Catching Up On The World, As Briefly As Possible

Lots of things happened whilst I was on tour that I didn’t address because a) I was traveling, b) I was doing events, c) I was trying to sleep a bit between a and b. But now that I’m home, let me, as briefly as possible, catch up on some major events and what I thought of them.

The Hugo Awards: This is a personal one. I was up for Best Novel with The Kaiju Preservation Society. The book didn’t win; Nettle & Bone (by Ursula Vernon aka T Kingfisher) did.

How do I feel about that? Pretty darn good! Nettle & Bone is a very fine book and Ursula is a friend, and overall the Novel finalist class was excellent. I have no complaints for myself and am totally thrilled for Ursula. Her acceptance speech (regarding frogs and beetles) was much better than mine was going to be in any event.

I am aware that when someone who doesn’t win an award mentions they are fine with not winning, there is reasonable skepticism. I won’t try too hard to convince others of my sincerity here, but I will remind people I already have a Best Novel Hugo of my own, and it really does take the pressure off. Also KPS won the Locus, Alex and Ohioana Awards already this year, and independently of this, I personally was recently awarded the Budapest Grand Prize, previously given to such folks as Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco. I am feeling sufficiently awarded this year, thank you.

Moving on:

The Speaker of the House Nonsense: It’s been three weeks since Kevin “I Have No Spine” McCarthy was booted from the position and in that time Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan and (it now looks extremely likely) Tom Emmer tried and failed to gather up support to take the position, leaving the House unable to do work. Emmer’s bid appears to be doomed because he had the gall to suggest that the 2020 election was legitimate; Trump’s people are apparently manning to phones to oppose him. All of this is going on and, meanwhile, the middle east and Ukraine burn, and we have less than a month to go until the government has another shutdown moment.

The side of me who loves schadenfreude is enjoying this, I admit. There’s no way the Republicans can claim they are anything but dysfunctional at this point; they all hate each other and would rather burn their own party to the ground than not get their own way. The part of me that is aware that the world is on fire is getting a little nervous. Honestly at this point it seems to me that the only way that any speaker will get the gavel will be if some moderate Republican cuts a deal with the Democrats and convinces four other Republicans to go along with it. But doing so would be slitting their own throat politically, since they would immediately be primaried. So, wheeee! We’re all maybe gonna burn!

Trump’s Lawyers Flipping: Three members of Trump’s former legal team have pled guilty in the Georgia election fraud case, with Jenna Ellis being the latest, just today. As I said elsewhere, all we need now is Giuliani to flip to have collected the whole set. This is of course immensely bad news for Trump, which, obviously, delights me entirely. The chances of Trump running for President from a Georgia prison are now that much higher.

Israel and Gaza: My feelings on this subject are incompressible, which is to say I can’t in fact briefly summarize my feelings about this situation and any attempt to do so, here or on social media, is to invite misinterpretation, bad faith argument, and also, exposure of the fact that my knowledge base of events and actors is unlikely to be sufficiently deep for any number of people. Aside from the anodyne refuge of “my heart breaks for the innocent on every side” — which is true, but also very safe to say — I don’t think I have anything to say here that offers something new or useful, and until and unless I have time to write deeply and extensively on the situation, I’m going to hold off saying anything substantive about it in public.

Which is different than not having opinions — I do have them! — but I certainly understand how from the outside the two look similar, and how some folks might find my public unwillingness to post on social media about the situation less than satisfying. In public, I’m mostly just wishing we lived in a better world than the one we do.

— JS

24 Comments on “Catching Up On The World, As Briefly As Possible”

  1. What’s your over/under on when we get to see Rudy go full Jim Bakker in front of a judge? Because I think that is more likely than not at this point.

  2. Phew, it’s so retro read your intelligent, thoughtful words to reassure me that there are sane people in the world who have a public forum. A Million Thank You’s!

  3. Yeah – i did like T. Kingfisher’s book and her speech. Liked KPS too. Reality is – i liked most of the nominees so yeah.

    I would say for Speaker – this was easy to predict and as much as their chaos may be fun, it is actively harmful to the country and our future. It’s too late, of course, but Jeffries should have just had the Democrats vote Present during the McCarthy vote while lecturing everyone that they won’t be part of childish games, showing what actual leadership looks like. They can still do this with Rep. Emmer and let the country move on. The point has been made.

  4. And Emmer is done. That lasted…maybe 4 hours? Funny…but also “Y’know guys, we kinda do need to govern the country.”

  5. ::Jeffries should have just had the Democrats vote Present during the McCarthy vote while lecturing everyone that they won’t be part of childish games, showing what actual leadership looks like.::

    And…Bothsideism strikes again!

    It’s All The Republicans’ Fault that this has happened to them, and why should the Democrats aid them when all they’ve done the past forty years is spit in the Democratic Party’s face?

    The Republicans made their bed by supporting the likes of Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, and now they must sleep in it….

  6. Ah yes, the ever-present need for the Dems to rescue the GQP loons from the consequences of their own actions. Or in this case, the actions of a sex-trafficking pedophile from Florida.

    After all, isn’t it always the minority party that appoints the speaker? Quevin was hopeless and spineless and complicit in Jan 6, as is the majority of the party.

    You know who else had a majority of 5 and made it work as speaker? Nancy Pelosi.

    John summed up the whole Israeli- Gaza mess better than I could have – it’s a heartbreaker, with deep roots on all sides (including Egypt in there – they could open their border, too)

  7. Now seeing reports that Mark Meadows has flipped: (not a lawyer, I don’t think, but a key player.)

    Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was granted immunity by special counsel Jack Smith and has met with federal prosecutors multiple times in the investigation of the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to a report from ABC News.

  8. If you really want to show that you have no hard feelings towards T Kingfisher, you should start a blood feud with her.

  9. Those five Republicans? They need to switch parties and get a guarantee that Democrats won’t primary them. Republicans will run loonies against them and lose. And we will get Speaker Jeffries.

  10. Yeah, the Middle East is a situation nobody knows how to solve. As I said to an Israeli friend last week, there’s no solution that doesn’t involve offering Palestinians citizenship somewhere. But Israel doesn’t dare just annex the territories (as it did East Jerusalem) and make the Palestinians Israeli citizens. Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon have all washed their hands of the problem and Palestinians in any other Arab country can never get citizenship. And just creating a Palestine in the currently-occupied territories, when parts are run by people like Hammas who will start a war they KNOW they will lose, just in the hope that the Israelis will come out looking worse than Hammas is clearly insane.

    I know what i think should have been done in, at least, 1967, but i don’t see how that would be a solution now.

  11. @Choice Musings Many thanks for the link to T. Kingfisher’s Beetles and Frogs speech for Nettle and Bone. Much appreciated!

  12. Watching the antics of Rudy Giuliani I’m thinking he’s either descended into full blown alcoholism, or some form of dementia, or possibly both. Leaning more towards dementia as if he was drinking that heavily it would’ve been pretty widely reported by now. But something is definitely wrong there in a way that is different from the other lawyers involved.

  13. “In public, I’m mostly just wishing we lived in a better world than the one we do.”
    Yeah, the world we’re living in is the Crowded Rat Experiment.

  14. Regarding the Speaker mishegas, I’ve said it before:
    Train wrecks are fascinating to watch–so long as you’re not a passenger.

  15. “There’s no way the Republicans can claim they are anything but dysfunctional at this point”

    oh, but they can because Faux News and other rightwing outlets aren’t reporting it, or framing it for what it is. Somehow, it’s Biden/Hunter/Obama/Hilary/Democrats fault

  16. Welcome home John, I know what it’s like to travel and be out of touch for a while. While I was traveling and then back home I listened to your audiobook “Starter Villain” which I enjoyed so much that when I was listening to it while mowing the lawn, I mowed the lawn twice, giving me 11,000 steps but worth it. I really must compliment Wil Wheaton’s narration. He is great at narrating your books, especially KPS.
    I was kinda hoping Emmer would get it because he’s from my home state of Minnesota and he’s sort of a moderate but then I remembered the campaign ads he did and I’m glad he didn’t.

  17. When I was much younger, I asked my neurodivergent son (rhetorically) “you know what the road to Hell is paved with, right?”

    He pondered for a moment and answered, “Republicans?”

    I’ll have to tell him he was right.

  18. [Deleted for responding to a deleted comment. No worries, you’re good – JS]

  19. Well, the GOP finally got a Speaker, and actually got what it wanted (for the moment) – an election-denying nutweasel supported by the Orange-Haired Fuhrer. Congratulations, I guess.

    I’d also say that I hope its members got enough for their souls, but I think they sold them off long ago – they’re just hoping that the payment will come due a little later or that everyone else will join them where they’re going.