241 thoughts on “Comments for 8/27

  1. @ Dawn Incognito

    On “conservatives should die in a fire”: an acquaintance died in a fire and since then I cringe whenever I hear it.

    I have somewhat of the same reaction to “hit by a bus”. The first of my college friend-circle that we lost was hit by a bus. I only tend to use the phrase myself in a literal “life is uncertain and fragile” sense. I try not to react badly when others use it more humorously.

  2. I’ve written and deleted about five comments on MCA Hogarth’s piece. I think there is a bunch of right and wrong mushed together that’s as tangled as the cables at the back of my desk. I don’t want to advocate being mean to people and I don’t want to end up concern-trolling* other people whose reason for anger at US conservatism is deep, justified and personal.

    *[not saying that is what MCA Hogarth was doing – I’m saying that is how at least one comment I was trying to write sounded to me]

  3. I agree with what Camestros is saying that Maggie’s piece mixes several things together with some being justified and others not so justified.

    People should definitely be treated as individuals but there are some aspects of culture in the South, Texas, Idaho and Oklahoma that are troubling and have sometimes been personally frightening to me. I’ve experienced some of this first hand. I currently live in the Bay Area and there are some places heading towards Yosemite where similar white supremacist graffiti can be found it is, again, scary. But the Bay Area is worlds better in terms of diversity. I still remember hearing someone in line being incredibly upset that some of the TSA screeners at SFO were Sikh (with the requisite turbans). Nobody blinks an eye at that here and most people know what Sikh means. I do view that as superior to any culture that has a positive view of flying the Confederate flag on public buildings.

  4. “I find I also need to be careful about which pieces of her fiction I read. Sometimes the sado-masochism gets a bit heavy for my tastes (or, annoyingly, crops up in or crosses over into a series I had been enjoying).”

    This seems like books for me. Any given book to start with?

  5. I empathize with a lot of what MCA Hogarth says, and have heard those sentiments from others who self-identify as conservative and feel under attack by that virtue.

    Except. Except.

    [departing from specifically Hogarth’s words and moving into the generalities]

    Every once in a while, when similar sentiments are expressed, they will include something like this:

    “My deeply held religious beliefs do include that God doesn’t want us to be gay, so I feel unsafe outing myself as [Religion]ist because it seems to be fashionable to call people like me bigots.”

    I don’t know how to respond to that. I empathize sincerely with the feeling of being unsafe as an open [Religion]ist, except… the belief this person has just described is in fact bigoted, or at least bigotry-adjacent, and the category of people they’re so sure God disapproves of includes me and mine. Is it really my responsibility as a bisexual polyamorist (let alone as someone who deeply cares about her LGBTQ friends and family) to help this person feel comfortable expressing beliefs dismissive of my rights and worth, however religiously inspired?

    I keep coming up against the conclusion that you cannot make a space that is truly safe in all ways for all people. You have to decide whose safety, and what kind of safety, you’re going to prioritize. And it turns out that while I don’t want anyone to feel awful in themselves and I will not wish them harm, and everyone has the right to a reasonable expectation of physical safety and a baseline level of respect that human beings owe to other human beings… I can’t find it in myself to think it much of a tragedy if someone with bigoted, or bigotry-adjacent, beliefs feels societal disapproval for those beliefs.

    So I mostly wind up expressing a kind of worthless empathy, like a softer version of, “I can’t argue with someone calling that bigotry. But yeah, it sucks to feel like an outsider, doesn’t it? Just ask an average LGBTQ person growing up in the Bible Belt…”

    Again, this has not been about Hogarth’s statement specifically, but with my discomfort with an occasional development reached by the genre to which her statement belongs.

    [Edited to remove “Pagan” from list of self-descriptors as being beside the point in this particular post.]

  6. I can’t find it in myself to think it much of a tragedy if someone with bigoted, or bigotry-adjacent, beliefs feels societal disapproval for those beliefs.

    This is actually where I am. Someone makes fun of where someone lives, what they eat or where they are from or what they read – extremely not cool. I was glad to see that making fun of Alyssa Wong’s harassers for reading Baen was shut down a few days ago.

    On the other hand, I have little tolerance for someone’s actions (and words are actions) about how other people don’t deserve the same rights as them. I’m not sure whether my patience for this is getting less as I get older or it is because bigotry is becoming more mainstream. I also have very little patience for this who proclaim loudly that they aren’t bigots but plead for tolerance for bigots while being tacitly okay with ongoing discrimination and/or harassment.

  7. P J Evans: right. Teach me to write without checking after a long day.

    Bill: the later LBJ learned not to play the race card in public (that’s how I read “race-baiting”), even when others of his party were doing so. I was living in Maryland in 1966, when George Mahoney was defeated for governor despite running on the slogan “Your home is your castle; protect it!” (Granted, defeating him gave us Agnew-the-blatant-crook. Sometimes you take your choices, as vs Duke decades later.)

    Laura Resnick: those are the ringleaders. I got the impression that most of the followers (specifically gamercrocs) were 20-somethings.

    kathodus: You only have to go about an hour outside of Oakland to find the same environment in which I grew up, in Indiana. To me this was the great flaw in Ecotopia — the idea that the largely-conservative area between Napa/Sonoma and Eugene would go along with the coast’s desire to leave the US and form its own leftist republic.

    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little :

    “My deeply held religious beliefs do include that God doesn’t want us to be gay, so I feel unsafe outing myself as [Religion]ist because it seems to be fashionable to call people like me bigots.”

    It happens; it’s not “fashionable”, because the fraction of liberals sufficiently extreme to mindlessly slam people of other beliefs is much smaller than the fraction of conservatives. It’s even less common than this person might believe, because that slam requires the assumption (not universal IME) that all [Religion]ists believe in lockstep with the ugliest, or even centrist, presenters of that religion. (The presenters would like to us to believe this, but anyone who knows how many Catholics don’t accept allegedly-crucial Church teachings is unlikely to believe other Xian religions are monoliths.) The quote is is a whine that the presenters have encouraged as part of the they’re-picking-on-us mindset; it has little to do with the truth.

    You’re more polite/sympathetic than I am; my blunter version of the above is “Why should your belief that your bigotry is ordered by Big Juju privilege it over the bigotry of people who don’t make this claim? Faith is personal; Christ himself told his followers to pray in private, rather than making a show of professing their faith. If I must honor your belief, why should I not honor religious beliefs you detest?”

  8. Ah…okay, fair cop, my Amerocentrism is showing. Swings left by American standards, shall we say? Which are, I grant you, quite right of many other places in the world.

    The thing is…gah, I don’t know. We are all wandering around stomping on each other’s toes, aren’t we? I can say “I swear Maggie’s a sensible person of goodwill who’s trying, and doesn’t want anybody discriminated against!” and probably she has to say the same thing about me in other quarters.

    I don’t know. Here we are in the weird middle space where everybody tries to work out if goodwill is ENOUGH.

    Also, as far as books go–“Even the Wingless” is where you start for the dark bits, and the Dreamhealers books for sweet and largely asexual friendships. “Thief of Songs” is a fantasy romance, with a species having males, hermaphrodities, and neuter sexes.

  9. Liberal/progressive/whatever in California is a thin coastal veneer, geographically. @Kathodus is right: the interior parts of the state might as well be the start of “flyover country”. Remember where the Okies ended up? That’s why Bakersfield is the home of twangy country music. There’s mountain hillbillies with their guns and prepper caches. Etc. at least for the Anglo folk. The large Hispanic population is also conservative in a lot of ways — church-going, extended-family-oriented, blue-collar or unskilled labor (ironically, the sort of people Republicans would love if only they weren’t brown).

    @Lis Carey: I’ve noticed some sort of reverse snobbery in the Midwest because, ugh, I’m from the Bay Area, I must spend my days being vegan lesbian with PoC and giving abortions and hating men. When I actually spend my days in a 60’s suburban ranch house with my even-whiter husband, cooking pork chops in cream of mushroom soup as we watch CBS. I have some friends in the dreaded super-commie Berkeley; one of ’em lives very in an old house and does gardening, baking, wife and mom things… and okay, the other’s a trans-man. 🙂 But his life’s pretty ordinary too, running a small business, fixing up his house. But FAR too many Midwestern/Southern/rural people have made a virtue out of ignorance.

    I have many delightful friends in Boston, as well as come across plenty of Massholes. I wouldn’t want to drive there — worse than LA! And yes I know Angelenos in The Business, but they’re decent folk too, working hard, sending their kids to college. My friend in Las Vegas? A sixth-grade teacher who never goes to the Strip and makes a mean lasagna.

    East Coast brusqueness, at least you know where you stand. The “Minnesota Nice” (and other places’ versions), who knows? In the South, are they mentally ending their sentences with “bless your heart”? (Most of my extended family is Southern white trash; a few of ’em have managed to get degrees and prosper) OTOH “The New Yorker” really is shockingly provincial in its own way.

    I literally didn’t realize how diverse my town is till my dad (from a hillbilly part of the South) visited and started laughing about all the different kinds of people. I wasn’t out there keeping track of the percentages of black, Hispanic, South Asian, East Asian, etc. people. He cracked up at an elderly Sikh man on a bicycle, making fun of him; I was envious at how dignified he looked, with the tight turban, the braided white beard, the crisp clothes, and the ramrod straight posture.


    @kathodus, I’m thinking that without any bit of tongue in cheek. Pups are virtue-signaling what’s goodthink and what’s badthink without actually reading any books of either. They want to go back to a past that didn’t exist, but not having read the real past, they don’t know that. They want the whole genre to be their safe space.

    @Cora: the Puppies have projected much more liberalism onto Scalzi than he actually has. He’s their Two Minute Hate figure (just because of Teddy’s obsession), so everything they don’t like gets attributed to him.

    I reserve the right to make fun of anyone who doesn’t read at all. Or anyone who actually likes JCW’s lugubrious prose and thinks it’s good.

  10. One thing to keep in mind is all Christians don’t hold the same beliefs. Not all conservatives do either. Neither group is a monolith. Assuming the Christian conservative your talking to is anti-LGBTI, against women’s rights, or racist may be wrong. Just like assuming progressives don’t act sexist or racist may lead to disappointments.

    Some Christian sects are moving forwards on LGBTI rights just as some have on women’s rights.

    I’ve been angered and embarrassed by comments and actions by my Democrat family and friends on sexism, racism, LGBTI, and other causes we supposedly stand for. Some of my conservative Christian friends have done better on those same issues.

    We need to find better ways of talking about these issues and not putting everyone in boxes rather than seeing them as people. I’m not saying give bigoted speach or actions a pass. I’m saying don’t judge individuals by large box labels – we aren’t pieces of cereal we are human beings.

    ETA: parts of this are Americancentric

  11. The idea that any state is solid blue is as much of a fiction as the borders on maps. I’ve lived in California, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, and New York.

    They’re all a mix, in which a color may predominate. Not even Wyoming is monolithic in its color scheme.

    Here in the Rochester, NY, area, I don’t even have to go out of town to see yards displaying Trump signs and other totems of the Republican Party. The most common such sight is “END THE S.A.F.E. ACT!” on yard signs. The meaning of the sign is that lives matter less than the owner’s guns.

    I expect the only reason I’ve never seen the signs in NYC is that so few people have a yard to put them in.

  12. Tasha Turner on August 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm said:

    ETA: parts of this are Americancentric

    I think trying to extend the parameters of the discussion beyond the US would make it even harder to discuss than it already is. Part of the issue is the shibboleths and cultural codings around particular aspects of the US right and partisan politics.

    That isn’t to say everywhere else doesn’t have these issues, just that they don’t translate well.

  13. Ageism: I am 60 years old, and a lot of my fannish social circle is in the 50-and-up range. So I get to hear a fair amount of the other side of this, frequently expressed as millennial-bashing. OTOH, I have also had direct evidence via my social-media reading that racism, misogyny, etc. are not by any means exclusively exhibited by people of my generation and older. The problems really do go both ways, and IMO we need to pay attention to both.

    “Flyover country”: This is the exact inverse of “REAL America” and is problematic for the same reasons. It also plays right into the conservative stereotype of progressives as ivory-tower East- and West-coast elites. It’s never a good idea to hand your opponents ammunition.

  14. @ Ita: “Politics” in this context, of course, means “a worldview that doesn’t align with my own”. It’s a fish-don’t-see-the-water thing, and both sides do it — although IME progressives are a little more likely to notice that a story is arguing their own worldview. I sure as hell noticed the progressive pointy jabs in the Ancillary books! (Probably because a lot of them were things I’ve said over and over again in online arguments.)

    @ Greg: Is there a term you prefer instead of “queer”? I know several homosexual men who proudly refer to themselves as “queer”, but it sounds as though you do too and that’s part of the problem for you. I’ve been tending to use “genderqueer” more lately, but that’s not specific to homosexual men. Is “gay” all right?

    @ Laura: From my perspective at 60, someone in their 40s is certainly what I call “young enough to have learned better” — they can’t be dismissed as people who are only parroting the attitudes of the society in which they grew up. The problem is that the racists, misogynists, and other bigots of our parents’ generation passed the poison on to their children, who are passing it on in turn to theirs — I’ve seen at least one estimate that the average age of G8ers is mid-30s. To address your specific point, I think that “young” is being used here as shorthand for “not yet a geezer”, aka “we can’t just wait for them to die off”.

  15. Lee, you seem to have missed the extended discussion of the fact that “flyover country” isn’t actually us evil urban ‘coasters say. Or think. Or even know about till we get lectured by midwesterners about how we’re guilty of it. Like “wrongfan,” invented by Puppies to describe how they’ve decided non-Puppies think and talk about them, “flyover country” is an invention of midwesterners.

    “REAL America,” OTOH, really is in wide use by at least the politicians representing the rural minority of America, to describe them, and to beat up urban dwellers, especially on the coasts, as NOT “real Americans.”

    It seems to me that the South, the Midwest, and the West all have lots of good things they could brag on, without putting down New England, the rest of the Northeast, or the west coast, or making up insults that they insist we really call them.

  16. I think I’m grumpy and argumentative today. Probably annoying people.

    I’m going to get offline and try to wait till it goes away.

  17. @lurkertype:

    My guess is that people have been thinking the Puppies are much younger than they are is because they seem to have no knowledge of older works in the field.

    Actually, I’ve seen people mistakenly claim the Puppies are elders as often (maybe more often) as I’ve seen people describe them as young. They are neither, of course. They’re middle-aged, and a number of people who’ve publicly disagreed with them are their elders, such as GRRM, David Gerrold, Eric Flint, Connie Willis, etc.

    I don’t know why some people refer to them as “young” or as “old,” but perhaps it has something to do with what assumptions a person makes about them when reading their commentaries. (For example, if I didn’t know their ages, there are a number of instances where I would assume the authors of their blog essays or posts were teenagers. The custom of name-calling and making up “clever” acronyms about “groups” they don’t like creates the impression that the authors of those rambling essays full of rage and victimhood are 14-15 years old, IMO.) This is probably also combined with perspective based on one’s own age. Maybe if you’re 70, then Larry Correia is “young” at thirty-something, and if you’re 30, John C Wright is old at 50-something?

  18. @Camestros Felapton I think trying to extend the parameters of the discussion beyond the US would make it even harder to discuss than it already is.

    I’m trying to get in the habit of noting when my comments are specifically about America and not the larger world. It’s an awareness for myself and an acknowledgment to those here who aren’t USAian. I’m hoping it leads to better phrasing and how I look at things.

  19. @Tasha Turner : One thing to keep in mind is all Christians don’t hold the same beliefs. Not all conservatives do either. Neither group is a monolith. Assuming the Christian conservative your talking to is anti-LGBTI, against women’s rights, or racist may be wrong. Just like assuming progressives don’t act sexist or racist may lead to disappointments.

    I agree wholeheatedly, and it’s why, in my description of the “I don’t like that my religiously inspired anti-gay beliefs get called bigotry” plea, I didn’t name any specific religion.

    I do get very tired of the assumption in some progressive circles that Religion = Christianity = The Most Strict/Fundamentalist/Evangelical/Loudest Forms of Christianity = Bigotry, otherwise known as “Westboro Baptist Church ergo DOWN WITH RELIGION.” (And no, “Westboro Baptist Church ergo DOWN WITH CHRISTIANITY” is not any better, thanks.) Or the idea that every single person who continues to identify as Catholic today is complicit in child abuse, as though abandoning their religious beliefs and leaving their religious community were the only acceptable response to that horror. Hi, that’s my parents and extended family and a whole bunch of my friends and professional peers you are talking about, eff off. Of course, another assumption I’ve run into is the one where, as a Pagan, I must have totally disowned my Catholic family and therefore it’s safe to make bigoted anti-Catholic jokes around me. Surprise!

    So. Really appreciate you foregrounding this, Tasha.

  20. I’ve met a lot of Christians. Some of them are very progressive, some very conservative, and some are somewhere in-between. Some of them are gay. Some of them are terribly homophobic. Some are extremely tolerant and don’t judge me (that I can tell) if I mention that I’m agnostic. Some have tried to convert me on my lunch break.

    Christians: Not A Monolith. (Just monotheistic.)

  21. @Lis – You seem very determined to see the term as one we Midwesterner’s use to malign those on the coasts. I don’t deny your experiences, but I have heard the term used many times on the news (national broadcasts and cable venues). In these instances, it is usually used by an analyst of some sort to explain whatever it is they’re trying to explain about people in those regions. I’ve also experienced it used in a derisive manner by people from the coasts discussing where I am from with me. As I said before, I’m at a point where I can generally shrug it off – I couldn’t have tolerated several years of an academic advisor making such comments to me if I couldn’t – but it can get tiring. It would be if people weren’t judgemental about where others are from, but the world doesn’t seem to work that way at the moment.

    I am very sorry that you had bad experiences with some people in the Midwest in regard to their use of that term, though. I promise we aren’t all like that.

  22. @ JJ: You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din. 🙂

    Seriously, while I didn’t have it anywhere near as badly as you seem to have, I still say that my memories of high-school classmates are divided mostly between those I don’t remember well and those I don’t remember kindly. I have a handful of FB friends from those days, but in every case I was the one to initiate the contact (I have not made it easy for people from that period of my life to identify me on FB). And while it might well be true that I’m doing some of the others an injustice, it’s the sort of thing I really don’t want to find out the hard way.

    I have a friend who grew up in Kentucky — and not out in the sticks either, but in Louisville! — who had to fight for his right to graduate from high school; his father thought he should drop out and get a job. Needless to say, college was out of the question for him. He’s smart and creative, and doing well enough, but I mourn the life he could have had if his family had valued education.

    @ Cora: Because honestly, do they remember what it was like, how stifling and limiting it was?

    No, what they remember (thru the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia) is that they never had to confront anything cultural that made them uncomfortable, because everybody they knew was just like them. They don’t see it as stifling, they see it as comfort and security. The ones who thought the way you do got out.

    @ Doire: We have that kind of flyover, too. This is I-10 and Beltway 8 on the west side of Houston. These occur all over the city where major freeways intersect, and some of them are… not as well marked as they ought to be.

    @ rcade: My mother was born and raised in TN (deep-rural, then later Nashville), and when she used the term “white trash” it very definitely meant “white people who are no better than n*****s” (as opposed to “trashy”, which merely meant “low-class”). So I have a lot of trouble seeing the term as a direct racial slur, since it was used about people of her own race. If you want to argue that it’s an indirect racial slur, I won’t disagree; there’s a strong case to be made for that.

  23. When we moved to Houston in ’83, back when 610 was the Loop, one of my cousins told me the tale of an out-of-towner who got onto 610 and couldn’t get off. He was a prisoner of the traffic, and he kept trying, but couldn’t get to an exit. He went around and around, and his gas gauge needle got lower and lower. Just as it was tapping the peg at the bottom, he saw a gap between two cars and an exit beyond it, and steered for that, and with the motor sputtering, coasted down and into a gas station.
    There, four attendants leaped out of the station! They gassed his car in seconds, and changed all four tires almost instantly, and one of them slapped him on the shoulder and said, “Get back in there! You’re running third!”

  24. @Laura Resnick:

    Maybe if you’re 70, then Larry Correia is “young” at thirty-something, and if you’re 30, John C Wright is old at 50-something?

    When I was becoming board president of my church, I spent time with the nominating and leadership committee working with the slate of other officers and such. I said it was a fine slate as a whole, but that I’d noticed there wasn’t anyone young on it.

    “That’s you, John,” someone said. “You’re young.”

    I wasn’t quite AARP age yet, but I was over fifty, which tells you something about the demographics of my church.

    In their defense, I’m told I look younger than my age and I have a young kid, so they probably thought I was mid-forties. Not much of a defense, I guess.

  25. I promise we aren’t all like that.

    Maybe that should be a talking point for every group of any size. Christians, we aren’t all like that. Conservatives, we aren’t all like that. Leftist feminists, we aren’t all like that.

    One of my closest friends is a Christian minister. My mother is also a Christian. It would be really tough to find any commonalities between them, although I think they might like one another if they both showed up ready to be really, really tolerant. I figure that range exists in pretty much any group.

    I sometimes think we’re operating with brains that haven’t quite managed to evolve enough to cope with size or variety and so largely miss how varied are the members of pretty much every group. It’s certainly easier to make broad generalizations about others and as an instant sorting tool it makes sense to do so. However, once that rough sort is made, its utility is pretty much done and it’s pretty lazy to continue using the same method. That doesn’t seem to stop anyone, including me.

  26. @rcade: “ticky” means checking the box to get comments via e-mail. You can’t stop the e-mails the same way.

  27. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little So. Really appreciate you foregrounding this, Tasha.

    Thanks it’s easy to forget because our brains sort and use categories so we won’t go insane. Reprogramming them to do categorizing of people differently is hard work and a lifelong journey. This is why starting kids off early in multicultural life and working hard not to pass down the “bad stereotypes” makes a big difference. Extended and honorary relatives as well as entertainment media can make a difference.

    Rereading Blindspot recently reminded me of how easy it is to fall into pattern thinking about groups of people. Between online implicit bias tests and other examples in the book one can test a number of one’s unconscious bias’s as well as see how easy one can picture a person given 6 words even if one’s never met anyone like that before. Kinda scary.

  28. @ Tasha & Nicole,

    It’s something I work at to keep in mind. For example, the Puppies are not a monolithic group, certainly not the Sad vs the Rabids. But even within the group of people who self-identify as Sad Puppies, or are sympathetic to them, exist a range of opinions. So I try to avoid getting too generic when referring to Puppies, and cite specific statements & actions. (I’m not always successful)

  29. @Soon Lee
    I try, not always successful, to refer to SP leaders (or their initials) or VD as I know little about the followers who actually nominated or voted. I don’t remember when I switched from puppies to “puppy leaders”. I think it came about when several “puppies” complained about how we mash them all together and I thought “easy fix”.

  30. @K8: but it was invented by a non-coastal person. I find it less insulting than “REAL Americans”; if you’re flown over, you’re at least assumed to exist and be authentic in your ways of thought. Whereas “REAL Americans” directly states that the speaker thinks the majority of citizens of the country aren’t.

    @Soon Lee: it is harder to do with Puppies. To take the Christian parallel, the Lutherans aren’t out there demanding their dogma be written into law (although they probably think a little hotdish would do everyone good), and the gay-affirming churches are fighting against Westboro types, and the black churches are certainly not advocating for white supremacy. But Sad Puppy leaders sure stick up for Teddy a lot (and were the ones who brought him in to begin with), even if the rank and file Sads don’t necessarily.

    @Tasha: I think the Sad leaders are in it for attention and sales of their and their pals’ books; ditto Teddy and the Teddy Boys. Random Sads just want the books that make them happy by being more right-wing. But ARE there any Sad followers, really? Or are they just politically conservative people who like SF, the way they always have been? Sad leaders go around praising Heinlein and hating Gerrold, yet the two men were friends.

  31. @lurkertype Oh, I know the origin. I actually find it interesting how flyover country is used by different groups now, though. I’m fascinated by the differing experiences people here have had with it. For what it’s worth, aside from a few encounters I’ve had with a few people from one coast or the other, the people I’ve encountered who were the most determined to use it in a derogatory manner have been former residents of the middle part of the country who now live in coastal regions. I suppose I could speculate about self-esteem issues and the need to denigrate the place one’s from as part of reinventing oneself, but that would require more energy than I care to expend.

    Having said that, I really dislike the phrase “real Americans.” Truly. I flinch when I hear it, because I know exactly how it’s being used to divide people into factions. I grew up in an area where the KKK still has a presence – they’ve held rallies and protests within the past couple decades there. They send out recruitment flyers and this is exactly the type of language featured in them as part of their modern marketing program. It’s extremely disturbing.

  32. @lurkertype But ARE there any Sad followers, really?

    People have said they were. Unless I have good reason to believe otherwise I take them at their word. I do believe there are SP followers or fans who believe the SPs have a point about conservative fiction not getting a fair shake. Could I prove it in a court of law? No.

  33. K8: I suppose I could speculate about self-esteem issues and the need to denigrate the place one’s from as part of reinventing oneself, but that would require more energy than I care to expend.

    Or you could speculate about why those people might have legitimate reasons to have derogatory opinions about other people who live in the place where they were raised.

  34. JJ – There is that, too. I do think people have legitimate reasons to leave places and dislike those places. I wasn’t being very specific before, but I actually was thinking about some folks I know who put down the Midwest as a cultural wasteland (despite rarely partaking in cultural events in their new locales), not those who left because the environment itself was inhospitable to them. The latter have many reasons to express their frustration. Getting out was necessary for them. I know quite a few people who needed to get out and whose lives are better for it. It’s the former group, with their crabs-in-a-bucket approach to life, that I was referring to earlier. More specifically, hearing comments about how they thought some of us should have been smart enough to get out while denying that people might have legitimate reasons to stay (or return to be) close to their families (as one example) can be frustrating, particularly when delivered in condescending tones.

    Ultimately, I am tired of all of the absolutist language that goes along with this regionalism and other cultural baggage. I don’t think it serves any of us well to cast such broad strokes. People have their reasons for staying in or returning to areas, and people have reasons for leaving. I am well aware of the problems in my area and I try to create safe spaces for those who need them. I do see a huge – HUGE – difference in how many kids accept each other now compared to when I was their age. It’s not perfect – not even close – but it is changing in ways that I think are for the better. I try to focus on that when I need something positive to hold on to.

  35. “Flyover Country” . . . is a term invented by a member of the group it describes to encapsulate the way he believed outsiders thought of that group.

    Interesting to find out the term flyover country was coined by someone from flyover country.

    “flyover country” is an invention of midwesterners.

    but it was invented by a non-coastal person.

    Nobody knows who invented or coined the term “flyover country.” It is a mystery that is not solved, and likely cannot be solved. The referenced Esquire article is only the first known in-print usage of the term, as so-far determined by the Oxford English Dictionary (the only body that routinely tries to find out such things). The OED gets antedated all the time, and someone may well submit an earlier citation of “flyover country” any day. With more and more print archives being digitized and made easily searchable, it is likely that it will get antedated.

    (Jeff Prucher’s Hugo winning book “Brave New Words” was the result of a crowdsourced effort to list the first known in-print citations of SF terms, and many of the entries in that work antedated the OED.)

    But even if it turns out that the Esquire article is the first time the term was used in print, it is a fair reading of that article to think that McGuane picked up the term from LA and NY people he encountered in the film industry, and did not invent it himself. At any rate, the article does not make that claim.

    The attitude certainly existed on the coasts before 1980, though, as evidenced by this quote from CBS program director Mike Dann in the 9/2/1974 LA Times: “The public is the people we fly over”; or this quote from a NY advertising executive in the 1/12/1977 Wall Street Journal: “[Advertising agency Leo Burnett & Co.] talks to the America that the rest of us fly over”; or this from a Washington Post book review of 12/4/1979: “To those who occasionally fly over them . . . the large, square, agricultural states of the Midwest seem almost empty.”

  36. There aren’t any square states! All of ’em in the Midwest have some wiggly edges. The closest to square states are CO, WY, NM, and UT, which aren’t Midwestern, just plain ol’ Western, with honkin’ big mountains running through the middle.

  37. lurkertype wrote: “Sad leaders go around praising Heinlein and hating Gerrold, yet the two men were friends.

    AND… some of the most “Heinleinesque” books around are Gerrold’s Dingilliad. (YA trilogy: Jumping Off The Planet, Bouncing Off The Moon, and Leaping To The Stars.)

    See also: Steven Gould, whose Jumper and Wildside are also some of the best Heinlein juveniles not written by Heinlein, and who also tends to be looked at askance by Puppies.

  38. I will give MCA Hogart right in how fandom seems to look at republicans. I was at the “How to Enjoy Your First Convention” panel on wednesday and winced when the panel was trying to be helpful about avoiding political conflicts. Basically, they said that there was an election and we should avoid trying to take politics seriously at the convention as to not cause trouble. But the way the said it, something like:

    “You should know that there are also people here that are republicans…”

    And I felt the othering of republicans. I really winced at that. It is not fun being in a minority sometimes and it is not fun when you feel that you aren’t counted in to the ordinary group, but is someone that is “also” there. It know what it meant, but it could have been said better.

  39. @lurkertype: and then there’s Walnut Creek. I asked a native at a Westercon what it was like (I’d had a rooommate from there); she said ‘a Steven Spielberg suburb.”

    Kip W: that’s a hell of an urban legend….

    A general note: I’ve been short with individual Mormons and Witnesses because I don’t care to be proselytized, but I don’t assume anyone professing any form of Xianity is ipso facto prejudiced. However, the person Nicole quoted seemed to me to be demanding a pass for bigotry on account of theistic backing; that’s more slack than I’m willing to give.

    One of the troubles I have with “flyover country” is that I drove (well, rode) it before I flew; ~6 weeks to go Poughkeepsie-Chicago-Crater Lake-LA-Tucson-Colorado Springs-Little Rock-home. There’s an awful lot of practically nothing there, but that doesn’t tell you what the more-populated areas are like. I’ve run across Europeans who just don’t grasp the raw size; a Londoner was floored when I said “here to Athens and back isn’t as far as across the US.”

  40. @Chip Hitchcock

    “In the US they think a hundred years is a long time, in Europe they think a hundred miles is a long way.”

    @ Hampus.

    Um yeah. And there were a few songs at the filk circle about Donald Trump and I was trying to think how to say “hey folks let’s not” when people got off politics again and it seemed better to just let that dead skunk lie in the road and keep driving rather than go back and stand around it and point.

    I have once in my life interfered in a filk circle direction–I think what I said was “hey if we’re going to have more songs about how awful women are I’m leaving”–and it wasn’t a comfortable place to be and I am having trouble thinking of a way to do it better.

  41. @Cat and Hampus

    I completely agree that attacking Republicans just for being associated with Republicans or supporting the Republican party is wrong.

    However I don’t feel that way about Trump and his supporters. Trump has run an openly racist, misogynist, islamophobic and homophobic campaign. He re-tweets things from white supremacists, uses their imagery in ads and has never disavowed a single one of the white supremacist endorsements. White supremacists leaders have openly said that they feel that Trump speaks for them. He’s endorsed political violence against his opponent.

  42. Chip Hitchcock said:

    I’ve run across Europeans who just don’t grasp the raw size; a Londoner was floored when I said “here to Athens and back isn’t as far as across the US.”

    I recently discovered that from Portland, Oregon to Orlando is almost exactly the same distance as London to Baghdad.

  43. 1. Well, that’ll teach me not to post from the iPad first thing in the morning.

    2. Having driven across the country three times, I appreciate 6-hour non-stop coast-to-coast flights as time-saving. But I would have missed the little drugstore that had two spinner racks of science fiction, the shrine to Thurman Munson, lightning streaking and exploding across the sky, and the amazing view of the stars when there are no other lights. I remember people were friendly and helpful; that may have been delusional on my part.

    3. Chip Hitchcock: My late brother lived for about a year in Walnut Creek. Hated it.

  44. @Chip: Only… even more so. Another step up. I don’t go there much; I think the last time I was there I was going through it.

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