An Addition to the Site Disclaimer
Posted on June 18, 2020 Posted by John Scalzi 37 Comments
Here’s the update:
This site features content going all the way back to the 1990s. Pieces I’ve written here reflect my views and writing style at that time. A piece written years ago may not reflect my current thinking on a topic, whatever that topic might be, nor might it represent how I would approach the topic stylistically. It is often useful to check to see if there is a more current piece on the topic that better reflects my current thinking and writing style. There is a search function on the site.
Why have I added it in? Basically, because I’m not at 51 who I was at 29, which is how old I was when I started this site. I’m also not who I am when I was 35, 40 or even 45. To be clear, I think there’s a pretty strong through-line between 29-year-old John Scalzi and 51-year-old John Scalzi; I don’t think you would read something I wrote then and be confused as to who the author is. But twenty-two years is a long time. Times are different than they were at the turn of the century, and with that, some of my opinions are different, as are the ways I would choose to express them.
Having written here for more than two decades, I don’t think it’s possible or useful to go back and try to tweak the site’s contents for 2020s sensibilities; I don’t have the time, and even if I did the Internet Archive is out there with the originals. Generally speaking I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written here, and I think there’s something to be said to having a record of who I was (or more accurately, how I chose to publicly express myself) over the time I’ve written here.
Consequently, with a few exceptions I have kept the text here as it was when I wrote it, plus or minus edits shortly after posting, mostly for clarity or to remove unintentionally offensive things. Basically, it’s very rare for me to update a piece more than a couple days after originally posting. Thus, this site includes not a few pieces that I look at today and think eeeeeeh, I wouldn’t put it that way now, and at least a couple of actual and genuine fuck ups on my part. I have it as part of the site disclaimer that “I can be as full of shit as anybody else”; I didn’t put that in there just to be amusingly disarming. I have bad takes on a bunch of stuff on this site, and a few things I had to go back and apologize for. Pulling these from the site wouldn’t change the fact I wrote them at one point, and I’m okay with people seeing me in my full and flawed scope.
For all that, from time to time I have seen people pull something from the site from, oh, like, 2003, and post it elsewhere as if it was reflective of my current thinking, or how I might state things today. On one hand, it’s entirely fair to quote me, if indeed I did say something that one time way back when, and I wouldn’t stop someone from doing it, even if I could, and even if their intent in doing so is to paint me in a bad light. On the other hand, when someone does that, or if someone comes across something that I wrote way back when via a Google search or suchlike, and is confused/upset/angry by something I wrote, I think it’s reasonable for me to be able to say, “Yup, I said that then, and also, you might want to check to see if that’s still a position I would support.”
Because sometimes it is! But sometimes it’s not. And in all cases, further context is probably useful. I do think it’s all right to suggest that people over time might change their minds, or evolve their thinking, or be less of a raging dickhead, or however you want to put it. It’s especially helpful if there is textual evidence of that change, which, as it happens, I often have, because I’ve been writing here for more than two decades.
(Whether people will choose to believe that later text more accurately reflects my current beliefs is another matter. People will believe what they want to believe, and also, some people think I’m a smooth operator who changes his public opinions solely to stay in the good graces of whomever they believe to be the thought police at the current moment. I find this belief delightful; the fantasy version of me they have in their head is far more industrious and canny than I am in real life.)
I will additionally note that I have not achieved my final form; the 55-year-old John Scalzi will be different from me today, and the 60- and 65-year-old versions of me more different still, and so on. This site, as long as it exists, is made by the current me, who very quickly becomes the past me. I suspect there will always be things here that the then-current me will look at and say “huh, I’d do that differently today.” It’s part of being a human, and (hopefully) growing and thinking and changing as you go along.
In case you’re curious, one thing that I have gone in and changed are the times where I’ve used some variation of “asperger” to insult someone. When I’ve gone in and changed that I’ve usually noted that I’ve made the change. As a general rule as I get older I make the effort to use less ableist terminology, which is harder than you might think it is. I’m not perfect at it, but I’m never perfect; I just try to be better as I go along.
Also, if someone finds what I would now consider a highly questionable opinion of mine in the archives and wonders if it’s reflective of my current thinking, and I haven’t written about it since, I would like to think I would be able to say “Oh, hell no, past John Scalzi was a total asshole on this topic and here’s the updated thinking on that” and have it be at least considered. I mean, I can’t think of what an example of that might be, but then I wouldn’t be able to think of it, otherwise I would have already corrected it. I don’t live in fear of my potential past fuck-ups, but I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to discovering what they were.
> Basically, because I’m not at 51 as who I was at 29, which is how old I was when I started this site
we appreciate the remarkable arch. like, first time seen on youtube full-out prancing to PokerFace on stage at comicon. woah, that guy rocks, and still does today. thank you sir, and congrats.
At just-short-of-65, sometimes I look back on things I said or did in my teens and 20s, and think, “Hey, that guy’s kinda cool. I think I should try to be more like him.”
Then, suddenly, it’s my nap time again.
True of us all John. The 58 year old me is not the same, by a long shot, as the 28 year old me. I like to think I’m wiser and more tolerant but I would likely be wrong.
Bravo. Which is why I don’t usually get angry when a 50 year old public figure has a boneheaded comment unearthed made by said figure as a college sophomore. I more interested in what they do now.
“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?” attributed to John M. Keynes
I live in the everpresent now. Your past does not exist to me. Hell, my past barely exists to me.
“I will additionally note that I have not achieved my final form;”
Someday you will become the Star Child.
Let’s see if this millennium can improve on the last one. Not looking good right now, but it’s early days.
Maybe so, John, but the “Lowest Difficulty Setting,” “Shut Up and Listen,” “Being poor,” “Things I Don’t Have to Think About Today,” and “Cinemax Theory of Racism “entries have, in my opinion, aged quite well.
There’s two types of implying I dislike. One: “Nobody said life was fair” implying that we shouldn’t try to make it fair, and, Two: “Every thing on the Web is there forever” implying that it should be, that we should judge the older John Scalzi or Saint Paul, by what the younger Scalzi or Saul thought. Not me.
It would be a fallacy to think that our ancestors had a lower I.Q. than we do, implying they were stupid to have a statute of limitations, or to declare a person (or his idea) dead after seven years. My policy if I find a tweet or something older than seven years is to call it inadmissable evidence. (Of course, legal crimes are rightly prosecuted past seven years)
How can I be so relaxed? Easy: As I see it, if someone remains a nasty criminal, then they won’t be able to keep themselves from having a crime or false belief yet again. I can hang them for that, not stuff real old. (Of course, I’m part of the now generation)
A concrete example would be a wrong tweet or something (I forget, I think it was anti-gay) of a Hollywood fellow. All his sensitive actor peers in Guardians of the Galaxy said James Gunn was a good guy. At first Gunn wasn’t allowed to make another Guardians movie, but now he is, which is OK by me, because of the “over seven years,” not just because I trust actors.
I like how actors believed in equality for gays before the rest of us did, and how Shakespeare’s buddies were against being anti-Jewish before the rest of society. (As Horace Gold noted)
Absolutely. In my mind, you represent the best of what it means to be a thinking human sentient (this is not redundant). Thank you from the bottom of (bless my little) heart.
Excellently simply way of dealing with the issue in a rational way… tips the hat…
Makes sense. I think everyone has (usually) achieved a different mindset to what they were 20 years ago. I know I’ve certainly did. Things that would be somewhat upset/passionate about are now “meh”, and those that I was “meh” about are now those to which I am passionate about (e.g. public sector unions)
Of course we change… that’s life. I’m just hoping I’m more me now than I was in the 1990s!
I think the way that I put it once (probably in therapy) was that the only ‘me’ who truly exists in the world is this person doing whatever it is I’m doing right now. I share a close thread of connection with those earlier, younger versions of myself and do, of course, take full responsibility for their decisions. I have memories of some of their experiences. If I place myself back with them, I can often feel something of what they felt in the moment. (Sometimes that’s not a voluntary process, but that’s a different matter.) The closer in time they are to me, the more similar they are to the person I am in this moment, but there is a thread that runs through from the beginning. They learned skills, acquired knowledge, and navigated situations in ways that benefit me today. But even when I recall those memories and experience those feelings, I am doing so through my present lens and understanding. I know things my 9 year old self did not. And more than knowledge, I have a lifetime of increasing agency and the experience of raising children myself. When I look through his eyes or recall his experiences, I do so in part with the eyes of a parent. And the same thing is true in varying degrees with each of those younger selves. I can sometimes see things in their experience they could not and that lens colors and shapes the way I then remember it.
That does not necessarily mean I somehow have improved. That’s always questionable. Take 9 year old me. I am awed by his determination, his strength, and have benefited greatly in all later versions from his strength and from the different skills he worked so hard and with such ferocious intent to acquire. I do not know that I’ve managed to take that work, build on it, and move toward the goals he desperately wanted. But I do my best in the present moment and hope the decisions I make and my resulting actions will benefit my future selves more than not. I plan as best I can with incomplete knowledge and imperfect ability, knowing that future me will look back with a differently informed lens.
That’s ultimately the most any of us can do.
My present thoughts, beliefs, and understanding feel always in flux. I can remember no time in my life when that wasn’t true. They gel in certain ways that provide ground for action in the moment and some have been more deeply examined and are less subject to change than others, but I have no expectation that my understanding today will be the same even tomorrow, much less a decade down the line. I rather assume the opposite. I have seen people who present in more fixed ways and who at least outwardly show less change over time even as their experience grows. I’ve never really understood that way of moving through the world, but it does seem that some experience any given moment of their lives as less fluid and everchanging than I do. That part of your disclaimer, though, makes perfect sense. Things I’ve written or said at any age may have reflected what I thought or believed in that moment. (Some may not, but again that’s a different issue. I don’t pretend I am always honest with myself, much less in my outward presentation.) I can look at them and say whether I still agree or to what degree I agree, but rarely would I express anything complex in exactly that same way. I believe that’s true for most people.
I appreciate your efforts to be less ableist. I’m working through a similar process, and have become more conscious of my own deeply internalized ableism since my ASD diagnosis a few years back. You’re right. It’s a lot harder than I think most people believe. It permeates our social fabric.
I’ve rambled enough. Thanks for your writing and sharing some portion of your thoughts.
But that is probably why I subscribe.
Lately I’ve been skipping around in ‘Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded’ and, ok, there are a few things from back then that I disagreed with, and still do, but there’s a lot that is still relevant. Like, was Bush Jr. the worst POTUS ever? Today this is LMAO funny but still a good read.
This is really timely for me as I’m working my way through your backlist and am reading “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded” right now, and there have been a couple points where I needed to remember what the internet and common terminology was like in the early aughts. We were all so flippant! Having only read Whatever this year and the book without the stuff in between makes it really clear.
A particularly graceful and fun way to say what numbers of us have needed to say recently (and more of us should).
“…The fantasy version of me they have in their head is far more industrious and canny than I am in real life”; :-)
I remember watching a family member of one of Dylan Roof’s victims tell Roof that they forgive him. And i was at a loss.
And some people carry the slightest grudges for a lifetime, and I usually cant understand that either.
When is the right time to forgive?
There`s no way this will not read as accusatory, so apologies in advance, it really isn`t my intention.
So, this: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2007/12/10/the-zombie-robert-heinlein-rises-from-the-grave-yet-again-to-annoy-the-politically-correct/
13 years old post I know, and I am well aware you’ve returned to the subject of Heinlein quite a few times since (unless I`m mistaken you even brought that post up one of those times), and your updated take on him and racism, sexism, fascism, the worth of his work for 21st century readers and writers, etc; is quite different now (though I won`t attempt to summarize it here, I can tell it`s nuanced enough that I lack the skill to do it in a long comment, let alone a short one). If I may hazard a guess as to what prompted reconsidering that point of view somewhat I would say racefail 09 and sad/rabid puppies are part of it, but not all of it.
Does that post strike you as puppy-ish in any way when you re-read it now? Of course it’s on a completely different level in terms of building a coherent argument for your opinions (which the puppies couldn’t do if their life depended on it) but I mean it in the sense of coming from the gut. Do you read that now and feel you were reacting to that piece strongly criticizing Heinlein more than carefully assessing it?
Reason for the question is, going through old posts and comments of mine I can tell my opinion on topics like racism, sexism and lgbtq+ rights were more immediate gut reactions than actually thought out and considered, even when my arguments were coherent (as in, pertained to the actual topic and avoided offense). I read those now and cringe thinking they could easily be seen as written by an unusually coherent puppy, absolutely unaware of their own privileges (white, cis, het, upper middle class male speaking here). I now blame fear of losing those privileges for those opinions, and struggle to learn and overcome it.
Once again, sorry if this sounds accusatory in anyway, I really don`t mean it like that. Just wondering if you feel the same reading that old post.
Regarding forgiveness, I don’t know, but I want to say that I really valued the stage play Death and the Maiden. The script would be as good as a novel. It takes place after The Troubles, not in Northern Ireland specifically, but universally. The movie version I have never seen, but it seems to be above normal Hollywood, set in Latin America.
Author and blogger Jenny Trout wrote an entry about forgiveness, speaking in particular about the plagiarist who slid into her emails to beg for it.
She writes, “I have a really bad habit in my personal life of letting people do something that makes me feel okay, then feeling as though I have to accept their apology because if I don’t, I’m not nice. I think it probably has something to do with being raised Catholic, and I don’t say that to be funny. It’s an entire religion built around forgiveness that’s given without hesitation, just because someone asks. There’s a whole sacrament about it. Maybe I’m still walking around thinking I should be Christ-like and forgive everyone for everything from minor annoyances to major transgressions.”
She explains growing up and learning that [she’s] fully entitled to be pissed off about something, even if someone asks for forgiveness, and that [she] never have to tell someone `no problem’ if [she feels] it’s really a problem. That forgiveness is something you give because you feel it, not because someone else asks for it” (Trout)
Also, the people who still feel some type of way about the monster who prayed with then lynched their loved ones aren’t wrong for still feeling some type of way. The ones who never forgive him as long as they live will never be wrong.
No one is owed forgiveness, and the social pressure to give it is problematic, as is the elevation of those who forgive above those who do not.
If people want to extend forgiveness, great. It’s good to make choices that are in your own best interest.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with moving on with your life without having granted absolution to someone who has wronged you.
Despite what some would have you believe, withholding forgiveness isn’t this acidic, contentment destroying phenomenon, not for everyone.
You can lead a perfectly healthy and happy life without having lifted the Burdon of wrong off of your transgressor’s head.
There are some things that are and never will be okay, and that’s okay.
You aren’t a better person because you let someone off the hook, nor are you an especially nasty or amoral person for letting transgressors twist in the winds of the guilt they deserve.
John stated contentious things where others could read.
He didn’t mosey into a church and cut nine people to pieces because of the color of their skin.
The first “transgression” ruffled his political/ideological/theological opponents’ feathers. The second violated a place of worship, put nine people in the ground and destroyed their families.
I have to say that I still point people to “I Hate Your Politics” when the occasion calls for it. From where I’m standing it seems to hold up.
Yeah, hopefully we change as we learn. I dip into the diaries I kept in my teens and shudder, and then I remember that was over 50 years ago; I don’t have to be like that any more. Many of the things I angsted over turned out to be true, and not so bad after all, and the stuff that has knocked me flat I didn’t even see coming.
Sarah Marie: It’s just that I was looking for something beyond “I’ll know it when I see it” sort of approach. We definitely have an old testament/new testament thing going on in this world. Turn you into a pillar of salt for a backward glance. Let a murderer into heaven if they but invite Jesus into their heart. And its really starting to show its age.
Sure, John didnt kill anyone. The worst thats here is that maybe somewhere in an old post he said something that someone may not forgive him for today. But Rowling hasnt killed anyone either, and as far as I know all she has done is forwarded bigotted bullshit. So, do I forgive her? Hold it against her? Should I never watch harry potter again? I feel like I shouldnt watch it anymore.
But then have you read, say, the bible? Its a source of spiritual inspiration for many, yet it has parts that condone genocide, murder, slavery, rape, and more. But some find the good parts and focus on that.
The harry potter books are good stories with good messages about the importance of friendship, how love is more powerful than hate, and so on. Can i enjoy the good parts of the stories and ignore the hate of the author?
If i was simply holding onto a grudge about it, how would I know? If I was being too forgiving, how would i know?
I’m not a betting man – I only recall making one bet, which I lost (I bet that Franz Schubert was not a fan of James Fenimore Cooper, and I wrote off learning how wrong I was about that as an educational expense), so I guess that makes sense – but you probably could have suckered me with that one, and gotten good odds. Slightly rephrased: going forward, and within my lifetime. Not that winning such a bet would have done me much good, either.
I do feel that Trump is probably the worst president ever but one still has to check a few others like Andrew Johnson, and I don’t have the expertise. There was a pretty low bar in much of the 19th century. I doubt we’ll see a worse one within the next twenty years but I don’t really see why there should be any floor, going forward.
tl; dr: point taken
It doesn’t sound particularly Puppyish to me, no, although I do grant there’s a lot there that the Puppies would like (and if you look through the comments you can confirm that for yourself). Or more accurately, there’s overlap in our thoughts on the matter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a correlation on other issues that distinguished the core of the Puppy activity.
And of course, I’ve written on Heinlein since, so you can track my thinking on him and his work since then.
“I really don’t know what you do about the “taxes are theft” crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky”
The same can be said of today’s biggest Heinlein fans. They think they’ll be Johnny Rico rising through the ranks a hero. Or they think they’ll be Valentine Smith going from one orgy to the next.
But it takes a certain level of privilege, a certain level of white and entitled, to imagine a world as fascistly brutal as Starship Troopers and not see how easy such a world might turn on them. The biggest fans of Heinleins fascism are generally in the privileged category that they wont be the ones forced onto cattle cars, because the Federation, with its corporal and capital punishment, its vast hurdles to gain suffrage, is one Richard Nixon away from genocide against its own people. The privileged class tends not to worry about that though cause they figure the purge would never come for THEM.
And the world of “Stranger in a Strange Land” isnt a story of free love. None of the characters give a shit about anything but themselves in there. Characters treat each others as objects and things in that story. Its a sociopath’s paradise.
People who like Heinlein almost always discovered him when they were young and sociopathic libertarianism seems like a neat idea with no consequences. But like Ayn Rand, kids should try to outgrow Heinlein at some point, or at the very least stop defending him on matters of quality and acknowledge the biggest factor for still liking him is nostalgia, at best, or a lifetime of privilege and entitlement.
As far as Rowling is concerned, while I will always treasure the hours, even days of enjoyment her Potterverse brought me in my childhood, I won’t be supporting her financially should she decide to write anything else.
Those Potter dollars are spent and can’t be recovered.
On another note, one thing I’m noticing is the various ways to which people from different communities respond to instances of public bigotry.
This is true of me, as well.
In terms of artists and their content, Rowling’s transphobic attacks, as well as her advocacy for the abandonment of orphans and wards, aren’t as painful for me because I am not a part of those communities and am not subject to those particular modes of marginalization.
Thing is, I don’t have to be a transwoman, orphan or ward in order to be disgusted by her words or to hold her accountable for her actions.
To continue, I know of many, many whites and other non-blacks who, as of Jamie McGuire’s comments on the Ahmaud Arbery lynching, aren’t going to bother with anything to do with her.
I can certainly understand why African Americans might not be too keen to devote time or money to someone who defends the murder of people who look like them, no matter how good or positive her content might be.
I didn’t need to have been bashed for being gay to punt OSC onto my “Rather-Eat-Shit” shelf on GR, and I can certainly understand why members of the LGBTQIA community might not want to spend money or time consuming something from someone who believes they should be removed from all societies.
I don’t have to b or know anyone in a bigot’s direct line of fire to be outraged by A, the bigotry and B, the potential, even if unintended, profound and far-reaching consequences of said bigot’s choice to wield his or her influence and platform in such a way.
Many do, and that’s understandable.
Frankly, the ability of some white people, CIS women and straight people to plug their ears and cover their eyes in the face of bigoted attacks is one of the goodies associated with being on the lower difficulty setting.
Unless they happen to love or care about a member of a targeted group, they aren’t likely to smell the shit that gets tossed in other groups’ yards. Racism, transphobia and homophobia aren’t things they have to think about or experience so focusing on the “good” isn’t really an issue.
They never had a grudge to begin with, so why would they hold one?
I don’t think anyone is necessarily right or wrong for liking who and what they like.
All I know is that the only wallet I can control is mine, and I choose to open it to people who aren’t repugnant.
Others can and will do what they like.
The problem, I think, comes when people on different difficulty settings think they can tell other groups how they should respond to an artist’s attack on them.
As an African American, I will not give money or time to artists who articulate their disgust at, hatred for or fear of people who look like me.
More importantly, I dare anyone to even imply that my feelings about a bigoted attack on my community are trivial in comparison to a racist’s contribution to the literary or entertainment world.
I get especially stabby when they suggest that I should refrain from feeling and/or discussing my outrage lest I hurt the artist’s feelings and reputation.
To bring this back to John, I happen to agree with most of what he’s had to say, mostly because he is critical of the same problematic people and sociopolitical phenomena as I am.
I wouldn’t put his remarks on rape apologists, antifeminists, torture apologists, bigoted gatekeepers, RSHDs, creepers, dudebros, gamergaters and Incels in the same universe as Rowling’s vicious and potentially dangerous fearmongering.
As to whether or not you should continue to enjoy her work, that’s for you to decide.
The fastest education I ever got on ableism was my diagnosis of autism at 48. It was amazing how easy it was to purge my conversation of slurs regarding Asperger’s, autism, and related things when it was suddenly my ox being gored. Gave me a whole new perspective on slurs, microaggressions, and issues like police overreach. And I feel like I already wasn’t terrible on most of those things, but it becoming personal still instilled a significant shift.
I mean, I still do like Heinlein. He’s flawed (as are many of his biggest fans) but then, aren’t we all.
That makes sense.
My own education was a little different.
I remember hearing the N word every day around the kitchen table and at family get-togethers.
It wasn’t a big deal, not even when white people said it to me or other black people; after all, relatives and family friends smiled, joked and were otherwise being affectionate when they used the word.
That the aforementioned white folks were neither affectionate nor joking wouldn’t occur to me until much, much later.
It wasn’t until my 2nd grade teacher taught us about slavery and prejudice that, for me, that word stopped being an acceptable part of my family’s vernacular and started to be synonymous with “you and all who look like you are subhuman and always will be.”
I distinctly remember belting one of my cousins for calling me one.
The only reason I wasn’t punished was because people seemed to understand the significance of my unusual response to that word.
Disclaimer for racists: My opposition to the African American community’s use of this word does not mean you won’t be sorry if you direct it at me.
Nor, mind you, does it validate your “they use it” argument in any way, shape, or form.
Scalzi: “He’s flawed (as are many of his biggest fans) but then, aren’t we all.”
” I enjoy Atlas Shrugged quite a bit, and will re-read it every couple of years”
“The fact that apparently a very large number of people don’t recognize Galt as the genocidal prick he is suggests a) Rand’s skill at stacking the story-telling deck is not to be discounted”
It occurs to me that your appraisal of a story is almost entirely focused on the skill of the author and how it landed for you, but devoid of any larger context of that story’s larger intentions to affect society.
Both Rand and Heinlein wrote propaganda to try and turn the world into one that holds up genocidal pricks as heroes, one that is a fascist military suicidal death cult. I can’t overlook that. For me, the quality of a story is a sum of its characters, world, prose, and plot, certainly, but also its intent. If one ignored intent, one might suggest Leni Riefenstahl was a good film maker and one might watch her films every couple of years. Sure there was technical skill and innovation in her work, but her intent, for me at least, wipes out all other qualitative assessments.
As for Heinlein, I think people need to learn to read copyright dates. I don’t judge the republic of Rome by the decadent empire. In fact, good fiction, such as the Bread and Circuses episode of Star Trek, takes place at the intersection of Roman virtue and the coming decadence.
I amt amused at those who think Heinlein cranked out book after book of military fiction. I believe he did only one, count ’em, one.
As for Rand, I used to believe in worm Christianity. You know: Grab the team jersey that had no number, put others above myself, purposely miss the basket as others were cheering my shots. I know now that the stage play by George Bernard Shaw about Androcles and the Lion was a satire on such collectivism, but I didn’t as a sincere child. When I reached the Rand scene where a decent businessman has tears in his eyes because the others have democratically voted to all but price fix and hold him back, but he thinks as a good man he has to blend in… I was finally liberated and turned cartwheels. I am nobody’s worm.
Sean: “I amt amused at those who think Heinlein cranked out book after book of military fiction”
Not sure who you’re talking to, but it clearly isnt me. I was was speaking of one particular book. Funny how criticism of even one of Heinlein’s books has you rushing to his defense.
Heinlein said he wrote Starship Troopers in response to SANE trying to limit nuclear TESTING because of the dangers of fallout. Not cut back on numbers of nukes. Simply suggesting the US cut back on nuclear weapons TESTING was enough to get Heinlein’s underwear in a bunch and make him create a story of communist hive mind bugs that can only be defeated by unlimited nuclear weapons. If communists were black, Starship Troopers would be its “Birth of a Nation”.
Fun fact: turns out, SANE was right and Bob had his head up his stupid, idiotic, militant, fascist ass.
“decent businessman has tears in his eyes because the others have democratically voted to all but price fix and hold him back, ”
You know, any time you hear the national anthem, you should take a knee for all the decent businessmen who were held back so unjustly. It’s a crime, really. An unjust tragedy. I mean, history is littered with millions of businessmen who only achieved millions of profits that could have been billions if it were not for unfair restrictions like child labor laws, the fda not letting them sell snake oils, osha demanding worker safety protocols, and the cruel prohibition against things like company towns and the like. I weep. Thank you for carrying a torch for the real victims here: the millinaires who could have been billionaires.
Ayn Rand and Heinlein’s biggest fan right here, folks. And absolutely NOTHING that Sean cited as “good” about their works had anything to do with story, or plot, or characters. Everything Sean likes about these two writers is that their propaganda fits his own.
IndianaJones: There are lots of folks, not looking at you individually, who remember H. for his Starship Troopers.
I can say this from hearing other people.
As I see it, that one book is like a brain blast, making people forget such democratic things as his Norman Rockwell-type short stories in the Saturday Evening Post, the duly elected nonracist statesman in the Hugo winner Double Star, the town hall meeting of civilians in Red Planet, and the civilians who inscribe freedom of thought, “no conditioning,” into their constitution at the end of Revolt in 2100, a revolt explicitly undertaken by amateur non-military types.
The latter folk had been led, like the hero, to believe thought should not be free. Incidentally, I met a communist young lady here on a visa who thought free speech (and thought) was like drugs: should only be done in the shadowed privacy of your own home. I forgave her: She was only telling me what she and her peers thought.
If ever I meet someone who “believes in” S Troopers hook line and sinker, I will know I have met someone who doesn’t read much.
The hero in 2100 explicitly felt horrible if someone came into the room while he was reading. I say: Read lots, get perspective. Call me a nerd college graduate, but: When you can compare and contrast, document and footnote, nothing you read can ever brainwash you.