Pixel Scroll 5/27/18 Pixels Scroll Good, Like An E-fanzine Should

(1) WISCON 42 COC INCIDENT. Wiscon 42 announced on social media that action was taken in response to a Code of Conduct violation on a program item today. Their Twitter thread begins —

And they put up a full blog post: “Killable Bodies In SF Panel”

During the Killable Bodies In SFF panel at WisCon this morning (Sunday), a panelist engaged in Nazi and Confederate apologia and also appeared to posit that disabled or injured people sometimes “have to be sacrificed.”

They continued this behavior even after the audience and other panel members expressed the harm this was causing them.

WisCon rejects these ideas. They are in conflict with our Code of Conduct. The panelist in question will be banned and asked to immediately leave convention spaces.

The relevant passage from the Code of Conduct is here…

If you or anyone you know are in need of any support following this experience, please contact us. We will be working to find folks who can provide emotional support to you.

ETA: This particular individual has been banned for WisCon 42. The decision as to whether this ban will be extended in the future will be determined by our Anti Abuse Team post-con. Should you have information to contribute, you are welcome to email safety@wiscon.net.

Although some deductive guesses have been made about who the panelist was, confirmation has yet to be issued. The program schedule described the item and listed the following participants:

“The Desire for Killable Bodies In SFF”

In SFF with an action element there’s a desire for cool giant battle scenes, heroes who spin, twirl, slice off heads, and general melee violence. This is an old background trope: the killable mook, guard, or minion whose life can be taken in a cool or funny way is familiar from traditional action films. But many SFF stories take this trope further with a killable race or non-sentient army: the Orcs in Lord of the Rings, the Chitauri in Avengers, and the many robot armies that we see represented solely so that heroes can create cool violent carnage without having to answer difficult moral questions. What happens when SFF comes to rely on this trope? If we’re going to have violent action in SFF, is this better than the alternative? Is it ever not just super racist?

Panelists: M: Molly Aplet. Lisa C. Freitag, Nicasio Reed

“your friend sam” livetweeted the panel but did not name the speaker:

EDITOR’S REQUEST: Please do not add your speculation about the person’s identity in comments. I have already figured out who it probably was and could put that guess here — I’m waiting for a witness, or the con, to name the person.

(2) TROLL BRIDGE. Thanks to Signature for throwing a spotlight on this Pratchett-themed production: “Trailer Surfaces For Fan-Made Discworld Film”.

Inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, “Troll Bridge” isn’t like most other films – it’s spent over a decade in production, and is entirely fan-made. Such a project may sound like it’s cursed to remain in limbo forever, but the film now has a trailer and is being submitted to festivals around the world. Between this and the upcoming Good Omens adaptation, it appears 2019 may be Pratchett’s time to shine. In the meantime, “Troll Bridge” is available for pre-order thanks to crowdfunding – but a Blu-ray is going to set you back $85.

An old barbarian and his talking horse, embark on a suicidal quest to battle a bridge troll. 15 years in the making TROLL BRIDGE is an ambitious odyssey of work in bringing Terry Pratchett’s Discworld to cinematic life.


(3) DOZOIS OBIT. Gardner Dozois died May 27 reports Michael Swanwick:

It is my sad duty to note the passing of Gardner Dozois today, of an overwhelming systemic infection, at Pennsylvania Hospital. Gardner was the best of friends, the best of editors, and the best of writers. And now he’s gone.


  • Born May 27, 1911 – Vincent Price
  • Born May 27, 1922 – Christopher Lee
  • Born May 27, 1934  — Harlan  Ellison


  • John King Tarpinian discovered a Star Wars fashion secret and an awful pun in Brevity.

(6) THE LATE ALAN BEAN. Astronaut Alan Bean’s death was reported in yesterday’s Scroll. Paul McAuley retweeted a great story about him today — the thread starts here (40 tweets long).

(7) ORIGINAL LANDO. MovieWeb asks “Billy Dee Williams in Training to Return as Lando in Star Wars 9?”

The older Lando Calrissian could be making a return to the big screen for Star Wars 9. 81-year old actor Billy Dee Williams is rumored to be preparing to reprise his role as the ever charming Calrissian after it was revealed that he has been training 3 days a week. Lando has been in the news quite a bit lately due to the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story and Donald Glover’s portrayal of the younger version of the character.

MegaCon Orlando took to social media to reveal that Billy Dee Williams is on a completely new diet for his return as Lando Calrissian. While this news on its own doesn’t really seem like much, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill did the same thing when preparing for 2015’s The Force Awakens and again for The Last Jedi. Williams could be just making lifestyle choices, but the timing is a little close to the production start of Star Wars 9, which is reportedly going to start in July.

(8) FOLLOW ME BOYS. Jon Del Arroz told his 12 donors he is abandoning Patreon and shifting his efforts to Freestrtr after the site banned Faith Goldy for hate speech. He told his blog readers it’ll be a sacrifice for him: “Supporting Faith Goldy – I Disassociate With Censoring Site Patreon” [Internet Archive].

It will be a financial hit for the short term. When moving platforms like this, usually only 80% of people make their way over, and freestrtr takes a bit more of a percentage than Patreon, but its time to make a change, and time to disassociate with companies that would gladly deplatform people like me.

He has 10 Freestrtr donors as of this writing, which puts his 80% estimate spot on.

(9) PAID REVIEWS ON AMAZON. In the April 24 Washington Post, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg report on the vast number of paid reviews still on Amazon, although the reviews are now for products rather than books.  The Post found that 58 percent of the reviews for Bluetooth speakers and 67 percent for testosterone supplements were from paid endorsers.

(10) NO CONCERN OF CERN. Next time you’re in Meyrin, Switzerland, Atlas Obscura advises you to pay homage to the “Birthplace of the Web”.

It may look like any other hallway, but look closely and you’ll notice a historical plaque commemorating a monumental event in digital history: the birth of the web.

The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The web, though omnipresent in the age of the internet, was originally meant to be a communication tool for scientists scattered at universities and other institutes around the world.

Berners-Lee was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, when he developed the world’s first website. Though simple in appearance, this amazing technological feat revolutionized how we share and store information.

The first website was dedicated entirely to itself: a white page bearing nothing but typed hyperlinks. It described the WWW project, as well as core features of the web like how to set up a server and access documents. It was hosted on Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer, which is still at CERN. In 1993, CERN put the World Wide Web software in the public domain.

Interestingly, Berners-Lee faced some pushback for his invention, as some at CERN believed it was a waste of resources and wasn’t part of the organization’s core mission. Now, however, the organization at least marks the corridor where the web was born.

(11) THE EDITORIAL PROCESS. Kim Huett did a clean scan of this illo from Science-Fiction Times V12 #278 (September 1957) (which also is online at Fanac.org) and wrote a short introduction. Huett says —

I expect the artists among you will appreciate Kelly Freas’ depiction of the editorial process. The rest of you will hopefully enjoy Freas exploring his inner ATom (or is just me who sees a resemblance?)

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Steve Miller, Taral, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Stephen Burridge, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.

177 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/27/18 Pixels Scroll Good, Like An E-fanzine Should

  1. Darren Garrison on May 28, 2018 at 3:17 pm said:
    So apparently now (according to the linked blog post here in the comments) is now unacceptable to have any nuanced view of anyone who fought on the side of Germany or the Confederacy?

    No, lots of very nuanced views in the comments as you can see.

    There are nuances and in the specific topic of the panel, having a kind of being who can be killled without remorse in fiction or games (whether they be orcs, or zombies or Nazis) has ethical implications distinct from the fictional or historical background of those groups. Those implications (i.e. implying that there are kinds of disposable people) may impact people in real life who are not Nazis or who may well be the kinds of people Nazis targeted. But, zoiks, I wouldn’t want to try and untangle that off the top of my head in a panel because even writing it looks like a weird equating of marginalised people with Nazis, which is both wrong and almost the exact opposite of the point I’d be trying to make.

    Nuance, by its very nature, is hard.

    [Again, not saying the panelist was misunderstood or that this

  2. I expect that if there is still anyone in RASFF, the Stupid Movie Geography thread is still at it. “They had someone walking into Moby Gym, and they came out a door in Lory Center! What a howler!”

    I have friends who were amused by THELMA & LOUISE, because in most of the driving scenes the stars were either going north on I-5 in Kern County, CA, or south on I-5 in Kern County, CA.

    But they don’t go “It was hysterical; every time Louise showed up she was Susan Sarandon!”

    The locations are acting, too; they stand in for fictional places as needed.

  3. Meredith Moment & book questions:

    Daniel Polansky’s fantasy Those Above (“The Empty Throme” #1 of 2) is 99 cents in the U.S. and 99p in the U.K. I’d been interested in this for a while, but knew it was from a U.K. publisher. I’m not sure what made me check for it (I’d found an ebook of book 2 and an audiobook of book 1, a while back, which was a little weird), but surprise: the U.K. publisher has a U.S. ebook for both volumes now. (I’m not sure how long that’s been the case, or whether the 99 cent price is new or long-standing.)

    I read the sample. The writing was good, but it stopped short of much actually happening. “No problem,” I thought; “it’s only a couple of chapters, so presumably things get going.” Then I read reviews and it sounds like basically things don’t start happening till the end of the first book. Um.

    The Question: Has anyone read Those Above (or it and the sequel, Those Below) and can you recommend either way? Polansky’s “The Builders” got mixed reviews (I’ve read it; it didn’t do much for me, but I don’t hold it against him), but I’m interested in first-hand comments about Those Above (or both books from “The Empty Throne” duology), if anyone’s read it.

    Unrelated: Someone got me Low Town (also known as The Straight Razor Cure; #1 of 3 of the “Low Town” series) quite some time ago (a few years?). I haven’t read it yet, but I’d also welcome comments about that book/trilogy, while we’re here. 😉

  4. Rev Master B–we have something in common that my father’s side of the family isn’t in the picture–he skipped out when I was still a toddler and I’ve never wanted or had contact with him or his side of my genes. The same goes for my mother’s father–he and my grandmother divorced 25 years before I was born and I never met him (though I have poked around a bit on his genealogy.) My mother’s mother, on the other hand, I was both on good terms with and extensive genealogical research has been done by and about various branches of the family going back several centuries and several European countries. One branch published a genealogy book around 1900 that is on archive.org, from which I know about this weird (many greats) uncle.

  5. I’ve read LOW TOWN and for the most part liked it, enough so that I’ll read more in the series at some point.

    I liked THE BUILDERS a lot, too.

    I really, really liked A CITY DREAMING — people have pointed out that the lead character operates from a lot of male-privilege assumptions, which I thought was a part of his character that made him interestingly flawed rather than unpleasant to read, but others may have different reactions, certainly.

    Polansky also has a couple of short stories up at Tor.com — “meat+drink” and “A Drink Before We Die,” and I liked both of those, too, but they’re probably still available as free reads if anyone wants to sample Polansky’s writing before diving into a novel.

  6. Almost anything sent in London mangles the geography but that includes British shows written and produced in London for audiences who would be largely familiar with London’s general layout. It’s fine that people living north of the Thames travelling to another place north of the Thames cross a bridge over the Thames because Londoners have no respect for topology.

  7. Pingback: Gardner Dozois Remembered | File 770

  8. It’s fine that people living north of the Thames travelling to another place north of the Thames cross a bridge over the Thames because Londoners have no respect for topology.

    I do this regularly as a tourist. Isn’t that how the transit system works?

  9. Kurt:
    Like I said,

    Moviemakers don’t care that a small part of the audience will notice it, and that fewer will be concerned over it, any more than they lose sleep over actors portraying people who are not them.

    Darren Garrison:
    By coincidence, my mom’s family has a genealogy book written about 1900 that’s up at archive, too. Same book I used to see at Grandma’s house, so I downloaded a PDF for myself. By another coincidence, there’s a distant cousin of mine in this Irish jam I play at once a week, who has a copy of the same book.

  10. @Camestros, Ultragotha:

    I just took it for granted that an Old One slumbers near London, which renders the area’s geometry fluid and distinctly non-Euclidean.

  11. Jamoche, most of the old palms in SF, the ones that I’ve seen, are phoenix palms. They’re among the few that don’t object to the winters in the area. There may be a lot more now than there were in the 60s and 70s, though.

  12. “That’s a little like looking at stuff set in NYC or SF and seeing palm trees”
    In SF it depends on the kind of palms – they’re imports, but they do exist.

    One of my favorites is still “The puppet Masters” with the palm trees in down-town Des Moines.

  13. @Rev. Bob: I’m pretty sure Stephen King substantiated this in a story about the notorious Crouch End neighborhood.

  14. My sister does genealogy. I’ve got family trees on top of family trees. I look at them and say, “that’s nice” because they were just people. Lots and lots of people. Some were good, some were really very not good, and some were even interesting. Through my sister I learned that Obama’s mother was my eighth cousin (same family name, even), and my sister has also managed to link our family to virtually every other president (some only through marriage). It’s mostly meaningless to me, since I don’t really have much feeling for the religious side that drives her to the study.

    It does make a good excuse for traveling to places to see where our ancestors lived, but beyond that I don’t hold much value in it. I’m my own person and should be judged by what I’ve done, and what I’ve failed to do. Or what I’ve failed to correct that the people who came before us, ancestors or not, did.

    As for the panel, it sounds to me like a very interesting and very dangerous topic. There is a lot that could be said and even more that could be misstated or misinterpreted if you don’t speak with absolute precision. It is NOT a panel I would ever want to be on. I do not speak with nearly enough precision to be comfortable discussing that topic, and I can’t imagine doing nothing but reading prepared statements during a panel.

  15. “@Cora: Yep, a lot of Germans were conscripts/draftees. So were a lot of Confederates. That doesn’t change the point that we hear about that mostly as a part of apologetics.”

    And still this kind of apologetics are mostly accepted regarding the Vietnam-war. Not to talk about the Iraq-war where people weren’t even conscripted.

    I’m very split about this. I do not think it is fair to put all blame on individual soldiers in a situation of massive propaganda and group pressure. But yes, there has to be some kind of responsibility when you choose to participate in a war.

  16. Gardner Dozois I will miss you. Your work has changed my life, far more than you will ever know, and far more than these words could ever express.

    And for the record; as far as I am concerned you, and you alone forever shall be responsible for, and the inventor of “The Door Stopper”.

    Thank you Gardner, for being you.

  17. I don’t think I have especial sympathy for people who share my ancestry. I think I do have a special interest in them, but only because of a general I-am-inevitably-the-center-of-my-universe feeling. But genealogy is a lot like any kind of collecting: you get addicted to the adrenaline rush of spotting something you’ve been looking for, no matter how trivial you know it may be in reality. If I do enough research on someone else’s family I start feeling just the same about them.

  18. @ULTRAGOTHA: pretty much. The transit system is something out of a city planner’s darkest nightmares and for various reasons is responsible for a lot of the negativity I have towards London.

  19. Bill on May 28, 2018 at 4:07 pm said:
    @Anna Feruglio More generally, this idea that you . . . find easier to, empathise with people who are similar to you, in looks or ethnicity or nationality, I have always found deeply disturbing.
    To identify more strongly with one’s tribe than with others has been deeply burned into us over thousands of generations, and has always been a evolutionary benefit. I don’t know why it would be disturbing; it’s just how things are. (That doesn’t mean one can’t or shouldn’t be pleasantly surprised when someone overcomes that because the other members of the tribe have acted wrong.)

    Not really. Some people go with the instinct to value their tribe over others, but there has always been a strong tendency to value all humans equally. After all that is what pretty much all religions are founded on.

    I got this a lot from Americans after 9/11, when pointing out that while tragic and horrible, the World Centre attacks were small potatoes compared to what even a small localised conflict was like. I was told by those pushing the “war on terror” idea that of course American lives mattered more to them*. And yeah no, mate. Not really. You’re an adult human being, you can choose to value all humans equally or decide to only care for you and yours, and those are not morally equal choices.

    * that is a completely separate argument from the one that the “war on terror” ended up killing more Americans than the original act of terror.

  20. Our gracious host, I am not David W., but accusing a Jewish woman of being a Nazi apologist is also not ok.

    (And btw, the Nazis’ plan was not limited to the extermination of Jewish, Roma and disabled people. They were getting started with Slavic races too, and the lebensraum was supposed to be obtained simoly by starving out the population on it. Which they were already doing in Russia. They would have gotten to us Mediterranean people eventually.)

  21. Nobody is accusing the panelist of being a Nazi apologist. They are saying that the panelist apologized for — to be precise, wanted to “humanize” — Nazis and Confederates. And that apology is a fact that multiple eyewitnesses testify to.

    It’s an important difference, at least to me. Ethics are what you do, not who you are.

    Re Southernness: my Southern-born son (Yankee parents; Southern grandparents) reports that several times he was told (not by his grandparents) that, being the eldest son of the only son, he was expected to take responsibility for leading his cohort of cousins. He found this both baffling and appalling.

  22. Anna Feruglio: Just checking. Is the “Our gracious host” part to distinguish yourself from David W., from the person quoted in the excerpt, or a concern about the posting of the excerpt?

  23. My mother got way into genealogy a few years back and rapidly learned the only way to make me care about her findings was to locate the awful people. I have an axe murderer, someone who may or may not have been a cannibal, and a very stupid colonial commander who was slaughtered so spectacularly by his stupidity that one of Cotton Mather’s brothers gave him a write-up. Plus the general run of adulterers, criminals, and slaveowners.

    I have no illusions whatsoever about my ancestors being good people, and am honestly a bit bemused by the whole “you can’t say my ancestors were bad!” rhetoric that occasionally permeates such discussions. Of course I can, so were mine. It has nothing much to do with who I am, although if I suddenly have an urge to march exhausted troops up a hill against an entrenched and well-rested enemy armed with ranged weaponry, I’ll know who to blame.

  24. @Cora: Yes, Civil War. For some reason I always confuse these two titles (not movies, mind you :-). Maybe because Winter soldier was more about Hydra than the winter soldier, while Civil War was actually about the Winter soldier (and there was only little Civil War in it).

    Re Troll bridge: As a short film it makes more sense.

  25. Hey. You may already know that Wiscon banned a panelist for Nazi and Confederate apologia at the Killable Bodies in SFF panel

    That sure looks a hell of a lot like accusing her of Nazi apologia to me.

    Mike: I mean that removing David’s post because it named coffeeandink’s name (?) also obscured the point that the panelist in question is Jewish, which is not I think a minor point, given the context.

  26. BTW – I checked, English not being my first language, and apologia is not the same as “apology”. It means to speak in defence of something, which is not what the eyewitnesses report happened – nobody spoke in defence of Nazism or Confederate ideology that I know of. (“Apologia del nazifascismo” is against the law in Italy though I don’t think anybody has been successfuly prosecuted for it.)

  27. @Anna Feruglio– No, that’s describing what Wisconsin said it was doing.

    What the panelist in question actually said is surely relevant to the question of what they intended by what they said.

    Yes, David W casually outed coffeeandink’s real name. Coffeandink on the other hand didn’t name the panelist, leading me to wonder how David W determined that coffeeandink, rather than himself, was the slanderer.

  28. Anna Feruglio: removing David’s post because it named coffeeandink’s name (?) also obscured the point that the panelist in question is Jewish, which is not I think a minor point, given the context.

    That point from him is still extant in my response which quotes him (minus the doxxing).

  29. Rev. Bob on May 28, 2018 at 7:10 pm said:
    @Camestros, Ultragotha:

    I just took it for granted that an Old One slumbers near London, which renders the area’s geometry fluid and distinctly non-Euclidean.

    It would explain more than one taxi ride

  30. I’m also an adoptee. Like Lee, I use “Mom” and “Dad” for the parents who raised me very nearly from birth. I was contacted out of the blue by my birth mother in early 2001, and now know her and my birth father. (I have an online bridge game with him once a week…who knew that was genetic?)

    I am in fact remarkably well supplied with people who are in some sense my parent: my parents have divorced and both remarried, and my birth parents are both married, and not to each other; and to bring the total up to 10, I myself am married and so have in-laws. I feel quite lucky that they are all excellent people that I can be proud to be related to.

  31. At least London’s weird geometry largely sticks to two dimensions, unlike Edinburgh which bends in all three. Possibly more…

    Though having just rewatched Infinity War, they did a pretty good job with it as a location. With the exception of a church that I don’t think is local. It certainly isn’t St Giles which would have been closest. It had no flat roof to fight on though.

    And the “We will deep fry your kebab” sign in the window of the chip shop was genius.

  32. @ Hampus: WRT Vietnam, it gets even more complex. Some of the soldiers were fine with being there, drafted or not; there was a lot of contemporary conflation of patriotism with being willing to go overseas and kill people (sound familiar?). Some were unwilling conscripts. There was the option of either becoming a conscientious objector or fleeing (usually to Canada), but the former was unreliable and the latter a higher price than many were willing to pay. If you’re looking for nuance, there’s a boatload of it in that mess.

  33. Actually I take that bit about the church back, it may actually be St Giles (cathedral actually) just not used to seeing it from above, and having a look on the way to work this morning I did see a bit where a fight could occur.

    If so they got the local landmarks and geography spectacularly right.

  34. if I suddenly have an urge to march exhausted troops up a hill against an entrenched and well-rested enemy armed with ranged weaponry, I’ll know who to blame.

    “Um, Sergeant Wombat, ma’am, axes aren’t generally considered a primary weapon in modern combat. I’m also concerned about your need to take a selection of condiments into battle….”

  35. OK, I’ll try the apologia part of this one more time.

    The panelist’s reported statements are things that are usually heard coming from Confederate and Nazi apologists.

    It is to be expected that she would have gotten pushback and a “did you just say what I just heard?” reaction.

    It is to be expected that some people would end up lumping her in with the apologists, especially since she apparently insisted on circling back to the subject later.

    Statements that are just fine when around historians (professional or serious amateur) or professional ethicists or people who study behavior* are not going to be fine when in a group of people who have mostly, perhaps only, heard those statements from the apologists.

    *There has been a lot of work on the “Good German”, denial, and personal responsibility in a propaganda-soaked environment over the past couple of decades. I suspect the invasion of Iraq has spurred interest in the subject.

  36. @Wombat: Exactly. It’s amazing how people will stumble over admitting that their ancestors were slave owners. I always have this urge to point out that barring a time machine, they have no control over that. Worry about what you can control.

    I was actually challenged on my Southern bona fides during the Confederate Monument spats. The guys I was with just ducked and got out of the way.

    @Lee: This is why I say that the conscripts line is OK among historians, not so much elsewhere. Yes, there were lots of conscripts among the Confederates. Union, too. Draft riots. The desertion rate was amazing. All of that is part of the context when among historians, pro or hobbyist.

  37. @ IanP: They thanked Durham Cathedral in the credits, so I have a theory (or at least the beginning of one)…

  38. @IanP as Ingvar pointed out, it was Durham Cathedral. I’m only repeating that because I was going to write a comment using it as an example of jumping actual locations that worked visually.

  39. Really? The tower’s been under repair for quite some time now, and covered in some white tarp of some sort. CGI perhaps?

    At the moment i’m actually sipping a martini and about to have lunch not five minutes’s walk from it.

  40. @Peer:

    If Germans are always villains in movies, then so be it – if it helps to prevent these events to ever happening again its something I gladly chose.

    The trouble with that is that it binds evil and otherness: “We’re not them so we couldn’t possibly be evil.” Every substantial country has dark patches in its history; some face those patches, some ignore them. (I wonder how many of the people supporting Trump against Iran’s “intransigence” realize that the US overthrow an elected government in favor of a ~absolute monarch there less than a lifetime ago; they have deeper reasons than one shot-down airliner to distrust us.)

    @Rail: If you mention [Faulkner], the response will invariably be “My mother is a fish.” Is this a Faulkner reference I’m missing?

    re ancestry: I’ve looked at mine lightly, for bits of amusement (paternal generations are so stretched that the closest kin who died in the civil war was one of my father’s father’s older brothers) and/or horror (I’m ~2nd cousin to a couple of the headmasters of Choate), but never deeply as both of my parents were not particularly close to either ancestral home area or siblings. (At one of my mother’s declarations of liberalism, her eldest sister said “But you were raised Republican!”) I get that some people are taught to define themselves by their ancestors instead their own actions — that’s the sort of meme that tends to be self-perpetuating — but I was never socialized that way.

  41. The desertion rate was amazing.
    In the course of my genealogy, I found one guy, peripherally connected to my extended tree, who deserted from the Union army twice. The second time, he moved to a different state, changed his name, married again (twice), and I only found out because he put in for a Civil War pension and had to give his units (and the name he’d used). (His first and third wives both survived him. Not only a deserter, but also a bigamist.)

  42. @Chip Hitchcock

    Certainly you can have bad men in a good cause. See, for instance, two Union heroes of Glorieta Pass: John Chivington, later of Sand Creek Massacre and nits make lice fame; and Manual Chavez, sole survivor in his youth of a slave raiding party against Native Americans. We can recognize our own dark spots one could hope (I know some folks don’t). Good men in a bad cause though is more problematical.

  43. Chip Hitchcock on May 29, 2018 at 6:52 am said:

    The trouble with that is that it binds evil and otherness: “We’re not them so we couldn’t possibly be evil.”

    “It all meant this: that there are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal, kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.”
    Terry Pratchett
    Small Gods

    Evil is your next door neighbor. It could be you. CONSTANT VIGILANCE doesn’t just refer to watching other people. We must watch ourselves also.

  44. @P J Evans:

    In the course of my genealogy, I found one guy, peripherally connected to my extended tree, who deserted from the Union army twice.

    Was he one of the guys who took money to sign up in someone else’s place?

    We’ve got a guy who appears out of nowhere, marries a local planter’s daughter, and then disappears for the duration of the war. Reappears in the 1870 census with three kids under 5. Current speculation is that he hid in the Smoky Mountains to avoid the draft.

  45. @Chip Hitchcock–

    @Rail: If you mention [Faulkner], the response will invariably be “My mother is a fish.” Is this a Faulkner reference I’m missing?

    In one Faulkner story, a character uses a fish as a metaphor that helps him process the death of his mother. Easy to mock out of context, but also iconic enough that you can Google it and find lots more if you are interested in pursuing it.

  46. Kendall – Unrelated: Someone got me Low Town (also known as The Straight Razor Cure; #1 of 3 of the “Low Town” series) quite some time ago (a few years?). I haven’t read it yet, but I’d also welcome comments about that book/trilogy, while we’re here

    I didn’t know it was a trilogy until more recently, I read Low Town thinking it was a standalone book and enjoyed it a lot. It’s urban fantasy only actually in a fantasy setting instead of being an earth city with magic.

  47. @Chip Hitchcock: To expand on Lis’ explanation, it’s from As I Lay Dying and is the only sentence in the chapter. It also seems to be the only Faulkner most people were ever required to read and, therefore, the only one any of them have ever read. I don’t actually recall having any Faulkner on my reading lists, but my experience of American Lit was so bad I’ve largely blanked that year out of my memory aside from a general impression that American writers are the dreariest bunch of people in history.

  48. Lis Carey:

    In one Faulkner story, a character uses a fish as a metaphor that helps him process the death of his mother.

    As I Lay Dying.

    ETA: As Rail pointed out. Unlike Rail, I didn’t have to read Faulkner in school. When I did get around to reading him on my own, I loved his novels. I suspect I would very very much not have in high school.

  49. @ Ultragotha
    Evil is your next door neighbor. It could be you. CONSTANT VIGILANCE doesn’t just refer to watching other people. We must watch ourselves also

    Very well said. I have little confidence that if I had been a German in the 40s I would have been on the right side. Maybe I would have, or maybe I would have dismissed the rumors of death camps as hyperbolic fake news and gone along with the government. Its disturbing to think about, but I don’t know at what point I would be willing to stand against something everyone else seemed to be okay with.

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