Lack of Livejournalling

In case you’re wondering where the hell some of your favorite LiveJournals are today, lots of them have been temporarily deleted to protest LiveJournal’s parent company Six Apart’s freakout about icons which feature breastfeeding, because apparently a nipple is inappropriate, even when it’s being shown in its non-sexy nutritive mode as opposed to its “Hi there I’m a nipple and I’m here to entice your loins” mode. These LiveJournals will be back tomorrow.

I don’t know how successful the protest will be, but philosophically I’m of the mind that getting worked up about pictures of breastfeeding is more than a little silly, so Six Apart’s freakout is likewise a little silly. It reminds me of the contrempts a couple of years ago when religious conservatives were outraged by billboard featuring Mary breastfeeding Jesus, put up by (wait for it) PETA. Here’s what I had to say about that. I just can’t imagine getting worked about something like that. Life’s too short to be offended by lactation and latching on.

In any event, there’s the explanation for missing LiveJournals, if you needed one.

Synchronicity, of a Sort

Today is the 25th anniversary of the identification of a mysterious syndrome attacking gay men, which would in time be called AIDS. President George Bush is marking the day by calling for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would bar same-sex marriage, despite the fact that there are currently thousands of U.S. citizens who are in legal same-sex marriages.

I am ashamed that the president of my country wants to use the Constitution of the United States to break up the lawful marriages of thousands of my co-citizens. But I’m not at all surprised at his timing. The depth of his contempt for the Constitution, and of his pandering to bigots, requires no less of him than this.

There are parallels, I think, between this George and another: George Wallace. The latter George famously stood in a schoolhouse door in 1963 to show he stood with those who believed in segregation now and forever. Later, when he was asked why he indulged in racist politics, Wallace said, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.” Yet in his later political career, Wallace recanted his racist views, reached out to those to whom he had earlier expressed hate, and worked to make amends. Was this recantation personal or merely political? It’s not for me to say, but even if it were the latter it was still the right thing to do.

By declaring his desire to take away rights that people already have, George Bush is standing in his own schoolhouse door, condoning bigotry to satisfy his own particular group of floor stompers. One may hope in the fullness of time he will do as Wallace did and attempt to make amends. I would be willing to forgive him, to the extent that he is doing me wrong by his position. But there are others whom he is wronging more, and from whom he will need forgiveness more.

Synchronicity, of a Sort

Today is the 25th anniversary of the identification of a mysterious syndrome attacking gay men, which would in time be called AIDS. President George Bush is marking the day by calling for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would bar same-sex marriage, despite the fact that there are currently thousands of U.S. citizens who are in legal same-sex marriages.

I am ashamed that the president of my country wants to use the Constitution of the United States to break up the lawful marriages of thousands of my co-citizens. But I’m not at all surprised at his timing. The depth of his contempt for the Constitution, and of his pandering to bigots, requires no less of him than this.

There are parallels, I think, between this George and another: George Wallace. The latter George famously stood in a schoolhouse door in 1963 to show he stood with those who believed in segregation now and forever. Later, when he was asked why he indulged in racist politics, Wallace said, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.” Yet in his later political career, Wallace recanted his racist views, reached out to those to whom he had earlier expressed hate, and worked to make amends. Was this recantation personal or merely political? It’s not for me to say, but even if it were the latter it was still the right thing to do.

By declaring his desire to take away rights that people already have, George Bush is standing in his own schoolhouse door, condoning bigotry to satisfy his own particular group of floor stompers. One may hope in the fullness of time he will do as Wallace did and attempt to make amends. I would be willing to forgive him, to the extent that he is doing me wrong by his position. But there are others whom he is wronging more, and from whom he will need forgiveness more.

A Decade of Freelance

My pal Scott Westerfeld is celebrating ten years of being a full-time freelance writer today, and comes to the party loaded down with stats that will be of use for people in the “should I keep my day job or write full-time?” thing. In those stats, what I think is the salient bit of information:

Years before I made enough to write only as me: 8

Before that date, he was doing the ghostwriting and all the other things he was doing. This is something for all y’all to keep in mind as you’re plugging away, wondering if there’s a light at the end of the freelance tunnel and how far away it might be.

The eight years notation is interesting to me because as it happens I am at my eighth year of the freelancing life, and this is the first year where I could ditch all the other writing I do that’s not related to my own books and still make what I consider to be an acceptable amount of money (I haven’t quite done that because I like doing the stuff I’m doing. And I’m greedy. Bwa ha ha hah ha!). The details of my and Scott’s writing lives are different enough, and other fulltime writers’ lives more different still, that I’m hestitant to declare a general “eight year” rule here. But I do wonder if this is also consonant with other writers’ experiences.

I am delighted that Scott is able to make a living writing books, for the purely selfish reason that it means there are likely to be more Scott Westerfeld books for me to read — and this likely to be even more the case now that he is a New York Times Bestselling Author via his latest book. You can’t buy that sort of accolade, you know. Other people have to buy it for you, several thousand units at a time.

So congratulations, Scott. Here’s to many more years of the freelance, and book-writing, life.