I've just about had it with people in general. Especially partisans, which is pretty much everybody. And double especially with the guys on one side or another who set out to "explain" why the dammnable types on the other side are brain-bent, immature, illogical, intolerant and incapable of reason.
...Though I admit to thinking they're all right: we develop our damfool notions first, and come up with "reasons" for them in hindsight. From Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Rick Santorum, not a one of them has an internally-consistent philosophy or set of positions on the supposed issues, and as for any connection they might have to reality, forget it.
There's politics and then there's the stuff we do to get through each day -- and to be able to look ourselves in the mirror afterwards -- and they don't have nearly as close a connection as we think, or at least not 'til Congress raises taxes or debases the currency or both, which as near as I can tell is their actual job no matter which party is prescribing the warpaint patterns or Ritual Grunts. And even when that happens, we run to our old familiar lares and penates, we check our well-worn shibboleths and fetishes and read the same decaying chicken innards to determine the significance of it all-- And it ain't even crap.
Take the current tempest-in-a-toilet-bowl over, of all the damn things, the use of binary gender tropes in SF and fantasy. Some nitwit wrote an essay about how she or he (or whatever) wants to never again pick up an SF or fantasy novel and find in it characters who are nothin' but girly-women and big ol' boy men, and who lust for nothing but their binary opposite. Nope, sayeth the pundit, that rubbish has got to go. (Possibly he, she, etc. did not have parents, or was injured riding a bicycle to their wedding, but I speculate.) I am pretty sure the person who penned that bit is not the Editor-Emperor and High Admiral of genre fiction, but a great hubbub and furor has nonetheless ensued. This has now grown, in a lumpy, cancerous fashion, assigned "conservative" and "liberal" sides, with very little actual relation to the fictional sex lives or butchness/femmeness of an author's characters. (Heinlein seems to have got stuck on the conservative side, which must have Johann/Joanne Smith, Friday and Andy Libby Long well-puzzled) and one author who has taken up cudgels (or possibly a windmill-lance -- the landscape of the debate makes Bob Clampett's Wackyland look dull) on the conservative side has a character in his body of work who is a classic overachieving gay male closet case. Meantimes, we can find a few on the other side who have got yarns fulla 1950s-model families....
It's bullshit. At every level and in every way, from prescribing how writers should cast their works to nattering away at one another about it, it is a complete waste of time. Writers whittle characters for their roles; Genly Ai and Bedap are who they are for a reason, same as Ham Brooks and Monk Mayfair chase skirts and Bron Helstrom doesn't. Likewise cultures; I found Whileaway staggeringly conservative in mores and behaviors while the world of Venus Equilateral was not so much so. YMMV.* Readers vote with their dollars and in an increasingly "flat" playing field for writers, what publishers will buy means less and less when writers can bypass them and get the stuff to readers directly. (Sometimes this results in writers finding traditional publishers after the fact -- witness Marko Kloos, Larry Correia and probably Hugh Howey.) Buy the stuff you like; buy it new if you can, buy copies to give as gifts. Don't buy what you don't like, and if you're buying books for train-wreck amusement, buy them used.
Most of the noise comes from SF fan-types. Fen. Lemme 'splain you: fendom as a whole is a mind-destroying hive of scum and villainy, as pure and perfect an example of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds as can be found. (Individually or in small groups, they're as fine a bunch of folks as anyone, mind you; it's just the swarm that's toxic). When they thunder by, no patch of praire-dog holes can stop 'em. And I'm kinda glad to see them kept busy -- but dammit, there's writers wading in, which means they are not writing new and interesting fiction, and that ticks me off. Plus, this is friendly fire. Or fragging.
And all that mess? It's a microcosm of the larger world. Which is why I'm about done with people in general and partisans in particular. Me, I'm not conservative, I'm not liberal; I don't want to police your vocabulary or your bedroom and I darned sure don't want any form of Authority doing so against your will unless you're a killer or a kidnapper, or otherwise engaged in force or fraud. Is that a highly rational, logically arrived at stance? Oh hell no. It's the one I like best, is all.
Same as the crazy crap you believe, whether you admit it or not. Which you probably won't. And I'm about done with that, too.
* Go wild sortin' those references out. Or not.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
9 months ago