Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finding the Last Straw

I just got home from Bubonicon. Bubonicon is the Science Fiction convention held in Albuquerque this weekend. I just get one day of it this year and for the most part had a great time. Hopefully next year I'll make the whole weekend.

What I want to talk about now that I'm not at the Con is... politics. And you know, I did this same post last year. I really did. The same exact post.

I have simply had it with Connie Willis.

I have had it.

If anyone has been to a science fiction convention anywhere they know that diversity is the norm. Lots of people seem to really love going to conventions because it's one place where they can really feel comfortable when they normally feel that they don't fit in. But somehow some people seem to think that in the area of religion and politics, the two really big social pit falls, that there is no diversity at a Con and no tolerance required. Sure, there are a lot of people who are politically liberal at a Con. Probably the majority. But there are political conservatives, libertarians, and social conservatives and any number of other people enthusiastic about fantasy and science fiction in its various forms. And they are there, too.

There are some very famous authors on the panels that I know are conservative in various ways and quite a few that I know are liberal... and they all manage to behave decently, respectful of others and respectful of diversity and at the very least having the good manners to avoid airing their personal political hobby-horses.

Connie Willis does not have good manners. She wouldn't know good manners if they bit her in the ass. It doesn't matter what the subject is, she will find a way to bring up politics and ridicule those she feels deserve ridicule. Ridicule has one purpose, and that is to allow someone to avoid having to even acknowledge that contrary opinions exist. Someone who deserves ridicule need never be engaged. And Connie Willis will find a way to bring politics into a non-political discussion just so that she can express ridicule. She will find an excuse.

The first time I heard her do this a few years ago I was annoyed but excused her. I figured that emotions were high and people were frustrated and while it was rude of her to give vent to that, I figured it was due to frustration at current events and would pass.

It hasn't passed.

Any number of other authors I know for certain are flaming liberals refrain from bringing up politics, political personalities or expressing ridicule while on panels in front of an audience. The authors I know are conservative manage to refrain from bringing up politics and political personalities. It CAN be done. My usual habit of trying to find a reason, to put the best possible interpretation on bad behavior, is all used up. I've found the last straw.

Other than THAT, I did have a great time.

I got to talk to Betsy James, who I had taken a class from last February. It was a great class and talking to her reminded me that I need to get my rear in gear and write!

I spent some time talking to Kirt Hickman and David Corwell in the dealer room. Kirt has a book on revising and editing fiction out that I intend to review here sometime soon. I actually have an early draft version of it that he'd test driven for my daughter's Girl Scout troop. I hadn't seen David in a long time (I knew him from Southwest Writers and LERA, the local romance writer's group) and it was great to catch up a little bit. It was also very nice to talk to people who already knew that I wrote. (I feel like such a wannabe poseur explaining "I write" to anyone at a Con.)

I got the last installment of the Long Price Quartet signed by Daniel Abraham. I enjoyed the first book a whole lot and had decided that it would be easier to wait until I had them all rather than tease myself with the anticipation between each book and then having to wait *again*... but now I have them all, nice hard-back first editions and all signed... so now I can finally read the whole quartet. Yay!

(Halfway to town I realized that I probably had unsigned books by Steve Stirling and I knew I had unsigned books by George R. R. Martin, both of whom would be at the Con... and I left them home. DRAT! But I didn't go back to get them.)

I also, and most wonderfully, got to talk to Suzy Charnas some more this year and got to attend a talk by her. There are so many times in this life where I will make some observation or other and be met by blank stares... if I'm lucky. (My husband is an exception. He's not always as interested in what I have to say as I am, but I never doubt he understands me.) When Suzy participated on rec.arts. sf.composition there were many times that I found myself in accord with her when normally I'd be entirely alone in my opinion or observation, despite us not really having anything similar in our world views... or not seeming to. I've noticed the same thing in small moments during panels at the Con other years. It's just NICE to feel, when I'm so used to no one seeing my point, that someone else sees the same connections in some odd thing or other as I do.

This time at her talk, which was entertaining and encouraging in so many ways, I found myself listening to her explain that every choice we make for something is a choice against any number of other things and that we edit our lives this way, eliminating all these other possibilities that might have been, and that those possibilities, while gone forever, might hover like ghosts over our life..... or something sort of like that. And it reminded me of something I'd said to Lois Bujold on a forum: I did not really want more Miles Vorkosigan books because as long as they were unwritten all potentials existed, that writing another book would collapse all of those potential futures Miles had and destroy them. She sent me a short, positive e-mail that she thought that was interesting and it was clear she understood what I meant. But here Suzy was pretty much explaining the same concept of eliminating possibilities. So I mentioned my Bujold story, of preferring the unwritten unlimited potential than to have all of those possible futures destroyed and while I'm probably relating this *very* badly, it was very much yes, of *course*. She got it.

And it is just so NICE to talk with someone who, when I open my mouth, doesn't look at me like I'm an alien that grew another head.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Explaining Glenn Beck

Actually, what happened was that someone in an Althouse thread said something about Hitler not having anything to do with health care. I pointed out that we often don't hear about what was happening in hospitals in Germany at the time, the euthanasia and sterilizations of those entirely Aryan persons with mental disabilities or genetic illnesses and what not.

Apparently Glenn Beck made a similar point very recently because I got accused of repeating what he had said nearly verbatim.

Go figure.

"Glenn Beck!"


The need for bridges - an analogy

HE: We need to cross this river. We must build a bridge.

SHE: We don't need a bridge to get across the river. Boats or a ferry, perhaps.

HE: Of course we need a bridge! Only rich people have boats and it hasn't gotten everyone over there. We have to cross this river.

SHE: A bridge is too expensive and will probably wash out during the spring floods. A bridge is a bad idea.

HE: The only reason you don't think we need to cross this river is because you hate the people on the other side, you hater!

SHE: I'm not a hater. I love those people as much as you do, but we do not need a bridge to cross the river. There are other ways to cross the river!

HE: Oh, and what about people who can't swim, you hateful moron, just let those people drown, huh? And you claim you aren't a hater.

SHE: I never said swim!

HE: Glenn Beck! Glenn Beck! Glenn Beck!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do the poor have a "right" to free health care

The “right” to free health care is the right to own the labor of other people without their consent.

Any time you’ve got a right TO something like that you take the rights of other people to their own selves and their own freedom away.

The libertarian idea, as I understand it, is that your rights end where they intersect another person. I have a right to “pursue happiness” to make my way in the world, to worship my own God, to feed myself, to supply my physical and other needs, rights to my own body and self-determination, rights to my own property, rights to employ violence to defend my rights (which is pretty much a good way to define what is a right and what is *not*)… just up *until* I intersect another human being. I may not take someone else’s food nor compel their labor nor sacrifice them to my God nor otherwise violate *their* rights in the pursuit of my own.

Read the rest at A Second Hand Conjecture.