Monday, January 30, 2023

Review Within A Review

 

My old pal Sourdough Jackson just gifted me with her five new books: That Old Science Fiction -- her history of early SciFi, Torpedo Junction -- alternate-history World War Two, and Wurst Contact -- a trilogy about future space exploration, all three of which I found with their covers torn off because the stupid delivery man put them not into or on top of the mailbox but on the ground inside the fence where our tenant's dogs could get at them.  *Sigh*.  So far, I've almost finished That Old Science Fiction, which is a brilliant and concise history of pre-1970 Science Fiction, its perpetrators and its fandom.

I particularly liked hers chapter on Eric Frank Russell, one of my favorite authors who has been undeservedly forgotten in recent years.  Yes, I recognized --with much fond amusement -- all the stories mentioned, all these years later, for Russell was a very memorable writer.  What I mourned is all of Russell's books that Sourdough didn't mention, such as Sinister Barrier, Sentinels From Space, and above all Wasp -- possibly Russell's greatest novel.

Terry Pratchett once called Wasp the world's funniest terrorist handbook, and wished that he had written it.  When I first read it I was involved up to my eyebrows in the antiwar movement, Women's Lib, radical Labor  --  via the Wobblies -- and associated reform movements, so I fully agreed with Pratchett, and did indeed use it as a tactical handbook.  Basically it's a tale of an Earth secret agent, planted on an enemy planet, and all the tools and tricks he uses to disrupt (successfully!) that planet's government.  The sheer detail of those tools and tactics were enough to make me wonder if Russell himself had ever been such an agent, or at least in contact with those who were.  

Wasp's popularity took a sudden downturn after 9/11/01, as readers noted how (from Tor's Alan Brown) "In portraying many of the tactics of irregular warfare...the book also takes us into morally dubious territory -- a fact made even more clear in the wake of recent events".  That's quite true;  Russell's hero disrupts the local enemy government by not only creating a fake protest movement -- to keep the secret police distracted and looking incompetent -- but by subtle economic warfare, suborning local organized crime into performing assassinations and sabotage, which are then blamed on the fake protest movement, and other questionable tactics.  As Brown notes, the hero of Wasp "may be fighting for 'our' side, but he does so in ways that make us deeply uncomfortable".  So the book sank into Out-Of-Print obscurity.

That, in my not-so-humble opinion, is a serious mistake.  If Wasp were commonly read today, a lot of people would recognize the agent's tactics as social phenomena being practiced right now, right here, and in US allied societies.  There's nothing paranoid in admitting that the US and friends do have enemies out there in the world, some of whom certainly do use tactics like these.  Yes, we are currently being "wasped", "gaslighted" and disrupted in subtle ways.  Likely perpetrators are obvious enough.   The government of China has been obsessed with conquering the world (often by economic warfare, regardless of its disastrous consequences to China itself) ever since the Ming dynasty.  Communist Russia, on Lenin's orders, infiltrated and began corrupting our educational system a century ago, and certainly hasn't given up its hold on such a handy tool.  The Caliphate -- the quiet and otherwise unlabeled association of the ambitious Muslim governments and organizations -- is certainly not displeased with the current fashion for denigrating the Christian and Jewish religions in the western countries.  All of them are busy pushing their own agendas, and only the effects are visible.

Knowing who's to blame is less important than knowing what to do about it, and that has to start with recognizing that: A) our society is under attack, and B) how.  Each individual tactic can be thwarted once we realize that it's happening.  When it comes to recognizing the tactics, I can't think of a better guide than Eric Frank Russell's Wasp, not to mention his other books.  So I want to thank Sourdough for that particular chapter in That Old Science Fiction, not to mention the rest of the book.  I can't wait to read the rest of them.

--Leslie <;)))><             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Not the Usual New Year's Resolutions


Last evening I did an online interview with some folks from the International Pagan Music Association (did I get that right, team?), wherein we talked a lot about the Neopagan revival of the '80s, the people involved, and how the movement has gone since then.  Yes, I knew a lot of those Founding Elders -- Isaac Bonewitz, Gwydion, Morning Glory Zell, Tim/Oberon Zell, Paul Zimmer and others -- a dismaying number of whom are dead now.  It's sobering to realize that I'm officially an Elder now!  

Particularly interesting, to me anyway, is how the history and progress of the Neopagan movement parallels -- and is remarkably tied to -- Science Fiction fandom.  In fact, there's a considerable overlap of membership.  That's not surprising when you think about it;  SciFi fans have long played with the idea of psychic phenomena -- and bothered to learn that there's an enormous (and growing) body of evidence in support ot it.  Indeed, about 15 years ago the National Academy of Science yielded to that body of evidence and, in effect, said: "All right, all right, we'll admit that psychic phenomena are real -- now go away."  Of course the Academy didn't advertise that admission, but buried it in the back pages of its newsletter.  Still, it did make that admission.  "Psionics" are officially real.

From psychic phenomena to "Real Magic" -- as Isaac Bonewitz pointed out in his classic book of the same name -- isn't much of a step.  From magic to religion -- as James Fraser explained in his classic work "The Golden Bough" -- is a little more of a step, since the magician and the scientist have more in common than either does with the priest;  both of them hold that the universe runs on reliable rules, while the religionist claims that some intelligent agency can bend those rules at will.  Still, a god -- or goddess -- who sticks to his/her own rules is an acceptable compromise.  Bonewitz took it a step further by claiming that, by using psychic abilities, the magician can create gods/goddesses -- a step that only the Neopagans are willing to take.  

Take it they have.  I could tell you stories of experiments in "theogenesis" -- god-making -- carried out by various Pagan study-groups, and explored in many a SciFi story.  Note that once those "psychic standing waves" are created, they tend to hang around for a good while, especially if constantly nourished by the psychic input of "worshipers".  In other words, so long as the Pagans survive, their deities will too.  

Side-note: psychic practice requires putting oneself into at least Alpha-level trance state, visualizing the desired outcome, and putting a lot of emotional energy into it, since psychic talent appears to be rooted in the mid-brain, which is good for sensory and emotional processing, but not so good at linear logic.  To get into that state and then make use of it requires some light self-hypnosis and personal theatre, also called "psychodrama".  This, as Bonewitz discussed at length, is what a Magickal (or religious) ceremony is all about.  A great tool for such ceremonial activity is music -- often accompanied with dance, involving the rest of the nervous system into the activity.  

So it's not at all surprising that modern Pagan music and filkmusic evolved together, often practiced by the same people (including me).  

The development of the Pagan community and SciFi fandom took a serious hit over the last ten years -- first, a as various economic downturns cut into the money and time that the practitioners had available to spend on gatherings (ceremonies for the Pagans, conventions for the SciFi fans), and second, as the Covid lockdown isolated people.  We've not only lost much of our sense of  community but we've also lost track of each other, to a serious degree.  Both communities have tried to hold together by electronic communications -- "virtual" conventions, filksings, and ceremonies -- but we all know it's not the same, and certainly doesn't have the same intensity.  There's been some argument among the Pagan community as to whether a "virtual" initiation is valid.  I'd say it is, but not with the same strength as the real, face-to-face, within psychic range of each other, live activity does.  It's better than nothing, but we need more.  Virtual/electronic gatherings compare to real-live ones much like grape soda compared to Concord wine.  

Fans and Pagans both, we need to reconnect with each other and organize real gatherings once more.  Yes, I know how much gas costs these days.  Still, we've got to collect ourselves, even at small local events, and meet each other face to face again -- feast and party and talk and sing.  Now that the lockdown is over our only real barrier is economic, and there are ways we can work around that. 

So, my big new year's resolution is to reconnect, in real time.  Are there any fans, Pagans, et al (and let's not forget the SCA, likewise common to both) left in the Phoenix, Arizona area?  If so, get in touch with me (the usual email address), and let's start here.  Live long and prosper, and blessed be.


--Leslie <;)))><         

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Sex, Gender, and Gender Roles

 

For my last rant of the year, I'd like to take on the current fashion for sex-change operations, particularly for minors.  

Now it's not as if people wanting to change sexes was anything new.  There have always been men who wanted to live as women, and vice-versa.  History is full of examples of people who managed to pull this off without surgical assistance -- most commonly women who wanted wider career choices than just wife/whore/nun.  In fact, successful sex-change surgery became possible only after World War One, and very few people took advantage of it.  

The first person to make the change and announce it publicly was a George William Jorgensen Jr., later called Christine, who had begun as "a frail, blond, introverted little boy who ran from fistfights and rough-and-tumble games".  He was drafted into a clerical job during WWII, went back to school after discharge and then, increasingly concerned about his "lack of male physical development", took interest in changing sex.  He went to Denmark, took hormone-replacement treatment for a year, and got the assorted surgeries in 1952.  S/he'd meant to keep the change secret, but the newspapers got wind of the story and were waiting for him/her as s/he returned to the US.  Stuck with notoriety, Jorgensen put it to use.  S/he became a successful singer, actress and lecturer until his/her death from bladder and lung cancer in 1989, at age 62.

Despite Jorgensen's lecturing, and the Sexual Revolution of the '60s, and the assorted lawsuits and political and cultural upheavals of the '70s, '80s and '90s, the number of people applying for "gender-reassignment" surgery remained vanishingly small.  Only when Internet social networks really took off in the 2000s did gender-reassignment become popular, particularly among children, and their parents.  Studies by Harvard and Johns Hopkins, published in the JAMA, concluded that gender-reassignment surgeries had increased fourfold from 2000 to 2014 -- "as more public and private insurance plans began covering the procedure".

It's pretty obvious that the current craze for gender-reassignment is nothing but a political fashion, especially when the proposed transitioners are children as young as two.  It's equally obvious that the fashion is being pushed by adults, for their own narcissistic purposes, not the children themselves.  What does a less-than-ten-year-old know about sexuality, fertility, or medical risks?  What little kids do know about is gender roles.

At this point let's stop for some definitions, something that the media are notoriously vague about.  I'll claim here that gender means the arrangement of one's X and/or Y chromosomes and the physical results thereof, and is ordained by nature.  Sex means the arrangement of chromosomes, the physical results thereof and what people do with those, and is partly ordained by nature and partly by the individual's choice.  Gender roles means the collection of behaviors supposedly attached to gender and sex, and is created almost entirely by society.

Kids know little about gender and less about sex, but they recognize gender roles from an early age -- and often resent them.  Listen sometime to Peggy Seeger's classic song "Engineer" for an expos'e of the conditioning foisted on girl-children, how disgusting it can get, and how disgusted it makes the victim.  Boy-children are subjected to equally ruthless conditioning that's less disgusting but more painful, scary, and dangerous.  Since these conditioned roles are linked to gender, it's understandable that children often assume that they can escape the nasty roles by changing their genders.  I don't have curses enough to pile on the heads of adults who encourage children in this belief.

The obvious solution is to abolish gender roles altogether.  From the time they can toddle, dress the children in the same active-wear clothes (T-shirt, jeans, sneakers and ball-cap), give them the same nutrition (lean meat, raw-to-lightly-cooked veggies, nuts, fruits and dairy), the same toys and exercise and training and education and expectations, and let them choose for themselves which characteristics they want to adopt.  So what if little Suzy is fascinated with wrestling and Billy loves playing with doll-houses?  Let them follow those interests and develop their skills as they grow up.  There are women wrestlers and male architects making decent livings, you know.  When male and female children (not to mention adults) are treated the same, the idea of changing genders will lose its appeal.  

Until that solution becomes common, we can at least forbid gender-reassignment treatments and surgeries to minors, and forbid insurance companies to pay for such.  Anyone who is really seriously transgender can prove it by growing to adulthood, earning a living in their original gender, saving their money and paying for the treatment themselves.  

Above all, stop giving exhibitionist neuroses the backing of law.  People with male plumbing must use male-plumbing bathrooms, no matter how they're dressed.  People unwilling to be called by "he/him/his" or "she/her/hers" pronouns will be called "they/them/their" and nothing else.  People applying for jobs should be accepted or not purely on the grounds of their abilities and experience.  People whining about "transphobia" should be politely ignored.  People using the infantile trick of insisting "Give me what I want or I'll kill myself, and then you'll be sorry" should be laughed at and told that no, nobody will be sorry;  anyone that weak, whining and demanding is of no use to the human species or the planet itself -- except as fertilizer.  

To end the craze for transgenderism, simply stop feeding it.

--Leslie <;)))><   Happy New Year, Jolly Twelfth Night, and a partridge in a pear tree! 

                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Friday, December 9, 2022

A PERSPECTIVE COMPARISON

This is in answer to certain political questions I've been asked lately.

Think about it this way.  You come home from a weekend away and find that a homeless bum has moved into your house in your absence.  He’s used your food, your water, your electricity, your heating, and stolen a few items here and there.  What’s more, when you politely offer to let him leave before you call the police, he insists that he has a perfect right to be there.  Why?  Because while you were gone he swept the floor and did the laundry and even washed the dishes.  Also, because – he claims – his great-great-great grandfather used to live here, so he’s got a right to the land, and the house, and everything in it.  What’s more, he wails, he’ll absolutely die – of hunger, or cold, or something – if you throw him out. 

Do you have a moral, as well as legal, right to cast him out? 

Now let’s pull back the focus and look at a larger scale.  You find that a bunch of uninvited people have sneaked into your country, have used a lot of your public (taxpayer-funded) services and stolen quite a few items here and there.  What’s more, they insist that they have a perfect right to be there because they’ve done a lot of menial labor cheaply.  Also, because their great-great-great grandparents used to rule this land, they have a perfect right to the land today and everything that’s in it.  What’s more, they wail, they’ll absolutely die of poverty if you send them back to Mexico

Do you have a moral, as well as legal, right to cast them out? 

Now let’s pull in closer.  You discover that, despite your precautions, you’re pregnant.  The embryo is leaching nutrients out of your blood, bones and organs, and threatens your health with continued, and increasing, physical stress.  Finally, it threatens your life – millions of women have died in childbirth – if it continues to stay.  Various advocates insist that you must leave the embryo where it is because it’s your “duty”, because – simply by being a “person” (though it isn’t, yet) it has a perfect right to use your body, and because it will die if you have it removed from your uterus. 

Do you have a moral, as well as legal, right to cast it out? 

Yes, ultimately they are the same problem.  


--Leslie <;)))><  

Friday, November 18, 2022

ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH (from Libertarian Enterprise, 7/17/22)

Note:  I don't usually reprint whole articles by someone else, but this one deserves it.

--by Eric Oppen  -- ravenclaweric@gmail.com

"It looks like yet another of my predictions has come true. As I thought they would, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs. Wade, returning the decision on whether, and under which circumstances, abortion should be legal to the several states’ legislatures. That is, in my opinion, where it should have rested from the beginning.

"While I am in favor of legalized abortion, I did not and do not think that the courts have any business overriding the will of the voters as expressed through their elected representatives, save only in cases where the Constitution was violated by the legislation passed. I can find nothing in the Constitution expressly allowing abortion, nor forbidding it. At the time Roe vs. Wade was decided, many states had laws on their books forbidding abortion.

"For better or worse, many people, women as well as men, equate abortion to infanticide. Others, particularly at first, disliked having their state laws overturned by unelected judges. As time went on, the ones who objected to judicial overreach more or less reconciled themselves to the situation, but the ones who thought abortion was murder did not go away. The evangelical resurgence in the late 1970s and early-to-middle 1980s infused new life and strength into the anti-abortion movement.

"Ever since Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court has been captive to that decision. Presidents from both parties have selected candidates for the Court based on how their known or suspected views of abortion concur with that president’s party line. Candidates thought to be anti-abortion have undergone severe grilling and screaming protests from pro-abortion fanatics, and sometimes have been prevented from ascending to the Court.

"With Roe vs. Wade gone, the pro-choice people are going to have to get on top of their game. For many years, they’ve been able to shelter behind the Supreme Court, not needing to keep their political skills sharp and toned. Meanwhile, the other side has not been idle by any means. They’ve come up with many angles of attack, and tried law after law to get around the Supreme Court. No matter how often they’ve been rebuffed, they haven’t given up. Those people could give the Terminator a few lessons in sheer bloody-minded persistence.

"If I were advising the pro-choice people, there are a few pro tips I’d give them.

"First: Tone down the shrillness and quit exaggerating! I’m far, far from the only person who remembers what it was like before the Sacred, Holy Decision was handed down, and it was nothing at all like the Handmaid’s Tale! Or Taliban Afghanistan, or the ayatollahs’ Iran, for that matter. Exaggerating the real problems inherent in a ban on abortions does not help your case.

"While I’m on the subject: Ditch the damn Handmaid’s Tale costumes! Your obsession with that stupid, stupid book and the equally-stupid movie and TV series derived from it does not make people take you more seriously. There’s a time and a place for cosplay, and that time and place is at SF cons and other such costume-friendly venues. One of these days I plan to write an essay detailing all the ways in which that book should have stayed forever unpublished. The fact that it did, and apparently has never been out of print, while far worthier works by better authors are snubbed by publishers and languish in their authors’ hard drives and dresser drawers is proof of the injustice of life.

"Second: Get a grip! In a good few states, abortion’s a protected right in the state constitutions, so your work’s half-done already. Just because the Supremes handed this decision back to the several states does not mean that it’ll immediately be outlawed from sea to shining sea. This is a political setback, not the end of the universe. In 1964, ignorami thought conservatism was utterly finished after Barry Goldwater’s inevitable rout at the polls. And we all know what happened later, don’t we? That wasn’t the end. It was a beginning. Treat this the same way.

"One bright spot is that a lot of the states with sweeping anti-abortion laws on the books passed those laws more as an attempt to appease the anti-abortion fanatics, counting on Roe vs. Wade to make them forever moot. Now that Roe vs. Wade is gone, they’re going to have to face a lot of people (yes, even in the reddest red states) that won’t be happy about this situation at all.

"Third: Quit stereotyping your opponents! You spend a lot of time fighting an enemy that exists far more in your own stupid heads than in reality---and try engaging with the other side. I’ve had a lot to do with those people, and honestly, by and large, they are not the foaming religious fanatics you seem to think they are. They don’t think The Handmaid’s Tale is a blueprint for an ideal society any more than anybody else would. As a matter of fact, I’ve known anti-abortion atheists. How do you explain those?

"For that matter, how do you explain that there are a lot of women who are as passionately opposed to abortion as you are passionately in favor of it? Pro-choice women love taunting anti-abortion men with “Keep your laws off my body!” and “If you don’t have a uterus, you don’t have a right to an opinion!” but these women are as female as they are. They were the backbone of the anti-abortion movement, and are, if anything, as fanatical as the Handmaid’s Tale cosplayers.

"I think that if both sides could manage to get their shrieking all-or-nothing fanatics under control, we could hammer out a compromise that would make most people happy, or at least, reasonably content. If you actually read Roe vs. Wade, it does not confer a blanket blessing on all abortions, right up to the moment of birth.

"Up till about 2016, things were at a state of equilibrium. A lot of politicians would posture for the voters by ranting and raving against abortion, promising to pass sweeping abortion bans to save “the babies,” all the while knowing that they’d never really have to answer to their pro-choice constituents for those laws in any significant way. Roe vs. Wade had been settled precedent for quite some time, and showed no signs of being overturned soon, if at all.

"Then, in a surprise upset victory, Donald Trump won the presidency, shocking, stunning, and disappointing the feminists who’d set their hearts on Hillary, First of her Name, becoming our first female president. In their outrage and fury, they cast about for ways to show their displeasure and punish those flyover-country hicks who dare to claim citizenship, to vote, and to think they, and not the bicoastal elite, should be allowed to select a president. And they lit on the abortion laws.

"Laws about abortion in many deep-blue states were already very lenient, but after 2016, there was a spate of laws extending the legality of the procedure literally almost up to the moment of birth, if not that moment itself. This infuriated the anti-abortion forces, who responded by passing laws of their own criminalizing abortion far more sweepingly than had been the case before the Sacred, Holy Decision. In some cases, these laws even criminalized leaving the states where they were passed to get abortions in less-extreme states. (How this was to be enforced, I do not know.)

"The inevitable court challenges began. Smug and secure, the pro-abortion side put their faith in the Supreme Court, knowing of its reluctance to overturn earlier verdicts by its predecessors. Then they noticed that as president, Donald Trump was actually trying to keep his promises! (And here I’d always thought that the sight of a politician actually doing what he’d promised to do was one of the signs of the iminent end of the world!) He was appointing judges, just like he had some right to---like he was the President of the United States or something like that! How dare he?

"Then a vacancy appeared on the Supreme Court. The pro-abortion forces were already uneasily aware that the Supreme Court was poised on a knife’s edge. Every GOP president had taken advantage of every chance they got to put Justices on the court that were, or were thought to be, reliably anti-abortion. Those Presidents had not, themselves, necessarily been anti-abortion themselves, but they answered to a party that had been dominated by that viewpoint ever since Ronald Reagan’s ill-thought-out open welcome to the evangelicals disappointed in Jimmy Carter. (P.J. O’Rourke commented at the time: “Even Nixon had some discretion about which clergymen he’d let get close to him in public.”)

"When the Orange Antichrist/Literally-Hitler made his nomination, the eruption of outrage echoed off the vault of Heaven. “Protesters,” many of them in idiotic Handmaid’s Tale costumes, stormed the Capitol (with impunity, need I add?) and did their utmost to disrupt the hearings. To add insult to injury, they dug up some woman with a vague tale of having been groped by the candidate at a teenage party decades before.

"The incident, if it had even happened (the accuser could find no corrobration, and could not even remember the date and place of the “attack,” which hurt her credibility enormously) did not remotely rise to the level of a rape. But to hear the pro-abortion side, the candidate had viciously ravaged this innocent young ewe lamb. However, it wasn’t enough to keep the candidate off the Supreme Court.

"Fear for their precious Roe vs. Wade was probably the spur that goaded the Democrats to cheat their way to victory in 2020, but it was too late. One of the state-level abortion bans had been, as expected, stopped by the courts, and its supporters had appealed, eventually reaching the Supreme Court. And now here we are today.

"This endless quarreling and feuding has deeply scarred American society, and I heartily wish that the Supremes had decided differently in 1973. And I say that as someone who is, personally, of the opinion that abortion is no real business of the government.

"In my opinion, the pro-choice people should have used the fifty years’ grace Roe vs. Wade gave them to get constitutional amendments passed. If not on the federal level, then on the state level. Those are much more secure, and at the Federal level, they cannot be overturned by the Supreme Court. I do think that if they kept their demands reasonable they could garner a lot of unexpected support. I used to be active with the GOP in my area, and I noticed that a lot of them, men and women alike, were privately not nearly as foaming-at-the-mouth anti-abortion as the stereotypes would suggest. But the other side would prefer to engage a phantom that exists mostly in their own minds than actually deal with reality as it exists."


...To which I can only add: Amen!   --Leslie <;)))><

 



Saturday, November 12, 2022

Nose to Nose


As of right now -- 7:15 PM Arizona time -- the vote-counting is still going on, but the Senate race has been called:  Mark Kelly wins, which isn't surprising;  he's done well for Arizona citizens, especially when they've been bullied by the federal govt.  The only surprise there is that Blake Masters actually got a few thousand votes;  he's obviously not just a bigot but a nut-case.  What else can you call someone who claims that abortion is "a religious sacrifice" and "demonic"?  We have to wonder why the GOP chose him for a candidate at all.

The only answer I can think of is the "ideological candidate" game.  When a political party knows that it's definitely going to lose a particular race, it puts up a candidate from the far fringes of the party's ideology.  The idea is to win over the brand-new, young, idealistic -- and gullible -- voters, so they'll be loyal to the party whether they win or not.  Apparently, the GOP really thought that the majority of their voters were opposed to on-demand abortion.  I daresay they know better now -- especially since so many states passed laws, and even constitutional amendments, protecting women's bodily autonomy -- and passed by public referendum, yet.  Actual vote-count shows that 71% of all Americans want to keep the right to abortion.  With that many states keeping that right, abortion bans are doomed to failure.  Any woman unwillingly pregnant, even if she lives in a state with ferocious abortion bans, need only hop on a bus and ride a few hours to another state.  Alaska and Hawaii are abortion-rights states.  All that the anti-abortion crowd can do is try to persuade women not to get abortions;  they can no longer force.  It's a lost cause, and the Republicans were fools to place any hope in it.

As for the other races, the results are tightly divided between parties.  In the governors' elections, the Democrats have 23 wins and the GOP has 25.  Arizona will probably choose Katie Hobbes, Democrat, and Alaska will get Mike Dunleavy, Republican.  In the House of Reps, the Republicans are leading with 211 seats to the Dems' 202;  Alaska and Maine will probably go Democrat, Arizona and Oregon GOP, and Colorado and California are anyone's guess.  Still, it looks as if the Republicans will get the majority -- just barely.  

The real nail-biter is in the Senate.  With Arizona choosing Kelly and Nevada going for Cortez, there are now 48 seats for both parties -- but Alaska, which has two Republican candidates (and how that happened is a story in itself), will definitely give the GOP a 49th seat.  That means control of the Senate will all depend on Georgia.  If the run-off election -- three weeks away now -- goes Democrat, which it seems likely to do, the Senate will be in a dead heat again: 49 seats to 49.  

That means that those two oddball Independent senators will hold the swing votes for control of the Senate.  You'll see both parties courting them like Penelope's suitors.  Personally, I just love the idea of third-party senators calling the shots.  That will break up politics-as-usual like nothing else.  Gloriosky!  Everybody else may be gnawing their nails for the next three weeks, but I'll be giggling.

Of course, the big question is what turned the expected Republican "Red Wave" into a trickle.  The Democrats, of course, are blaming it all on Trump, claiming that his endorsement of candidates was a kiss of death rather than a help.  If this were true it would mean that Trump has become as big a spoiler as David Duke, who has made his money for the past 20 years and more by offering to dirty any candidate's reputation by endorsing them.  But that would also mean that Trump has kept his campaign promise -- to "drain the swamp", for that he's certainly done -- just not the way anybody expected.  But Democrats can't be trusted on this subject;  despite all the barriers raised against him, they're terrified that he'll run for POTUS (or any office with pardon-power) in 2024 -- and win.

In fact, what chewed into GOP hopes for this election was the abortion question.  Exit polls revealed that US voters' first concern was indeed inflation and the economy, but abortion was the second.  By its very nature, it's a subject which only the fringes of both parties will even talk -- let alone squawk -- about, but it's clearly something which at least half the population, the female half, cares deeply about.  Male pundits may warble about the "sanctity of life" and how "human life begins at conception", but the women whose bodies those fetuses are growing in are not so sanguine.  All but the most naive know well what ordeal they're facing.  Any woman who doesn't already love the creature in her uterus is not going to risk her life, her health, her freedom, her treasure, or the welfare of her other children for it.

This is what the GOP overlooked, to its loss.


--Leslie <;)))><    

     


 

    

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

EUPHEMISM, EUPHEMISM

 

A “euphemism” is a softer, vaguer word for some topic that upsets or embarrasses the speaker and his/her friends.  Example: Putin’s various terms for what his troops are currently doing in Ukraine;  he’ll use any word but “war”.  Older example: all birds, male and female, will “roost” – but “rooster” was invented to replace the word “cock”, whose other application is obvious.  Likewise, “passed on” and “departed” are less-distressing terms for “died” and “dead”.  Not surprisingly, words that collect the most euphemisms are terms for sex, death, and politics.  Likewise not surprisingly, political terms generate euphemisms the fastest.  In fact, political – or politicized – euphemisms proliferate so fast that it’s hard to keep up with them.

Personally, I hate euphemisms;  they make lying too easy.  Therefore, in the spirit of honesty, I’ll list here – in no particular order -- a lot of the latest and most fashionable euphemisms along with their accurate definitions.

“People of Color” – non-Whites.

“Assault Weapon” – anything that looks like a military gun.

“Presentism” – a belief that only modern (post-1700) history matters, and only if it can be used to guilt-trip money and/or political power out of people, primarily Whites. 

“Hate Speech” – any form of speech that anyone, anywhere, hates.

“Progressive” – any policy that opposes anything listed in the Bill of Rights.

“Camel Toe” – women’s genitals.

“Junk” – men’s genitals.

“Booty” – anyone’s ass/arse.

“Twerking” – wagging one’s ass/arse.

“Grooming” – seduction, particularly of children.

“Zionist” – Jew.

“Palestinian” – Arab.

“Gender-Affirming Care” – Castration, surgical reshaping and hormone-dosing of a child or adult to make him/her resemble a member of the opposite sex.

“Gender-Fluid” – Queer.

“Racism” – Any argument or action contrary to the wishes of anybody with a skin at least one shade darker than the subject’s. 

“Violence” – Any criticism of anyone with a skin at least one shade darker than the subject’s.

“Harassment” – Any criticism of a politician, academic, bureaucrat or business executive. 

“Minor-Attracted Person” – Babyfucker. 

“Pro-Life” – Opposed to abortion, birth control, and women’s economic equality with men.

“Pro-Choice” – Not opposed to abortion, birth control, or women’s economic equality with men.

“Drag Queen” – A peculiar man who gets a thrill out of mocking women by dressing and acting like the most blatant form of female whore.

“Anti-Racism” – Anti-White racism.

“Right-Wing Extremist” – Republican voter.

“Traditional Values” – Christian, Jewish or Muslim religious fundamentalism.

“Anti-Fascist” – Parlor Pink.

“Internet Security” – censorship.

            And of course new ones are being invented every week.  Please feel free to add them to the list as they become visible.

 

--Leslie <😉))><