's the Sharia laws where it concerns Dhimmi? Are they allowed to marry muslims? Are Muslim women allowed to marry Dhimmi men? Are you familiar with the term? What if you're not Dhimmi? What if you're a pagan? Or an Animist or an Atheist in an Islamic county with sharia as it's laws? What's your social status then?

Sharia as anything other than voluntary contract rules is anathema to the constitution of the United States and the guaranteed rights of the citizens of the United States.
I said:
Saudi Arabia, land of George Bush's buddies, is run by Wahhabbists, who in the eyes of many muslims (and me), have perverted Islam. They certainly don't understand the Qur'an's explicit statement, "There is no compunction in religion."

As for the rules about dhimmi and others, that depends on the state. For the record, I don't like state religions of any sort. Having states screws up perfectly good religions.



We agree on your last sentence.
If I was writing an essay about the people who fear Islam, I would quote more of our discussion, and recommend "Muslims Condemn Terrorist Attacks" and point out this bit from "Muslim Victims of 9/11 Attack": "Among the many victims of 9/11 were several dozen innocent Muslims, ranging in age from their late 60s to a couple’s unborn child. Six of these victims were Muslim women, including one who was 7 months pregnant. Many were stockbrokers or restaurant workers, earning a living to care for their families. There were converts and immigrants, hailing from over a dozen different countries and the U.S. There were heroes: a NYPD cadet and a Marriott hotel worker, who sacrificed their lives attempting to rescue others. The Muslim victims were parents to over 30 children, who were left orphaned without one or both of their parents."

But my subject isn't Moon's misunderstanding of Islam. Being human means having prejudices. Her statement of hers did not limit anyone's freedom.

My subject is the SJW response to her words.

Which was all about limiting freedom.

2. A sad day in the commons: on the suppression of error at NPR and WisCon

Moon let the comments run for several days, then shut them down when the flames wouldn't die on their own. The firestorm blazed through the Warriorverse in usual ways. People called for boycotting Moon's books, though not a word in them had changed since she wrote "Citizenship." People vowed they would not attend WisCon if Moon was one of its guests, even though no one could imagine Nisi Shawl, the other Guest of Honor, having any prejudice against Muslims—if I thought like a social justice warrior, I would cite this as proof of sjw racism: they concentrated on the white guest and ignored the black one.

For a month, WisCon held private discussions with Moon about the issue.

Then, on October 21, National Public Radio fired Juan Williams after he mentioned on the air that he got nervous when he was on airplanes with people dressed like muslims, and WisCon withdrew its invitation to Elizabeth Moon.

That day, I wrote: I disagree vehemently with Islamophobes. But the greater wrong has been done by those who are punishing them for saying what they believe. I'm rarely a binarian, but on this, I'm comfortable with a simple division: There are those who support free speech and those who silence others.

Frederick Douglass said, "To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker."

John Stuart Mill said, "The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."

I'll add this to Mill's point: when you suppress speech, the issue changes from their ideas to your suppression.

The danger to free speech comes whenever people forget that ends and means are the same. That happens on the left and the right:

Frank Hague said, "We hear about constitutional rights, free speech and the free press. Every time I hear those words I say to myself, That man is a Red, that man is a Communist. You never heard a real American talk in that manner."

Vladimir Lenin said, "When one makes a Revolution, one cannot mark time; one must always go forward -- or go back. He who now talks about the freedom of the press goes backward, and halts our headlong course towards Socialism."

Americans have a troubled relationship with free speech. Alexis De Tocqueville noted, "In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them."

At NPR and WisCon, the majority raised its barriers.

Capitalists talk about the "marketplace of ideas" because they think everything is for sale. I don't think speech should be for sale, so when I'm feeling pretentious, I talk about the agora of ideas, but really, we're just talking about the intellectual commons, the realm of ideas that belongs to all of us. If we can't agree to disagree, we can never hope to coexist. We can only hope to conquer, and I want no part of a world where ideas, no matter how much I love them, are imposed by force.

3. uninviting a speaker is censorship: Elizabeth Moon, Wiscon, ACLU, and more

The supporters of uninviting Elizabeth Moon from Wiscon claimed it's not censorship. In "Marginalizing vs. Silencing -- My hopefully final thoughts on the WisCon/Moon fiasco", Saladin Ahmed said "It's not censorship or silencing - it's marginalizing." K. Tempest Bradford asked in You People Are Out Of Your Goddamned Minds, "You people do not even understand what censorship means, do you?"

Wondering if they could have a point, I googled. Random House says a censor is "any person who supervises the manners or morality of others." Wikipedia is at the intersection of authority and usage; it says, "Censorship is the suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body."

Looking for usage brought me to "Clark University President John Basset Cancels Norman G. Finkelstein", which includes a response from the ACLU. Some bits:
...the cancellation of his speech violates the basic principles of freedom of speech and academic freedom which are so fundamental to an institute of higher learning. The existence of an opportunity to speak at another time or in another location does not remedy the wrong of censorship.

...Nor may complaints from those disturbed by Finkelstein’s writings about the post-Holocaust “industry” justify a decision to prevent the lecture from taking place. Indeed, even if demonstrators came to protest against Finkelstein’s views, the obligation of a university is to protect the spaeker’s right to be heard and prevent disruption of the speech by others. By censoring speech because of complaints about offensiveness or the controversial nature of the speaker, the university has essentially allowed what the courts call a “heckler’s veto” over what speech can be heard.
The writer quotes the president of Tufts University, which, like Clark, is a private school:
While Tufts is a private institution and not technically bound by First Amendment guarantees, it is my intention to govern as President as if we were. To put it another way, I believe that students, faculty, and staff should enjoy the same rights to freedom of expression at Tufts as they would if they attended or worked at a public university….During the McCarthy era, a number of university presidents in the United States failed to defend the principle of expression. Students, faculty, and stuff paid for this equivocation as the government sought to purge University campuses of those expressing particularly unpopular opinions. We must be vigilant in defending individual liberties even if it means that from time to time we must tolerate speech that violates our standards of civility and respect.
The Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences' free speech guidelines include this:
Because no other community defines itself so much in terms of knowledge, few others place such a high priority on freedom of speech. As a community, we take certain risks by assigning such a high priority to free speech. We assume that the long-term benefits to our community will outweigh the short-term unpleasnt effects of sometimes-noxious views. Because we a community united by a commitment to rational processes, we do not permit censorship of noxious ideas. We are commited to maintaining a climate in which reason and speech provide the correct response to a disagreeable idea.
Other examples of "censorship" used to describe canceling speakers included "NCAC Protests Cancellation of Ellen Hopkins Appearance at Teen Lit Fest in Texas":
After Hopkins was disinvited to Teen Lit Fest 2011, five other authors dropped out in protest rather than participate in an event that had censored another author. Sadly for the students of the area, the program has been cancelled. Some might blame the authors who withdrew, but we think full responsibility rests on the school officials who made the decision to censor Hopkins.
I was amused by this comment at "Censors and Heroes - The Texas Observer""
Personally, I’m convinced that un-inviting Hopkins was indeed a form of censorship. You might disagree. However, I think we can all agree that it was very bad manners, and would never be tolerated in the Junior League.
"Library Censorship Overturned" tells of the Greenwich Library canceling a presentation by Allison Weir, but this time, the free speech supporters won.

It's especially sad when people who want to support Muslims support censorship, the tactic noted in "Islamization Watch: London university bars Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir speaker to debate Sharia law in the modern world".

4. when scifi writers could disagree

At "Politcal Correctness and the Death of Science Fiction Fandom", Stephanie S. shared a quote by Isaac Asimov:
...Fears were expressed at the time that [two competing statements written on the Vietnam War and signed by opposing blocks of science fiction authors] would create storms and divisions among science fiction writers and would break up our camaraderie in a tempest of controversy. Well, if the statements have done so, I haven't noticed it. Our mutual identification as fellow science fiction writers persists above and beyond lesser divisions.

To be specific, Poul [Anderson] knows that I am a "fuzzy-minded pinko" and I know that he is a "narrow-minded hardhat" (not that either of us would ever use such terms), but we love each other anyway, and our relations with each other in these last couple of years have not suffered at all.
I disagree with Stephanie's politics, but I share her belief that we should be free to disagree. Shortly before he was killed, Malcolm X said:
...my dearest friends have come to include all kinds -- some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists -- some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!
May we all be able to disagree and still be friends.

5. even bigots must be free to speak

This is usually credited to Martin Niemöller:
They came first for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
I'm a socialist, which explains why free speech matters so much to me. If capitalists don't respect free speech, I'm silenced.

But that quote isn't addressed to socialists. It's addressed to people who oppose them. A modern equivalent for Critical Race Theorists would start, "They came first for the bigots, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a bigot."

Censors love a foothold, so they start with the things that the majority opposes, then use what they've gained to censor more. That's why I agree with the ACLU: lovers of free speech must speak up for a bigot's right to speak.

I saw that quote being used by a supporter of Wiscon's decision. The notion that Niemöller believed in silencing bad people before their ideas could spread just croggled me.

Yes, many notions croggle me.

6. Wiscon and Elizabeth Moon: What Happened and What Can We Learn from it?

In 2011, Armadillocon addressed the issue in a panel. The lineup: Emma Bull, Stina Leicht, Scott Lynch, Lawrence Person, Cat Rambo, Lee Thomas.

Lee Thomas seemed to be most sympathetic to WisCon's decision. He asked a question that did not get answered: how far may an invited guest's statements go before a con should uninvite a guest?

Scott Lynch's position was similar. He proposed, "My con, my rules"—if Wiscon wanted to uninvite a guest, that was their right.

Stina Leicht, Cat Rambo, and Emma all objected to what Moon had said about Muslims, but were also troubled by WisCon's decision not to honor its invitation of a guest. Emma noted that Wiscon had changed its definition of feminism in order to justify its actions; feminism does not have a political orientation, and though she's a socialist, she recognizes that when conservative women do things like serving on the Supreme Court, they are making progress as feminists that help women who don't share their politics.

Lawrence Person proposed that Moon's comments on Muslims had been misinterpreted, that she had not been saying that Muslims should be treated badly, but that they should be prepared to face discrimination because every immigrant group has faced discrimination.

Audience reactions ranged from full support for WisCon to an emphatic declaration that institutions should never censor invited speakers.

In discussion after the panel, someone with great familiarity of conventions and contracts said that Wiscon was very lucky when Ms. Moon accepted their decision. By announcing her as their GoH, they established a contract. When they withdrew the offer, they put themselves in the position of being in breach of contract.

7. Elizabeth Moon update

There's a happy ending for Elizabeth Moon: She's still making the bestseller lists.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Black Rock Blues" by Will Shetterly

Available in And Other Stories.

Shetterlys in the Civil War / War Between the States

Shetterly - American Civil War Soldiers - Ancestry.com lists male Shetterlys who served, but there was at least one female. TNJN - Old Gray Cemetery's Lantern and Carriage Tour revives past mentions "Margaret Shetterly Pesterfield Haynes, a Civil War nurse, fought to collect her service pension and then helped black nurses do the same."

I like her.

I don't know what was up with the one Shetterly who fought for the Confederacy. Shetterlys tended to be poor farmers, so I doubt he owned slaves, and he may've been fighting for patriotism rather than slavery—there were, after all, slaveowners on both sides of the Civil War. Or he may have been drafted. In any case, I'm descended from the Iowa Shetterlys, so that guy's not part of my bloodline.

Shetterlys in the Civil War / War Between the States

Shetterly - American Civil War Soldiers - Ancestry.com lists male Shetterlys who served, but there was at least one female. TNJN - Old Gray Cemetery's Lantern and Carriage Tour revives past mentions "Margaret Shetterly Pesterfield Haynes, a Civil War nurse, fought to collect her service pension and then helped black nurses do the same."

I like her.

I don't know what was up with the one Shetterly who fought for the Confederacy. Shetterlys tended to be poor farmers, so I doubt he owned slaves, and he may've been fighting for patriotism rather than slavery—there were, after all, slaveowners on both sides of the Civil War. Or he may have been drafted. In any case, I'm descended from the Iowa Shetterlys who fought for the Union, so that guy's not part of my bloodline.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

quiet thinking

I am a fan of quiet places. My one complaint about life in cities is there's always one neighbor loves loudness. If you think, like me, this might be a class thing, it's not. Tim Krieder has a comment about train riders and bus riders that seems true, as generalizations go:

From The Quiet Ones - NYTimes.com: "James’s thesis that this obliviousness correlates to a sense of special entitlement is corroborated by my own observation that the crowd on Amtrak, where airline-level fares act as a de facto class barrier, is generally louder and more inconsiderate than the supposed riffraff on the bus."

 I don't think noise is a rudeness issue: I think most noisy people are so used to noise that it never occurs to them it might be annoying to anyone else.

Well. Have a quiet or noisy Thanksgiving, as you prefer!

quiet thinking

I am a fan of quiet places. My one complaint about life in cities is there's always one neighbor who loves loudness. If you think, like me, this might be a class thing, it's not. Tim Krieder has a comment about train riders and bus riders that seems true, as generalizations go:

From The Quiet Ones - NYTimes.com: "James’s thesis that this obliviousness correlates to a sense of special entitlement is corroborated by my own observation that the crowd on Amtrak, where airline-level fares act as a de facto class barrier, is generally louder and more inconsiderate than the supposed riffraff on the bus."

 I don't think noise is a rudeness issue: I think most noisy people are so used to noise that it never occurs to them it might be annoying to anyone else.

Well. Have a quiet or noisy Thanksgiving, as you prefer!

"Silver or Gold" by Emma Bull

Available in And Other Stories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Haslam explains SJWs

Human obedience: The myth of blind conformity: "Professor Haslam, from the University of Queensland, argues that tyranny does not result from blind conformity to rules and roles. Rather, it is a creative act of followership, resulting from identifying with authorities who represent vicious acts as virtuous. "Decent people participate in horrific acts not because they become passive, mindless functionaries who do not know what they are doing, but rather because they come to believe -- typically under the influence of those in authority -- that what they are doing is right," Professor Haslam explained."

"The Thief of Dreams" by Will Shetterly

Available in And Other Stories.

"white vote" is code for the richer side in the class war

it's all one thing: "white vote" is code for the richer side in the class war

"white vote" is code for the richer side in the class war

Does Obama Have White Voter “Problem”? — The Monkey Cage: "Since the mid-1970’s Democrats have had a white voter “problem.” Obama is a Democrat. This is by far the best lens through which to view white support for Obama.  Conversely, it is also the best lens through which to view black support for Obama.  For example, LBJ received essentially the same level of black support in 1964 as did Obama in 2008. ... In 2008, Obama garnered about 43% of the white vote. This was the high water mark for Democratic presidential candidates since Jimmy Carter in 1976 – not coincidentally about the time in which party polarization starts to take hold in the U.S.  Put differently, Obama received as much or more white voter support than Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter (1980), and even Bill Clinton (see the data here or see the historical chart in the Post piece here)."

The entire post is short and very much worth your time. I just wanted to stress the above because I keep seeing identitarians obsessing over the white vote. If racism is the reason for the vote, white racism hurt Clinton more than Obama.

"white vote" is code for the richer side in the class war

Does Obama Have White Voter “Problem”? — The Monkey Cage: "Since the mid-1970’s Democrats have had a white voter “problem.” Obama is a Democrat. This is by far the best lens through which to view white support for Obama.  Conversely, it is also the best lens through which to view black support for Obama.  For example, LBJ received essentially the same level of black support in 1964 as did Obama in 2008. ... In 2008, Obama garnered about 43% of the white vote. This was the high water mark for Democratic presidential candidates since Jimmy Carter in 1976 – not coincidentally about the time in which party polarization starts to take hold in the U.S.  Put differently, Obama received as much or more white voter support than Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter (1980), and even Bill Clinton (see the data here or see the historical chart in the Post piece here)."

The entire post is short and very much worth your time. I just wanted to stress the above because I keep seeing identitarians obsessing over the white vote. If racism is the reason for the vote, white racism hurt Clinton more than Obama.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

quibbling with Jay Atkinson on the requirements of storytelling

From Book review: “Elsewhere’’ by Richard Russo - Books - The Boston Globe: "the requirements of good storytelling are harsh: three-dimensional characters, a strong sense of place, and the accumulation of specific sensory detail. "

I think that's a useful list, but I must add that all of those things are extremely subjective, and sometimes what's wanted are archetypes, a place that could be anywhere, and the unrelenting storytelling push of dialogue and action.

quibbling with Jay Atkinson on the requirements of storytelling

From Book review: “Elsewhere’’ by Richard Russo - Books - The Boston Globe: "the requirements of good storytelling are harsh: three-dimensional characters, a strong sense of place, and the accumulation of specific sensory detail. "

I think that's a useful list, but I must add that all of those things are extremely subjective, and sometimes what's wanted are archetypes, a place that could be anywhere, and the unrelenting storytelling push of dialogue and action.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Flannery O'Connor on stifling writers

"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them." —Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor on stifling writers

"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them." —Flannery O'Connor

Kushner and Spielberg's "Lincoln"

it's all one thing: Kushner and Spielberg's "Lincoln"

The anti-oppression paradox

The anti-oppression paradox | MattBruenig

Kushner and Spielberg's "Lincoln"

Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner have made a great movie with a misleading title: it should be called The 13th Amendment. It's funny and touching and beautifully made. There are two minor Spielberg moments that I would cut, but that's a tiny quibble. While all the actors are great, Tommy Lee Jones gets to have the most fun. Lincoln joins Glory at the top of the tiny group of great Civil War films.

Some people, like Shakesville, want a different movie, either about the maturation of Lincoln, who grew from thinking black folks should be sent back to Africa, or about the black folks involved in the abolition movement. Those movies would have room for Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman, and they would cover at least five years. But this movie is about a crucial month in US history. It owes more to suspense films than bio pics or costume dramas: it's not about the growth of a character, but about whether that character can succeed in a limited amount of time against enormous obstacles.

There's a truth that many people don't want to acknowledge: oppressed people rarely have the resources to free themselves. Ending slavery in the US was mostly the work of white men, the people who held the power. A hundred years later, the civil rights movement required black folks and white folks working together. When the oppressed are isolated, they end up like Spartacus and Nat Turner.

I hope Toussaint gets made; everyone should know about the only successful slave revolt in history.

Kushner and Spielberg's "Lincoln"

Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner have made a great movie with a misleading title: it should be called The 13th Amendment. It's funny and touching and beautifully made. There are two minor Spielberg moments that I would cut, but that's a tiny quibble. While all the actors are great, Tommy Lee Jones gets to have the most fun. Lincoln joins Glory at the top of the tiny group of great Civil War films.

Some people, like Shakesville, want a different movie, either about the maturation of Lincoln, who grew from thinking black folks should be sent back to Africa, or about the black folks involved in the abolition movement. Those movies would have room for Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman, and they would cover at least five years. But this movie is about a crucial month in US history. It owes more to suspense films than bio pics or costume dramas: it's not about the growth of a character, but about whether that character can succeed in a limited amount of time against enormous obstacles.

There's a truth that many people don't want to acknowledge: oppressed people rarely have the resources to free themselves. Ending slavery in the US was mostly the work of white men, the people who held the power. A hundred years later, the civil rights movement required black folks and white folks working together. When the oppressed are isolated, they end up like Spartacus and Nat Turner.

I hope Toussaint gets made; everyone should know about the only successful slave revolt in history.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How ignorant is ACrackedMoon, aka Requireshate?

Never underestimate the ignorance of an SJW. In Mary Robinette Kowal and the “half-breed Cherokee” « Requires Only That You Hate, RH asks, "What the everloving fuck are “Native American Fae” anyway? Do they even have “Fae” as part of their mythos or is this just a case of whitey imposing their shit on everything?"

A teensy bit of googling would've brought her to the Cherokee "little people", the Yunwi Tsunsdi. But SJWs' idea of history and culture seems to have been shaped by Hollywood, something I first noticed when Coffeeandink displayed her ignorance about Jews in the West in the 19th Century.

There's a hint that you're dealing with a SJW when you notice someone getting angry who uses "Native American". American Indians like the folks in the American Indian Movement prefer "Indians" when you're talking about the larger group in English.

Whether Mary Kowal's story is any good, I don't know; I haven't read it. In the comments there, she says she wants to rewrite it. If she does, I hope she continues to listen to her Cherokee readers and ignores the SJWs. The loudest are rarely the wisest.

2012 Election: It really was class warfare

"Identity Politics and Economic Reality" at The Economic Populist gave me the numbers in the comments. I verified them; they're from the US network exit polls. Here's the economic spread for Obama voters vs Romney voters:
Obama: < $30,000, 62% to 35%
Obama: $30,000 to $49,999, 56% to 42%.

Romney : $50,000 to $99,999, 52% to 46%
Romney: $100,000 to $199,999, 54% to 44%
Romney: > $200,000 or more, 54% to 44%.
You're welcome to do the breakdown by race and gender if you insist, but this is much simpler: Obama won with folks who make less than the national average. Romney won with folks who make more.

ETA: For these numbers and more, see Groups Obama Won, Groups Romney Won - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com. (Thx, Brian Holt Hawthorne!)

2012 Election: It really was class warfare

"Identity Politics and Economic Reality" at The Economic Populist gave me the numbers in the comments. I verified them; they're from the US network exit polls. Here's the economic spread for Obama voters vs Romney voters:
Obama: < $30,000, 62% to 35%
Obama: $30,000 to $49,999, 56% to 42%.

Romney : $50,000 to $99,999, 52% to 46%
Romney: $100,000 to $199,999, 54% to 44%
Romney: > $200,000 or more, 54% to 44%.
You're welcome to do the breakdown by race and gender if you insist, but this is much simpler: Obama won with folks who make less than the national average. Romney won with folks who make more.

ETA: For these numbers and more, see Groups Obama Won, Groups Romney Won - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com. (Thx, Brian Holt Hawthorne!)

Falguni Sheth on White Privilege and Racial Injustice

Meditations on White Privilege and Racial Injustice « Translation Exercises: "The term “white privilege” is increasingly used for the public moral shaming of whites whose politics other whites disagree with. Not for that reason alone, white privilege is becoming an increasingly ineffective term."

"What Used to Be Good Still Is" by Emma Bull

Available in And Other Stories.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One of these things is not like the others | MattBruenig

One of these things is not like the others | MattBruenig | Politics: "Long lists of discrete types of justice with no overarching framework will fall into internal contradictions quickly as one justice claim will run up against another justice claim elsewhere on the list with no theoretical way to resolve the conflict."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

the argument that President Gore would have invaded Iraq

Democrats love to say Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq. I agree that he might not have. I also know that if Goldwater had been elected in '64, Democrats would still be arguing that Johnson would never have escalated the Vietnam War.


There are strong arguments made that Gore would've invaded. I found some in Iraq War - Gore Would Have Done The Same As Bush, Says Study:
...Dalhousie political scientist Frank Harvey in a paper for the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) ... argues Gore would have invaded Iraq just as President Bush did, and in doing so, pieces together what he considers to be a stronger explanation of the decision to invade in the first place."
A pdf of his paper is here: President Al Gore and the 2003 Iraq War: A Counterfactual Critique of
Conventional “W”isdom by Frank Harvey, PhD.

Harvey also wrote a book published by Cambridge University Press, Explaining the Iraq War: Counterfactual Theory, Logic and Evidence. Here's a video of him talking about it:



A shorter, more informal argument is made in Why President Gore might have gone into Iraq after 9/11, too - Salon.com:
...President Gore would have been hearing the same pleas. His own vice president would have been Joe Lieberman, perhaps the most hawkish Democrat in Washington on Middle East issues. Marty Peretz, his old friend and confidante, would have had Gore’s ear and filled it with arguments for going into Iraq. Loud, influential, non-conservative media voices — like Tom Friedman and Peter Beinart — would have amplified these calls on the outside. Republicans would have been screaming for an invasion, and the public would have been on their side. Clinton could barely hold them all back in the ‘90s; after 9/11, would Gore have stood a chance?

Here it’s worth remembering Gore’s own history. In the 1980s, he made his name as a senator and presidential candidate by positioning himself as one of his party’s foremost hawks. One of the reasons, in fact, that Clinton put him on the Democratic ticket in 1992 was Gore’s vote for the Gulf War, which most Democrats had opposed. You could argue that Gore was a changed man by 2001 and 2002, and that he saw the world in a fundamentally different way, and maybe that’s true.

But it should be noted that when he announced his opposition to Bush’s war push in the fall of ’02, Gore endorsed the basic goal of removing Hussein and securing his (supposed) WMD stockpiles. What he objected to was more the go-it-alone nature of Bush’s approach. In other words, you could also argue that Gore, still stung by the 2000 election outcome, may have been motivated in some way by his desire to stage a big, principled fight with Bush — and that a different result in ’00 might have produced a different, more hawkish response from Gore, one that would have led to … an invasion of Iraq.

the argument that President Gore would have invaded Iraq

Democrats love to say Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq. I agree that he might not have. I also know that if Goldwater had been elected in '64, Democrats would still be arguing that Johnson would never have escalated the Vietnam War.