Soylent?

You know, we better shift on. We’ve only got two years and two days to start serving soylent green. The people-scooping seems remarkably lack-luster, and, what’s worse, I hear that New York hasn’t flooded either. Didn’t James Hansen tell us that was going to happen some time back? Or was that one one the other doomsters? It’s hard to keep track of the disasters de jour, as hard as the latest political fad de jour. I think bestiality is probably due to claim victim status… but predictions are hard. It’s best to make them about the past. After all, we all know the past is fluid and infinitely possible manipulate and adjust, whereas the future is clearly and irrevocably defined. Written in stone, as it were.

Which is why the sf writers (me included) movie makes and other purveyors of fantasy AKA doom-porn always get it dead right, and soylent green will be for sale tomorrow, and English children already don’t know what snow is (it was never going to snow again, remember).

Yes, well… we don’t get it right much.  Some of us are honest enough to call it fiction.

So take what I say with that in mind. Just keep in mind that the folk telling you the future IS certain, are probably just as accurate, but less honest.  The times they are a changing. I bet I get that right, because it is nearly new year (I’m on call for New Year’s eve – I’ll be glad when that time changes especially if it does so without disaster).

That aside, the zeitgeist of the world is shifting.  Populism, Nationalism, Working-class interests – things and values effectively proclaimed near dead and shortly extinct in that certain future… ten years ago are resurgent.  I’ve read a lot older novels, and mixed a lot of older academics. Look at history and you see these ‘shifts’ marked and some extent presaged by changes in the books and certainly within academia. They were the fringes, the outliers, the dissenters, the canaries in coal mines.  Basically changes there spread through the media and society. By the time they got adopted by the mainstream churches – actually the pendulum had usually finished swinging and started to go the other way.

I… see a little of that pattern now.  Well, the Churches are embracing ‘woke’.  Academia has become a bastion, living in a woke yesterday which reflects their values, traditional publishing likewise, and mainstream media.  In an odd way they have become ‘conservative’ (in the original sense of the word). That said… all their efforts, all their money, power, propaganda, straight-out mob bullying, pogroms, attacks on livelihoods, families, reputations… just haven’t worked.  Oh, they’ve caused pain all right – but instead of the intimidation tactics (which is what these are) working, they’re just making people mad. Still not yet up to open confrontations, but failing to suppress. From Brexit, to Trump to various lesser upsets like the Yellow Jackets in France and seismic shifts in politics across Eastern Europe… Academia, the media, and publishing and their hangers on have become the establishment, and are going to have the experience that was hitherto reserved for their targets.

They’re still yelling the magic words – words that used to work no matter how inaccurate.  Like calling the women involved in Sad Puppies Mormon men. Or gay authors, ‘homophobes’, and authors that either weren’t ‘white’ or were happily married to people who weren’t, ‘racists’. Like the response to the little boy who cried wolf, I’ve got to the point of being pretty certain that anyone who accuses anyone else of any of the magic words… is probably ‘crying wolf’ for effect; is quite possibly a liar and a bully too,  and probably defending their personal gain and territory with that.  So: I started not knowing or caring who ‘Courtney Milan’ was, and willing to believe her story, because I’ll give anyone a fair shake… the moment she invoked the magic ‘racist’ ‘wolf’-cry and started to gather a twitter mob, I was rolling my eyes. When you tell me this is someone who plays organizational politics too… most of these, from HOA petty dictators, to those in national politics, should — in my opinion — be distrusted and assumed to be serving their own interests and to like imposing their will on others, unless proven otherwise. I’ve long since decided that a willingness to stand for an office probably means you’re unfit for it. Okay, so I am a cynic. Tell me something we didn’t all know.

Which is a pity, because we do need people willing to serve, and because there really are wolves. Discrimination is real sometimes, with the numbers to prove it, I’m of the mind that everyone deserves a fair go.  But after all the wolf-cries from people who have played this to their advantage, you’d better have cast-iron proof that you aren’t just doing this your or your clique’s power and advantage, and that actually your ‘victim’ is really statistically provably worse off that the people you accuse of victimizing them.

And in the world of selling a product – be it writing or razors, its numbers actually count. It’s not how loud you can be, or how much virtue you signal to your clique — it is how many you appeal to.  Or how many people you manage to lose as customers.

People are suddenly realizing that… they aren’t a tiny minority, possibly of one, who dares not dissent.  And the sharper wits are realizing it and working with it. Look, it used to be a sure annual irritation – I get a lot of government/health/fisheries e-mails. The bureaucrats and administrators send out all this fodder to justify their existence. And year-on-year, they’d irritate me with ‘happy holidays’ and no mention of Christmas. This year… a decree must have gone out from Caesar because Christmas is back. When you consider that 50 years of Christmas bashing has shifted the number of Americans celebrating Christmas from IIRC 96% to 93% according to Gallup – you realize that ‘Happy holidays’ was to appease a tiny minority who were not actually hurt in any real and material way – and actually was as much of a counter-irritant to a far larger number.

Ten year ago… that wouldn’t have mattered or changed. Now it is changing. I’m sure someone – the usual suspects – will scream racist-homophobe-sexist etc. And a few people might still be intimidated. They’re loud, aggressive and vicious.  Hell, RWA may fold to it – although common sense would say look at who BUYS romance, and let’s KEEP that audience, rather than starting a fight which has no winners, and always leads to woke, broke and irrelevant, but it is not my business.

Good luck to the writers who do cater to the market, not the noise, I say. The times are changing. And those people bullied into silence will return the favor in ways they still can. With secret ballots, with the secret ballot of their wallet –and by leaving the product to sink or swim without them.

Get your soylent green here!

 

32 comments

  1. Just on the happy holidays thing. We never did it and few did except for those working at the checkout. This year everyone was wishing everyone else Merry Christmas. The culture is swinging back hard. Media, academia and politicians are always behind the trends. As for racis, homophobe, sexist I’m at the stage where 1 I don’t care, 2 it’s been used falsely so many times that I assume a hoax or false flag and 3 I’ve been proven right every single time one of these things has popped up over the last 3 years or so.
    Happy and safe new year to everyone.

    1. Mu daughter and I have made a point of saying “Merry Christmas” all through this season, and haven’t noticed any sour looks from those which we wished it to. Although – a fair proportion of those were in retail (check out clerks, etc) and really had no other choice than to be polite.
      Still … Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good night!

      1. I sometimes respond with “Happy Hannukah: It’s like Merry Christmas but with seven extra days thrown in”. But that’s just because I enjoy teaching people (and after all, Jesus did celebrate “the feast of the dedication”, which is just a translation of Hannukah). https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Bible_(King_James)/John#10:22

        As long as people wish me to be happy, I’m happy with them. Just don’t wish me a happy Av 9th (the designated Jewish day of mourning).

  2. There’s a market for everything. You typically don’t need to bash other markets to get people into yours, since most customers float amongst many.

    1. The ‘rising tide floats ALL boats’ is true – but they been reducing the customer base by bashing some segments to please others – and having that all one way traffic.

  3. Chuckle Chuckle

    The movie “Soylent Green” was based on a Harry Harrison book titled “Make Room, Make Room”.

    The book showed a terribly over-populated New York City and was set in December 1999. 😈

    1. And we’re already around the same population numbers given in the novel and things aren’t anywhere near as awful as predicted.

      1. Assuming that census numbers are accurate, and not inflated in order to get more goodies.

        Even here in the US, where the decennial census is mandated by the Constitution, there’s strong evidence of padding the numbers, especially when counting the homeless in heavily Democratic areas. We can only imagine how much numbers are padded in countries with kleptocratic governments and heavy dependency on international aid.

        If we could get an actual, accurate headcount of unique individuals, it’s quite possible that the world population would shrink by as much as a third.

      2. I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Asimov’s “Caves of Steel” as I work. It has been quite some time since I last read the book, and I’ve noticed a bunch of things I’d missed before.

        The population of the world was… 8 billion. Most of the planet was empty, and the Cities were giant arcologies, not the whole world. The shortages, crowding, and declining standard of living weren’t due to exhaustion of resources, they were artefacts of a government/civilization that was broking and dying out. I’d missed that the Spacers had *conquered* Earth not long before the story was set; they were trying their best to help a culture they couldn’t understand from dying off.

        Still, only 8 billion…

        1. I believe pollution was a problem too.

          But I wonder how many of those overpopulation works were written by people living outside big cities.

  4. NYC is flooded, if you count the Jewish blood. (Seth Mandel has been frog-about-scorpion complaining on Twitter. You’d need a heart of stone or an ounce of human decency not to laugh. While it is easy for an American to assume otherwise, there are preconditions for religious tolerance, which are not automatically met.)

    English school children do not know what snow is, weather is all anthropogenic climate change.

    Soylent Green is not /that/ much different than what we are already doing.

    1. NYC isn’t flooded *yet*.
      The Arabs and Persians claim that Jews control the weather, after all.
      .
      I figure the odds of this being correct have got to be higher than those of Guam capsizing.

        1. (Explaining jokes is bad. I shouldn’t do it. This goes double for dark humor. Right. I’m ignoring my own advice for the self-serving reason that there are a lot of people here who don’t understand the context, and I prefer that people here not think me insane. )
          .
          FYI: there are several congresscritters from minority-majority (read: overwhelmingly black) intercity districts. They’re pretty universally corrupt lunatics who brazenly tout the most ridiculous conspiracy theories, embrace open racists who claim whites in general (and Jews in particular) are literally devils sent to oppress the noble black man, and generally act as national embarrassments.
          A few years ago, one of the more notable of these clowns held forth that we should not consider expanding the military base on Guam. Doing so would cause the island to flip over and sink. Because global warming.

      1. Bunch of Jews murdered in NYC this Hanukkah. Referenced liberal squish had some threads contrasting right coverage of white murders of Jews with the left coverage of the current ones. Not happy with his alleged friends in leftwing media. So, abuse of metaphor.

        Item two, are the actual school kids going “well, we can’t measure and predict the weather very well, so this could be normal” or “it is the global climate change”?

        Third. Planned Parenthood. Apparently for profit tissue harvesting, going to some sketchy medical research. I was going for the argument that it isn’t morally all that different.

        So, not sarcastic or satirical, simply data points tortured to fit.

    2. Just realized that there is an alternate interpretation, which I did not intend.

      I meant the religious tolerance comment to cover the case of Jews and the hardcore left.

      Being hostile to NY leftwing media, I credit the theory that they are religious fanatics, with no serious long term intention of tolerating believers in other faiths. So I am skeptical that the people Seth believes are/were friends were ever his friends. As opposed to people who always intended to see Seth murdered if he does not renounce his faith.

  5. You know, we better shift on. We’ve only got two years and two days to start serving soylent green.

    We already are. It’s called “The Impossible Burger”…after all, it tastes just like meat.

  6. The old future: live in urban hells and eat people.

    The new future: live in your pod and eat bugs.

    1. No, that was the 80s (& thus nearly as old) vision of “MegaCity One” (aka New York) in British Fiction (2000AD/Judge Dredd at least) too…

  7. My best estimate is that “the mess” is grossing about $3K a year. Not bad for this far into the long tail, eh?

    Anyone waiting on my semi-promise – I have started on the reading. Looks like it’s going to be at least 20 more hours of actual time, as it is slow reading for me – romance is not my thing, nor is mystical. Plus notes EVERY possible “racist” thing that can be found. (So far, one chapter, one thing that the Warriors would say is derogatory – and that one is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT for the time period.)

      1. * Moving several barrows worth of dirt from the back yard to the front yard…

        * Taking down a dead china berry tree, a dead bush that wanted to be a tree, and re-taming the mesquite…

        * Making some sense out of the garage storage after finding out that the Christmas things were put away in half a dozen different places…

        * About two dozen other “honey do” tasks around the house…

        Yep, plenty more entertainment around here. But the bit is between the teeth now, and the horse shall go where the horse shall go.

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