Zero

…Or numbers due ter honor me…

And yes, I do a fair job of being Balaam’s Ass. I’ve got the ass part absolutely perfect.

I noticed a sea-change in the last little while, which should have all sensible authors running for safe harbor. Maybe even high ground. And yes, it was about numbers.

A little tremor shook the water back when John Ringo said the Hugo Awards were biased against conservative authors. The establishment laughed at him. There was stillness on water for some years.

The water discolored and rafts of pumice were see when Larry Correia launched Sad Puppies 1 on the same thesis. The publishing establishment said ‘how irrelevant’, and sailed on down its chosen course.

SP 2, 3 and now 4 joined by Rabid Puppies sent up plumes of dark smoke, more pumice, and some waves. The publishing establishment was somewhat angered by these events… and determined to put a stop to it by sailing closer (and in the process, proving the point that ideology, not quality of story, or popularity was in fact the driver behind their decisions).

Balaam’s ass looked at the numbers and proved the bias beyond any reasonable doubt, and spoke about it. The publishing establishment said “You are a stupid donkey. I will beat you again. I would never actually wield a dangerous weapon myself, but I’ll get my MSM friends to do their best to kill your career.”

And then some bright spark leaked the Facebook ‘trending news methodology’ to Gizmodo. Which was the same story (oddly led by a fellow called ‘Stocky’ — no, his name isn’t Story and his first name is not ‘Tall’ either) as the Hugo one, as the Nebula one, as the traditional publishing in general one: ideological bias – specifically left wing bias, effectively censoring any news they didn’t like and promoting news they did. Censoring trends from basically anything but left wing sources.

Now this is not exactly news to anyone who is a goat – you know awkward, smelly nasty minded critters who don’t go where everyone else goes, and where anyone wants them to go… and who can climb acacia trees and subsist on three camelthorns and an old boot, and who… I think we’ll just stop this analogy right there – on the ‘when you’re in a hole stop digging’ basis. But you know what I mean. However, there was a pretense. And an awful lot of people, not that interested simply took it as a reasonably fair reflection. Let’s call them the ‘don’t know, don’t care’ – which is not an insult – it would have been pretty much my stance until quite recently.

“But it doesn’t have to be neutral! Facebook is a private company entitled to do what it likes!”

Indeed. It’s not answerable to any statute requiring it to present news fairly or without bias. Just as publishers are entirely free to exercise their bias in what and who they buy.

They are, however, answerable to shareholders… who care for little except making money. If dealing with Saudi Arabia makes lots of money, they’ll do it. If withdrawing from a state that doesn’t want Trannies choosing bathrooms makes money, or loses less than not doing so – they’re happy. If you lose some but would lose more by not going along… they’ll go along. It’s about money. And as far ideology in business has been concerned, that’s skewed heavily toward to kowtowing to the demands of the loud and left – many of which have focused on… numbers. Women are underrepresented, women have a wage gap, Black prisoners are disproportionate, etc.

Until fairly recently it has been pretty much one-way traffic. Even the numbers put up to argue against these points (good, bad or indifferent) are usually…. vanished. The MSM (even Fox News) really didn’t push the line much. Yes, there were centrists or even right wing site equivalents of HuffPo or the NYT gaining as the MSM news outlets got worse, but it was a struggle, like running with against other sprinters with a lead weight on each leg – in no small part because the not-that-interested didn’t know or care. Remember the US is actually a country where people predominantly self-identify as moderate or conservative, with the left being in fact the smallest ideological group. You wouldn’t think so, judging by the news or by sf/fantasy.

Then a few little things started going against the trend – Chick-a-filla (do I have that right?) to Gamer-gate.

People – (outside the left, who had been doing it for years to get their way) started using their money, their financial clout, to express their opinions. Not all were right wing – they just weren’t happy with the left’s doctrinaire positions.

Which brings us full circle to Facebook and numbers. Facebook makes its money from advertising. And advertisers – like the traditional publishing industry – generally sell their wares not just to one ideological group. What Facebook has to sell to those advertisers is a user base, spread right across the demographic base of the US – and of course many other countries, but let’s stick US market, US advertisers right now. It’s probably a little skew in somewhat older users (than say Twitter) and probably more family-middle-of-road people than the demographics of the US – but all the same it’s probably not a bad reflection of the same – and for many products those are good people to advertise to.

It’s a shop window… well a whole mall, designed to welcome a range of people.

And the last thing the advertisers need is the mall owners saying ‘Well, some kinds of people really aren’t welcome here.’ Yes, I know. That’s precisely what Sasquan did last year, and MAC II seem determined to repeat – but basically they’ve taken the decision that it’s better to exclude part of the market firmly, than lose the other part. Maybe this makes financial sense to them – they chosen between losing a little and losing a lot as their membership has long since skewed away from the US or even reader demographic. Unfortunately, the authors they showcase, and the publisher who sells their work, do not, generally speaking, have this luxury or leeway. Yes, houses like DAW and Tor have done little to appeal to readers outside their chosen demographic, and they and some of their authors have been quite upfront about their political ideology… but they still sell quite a lot of books to the ‘neither know nor care’ part of the population.

Which is all very well, until that don’t know, don’t care… suddenly does. It’s a numbers game, for those publishers as much as Facebook, or Facebook’s advertisers.

Facebook has of course hastily denied any wrongdoing. It might have been wise to find some, appropriately punish it and fire Tall… er, Tom Stocky and start from a clean slate… but I think what we’ll find has happened is that word has quietly gone out to take the thumb off the left-leaning side of the balance – at least in any obvious way. The bias will shift to important matters left coverage and trivia right or some other sleight of hand. Leopards don’t change their spots and this is a huge advantage that’s not likely to parted with easily.

But it will have to become much more subtle… and probably less effective.

Because one thing you may be sure of is that both sides are watching the numbers. The numbers of articles, the slants, the trending on one media, not on Facebook etc. Questions have been asked in Senate, and it’s an easy target, and one the conservatives would like to hit, I suspect. They won’t be keen to just let it go away.

The one thing Facebook doesn’t need is the bulk of – or even a decent number of — the audience to become aware, to stop being “neither know nor care”. Some of their executives will figure this out. Whether they’ll be able to stop it will depend on political pressure (I should imagine that their ‘friends’ are leaning hard to keep the bias, just as their foes are keen to stop or reverse it), and whether they think they can get away with it. SF trad publishing is in a worse position, because the management there is so used to being the ultimate power who need brook no bridle on their conduct… that I don’t think many of them know how to do otherwise – and nor would the left section of their audience tolerate anything but loud proclamations of faith to the absolute degree of doctrinaire perfection. These will get narrower and more extreme I think, with demands from authors for these pronouncements – and denunciations of anyone who deviates in the slightest are going to get louder and louder, and the witch-hunts nastier.

The audience has little choice but to fracture. Facebook could go the same way, easily. And that’s not good news for those who sell to the previous ‘don’t know, don’t care’ and who need those sales to survive.

The core – to me (and I am not a theologian, nor that interested, thanks) of the book Numbers was to divide the Promised land according to the census. You know, if your people survive that many thousand years… some of those idea must have been sensible. Maybe when dividing up coverage, awards, publishing slots considering the demographics of your market would be wise.

Position yourself with care, particularly if you are a left leaning author interested or involved in Trad Publishing – that’s going to be a dangerous place to be. Despite this: There is enough of a market in any broad section of the audience, provided you sell well to it, provided it is not oversaturated… and provided you get enough of the money your books make. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how my indies keep on selling.

And just for today, this one is free (click on it, it is a link)

83 Comments

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83 responses to “Zero

  1. I left a comment on a thread regarding the GenCon lineup that I think also fits here, so I am just going to copy and paste it.

    There is this continual confusion of cause and effect in these things.

    A group of items becomes popular because the items within it are the most popular items in their class.

    Then someone decides that it is inclusion within the group that has made the individual items popular. That person then starts rigging the inclusion parameters to include those things that she or he believes “should” be the most popular items in their class, under the mistaken impression that they will become so by virtue of inclusion in the group.

    Rapidly, however, the public realizes that that particular group no longer contains the most popular items, and stops paying attention to the group.

    Hence the Hugo Awards. Hence the Oscar Awards, the Golden Globes, the Sundance Festival. I’ve seen it happen with local folk music festivals, with guests at BDSM conventions, with speakers at religious retreats.

    GenCon has been the gold standard for gaming conventions for 40 years or so because the organizers always brought in the guests and content that the attendees want to see. With the lightning speed of word-of-mouth on the internet these days they could lose that in a few years and never be able to get it back.

    • Reality Observer

      You can add Target to that group. Lost 12% of their market value – only half of which is from the normal fluctuations in their sector.

  2. It’s Chick-fil-a, but the Americans reading this knew which company you meant.

    • And it is important to remember that if the McDonalds has 2 cars in the drive through and Chick-Fil-A’s drive through is wrapped around 3 sides of the building, you will still get your food faster at Chick-Fil-A.

    • Uncle Lar

      They specialize in boneless chicken, and do it extremely well.
      Owners are unabashedly Christian, stores are all closed on Sunday, and they took the personal stance that same sex marriage was not something they could support. So the left staged a boycott, and US conservatives responded by eating a lot more chicken.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I can eat their waffle fries.

        • adventuresfantastic

          Chik-Fil-A only sells them at certain times of the year, but their peach milkshakes are some of the best I’ve every had.

          And their chocolate chip cookies, which are always available.

  3. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I think I recall Ringo making such statements back in the day. I did nothing, because I had never cared a fig about the Hugos.

    I recall lots of bitching about bias in mainstream media. I did nothing, because I had grown out of finding mainstream media of any use whatsoever. (Okay, I’ve since watched CSPAN. Still.)

    I never had anything to do with Facebook. Now I find out they have a billion users, and are headquartered out of the psychic sepsis that is San Francisco. No wonder this is the year we’ve had politically.

  4. There’s an old, regional, bacon commercial that had the tag line “He’ll never learn.” Substituted “He’ll” for “They,” and that pretty much sums it up. Saturday I tossed an unread – and unwanted Popular Mechanics into the trash (the subscription supposedly lapsed last month). It had Joe Biden on the cover. Feh. As I type this I’m looking at my old Popular Mechanics Home Handyman volumes, back from when the magazine was more than fluff, and, apparently, political bias. Two or three months ago I did the same with Popular Science, who had Obama, who has practically killed US manned spaceflight, on the cover. That, incidentally, convinced me to same my money and drop both. When I want fluff, I’ll clean out the lint trap.

    Now, the interesting thing is that both has done a 1984 full court press when it needs to be concentrating on mechanics and science. You know, like it says it their title. I strongly suspect I’m not the only one to toss their issues into the trash.

    They really didn’t think this one out, any more than the New Yawk crowd has figured out why people won’t read their crap. Well, so be it. Companies go out of business all the time from lack of customers, which is the economy’s cute little way of improving the market. Things will improve in publishing, just maybe not for the publishers who think ideology trumps a roaring good read.

    Let’s see if they can figure it out.

    • Reality Observer

      Took you that long, Kevin? Although I have to admit that National Geographic, Scientific American, etc., hit my ignore button a long time before PM.

      • I stopped buying Scientific American when they stopped putting equations in the articles. That was a long time ago.

        I couldn’t actually -do- the equations at the time, but I knew that excluding them meant the articles were just fluff, and therefore no longer Science at all. How can you have an article about gravity without math in it?

        These days, all those formerly interesting magazines are just Lefty propaganda organs. They seem to get along without my money.

        • Yeah, I remember looking at old issue of Scientific American and Science when doing reports in High School. By the time I got to college SA seemed like nothing more than Discover and Omni with a better pedigree. I don’t think I’ve even picked a copy of most of those magazines off the rack to even flip through at the store in over twenty years.

          • Reality Observer

            Going through my office today, cleaning out what I no longer really have any use for. Found the last Nat Geo I ever picked up – December 2006 (very nice pictures of Saturn).

        • Chris Nelson

          QST, the main US magazine for ham radio still has equations and articles that require some serious thought. To be really good at the hobby/service you actual have to comprehend a moderate bit of math and physics.

      • I have subscribed and dropped PM and PS several times over the years, mostly over the issue of lack of content vs price. It had gotten to the point where I could read both at one meal (have a habit of reading while eating), and was considering dropping it again. PM used to have great DIY articles and PS had science a little below the old Science Digest level, but was at least an interesting synopsis. That played out long ago. If it hadn’t been buying magazines from a kid, I wouldn’t have bothered with either.

        I read National Geographic through the infamous anti-manned space exploration article, which can be summed up as follows “Space exploration is haaaard. Let’s stay home and pick scabs.” I think I stuck it out one more year.

        I’ve walked into Scientific American three times with eyes wide open, the last to get a freebee I really wanted to read. Would have been better off surfing the web. No more.

        This leaves with a trade publication that has very little fluff, but is also very narrow in scope. Here the politics is restricted to the band wagon of the day, and us cynical old timers yawn and go “That’s nice” while the youngsters get all excited.

      • Anonymous Coward

        I can recall reading a Scientific American collection of do-it-yourself projects from the 60s. Wonderful stuff like how to build your own X-ray machine at home (no kidding). I gave up on both SA and NG when they climbed on the Global Warming bandwagon. The NG cover with a mostly-submerged Statue of Liberty was the last straw. I miss the archaeology & history articles, but once a publication becomes a propaganda rag, it rarely recovers from the death spiral.

    • I used to have so many magazine subscriptions – OK, mostly because I was overseas, and this was before the fully-functioning internet. But over the last fifteen years, I’ve given all of them up (or they up and died on me, like Brill’s Content, Gourmet, and Spy) – Atlantic, Harpers … Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly … all gone, mostly for displaying a bias I didn’t care for, or duplicating information that I had already seen on-line. Ah, well – time marches on, although that magazine itself probably won’t last too much longer.

      • Southern Living. Died two-three years after an NYC conglomerate bought it. Now you get Southern Lady and Garden & Gun for the same content. I thumbed through a recent issue of Southern Living and it seemed a touch better than it had been, but I’m not going back, even though they are offering me $10/year deals.

        • My psychiatrist’s office had Garden & Gun. A great magazine. I think the gun part keeps them honest.

          • LastRedoubt

            I know someone who used to deal with their computer issues helped the staff there with their computer problems – the gun part DOES keep them honest. About as liberal as someone can get and still be in Charleston (which is actually pretty liberal as they don’t tar and feather them…)

      • Sam L.

        Smithsonian, too. The AIR&SPACE Smithsonian is still good. The only magazines I see without political content are COOK’S Illustrated and Cook’s Country. There is some in Arizona Highways, but I deal with it.

    • sabrinachase

      Yep, cancelled my subscription to Nat. Geo a long time ago. Loved the pretty pictures, could not stand the pious political sanctimony. Also dropped Physics Today (and my membership in the American Physical Society) when it was clear the rot had spread there too. The debacle of the exhibit in the Smithsonian was the first whiff of gangrene–although I did have a lot of fun escorting two friends through that exhibit, “clarifying” the official message in a clear, carrying voice and pointing out the glaring omissions in what was supposed to be “Physics in Everyday Life”. Yes, everybody detonates A-bombs and runs nuclear power stations in everyday life, didn’t you know that? Gaaah.

      • Does anyone remember a problem with the Smithsonian model rocket try exhibit and G. Harry Stein? I can’t remember all the particulars, and may be entirely wrong, but I think Stein wrote he ended up salvaging some of his donated items from a dumpster.

        A friend, who took his wife to the Smithsonian, missed an exhibit on farm equipment. When he asked where it was, he was told it was removed because it wasn’t “relevant.” He had some choice words about that.

        • TRX

          They acquired the Enola Gay, put it in storage, and were arranging to have the scrappers haul it away when some people found out about it and marched with torches and pitchforks.

          I never figured out why it didn’t go to Wright-Patterson.

          • The Enola Gay… to scrappers? You are surely kidding me? If not I sincerely hope someone got fired or preferably sent in exile to Nam Island, Bikini.

            • TRX

              Nope. Doubleplus ungood baby-burning imperialist NUKULAR badthink badfeelz. It was going down the memory hole when word got out.

              The Smithsonian went fully-converged SJW a long time ago. Having to restore and display that plane probably gives them industrial-grade indigestion.

              On further thought, while Wright-Pat would have been more appropriate, I think I would have been a lot happier had it been entrusted to the Confederate Air Force along with funds to keep it operational.

              • RNB

                The Confederate Air Force no longer exists. It is now the ‘Commemorative Air Force.’ Guess why they changed the name…

                • Funding. The major sponsor of Wings over Houston, and then sponsors of the Arizona Wing, would have been forced to stop assisting the CAF unless “confederate” got changed. No one had said anything until (IIRC) a woman of color working for the big company in Houston raised the issue. About the same time, Arizona Wing got the warning, and the rest is history.

                  • RNB

                    Thanks for the background. I never heard the details, just knew it happened very quickly and with no (apparent) fuss.

          • Civilis

            That version of the story does not make any sense based on my recollections. Do you have a source for it?

            Before the Smithsonian Air & Space museum moved most of its restoration operations to the new Udvar-Hazy annex, they used to have a storage and restoration facility at Silver Hills in Maryland (the Paul E. Garber facility). One of the perks of living in the D.C. area was that every year they had a poorly advertised open house at the facility that enthusiasts would flock to (and it was neat as a kid as a lot of the aerospace companies would arrange to have tables with free handouts on their latest planes and rockets, as a lot of the enthusiasts who were in the know about the open house were Pentagon staff members). It was an opportunity to see all the stuff they had warehoused and were planning to (some day) put on display at the main museum. I remember seeing the Enola Gay’s gleaming silver fuselage in one of the hangars. There was a rope keeping curious fingers from touching anything, and a simple sign, and that’s it. This was well over a decade before there was even talk of the controversial museum exhibit.

          • Anonymous Coward

            There were no plans to scrap the Enola Gay. It sat in storage (often outside) until restoration began in 1984. There WAS a big flap when it was exhibited in 1995 (50th anniversary of Hiroshima). Harwitt, the director the the NASM, put together an Enola Gay exhibit with a brave-Japanese-defending-against-Western-imperialism theme. Veterans and Congress went ballistic, resulting in Harwitt losing his job and writing a book defending his position.

          • Sam L.

            There was that exhibit planned a few years ago on The HORRORS of Hiroshima starring the Enola Gay that was cancelled after the veterans attacked with torches and pitchforks.

      • Yes, everybody detonates A-bombs and runs nuclear power stations in everyday life, didn’t you know that?

        Well, some of us want(ed) to…

        • TomT

          I still want my home nuclear power plant. Know where I can buy the kit they where promising would be available by 2000 or so?

  5. One of the reasons the mid 20th century was the “golden” age of totalitarianism was that the most effective methods to communicate were broadcast and expensive. Propaganda films were important for both Stalin and Hitler (I don’t know about Imperial Japan, or Mao’s China). Control of the means of meme propagation thus became the ultimate target of any would be revolutionary vanguard.

    But technology changes. Today, the most effective means are one to one, or one to a few. Producing content no longer requires huge resources. Sure, Facebook’s trending box that I have been ignoring since it came out is left biased. But I can still use Facebook to propagate the ideas of my fellow right wing troglodytes and they can still propagate mine. We are lucky that most of the left wing (with the exception of people like Eric Flint) have a hard time recognizing when reality changes.

    Your point about losing business is correct, but I don’t think it matters. People don’t go into editing or journalism to make money. They go into these unlucrative career paths to make a difference. In other words, to push their ideology. To paraphrase, you can’t serve both Marx and Mammon. Sure, there are MBAs on top who understand fiduciary duties, but they aren’t likely to monitor for editorial slant.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      “you can’t serve both Marx and Mammon”

      What tickles me are lefties who try and do both, like Michael Moore a few years back, simultaneously denouncing capitalism as evil, while also bragging how rich he’s become.

    • I suspect most of us sort of fall into what we do, after the stars are out of our eyes. Yes, I know a significant number doesn’t, but how many of us are doing what we set out to do?

      Regardless, unless someone is working in public broadcasting, they aren’t financially insulated from the views they choose to publicize.No rational person, unless they have an ulterior motive, will deliberately drive their company financially into the ground. But they will make mistakes based on bad info, and here it may be nothing more than an echo chamber effect. That shows just how isolated they are from the real world.

      • They aren’t completely insulated, but in a sufficiently large organization the relationship between views and money is hard to see, and the time lag can be huge.

        I think “I need money” and “this is the work I do” live in separate brain compartments. Or maybe it is “I need money, so I’ll signal my virtue to the people I work with”.

        • TRX

          I’ve worked at a couple of companies whose business plan apparently didn’t involve dealing with, you know, those annoying customers.

          Both had split up all their operations into separate “business units”, which then billed each other for everything from janitorial service to administration. The internal-accountng quatloos were far more important than icky outside dollars.

          One of them did survive, after being brought under administrative control of another corp with a controlling financial interest. But it was a near thing.

    • TRX

      One of the policies put forward by Josef Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was to get a radio into every German home. The Ministry sponsored radio production and arranged a financing system. Can’t have ein volk without all the volk marching together, you know.

      My Dad grew up in (American) Georgia in the 1930s, and they didn’t even have glass windows, much less a radio.

      • Micha Elyi

        My Dad grew up in (American) Georgia in the 1930s, and they didn’t even have glass windows, much less a radio.
        –TRX

        And they liked it that way. Had they wanted glass windows and a radio and motion pictures they’d have done what the Okies did and moved to California.

  6. You might wish to double check that the image that is the link has loaded correctly or is referred to correctly. I didn’t see it my default browser, but a placeholder appeared with an alternate browser..

    • Aha, Ghostery was doing its job quite well.

    • TRX

      Looks like it’s a Kindle-Unlimited-only thing, at least as it renders in Konqueror 4.14.9.

      • Just go to Amazon.com – search Bolg PI: the Bolg and the Beautiful. It’s free. download

        • TRX

          Nope. If I click on “Read for Free” it takes me to a page to sign up for Kindle Unlimited.

          • Don’t click on “read for free.” Click on “Buy now with one click,” which was was Zero Dollars yesterday. Today, $2.99, but still worth it, and a darn good read.

        • Mark

          When more Bolg? Mind-beast hungry!

          • The plan (cunning plan a la Baldrick number 724006) is to write three more – but they’ll not get published separately, but in a book of Bolg casefiles – which I’ll then price at less than buying 3 novellas (which is what the Bolgs usually are and priced at $2.99 to get the 70% royalty) – probably $4.99 – at the same time dropping the price of Bolg PI:Away with the fairies to 0.99 -as an entry drug as it were. But I have to finish TOM’ s edit and conversion (novel about a cat turned into an apprentice to a fairly inept magician – humor) – which should be up in another week or two. Then to finish the Karres i am busy with, then… well, either the Bolg omnibus or a number of other books all queue-ing and saying ‘pick me’.

            • Mark

              Is TOM an expansion of “The Goth Sex Kitten”?

              Also, do you do any merchandising?

              I’d love to have a “No one tells a lady she is undressed while she still has her chainsaw” t-shirt but I can’t draw worth a darn and haven’t been able to find an appropriate “chainsaw girl” graphic.

              • Yep. I ended up getting a short-order request for a short story – and wrote another set in that universe. It was fun, and got me thinking about the background story. So I wrote it. Most of the story is from the cat’s point of view. Sex kitten is incorporated into it.

                I’d love that T-shirt too. I should talk to my nephew about the art. Merchandising has been a bit beyond me.

                • Alex

                  Yes, please! There’s a good-sized group here who would wear that shirt with pride. Please announce it if you are ever able to make it happen.

                • Mark

                  Let’s not forget about Soot and Cassandra either. While you’re resting (as my dad always used to say).

      • Nah, its really free. Check the right hand side price, where it has the 2.99 price struck through and $0.00 (save 100%) under that. Dave would not (knowingly) jerk us around that way.

        His Bolg stories, all of them, are well worth the (full) price. If you like Harry Dresden, you will probably like Bolg. If you wanted to see Chandler’s Marlowe deal with the faerie, read Bolg. If hard boiled fantasy tickles your reader fancy, Bolg is your short, blue, Pictish fellow for the job. They are short, but well done.

        Recommended.

  7. adventuresfantastic

    I’ve stayed off Facebook because I believe that lost friends from high school are lost for a reason and should remain that way. Although I had been thinking about getting an account for my blog.

    After the recent revelations, I think I’ll pass on that.

  8. Draven

    the Facebook Trending ‘news’ was no amazing revelation. Considering that any negative news about Obama or Shrillary never seemed to be ‘trending’..

    • Holly

      See, my script-blocker blocked all the trending news section, so I had no clue. I’m okay with that. I have an idiot-republican and an idiot-democrat friend, one each, and they cover all the scary stories about the other side quite nicely by posting links. (Too nicely. Most days I wish I could just introduce them to each other and let them have at it. But why are they your facebook friends, Holly, you ask? Because the IR has grandkids’ pictures I’m interested in, and the ID has kids’ pictures I’m interested in.)
      Facebook is for coordinating youth group activities, trying to find homes for dumped cats, buying bees and selling eggs, admiring Cedar and Sarah’s artwork, sharing Larry Corriea’s articles with the Eldest, and talking to my far flung nieces, nephews, and cousins.

      And linking to books people should oughta read. I do that, too.

  9. Slither

    I agree with you, except I don’t think this is a left versus right issue, but an authoritarian vs everyone else matter. (Full disclosure, I’m an old left-wing person myself.)

    Have you ever seen an SJW actually do anything for the causes they supposedly espouse? I certainly haven’t! They spend tons of money going to a very expensive small SF convention, where they give each other awards, and have a costly party. Actually do something that helps the poor? Nope, not their thing.

    I think what happened is that the SJWs took over the old left-wing. Everyone who was actually trying to help real people was considered to be an enemy and thrown out. They had an advantage — young college students often want to be virtuous and want to be lazy, and what better philosophy to them than one that combines both?

    I think that having the left and right wing come together and throw the SJWs out is what we should hope for.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Alternatively, the Left was so successful with the Leninist organizational weapon that it spread into the mainstream. If the Left was successful in getting people to mouth their views, it is unsurprising that people without convictions might do so.

    • It’s not about the actual doing. How.. beneath.. them that is!
      It’s all about “YOU need to do this.”
      Well, no, I don’t. If you want to, I’m not stopping you.

    • freddie_mac

      an authoritarian vs everyone else matter

      Yeah, that’s probably about right. FB, as we all agree, is a private company & they can do whatever they want. Fine. But the fact that they were presenting one of their features as something it most certainly was not? That’s why people are miffed. Just say that trending topics (or whatever they call it) have been carefully selected by FB minions to highlight topics that FB thinks are important … people will shrug and move on.

      And the fact that FB was hiding this curating practice tells us they knew darn well that people wouldn’t be as interested in/respectful of FB-curated content if they knew that’s what it was. KInda like hiding spinach & other veggies in the kids’ food, hoping that they’ll choke down those pesky vitamins.

      • I rarely paid much attention to FB’s ‘trending’ thingy. The rare times I did I knew it was being manipulated. How many times can something that’s pretty much only relevant to Fargo or ND be a ‘trending’ topic.

    • “Have you ever seen an SJW actually do anything for the causes they supposedly espouse?”

      They call it “raising awareness”. To “raise awareness” just requires that you engage in loud (and often obnoxious) public posturing. Actual work is not required.

    • Slither, when I was young I decided I believed all humans should be equal before the law, and that all humans should have as much opportunity as we can possibly provide – regardless of wealth, creed, color etc. I was called a loony left-winger and a Kaffir-boetie (derogatory insult for black -brother). I’ve changed opinions and positions about things as evidence persuaded me to do so — but not about those two issues. I now find – on the basis of those same two positions that I’m a loony right-winger and apparently a racist (oh and a neo-Nazi and a homophobe and a misogynist too – yes, it makes as much sense as an emu on acid – when did that stop them?)- on the basis of those same two positions, which have remained unchanged since I was a loony left winger because of them.

      The problem, intrinsically, is the corruption of noble causes and the changing of the meanings of the words used to describe them. Liberal, for example – Your modern totalitarians (to use your term) are anything BUT liberal, but they call themselves that – and worse, so do their foes. The same holds for ‘progressive’ (or in fact ‘conservative’). The same holds true of ‘social justice warriors’ – a stringing together of powerful words to sound good – but describing a group who are not warriors, nor believe in justice (which de facto needs to come se bene geserit – from the will of the people and is rooted in the concept of ‘fair’ – which even monkeys display an understanding of) and are anything ‘social’.

      So I stick to ‘left’ and ‘right’ – at least they are not descriptors that carry as many implications (which are usually false) and do describe the current political support.

  10. Uncle Lar

    The Hugos have been on life support for years due precisely to what Ringo and Correia called to our attention. The final death rattle was heard at that obscenity of an award ceremony at the 2015 WorldCon, and the nails in the coffin were those ever so clever asterisk awards.

  11. Regarding the Bolg and the Beautiful, you have two review options. If you click the first link, you’ll get my blog review, which includes ZZ Top song links inserted topically. If you click the second link, you get the Amazon review. Unfortunately, the song links didn’t transfer.
    Blog link, with ZZ Top = http://habakkuk21.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-bolg-and-beautiful-by-dave-freer.html
    Amazon link, without music = https://www.amazon.com/review/R2VP7RHETABEXH/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00WDP1B3U

    • Reality Observer

      Interesting thing – Dave is apparently in good company (on Amazon). I usually check the “you will also like” email after a purchase. This one had Heinlein, Asimov, Haldeman…

      (I check because I’ll sometimes find a new author. Pretty much everything on this list, though, I already have in the stacks…)